After God became a man and put that man with Satan within him upon Himself, He brought that man to the cross. Satan thought he had succeeded, but he only gave the Lord an easy way to put him to death. For example, if a mouse is loose in a house, it is rather difficult for the owner to catch it. But if he sets a trap with a little bait, the mouse will then be tempted to catch the bait. The mouse at first will think he has succeeded in getting the bait, but will not realize that he has been trapped until it is too late. Then, since he is trapped, it is so easy for the owner of the house to come and put him to death. Similarly, Adam became a trap to catch Satan. Satan was the "naughty" mouse running loose in the universe. When Satan came to possess man, he thought he was so successful, but did not realize that he fell into a trap. Satan thought man was his home, but did not know that man was a trap. He thought man was his food, but man was only the bait. By taking man, he was caught and imprisoned in man. Subsequently, the Lord came and put man upon Himself to bring him to the cross, that "through death He might destroy him who has the might of death" (Heb. 2:14). Man was the trap, and the devil was trapped within him. Through incarnation God put the corrupted man upon Himself and brought this man to death on the cross. At the same time, Satan within this fallen man was put to death also. Thus, it is by this death on the cross that Christ destroyed the devil. This is why Satan is afraid of the cross, and this is why the Lord told us to take up the cross. The cross is the only weapon for us to overcome Satan.
Where is Satan? Satan is in me—in my flesh. But where is my flesh now? Look at Galatians 5:24: "...crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts." My flesh, with Satan in it, is on the cross; thus, Satan is put to death on the cross. Praise the Lord! But is this the end? No, burial follows death. But even the grave is not the end! After the burial, there was the resurrection. Israel went into the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his army, but they were resurrected from the death-water without Pharaoh and his army. Pharaoh and his army were buried in the death-water. Christ brought man with Satan into death and the grave and brought man without Satan out of death and the grave. He left Satan buried in the grave. Now this resurrected man is one with Christ.
Let me ask you, When was it that you were regenerated? In 1958? That’s too late! You were regenerated by the resurrection of Christ (1 Pet. 1:3). When Christ was resurrected, we too, those who believe in Him, were also resurrected. This can be proven by Ephesians 2:5-6: God has "...made us alive together with Christ...and raised us up together." At the time of Christ’s resurrection, we also were resurrected with Him. Oh, we must be impressed! Man was ruined by Satan when Satan came into him. But God, by incarnation, put this man with Satan within him upon Himself, brought this man to the cross, put this man including Satan to death, and buried this man in the grave. He then brought man into resurrection, and through this resurrection man with God became one. Now God is in man’s spirit.
We have to be joyful—but not overly joyful. Why? Because we must always bear the cross daily. Whenever our flesh is away from the cross, we will find that Satan is alive again. We have to say "Hallelujah," because the Lord Jesus is in our spirit; but we must also be on the alert, for we are still in the flesh. When the flesh gets off the cross, the devil will be alive again. This is why we must live in the spirit all the time and apply the cross to the flesh. Though Satan by the fall got into man, he was dealt with by the Lord, and now by the resurrection the Lord is within us. From now on our responsibility and business is not to try to do anything good. Good will only deceive and blind us. We must simply follow the Lord in the spirit and apply the cross to the flesh. This will spontaneously put Satan to death. Learn to practice this one thing with these two aspects. Follow the Lord in the spirit, and put the flesh, including Satan, to death on the cross.
Then what will be the ultimate issue? Simply this—on the one hand, there will be the New Jerusalem, and on the other, the Lake of Fire. The New Jerusalem is the Triune God mingled together with the resurrected man, and the Lake of Fire is Satan’s ultimate destruction. The Lake of Fire is the place for Satan. All which is not related to the Triune God and the resurrected man will be put into the Lake of Fire with Satan. There will be only one tree in the New Jerusalem—the tree of life. The other tree will be in the Lake of Fire. This is the ultimate conclusion of the whole Scripture. The Scripture began with three parties, but the ultimate consummation will be the New Jerusalem with only the first tree at the center of the city and the resurrected man as the expression of the Triune God. The second tree will be cast into the Lake of Fire. All things and all people related to the second tree will have the same destiny as Satan—in that Lake of Fire.
In conclusion, the meaning of this picture to us today is that the normal Christian life does not consist in doing good. The normal Christian life is simply taking Christ and living by Christ and putting the flesh with Satan to death all the time. It is to follow Christ in our spirit and to put our flesh to death. Then the day will come when the Triune God and the resurrected man will be one expression—the New Jerusalem with the tree of life as its center.