The Cosmic Conspiracy, Part 13
The storm clouds continued to close in around the cross where Jesus hung suspended between Heaven and Earth. Satan and his demonic army were poised, panting for the moment of death when they would rush in and stake their claim to the planet over Jesus’ dead body. God had not intervened. No angelic rescue force was dispatched. Heaven seemed to have turned its back on the Savior. The last of the on-lookers were exiting. The few faithful to Jesus bowed their heads in hopeless despair as the hope of the world was being snuffed out in the most horrific and shameful public display of mockery.
Jesus, knowing that EVERYTHING that was spoken by the prophets and recorded in the ancient scriptures had been fulfilled, summoned the last vestiges of physical strength, lifts His head towards Heaven and cries out, “It Is finished! Into your hands I commend my soul,” then bows His head and expires. To the remaining observers this must have sounded like the concession speech of a valiant warrior giving into his foe and surrendering to the inevitable end of a battle to the death. To Satan, this must have sounded like the admission of a failed mission - that all the prophecies were fulfilled except the most important one - that Jesus would crush the head of Satan under His feet. Satan believed in that moment that he had overpowered and outsmarted God, and therefore, to the victor goes the spoils. Nothing could stop the Cosmic Conspiracy from storming Heaven and dethroning God. The seed of the woman would no longer be a threat.
The moment the last physical breath of Jesus was released back to His Father, the plan of redemption kicked into high gear. Historians record that darkness as black as night covered Palestine. To Satan, his demons, and the world that had just killed Jesus, this moment looked like the end of the world that would usher in the full force of Satan’s kingdom of darkness. The earth began to quake, and the great curtain in the precious Temple of the Jews that separated God’s face from His sinful humanity was torn in half - the presence of God now exposed to the world. To the Jews this was a death sentence, for no man can see the face of God and live. Satan must have been ecstatic that not only had he succeeded in destroying Jesus, he had also destroyed the religion of God’s chosen people. Be all accounts, this was a universal victory.
In reality, this was a divine reset for humanity and the world. Because Satan is totally and eternally blinded by his self-love, he cannot ever see how darkness, destruction, and death could ever lead to life. This is a key element in understanding the nature of the Cosmic Conspiracy and how to defeat it. The greatest acts of God always begin in a state of chaos and darkness. Where there is light, God has already spoken His creative, life-giving Word. Where there is darkness, God is about to speak His creative, life-giving Word. Hang in there with me for a moment…
In the “beginning,” God created what we know as the earth and the realms we can observe. The scriptures state: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1) There is still much debate about the spiritual implications of this statement. It is possible that this sentence is indicating not only the physical condition of the unformed world as an undulating mass of dark chaos, but is also referring to a spiritual state of this deep, dark world that was filled with rebellion against God, that God was going to redeem back to Himself. Indeed, even the language and the mandate to Adam and Eve to govern the world and subdue it could be speaking to the spiritual condition of the earth prior to what we know as creation.
In any event, God was “hovering” (literally vibrating back and forth) over this dark mass and spoke light to it - and there was light. Light reveals the true nature of what is there in the darkness. Light reveals the wonder of God. Darkness tries to hide it. Darkness is not a created state, it is a resultant state. Darkness results when there is no light present. If Satan believes he creates darkness, he is eternally deceived in himself, as the darkness he exists in is not the result of his creative powers, but the absence of God’s presence. If you continue through the six-day account of the creation you will notice that the verses end with this statement, “and there was night, and then there was day.” God starts with darkness (night) and ends with light (day). Darkness is the creative canvas of God because the true power and majesty of God’s love can only be understood against the backdrop of deep darkness. This, Satan cannot ever, ever understand, as there is no light in his being.
So darkness is not the ushering in of Satan’s kingdom as much as it is the potential for the invasion of God’s Kingdom. The darkness that covered the cross as Jesus hung dead was the darkness that covered the earth when it was formless and void and filled with chaos (rebellion). God was hovering over the chaos of creation preparing to speak, and now God was hovering over the cross preparing to speak again. What would God say? Would He say, “Let there be light?” Would God’s light explode onto the scene and instantly expose the works of Satan and vaporize his destructive work like light swallows up darkness the moment the light switch is turned on? Would this be the moment when the all-consuming, booming voice of God would finally put an end to millennia of chaos?
In that moment of deep darkness that was covering the earth, God said nothing. After the wind; after the thunder; after the earthquake, Jesus still hangs dead in darkness. God is silent. Or is He?
If you read the opening lines of the Gospel of John you will notice a very distinct parallel to chapter 1 of Genesis. Both manuscripts start with the phrase, “In the beginning.” John is giving us a window into the wonder of Who Jesus really is. John states that the Word that God was speaking over creation was actually Jesus in a pre-carnated state. In other words, Jesus is the total embodiment of God’s Word. The Greek word used to describe this is, “Logos.” It has as part of its understanding to be the complete container for all of God’s thoughts, and therefore, all of God’s Words. In verse 14 of John 1, we are told that the Word (all of God’s thoughts and words) became flesh, was incarnated into a human form and lived among us. Jesus was the living, breathing, walking, wonder-working, Word of God.
God was not silent on the Cross. God was speaking loud and clear through Jesus. What was God saying then in that deep, dark moment? To the natural ear, the silence was deafening. To the spiritual ear (to him who has ears to hear), Jesus was speaking redemption and recreation. This was the moment of Genesis 1 replayed. Jesus said that unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it will never bring forth life (fruitful and multiply - the original mandate). As light is understood out of darkness, life is understood out of death. The silence that overshadows death, is shattered by the triumph that shouts in life. God’s silence in the death of Jesus was just one enormous inhale of God’s breath as He prepared to exhale His Divine, life-giving breath just as He did for Adam in the original creation. Jesus was now the lifeless “last Adam” that would soon be filled with the breath of eternal life once again as God exhaled the resurrection into being!
There was no person on the planet at that time that fully understood the spiritual implications of what had just happened. Jesus’ earthly mother and family did not understand. Jesus’ own disciples did not understand why Jesus had to go through with any of this. Satan certainly saw this as his supreme victory over God and was celebrating in maniacal mayhem. God just let the scene play out as this was all part of His eternal plan. Satan was an unwitting pawn in the redemption of the world.
Satan, now so intoxicated with the blood of Jesus that he had successfully shed, wanted to get every last drop of it to spill out onto the ground as the ultimate mockery of its power. In the chaos and fear of the moment, Pilate, wanting to get the crucifixions of the day over with, ordered that the criminals’ legs be broken to speed up the death process (could take more than a day in some cases). When they came to Jesus, the soldiers saw that He was already dead. Just to make sure, a spear was thrust up into the side of Jesus just under His rib cage (another fulfilled prophecy). As soon as the spear was pulled out a gush of blood and water spilled out on the ground. You can almost see Satan with his hands on the spear wildly thrusting it into Jesus and calling his demon dogs to lap up the muddy puddles that formed on the ground at the foot of the cross. As blood is the life of the human body, water is the life of the earth. It seemed as though Satan had drained humanity of its life, and drained the earth of its life too. The deep darkness and chaos that existed “In the beginning” now covered the earth once again. Satan could get back to his quest to usher in his universal kingdom of darkness. What could possibly stop him now? What could possibly go wrong?
On the earthly plane, weeping, sorrow, and the pain of death consumed the proceeding hours as Jesus’ family and few sympathetic supporters rushed to pull His lifeless body from the cross and get it prepared for burial, as the Sabbath was fast approaching, when according to the Jewish law, no work like this could be done. There was no time for a proper funeral. Jesus would be whisked away and locked into a tomb of darkness. The gaping void of despair that had swallowed up hope in the hearts of the faithful would be an ever-present reminder that evil triumphed over good. What was there now to hold onto? How would Jesus’ followers move on with their lives now? As Peter stated to Jesus, “You have the words of life. Where else could we go?” The Word of Life was dead. A dead body and a sealed tomb was the evidence and proof that they had been duped. Jesus was a good man, a prophet, but certainly not the Messiah and Savior of the world.
On the spiritual plane, something very profoundly different was happening. The historical account of the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus takes place over a period of “three days.” It is important to note how the Jews of the first century measure out the designation, “day.” A day could be counted as any part of a day when something occurred. So in this case, if Jesus died on the Friday before the Sabbath (day one), lay in the tomb through the next day, (Saturday, day two), and rose to life on the following day (Sunday, day three), Jesus “rose again” on the third day, according to the words of the prophets of old, and by the prophetic declaration of Jesus when He told His adversaries, if you tear down this temple (His human body), He will build it back again in three days (John 2:19).
Now, this cannot be conclusively proven, but I want to propose to you that the actual time that Jesus’ physical body spent in the tomb was 40 hours (basic calculations can be made from the rush to get Jesus’ body off the cross before sundown on Friday, the beginning of the Sabbath). 40 is a very significant number in the ways and means of God in dealing with the process of redemption and liberating people and the earth from bondage to sin, darkness, and death. This number (or multiples thereof) are found from Genesis to Revelation. The flood of cleansing lasted 40 days and nights. The Israelites were in bondage for 400 years. Moses spent 40 days and nights on the mountain with God obtaining the Law of God that would keep His people free. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before being liberated to go into the promised land. Jesus was tested and tied by Satan for 40 days and nights before He was propelled into His public ministry of redemption. There are 40’s all over scripture. This number is a foundational number for redemption.
Could the events that unfolded in the 40 darkest hours for planet earth, as Jesus’ body lay lifeless, be the most significant 40 hours in ALL the time that God created? Could 40 hours have unleashed a power so enormous that it would fill the entire universe? The moment Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” something new had begun. The clock was now ticking. Thirty-nine hours, fifty-nine minutes, fifty-nine seconds and counting…
Stay tuned, and tune in.
by Pastor Jim Anan