III. DYING FOR THE CREATION TO TASTE DEATH ON BEHALF OF ALL CREATION IN HIS HUMANITY WITH HIS DIVINITY
Not only so, but once He passed through human living, He went one great step further to die for the creation. Apparently, the Lord was crucified because He was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the servants of the high priest, and condemned to death by Pilate. Actually, it was He Himself who helped to materialize His crucifixion. If you study the Bible carefully, you can see that when the Lord Jesus was in Galilee, He went hurriedly to Jerusalem because the Passover was approaching. Why did He do this? It was because that year was the time for the completion of the sixty-ninth week of the seventy weeks mentioned in Daniel 9:24-26. It was very clearly mentioned there that during the sixty-ninth week, the Messiah, who was Christ, would be cut off, that is, killed. He knew that at the Passover of that year, He would be crucified. He also knew that He had to die in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where Abraham had offered Isaac and which was later called Mount Zion. Furthermore, according to the type of the Passover, He had to die on the fourteenth day of the first month. Therefore, He went quickly from Galilee to Jerusalem.
Six days before the Passover, He entered Jerusalem, giving the Jews four days to examine Him. This was also for the fulfillment of the type in the Bible. According to Exodus 12:3-6, the Passover lamb, which was to be without blemish, had to be prepared in the four days preceding the Passover. Therefore, in those four days, He placed Himself in the temple under the meticulous examination of the Sadducees, Pharisees, chief priests, scribes, and elders. After examining Him for four days, they found no fault in Him. Then they arrested Him and delivered Him up to be examined by a Gentile official. Yet, Pilate said three times, “I find no fault in this man.” He was truly the sinless Lamb, the Lamb without any defects or blemishes. Hence, He was worthy to die on our behalf. By this we can see that in actuality He was not arrested by men; rather, He delivered Himself up. He walked into death Himself. However, He did not go merely to die; instead, He passed through death to do His work. A certain portion of His work had to be done in death. If He did not enter into death, He could not have done that work. He went into death to accomplish a great work.
As we have pointed out in the past, the Lord Jesus died on the cross in seven statuses. First, He was the Lamb of God; second, He was a man in the flesh; third, He was the One signified by the bronze serpent; fourth, He was the last Adam; fifth, He was the Firstborn of all creation; sixth, He was the Peacemaker and the peace; and seventh, He was also a grain of wheat. When He died on the cross, He died in these seven statuses.
In other words, His death included at least seven aspects. First, He was the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. Second, He was a man in the flesh who was considered sin by God; He did not know sin but was made sin by God, and in His flesh God condemned our sinful nature. Third, He was the bronze serpent with the serpent’s form but without the serpent’s poison. As such, when He was judged on the cross, He destroyed Satan, the ancient serpent. Fourth, He was the last Adam, the last old man. Therefore, when He died, He crucified the old man and ended the human race. Thus, Romans 6:6 says that our old man has been crucified with Him. Fifth, He was the Firstborn of all creation, and He died as a creature, representing all the creation. This may be compared to the veil in the temple in the Old Testament. The veil signified His flesh, and on the veil were embroidered cherubim, the four living creatures. When the veil was rent, the four living creatures were also rent. This meant that when Christ died, all the creation died and was terminated with Him. Sixth, when He died on the cross, He abolished all the ordinances. The Judaic ordinances made it impossible for the Jews to be one with the Gentiles. Every people has its own ordinances, and every place has its own customs and habits. All these resulted in dividing the peoples on the earth into nations. He abolished all these ordinances on the cross.
Lastly, He died on the cross as a grain of wheat sown into the ground. On the positive side, He released the divine life that was within Him to produce many grains, which are the tens of millions who believe in Him. All these grains are made into one bread, which is one Body, the church. How all-inclusive and unlimited His death is! Why is it unlimited? It is because He was crucified in His humanity with His divinity. We can illustrate this by a grain of wheat sown into the soil. On the one hand, the grain dies because its shell decays. At the same time, however, the life within the grain begins to operate and grow. Therefore, 1 Peter 3:18 says that when Christ was on the cross, He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit. This is just like the grain of wheat. According to its outer shell, it is decaying, but according to its inner life, it operates to bring forth tender sprouts. This is a picture of resurrection.
(The All-Inclusiveness and Unlimitedness of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)