So far we’ve looked at why Jesus had to die in terms of those of us on this planet; those of us who are part of this fallen world. In the book of Job, we see individuals who are not part of this broken world. They are called “the sons of God,” and we are not told exactly who they are. Some people think that they are angels, while others believe they may be perhaps unfallen beings from other worlds. The Bible doesn’t say, so we cannot be certain.
What is clear, however, is that they are not from this earth. They have gathered in the throne room of God — something none of us can do — and are joined there by “the satan.” I use the phrase “the satan” because the word “Satan” was a title before it became a personal noun. It means, “the accuser,” and the Satan functioned essentially as the prosecuting attorney in the trial.
That’s precisely what we see in the book of Job. Satan’s accusations are not leveled at Job, however. They are leveled at God Himself. Job only serves God, Satan declares, because God bribes him, gives him blessings in return for service. To prove this, Satan says that if God ceases to bless Job, that if he takes the blessings away from Job, that Job will no longer serve him. I will not go into great detail here, because I’ve already blogged on this in several places.
The point of all this is that Job does not see these scenes in the heavenly throne room, and he is unaware of the accusations, and of the reasons for his tribulations. So Satan’s accusations have no effect on Job, except as they are repeated by Jobs human “comforters.” God, course is one of the litigants, the one being accused, and Satan is the accuser. That leaves only “the sons of God.” This whole episode, Satan’s accusations, and God allowing Job to be tried, is for their benefit.
Revelation tells us that this conflict between Christ and Satan began in heaven, and that a third of the angels were deceived. Satan had introduced doubt and suspicion into the minds of all the angels. Some of them succumbed to it, approximately one third. But the others must’ve been swayed somewhat, must have been tempted to doubt. After all, the being that became Satan began as Lucifer, the “light bearer,” the highest of all the angels. For him to accuse God had to cause some doubt, even those who chose to remain.
So in the heavenly court scenes in general, we see renewable of this contest. Satan accuses God, hoping to influence more of the “sons of God,” whoever they are, to join his side. So, now we are confronted with the question, why did Jesus have to die? How did this help the sons of God make up their minds? The answer is twofold. First, if God just said, “I forgive everyone, let’s all have a do over, that would tell everyone in the universe that doubting God and acting in disobedience was of no consequence.
When Christ became a human being and agreed to suffer the ravages of sin, including his eventual death on the cross, it eliminated all doubt about the seriousness of sin, doubt, suspicion, and disobedience. But the cross did one more thing: it demonstrated the true character of both sides of this Great Controversy. It showed that God in the person of Jesus was willing to go to any length redeem the loss. And it demonstrated that Satan was willing to use any cruelty, any terrible means he could, to establish his dominance.
I believe that the crucifixion decided for all time, the question of who was right and who was wrong, in the eyes of these “sons of God.” The contrast between the two sides could not be any greater. God was willing to suffer any humiliation, any pain, any agony, even death, in order to save humanity. And Satan was willing to inflict any humiliation, any pain, any agony, even death of an innocent one, in an attempt to rule.
So the death of Christ on the cross accomplishes reestablishing trust both for those of us on this world, and for those — whoever they are — not living on this world. Christ’s death makes it clear the cost and the seriousness of sin, and reveals his true nature as a loving, giving Deity.
Next time, we will answer each part of the question that began this examination of why Jesus had to die.