The road to recovery
The worldview changed drastically when Adam and Eve became disobedient to God.
- There came a break in the relationship between God and man.
- Satan received dominion over the world, which God had given to Adam, from Adam’s hand.
God could have destroyed Satan and his demons, together with the whole of creation, and begun with the world anew. He did not do so, for God is no tyrant. He is full of love and righteous.
Because God has given people a free will, He respects the decisions they take.
God respected the choice Adam had made as well, and He accepted the fact that Satan had taken over dominion from Adam.
God did not abandon His creation to its lot however.
He already had His recovery plan for the future ready, as became evident when He told Satan:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Because man was the cause of the break between God and man, only a man would be able to repair this break, by:
- taking world dominion back from Satan in a legal manner.
- making man free from sin.
a. Taking the authority over the world back from Satan:
By listening to Satan, Adam and Eva had come under his authority and Satan was able to rule over them.
Only a person, who would live in a totally consecrated relationship of obedience to God, would come into a position of authority over Satan. Satan would have to relinquish his dominion to that person.
Every person, born as a descendant of Adam, is living under Satan’s dominion however, and is unable to live in complete obedience to God.
b. Restoring the relationship between God and man.
When Adam disobeyed Gods commandment by eating of the forbidden fruit, not only was his relationship with God broken, but God’s relationship with his descendants was as well, as the prophet Isaiah wrote:
… your iniquities (not acting in accordance with God’s commandments) have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, … (Isaiah 59:1-2)
However, God had created man just because of the relationship He wanted to have with him.
His love for mankind became apparent when He searched for Adam and Eva in paradise, in spite of their disobedience, in order to cover up their nakedness, their shame.
In order to restore the relationship between God and man once and for all, someone else would have to take man’s sins upon himself, and suffer death, the punishment for sin, in his stead.
No one is capable of taking someone else’s sins upon himself however, for all men are born as descendants of Adam.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:3)
And Paul wrote:
… just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
c. God had to restore the relationship with man Himself.
There was only one possibility for God: to carry out the restoration of the relationship Himself, by sending His Son to this world, for:
- Only a person, who was not born as a descendant of Adam, and who is not under Satan’s dominion therefore, would be able to choose freely, once again, to live in complete obedience to God.
- As a result of which death would have no power over him.
Why Jesus Christ?
Both these conditions were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.
When God judged the time to be ripe, He sent the angel Gabriel …
… to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:27)
The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She was to call the son that would be born ‘Jesus’.
Jesus was fathered without the intervention of a man.
The complete text concerning the announcement and the birth of Jesus is to be found in the study ‘The life of Jesus’.
Jesus was born as a human being, as ‘Eve’s seed’.
God Himself confirmed that He was Jesus’ Father:
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 – also: 17:5 , Mark 1:11 en 9:7, Luke 3:22)
Jesus, born of Eve as a human being, with God Himself as Father, was not a descendant of Adam. As a result, He was not under the dominion of Satan.
Jesus was born as a man in a completely open relationship with God, like Adam and Eva in bygone times, in paradise.
From the beginning, Satan did everything in his power to prevent Jesus from achieving the purpose for which He was born into the world.
- He tried to kill Jesus as a baby. (see Matthew 2:16)
- He tried several times to tempt Jesus to sin. (see Luke 4:1-13 e.a.)
- He incited a popular movement to kill Jesus, by stoning among and other things. (see John 10:31 / Luke 4:29)
- From the moment Jesus was taken prisoner, until His death on the cross, Satan let all the powers of hell loose on Him. He taunted Jesus to the limit: physically, by means of flagellation and crucifixion, and spiritually, by the way in which he incited the people to mock Jesus and to provoke Him.
Satan did everything in his power, in an attempt to get Jesus to be disobedient to His heavenly Father.
Jesus resisted Satan, however, and He fulfilled God’s commission.
… Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
The significance of Jesus’ death for the individual human being.
a. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth.
Satan has no longer any authority over the world since Jesus’ death on the cross.
After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples:
All authority (power, might) in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18)
The apostles wrote in their letters:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith … (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Satan no longer has any authority over this world, but, just like in paradise, he will still always try to intimidate and seduce people via the visible world.
Satan still now, exercises influence in the world, through people who listen to him.
b. Jesus bore man’s sins.
In the time of the Old Testament sins needed to be atoned for again and again by animal sacrifices.
When bringing a burnt offering (Leviticus 1) and the sacrifice for sin (Leviticus 4), a person who came to the tabernacle - and, later, to the temple – to confess his sins, laid his hand on the animal’s head. The sins were thereby transferred onto the innocent animal, which was afterwards killed and sacrificed.
The High Priest brought offered a sacrifice for sin and a burnt offering, as atonement for all the people, during the annual feast of the Great Day of Atonement.
In order to do so, he laid both his hands on the animal’s head for the sin offering, and, later, on the animal for the burnt offering, whereby he transferred the sins of the whole nation onto the sacrificial animals.
On the way to Golgotha Jesus had to carry the cross Himself on which He was to die. (John 19:17)
Just as Jesus carried His cross, He also took the sins of humanity upon Himself, as the apostle Paul writes:
… Christ suffered for you … He committed no sin … He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross … (1 Peter 2:21-24)
c. Jesus bore the punishment for sin.
The sacrificial animals died instead of the people who laid their sins upon them.
In the same way, Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, which He had taken upon Himself.
… He died for us … (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
… Christ, who … offered himself unblemished to God … (Hebrews 9:14)
… not … by means of the blood of goats and calves; but … by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12)
d. Jesus brought about reconciliation between God and mankind.
Jesus brought about reconciliation between God and mankind, when He took the sins of the whole world upon Himself and died as a substitute for every individual person.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
… that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. … (2 Corinthians 5:19)
The significance of Jesus’ atoning death is described further on the basis of the symbolism of the sacrifices that were offered during the Great Day of Atonement.
e. Jesus conquered death.
(Jesus) has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
As a result of this, death had no power over Him.
Jesus was also raised from the dead on the third day, in a glorified, immortal body.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone (from the grave) and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. (Matthew 28:2-3)
The angel said to the women who had come to the grave:
Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:5-6)
After His resurrection from the dead until His ascension Jesus appeared many times to His disciples and to other people, in order to encourage them.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19)
… he (Jesus) was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:4-7)
Jesus is alive for evermore, as Paul wrote:
… we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. (Romans 6:9)
The worldview after Jesus’ resurrection.
When Jesus cried out: “It is finished” and died (John 19:30), He had brought to an end a life in complete obedience to His heavenly Father.
a. Jesus conquered Satan.
Satan did not succeed in seducing Jesus to be disobedient to His Father, as he had succeeded in doing so in paradise, with Adam and Eve.
When Jesus died, without having sinned, Satan had to transfer dominion to Jesus, who:
… through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power. (Romans 1:4)
As a result of this Jesus was able to say to His disciples, 40 days after His resurrection, just before His ascension:
All authority (might, power) in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18)
And He promised:
Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
b. The new worldview presented schematically:
By way of reminder: the schematic presentation of the worldview until Golgotha:
In Jesus’ lifetime Satan reigned over the world. At that time the people were born into a world with an open link to the realm of Satan.
Satan had to relinquish dominion over the world to Jesus after Jesus’ death.
This is represented by the thick dotted line, because, since Golgotha, Satan has no more authority over the world.
It is a dotted line because natural man, as a descendant of Adam, is still unconsciously easily influenced by the realm of darkness.
Man, of himself, does not live in a relationship with God. As a result of this the thick black line remains directed towards heaven. Only in Christ is the separation between God and man taken away.
This is the subject of the following study: ‘Receiving new life’.
Print this study as a PDF document:
The road to recovery.