Sacred Cow Number Three – Jesus Died Spiritually

1 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – Vol. 10 Issue 4 – April 2005 – Sacred Cow Number Three – Jesus Died Spiritually – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Three – Jesus Died Spiritually

(see also special note at the end of article)scancow20050001

 The problem with doctrinal error is that when it is left unchecked, like leaven in bread, it spreads and expands into further deeper errors; which is why our Lord warned us:

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees….Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matthew 16:6,12

This is especially true of the Word of Faith (WOF) cult and their heretical stance regarding the Person of Jesus Christ. From their error concerning His humanity and deity the gyre of error widens and now must include the atonement for our sins by Jesus.

Last month Truth Matters examined the WOF belief that Jesus ministered only as a man while on earth, albeit a man anointed with the Holy Spirit. The Word of Faith (WOF) cult so divided His divine from human nature that, according to their belief, Jesus never operated as God from His divinity. This is an ancient heretical view taught chiefly by Nestorians, and is condemned as a damnable doctrine by various Church Councils, especially that of Chalcedon.

Since God had given Adam complete dominion over the earth and he in turn gave it over to Satan, Satan became the “god” of this world. In order to exercise any legal authority here one must have a physical body and be a human being, which is why Christ came in the flesh. So, according to the cultists, He could battle Satan as a man, just as the first Adam had done (and lost). This second Adam hopefully would be victorious where the first Adam failed. This time the battle ground was not in the Garden of Eden, but at the cross and beyond it into the bowels of hell itself. Let me allow E.W. Kenyon to explain his view:

Jesus the Sinner Man

“The Revelation that Paul received in II Corinthians 5:21 is that God actually made Him to become sins for us. he not only bore our sins, but the sin-nature itself was laid upon Him, until He became all that spiritual death had made man…1Timothy 3:16 reveals that Christ was justified in Spirit. He in identification, had become so utterly one with us that He Himself needed justification when man’s penalty was paid. The next step in Redemption was that He who had been made sin be begotten of God…Jesus Christ, when man’s penalty has been paid, had to be born of God and pass from death into life just as man, because He had become identified with our Spiritual Death. After Christ has been justified in spirit and born of God, He conquered Satan as a man. It is evident that Satan tried to hold Christ within his authority. Satan did hold Christ until God could declare man righteous.” (1)

He is the first born out of spiritual death, the first person who was ever born again…His spirit absolutely became impregnated with the sin nature of the world…Christ did not have sin reckoned to Him. He was made to be sin….This is a remarkable fact, that Jesus was born again before He was raised from the dead…Jesus, after He had been justified and made alive in the spirit, became Satan’s master. And ‘having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it’ (Col. 2:15). It is more graphic in a marginal rendering. ‘Having put off from himself the principalities and the powers (It would seem as though the whole hosts of hell were upon him he was going through agonies beyond words, and suddenly is justified, made alive) ‘He hurls back the hosts of darkness’….He had conquered Satan. He had stripped him of his authority. Keys represent authority. Jesus was master of all hell. He did not conquer Satan for Himself. Jesus conquered Satan for us, for you and for me. (2)

Every WOF teacher proclaims this message regarding the atonement and it is nothing less than damnable blasphemy. According to Kenyon’s doctrine (which is parroted by Copeland, Meyer, Price, Capps, Butler, Tilton, Savelle, Duplantis, Dollar, et al.) Jesus did not bear our sins on the cross. He became an actual sinner. As any sinner, He needed to be regenerated spiritually (born-again) by God, which according to Kenyon this is what happened in hell.

Kenneth Copeland has popularized Kenyon’s heresy to such a degree he did a tape series entitled “What Happened From the Cross to the Throne” which is the exact title of one of Kenyon’s more “popular” books. The book and tape series are available in may non-discerning Christian bookstores.

Now here’s the part I want you to get When He said, “It is finished,” on that cross he was not speaking of the plan of redemption — the plan of redemption had just begun. There were still three days and three nights to be gone through before He went to the throne…See, you have to realize that He (Jesus) 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…The righteousness of God was made to be sin.

He (Jesus) accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit and at the moment that He did that 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, obeying the instruction of God, hung the serpent up on the pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me. I said, “Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there the sign of Satan? Why didn’t you put a lamb on that pole.” And the Lord said, “Because it was the sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.” He said, “I accepted in my own spirit spiritual death and the light was turned off.”    (3)

“It wasn’t a physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin…anybody can do that.    (4)

“It is finished” obviously does not mean that, now we have “greater light” on the true meaning of Jesus’ words. Christ did not win redemption for sinful humanity on the cross. NO! The human sinful man Jesus in hell won it for us after being tormented by Satan and his demons for 3 days! Lest no one thinks Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest congregation in America, is not a WOF heretic, at least regarding this most central tenant of our faith simply read the statement below from one of his sermons:

“The Bible indicates that for three days, Jesus went into the very depths of hell. Right into the enemy’s own territory. And He did battle with Satan face to face. Can you imagine what a show down that was?    (5)

Joel Osteen is on record stating in Charisma magazine that “people aren’t interested in theology.” Which unfortunately is true and sets them up to believe such utter nonsense as Osteen is cited spewing.

Kenneth Hagin’s (6) “son in the Gospel,“ Fred Price (raised a Jehovah Witness), pastor of the mega-church, Crenshaw Christian Center in California, teaches the same heresy:

Price explains  “Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God…Satan and all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound. And they threw a net over Jesus and they dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence.     (7)

I do not want to be remiss and leave out one of America’s most popular female Bible “teachers” Joyce Meyer, on this subject since she is equally dogmatic in her assertions:

“Jesus said ‘It is finished.’ And He meant the Old Covenant. The job He had to do was just getting started. He really did the job the three days and nights that He was in hell. That’s where the job was done. He was pronounced guilty on the cross but He paid the price in hell. (8)

“There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth I am presenting. You cannot go to heaven unless you believe with all your heart that Jesus took your place in hell. (9)

I could cite five or ten other televised WOF preachers, but they would all be saying the same thing. Sadly, to our knowledge none of these media stars has ever recanted their heretical views concerning Christ Jesus and His atoning death on the cross. Nor have any of them repented of their biblical inaccuracies regarding His nature as both God and man.

Did Jesus Atone For Our Sins, As a Sinner in Hell?

To begin with, the WOF cult faith has resurrected a concept of the atonement that was deemed heretical by the Church. The “ransom theory” of the atonement taught that Jesus died to buy mankind back from Satan

Remember that in the March issue of Truth Matters, I discussed the WOF view on how Adam gave Satan his authority in the fall, thus making Satan the “god” of this world. In their belief system, God had to buy back mankind, who, due to Adam’s sin were the property of Satan. Charles Hodge, the Reformed theologian gives us a good understanding of this concept:

The [theory] appeals to the old principle of the rights of war, according to which the conquered became the slaves of the conqueror. Satan conquered Adam, and thus became the rightful owner of him and his posterity. Hence he is called the god and prince of this world. To deliver men from this dreadful bondage, Christ offered Himself as a ransom to Satan. Satan accepted the offer, and renounced his right to retain mankind as his slaves. In answer to the question, How Satan could accept Christ as the ransom for men, if he knew Him to be a divine person? It was said that he did not know Him to be divine, because His divinity was veiled by His humanity. (10)

There are at least four reasons why the ransom theory was later rejected by the Church. First, Satan has no claim on the lost per se, they are not his property which have to be purchased by Christ’s death. Secondly, Satan is not the one who must be satisfied by the sacrifice before sinners can be redeemed.

Thirdly, in the Bible the Greek work for ransom simply means “redemption-price”, it does not necessarily imply a price paid to Satan. Fourthly, The Bible plainly teaches that Christ’s atonement was a sacrifice to God (read Eph. 5:2 and Isaiah. 53:10). So their initial premise is wrong and thus everything that springs from it equally wrong.

This WOF teaches that when Jesus said “it is finished” He was not referring to His atoning death (read John 19:20). They teach that what He meant was that the Abrahamic covenant was finished, redemption was yet to be completed. Jesus at this point, a sinner, had to be dragged into hell by demonic forces and suffer being tormented by Satan and demons for three days.

To begin with, Jesus was not a sinner. How can God ever sin? If He did then He would cease to be God and Jesus never ceased being God as we examined in last month’s issue. WOF heretics misinterpret 2 Cor. 5:21. Here is what A.T. Robertson, Greek scholar has to say regarding that text:

2 Cor 5:21Him who knew no sin. Definite claim by Paul that Jesus did not commit sin, had no personal acquaintance with it. Jesus made this claim for himself (John 8:46). This statement occurs also in 1 Peter 2:22; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1 John 3:5. Christ was and is “a moral miracle” (Bernard) and so more than mere man. He made to be sin  The words “to be” are not in the Greek. “Sin” here is the substantive, not the verb. God “treated as sin” the one “who knew no sin.” But he knew the contradiction of sinners (Heb 12:3). We may not dare to probe too far into the mystery of Christ’s suffering on the Cross, but this fact throws some light on the tragic cry of Jesus just before he died: “My God, My God, why didst thou forsake me?” (Mt. 27:46). That we might become Note “become.” This is God’s purpose in what he did and in what Christ did. Thus alone can we obtain God’s righteousness (Ro 1:17). (11)

Jesus bore our sins, God the Father poured out His wrath on the Lamb of God who took our place on the cross. When Jesus said “it is finished” He was directly referring to His atoning death for the sins of the world.

Next, we have no evidence of Satan or demons dragging this “man” whose nature was now united with Satan’s into hell to be tormented. Satan is not currently in hell, he does not rule hell nor do his demon hosts. There is not one text which shows Satan as a ruler in hell. His followers will be cast into the lake of fire (read Rev. 19:20) and he himself will be cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 19:2) but that has not yet happened. The only fallen angels/demons who are in “hell” are those who were locked up, imprisoned by God—

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. {first estate: or, principality}. Jude 1:6

The Bible teaches us that our sins were atoned for by Jesus on the cross, not in hell. There is not one scintilla of biblical evidence to support what the WOF teaching, in fact, quite the opposite is true:

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly,  triumphing  over them in it. {in it: or, in himself}. Col. 2:13-15

When Kenyon cites this text he teaches that these events took place in hell by conveniently leaving out the rest of verse 15 “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” A better translation of this text would be triumphing over them on it. Either way “in it” or “on it” directly refers to the work done by Jesus on the cross. Kenyon and his followers simply ignore verse 14 where it states that all our sins against God’s holy law ere taken away by Jesus on the cross. A.T. Robertson says the following about verse 14:

And he hath taken it out of the way (perfect active indicative of airw, old and common verb, to lift up, to bear, to take away. The word used by the Baptist of Jesus as “the Lamb of God that bears away (airwn) the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The perfect tense emphasizes the permanence of the removal of the bond which has been paid and cancelled and cannot be presented again. “When Christ was crucified, God nailed the Law to His cross” (Peake). Hence the “bond” is cancelled for us. (13)

The Apostle Paul further states to the Church at Galatia that it was on the cross where Jesus became a curse for us:

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Gal. 3:13.

If the work of redemption took place in hell then why don’t any of the biblical authors state this? For that matter why don’t any of their followers (the early church fathers) write about this? It really is not until E.W. Kenyon comes along with his blasphemous theory which has never been supported by the Christian Church since inception.

We do confess in the Apostles Creed that “He descended into hell,” but that does not refer to His atoning work not being finished. Let me quote Crenshaw on this matter:

There are good exegetical reasons to reject the idea that He literally went to hell. First, in Luke 22:42, 43 we read “Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you today you will be with Me in Paradise.’ “ The Lord said that the thief would be with Him that very day in heaven, not in hell. That Paradise means heaven is seen from Paul’s statement when he speaks of the “third heaven” and “Paradise” as synonymous (2 Cor. 12:2-4)….Furthermore in Luke 223:46 the Lord said: “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father into Your hands I commend My spirit.’ And having said this, He breathed His last.” He did not commit His spirit to Hades or to the devil…A correct understanding of Peter’s use of David’s words, “You will not leave my soul in Hades…(Acts 2:27), is necessary. Hades here does not mean the fire but the grave. The early church understood it to be the grave. Also, “Hades” sometimes mean the grave (1 Cor. 15:56). Peter used the word to speak of the bodily resurrection of Christ, proving from the Old Testament tht Messiah would rise from the dead (see v. 30), the dead being those who are in graves, not in hell. (14)

There is an in-house debate among genuine Christians regarding what the Apostles Creed means in this statement. Another view is that Jesus did descend into hell victorious and proclaim His victory to those “spirits in prison” (read I Peter 3:18). In this view Jesus is in Abraham’s bosom and in this upper portion proclaims that redemption is complete and at His ascension He took the waiting believers with Him to heaven. This is the position I believe, but I cite Crenshaw to give you a better understanding of what Christians believe regarding this matter.

Jesus the First “Born-Again” Man?

As I quoted from Copeland’s tape series earlier in this article it is the standard belief among the teachers of WOF that Jesus, as a born-again man defeated Satan in his own domain. Their favorite proof text they cite is found in Hebrews:

For to which of the angels did God even say, “You are my Son today I have become your Father”?  {5 Or have begotten you}  (5 Psalm 2:7) Or again, “I will be his Father and he will be my Son”? (5 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chron. 17:13} And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” {6 Deut. 32:43 (see Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint} Hebrews 1:5,6

They interpret this text to mean that at some point God the Son ceased to be God, His human nature being completely torn away from His divine nature, leaving Jesus as only a man in hell and that once Jesus was spiritually re-born (in hell) then “again” the heavenly Father say “and He will be my Son.”

Furthermore they teach that when Jesus was reborn and took the keys of death, hell and the grave from Satan (in hell) and ascends back to the earth and is physically resurrected that is when God “brings his firstborn into the world.” That is the teaching of the WOF cult regarding this text in Hebrews.

Is this the correct interpretation? The WOF preachers miss the point of this text altogether, most likely because their house of cards needs to be shored up by some biblical citation, even if it is taken out of context.

In Hebrews 1:5 His deity comes to the forefront as He is presented as the exalted Son whom the angels are to worship. He is exalted in that He came into the world as the “firstborn,” the preeminent one. Jesus is “begotten” to this relationship with the Father, that is, recognized. The Father is not making Him God or giving Him something new regarding His deity but is not making Him God or giving Him something new regarding His deity but only recognizing what He is: son, begotten firstborn, and God…The today’ has no particular reference and the “begotten” is simply recognition that Jesus is the “Son, the Begotten, the Firstborn, and God” (Heb. 1:5-8). Again the context militates against the idea that He was morally born again. (15)

Crenshaw’s statement is very clear and A.T. Robertson’s comments on these verses also shed light on their true meaning and context:

Heb 1:5 – Unto which , “To which individual angel.” As a class angels are called sons of God (Elohim) (Ps. 29:1), but no single angel is called God’s Son like the Messiah in Ps. 2:7. Dods takes “have I begotten thee”, perfect active indicative of , to refer to the resurrection and ascension while others refer it to the incarnation. And again. This quotation is from 2 Sa. 7:14. Note the use of the predicate with the sense of “as” like the Hebrew (LXX idiom), not preserved in the English. See Mt. 19:5; Lu 2:34. Like Old English “to” or “For” See 2 Co 6:18; Re 21:7 for the same passage applied to relation between God and Christians while here it is treated as Messianic.

Heb 1:6 – And when he again bringeth in. Indefinite temporal clause with , the reference is to the Second Coming as in 9:28. It merely introduces another quotation (Ps. 97:7) parallel to; in verse 5, the reference is to the incarnation when the angels did worship the Child Jesus (Lu 2:13f.). There is no way to decide certainly about it. The first-born See Ps. 89:28. For this compound adjective applied to Christ in relation to the universe see Col. 1:15, to other men, Ro 8:29; Col 1:18 to the other children of Mary, Lu 2:7; here it is used absolutely. The world  “The inhabited earth.  See Ac 17:6 Let worship Imperative first aorist active third plural of here in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. This quotation is from the LXX MSS. (except F) have , but the substance does occur also in Ps. 97:7

The grammar is very clear as is the obvious meaning, the author of Hebrews was not referring to God the Father giving birth or reestablishing Jesus as God the Son. The WOF stresses the two words “again” in the verse in a vain attempt to prove their blasphemous doctrine regarding the atonement.

In putting a very sharp fork into this sacred cow, because it is finished, let’s be very clear that our Lord Jesus paid for the penalty of our sins by bearing them (not becoming a sinner) on the cross and certainly not in hell as a born-again man. This is one of the most damnable of the WOF sacred cows which demands cremation and then a scattering of its ashes over the grave of E.W. Kenyon.   ♦

Copyright ©  2005  Robert S. Liichow

 ** A SPECIAL NOTE CONCERNING THIS ARTICLE:

In writing about this “sacred cow” I used strong language such as “damnable heresy,” and “blasphemy.” It is important for you, the reader, to understand that when it comes to the nature of Christ and His atoning work on the cross it is essential that we have the correct biblical understanding. The WOF cult is wrong to such a degree that those believing what they teach concerning Jesus and His work on the cross cannot be considered Christians. This is no small issue. It is the center of the Gospel. You get this wrong then all that flows from that error leads one only into further darkness.

I am not saying that everyone who attends a WOF “church” is unsaved, only the Lord knows those who are truly His. Yet I do tremble with godly fear fro those who persistently teach such blasphemy even after being warned of their errors on several occasions by various ministers, including DMI.

Please pray for these teachers. They hold sway over millions of professing believers. Ask our Lord in His mercy to open their eyes and grant them repentance and the humility to publicly admit and recant their former doctrines.

________________________________________

End Notes

1. Kenyon, E.W. The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption Old Tappen, NJ 1969, pp. 165, 166,167. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

2. Kenyon, E.W. what Happened from the Cross to the Throne, Old Tappen, NJ, 1969, pp. 63,64,65. The reason for all of the ellipses is for the sake of space. You can find Kenyon’s book in almost any ‘Christian’ bookstore and read it for yourself, but what I have cited carries his main thought regarding the atonement of Christ. Bold type and underlining added.

3. Copeland, Kenneth. What Happened from the Cross to the Throne, side two of cassette one. Underlining added.

4. Copeland, Kenneth. What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost, audiotape #BCC-19, side 1.

5. Osteen, Joel. Sermon, CS-002 – April 23, 2000, “The Truth of The Resurrection.”

6. Kenneth Hagin senior, considered by many to be the “father” of the Word of Faith died recently. Sadly his legacy of error continues through his son and grandson, not to mention the several thousand graduates of his legacy of error continues through his son and grandson, not to mention the several thousand graduates of Hagin’s “Bible” school, Rhema Bible Training Center.

7. Ever Increasing Faith Messenger [June 1980] 7; quoted in D.R. McConnell, A different Gospel, 1988 120.

8. Meyer, Joyce. From the Cross to the Throne. Quote obtained from http://www.myfortress.org/DidJesusPayForOurSinsInHell.html Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

9. Meyer, Joyce. The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make. Pg. 37, 1991 edition. To DMI’s knowledge Joyce has not redacted her booklet which is given away to people who want to get “born-again.” In her mind if they do not accept the sinful man Jesus redeeming us then there can be no hope of them going to heaven! Pretty amazing when you consider that the Orthodox Christian Church has never taught such a doctrine nor accepted any aspects of what the WOF presents as the atonement.

10. Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theolgy vol. 2 pg. 564.

11. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures, BibleWorks software ver. 4.0, 1999

12. Mary K. Baxter wrote a bestselling book which alleges she visited hell on 40 occasions with Jesus. In her book “The Divine Revelation of Hell” she shows Satan and demons ruling and reigning in hell tormented the damned. It is pure nonsense and contradicts the Bible on almost every page, yet has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and now is in something like 30 different languages!

13. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures, BibleWorks software, ver. 4.0 1999

14. Crenshaw, Curtis. Man as God Foot Stool Publication, pp. 431,442, 1994.

15. Ibid. pp. 333-323. Underlining added.

16. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures, BibleWorks software, vr. 4.0, 199.

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