Who was Jesus Christ
and why did He have to Die?
The book of Genesis tells us that on the sixth day of creation, God made Adam and Eve (Gen 1:26-27) and that they lived in the Garden of Eden, especially made for them (Gen 2:8). In that garden God had placed the most beautiful and wonderful fruit trees, that they might have the most healthy foods imaginable to eat (Gen 2:9). Among those fruit trees, in the middle of the garden, were two very special trees, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9). Adam's job was to tend the garden and care for it (Gen 2:15). He was to be the gardener, and God gave Adam some very specific instructions to follow.
Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Of all the trees in Eden, Adam and Eve could freely eat all they wanted, from all but one tree. Why was this one denied them? What purpose did God have in mind?
Before creation, the Bible tells us that Lucifer, one of the high ranking Angels in heaven, began thinking he could be like God, or even be God-
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
There was rebellion in heaven. Satan found heaven too restrictive and oppressive, he wanted to be independent of God and do what he wanted to do, but even more than that he wanted to tell others what to do and how to act. That is what the phrase "mount of the congregation" is referring to, the place of assembly, where the heavenly host of angels would come to worship God. Satan coveted being in charge at the mount of the congregation. The earthly equivalent of this was the Temple mount in Jerusalem.
Satan was jealous of God's power and authority, and God's laws of love and righteousness were too confining. Satan wanted something he thought better, freedom to do anything, whether it met with God's approval or not. Freedom is better than laws, right? Do away with God's laws and things would definitely improve. Satan spread this dissention in the ranks of the angels and even convinced a third of them that he was right and God was indeed an oppressive tyrant denying them the freedom they sought (Rev 12:4).
When God created Adam and Eve, I believe Satan challenged God that not even they could keep God's laws, that they would prefer to be free of God's rule. As so the great test of God's law began, and that test was one tree in the Garden of Eden that God put off limits to Adam and Eve as His own.
So Satan lay in wait for his moment, to entice God's newly created humans to abandon the law of God and seek real freedom. His moment arrived when Eve was apart from Adam and he could speak to her alone. Without Adam being present, he had an opportunity to deceive Eve and he took it. Eve knew God's law, she even recited it back to Satan-
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
God had warned Adam and Eve that the penalty for breaking the law would be death. But Satan put doubt in Eve's mind-
Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Satan was saying God had lied to them, they would not die, they would actually move to a higher state of being, like God, and know more than they did now, they would increase in knowledge. God was hiding something from them, Satan charged, denying them something that would improve them and make their lives better - the freedom to do as they pleased regardless of God's law.
So Eve ate from the tree, abandoning all of God's instructions and breaking His law, believing Satan and thinking God a liar. Then she offered the fruit of the tree to Adam-
Scripture tells us that when Moses came down from mount Sinai, after communing with God, that his face glowed, because of the holiness of God he had been with (Exod 34:29-30). I believe Adam and Eve both, while naked, had this spiritual glow about them, a sign of their righteousness. When Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, she lost this spiritual state, and lost the accompanying glow. Adam knew this immediately when he next saw her. He knew exactly what she had done. But, he did not want to lose Eve, because he loved her, so he too turned his back on God's law, knowing what he was doing, and knowing the consequences. Adam was not deceived like Eve (1 Tim 2:14), he made a conscious choice to rebel against God.
Now, having lost their spiritual clothing of light, they knew their nakedness, and sought to cover it by weaving together fig leaves (Gen 3:7) So when next God came to meet with Adam and Eve, they hid from Him in fear, fear because of their spiritual and physical nakedness. This attempt to cover their sins by their own works was not enough though. When questioned by God, Adam blames God for giving him the woman Eve (Gen 3:12) who gave him the forbidden fruit, and Eve blames the serpent (Satan) for deceiving her. (Adam lied, but Eve told the truth.)
The serpent form that Satan took, was not like the serpent today. I believe it was a splendid beautiful winged serpent, and that the serpent was in the tree of knowledge when speaking to Eve. (The winged serpent is something that can be found in ancient pagan cultures, particularly the Mayan of Mexico.) So God cursed the serpent to eat dust, and crawl on his belly for the rest of time, no longer the magnificent winged creature it once was (Gen 3:14).
Satan thought he had triumphed. God would now have to destroy the human race that he loved so much, because they had turned their back on God's law, that expressly stated death was the punishment for eating from the tree. Adam and Eve had become sinners. Sinners? What is sin? The Bible tells us quite clearly and unmistakably-
1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
And just like Adam and Eve, God has told us the penalty for transgression of His law-
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; ...
God's law demands that the lawbreaker must die. There are no exceptions to God's law and this law cannot be changed. God's law is unchangeable and eternal. It was perfect from the beginning and need not be altered. Because Adam and Eve sinned, and lost their spiritual nature, all of their children are born lacking it. We are born carnal, sinful beings, we are all sinners, every one -
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
So what hope is there for humanity? Is it doomed to destruction because of Adam and Eve's sin? Is there no other option to God but to destroy the beings he created with such love? The law demands their death and the law cannot and will not be changed.
God in his infinite mercy, told Adam and Eve how he was going to rescue humanity-
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
This verse is called the protoevangelium, the first time the Gospel (good news) message is given to the human race. The woman spoken of here is not merely Eve, but also symbolically means the entire church of believers, who will have enmity with (hate) Satan and what he had done. The seed of the church meant here is a Savior, a Messiah, the Christ, who while dealing Satan a mortal blow, would himself be viciously attacked by Satan, though that attack would ultimately be unsuccessful.
Since Adam and Eve were sinners, the law demanded their death. How could God rescue them and the rest of humanity?
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Blood must be shed, to atone for (pay the price) of sin. That is why God gave them animal skins (undoubtedly a lamb's to cover their nakedness (Gen 3:21) to show them that their rebellion caused death to enter the world. This is also why when Cain and Able later made offerings to the Lord (Gen 4:3-7), Cain's was rejected. It did not include a blood sacrifice to symbolize the death required by the law for sin.)
But there was hope, there was a way to rescue mankind. God told Adam and Eve that he would send a redeemer, one that would die for them in their place, to satisfy the demands of the law. God would send His own Son to earth, to be born of humanity and prove to Satan and all the heavenly host that Satan's claims were untrue. God's law could be kept, and the Redeemer would do it. This Redeemer would live as Adam should have, in complete compliance with God's law. Sin was not inevitable for Adam, it was his choice to sin. The Redeemer would face the same choice that Adam had, and face the same temptations as all of humanity, but He would not sin. He would choose to be obedient to God, in complete love for God and humanity. Satan would attack this Savior and attempt to put him to death while in this mortal form.
Having kept God's law, and not giving in to Satan's temptations to sin, this Savior would be rejected and put to death by the very people he was trying to bring salvation to. Satan thought the victory was his! The Son of God was dead! But Satan did not know the half of it. Satan had sealed his own fate and that of all unrepentant sinners. This Jesus Christ, the Son of God, having led a perfect spiritual life, bore with Him to the cross the sins of all humanity (Heb 9:28), to pay the price demanded by the law. He was then resurrected by God in a triumph over the death demanded by the law.
The astounding part is that Jesus Christ was the very author of the law, He was the one who gave the tablets of the law to Moses, written with His own finger! (See my article Michael the Archangel ..... Jesus?). The law demanded the death of the sinner and it could not be changed, so the author of the law decided to die for us! He paid the price! The debt is paid in full for all sinners! No sinner need die!
But wait a minute, you might say, people are dying every day. I don't see any righteous people walking around that are old as dirt. What is going on? Adam lived to be 930 (Gen 5:5), and then he died. Why? If he had faith, why did he die? He died, because after the fall he was denied the right to eat from the tree of life (Gen 3:22, 24) and that was a penalty for sinning. So how does Jesus Christ dying in Adam's place save an already dead Adam?
Remember that God told Adam and Eve that he would send a Redeemer, back in Gen 3:15? Adam and Eve, to be saved needed to trust God now, and believe that this Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would die for them, atone for their sins, and fulfil the demands of the law that required their death. Believe, have faith in the atoning blood of God's Son, to wash away their sins, and Adam and Eve and indeed all of humanity could be saved.
So assuming Adam and Eve did that, had faith in Jesus Christ, then why aren't they alive today?
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Because of sin, humanity must experience the first death. If, before we die, we accept that Christ's shed blood covers our sins, if we have faith and believe in Him, we are assured of salvation. Soon Jesus Christ is going to return again, a second time, and raise from the dead all of those who had faith in the sufficiency of His death to pay for their sins-
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18; He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
At his second coming Jesus will raise all the believing dead (Rev 20:6), who will be with Him then for eternity. The wicked will be raised at a Third coming, after 1000 years (Rev 20:5), to stand before the Great White Throne of God (Rev 20:12) and face the execution of the demands of the law. They will first be confronted with the opportunities they had to accept the atoning blood of Jesus to cover their sins, but because they rejected it, they must stand to face the demands of the law - death. But this time it will be eternal death, obliteration, not the eternal suffering that most believe in. (See my article the Truth about Hell, is it Eternal Torment?) They will suffer a second death, known in the book of Revelation as the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:6, 14-15).
So the author of the law, the Son of God, had to die because His Law could not be changed. It stands eternal, forever, the law of liberty and righteousness, the very character of God put in words. By dying in our place, He has offered His perfection, His ability to keep the Law of God perfectly, to you a sinner. The demands of the Law of God are met, paid for in full. By believing on Jesus Christ in this matter, you can put on His robe of Righteousness and God will consider you to be perfect, a keeper of the Law, fit to live with Him forever!
John 3:36; He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
The choice is yours. Stay a sinner and die forever, or put on the Righteousness of Jesus Christ and live forever as a child of God in His kingdom. God will honor the choice that you make.