Now look at this. Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane knows what’s fixing to take place. The sin of the world was not laid upon Him. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 that “He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
He Who knew no sin was made to be sin. He did the same thing that Adam did in the Garden of Eden! He made Himself obedient to death and put Himself into the hands of God’s enemy, Satan. Only He did it—He committed this act not by treason, but by choice. He did it in order to pay the price for Adam’s treason.
He put Himself and made Himself obedient unto death, and the same thing happened to Him that happened to Adam—spiritual death!
Now, listen. If it had been a physical death only, it wouldn’t have worked. And if He hadn’t died spiritually, that body never would have died. Now, I’m going to prove it to you out of the Word of God.
Do you remember what the Bible says? Paul’s writing to Timothy, and he tells him just as plain as anybody could write it, in 1 Timothy 3:16, “God was manifest in the flesh and justified in the Spirit.” Well now, you can’t get someone justified or made righteous in the Spirit if it wasn’t first unrighteous! The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit, and at the moment He did so, He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
You don’t know what happened at the cross! Why do you think Moses, upon the instruction of God, raised a serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me! I said, “Why in the world do You have to put that snake up there, the sign of Satan? Why don’t you put a lamb on the pole?”
The Lord said, Because it was the sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross! I accepted in My own spirit spiritual death, and the light was turned off…made to be sin.
Three Days and Three Nights
I want you to get hold of this, because if you do, you’ll see the entire scope of life and death, and you’ll never again have another fear of death, as long as you live. You’ve never let Jesus die. Therefore, you’ve never let yourself live. Jesus, hanging on that cross—eternity is hanging in the balance. For an instant, a moment has happened where the whole of this thing is hanging. Oh, if there’s some way for Satan to win it, now is the time. If there’s some way to take it, now is the time. Because God has had His last chance.
There is no more sacrifice beyond this because God has given Himself. There’s not any farther that God can go, because that is part of Himself hanging on that cross. And the very inside of God hanging on that cross is severed from Him. And in that moment of severing, the spirit of Jesus accepting that sin and making it to be sin, He’s separated from His God. And in that moment He’s a mortal man—capable of failure and death! Not only that, He’s fixing to be ushered into the jaws of hell! And if Satan is capable of overpowering Him there, he’ll win the universe, and mankind is doomed.
Don’t get the idea that God didn’t pay a price for you. Don’t get the idea that Jesus was incapable of failure, because if He had been, it would have been illegal. That’s the reason at the Garden of Gethsemane, when He was under such pressure He said, “My soul is so grieved it almost kills Me!” He was passing the test of Adam and it was something else!
He’s being faced with every kind of a sin, every kind of a diabolical thing…and He knows He’s going to have to accept it. He’s got to stand against this thing in such a way to pass this test and still accept the horror of being punished for it. That’s double horror!
In Acts Jesus said, “The sign unto this generation shall be the sign of the prophet Jonah, three days and nights in the belly of the earth.” We also see in Acts that on the Day of Pentecost this has been revealed to Peter. As he stands up and begins to preach, he began to preach what happened from the cross to the throne. Acts 2:24 says, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
Now, I want to show you that Jesus did not go into just the area called Paradise. There is some talk of that, but He didn’t. The area called Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom, was the upper region of Sheol, or the top compartment of hell. No man had gone into heaven. Adam’s treason had affected even the heavenly Holy of Holies.
Jesus’ blood had to be dropped on the heavenly utensils of worship in order to cleanse them. That treason went all the way to the throne of God. God was standing there alone. It had affected everything but His power. Can you see that? Heaven was not fit for men to live in, and Jesus said, “No man has gone up to heaven.”
Luke 16:19-22 says, “There was a certain rich man that was clothed in purple and fine linen and faired sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died….” Listen, this is not a parable. Folks think it’s a parable, but it isn’t. It said there was a “certain” rich man and a “certain” beggar. Jesus is talking about an actual incident.
“…And was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man died also, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus the evil things: but now he is comforted….” (Luke 16:22-25)
You see, he wasn’t in torment. Even though that was the top region of hell, he was protected there. He was not in torment. The reason he had to go there is because these men had never been born again. They had the promise of it, it was to come.
“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot….” See, there was a fixed gulf in between the bosom of Abraham and the pit of hell. And you couldn’t go pass from one to the other. They were protected from Satan and the demons in that place. They were protected from the whole thing.
Now, what did we just read? It said that he was not in torment, he was comforted, in the area called Paradise.
Listen to this. “God hath raised up Jesus having loosed the pains of death….” Having loosed Him from the pain of death. He was down in that pit. And there He suffered the punishment for three horrible days and nights, for Adam’s treason.
Only there’s one little kick. There’s one little deed in here that Satan didn’t quite realize. He’s in there illegally. He’s got Satan right where He wants him.
The Finished Work
He had God where He couldn’t operate because it was illegal. This Man had not sinned. This Man has not fallen out of the Covenant of God, and He had the promise of God for deliverance. And Satan fell into the trap. He took Him into hell illegally! He carried Him in there, but He did not sin. And the Bible said that He was justified in the spirit. He had been made to be sin, BUT NOW THERE IS A NEW BIRTH TAKES PLACE IN THE VERY DEPTHS OF THE EARTH.
When the command of God said, “That’s enough. Loose Him and let Him go.” This man is the Firstborn from the dead. From the Book of Acts all the way through all of the Epistles and the revelation of John, Jesus is no longer called the only begotten Son of God. He’s called the Firstborn from the dead. In Romans 8, he’s called “the Firstborn of many brethren.”
Jesus was the first Man to ever be born from sin to righteousness. He was the pattern of a new race of men to come. Glory to God!
And you know what He did? The very first thing that this reborn Man did—see, you have to realize that He died. You have to realize that He went into the pit of hell as a mortal man made sin. But He didn’t stay there, thank God. He was reborn in the pit of hell and resurrected.
That’s what happened to you. You started off in the death. The only difference was, you got yours on this side of hell, because he went down there and nailed it up for you. He stopped Satan’s authority over you. He stopped it by conquest.
Colossians 2:15 says, “He spoiled principalities and powers, lording over them in it.” He whipped the prince of the region of the damned and all of his demons, hands down. He took authority over him and said, “I am He that was once dead, but I’m now alive and I hold the keys to death, hell and the grave. All power has been given me, both in heaven and in earth.”
Can you see that? I don’t know about you, but I’ve already preached myself happy. I was laying on the bed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, praying and seeking God. And while I was laying there praying, the Spirit of God spoke to me and said something to me. I threw my Bible on the floor and I hollered, “What?”
He said, What I want you to realize is that a reborn Man (with His emphasis on man), we’ve just considered Him to be God and left it to be some kind of unobjective thing that took place that doesn’t really have any effect on us.
Not so. God put Himself in your and my position and lived through it. I like that. He lived through it. And when He did, He took the authority away from Satan on the same grounds that Satan took it away from Adam. Because he had done it illegally, and he had thrown Him into hell illegally. He didn’t sin, so He took it away from him. He took the lordship over mankind away from him, and left him standing helpless and Jesus as Lord.
And all any man has to do to break the bonds and the lordship of Satan is turn and make his new Lord. And when he does, that’s it. I want you to know Satan’s done in that old boy’s life if he’ll walk on it. You can just ship his saddle home. It’s over. He’s got a new Lord, and that new Lord has already exercised total and complete victory, and demanded unconditional surrender of that man.
And in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, he’ll not stand against this man any longer, because this man has changed gods and He has a complete and free right to do so, and that makes him right at that moment. The Spirit of God will hover over that body and cause a new creature to come into existence in that body, a man that never existed before. Just exactly like the One that was born in the pit of hell 2,000 years ago.
The Price Has Been Paid
This is the reason every Christian in the world ought to know this. When you see the death of Jesus, you can see the life of Copeland. Glory to God! You see, you can’t kill me anymore. You can’t do it!
And anything He’s got, I’m going to get, thank you! He got resurrected and so am I! He went to the right hand of the Father, and that’s where I’m going. He said, “He that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I sit with My Father in His throne. The works that I do shall you do also. Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” What is the gospel? Just exactly what I’ve been telling you about.
You’re free! Set free, by the blood of Jesus. Glory to God! Free. And when you find out is when you start exercising it. You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. When you find out that you have God’s Word for it and that you’re free of Satan, you can go on. There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Praise the Lord!
He bought and paid for me, but thank God, that’s not the end of it. Somebody’s always wanting to sing “Just as I Am.” And that’s the way I came, just as I was. But He didn’t leave me the way I was! That old man laid down and died right there in that living room.
I want to show this to you beyond any shadow of any doubt in your thinking. Jesus is the Firstborn from the dead. You are a child of the living God. You’re God’s son. That’s what the New Testament’s written about! That’s what God called Paul up into heaven and showed him, and revealed to him what happened from the cross to the throne. Anytime you read one of the epistles, that’s all it’s about.
And us not knowing anything about it, we couldn’t even see it. We’re just like where we started out there in the Book of Ephesians. He talked about it all the way through that little book. Everywhere you look, it’s there. Just like over in Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive….” That’s when He got that bunch in the region of Paradise born again. He went in there and preached to them. The Messiah came, praise God! He’s standing right there talking to them. He just got through whipping Satan and taking the keys away from that place where they were incarcerated. He bridged that gulf out of it, and led that bunch out! And there was a resurrection took place right then, too.
The graves were opened—the Bible says so in the Book of Matthew. That after His resurrection, they were resurrected, and appeared to many in that city. Don’t you know that was a day to behold, when that bunch went to marching into glory? Wow! All those old prophets: old John and David, and all those boys born again. Don’t you know that was something to see?
The Apostle Paul is writing in 2 Corinthians 7:2, “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.” Looks like we caught him in a lie, doesn’t it? I know from the testimony of his own mouth, plus the testimony of other Christians’ mouths, and the testimony of a king, that this man killed people and hauled them into prison! He ran them over! Now he’s standing right there saying, “I’ve defrauded nobody. I’ve hurt nobody.”
One day, I was just reading along there and happened to notice that. I said, “Whoop, whoop, whoop, now wait a minute!” And I kind of smart-alecky like pushed my Bible up there in front of me on my desk and I said, “Lord, what about this? I’ve caught this man in a lie. What’s going on here?”
And boy, I want you to know the Spirit of God jumped in the middle of me, and He reprimanded me and here’s what He said. YOU WATCH YOUR TONGUE! AND YOU BE CAREFUL WHO YOU’RE CALLING A LIAR! THE MAN THAT DEFRAUDED, AND THE MAN THAT KILLED AND THE MAN THAT DROVE CHRISTIANS TO DUNGEONS, DIED ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS!
The death of the cross, thank you! That’s what it said! I didn’t say that.
And he said it himself, “I’ve been crucified with Christ.”
Think about when you were born again. Some of you, maybe it was when you were young enough you don’t even remember it. Nevertheless, that little old kid that accepted Jesus died the death of the cross. The spirit in him ceased to exist and was recreated into the very likeness of God. And there’s a born-again, resurrected, glorified Man in charge of the universe! And He’s my Big Brother!
Do you see that? A resurrected born-again Man. He said, “Handle Me. A spirit hath not flesh and bone as you see I have. I am going to be with the Father.”
Some folks have got the idea that Jesus just kind of went to floating around through heaven after He was through here, and that He never did change from the time He came till now. And you know, folks say Jesus didn’t have any beginning and no end. That’s not true.
Let’s look at Acts 13:29-33. “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”
Well, did Jesus become the Son of God when He was born of men? Heavens no! He’s always been the Son of God! He just took upon Himself flesh! What day was it that God’s talking about then, when He said, “This day have I begotten thee, My Son?” The day He raised Him from the dead! HIS SON WAS MADE TO BE SIN! HE GAVE HIS SON IN DEATH! THE SON OF GOD DIED IN ORDER TO GET YOU OUT! And was reborn from the dead, thank God. And then resurrected. That body, touched of the Holy Spirit and born to new life immortal…it can’t ever happen again. It will never happen again. He’s already been there. Forever in eternity, throughout eternity. Now you can see His inauguration in Hebrews 1, and it begins to mean something when God turned to a reborn resurrected Man and called Him “God.”
“And He said to the Son, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” God had successfully brought a Man from the depths of hell from being made sin, to the highest position that exists in the universe—and Satan said He couldn’t do it! But He did. He turned to a Man and called Him “God.”
He is in a higher position now than He was before He went to the cross. I don’t know how you could get any higher, but God said He was. So that’s enough for me.
I’m telling you, He’s Lord of the Church. And the Bible said, “And you, when you were dead in your trespasses and sin, hath He made alive together with Christ and made you to sit together with Him in heavenly places.” The same power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead is the power that He used when He raised you from the dead! And that moment you accepted Jesus as Lord, a new man came into existence. A brand new creature. Paul said, “Neither Greek nor Jew, but a new creature.” A new race. A super man. A joint-heir with Jesus. A man with life coming from inside him instead of death. A man with light in there and filled with light. The children of light. Productive light and life. He’s no longer dead. He’s filled with life.
And being God’s son, now I have a right to His Spirit. He filled me with Himself to teach and train me how to be the subject of Jesus, and live in the kingdom of God as a joint-heir to the throne. Glory to God!
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