THE ALL-INCLUSIVENESS OF CHRIST’S DEATH
We have seen the reasons for Christ’s death; now let us go on to another point regarding His crucifixion—the all-inclusiveness of His death. About thirty years ago, I heard a servant of God ministering. He said, "If you ask the Jewish people who was crucified on the cross, they will tell you it was a little man. To them, He was just a little man by the name of Jesus. If you come to believers and ask them who died on the cross, they will tell you it was their Savior, their Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. But if you ask the improved Christians, those who know the Lord more deeply, they will tell you, ‘It is not only my Lord Himself who died there, but I and all other Christians were crucified there too.’" That servant of the Lord went on to say, "If you go to God and ask Him to tell you who it was that was crucified on the cross, He will reply, ‘All creation, everything, was crucified on the cross.’"
At that time it was rather difficult for me to comprehend this. I asked, How could this be? Then the Lord showed me what transpired with the ark of Noah. The ark was surrounded by deep waters. It passed through the judgment of the flood. And while the ark was passing through the flood, everything in the ark passed through the judgment also. If we were to go to Noah and ask him if he passed through the flood, he would surely answer, "Yes, I passed through the flood in the ark!" If we could go to the cattle and all the living things, they would tell us the same thing.
The ark typifies Christ, and the eight persons of Noah’s family typify us. The living things in the ark typify the whole creation. All the redeemed people and all the creation were in Christ, passing through His death. When Christ was crucified on the cross, all things contained in Him passed through death also. His death is an all-inclusive death.
Let me give you another illustration. When Christ died on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom. On that veil cherubim were embroidered. Thus, when the veil was torn, the cherubim were torn also. That veil is also the type of Christ, and the cherubim are a type of the living creatures. All the living creatures were torn in Christ on the cross. The death of Christ on the cross is an all-inclusive one. You died there, I died there, and the whole creation died there.
Brothers and sisters, we must realize that this all-inclusive death of Christ on the cross is the settlement of all the problems in the universe between God and His creation. The problems of Satan, sin, sickness, death, the world, and the fallen human nature—all problems—were solved at the cross. We have sinned, and from sin come sickness and death. In the universe is Satan with all his hosts: the principalities, powers, dominions, authorities, and evil hosts in the air. There is ourselves, the biggest, most subjective problem of all. There is also the world, which is the kingdom of Satan, as our environment. These are not only our problems, but also God’s problems. These are the problems which frustrated God in the accomplishing of His eternal plan. God, therefore, had to deal with them and settle them all. How? By the death of Christ.
After God created Adam, He committed all things into his hands, making him the head and representative of all creation. Consequently, after man’s fall, Satan, with all his related evil powers, was located in man. Then Christ became a man, representing the whole creation. We must realize, therefore, that when Christ became a man, Satan was already located in him. One strange Old Testament type bears this out, the type of the brass serpent hanging on a pole. We know that this is a type of Christ. The Lord said in John 3:14, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." How could a serpent be a type of Christ? Because Christ put upon Himself a man occupied by Satan. Satan is the serpent, and man became identified with him. All humanity, permeated by Satan, is just the same as a serpent in the eyes of God. Whatever is in the serpent is in us. Have we ever come to the Lord and confessed, "O Lord, I am as sinful as Satan the serpent. Lord, in Your eyes I am a serpent also!" When the Lord Christ became a man, He put on "the likeness of the flesh of sin" (Rom. 8:3, A.S.V. note), in which is the likeness of the serpent. But, praise the Lord, the brass serpent had only the likeness, not the nature. Christ never put on the sinful nature. He put on only the likeness, the form, of sinful flesh. In God’s eyes, when Christ was crucified on the cross, He was in the likeness of the serpent! This means that not only was man crucified with Christ, but Satan also was put to death on the cross. By His death, Christ destroyed the devil (Heb. 2:14; John 12:31) and all his host. All things related to Satan—evil forces, evil powers (Col. 2:15), the world (John 12:31; Gal. 6:14), sin, sickness, death, and sinful people—have been dealt with on the cross. The cross is an end to all things, the settlement of all problems. Even the ordinances of the law that were against us were nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14).
The cross is exceedingly meaningful both to God and to ourselves. Can we not go and say to the Lord, "Lord, now I am clear. All things of the old creation have been put to an end. All problems—sin and sins, sickness and death, Satan and his evil forces, the world, my sinful nature, and even the ordinances of the law—have been settled once and for all on the cross. Praise the Lord!"
(The Four Major Steps of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)