The suffering Jesus suffered was so great that it caused blood to come from every pore like sweat and, thus, the necessity of an angel being sent to strengthen him. You and I would have died if we had undergone such an ordeal.

Many, who have no wish to understand, mock this sacrifice from an unjust God, saying they couldn’t believe in such a cruel God. Jesus wasn’t forced into this. He did it of his own free will and choice from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), which means he was chosen to do this work even before Adam and Eve were placed on the earth.

He did this great intercession that we all might have the opportunity to return to the presence of God, even as he did. His great love for us was the motivating factor for this great sacrifice. Thus, he not only becomes our Savior, he becomes our God, even as we read in John 1:1-3, being God with God from the very beginning.

As to the cruelty of the cross, this was simply the cruel way the Romans disposed of those who rebelled against them. They murdered hundreds of people in this manner, often lining roads with their impaled dead bodies and/or heads so that all might see that it wasn’t a good idea to rebel against Mother Rome. As to why Jesus was killed in this cruel manner, I believe it had to do with the way the Jews presented Christ to the Romans—as an insurgent, if I remember correctly.

I’m not sure I did an adequate job of explaining this great and mysterious sacrifice, but hopefully it will give all Christians who read this something to think about.

What does the scriptures mean when they talk about the foundation of the world? Is not the foundation of the world the beginning of the world, even as the foundation of a house is the beginning of a house? It’s important to realize this because there are a number of scriptural references of existence BEFORE the foundation of the world. Here are a few:

7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.

What does it mean, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”?

First of all, we know that this “Lamb” refers to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Would any doubt that? Second, this would indicate that the “Lamb”, or Christ, existed at the time of the foundation of the world; or, in other words, at the beginning of the world. And this we know from John 1:1-5, 14. In this case, Jesus Christ was known as the Word.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

By this we know that the Word, or the Lamb, was God “In the beginning”, or we might say, from the foundation of the world. So, at this point we at least know that God, meaning the Word or the Lamb, was in the beginning “with God”, meaning the Father. So we know that Jesus existed in a spirit form before the world was formed. We don’t know in what form the Father existed at this time, or ever, for that matter, at least from the Bible. But we know that he was there “in the beginning” with Jesus, who was the “only begotten of the Father”, meaning as pertaining to this earth.

Let us look at Revelation 1:8 for another reference to the foundation of the world.

8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

From this we learn that there will be those on earth “whose names were . . . written in the book of life from the foundation of the world”. That would indicate that these, at least, were with Christ and the Father “in the beginning”, or, in other words, from foundation of the world. After all, where else would they be but with Christ and the Father?

That would also indicate that these existed as spirit bodies, for what else would they be? Is it not an accepted fact among thinking people that we are not our bodies but we are that which inhabit our bodies and make them operate, albeit at a unconscious level? And when our spirits leave these bodies, our bodies die and are interred into the ground. And by this we can also say that those whose names are NOT written in the book of life from the foundation of the world also existed in spirit form “in the beginning”. In other words, we ALL existed in the beginning with the Father and his Only Begotten, Jesus Christ.

From Job 38:4-7 we read:

4 Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou has understanding.

5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it?

6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof;

7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

From this we learn that the sons of God were present at the laying of the corner stone of the earth; or, in other worlds, at the foundation of the earth. We can assume that the daughters of God were also present. Why wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t they also be as joyous as the sons of God? Could the “stars” be a symbolic reference to the daughters of God? Certainly they would have more reason to be joyous and break into song than the actual stars of heaven over the impending creation of the earth. And, they ARE mentioned in the same breath as the sons of God. Regardless, that’s what I choose to believe.

And of course we have that great statement in Jeremiah 1: 5 spoken by God:

5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

From this we learn that not only did Jeremiah exist before this life but that God knew him PERSONALLY! And ordained him to be a prophet before he ever came to earth! And if God knew Jeremiah personally, do you not think that he knew each of us personally as well? Of course he did. Why wouldn’t he?

One of the important things we can take away from all this is that, if we existed before we were born, and we did, then we will surely exist after our bodies are laid to rest. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of that, as illustrated in the New Testament when he rose from the dead in a transformed and perfect body. So, when you have lost or will lose loved ones to the “other side”, you can be sure that you will have the opportunity to see them again after you yourself have gone the way of all those before you.

When we die, our spirit bodies are separated from our physical bodies. We have no power to recombine with them. Even if we did, would we want to come back into our diseased, often mangled, sometimes deformed, old and wrinkled, etc., bodies? I know I wouldn’t.

We have no power to reunite them into perfected, glorified bodies. That, however, is the miracle of the Resurrection. Without the miracle of the resurrection, Christ’s suffering in the garden would be for naught. What happened in the tomb is equally as important as what happened in the garden.

Before we get more into the why of Christ’s suffering, let us consider further his resurrection.

The scriptures tell us that Jesus was resurrected. In other words, his spirit body re-entered his physical body, into a perfected and glorified state and not the body that suffered from the tortures of the Romans. Many suppose this was just a temporary thing, that he would once again toss off his body and remain as a spirit entity forever, but this is not so.

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. (Ecclesiastes 3:14.)

Thus, we can see that the resurrection was meant to be a forever event. But was it intended for Jesus to be the only one who was to be resurrected?

Until Jesus entered into the world, no one had ever been resurrected. No one had that power. There had been those who had been raised from the dead in both the Old and New Testaments (1 Kings 17:17-22; 2 Kings 4:32-35; 13:20,21; Luke 7:11-15; 8:41,42,49-55;John 11:1-44; Acts 9:36-41; 20:9,10), but that isn’t the same as being resurrected. They all eventually died a normal death.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20.)

But Jesus did have the power of resurrection and because Jesus had the power to resurrect, he opened the door for others to be resurrected, as we see in the following verse:

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Matt. 27:52-53.)

“. . . and appeared unto many.”

This illustrates that, even as Jesus appeared unto many, others did also. And even as Jesus was seen of the disciples and others, those who were raised from the grave were seen by many as well. And Jesus appeared to as many as five hundred people at one time:

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above [i.e. up above, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible] five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:5-6. Translators also rendered “above” as “more than”.)

We can see that the resurrection is as necessary for God’s plan for mankind as is baptism in the mode of Jesus. Otherwise, why would Jesus be both baptized and resurrected? He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness.

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. (Matthew 3:13-15.)

Can we not say that Jesus was resurrected to also fulfill all righteousness? Did he not set the example for all of us to follow?

Come, follow me . . . (Matthew 4:19.)

So, what happens to our spirit bodies once we die? The Preacher tells us they return to God who gave it:

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)

At first glance, verse 7 presents somewhat of a conundrum to the order of heaven. If it is true, then unrighteous spirits will be allowed into heaven. If it is false, then we have a mistranslation or, certainly, a misunderstanding.

However, upon reflection, I noticed that verse 7 doesn’t say “heaven”; it says “God”. But if God doesn’t infer heaven, the place where God is said to dwell, then what does it mean?

We know that when one dies, there is a gulf between the righteous and the unrighteous, which implies there is a judgment at death. We know of this gulf because Jesus mentioned it in the Parable of the Rich Man.

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
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, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, 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 evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
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; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
“and he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:19-31)

Therefore, when one dies, some sort of judgment is immediately executed and, according to this parable, one is either assigned to “Abraham’s bosom” or some other place called hell. And once assigned to these places of judgment, one cannot pass from one location to the other — in either direction.

I like to call these places of judgment the “world of spirits”, or “spirit world”, for that appears to be the place where spirits go when they die, at least according to these verses. Therefore, I believe, in Ecclesiastes 12:7, the spirits of the deceased are brought into the presence of God where God assigns them to either of these two places.

This does not imply that those spirits are brought into heaven. This can be done right here on earth, for God’s presence is everywhere through the Holy Spirit. We know that his presence is with us even in mortality, whether we feel it or not.

Neither of these two places in the world of spirits is heaven, where God dwells, nor the hell of the final judgment. In other words, these spirits are still removed from the “physical”, if you will, presence of God because there is a gulf affixed between the two places. Therefore, we may say that the separation of the spirit from the body represents a first death, and the removal of the spirit from the “physical” presence of God represents a second death.

Lest you be offended by this, remember that Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the garden. Genesis 3:8-13 is a good example of this:

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

It’s hard to imagine the suffering Jesus went through in both the garden of Gethsemene and on the cross. It’s also hard for many to imagine why he had to do so. For some, it was a cruel act, perpetrated on Jesus by a cruel God. Many have turned away from Christianity because of this one seemingly cruel act.

Even so, I would like to make an attempt at trying to explain this seemingly awkward scenario, if I can. However, rather than dive right into the New Testament account of this event, we must go all the way back to Adam and Eve, if we are going to begin to understand this two-thousand-year-old mysterious event.

When Adam and Eve were created, they were created immortal. That is, they could not die, as death had not yet entered into the world. This is attested to by the pronouncement of God himself:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17.)

If death was in the future tense, then death could not be in the present tense. Thus, Adam and Eve were immortal and could not at the present time die, as death had not yet entered into the world.

As it turned out, and as all believing Christians know, Adam and Eve did partake of that forbidden fruit, whatever it may have been. This indeed did bring forth that prophesied death into the world, albeit 900 plus years later, bringing into focus that a day unto the Lord is equivalent to a thousand years of man (2 Peter 3:8).

That act of disobedience also brought sin into the world. And here, we must understand that sin, in the context of the Bible, is simply disobedience to God’s commandments—nothing more, nothing less. No one outside of Christianity appreciates the concept of sin. Even for many Christians, the idea of sin has a somewhat sinister connotation.

However, in addition to this physical death of which God spoke, Adam and Even underwent another kind of death—a spiritual death. This spiritual death occurred when Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden eastward in Eden and thus were separated from the physical presence of God. Previous to this, they both walked with and talked to God. Hence, they were literally in the presence of God when they were in the garden in Eden.

As mortals living in today’s world, we continue to suffer from these two deaths—physical and spiritual. Our physical bodies die and molder in the ground, or would, were it not for the embalming process. On the other hand, our spirit bodies leave our physical bodies, which, ultimately, is the real cause of death, although illness and old age hasten that finality.

Without our spirit bodies, our physical bodies have no life in and of themselves. And in dying, we continue to be separated from the presence of God. That is, we would were there no atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But we’ll get to that.

So, thousands of years later, we continue to suffer from these two deaths because of Adam and Eve’s transgression. However, we are not born in sin, as many Christian religions believe and teach, due to Adam and Eve’s transgression. We are each responsible for our own sins and no one else’s. That is what the scriptures teach us, although there is one verse that suggests that we are born in sin. However, this is not supported by the rest of scripture, so I have to assume that some self-serving copyist inserted that one verse. You may, of course, believe as you have been taught, but I tend to view the scriptures as a whole, rather than a single verse, with very few exceptions.

What it all boils down to is this: we as mortals are all subject to sin or disobedience. All have sinned.

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20.)

And if there’s not a just man living on the earth who does not sin, then we can assume that those whom God considers unjust also sin.

And I’m sure it’s commonly believed that no unclean thing can enter into heaven, else heaven becomes polluted and unclean. If that’s not in the Bible, it should be because it’s true.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7.)

This man, who would later come to be known as Adam, became the first living, at least animal life, on the face of the earth, bar none, according to the chronology given in Genesis chapter 2.

For a treatment on whether the creation of Adam and Eve was literal or figurative, you may wish to read my two-part series, starting at: “Was Adam Created from Clay?”

First there was water in some form (we’re told it was a mist) that watered the whole face of the earth, then there was Adam.
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God Rests

Before we move on to the next phase of earth’s physical creation, let us look at the following verses:

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:2-3.)

What exactly is meant by the word “rested”? It certainly implies a ceasing of some sort of activity; i.e., in this case, the physical creation of the earth, as well as the spirit formation of heaven and earth’s flora and fauna established in Genesis chapter 1. But is there anything else we might learn from this word?
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The Creation of Mankind

Now we shall consider the creation sequence that exists in Genesis chapter 2. It isn’t as extensive as in chapter 1 and only covers the physical creation or formation of the earth’s fauna and flora.

However, before we begin, let us take a closer look at Genesis 1:26-28:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth . . .

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It’s All Wrong

This may come as a shock to you, and perhaps you won’t believe it, but a good deal of what we’ve been taught in Sunday School about the creation of the earth is wrong.

However, before you get your knickers up, to quote an old expression, allow me to explain.

If you read Genesis chapters one and two carefully, you should come across a bit of a conundrum: Why are there two creation accounts instead of just one?

Be honest: Have you ever noticed that before? If you did, what did you think about it? That it’s just repetition?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we been taught since we were toddlers, and for thousands of years before that, that Genesis chapter one chronicles the physical creation of the earth and all that dwells on it?

If that’s so, why, then, are there two separate creation accounts, or at least one whole and one partial account? And the second one in reverse order from the first?

What if there were, in fact, two separate creations? What if Genesis chapter one chronicles the spiritual creation of the earth (i.e., earth as a spirit body) and chapter two chronicles the physical creation of the people and things that were to dwell upon the physical earth?

Before you write me off as a certifiable nut job, consider the following.

A Spiritual Creation

Did you know that all those who would ever inhabit the earth—human, plant and animal—were created even before Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden? It’s true. Of course, you might just say it’s my interpretation and you might even be right. However, we find in Genesis 2:1 the following:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

Does anyone really ever pay much attention to that one little innocuous verse? Think about it. What could this possibly mean?

Just so we’re on the same page, let us look at the possible meaning of the word “host.”

First, we’ll look in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. According to the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, the word for “host” (#6635) means “a mass of persons (or fig[uratively] things).”

Next, we’ll look in my Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary, Second Concise Edition. There are three different entries for the word “host,” labeled “host1,” “host2,” and “host3.” We’ll be interested in number three, definition two: “a multitude; great number.” It’s the one that comes closest to the context of our subject. You can look up the other meanings if you so desire.

Using these ideas, we might with reverence rephrase Genesis 2:1 as follows: “The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the multitude of peoples and other things that would dwell upon it.”

If you have a better explanation of what this verse means, I’d welcome discussion on the matter. Meanwhile, we’ll continue on in this vein.

I realize this is a new concept and might not be easy to accept. I only ask that you put aside any critical desires until you read all four parts of this series. Thank you.

Let us consider the following points:

  1. Genesis chapter 1 chronicles the spiritual creation of the earth and its host.
  2. Genesis 1:1-10 could also represent the physical creation of the earth, as the order seems a logical one.
  3. Genesis 2:1 states that all that would dwell in the heavens and earth had already been created or formed. By implication, this creation would have to be spiritual. The creation of this great multitude or host could not have been physical, for obvious reasons.
  4. Genesis chapter 2 chronicles the physical creation or formation of life on the earth and in the heavens at the time of Adam and Eve.

Here’s a question to consider: If all the people, animals (fauna) and plant life (flora) were created or formed spiritually, or with spirit bodies, if you will, then where are they?

If Genesis chapter 1 were indeed the spiritual creation of the earth, or even the physical creation of the earth, then I would have to assume that all the host of them were placed on the earth at that time and are yet upon the earth in some kind of higher spiritual plane of existence or dimension that we are physically unaware of. Modern quantum theory certainly allows for a number of other dimensions.

Whether this spirit form of the earth is the same size as the physical form of the earth, I cannot say. However, I would have to think the spiritual earth would be larger to accommodate this great host of human, animal and plant life.

This idea is not a new concept. It has been known for a long time that not only humans, but animals and plant life, have auras surrounding them. This has been seen through the use of Kirlian photography, as well as by people with extra sensitive perception.

These auras actually extend beyond the limits of the physical bodies that contain them. So, it should not be too far a stretch to imagine that the aura, or spirit body of the earth, could extend beyond its physical limitations or boundaries, even as the auras, or spirit bodies of earth’s inhabitants, do.

A Christian Conundrum

There are a growing number of people who believe that not only was Jesus married, but like many of the prophets before him, had more than one wife. According to this theory, these additional wives, along with other notable women, followed him around as he went about preaching, providing sustenance for him and his twelve apostles.

From the scriptures, we know that there was a contingent of women who, in fact, did follow Jesus around. Some of them were named and some were not. Some relationships were given; others were not.

Is it possible that some of these “were nots” may have been Jesus’ wives? We can’t really know without a new revelation. And I’m wondering, if there were a new revelation, and it revealed that Jesus was, in fact, married and had several wives, how many Christians would believe it? The cry of false prophet would undoubtedly be heard throughout the land.
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