The Cosmic Conspiracy, Part 9
A sullen silence hung over the city of Jerusalem as the celebration of the Passover was waning into the wee hours of the morning. Most observant Jews were fast asleep, and unaware of the turmoil that was about to erupt in the city by daybreak. Coming down a hill from the Mount of Olives towards the city marched a band of Temple Guards and other religious officials who were sent to the garden where Jesus and His disciples were staying with orders to arrest Jesus on charges of heresy. Judas had sold Jesus out, the mighty band of disciples had scattered just as Jesus predicted, and now Jesus was alone, in prisoner’s chains, about to be thrown into religion’s lion den.
Everything about this arrest smacked with illegalities and conspiracies. There were sympathizers to Jesus’ mission in the ranks of the Sanhedrin, so a top secret counsel plotted in the background behind the backs of their own law. The religious leaders had been scheming for months for a way to capture Jesus, and this undercover, clandestine raid was the only way that they could get to Jesus without the multitudes of his followers blocking the way. Satan had succeeded in isolating Jesus, and now they would have to rush through the next phase of their charade before the whistleblowers caught wind of what was going on.
Under the Jewish law of the first century, a person charged with heresy must be formally tried before the full Sanhedrin of 70 along with all the supporting testimony of witnesses. If convicted, a death sentence could be handed down. In order for the death sentence to be carried out, the Roman government must get involved as they were the ultimate governing authority. The first task then was to hurl Jesus into a kangaroo court that was set up just waiting for Jesus to arrive.
The scene that unfolded in torch-lit shadows of the High Priest’s residence was nothing short of demonic. False witnesses with conflicting testimonies were throwing around fabricated stories just to give the appearance that justice was being served. The panel of judges that sat with the High Priest were all in on the conspiracy. There was no fact checking, no presumed innocence until proven guilty, no witnesses to testify for Jesus, and there was no intention of letting Jesus walk out of the court without a conviction of heresy and a condemnation to death. Jesus, knowing that this would happen, and that it needed to happen, stood there in silence before his accusers like a lamb before its slaughterers.
In short order, after being lied about, laughed at, slapped, and stripped of his dignity, Jesus was decreed as worthy of death. The case would now have to be sent to the authority of Rome under the jurisdiction of Pilate in order for capital punishment to be carried out. The daylight was just cresting the horizon when the blood-thirsty conspirators marched into the courtyard of their Roman overlord. At best, there was a very tenuous relationship between the Roman authorities and the Jews. Each side had to tolerate the other in order for Pax Romana (Roman Peace) to reign over the city. Pilot was responsible to keep the peace at any cost if he wanted to keep his position. And the Jews had to feign gratitude to their pagan authorities for keeping the peace if they wanted to keep their religious practices autonomous. In reality, they hated each other. Satan now had the task of creating a scenario where these two parties had to hop in bed together and conceive of a way to dispose of Jesus, permanently.
Pilate must have been severely annoyed that these religious zealots had disturbed his morning and barged into his compound unscheduled. As he listened to the case that was presented, and discerned that the core of the accusations against Jesus had to do with Jewish laws, he quickly moved to dismiss the case and hand it back to the Jews to settle with their own legal system. But when Pilate heard that the Jews were asking for a death sentence, he had to listen further.
Again, after hearing the case, Pilate found nothing in the testimony that would make Jesus worthy of death until the charge of treason was leveled against Jesus. The Jews cried out that Jesus purported himself to be a king, and that they had no other king but Caesar (such a slap in God’s face!). If Pilot were truly loyal to the crown of Rome, he would have to act swiftly on this case, lest the Jews appeal to a higher Roman authority and his own head would be on the chopping block. The Jews had blackmailed him.
Satan was tightening the noose around the neck of Jesus. He had used betrayal, injustice, and now blackmail to ramrod his conspiracy through the legal systems of the Jews, and now the Romans. The scent of death began to fill the air attracting ravenous demons like vultures circling around a dying animal. After hearing the charges of treason, Pilot pulled Jesus aside and questioned Him privately. Again, Jesus gave no defense for himself and stood before Pilate awaiting his decision.
In good conscience, Pilate still could find no basis for capital punishment and came back to the Jews with a verdict of not guilty. The Jews cried out all the more that Pilate was no friend of Rome if he did not order a death sentence. In an attempt to appease the crazed Jews that Jesus had been punished for his crimes, Pilate ordered Jesus to be beaten and scourged to the point of death. The historical descriptions of what this punishment inflicted on the human body was unimaginable. With every blow of the cane rods, with every slash of the bone-studded whips, Jesus’ body was ripped open, his blood splattered everywhere, his bones protruding through the shredded tissue.
The Roman torturers were brutal and seditiously enjoying the butchering. They hurled caustic ridicule at Jesus while they beat Him to a bloody pulp. In Isaiah’s prophecy of this event, he stated that Jesus didn’t even look human. Satan was crazed into a feeding frenzy by this brutal display of pure evil.
We need to pause here for a moment and leave the scene of the crime. This frightful picture of just how eternally vast Satan’s hatred for God is exposes something critical to understand about the nature of Satan, and the exposition of his cosmic conspiracy. It is hard for us to imagine what pure evil is. The word pure does not necessarily mean good or holy. The word pure refers to anything that is 100%, absolutely only one thing. Therefore, it is possible for pure evil to exist.
When we see something good, we have a desire for the better, and when we have the better, we want the best. Ultimately, having the best will set us on a quest to obtain what is beyond best, or that which is supreme. And that which is supreme is that which is absolutely pure and perfect in every way. The more pure, the more perfect; the more perfect, the more costly, and the more costly something is, the more sacrifice we will make to obtain it. Humans crave purity.
The word supreme means, “that which is above.” God built into the heart and soul of humans an insatiable desire to have what is pure, or that which is above anything else. God, in His unfathomable love, created us with this desire so we would seek Him out, but He also created us with the ability to choose to pursue Him as the source of all purity (pure light, pure love, pure power, etc.) or choose another source of purity.
If Satan is pure evil, this means that there is no good within his being, none! And if there is no good, there is no truth in his being either. Therefore, Satan is not conflicted with mixture as we humans are. Satan is so purely evil that he believes that his evil is good. Taken to its end, this would mean that Satan is completely convinced that he is a better god than God, and will do anything to prove it.
This can become attractive and even intoxicating for humans who crave purity. Satan can present himself as so delightfully beautiful that we would never know it is evil dressed to kill. So powerful is the allure that Satan can tempt humanity into the bed of an illicit affair with him to become “one flesh” with evil, and be impregnated with his demonic seed. So powerful is this toxin that the ultimate display of evil (naturally speaking), destroying human life, can become seen as something humanistic-ally high and noble.
When murdering unborn babies can be touted as a medical procedure that is honoring the highest good and rights of a woman to rid her body of something unwanted, pure evil is at work. When superior humans judge other humans as not fit to live, as they are polluting the precious gene pool, and decide that population control, and even genocide is the answer, pure evil is at work. Pure evil is what incited the Jewish religious leaders to believe that killing Jesus was actually doing God’s will. Pure evil was coursing through the Apostle Paul’s heart of passion for the purity of the worship of the one, true God, when he went on a rampage killing Jesus’ followers in the name of God. Pure evil is seen at work throughout human history in the destruction of good in the name of God!
To be clear, Satan is not the opposite of God. God has no opposite! But, Satan is the opposite of the nature of God. Whatever characteristics God displays towards His creation (love, kindness, patience, etc.) Satan embodies and displays the opposite. This is a critical concept to understand if we want to fully understand the cosmic conspiracy at play.
If it were possible to sum up what is at the core of God’s nature we would have to conclude it to be, love. In the English language, this is an unfortunate word to have to use as it has become so ubiquitous that we can use it to describe just about anything that makes us feel good. In a God sense as it relates to humans, love is defined as the quality of God that is totally and purely given to nurture and care for the life He created. God gave His entire being to life - “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so whoever believes in Him should not die, but have everlasting life.”
So what is at the core of Satan? Some would immediately say hate, and they would not be entirely wrong, but they would not be entirely right, either. As it relates to God’s love, the opposite would not be hate, but self-love. In this sense, we can say that Satan is so totally in love with himself that its expression looks like hate. If God is a giver and protector of life, Satan is a taker and destroyer of life. If God’s relationship with humans is marked with self-sacrifice to keep life alive, Satan's relationship with humans is marked with self-satisfaction to take life and bring death.
Herein is the core of the conspiracy. When God created humanity (and animals) He declared them to be “alive” when blood was coursing through their physical bodies. “The life of the body is in the blood” (Lev. 17). Our entire faith is built around blood. In the Old Covenant, the blood of animals is used symbolically and substitutionally to show us how precious and powerful blood is to God. In His love for humanity, He allowed the lifeblood of an animal to shield the life of a human from deserved death (caused by sin) until He, Himself, would come to Earth in the form of a human in a body filled with blood.
In the New Covenant, the blood in Jesus’ body would now become the focal point of God’s love for humans. He would allow His own blood to be the total and final sacrifice to save human life for all eternity. At the last supper, Jesus declares this when He held up a cup of wine, symbolizing His blood, which He said would be shed and poured out ratifying a New Covenant of God’s love. To seal this promise Jesus then gives the cup to His disciples and asks them to drink of the cup. To the first century Jews (and even in our day) this sounds cannibalistic. Jesus is asking his followers to drink His blood (and eat His body). Eternal life is given to humanity through the blood of Jesus. Life is in the blood.
If the central focus of God’s love for humanity is the blood of Jesus, then the central focus of Satan’s love for himself (displayed as hatred towards God) is also the blood of Jesus. This may sound strange. However, Satan, being pure evil, cannot comprehend how Jesus’ willing death (self-sacrifice) could save humanity from the ravages of sin. In Satan’s infinitely corrupt mind, Jesus could only save humanity by convincing them to come back to God through mental ascent, just as Satan had lured humanity away from God by mental descent. In Satan’s mind, in order for Jesus to do this, He must stay alive. In God’s mind, in order for Jesus to do this, He must die. Eternal life is in the shed blood of Jesus. Satan has no grid for the power of self-sacrifice. Satan is blinded by this light of love.
In the next post we will get back to our narrative of Jesus’ trial to tie all of Satan’s cosmic conspiracy cords together. Till then, stay tuned, and tune in...
by Pastor Jim Anan