Poetry of the Crucifixion
Poetry of the Crucifixion
by Lonnie Lane
“People do not believe that I went to hell and that I suffered what they would have suffered had they gone to hell without faith in Me. They do not understand the fullness of My atonement for them nor the substitutionary judgment that I endured on their behalf. They cannot imagine that their sins are so worthy of such torment and separation from all that is good. But I assure you that I endured what they would have. I felt the stings and the abandonment, the hopelessness and the rage of satan against God that pervades hell.”
I woke up with these thoughts from the Lord going around my spirit and felt compelled to get up and write them down. This came in the aftermath of a conversation I recently had with a woman, a lovely Christian woman, who does not believe Yeshua actually went to hell. She can’t imagine her Jesus having to endure that. God, she believes, would never do that to Him. But isn’t that the point of His substitutionary death, to experience what we would if He hadn’t? There was, of course, the opportunity (of satan) to have our differing doctrines bring division between this sister in the Lord and I, but as a dear old friend and one-time pastor often told us, “There is no issue worth taking issue over other than Jesus Himself.” So while I did tell her I believe that my salvation wouldn’t be complete if He had not fully experienced what I would have without Him, while we may not have agreed on the hell issue, we do agree that Jesus (Yeshua) died for our sins and that makes us one in Him which is the far greater issue. We hugged and left it at that.
Death from a Biblical perspective is separation from God first; the physical separation comes as a result of the first (spiritual) death. If mankind had not sinned, there would be no death in the earth. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). In heaven, where there is no sin, there is also no death of any kind. Nothing is diminished from altogether goodness in any way. Imagine, only joy, only peace, only security, only love, only truth, only total acceptance transparency without judgment, only safety, only perfection all in the (I’m lacking an adequate adjective here)….. presence of the Lord and being able to look into His Face and see into His Eyes….and then, “we will be like Him because we see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). Hallelujah for that!!! O, what riches of glory we have before us.
In hell, however, there is no goodness, no light, no comfort, and no hope. It is the entire absence of all that is of God. How do I know that? Well, for one thing, the Bible, and Yeshua in particular, tell us much about hell. Also, God has been taking people to heaven and to hell and returning them to life here to testify about the reality of both. Sid has had numerous people on his radio show and It’s Supernatural TV show who have testified of their experiences in both. You can go to the TV or Radio Archives of Sid’s shows on the website (www.sidroth.org) to listen to or watch Sid’s interviews with, for instance, Richard Sigmund (radio show only), Anna Rountree, Bill Wiese (“23 Minutes in Hell”), Earthquake Kelley, or Mary K. Baxter. There are others, but this is a sampling.
These “visits” to heaven and hell have been happening increasingly in recent years as we come nearer to the end. There is no other explanation for it. Other than God wanting us to know that what happens in the here and now isn’t all there is (Thank God!) and that we need to keep an eternal perspective in our minds and hearts. God wants us to know the consequences of trusting God or rejecting God. No one goes to hell without having made a choice to reject God and His ways. And no one goes to heaven either without having made a choice to open our hearts to God, to receive Him and to willingly and lovingly submit to His Lordship in our lives. To postpone coming to God is to value your independence from God as being more valuable to you than knowing God. Independence is rebellion. Who knows if you have a tomorrow? Not coming to God in repentance for your rebellion and independence once you become aware of it is risky business. Not one I would be willing to take. “Seek the Lord while He may be found (Isa. 55:6).
With the Lord saying those words to me this morning, I posed a question to Him that I have often given thought to: How is it that Yeshua was able to be resurrected from death and from hell if He “was made to be sin on our behalf (2 Cor 5:21)? Wasn’t He then sin-saturated even though He never sinned during His own life? I received the revelation that satisfied this question for me.
It is because Yeshua never sinned through that whole ordeal, including while He was in hell, that death couldn’t hold him. He was able to be released from hell, because in His own spirit, Yeshua, “the last Adam” (1 Cor 15:45), never resorted to what the first Adam did when he rebelled against God and His word to him. It is a heart issue. Yeshua never became bitter or held hatred in His heart toward the people who were responsible for His death, nor toward God as Adam did. Even as He experienced being separated from God He never blamed anyone else, or God as Adam did when he blurted out, “‘The woman YOU gave me’ she made me do it.” (Gen 3:12). He never even became defensive or took action independent of God to be self-protective. He remained reliant on God and submissive to His will, even when He didn’t understand why He was “forsaken” by God.
That “Yeshua learned obedience through the things He suffered” (Heb 5:8) is a great mystery. Whatever He “suffered” before the time of His death, His obedience was absolute and proven at the end of His life. I believe that the separation He felt from His Father was the worst of the experience. Most of us value our relationship with God even above our own lives. What would life be without Him once you know Him? I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Yeshua to experience being separated from the One who is love having only known total union with God in all His goodness. We know that the end of or a break in a deep relationship can be incredibly painful. What if that relationship had been an eternal one of absolute goodness and interpenetrating oneness? Words fail here.
Was the shock of this separation from His Father beyond what He anticipated? Did the sin that He “became” on our behalf so separate Him from His Father that He lost all sense of any connection to Him? Many believe that God turned away from Him at that time, because of the sin. But does God ever turn away from us? It is we who separate from Him, or said another way, it is the sin and the guilt that puts a barrier between us and God and causes us to back away from Him, just as Adam did when he hid. It is our sin that separates us from God. But God is always ready to receive a repentant sinner back to Himself. How would He know when someone is repentant if He wasn’t attentive to them? God knows all!
How many times has God rescued us even when we were in the midst of sin because of His mercy, we will never know. Once coming to know the Lord, many of us have looked back and have seen where He had been there all along on our behalf, time and time again, but we were oblivious to His help or protection until the Holy Spirit showed us His ways in our lives. God loves the sinner but He hates the sin that harms us and keep us from Him. Yet He always gives us, by His love, free will to choose Him or to choose independence from Him. To do otherwise would not be love. God’s kind of love has no compulsion to it, only freedom. If there’s a loss of freedom in any way, that’s satan’s imitation of love, not God’s love. Don’t let a distorted idea of what love is as a result of harmful experiences keep you from coming to God and His love. God always gives us the choice to follow, to obey, to love Him or not. The apostle John, after knowing the Lord for many years, summed up His understanding of God with these three words: “God is love!” (1 John 4:8, 16).
But that love was not Yeshua’s experience now, not upon the cross, nor in hell. Still, through all the pain, the sorrow, the confusion and the immeasurable suffering of having demons have full access to Him and being fully intent on destroying His mind and His body, through all the excruciating emotional and physical pain, not once did Yeshua become bitter, not once did He retaliate or accuse the men who tortured and murdered Him, nor curse mankind who would have deserved it, and certainly not God. He didn’t abdicate his task and say, “Enough. This is not my fault.” Never did He believe the lie of the devil that God wasn’t good, nor did He seek to justify Himself to get out of the pain and shame He was suffering.
Though He experienced the darkness, He remained faithful to the light that is His Father, even when He couldn’t feel His presence with Him anymore. He took our sins and the punishment due us, but He Himself did not sin even in the midst of it all. No sin was committed by Him even though He bore the sins of the world upon Himself. His experience, His suffering and the power of His humility before God even when He thought God had forsaken Him, is beyond our ability to understand it. Neither do we have ability to fully comprehend what really took place in order that whosoever chooses Him can be free from sin and our separation from God is obliterated. Who can grasp the depth of it, it’s so multifaceted? But by His Spirit, we can receive it by faith. By the Spirit, we know that it’s true and His immeasurable gift to us. By faith and trust it becomes our truth! And then we become one of those who testify of how great a Savior we have and how complete salvation is available to us.
Perhaps I can express this better through poetry. Poetry has been said to be expressions of the inner soul. I see God-centered poetry as God’s revelation to us, as songs He sings to us so we can know Him more deeply. Perhaps this will express more of what I am trying to say.
Through the hallowed halls of heaven
Must have echoed the excruciating cry
Of the One who questioned why
He’d been abandoned after all.
He’d known, of course, from the beginning
What the end would be and what He’d suffer.
The Scriptures told Him so,
And God had, after all, prepared Him.
He knew He would be abandoned, rejected
And led like a silent lamb to the slaughter,
without any food or water,
Subjected to fallen humanity at its worst,
Fully absorbed into the curse.
He would be beaten; He would take the pain.
Flesh sliced opened by metal tipped whip-stripes,
Absorbing mankind’s sicknesses, sin and strife,
Bleeding until He was empty of life.
He took upon Himself
Having given man (and angels)
The freedom and ability
To utter their voice
To influence others of their choice
Of whether to obey God
He took the retribution
For mankind’s breaking of the rules
That He Himself had made.
Accepting as His
The chastisement due to all humankind
He accepted the punishment for our crime
And sentenced Himself to death.
Becoming one with Adam’s rebellion
Demonic darkness swarmed Him.
Emptied now of all Dominion
His only thought: Have I believed amiss?
Now that He was lost in the abyss
And fully engulfed in the absence
of the presence of His God
For the first time in eternal history
The Son was not one with The Father
And although He was aware of this,
That in taking the retribution for our waywardness
He would enter the consequence
of rebellion and its horror.
But it appears He did not anticipate
Of being apart from His Father.
When extinguishing death hovered
And unhindered evil shrieked in victory at Him
He cried out in shocked abandon,
Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani?”
“My God,” (not “My Father” now)
“Why have you forsaken me?”
He entered into total identification
With the human state of alienation
In which every person
without our God.
We can only stand afar off and watch
His agony of exile,
On what it might have been
To be without
The nearness of His All-mighty Father.
Until we ourselves
Come to know the unhindered joy
Of being in God’s presence,
We cannot even imagine
Or begin to count the cost
Of what seemed to have been lost
Experiencing now what He had never known,
Yet, even so He never faltered in His faithfulness.
With His last breath
The Author of Life
Cried “Forgive them”
And yielding up His own life
Descended into death.
But that is not the finish
There’s more to be told –
This story never gets old:
Hell couldn’t destroy Him,
Evil couldn’t deceive Him,
Death couldn’t hold Him,
The Grave couldn’t keep Him.
The veil which divided us from God was split
And therein came the healing of the rift
And all the walls came tumbling down
as an earthquake shook the ground
at the moment when He died.
But three days later
When all seemed hopeless
And over to those who loved Him,
He came to them,
Held out His nail-scarred Hands before them.
Some were stunned, one in disbelief
“My Lord and my God” said the doubter
Bowing before Him with the other ten
As they listened while He told them again
of the Kingdom
Only now it all made sense.
Then He held each one and breathed upon them
As when His breath so long ago
Infused life and His glory into Adam
when he became a living soul.
In that same way He blessed them
As He did In The Beginning
Handing back to mankind the authority
We’d lost so long ago through a lie
He commanded once again
A Kingdom edict:
“Go forth and multiply.”
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2009.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.