Easter: The Rest of the Story

What is the Gospel Bible

Easter is a time when sincere Christians meditate on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In our discussions, many seem to consider that the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life, ending with His dying on the cross, is what produced forgiveness for the sins of mankind. The whole consideration goes no further than His physical suffering on the cross. You may have imagined what it would have been like to be there, you may have watched the movie The Passion, emotionally stirred by the depictions of His brutal execution. But is there more to it than that? Does the Bible go beyond this?

The answer is: Yes.

To be very simple and direct, without splitting theological hairs, it is necessary to make a distinction between the process of dying and the actual presence of being in death.

Did the Son of God go into death, a state and place where the ultimate agony occurs, or did He just die on the cross, and then rest peacefully in the tomb until the resurrection?

According to 2 Corinthians 5:21, He was made to be sin for us.1 He became all of what our own sins caused us to be like, and took these sins to certain death. He took our place in death. He became what our sins made us into. The only result and consequence of sin is death — not dying, but death — the state and place of being after having died. Death is the only place to deal with sin. Dying is the transition; death is the destination.

How do we know this? Yahshua2 spoke to His disciples about this place in His parable about the rich man and Lazarus, and in His description, He spoke of a place where there was both consciousness and torment. There could even be comfort for some there.

In Luke 16:22 we see that both men died.3 If merely dying were the effective part in dealing with sin, then the story would have ended there. They both died, their sins were dealt with — end of story. But that was not the case.

Yahshua went on to say that something further happened. From verse 23 on, there is action and interaction. This is obviously not in the physical realm, since both their bodies were disposed of in whatever were the burial customs of the day. The rest of the story takes place in another realm — the spiritual realm — death. In that realm there are clearly emotions, consciousness, sensation, will, and intellect.

The rich man was in torment, and this is after him dying. Whatever he died of, and however he suffered in the process, it was not sufficient to deal with his sins. Now, in the place of death — the place of departed spirits — he began to experience what his choices against the promptings of his conscience had brought upon him. It was excruciating, agonizing torment.

Lazarus, the poor man, experienced something entirely different in death. The choices he made, in spite of his terrible circumstances in life, brought him to the place in death where he found comfort after dying.

Yahshua Became Sin

Yahshua became the sin of all of us, and having become the sin of the entire world, experienced no comfort in death. He even experienced what every murderer, liar, or filthy and unjust person would experience in death for eternity. His soul experienced total agony in that place of torment called death.4

What will all who love and practice lying, those who become cowards, unbelievers, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, and idolaters, experience after dying, going to the first death, and then judgment? There will be a horrendous second death.5 Yahshua experienced that as one of them. Having become those exact sins and more, He experienced to the fullest what all mankind deserves to experience, from the least to the greatest, from the best to the worst.

His physical suffering lasted around twelve hours, but His deepest agony in death lasted some seventy-two hours. No play, movie, or Easter story could ever adequately communicate the reality of that suffering. The spiritual is far greater than the physical.

To emphasize the physical torture and suffering only, without understanding what took place beyond that, is to miss the whole point and purpose of His death, burial, and resurrection. Many who grew up hearing the stories of His crucifixion are left with an indelible mark in their psyche concerning His physical suffering. In many there might be an unsettling desire to do something — to respond somehow. But what do you do? How do you respond? Where do you go from here?

When one understands that the sufferings of the Son of God went far beyond the physical, then it becomes clear that the spirit of man will never find peace, or forgiveness, until a fitting response is made… one that corresponds to the enormity of the sacrifice made by the Son of God.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Many take that verse to mean that the physical beating and the flow of His blood are what effected, or brought into reality, the forgiveness of sin. It says in Hebrews 7:22 that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. They take that to mean that the blood flow itself was what produced the forgiveness. It seems that most people view the sufferings of the Son of God from this perspective.

It is true that His physical sufferings were tremendous. Yet many people suffer unimaginable tortures in other parts of the world and die as a result. In His physical suffering, the Son of God didn’t experience worse pain than thousands of other victims of man’s inhumanity to man throughout history. So what makes the difference?

Without dying there is no death. Without death there is no dying.

Most of us can relate in some way to dying. You can see it; you can empathize with someone going through the process. Some have even experienced it to a certain degree, and lived to talk about it.

Death is the frightening reality — the unknown factor. You know it’s there, but you can’t see or experience it ahead of time. Everyone knows instinctively that it’s there, waiting for the dying to be over. Even though some have dared to deny its existence, it hasn’t served to erase the instinctive knowing that every man has.

You watch Him expire on the cross. The minutes, the hours, then days pass. What’s happening? Where is He? What was going on?

The stripes and blood alone didn’t deal with the sin of the whole world. Sin is a spiritual reality with physical manifestations. It must be dealt with spiritually.6

The brutal dying of the Son of God stopped His body from functioning, so that His soul — the very essence of Him — could go into the ultimate horrors of death to experience what every human being must otherwise experience in order to pay for their own sin. This is what Isaiah prophesied, that His soul, not merely His body, would be an offering for sin, experiencing anguish in death on our behalf:

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the righteous One, My Servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:10-11)

The Apostle Peter emphasized repeatedly in Acts 2:24, 27, and 31 the distinction between Messiah’s body that was in the grave and His soul that was suffering agony in Hades, the realm of the dead, until He had paid the full wages of our sin. Everything humanity must suffer to pay for their sin, to the ultimate extreme, the Son of God suffered. His whole purpose for being born was to do this, so that we wouldn’t have to go through that horror.7 There was no resistance in Him, which is why He was able to pay for the infinite guilt of the sins of all mankind in a finite amount of time.8

After accomplishing His work in death, the Son of God went through another spiritual and physical phenomenon. His soul — the essence of Him — was re-united with His physical body. Then the breath of life was breathed into that body that He might live for all eternity. Because He was innocent, death could not hold Him.9 Sin was dealt with forever.10

So He’s alive and somewhere in heaven.11 How do we handle all that? What was He expecting? What is God expecting? What should we do?

If what we now know can penetrate our heart, it causes us to love the One who went through so much for our sake. That love comes from understanding that He sacrificed His whole life for us, and it causes us to want to do the same for Him.12

Those who understood and were pierced to their hearts, not just in their emotions, in Jerusalem, did what all true disciples do.13 Their response corresponded to the sacrifice of the Son of God —a life for a life.

Please contact us to know more about those who are daily giving the proper response to the sacrifice that was made for the sin of all mankind. You are warmly invited to visit us at any of our communities around the world…

How would a man act if he was like God?

Our Master Yahshua the Messiah

One of the most difficult things to imagine is: ”how would God act if he were a man?” Or “how would a man act if he was like God?”

Would he be the most loving person? What would that look like?

Would he always be giving thanks and praising his Father and the good he saw in those around him? Would he be expressing joy even while suffering?

Would he communicate with complete and total peace even when others are reacting and accusing him?

Would he have endless patience for those who could never seem to “get it”?

Would he be kind to every one, never making anyone feel like he thought he was better?

Would he be the most generous – giving you the shirt off his back for no apparent reason?

Would he be the most faithful and loyal? A man of his word, doing what he said he would do even if it killed him? Would he be true to his heart and to his word? Would he stand by you as a friend even if he knew you were going to betray his friendship?

Would he be the kind of friend who still loved you when you were down, and down-right unlovable, and brought to your attention the things you did that were hurtful to others? Would he be the kind of man who really listened to what everyone had to say, encouraging what was good and never promoting his own good ideas?

Would he show honour and sincere respect to all women; never making them feel unsafe or worthless, never charming, flirting or degrading?

Would he show interest in children and youth, encouraging them to speak while guiding them with words of wisdom? Would he never be foolish with them, always expecting the best, believing in them while over-looking there maturity?

Would he have a gentle way about him even when sternly correcting someone who was doing something really bad?

Would he be strict with himself, never eating more than he needed or taking anything for himself other than what he needed? Would he deny himself so he could focus on caring for others?

When he prayed, would he pray for others?

Would he never fight back or resist his circumstances, but resist his own urge to seek his own justice?

Would he always be honest but never hurtful?

Would he be more concerned about where your heart was at than whether you did something right or wrong?

Would he be just as forgiving the tenth time you did the same thing wrong as he was the first time you did it?

Would he never blame anyone else, but take the blame even when he didn’t do it?

Would he love you, believe in you, have hope for you and teach you how to be like him?

Would his name be Yahshua?

Would you do what he said?

REAL

REAL

REALREAL. That’s the word you would use to describe him. He wasn’t playing a game. He wasn’t projecting some image, trying to get people to look up to him. If ever you asked him to tell you about himself, he might say something like, “I am who I am.”

That would be a pretty good description. There wasn’t a speck of deceit in him. He didn’t have anything up his sleeve. He was exactly what he appeared to be. He said exactly what he meant. And that’s why people loved him. Or hated him.

Some people promise you the moon, but he wasn’t like that. There was sub-stance to what he said. He talked about real things. Like greed. And fear. And selfishness. Things that are inside everybody. Things that phonies don’t want to admit and cowards don’t want to face up to.

But he wasn’t gloomy and depressing. He was full of joy and full of hope. He knew a way out. That’s why he talked about those real problems: because he knew that those things were taking people to death, and he didn’t want them to go to death. He wanted them to be full of life — life that would never end.

He talked about love — real love — not some word you hear in a song that makes you feel good until the song ends, and not some plastic religious pretense. The love he talked about was the love he lived. Love that costs you something. Love that costs you your life.

That’s why he didn’t just give people the same old song and take off, leaving them in the dust. His life wasn’t his own. He got right down there in the dust with them and healed their hurts and helped them through their hard times and dealt with the stuff inside them that was taking them to death.

And he didn’t just help people out for a while and then go home, either. He didn’t have a home of his own. The only home he had was the people that he loved. They were his everything. He loved them so much that he wanted them to be with him. He called them to follow him, to leave behind homes and families and possessions and, of course, self, and embark with him on a radical life of loving the same way he loved.

It was a high calling. Just think about it: actually caring for others at the expense of your own interests. Who could live such a life? Many have tried and failed. But to those who are needy and desperate and trust in him, he gives the power to do what would naturally be impossible.

We follow this man Yahshua.1 How could we do anything else? He proved his love for us by taking our place in death. We never knew love like that before — a love that is stronger that death. He is the one whom death could not hold. He is our everything.

The Name Above All Names

Yahshua in Hebrew letters
 Our Master Yahshua the MessiahIn the days of John the Baptist and the Son of God, the preserved language of the devout Jews was Hebrew. So, when the angel Gabriel brought the good news to the Hebrew virgin, Miriam (or Mary in English), that she would give birth to the Savior of the world, and told her what His name would be, what language do you suppose he spoke? Hebrew, of course! And certainly Miriam and Yoceph (or Joseph in English) named the child just as the angel had commanded them — Yahshua.
In Matthew 1:21, your Bible probably reads, “… and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” But the name Jesus is a modern English adaptation of the Greek name, Iesous, which is itself a corruption of the original Hebrew name Yahshua. The name Jesus or Iesous has no meaning of its own, but the Hebrew name Yahshua literally means “Yahweh’s Salvation” or “I Am Salvation1 which makes sense out of what the angel said in Matthew 1:21, “… and you shall call His name Yahshua [Yahweh’s Salvation], for He shall save His people from their sins.”

If you look in an old King James Bible, you will find the name Jesus in these two passages:

Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David… (Acts 7:45, KJV)

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (Hebrews 4:8, KJV)

Excerpt from the Bible KJV 1611However, if you look in any modern translation of the Bible, including the New King James, you will find that in place of the name Jesus they use the name Joshua, for in the context it is clear that it is speaking of Moses’ successor and not the Son of God. But in the Greek manuscript the name in both verses is Iesous.

You see, Joshua is the popular English transliteration of the Hebrew name of Moses’ successor, which meant, “He will save.” This name looks forward to the name of the Son of God, for Joshua was the prophetic forerunner of the Messiah, bringing Israel into the Promised Land and leading them to victory over their enemies. But since the translators obviously know this fact, why do they only translate Iesous as Joshua in these two verses, and as Jesus everywhere else?

The NIV New Testament even has a footnote supporting this fact under Matthew 1:21 — “Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua.”

But the fact is, the name of God’s Son was not even written or pronounced as Jesus in English until the 1600s, simply because there was no “J” sound or letter in English before then.2 The modern letter “J” evolved from the letter “I” which began to be written with a “tail” when it appeared as the first letter in a word. So in Old English the name now written as Jesus was actually written and pronounced much like the original Greek Iesous. Eventually the hard “J” sound crept into the English language to accompany the different way of writing the initial “I” in the name.

You may also find it interesting that in Acts 26:14-15, it says that the Apostle Paul heard the name of the Son of God pronounced “in the Hebrew tongue” by the Son of God Himself, so he certainly didn’t hear the Greek name Iesous or the English name Jesus, but rather the Hebrew name, the name above all names — Yahshua.3

Yahshua in Hebrew letters
Yahshua in Hebrew letters