by Jimmy Swaggart May 2014As we begin the treatment of this most important subject, “The Message of the Cross,” we must begin with Christ, Who He is and What He has done for us.
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
Let’s quickly state, “Jesus Christ is the son of the living god,” in reality, “God manifest in the flesh.” He is “the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Saviour of man.”
Were Jesus Christ a mere man, albeit ever so talented, ever so educated, ever so charismatic, and ever so intelligent, that would be one thing. However, if Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, and He most definitely is, then that’s something else altogether.
Please note the following:
»» The only way to God is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6 KJV).
»» The only way to Jesus Christ is by the Means of the Cross (Luke 14:27 KJV).
»» The only way to the Cross is a denial of self (Luke 9:23 KJV).
Jesus Personally stated, and unequivocally so:
““I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (proclaims in no uncertain terms exactly Who and What Jesus is): no man comes unto the Father, but by Me (He declares positively that this idea of God as Father, this approach to God for every man is through Him – through what He is and what He has done).” (John 14:6 KJV).The Expositor’s Study Bible
It is Jesus Christ Who paid the price at Calvary’s Cross for man’s Redemption. No one else paid that price simply because no one else could pay that price. He Alone paid it; therefore, to be Saved, one must accept Christ. There is no other way.
It must be understood, if any doctrine is wrong about Jesus, then whatever else it is they say and do is of no consequence. As stated, He Alone is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Let us say it again:
Everything that we receive from God the Father, and I mean everything, comes to us by and through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One Who paid the price that that door may be opened. No one else did because no one else could.
John the Beloved probably gave the greatest definition of Who Christ is of any writer in the Word of God. He did so as the Spirit of God moved upon him and in such a way that it defies all description. Let’s look at it phrase by phrase. It is taken directly from the First Chapter, even beginning with the First Verse of the Gospel that bears his name.
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD
The phrase, “In the beginning was the Word,” refers to the Incarnate Christ but speaks of His Existence before the Incarnation.
The word, “Beginning,” does not imply that He had a beginning because, as God, He had no beginning, but it refers to the time of Creation and corresponds with Genesis 1:1 KJV.
George Williams says, “As speech reveals mind, so Jesus as the Word reveals God. But to reveal God He must Himself be God, for only God could reveal God.”George Williams, William’s Complete Bible Commentary, Grand Rapids, Kregel Publications, 1994, pg. 777.
It is extremely interesting that the Holy Spirit through John describes Jesus as the “Word,” i.e., “the Eternal Logos.” This can refer to an expression of thought but is never used by New Testament writers in that fashion. They always use it in the realm of “speech,” “utterance,” or “word,” or so the Greek scholars claim.
For instance, in the record of the Creation in Genesis, Chapter 1, the proclamation of Creation is described eight times by the expression, “And God said.” The “Word” which was uttered was so powerful that it could only come from the Omnipotent Word.
As an example, the Jewish translators and commentators had so thoroughly grasped the idea that they were accustomed to substituting the phrase, “Memar-Jah,” “The Word of the Lord,” for the Name of the Most High.
They seemed to feel that the Lord could be better understood in the form of this expression, which proclaimed, at least in their minds, His Eternal and Absolute Being.
THE ETERNAL WORD OR LOGOS
As well, the Eternal Word, or “Logos,” was not placed in suspension during the 33 and one-half years of the Incarnation of Christ. Even though He was Very Man, still, He was Very God. As someone has well said, “While Jesus laid aside the expression of His Deity, He never for a moment lost possession of His Deity.” Consequently, the “Word” He was and, therefore, gave before the Incarnation carried through the Incarnation, thus never ceasing to exercise the functions which belonged to His Eternal Glory.
The Rev. R. H. Reynolds said, “He was ‘in the beginning,’ and therefore existed before all Creation. He did not ‘become.’ He was not ‘made.’ He ‘was!’”H.D.M. Spence, The Pulpit Commentary: Vol. 1, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1978.
AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD
The phrase, “And the Word was with God,” expresses the idea of the Trinity.
This tells us that Jesus, i.e., “the Word,” ever-existed (was), and that He had a personal existence, for He was with God.
The Greek scholars say that this statement as given by John is difficult to translate. It is equivalent to, “Was in relationship with God,” or, “Stood over against,” not in space or time, but eternally and constitutionally. In other words, it is more than just merely being with God, as we think of such a term, but actually having the same relation, which the next phrase declares.
AND THE WORD WAS GOD
The phrase, “And the Word was God,” does not mean that before the Incarnation He was God, but ceased to be during the Incarnation, but rather the opposite. He “was” God before the Incarnation; He “was” God during the Incarnation; He “was” God after the Incarnation; and He “was” and “is” God from eternity past to eternity future.
THE SAME WAS IN THE BEGINNING WITH GOD
“The same,” i.e., this very Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, was in eternity with God. The Holy Spirit emphasizes this in order to declare His Eternal Relationship as the Son with the Father.
However, there is no indication that the Logos was a second God or merely Divine or God-like, neither is He described as proceeding out of or from God, nor is He to be called “the God absolute,” as opposed to all His Manifestations; but the “Logos” is said to be “God” — God in His Nature and Being.
Reynolds said: “He stands over and against the Eternal God in mutual communion with the Absolute and the Eternal.”H.D.M. Spence, The Pulpit Commentary: Vol. 1, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1978.
To attempt to understand the Trinity:
• The “Father” is “God” but not “first God.”
• The “Son” is “God” but not “second God.”
• The “Holy Spirit” is “God” but not “third God.”
There is only One God but manifested in Three Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
As God, They had no beginning and have no ending. As God, They are uncaused, unformed, and unmade. As God, They always were and always shall be. As God, They are self-sufficient and have need of nothing.
ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM
This denies the theory of the eternity of matter, which was held by some in ancient times and continues to be claimed by some.
An absolute distinction, therefore, exists between Jesus and Creation.
As well, the pronoun, “Him,” referring to Jesus, makes it distinct that the “Word” is a Person.
The two words, “All things,” refer to every item of Creation, one by one, rather than all things regarded in totality. This tells us, at least according to the limit of our comprehension, that Jesus painstakingly saw to the individual Creation of each being, plant, planet, star, etc. As Paul said, “For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him” (Col 1:16 KJV).
In Verse 1, we are also told how He did this. The “Logos,” or “Word,” is the organ or instrument by which everything, one by one, was made.
Paul wrote in Hebrews: ““Through Faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God (refers to Creation, along with everything that goes with Creation), so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (God began with nothing, thereby, speaking into existence the things needed to create the universe)” (Heb 11:3 KJV).
AND WITHOUT HIM WAS NOT ANYTHING MADE THAT WAS MADE
The phrase of our heading says the same thing as the first phrase but in an opposite manner in order to stress the emphasis of Jesus as Creator.
The words, “Without Him,” mean that independently of His Cooperation and Volition, nothing, not even one single thing, was made.
When one considers the order of Creation and how it functions according to set laws and never varies from these laws, continuing to fulfill the creative order, one cannot help but be totally awed.
Other than the absolute absurdity and stupidity which characterize the vapid philosophy of evolution, the sheer affront to God as Creator by the propagation of this lie, and a lie it is, is the greatest insult of all. Actually, evolution is an insult to intelligence in any capacity. The idea that something on its own can be brought out of nothing is the beginning of this lie. In other words, evolution has no explanation for the first cause.
We know what the first cause is, “In the beginning God …” (Gen 1:1 KJV). As well, the thought that something can gradually come from disorganized matter into a well-ordered structure, which is the very heart of evolution, is the very opposite of that which really happens. If left unattended and uncultivated, there is always a regression instead of a progression. That is the reason the Lord told Adam and Eve, “… Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the Earth” (Gen 1:28 KJV).
“In Him was Life; and the Life was the Light of men” (John 1:4 KJV).
The phrase, “In Him was Life,” presents Jesus, the Eternal Logos, as the First Cause.
While it is true that Creation exists in Him, still, to use the term only in that manner is error. Life exists in Him, which brought about the Creation. As well, this brought Him into relationship with a special part of His Creation, which is man, with whom was all His Delight.
Many men can create things, even as God, albeit on a much lower scale. However, inasmuch as man contains no life solely derived within himself, whatever he creates is dependent on the first cause, Who is God.
As an example, when man created the air-plane, or anything else for that matter, he had to power that invention by some type of source which only comes from God, and which is dependent, as well, on other laws created by God.
However, the “Life” which is in Christ is derived solely from Him, with Him dependent on nothing outside of Himself.
Actually, this is the reason for man’s terrible dilemma. At the Fall, he lost the “Life” imparted to him by God and has nothing left but death; consequently, man is born dying. As well, death inculcates itself in all of Creation in this world simply because of the Fall. The Life it had derived from God was lost; consequently, inasmuch as there is no other life, man must die, as well as all he touches.
AND THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT OF MEN
The phrase, “And the Life was the Light of men,” proclaims two things:
1. Before the Fall, Jesus was the “Light of men,” which means there was no other life and no other light.
Reynolds said, “The Life which was in the Logos ‘was, has always been, is now, will ever be the Light of men.’”Ibid.
When men fell from that Light Source, they had to fall into darkness because there was no other light; consequently, there could be no other “light.” The “Life” and “Light” are exclusively in Him.
2. When the “Light” at the Fall was lost due to the “Life” being rejected, God immediately set about to restore the “Life,” which would automatically bring the “Light.”
There is “Life” in Creation, with men attempting to worship that “Life,” not realizing or believing that it is derived from God. That is why Paul said, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”
He then said, “Who changed the Truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 1:22-23, 25 KJV).
The phrase, “Light of men,” is an extremely interesting statement. This “Light” cannot be unless it is derived from the “Life” which is in Jesus. And yet, men attempt to find “Light” in various other places. This is because of the way that man fell.
Satan told man a lie and was successful in getting him to believe it. He told Adam and Eve, “… then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:5 KJV). However, their eyes were not opened, but rather closed, i.e., the “Light” was gone!
BELIEVING A LIE
As well, by disobeying God and, in effect, rebelling against Him, they did not gain godhood as promised by Satan, but rather fell to the level of demon-hood. This is the reason that demon spirits make their abode in the bodies and minds of much of humanity, either through direct possession or through influence and oppression.
As well, the Fall was of such magnitude and to such a degree that there is no way man can fully comprehend its extent. He cannot tell how far he has fallen because he has no idea of his original state; consequently, there is no way to make a comparison. Man knows that something is wrong, but due to having no “light,” he does not know exactly what it is. He continues to think it can be corrected by education, money, or various different philosophies. Hence, he opts for modern psychology even though it does not work, and he knows it does not work.
He thinks he is only slightly maladjusted and can be quickly rehabilitated. Consequently, he talks about the “psychology of life,” which is man’s answer to man’s dilemma, or “the strength from within,” as if he can solve his own problems. However, this he cannot do, despite the fact of thousands of years of trying.
Into this torment of failure, God became Man and came into this world as the “Last Adam.” As such, He brought back “Life,” which the first Adam lost, and with it, the “Light.” Outside of Christ, there is no “light” of men.
“And the Light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5 KJV).
The phrase, “And the Light shines in darkness,” speaks of the Incarnation of Christ and His Coming into this world. Because it is derived from His “Life,” His “Light” drives out “darkness.” As we have repeatedly stated, that “Light” is Jesus. There is no other, not Joseph Smith, Buddha, Carl Marx, Confucius, Muhammad, etc. All others are false, and He Alone is the Light.
This is the reason that the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be taken to all points of the world, even as Jesus said, “… unto the uttermost part of the Earth” (Acts 1:8 KJV). The reason is obvious; there is no other light.
If Jesus is presented, the Light will “shine”; if not, the darkness will remain.
That is the reason we plead, even to the point of begging for funds to air the television programming in every city in the world that will open its door to us.
We do this for two reasons:
1. This, “the taking of the Gospel to the world,” is the business of every Believer. He brought the “Light” down to this sin-cursed world, but it is our responsibility to carry forth that Light. I speak of every single Believer, irrespective as to who or where they are.
2. Above this burden and Call, which are incumbent upon every Believer, I, along with some few others, have a special Call from the Lord respecting television and radio. In other words, He has especially called me to do this thing; consequently, it is something I must do! I have no alternative or choice, and neither do I desire such. As a result, we have seen hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and I exaggerate not, brought to a Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ, for which we give the Lord all the praise and all the glory. To be frank, that is the reason Satan has fought so hard, attempting to get our telecast removed from the air. Regrettably, Satan has used the church in this effort of darkness even more than the world.
This means that most of that which calls itself “church,” may, in fact, be church, but not that which belongs to God. Satan has a “church” as well! It looks very similar to the real thing, which is Satan’s intention, but its real purpose is to stop the Gospel instead of proclaiming the Gospel.
Yes, there are some few good Churches, and thank God for those, but that number is few and, sadly and regrettably, getting less and less all the time. I personally feel that the modern church is in worse condition spiritually than it ever has been since the Reformation.
I believe that this is the reason the Holy Spirit is promoting the Message of the Cross at this particular time. In fact, the Church began with the Message of the Cross. This great Revelation, which is the meaning of the New Covenant, was given to the Apostle Paul, and he gave to us in his 14 Epistles.
After the original Apostles and those who knew them died off, little by little the Church began to go into spiritual declension. In about the year 600, it finally morphed into that which is now known as the Catholic church. I realize that the Catholic church claims that it started with Peter; however, the first man, the Bishop of Rome, to be referred to as “Pope” was in the early 600’s. Then, in the early 1600’s, the Reformation took place. It was basically based upon the great subject of “Justification by Faith.” This means that Justification is not in the church but only in Christ and what He did for us at the Cross.
That was followed in the late 1700’s and 1800’s by the great Holiness Message, which stressed Sanctification. At the turn of the 20th century, the Church experienced the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s Prophecy concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. The Pentecostal Message touched the world with the Gospel. I know because the Lord permitted us to have a part in this effort. In fact, in the 1980’s, our telecast was aired over a great part of the world, translated into several languages. We saw literally hundreds of thousands brought to a Saving Knowledge of Jesus Christ.
However, sad to say, the Pentecostal denominations are little more preaching the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. In fact, many of them are denying that Tongues are the initial, physical evidence that one has been baptized with the Spirit. Now, into this comes the Message of the Cross, meaning that the Church has now come full circle. In fact, The Message of the Cross, I believe, is that which the Holy Spirit is presently saying to the Churches (Revelation Chapters 2-3 KJV).
The phrase, “And the darkness comprehended it not,” has reference to the fact that Satan did everything within Hell’s power to stop the “Light from shining,” but in that, he failed.
The Greek word for “comprehended” is “Katalambano,” and means, “To seize upon; to keep down or under; to stop.”
As stated, the Evil One did everything he could to stop the shining of that Light, but in that, he failed. He did not overcome the Word, but, in truth, the Word overcame him and on the Cross spoiled all satanic powers (Col 2:14-17 KJV).
As well, this is not something to be done in the future, but something, in fact, which is already done. “… For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil” (1 John 3:8 KJV).
From the time of Christ, the world has improved in many ways because of the entrance of the “Light,” which comes from His “Life.” Had it not been for the Dark Ages, which were brought about by Satan’s church, the advancement would have been made much sooner. I speak of the Catholic church, which, for hundreds of years, successfully hid the Bible, i.e., “Light,” from man. Regrettably, much of the Protestant world is likewise following in this train.
Even some Pentecostal denominations, who claim to know and have the Holy Spirit, have by and large turned their backs on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. As such, if, in fact, that is the case, they have become Satan’s church. They stop the Gospel instead of proclaiming the Gospel.
Through the years, I, as well as other Preachers, have seen multiple tens of thousands of people delivered from the vilest of sins and bondages by the mighty Power of God. I speak of acute alcoholism, with such bondage being broken. I’ve seen drug addicts delivered, even in the last stages. I speak, as well, of those delivered from the terrible bondage of religion, which, in many cases, is worse than all other bondages. Only Jesus Christ can do such a thing, not man or all his efforts, irrespective as to what they may be. Truly, Jesus Christ and what He did for us at the Cross is the Answer, the Solution, and, in fact, the Only Answer.
(This message was derived from the book by Jimmy Swaggart, “The Message of the Cross.”.)
Scriptures from: (The Expositor’s Study Bible)[KJV/ESB]. iPad & iPhone & Hard Copy: by Jimmy Swaggart.