He Tasted Death (Ch. 7, pages 91-108)
Early one morning the Holy Spirit said,
Write, preserve the words which I have spoken to you. They shall become a light to many. I will not only minister through you, but will accompany these words, and give them life wherever sent, even as I have already given wings to my messages brought to you by the angel of the Lord. Fear not to speak in his name, for the words I give are not your words, but his words, and are established forever. Are they not found in his eternal, living Word? Long closed doors of many peoples and nations will be penetrated by these words of life. I command the hosts of the Lord who have been sent forth for this hour to hasten the gathering together unto him a people for his name, and to prepare them for that great day of the Lord. They will both precede and follow these words from the Father to make ready the people, to scatter forces of darkness, and to gently care for the multitudes who will hear.
There are often mixed reactions in people's minds when we speak of the supernatural. There have been many different types of reaction to the visitation of angels, or some supernatural truth that God has brought, because it is a little jolt, but in most cases, skepticism quickly leaves when people listen to the messages themselves. Down in their hearts, people are sincerely hoping that God IS revisiting his people in special way.
As the Lord dealt with me since that morning, I have mused over these words he told me to write and preserve, and questioned, "What is the heart of his message? What is the truth that God is bringing to the world today? Is it something so important to God that he is using divine messengers to quicken the Word where people have failed to discern what he has really said?"
He is not giving us a new Word. He is taking his Word, the Bible, and turning a light on inside of it, making it alive!
That question ran over and over in my mind, "God, what is the heart of the message that you want the world to have at this hour?" As I think about all of the thrilling messages that the Lord has given to me through angels, I realize all of them point back to one central truth. This has proven to be the very heart of God, the heart of the Bible, the heart of all history. The very core, the very center of God's message to us is THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS!
Jesus came from the bosom of the Father. The Word tells us he was a lamb, slain before the foundation of the earth (Revelation 13:8). The sacrifice of Jesus was the very heart of God exposed to man. Everything that God has done gravitates around the completed work of Jesus and that instant when he hung on the cross and breathed those words, "IT IS FINISHED." The sacrifice of Jesus was the heart of God and the heart of his message!
Christ has become the heart of society and civilization. History must date to Christ from both sides. Wherever Christ and his message have been carried, there has been light. Where he has not gone or where the message has failed to penetrate, there is darkness. He is the center of life! He is the heart! Without Jesus, the very life, the very heartbeat would be gone from everything.
Oh God, may we never be the same because we will see, we will know, we will feel, we will have, we will live, because of what the death of Christ has brought to us. May this be the time in our lives when we take out the contract you made with us, written in the blood of Jesus, look at it, and recognize that something very special took place.
It was not merely the snuffing out of his life, and the putting to death of his human mortality! Thousands of people have suffered physical death and torment, but this was not the death he was referring to. The death he refers to was not just the stopping of his heart. It was not the cessation of his breath, it was not the end of life forces for him, and it was not only separation. It was more! We know the pangs of earthly death and we also know that death hurts because of separation from friends, loved ones and earthly activities, but his was not just a separation from things held dear.
God told Adam and Eve that the day they ate of the fruit was the day they were going to die, and the Word also tells us that the soul that sinneth, it shall die!
God's eyes are upon each person who has ever lived, whether they know Jesus or not! Even the ungodly are cared for by God! His arms are stretched out to people when they are still in their sins. God tells us that when we were his enemies, he loved us enough to give Christ to die for us, even before we knew him. This was not for the cessation of our life on earth. We will still have to taste the earthly death, or else be changed so that we can leave this mortality.
The second death which faces mankind brings fear, dread and torment to him all of his lifetime. This was the death Jesus took for us. When he hung there on the cross, it wasn't the anguish of the physical torment, although he felt everything that we could possibly feel; and it wasn't the separation from people whom he held dear, although he felt it just as keenly as anyone; but Jesus suffered pains that even the ungodly, those totally separated from God, had never felt, for the ungodly have never felt the pangs that come when the last little flicker of hope is extinguished and they hear the words, "Depart into eternal damnation."
While living on this earth, they have never felt the weight, the hopelessness and the horror of feeling the cold side of God as he turned his back on them. Jesus suffered the torment of a damned soul! From his heart he cried out, "Oh, God, why have you forsaken me?" and the cold pangs of eternal damnation, those icy fingers gripped his life, and Jesus suffered the judgment of God. He was totally separated from God at that moment!
Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! I want to bring this truth to people. Build a picture before us right now. Let us see what you have done. Let us see your love for us that was so great that your only begotten Son became our substitute!
The Spirit told me to give the message that your sin has already been judged; the separating barriers between God and man are down; you are free, liberated by his power; and you can be restored to a place of total innocence, to man's original position of closeness and fellowship with God.
The importance of this message is seen by the reminders of the sacrifice in every message that has been brought by the angel. I remember so distinctly the very first time Gabriel came, he unfolded a beautiful truth from the third chapter of Zechariah. He said, "You have been aware of the sacrifice of Christ as seen from the earth which is from man's viewpoint; now would you like to see what happened from God's viewpoint?"
Instantly, he allowed me to see Jesus, the spotless lamb of God, totally sinless, as a moving, living panorama, coming from the Father to earth. Then Gabriel said, "Now look at him as he returns to heaven." Then I saw Jesus bowed down, with his priestly garments torn and splattered with mud, filthy with the rot and the stench of the world. He came with his shoulders bowed, into the presence of God. My heart broke when I saw that. I saw Jesus in a different light than I had ever seen him before. I saw him coming into heaven from the darkness of the pit of hell, bearing the sins of the whole world.
Then as Jesus stood there, bowed, with God's back turned towards him, Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, spoke in a loud voice and said, "Take those filthy garments from him, remove them to a place where they will never be found, and put on him now the new, kingly robes, the royal priestly robes." Then the angels who stood before him placed the robes over him and Gabriel said, "Take a crown and put it on his head." On that crown was the message that ascended before God: "Holiness to the Lord!" Count all of those people who follow me as holy. Accept them because of what I have done. There it was, written right across the crown. That's when Jesus became our King and our High Priest!
I had read the third chapter of Zechariah many times, but not until Gabriel reminded me did it occur to me that in the Greek language the name of Joshua is really the name Jesus. I had never before seen the truth of how Jesus returned to heaven. All of Zechariah 3 is quoted here so that you will see the prophecy fulfilled exactly as God allowed me to see it in this beautiful:
"Then the angel showed me (in my vision) Joshua (Jesus) the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord; and Satan was there too, at the Angel's right hand, accusing Joshua of many things. And the Lord said to Satan, 'I reject your accusations, Satan; yes, I, the Lord, for I have decided to be merciful to Jerusalem - I rebuke you. I have decreed mercy to Joshua and his nation; they are like a burning stick pulled out of the fire.' Joshua's clothing was filthy as he stood as he stood before the Angel of the Lord. Then the Angel said to the others standing there, 'Remove his filthy clothing.' And turning to Joshua he said, 'See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.' Then I (Zechariah) said, "Please, could he also have a clean turban on his head?" So they gave him one. Then the Angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Joshua and said, 'The Lord of Hosts declares: If you will follow the paths I set for you and do all I tell you to, then I will put you in charge of my Temple, to keep it holy; and I will let you walk in and out of my presence with these angels. Listen to me, O Joshua the High Priest, and all you other priests, you are illustrations of the good things to come. Don't you see" - Joshua represents my servant The Branch whom I will send. He will be the Foundation Stone of the Temple that Joshua is standing beside, and I will engrave this inscription on it seven times: I WILL REMOVE THE SINS OF THIS LAND IN A SINGLE DAY. And after that, the Lord of Hosts declares, you will live in peace and prosperity and each of you will own a home of your own where you can invite your neighbors." (TLB)
The angel then brought me to Isaiah 53 and made some truths so real that I can never forget them. Beginning with verse 3, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our grief's, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." There are those filthy garments that were laid upon him. "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth" (vs. 4-9).
In verses 10 and 11 are the words that came right from the heart of God and I pray that they will grip you as they did me. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin ..." God took that undying soul and allowed him to swallow, not just a little taste of death, but a taste for every man. His eternal soul was given as an offering for sin.
As Jesus was put to grief, as he was bruised, as his soul was made an offering for sin, the Bible says now look upon him, look at him, he is giving birth to a new race! He was in travail; his soul travailed. Verse 11 says: "He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." Verse 10 says, "he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." In making his soul an offering for sin, Jesus made eternal redemption possible for everyone, for the whole world!
From the agonies of a damned soul was born the seed springing forth. "He shall see his seed." He saw the church spring up, and he's looking today at his seed, his offspring his redeemed, his ransomed, his liberated, who have sprouted up from his death! When he looks down at you, he says, "I remember the travail upon my soul, and what I see satisfies me and I like it. You are a member of the family, you are redeemed, you are a child of God. You are a member of a new race. Not a Jewish race, not a Gentile race, but a member of that new race, a member of the heavenly kingdom, a heavenly race, a royal priesthood!"
His death was Jesus actually being struck by God's hand with the judgment for sin for the entire world! At this point, Jesus entered into a total separation from God, and God turned his back upon him because of sin!
This great messenger that God sent brought this truth home to me so forcefully that as I saw it, I lay in bed and wept! I couldn't help it - the bed shook because of my seeing the price that Jesus paid and what his sacrifice and our remembering it really represents.
There is a day coming for many, many people who refuse to identify with Jesus, not realizing that he has already tasted death for them; that he has already become their substitute in judgment. There is a day coming when men will hear those words again, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire ..." (Matthew 25:41). The will feel the agony that Jesus experienced, but they don't have to. God and the hosts of heaven are working full time today to spare men and women the awfulness of that day.
Audibly, or just from your heart, say, "Jesus, thank you for tasting death for me. Thank you for destroying all evidence of sin that has been held against me, for removing the records." It's just that plain simple!
As this beautiful panorama of truth continued to pass before me, I saw Jesus as the lamb lying there in death. Then I saw the little lamb slowly start to rise, and as it rose up, it became a mighty ram with seven horns upon its head and it had seven eyes. The angel asked me, "Do you know what these horns stand for?" He explained to me that horns signified power, and that the divinity, the completeness of heaven, of divine things, was always associated with the number seven.
He said, "You have seen him die as the lamb, now see him as he arose the great conqueror, with complete power in heaven and in earth given to him. Then Gabriel pointed to Matthew 28:18, 20b, and said, "See him now with his disciples; hear what he says, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth ... Lo, I am with you always.'"
The greatness of our king who has all power, was centered on his sacrifice. Gabriel pointed to the lamb, followed by the ram coming forth (Revelation 5:6). Then he said, "You will see the honor that is given to him," and he allowed me to witness angels as far as I could see in every direction bowing down before him, and they cried out that he was the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and that he was going to reign forever and ever. Nothing was ever going to stop him. He was the lamb that was slain, but now he is alive forever more. Hallelujah!
Then the angel spoke to me again about the body of Jesus that was prepared by God for the sacrifice. This becomes especially important as we see the purpose of this sinless body. Jesus became the bearer of the sins of others because he was sinless. He was smitten, not for his own sins, but for ours!
Daniel had an opportunity to look at this in Daniel 9:21-25 (TLB): "Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, flew swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice, and said to me, 'Daniel, I am here to help you understand God's plans. The moment you began praying, a command was given. I am here to tell you what it was, for God loves you very much. Listen, and try to understand the meaning of the vision that you saw!
"'The Lord has commanded 490 years of further punishment upon Jerusalem and your people. Then at last they will learn to stay away from sin, and their guilt will be cleansed; then the kingdom of everlasting righteousness will begin, and the Most Holy Place (in the Temple) will be rededicated, as the prophets have declared. Now listen! It will be forty-nine years plus 434 years (483 years) from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem, until the Anointed One comes! Jerusalem's streets and walls will be rebuilt despite the perilous times.'"
This same Gabriel who was in my home showing me these truths, was the one who was telling Daniel that they had 483 years until Jesus would come to make a sacrifice and restitution for sin, not for his sins, but for the sins of others. Gabriel told Daniel when he could start counting for those 483 years, and it all ties together beautifully. Gabriel saw to it that the timing of God's plan was perfect. He said when Cyrus gave the decree that Jerusalem would be built, the clock started ticking. Gabriel said his function is in the fulfilling of God's plan, and he was the angel God assigned to instigate the action.
Gabriel told me he was the angel spoken of in Zechariah 1:12-17 (TLB), "Upon hearing this, the Angel of the Lord prayed this prayer: 'O Lord of Hosts, for seventy years your anger has raged against Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. How long will it be until you again show mercy to them?' And the Lord answered the angel who stood beside me, speaking words of comfort and assurance. Then the angel said, 'Shout out this message from the Lord of Hosts: Don't you think I care about what has happened to Judah and Jerusalem? I am as jealous as a husband for his captive wife. I am very angry with the heathen nations sitting around at ease, for I was only a little displeased with my people, but the nations afflicted them far beyond my intentions. Therefore the Lord declares: I have returned to Jerusalem filled with mercy; my Temple shall be rebuilt, says the Lord of Hosts, and so will all Jerusalem. Say it again: The Lord of Hosts declares that the cities of Israel will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Jerusalem and bless her and live in her.'"
Another time he allowed me to see Jesus going into heaven with his blood, not as the sacrifice with filthy garments, but as the priest with the blood of the covenant. I could see him as he entered, as he took the blood and sprinkled it on the holy things of God. I had never understood it in this way, but the blood also had to be sprinkled Godward on the things in heaven (Hebrews 9:19-28). Jesus went into heaven with his own blood and sprinkled it over the altar as the final sacrifice, the final covering of our sins!
Hebrews 10:16-23 (TLB) states, "'This is the agreement I will make with the people of Israel, though they broke their first agreement: I will write my laws into their minds so that they will always know my will, and I will put my laws in their hearts so that they will want to obey them.' And then he adds, 'I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.' Now, when sins have once been forever forgiven and forgotten, there is no need to offer more sacrifices to get rid of them. And so, dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. This is the fresh, new, life-giving way which Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain - his human body - to let us into the holy presence of God. And since this great High Priest of ours rules over God's household, let us go right in, to God himself, with true hearts fully trusting him to receive us, because we have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and because our bodies have been washed with pure water. Now we can look forward to the salvation God has promised us. There is no longer any room for doubt, and we can tell others that salvation is ours, for there is no question that he will do what he says."
In this panorama of truth that the Lord allowed me to see, he brought me back to look at the book several times because it was so important. Gabriel said that the book on which God had instructed blood to be sprinkled was the book concerning man's dealing with man. He called my attention to Exodus, chapters 21-23. The other laws had to do with man's dealing with God and, among other things, concerned man's attitudes.
God gave the covenant to Moses just before he went into the mountain to get the Ten Commandments, and said to Moses, "Write it in a book, and then read it to the children of Israel." "Then Moses announced to the people all the laws and regulations God had given him; and the people answered in unison, 'We will obey them all'" (Exodus 24:3 TLB).
They wanted to obey these laws, but the things of their everyday life caused their good intentions to fade away. People today are just the same, allowing the problems and interests of this world to pull their minds and hearts away from God's blessings.
Then guilt comes their way and they say, "I know that God has forgiven these great big old sins that I have had, but it's these little things that give me trouble; my attitudes toward my family and the people I work with every day." They say, "I really want to live for God, and each day I put myself in God's care, but these little things bother me. I'm afraid, because I can't get the victory over them." The Lord allowed me to see Jesus, the high priest, sprinkling his blood over the top of the book so that those things are covered. They are complete; totally fulfilled in Jesus. God sees the blood, not our faults, and we are accepted!
I believe that many of the ills and frustrations of believers come because they do not see the fullness of what Jesus' body means. Because of the accusations of Satan, and because of daily reminders of sins, failure, and human weakness, we often forget what Jesus has done. We are so aware of these other things, that we must be reminded that God in his wisdom has provided a time and a way for this to be accomplished.
In taking communion, you remember the Lord's death until he comes! He tasted the second death. He felt the full blast of it. The Word tells us that he bore all of our sins in his own body on the tree. He asks us to look upon his body, to see our sins, and the sins of the world placed upon him by God. Every lie, every sin against ourselves and others, every murder, all adultery, all immorality, all dishonesty, all cheating, all rebellion, all idolatry, all enmity through witchcraft and satanism; yes, everything we could be charged with is laid on him. He has become the sin bearer. He has become sin, bearing the concentrated dregs of the rottenness of billions of people.
Visualize him as the bulwark against Satan's attacks. God says, "See him, discern him, because if you don't, you are often weak, you are sickly, and you are subject to the attacks, the let-down and the draining of your spiritual strength. See him, not as something of beauty, but as that sacrifice, with that rottenness upon him, with every murder, every lie, every bit of immorality, every bit of wickedness that could possibly exist, all the stench of homosexuality that caused Sodom to be burned; everything laid upon him there!" Then as you see him, God wants you to see on that body, YOUR sin, YOUR weaknesses, YOUR failings, EVERYTHING that you have been worried about!
They are there, but they don't have any strength! They are only the ashes of sins that used to be. Just the burned-out cinders! When you see this, sin loses its grip and its power to hurt you. Your sins are nothing but ashes, because the blazing stroke of God's wrath and judgment fell on that body. With all the sins laid on him, and all of God's goodness poured into us, we can stand before God, knowing that sin has lost its power over us.
Then we can follow the blood as Jesus, our high priest, carries it into the presence of God for us, and covers, destroys, and totally blots out all sins. This is exactly what his blood did when he covered us. It blotted out every record against us so that God's unfolding plan for us could be complete. That plan is to restore us to the place of total innocence and fellowship with God which Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden before sin came.
In Hebrews 10:5, Jesus is talking about the work God gave him to do; the work of becoming a sacrifice for sin, and he said, "A body hast thou prepared for me." A little further down, in verse twenty, he said that we can now enter into that place of close fellowship through his flesh.
Gabriel reminded me that the tabernacle had to be exactly as God instructed, and the sacrifices were to be carried out in every detail, because they represented God's plan of redemption for all mankind. This plan was a picture of Jesus and his sacrifice. He explained to me some interesting truths which made the sacrifice of Jesus even more meaningful.
A brazen altar was the first thing inside the tabernacle, and on this altar the sacrifices were to be made. The offerings were to be burned to ashes, and the ashes then were sprinkled on individuals who were to be accepted of God. All the sins of Israel were placed on the sacrifice. Then the sacrifice, being made sin, felt the searing heat so that when Israel came to be accepted, and the ashes sprinkled along with the blood, God was saying to Israel, "You have given me your sins. I am giving them back to you now, and letting you see the empty shells, the ashes of something that has lost its power and its life. It is reduced to nothing because the fire of judgment has been diverted to a substitute, and your sins which were there on the body of that substitute, were destroyed!"
Gabriel began with Hebrews 9:13-14 as he talked to me more about the sacrifice and its meaning. "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctified to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
This kind of sacrifice was effective in Israel in the purifying of a life so that people could say, "It is done, it is done! My sins that were placed there are nothing but ashes; sin shall not have dominion over me; it has lost its sting, and its power." If they obtained freedom for a whole year through animal sacrifices, how much more shall the blood of Christ and his sacrifice purge and permanently remove sin from our minds, our consciences, and our emotions?
Jesus literally tasted hell for us, his body being struck by the righteous judgment of God. When the enemy comes our way, we can say, "Those sins that you are trying to haunt me with are nothing but burned out cinders, and the power of sin has been canceled!" We can joyfully say, "His wrath has been diverted from me to Jesus, and my sins were judged when he was judged!"
Look at Jesus, the High Priest, carrying his blood as he enters the very tabernacle of God in the heavens where the records of sin are kept! Gabriel said, "See him as he splashes his blood on the book of broken laws and upon the altar of the broken commandments as a thick cloud blotting out forever the records of anything that is written in heaven that you could be charged with. As we see him doing that, we see him bringing to us a new covenant."
Hebrews 10:16,17 says: "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
He has turned sin into cinders. He has blotted out the records and given us a brand new covenant. Do you know why he did that? It is because he WANTS us! He is not looking for reasons to destroy us, but to save us.
See him as the spotless lamb of God prepared from the foundation of the world. See him as the sin bearer coming before God with filthy garments, stricken of God, sprinkling his blood in heaven, sprinkling the book of the covenant that is now fulfilled. All of man's possible failures are covered by the blood that speaks to God, and it says, "It is done!"
In Israel there was a remembrance of sin made year after year after year. Man was pardoned but sin was remembered. My heart was so stirred when Gabriel spoke to me with such commanding tones and said, "When Jesus came, the need for pardon was removed, because pardon reminds God of the sin which has already been forgiven. He completely removed the records of the stain and guilt. The blood of Jesus speaks and says, 'Justified, restored to a place of total innocence because of Christ. We are returned to the place we occupied before sin ever entered the world.'"
In the Old Testament, pardon came because of faith in the sacrifice. But Gabriel said when Jesus came, he WAS the sacrifice that took all the sins away. "For this reason you are not pardoned in God's eyes. Since Jesus made the sacrifice, not one person has been pardoned. God wants no reminder of those sins as they were previously remembered year after year, but he tells us now that they are NEVER to be remembered again!"
Gabriel said, "That's why you will never find the message of pardon in the New Testament. There is no need for pardon: IT HAS BEEN DONE!"
Next: You Are Covered (Atonement)
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