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To fully appreciate how Jesus handles His execution on earth, we have to bear one key fact in mind: He is God. None of the people who are going to be involved in Jesus’ execution will understand that He is God. The disciples, the Romans and the Jews all think Jesus is a regular human being. By now the disciples are feeling convinced that Jesus really is some super special Servant of Yahweh, but the idea of Jesus actually being a second Almighty God just isn’t a theological possibility for them. The disciples and their Jewish leaders are dedicated monotheists: they believe that it is utter blasphemy to suggest that there is any other God besides Yahweh. The Romans, on the other hand, are polytheists. The Romans have no problems with the notion of multiple gods. They can even accept god-man hybrids, but they certainly aren’t going to accept that some average looking Jewish guy is supposed to be divine.
As God Almighty, is Jesus really feeling intimidated by being crucified? Not hardly. Is He really viewing Yahweh as His King? No. To Jesus, Yahweh and the Holy Spirit are His Peers. They don’t outrank Him. He didn’t really come to earth because Yahweh ordered Him to, nor is He trying to win Yahweh’s approval by laying down His life. This whole Messiah routine is something our Creators decided on Together. Jesus wants to go through with this entire charade—He has no interest in changing course. But no one else understands this because no one understands who Jesus really is.
JESUS: FULLY GOD & ONLY GOD
Today in the Church, you’re taught that Jesus is fully God and fully man. You’re taught that it is of vital importance to believe that Jesus literally became human when He showed up on earth. You’re taught that it’s some great heresy to deny the humanity of Christ. Well, this is a bunch of baloney.
The Church bases most of her theology about Christ on the New Testament epistles. The problem with this is that the epistles were written by Jewish men who for the most part were still viewing Jesus as a human being. They didn’t see Him as Yahweh’s equal, because Yahweh is God Almighty. How can a human being ever truly be equal to God Almighty? He can’t. The most a human can ever be is greatly exalted by Yahweh in Heaven. He can be exalted as higher than the angels, and He can even be entrusted with great power and authority over Yahweh’s Creation, but the human can never be Yahweh’s equal, because humans can’t be equal to God.
If you compare the way Jesus is described with the way Yahweh is described by the New Testament writers, you’ll find that Jesus is clearly being described as inferior to Yahweh. The apostle Paul utterly rejects the Divinity of Christ by repeatedly referring to Yahweh as the only God, and emphasizing the humanity of Jesus. Paul says that Christ’s reign is temporary and that it is characterized with struggles which only make sense for a human being. For example, Paul says Christ is in the midst of struggling to overcome His enemies, of which the greatest is death. Wait—since when is death some kind of deity? Since Paul says it is. And since Christ has not yet conquered death, clearly death is greater than Christ, or at least His equal. See the problem? A true God does not struggle to overcome His own creations, and death is a concept which our Gods created. So as soon as Christ is being portrayed as struggling in any way for any reason, suddenly He’s not God anymore. Suddenly He’s less than God, and less than God is exactly what Christ becomes once we promote this rot about Him being “fully God and fully man.”
An irreverent demeaning of Christ permeates the New Testament epistles. While we all agree that Yahweh is everywhere at once, Christ had to leave Heaven to come down to earth. Then He had to leave earth to go to Hell, from which He came back to earth, then ascended back into Heaven. This is what you’re taught by the Church: that Christ is some limited Being with a single point existence. He couldn’t be in Heaven and on earth at the same time, because He was just a human. So while we talk about Yahweh and the Holy Spirit as being omnipresent, Christ is that inferior Being who was limited to just being on earth while He walked among us for 33 years. And according to the Gospel writers, Christ was actually tempted by that bad ole devil in the wilderness. According to the author of Hebrews, Christ had to mature through suffering and figure out what it really means to obey God. See the problem? If Christ is God, why does He have to learn what a God wants? No, see, Christ is not God according to the New Testament boys. He’s just some really great human who got special honors for a job well done on earth. And according to Peter and Paul, Christ didn’t raise Himself from the grave—Yahweh raised Him, because Yahweh is the only One with that kind of power. Only a God can bring people back to life on earth, and since Christ isn’t God, clearly He was lying when He said that He would raise Himself. But no, Christ was not lying about raising Himself. And Christ wasn’t just some channel through which Yahweh performed miracles on earth. Christ is God Almighty. The Jews didn’t view Him that way, but the Jews were wrong.
The identity of Christ is one of those critical issues that becomes a matter of eternal life or death. You see, under the current Covenant, you have to submit to three Almighty Gods in order to obtain salvation. If you’re calling Jesus God with your lips, but in your heart you’re really viewing Him as some weenie God-man hybrid, you’ve got a major problem. Yahweh and the Holy Spirit are fiercely devoted to Christ, and They aren’t going to accept anyone who refuses to revere Him as Their equal. Don’t let that “Son of God” language trip you up. Jesus is not the actual offspring of Yahweh. Jesus is Yahweh’s Peer and Equal. Jesus is every bit as Divine and powerful as Yahweh is. Jesus is awesome. Jesus is an autonomous Being who doesn’t take orders from anyone. He works in perfect unity with Yahweh and the Holy Spirit because He wants to, not because He considers Himself outranked by either of Them. You need to get this right, and if you have a problem letting go of the notion that Jesus is some human-God hybrid, you need to ask Him to straighten you out on this subject. There’s no room for minimizing the Divinity of Christ. The Church has tried hard to lead you astray here with this garbage about our three Gods being one Blob and by calling the Christ bashing rot that the apostle Paul puts out “Divinely inspired.” Listen to the Church, and you’ll end up in Hell: that’s the way it is. The Church isn’t God. The apostle Paul probably wasn’t even saved given his refusal to fully accept who Christ is. You don’t want to make the same mistake. Christ is not a man. Christ is and always will be 100% God.
As long as we’re on the subject of not demeaning our Makers, the Holy Spirit is not just some wind or some weenie dove or some Divine aura. The Holy Spirit is also God Almighty. Don’t be misled by the fact that we refer to Him by a title instead of a personal Name.
Under the Old Covenant, no one had ever heard of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit they talked about was considered to be an extension of Yahweh Himself. Look up references to the Spirit in the Old Testament and you’ll find that the term “the Spirit of the LORD” is used far more often than the term “Holy Spirit.” Check out those explanatory notes in the very front of your Bible and you’ll learn that the all caps LORD you find in the Old Testament is a substitution for the Covenant Name of Yahweh. So when people talk about the Spirit of the LORD in the Old Testament, what they’re really saying is the Spirit of Yahweh.
Yahweh was the only God true believers recognized under the Old Covenant. You might have heard that all of our Gods are referred to in the Creation account of Genesis. That’s another fat lie. Genesis says that Yahweh created the world and everything in it—only Yahweh (Rethinking the Creation Account: Who is Elohim?). Moses wrote Genesis. Moses was an Old Covenant believer, and the God that Moses worshiped insisted that He was the only real God in existence. So it’s all about Yahweh until the coming of Christ. Christ is really not “mentioned on every page of the Old Testament” as many fools in the Church today try to say. The Holy Spirit doesn’t get any recognition whatsoever until Jesus starts distinguishing Him as a third God. This is the big shock of the New Covenant: we go from one God to three. You need to get this right. Unless you sufficiently submit to three equal, all powerful Gods then you’re on your way to Hell. Treat Jesus like some idiot human who struggles with the same problems you do, and you’re going to Hell. Treat the Holy Spirit like some inanimate force, and you’re going to Hell. Our Gods have raging egos and They will not accept anyone who refuses to acknowledge who They are. The Holy Spirit demands that you revere Him as God Almighty. Jesus demands to be revered as God Almighty. Yahweh demands to be revered as God Almighty. And our Gods are so devoted to Each Other, that there is no way to divide Them. Reject one of Them, and They will all reject you. Accept only one of the Them, and They will all reject you. So if you have a problem with the idea that we have three Gods who are equal to Each Other in every way, you need to do some serious praying. You don’t answer to us in eternity, only to your Makers. But far too many Christians are ignoring what the Holy Spirit is telling them and acting like the Church is the supreme authority. No, she’s not, and the Church is dead wrong about many things. So you need to go directly to the Source and make sure you’re meeting your Gods’ requirements for salvation under the current Covenant.
Now then, Jesus is God Almighty. He’s not half human. He’s not even 1% human. This means that His entire ministry on earth was a major charade which He put on for our benefit. Maybe you’ve heard it said that “Jesus proved how real His body was by eating a meal after He resurrected.” We’re not saying Jesus’ body wasn’t real, we’re saying that Jesus is God Almighty. Can God Almighty show up in human form without actually becoming a human? Of course He can. Flip back to Genesis and you’ll find Yahweh showing up as a man to Abraham, eating a meal with him, and going for a stroll. But even though this event is clearly spelled out in the Bible, you don’t find the Church insisting that Yahweh is “fully God and fully man.” Why not? How come Yahweh can show up on earth as a human being and do human things without becoming less than fully God, but Jesus can’t? How come Jesus is the only One we give all of these extra limitations to? Because Yahweh came first, and we all got used to Him. But Jesus was a huge problem because the very existence of Jesus proved Yahweh to be a Liar when He sat around claiming to be the only God in existence. Once God lies, we can’t predict Him, and if we can’t predict Him, we don’t feel in control. Yahweh was alright, but Jesus is the grenade that threatens to blast our whole theological foundation to pieces. So we play a whole lot of games with Jesus that we just don’t feel the need to play with Yahweh. Jesus can’t be mean. Jesus can’t be talented enough to look, act, and sound like a human unless He actually is a human. Well, of course He can. Jesus is an Almighty Creator who could speak the entire universe out of existence with a single word. There’s nothing Jesus can’t do.
Was Jesus really tempted by Satan during His 40 days in the wilderness? Of course not. When Jesus looks at Satan, He sees some fleck of a creature who depends on Jesus to sustain His very existence. Well if Satan knew that Jesus was really God, why did he try to tempt Him in the first place? Because Satan is as stupid as we are. Even though he knows Jesus is God, he doesn’t treat Him like one. Satan tried to barter with Jesus in that desert, just as we try to barter with our Gods all the time in our prayers today. Somewhere in his dense mind, Satan knows as well as we do that Jesus could make his existence a horrific nightmare. But does that stop any of us from disrespecting Jesus? Of course not.
Here’s a common trap that Christians fall into: they study the way that created beings reacted to Jesus in the Bible to try and figure out who Jesus really is. This is like trying to get to know an actor by reading a bunch of slander about him in the gossip rags. If you want to know the real Jesus, you need to talk to the real Jesus, not just read what delusional humans wrote about Him. As an ex-Pharisee who wasn’t about to accept the idea of polytheism, the apostle Paul rejected the Divinity of Christ. And once he rejected Christ as God, naturally that affected how he taught about Christ. It was the same with the author of Hebrews, and the Gospel writers: their personal beliefs about Christ affected the way that they presented Him.
In this lesson, we’re going to pick up where we left off last time with Jesus praying in Gethsemane. The descriptions of His behavior are being recorded by men who are viewing Him as a human being. When Jesus puts on a super stressed act, they have no reason to think it’s not genuine, because in their minds, Jesus is just like a mega-Elijah. He’s not God, and He doesn’t have God resources. When they see Jesus heavily perspiring and when they hear Him pleading for Yahweh to change His orders, they completely buy the act and see Jesus as some overwhelmed human prophet who is having a nervous breakdown in the face of some terrible fate. But is this actually what’s happening? Of course not, because Jesus is God. Gods do not suffer from human limitations. Gods can’t be killed. God’s don’t feel coerced into doing things They don’t want to do. Gods control the future. Jesus controlled every aspect of His trial and crucifixion. This is reality, but it’s not a reality He wanted anyone tuning into at this point in His ministry, so He’s intentionally keeping the disciples confused about who He is so that they’ll interpret His actions as those of a genuine human being. But Jesus is not a human being, so why on earth is He posing like this?
WORKING WITH IGNORANCE
As a human, you do not begin to have a full grasp of truth. None of us humans do. We’re like 1% smart and 99% stupid. Rather than feel hindered by our stupidity, our Creators enjoy teaching us within the context of our blind ignorance. The Bible is filled with examples of Them doing this. Why did Jesus wait for four days to raise Lazarus? Because the Jews all thought it took three days for soul and body to fully separate. It isn’t true, but Jesus acted like it was and waited long enough to ensure that everyone would understand that He was resurrecting a man who was truly dead. In the Old Testament, why does Yahweh talk about going to war against idol gods? Idol gods aren’t even real, so there’s nothing to war with. But the people all thought they were real, and Yahweh chose to work within the context of their ignorance. You see, God is not so small that He can only teach humans who aren’t delusional. No matter how confused we are about the way things actually work, God is quite able to wow us and glorify Himself. It was because both the Jews and the Egyptians thought the god of the Nile was a real entity that Yahweh got so much glory out of turning the Nile into blood. It was because everyone believed that the sun was a god that Yahweh looked so awesome when He turned the sun off. Baal is just a figment of human imagination, yet because everyone assumed Baal was real, Yahweh looked extra powerful when He bested Baal during the famous contest on Mt. Carmel.
Did the ancient Egyptian pharaoh really have divine powers? No, but his subjects all thought he did, which was why Yahweh looked so awesome when He killed the pharaoh’s firstborn son. Is Satan really the ruler of this world? No, but the New Testament Jews thought he was, so Jesus took advantage of their foolishness and taught them to see the cross as Him triumphing over the devil. Are demons really threatened by noises that humans make? No, but the Jews were convinced that their words had potent powers, so Jesus told His disciples to use His Name to cast out demons, and when it worked, the disciples concluded Jesus’ Name was so powerful because Jesus Himself was powerful. It was also because the Jews fancied themselves as such potent little sorcerers that Yahweh ordered children to be executed for verbally cursing their parents. If you really believe you can destroy someone with a mere word, then Yahweh is going to judge you within the context of your delusions.
It was because the Jews erroneously viewed Jesus as just another human being that He was able to model for both them and us how our Gods want us to treat Them. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus puts on an awesome display of total submission which is only meaningful if we view Him as a human being. If we view Him as the God that He actually is, the whole thing just becomes a charade. But Jesus wanted His disciples to learn lessons about obedience, so He prevented them from grasping His Divinity until after He was done with His charades. That way they would see some special prophet of Yahweh giving Him absolute devotion that night in Gethsemane.
They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.”
He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting Him might pass Him by. “Abba, Father,” He cried out, “everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” (Mk. 14:32-36)
Then an angel from Heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
At last He stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” (Lk. 22:43-46)
This is an entirely human interpretation of the Gethsemane scene. The disciples see Jesus sweating profusely. They see an angel and assume that he’s come to strengthen Jesus. But is that really what happened? It depends how much Jesus was fooling the angels into buying His stressed out act.
In this scene, Jesus is showing us what submission to God looks like. But He’s also demonstrating how compassionate God is by making it look like Yahweh has sent an angel to help Jesus in His hour of need. He proves His understanding of our human experience by so accurately acting out the emotions we would feel in His place: the desperate language, the stressed physical reaction. The fact that Jesus is not human is what makes this entire charade so powerful, because how awesome is it that our invincible God would act like this in front of us? When we really think about it, we can see that Jesus is intentionally communicating His great empathy for us in this scene. He’s essentially saying, “This is how well We Gods know you humans. We get how stressed out We make you. We get how impossible and terrifying Our demands can be.” In reality, Jesus isn’t stressed in the least about dying on a cross. And because He’s so not stressed, He didn’t need to do any of this. He did it entirely for our benefit, and it really is a wonderfully encouraging scene once you stop viewing Jesus as some limited human being.
One of the thrilling things about our Gods is that They delight in coming way down to our little creature level when They really don’t have to at all. They could just sit back on distant God thrones and send other creatures to communicate Their will to us. Jesus didn’t have to do this entire human charade that we find Him doing in the Gospels. He’s God Almighty—why should He even bother with tunics and walking and bodies and the whole affair? It’s because Jesus is not a human that His pretending to be a human becomes so very inspiring. Despite what many fools in the Church today try to say, Jesus didn’t need to suffer as we do in order to understand us. Jesus already understands us because He created us. In Gethsemane, He’s flaunting His great understanding of us. Even more thrilling is that He’s showing how well He understands our experience of our Creators.
There’s nothing smooth about dots like us learning to bond with Beings as alien and mysterious as our three magnificent Creators. Any honest Christian will admit that communicating with our Gods is often a very frustrating experience. They don’t talk when we need Them to. They won’t commune with us in the sensual way that we understand. This whole “walk by faith, not by sight” routine is extremely difficult for us humans. And in the midst of trying to forge a relationship with three Beings who are so vastly different than us, we find ourselves getting ordered to do upsetting, nonsensical things. We find ourselves being thrust into terrifying situations that we can’t see any way out of, and do our Gods rush in with the comfort and the attaboys? Often They do not. Daniel in the lions’ den. Noah in the ark. Shadrach being dragged towards the raging furnace. Jeremiah being locked in stocks. Moses being sent to tell Pharaoh off. Trying to stand for God often lands us in a heap of trouble.
During His very brief charade on earth, Jesus made sure to work in a scene where He would communicate to us how well He understood just how brutal serving our Gods can be. Once you realize that Gethsemane was just an act, it becomes a truly touching scene of one of our Gods telling us, “Hey, I totally get that sometimes you guys feel the way I’m acting right now when We drop some terrifying assignment on your heads. Your anguish isn’t trivial to Us. Your efforts to please Us won’t go unrewarded.” You see, at the time Jesus was in the Garden, the disciples just saw a Man who was mega stressed. But today we can see things far more accurately. We can see an Almighty God who is communicating His great empathy for us, as well as modeling for us that God welcomes our honesty. Jesus wanted to go through the crucifixion routine. He really didn’t want to get out of it. Yet He prayed, “Please take this cup of suffering away from Me.” Why? Because this scene isn’t about suggesting that one of our Creators has severe limitations due to His half-human Nature. This scene is about teaching us that our honesty is welcomed by our Gods. As humans, there’s no way we would have wanted to go through with the cross. Jesus knows how we would feel in His place, so He prays how we would pray, yet He also inserts a fabulous model of submission which gives us something to aim for: “Not My will but Yours be done.” Once you reject who Christ really is, you miss out on all of these fabulous lessons, and you end up just seeing what the disciples saw: a human being who was super stressed out for typical human reasons.
Jesus goes off and prays three times for Yahweh to spare Him from His gruesome fate. Then He returns and announces that His betrayer has arrived.
Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with His disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.
Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to Him, so He stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” He asked.
“Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied.
“I AM,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said “I AM,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! Once more He asked them, “Who are you looking for?”
And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
“I told you that I AM,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill His own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those You have given Me.”
Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given Me?”
So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied Him up. (Jn. 18:2-12)
Jesus is intentionally working the I AM title here, and the first time He says it, He causes everyone to fall back in awe whether they want to or not. After all, we can’t expect Him to act too human. No doubt determined to disprove Jesus’ prediction of his betrayal, Peter grabs a sword which Jesus had instructed the disciples to bring with them and hacks off the ear of a high ranking slave. Slaves were commonplace in these days, but the slaves of powerful men were not to be trifled with. It’s only by Divine intervention that Malchus didn’t have his skull chopped open, because how hard is it to only cut off a man’s ear when you’re moving fast?
The Gospel writers all handle this scene differently. Luke is the only one to tell us that Malchus gets his ear reattached by a merciful Jesus. Mark, Matthew and Luke all record that Judas came up and kissed Jesus as a signal that He was the One they’d come for. This was because the Roman soldiers accompanying Judas weren’t familiar with Jesus, and they were the legal authorities in this moment.
In Matthew’s account, Jesus flaunts His connections with Yahweh by saying to Peter:
“Don’t you realize that I could appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Mt. 26:53)
Now let’s continue forward in the sequence of events using Mark’s account.
And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a robber? Every day I was with you in the Temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.” Then all of His disciples deserted Him and ran away. One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked. (Mk. 14:48-52)
Mark throws in that detail about the naked guy to emphasize how frightening this situation was. No one wanted to get hauled off by this scary looking gang of Roman soldiers. Well, things are going just as Jesus predicted: all of His boys have ditched Him.
So now what? Well, now we’re going to start getting a taste of how messy governments become in empire takeovers. You see, the Romans don’t want to have to be bothered with every trivial beef their subjects come up with, so they allow the Jews to maintain some structure of government which functions beneath the authority of Rome. If the Jews can solve their own problems in some civilized way, fine. But if they can’t, or if they want to go so far as to start executing people, or if their beef is with Roman matters, then Rome will get involved.
Now the first stop for Jesus should have been the Jewish Supreme Court, which was called the Sanhedrin. But the Sanhedrin members are basically still in bed, so instead, Jesus is hauled over to the house of Annas. Annas is the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas is the current high priest, which makes him the highest judicial figure in the Jewish layer of government. Annas was high priest before Caiaphas took over. The point is that Annas isn’t high priest anymore, so why should he get to weigh in on Jesus’ fate? Well, having been high priest, Annas still has a lot of political clout—rather like a former American president does today. So it’s off to Annas’ house first, while the real high priest and the rest of the Sanhedrin get themselves organized.
Now as Jesus is hauled off to the former high priest’s house, Peter is following at a safe distance. Peter might have ditched Jesus back in Gethsemane with all of those freaky Roman soldiers standing there, but darn it, Peter is not a traitor. So he’s tracking Jesus now, and he’s no doubt quite anxious to see what happens. We have to give Peter the points he deserves here—sure, he denied Jesus three times. But that’s because he at least had the guts to be present near where Jesus was being held. It’s not like any of the other disciples followed after Jesus. So while Peter gets endless flack today, the truth is that he acted far more loyal than the others did on this most troubling night.
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