• Ellen G. White

BEHOLD! The Lamb of God

Updated: Oct 6, 2021


Christ as Sacrifice & High Priest - MR No. 999


The Crucifixion—For three hours Christ hung upon the cross, looked upon by thousands. Thousands heard and saw the reviling of the priests and rulers; they heard the challenge, “Come down from the cross, and we will believe in Thee,” and the taunt, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” 12MR 385.1


“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour” [Mark 15:33]. Not only did the darkness enshroud the immediate location where the cross stood, “there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” 12MR 385.2


God dwelleth in the thick darkness; He hides His glory from human eyes. The Father, with His heavenly angels, was enclosed in that thick darkness. God was close beside His Son, though not manifesting Himself to Him or to any human being. Had one ray of His glory and power penetrated the thick cloud that enveloped Him, every spectator would have been extinguished. And in that thick darkness God hid from prying eyes the last human agony of His Son. He clothed nature in sackcloth that she might not look upon her suffering, dying Author in His last humiliation. 12MR 385.3


All who had looked upon Christ during His trial were convicted of His loyalty and royal character. That face, once beheld by humanity, was never forgotten. As Cain's face expressed his guilt as a murderer, so the face of Christ revealed His innocence, serenity, benevolence—the image of God. But His accusers would not heed the mark, the signet of heaven, and that countenance was hidden by the mantle of God. 12MR 385.4

[Mark 15:34-37, 40, 41, quoted.] 12MR 386.1


When Christ's life ended, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain. This veil was very significant to the Jewish nation. It was of most costly material, of purple and gold, and was of great length and breadth. At the moment that Christ breathed His last, there were witnesses in the Temple who beheld that strong, heavy material rent in two by unseen hands, from top to bottom. He who had hitherto dwelt in the Temple made with hands, had gone forth never again to grace it with His presence. 12MR 386.2


There was a mighty earthquake. The rocks were rent; the graves of many dead burst open, and all nature was in commotion, expressing sympathy with her dying Author. The Roman centurion, in charge of his soldiers, halted at the cross, and when Christ uttered the cry, “It is finished; into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” overpowering conviction came upon him. “Truly,” he said, “this Man was the Son of God.” 12MR 386.3


The conviction forced upon many at the time of Christ's trial, at the time when the three hours’ darkness enshrouded the cross, without any natural cause for it, and when the last sentences were uttered, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” “It is finished. Into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” was seed sown that ripened into harvest when at a future date the gospel was boldly proclaimed by His disciples. The shaking earth, the piercing cry, the sudden death which called forth in no whispered tones the cry, “It is finished,” forced from many the words, “Assuredly this Man was righteous”; “Truly this was the Son of God.” Many who had scoffed and jeered at and taunted the Son of God were terribly afraid that the shaking earth, the rent and trembling rocks would put an end to their own lives. They hastened away from the scene, beating upon their breasts, stumbling, falling, in awful terror lest the earth should open and swallow them up. The veil of the Temple rent so mysteriously, changed the religious ideas of many of the Jewish priests, and a large company changed their faith. After the day of Pentecost, we read that “the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” [Acts 6:7, 8]. 12MR 386.4


It seemed a great mystery to the people when it was ascertained that Jesus was already dead. They could not reason that this sudden death was from a supernatural cause. It was found that the two thieves were still living, and their legs were broken; but Christ was dead already, and His legs were left untouched. “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken” [John 19:34-36].—Manuscript 91, 1897. 12MR 387.1


The True High Priest—With Caiaphas the Jewish high priesthood ended. This proud, overbearing, wicked man proved his unworthiness ever to have worn the garments of the high priest. He had neither capacity, nor authority from heaven, for doing the work. He had not one ray of light from heaven to show him what the work of the priest was, or for what the office had been instituted. Such ministration could make nothing perfect, for in itself it was utterly corrupt. The priests were tyrannous and deceptive, and full of ambitious schemes. The grace of God had nought to do with this. 12MR 387.2


Virtually Caiaphas was no high priest. He wore the priestly robes, but he had no vital connection with God. He was uncircumcised in heart. With the other priests he instructed the people to choose Barabbas instead of Christ. They cried out for the crucifixion of Christ and, as representatives of the Jewish nation, placed themselves under the Roman jurisdiction, which they despised, by saying, “We have no king but Caesar.” When they said this, they unchurched themselves. 12MR 388.1


It is righteousness that exalts a nation. A disregard for the law of God will be the ruin of the religious world in the last days of this earth's history. Everything is becoming unsettled, but God's Word is changeless and sure. It is His voice, speaking to us in admonitions, entreaties, and warnings. Nothing can separate a living Christian from a living God. 12MR 388.2


Caiaphas was filling the end of the priestly service, for the priesthood had become base and corrupt. It had no longer any connection with God. Truth and righteousness were hateful in the eyes of the priests. The last order of priests was so entirely perverted that the last work of the officiating high priest was to rend his robes in pretendedly pious horror, and in his perverted priestly authority accuse the Holy One of Israel of blasphemy. 12MR 388.3


The mock trial of Christ shows how base the priesthood had become. The priests hired men to testify under oath to falsehood, that Jesus might be condemned. But on this occasion, truth came to the help of Christ. Pilate declared Him to be without fault. How significant was the oft-repeated statement, “I find no fault in Him at all.” Thus it was shown that the testimonies borne against Him were false, that the witnesses had been hired by men who cherished in their hearts the basest elements of corruption. It was God's design that the men who delivered Jesus should hear the testimony of His innocence. “I find no fault in Him,” Pilate declared. And Judas, throwing at the feet of the priests the money he had received for betraying Christ, bore testimony, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood.” 12MR 388.4


Previously when the Sanhedrin had been called together, to lay plans for waylaying Christ, and putting Him to death, Caiaphas said, Cannot ye see that the world is gone after Him? [See John 12:19.] The voices of some members of the council were heard, pleading with the others to check their passion and hatred against Christ. They wished to save Him from being put to death. In reply to them, Caiaphas said, “Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us (He might have said, a corrupted priesthood), that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” [John 11:49, 50]. 12MR 389.1


These words were uttered by one who knew not their significance. His ideas were demoralized. He had lost the sense of the sacredness of the Jewish system of sacrifices. He was condemning One whose death would end the need for types and shadows, whose death was prefigured in every sacrifice made. But the high priest's words meant more than he, or those who were combined with him, knew. By them he bore testimony that the time had come for the Aaronic priesthood to cease forever. He was indeed uttering words that closed the order of the priesthood. He was showing that Christ was to fulfill the object of the foundation of the Jewish economy. 12MR 389.2


“This,” added the evangelist, “spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” [verses 51, 52]. 12MR 390.1


Caiaphas was the one that was to be in office when types and shadows were to meet the reality, when the true High Priest was to come into office. Each actor in history stands in his lot and place; for God's great work after His own plan will be carried out by men who have prepared themselves to fill positions for good or evil. In opposition to righteousness, men become instruments of unrighteousness. But their course of action is unforced. They need not have become instruments of unrighteousness any more than need Cain. God said to him, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door” [Genesis 4:7]. Cain would not hear the voice of God, and as a result, he killed his brother. 12MR 390.2


Men of all characters, righteous and unrighteous, will stand in their positions. With the characters they have formed, they will act their part in the fulfillment of history. In a crisis, just at the right moment, men will stand in the places they have prepared themselves to fill. Believers and unbelievers will fall into line as witnesses, to confirm truth which they do not themselves comprehend. All will cooperate in accomplishing the purposes of God, as did Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod. 12MR 390.3


Heaven and earth will pass away, but not one jot or tittle of the Word of God will fail. It will endure forever. All men, whatever their position, whatever their religion, loyal or disloyal to God, wicked or righteous, are fitting themselves to do their work in the closing scenes of the day of the Lord. They will trample down each other as they act out their natural attributes and fulfill their purposes; but they will carry out the purpose of God. The priests thought that they were carrying out their own purposes, but unconsciously and unintentionally they were fulfilling the purpose of God. He “revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.” 12MR 391.1


If the Bible student learns from the great Teacher who inspired Bible history, he will know the truth. The Word is light, and to those who search its pages diligently, it is illuminated by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. 12MR 391.2


Christ, the foundation of the whole Jewish economy, stood at the bar of Pilate, but it was virtually at the judgment seat of the Jewish rulers, to be condemned by His own nation. With His divinity clothed with humanity, He stood to be judged by the beings He had made. His garment, which was His human flesh, was to be torn from Him. He could have flashed the light of His glory upon His enemies, and consumed them, but He bore patiently their humiliating abuse. 12MR 391.3 [John 1:1-4, 9-11, quoted.] 12MR 391.4


In Christ the shadow reached its substance, the type its antitype. Well might Caiaphas rend his clothes in horror for himself and for the nation; for they were separating themselves from God, and were fast becoming a people unchurched by Jehovah. Surely the candlestick was being removed out of its place. 12MR 391.5


It was not the hand of the priest that rent from top to bottom the gorgeous veil that divided the holy from the Most Holy Place. It was the hand of God. When Christ cried out, “It is finished,” the Holy Watcher that was an unseen guest at Belshazzar's feast pronounced the Jewish nation to be a nation unchurched. The same hand that traced on the wall the characters that recorded Belshazzar's doom and the end of the Babylonian kingdom, rent the veil of the Temple from top to bottom, opening a new and living way for all, high and low, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile. From henceforth people might come to God without priest or ruler. 12MR 392.1


Caiaphas, well may you rend your official robes, which signify that you claim to be a representative of the great High Priest; for no longer have they any meaning for you or for the people. “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” [Hebrews 9:13, 14]. 12MR 392.2


How vastly different was the true High Priest from the false and corrupted Caiaphas. In comparison with Caiaphas, Christ stands out pure and undefiled, without a taint of sin. “By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” [Hebrews 10:14]. This enabled Him to proclaim on the cross with a clear and triumphant voice, “It is finished.” [Hebrews 9:24-26; 10:12, quoted.] Christ entered in once into the holy place, “having obtained eternal redemption for us” [Hebrews 9:12]. “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” [Hebrews 7:25]. 12MR 392.3


Christ glorified not Himself in being made High Priest. God gave Him His appointment to the priesthood. He was to be an example to all the human family. He qualified Himself to be, not only the representative of the race, but their Advocate, so that every soul if he will may say, I have a Friend at court. He is a High Priest that can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. 12MR 393.1


Our Redeemer humbled Himself, fully identifying His interest with humanity. Look at Him girding Himself and washing the feet of His disciples. Mark how tenderly He performs this act of ministry, to give them a lesson in humility. He who was one with God, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, humbled Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant. But who was tender and compassionate to Him? During His trial, what friend had He that dared to say even as did the heathen Pilate, “I find no fault in Him at all”? Christ's humanity so completely veiled His glory that it was difficult for even His disciples to believe in Him; and when He died on the cross, they felt that their hopes had perished. As Christ told them the things He must suffer at the hands of wicked men, He said, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” [Luke 23:31]. If they do these wicked acts to your divine Lord, what will they do to those that bear the testimony that He came from God, that He was God in human flesh? 12MR 393.2


After Adam fell, Jesus entered upon the work of redeeming men. In every part His sacrifice was perfect. He could make an atonement for sin. Though He was one with God, yet He made Himself of no reputation. He took human nature upon Him. “Lo, I come,” was the cheerful announcement of the clothing of His divinity with humanity. “I delight to do Thy will, O My God” [Psalm 40:7, 8]. 12MR 393.3


“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [John 3:16]. Christ mourned for the transgression of every human being. He bore even the guiltiness of the high priest Caiaphas, knowing the hypocrisy that dwelt in his sinful soul, while for pretense he rent his robe in vehement passion. That priest might truthfully have said in regard to himself, By our law I ought to die. 12MR 394.1


Christ was one with the Father. He loved His church, and gave Himself for it. “Therefore doth My Father love Me,” He said to the cavilling scribes and Pharisees, “because I lay down My life, that I might take it again” [John 10:17]. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save” [Matthew 27:42], was the mocking taunt hurled at Him during the agonies of His death on the cross. At any moment He could have saved Himself, and come down from the cross, but had He done this, the world would have been given over to the control of the great apostate. 12MR 394.2


As Christ hung on the cross, bearing the taunts and revilings of His persecutors, He might appropriately have asked, Which of you convicteth Me of sin? It was a marvel to the angelic beings that He did not seal the lips of the scoffers and paralyze the hand that smote Him. It was a mystery to them that He did not flash forth His righteous indignation upon the hardened and corrupt soldiers, as they mocked Him and forced a crown of thorns on His head. 12MR 394.3


But the Son of God knew that the greatest guilt and heaviest responsibility belonged to those who stood in the highest places in the nation, the repositories of sacred trusts that they were basely betraying. Pilate, Herod, the ignorant soldiers, were comparatively ignorant of Jesus. They knew not that this Man was the Sent of God. They thought to please the priests and rulers by abusing Him. They had not the light that the Jewish nation had so abundantly received. They were unacquainted with Old Testament history. Had the light been given to the soldiers, they would not have treated Christ as cruelly as they did. 12MR 395.1


Christ was not compelled to endure this cruel treatment. The yoke of obligation was not laid upon Him to undertake the work of redemption. Voluntarily He offered Himself, a willing, spotless sacrifice. He was equal with God, infinite and omnipotent. He was above all finite requirements. He was Himself the law in character. Of the highest angels it could not be said that they had never borne a yoke. The angels all bear the yoke of dependence, the yoke of obedience. They are the appointed messengers of Him who is Commander of all heaven. 12MR 395.2


No one of the angels could become a substitute and surety for the human race, for their life is God's; they could not surrender it. On Christ alone the human family depended for their existence. He is the eternal, self-existent Son, on whom no yoke had come. When God asked, “whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Christ alone of the angelic host could reply, “Here am I; send Me.” He alone had covenanted before the foundation of the world to become a surety for man. He could say that which not the highest angel could say—“I have power over My own life. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” [see John 10:18]. 12MR 395.3


Christ did not come to this earth merely to live the law, and so reveal the character of God in His spotless life that the one who condemned Him said of him, “I find no fault in Him.” Christ's work must be deep and thorough. Without shedding of blood there is no remission for sin. He must suffer the agony of a public death on the cross, that witness of it might be borne without the shadow of a doubt. 12MR 396.1


At the time of the Passover, the Jews and their adherents were drawn to the Hebrew capital. At this time universal attention in the plan of redemption must be awakened. Matters of eternal interest must now become the theme of conversation. The Old Testament must be searched as never before for evidence of the work and character of the Messiah so long looked for. Minds must be convicted and led to ask, Is not this the Christ? Every transaction in Christ's life, His trial, His condemnation, His crucifixion, and His resurrection, would become matters of the deepest interest. 12MR 396.2


As Christ hung upon the cross, nature sympathized with her dying Author. The heavens shrouded in the deepest darkness, the rent rocks, the convulsed earth, struck terror to the hearts of those who had been actors in His mock trial. 12MR 396.3


Twice, at the baptism and at the transfiguration, the voice of God had been heard proclaiming Christ as His Son. The third time, just before Christ's betrayal, the Father had spoken, witnessing to His Son. But now the voice from heaven was silent. No testimony in Christ's favor was heard. Alone He suffered abuse and mockery at the hands of wicked men. 12MR 396.4


Adam and Eve were banished from Eden for transgressing the law of God. Christ was to suffer without the boundaries of the holy place. He died outside the camp, where felons and murderers were executed. There He trod the wine press alone, suffering the penalty that should have rested on the sinner, to rest on Him. Oh, how deep and full of significance are the words, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” [Galatians 3:13]. He went forth without the camp, thus showing that He gave His life not only for the Jewish nation but for the whole world. The hand of the Lord was in the inscription “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” that was written out in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and placed above the cross. Thus Christ proclaimed to all kindreds, tongues, and people, “I gave My life for you. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” 12MR 396.5


Christ fulfilled still another feature of the type. “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men; so shall He sprinkle many nations” [Isaiah 52:14]. In the Temple service, when the animal brought as a sacrifice was slain, the high priest, clothed in white robes, caught in his hand the blood that gushed forth, and cast it in the direction of the tabernacle or Temple. This was done seven times, as an expression of perfection. So Christ, the great antitype, Himself both High Priest and Victim, clothed with His own spotless robes of righteousness, after giving His life for the world, cast the virtue of His offering, a crimson current, in the direction of the holy place, reconciling man to God through the blood of the cross. 12MR 397.1


Christ might have continued to abide in the heavenly courts, clothed in garments whiter than the whitest white, and sitting as a prince at God's right hand. He was not compelled to step down from the throne, to lay aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and come to this earth to receive hatred, abuse, rejection, scourging, and a crown of thorns. The humiliation that He endured, He endured voluntarily, to save a world from eternal ruin. 12MR 397.2


Christ rent not His robe as did Caiaphas. He gave up His body to be rent, to be bruised, to be wounded for the transgression of the world. As by His own choice He died in the presence of an assembled nation of worshipers, type met antitype. Priest and victim combined, He entered the Temple as a place of sacrifice. Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is a true high priest, for after enduring humiliation, shame, and reproach, after being crucified and buried, He was raised from the grave, triumphing over death. He is a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek. 12MR 398.1


When Christ died on the cross, Satan triumphed, but his triumph was short. The prophecy was made in Eden. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel” [Genesis 3:15]. Christ was nailed to the cross, but thus He gained His victory. Through death He destroyed him that had the power of death. By becoming the Sin-bearer, He lifted from the human race the penalty of transgression. In His own body He paid the penalty of that on which the power of Satan over the human race is founded, even transgression. 12MR 398.2


Not that sin might become righteousness and transgression of the law a virtue, did Christ die. He died that sin might be made to appear exceeding sinful, the hateful thing it is. By His death He became the possessor of the keys of hell and of death. Satan could no longer reign without a rival and be revenged as a god. Temples had been erected to him, and human sacrifices offered on his altars. “They sacrificed to devils.” 12MR 398.3


The emancipation papers of our race were signed by the blood of the Son of God, and a way was opened for the message of hope and mercy to be carried to the ends of the earth. Now, whoever will may reach forth and take hold of God's hand, and make peace with Him, and they shall make peace. The heathen are no longer to be wrapped in midnight superstition. The gloom is to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The power of hell has been overcome. The truth of the words has been proved: “I am sought of them that asked not for Me; I am found of them that sought Me not: I said, Behold Me, behold Me, unto a nation that was not called by My name” [Isaiah 65:1]. [Isaiah 63:1-3; 60:1-3, quoted.]—Manuscript 101, 1897. 12MR 399.1


Our Substitute and Surety—[Matthew 26:62, 63, quoted.] According to the Jewish form of administration, Christ was placed on oath by the priest: “I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” This appeal was made by the first magistrate of the nation. He occupied a position higher than any in earthly courts. But his religion was a cloak that hid the deformities of a hard, cruel heart. He lorded it over the people, making his supposed godliness a source of gain. He was not accepted by God as a typical high priest at any time. His fitness for the priesthood ended with the covering garment, set apart for the use of the priests, which he wore. He was incapable and unworthy. 12MR 399.2


The priesthood itself had become corrupt. Priest after priest filled his appointment and performed his religious duties as an actor in a theater. Christ was fully aware of the high priest's unworthiness to occupy the position that he did. He knew that he had not the character that would enable God to connect with him. But knowing all this, Christ responded. The true High Priest stood before the false priest, to be criticized by one whom the people detested. 12MR 399.3


Christ might have glorified Himself there and then. He might have shown a power that would have made His judges quail. He knew that He was appointed to His office by God. But a body of flesh had been prepared for Him. He concealed His divinity by a garb of humanity. Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, that He might be qualified to represent man in the heavenly courts. He took not on Him the nature even of angels. The highest of all angels, He girded Himself with a towel, and washed the feet of His disciples. He mourned and wept over the perversity and transgression of men. He did not rend His robe, but His soul was rent. His garment of human flesh was rent as He hung on the cross, the Sin-bearer of the human race. By His suffering and death, a new and living way was opened. By this He was to enter upon His priestly office forever. There was no longer a wall of partition between Jew and Gentile. As the high priest for the whole world, He entered the holy place. 12MR 400.1


To the charge of the high priest, Jesus said, “Thou hast said: Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” [Matthew 26:64]. These words were spoken with dignity and assurance. They fell from the lips of One whose Spirit went with the words. Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was the speaker, and His words came with ease, as if from the depths of a soul possessing the testimony to be given on earth. Divinity flashed through humanity, and like an arrow the conviction flashed into the hearts of the hearers that this Man spake as never man spake. 12MR 400.2


“Then the high priest rent his clothes.” Conviction, mingled with passion, caused him to do this. He was furious with himself for believing Christ's words, and instead of rending his heart under a deep sense of truth, and confessing that Jesus was the Messiah, he rent his priestly robes in determined resistance. 12MR 401.1


By this act he placed himself under the penalty of death. Under no circumstances were the priests to remove their turbans or rend their robes. He who disregarded this law was to die. Nothing but perfection, in dress and attitude, in word and spirit, could be acceptable to God. He is holy, and His glory and perfection must be represented by the earthly service. Nothing but perfection could properly represent the sacredness of the heavenly service. Finite man might rend his own heart by showing a contrite and humble spirit. This God would discern. But no rent must be made in the priestly robes, for this would mar the representation of heavenly things. 12MR 401.2


The Jewish rulers said of Christ, “We have a law, and by our law He ought to die” [John 19:7]. Christ, who made the laws governing the Temple service, might have said to Caiaphas as he rent his robe, “You have transgressed the law of the God of heaven.” 12MR 401.3


Every word of Christ's reply was an arrow aimed by no uncertain hand. The judges rose up and confronted Christ, and with angry vehemence one after another asked Him the question, “Art Thou the Son of God?” To all came the answer as to Caiaphas, “I AM.” Oh, will not the dignity revealed in that pale face bring discernment to these men? Will not His bearing impress them with the truth of His words? On this occasion impressions were made that were never effaced. The actors in the scene went from place to place, hoping to find relief, but never did they gain the peace and quietude they sought. 12MR 401.4


The rulers did not yield to the conviction, but decided the matter as Satan hoped they would. They condemned Christ as a blasphemer. But Christ was not cowed or intimidated by their anger. With patience and without retaliation, He bore dishonor and shameful abuse. He looked forward to the time when their positions would be reversed, when He would sit on the right hand of God, clothed with power, when all—Pilate, Caiaphas, and those who mocked and derided Him—would stand before Him. When He comes in the clouds of heaven, the whole world will be cited before Him. Those who pierced Him will look upon Him. The sentence will be passed on those who have not received Him. 12MR 402.1


This is one of the times when Christ publicly confessed His claim to be the Messiah, the One for whom the Jews had long looked. Weighted with such great results, it was to Christ one of the most wonderful moments of His life. He realized that all disguise must be swept away. The declaration that He was one with God must be openly made. His judges looked upon Him as only a man, and they thought Him guilty of blasphemous presumption. But He proclaimed Himself as the Son of God. He fully asserted His divine character before the dignitaries who had arraigned Him before their earthly tribunal. His words, spoken calmly, yet with conscious power, showed that He claimed for Himself the prerogatives of the Son of God. 12MR 402.2


At this time, none of the disciples dared open their lips to acknowledge Christ as the Messiah so long expected. When asked if he was one of the disciples, Peter denied, and when again charged with being Christ's follower, he denied with cursing and swearing. On one occasion Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom say ye that I am?” The light of the Saviour's glory flooded Peter's soul, and with inspired earnestness, he broke out into no prosaic acknowledgment, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ commended him, saying, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven” [Matthew 16:15-17]. Is this the same Peter that now denies his Lord with cursing? 12MR 403.1


These things are too great for me to handle, but I must mention some things to ease my mind of its burden. Many who claim to be Christians are in danger of rending their garments, making an outward show of remorse and repentance, when their hearts are not softened or contrite. This is the reason why so many continue to make failures in the Christian life. An outward appearance of sorrow is manifested for wrong, but their repentance is not that repentance that needeth not to be repented of [2 Corinthians 7:10]. May God grant to His church true contrition for sin. Oh, that we may feel the necessity of revealing true sorrow for wrongdoing. 12MR 403.2


My soul is constantly pained because of the evidence that I have of the superficial conversion of those who claim to be children of God. The question arises in my mind, Do these have any sense of the infinite sacrifice made in their behalf? It was a priceless gift, the sacrifice of One who was the foundation of the Jewish economy. All the offerings that were made pointed to Christ, the one complete offering for the sins of the world. 12MR 403.3


From the desert where single-handed Christ wrestled with the temptation of the enemy, to the cross, Satan was on the Saviour's track. All hell was leagued against Christ. And the people that God had honored by making them the repositories of sacred truth, that they might be lights in the darkness of the world, joined the ranks of the great rebel, and sought to extinguish the light that was to lighten every man that cometh into the world. “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” [John 1:10]. Satan had thrown his hellish shadow across their pathway, to intercept the rainbow of promise. Priests and rulers confederated with him to catch Christ in His words, but they failed. At times the temptations were most painful, but step by step Christ advanced in the path of humiliation and self-sacrifice. All Satan's attempts to inspire Him with his own attributes were unsuccessful. 12MR 404.1


It is a most difficult matter to meet the wily foe, and discern his falsehoods. To do this demands more than the highest intellectual qualities. It is through Christ's sacrifice that man comes into possession of the power to do this. Throw open the door of the hidden chamber of the mind and heart, that your sins may be set in the light of God's countenance. He takes your trembling hand of faith, and lays it on the head of the atoning sacrifice. Thus every sin may be confessed and pardoned. Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, and having an high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with full assurance of faith [see Hebrews 10:19-22]. 12MR 404.2


Christ took humanity upon Himself, that as a substitute and surety, He might act in behalf of humanity. He came to earth to bear the test that Adam failed to endure. Satan thought that this was his opportunity. United with the religious nation, the apostate strove to overcome God in Jesus Christ, to banish pure and undefiled religion from the earth. From the desert to the cross, temptation came to Christ like a tempest. As the fierceness of Satan's efforts to wound the Saviour's heel with his poisonous fangs increased, the lower Christ stepped down in the path of humiliation, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Satan approached Christ as he approached Adam and Eve in Eden, but he failed in his purpose. Said Christ, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me” [John 14:30]. 12MR 404.3


The religion of error and superstition bore its fruit—bigotry, cruelty, falsehood, murder. These were exercised on the person of the only-begotten Son of God. The priests tried in every way to entrap Christ, to find in Him something that they could use against Him. But notwithstanding the fact that they hired the ignorant tools of the enemy to bear a testimony which they had put in their mouths, nothing was found in Christ worthy of condemnation. Three times the judge declared, “I find no fault in Him.” Yet instead of protecting Christ as an innocent man, and thus earning the reputation of being a just and considerate ruler, Pilate gave Him up into the hands of the mob. The only begotten Son of God was placed on trial, but it was a mock trial from beginning to end. It was shown to the world that the religion of the Jewish teachers was a religion of oppression. It proved unable to reform them. Traditions and rites of no value whatever were exalted above the Word of God. Truth indeed had “fallen in the streets, and equity could not enter.” 12MR 405.1


The religious rulers rejected and condemned Him who was the light of the world, the One who shone amid the moral darkness, and who in a moment could have struck off His fetters. Christ was obliged to tell them that by their resistance of righteousness they had served their day, and that the vineyard would be given to other husbandmen. Claiming to have the only true religion of the world, they turned from the truth itself, and crucified One who was the truth, because he bore witness against their evil works. Light shone amid the darkness but the darkness comprehended it not. Injustice and fraud lifted themselves in triumph, and Satan was pleased with the success of his plans. 12MR 406.1


Christ gave the lesson of the blighted fig tree in order to teach an important lesson. For the time He invested the tree with moral qualities, and made it the expositor of truth. Pretentious in appearance, it stood in the orchard flaunting its rich foliage as if fruit in abundance might be found on it. But Christ searched from the topmost bough to the lowest branches, and found nothing but leaves. He pronounced the curse upon it, and the next morning it was found to have withered away under the curse of Him who created it. “Master,” said Peter, “behold, the fig tree which Thou cursed is withered away” [Mark 11:21]. 12MR 406.2


By the fig tree Christ represented the Jewish nation. Her doom was to be as sudden and certain as that of the fig tree. The second cleansing of the Temple, the dispersion of those who were buying and selling in the courts, desecrating the place set apart for a holy purpose, connected with the blighting of the fig tree was symbolical of the future punishment of the Jewish nation. It prefigured the righteous anger of God. Standing as the representative men of the nation, the priests were corrupting the people by their false principles. As the fig tree withered, so would they. 12MR 406.3


Christ's lamentation over Jerusalem revealed His heart of love: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” [Matthew 23:37, 38]. 12MR 407.1


Behold the Son of God suffering on the cross for three terrible hours of agony, enduring the penalty of the transgression of the law, that repentant, believing ones may have eternal life. In the darkest hour, when Christ was enduring the greatest suffering that Satan could bring to torture His humanity, His Father hid from Him His face of love, comfort, and pity. In this trial His heart broke. He cried, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” [Matthew 26:46]. 12MR 407.2


As He hung upon the cross, angels gathered about the divine Sufferer. As they looked upon their loved Commander, and heard His cry, they asked with intense emotion, “Will not the Lord Jehovah save Him? Shall not that soul-piercing cry of God's only begotten Son prevail?” We ask, What if it had? What if the world had been left to perish with its accumulation of guilt, while the Commander of all heaven again took up His kingly crown and royal robe, leaving an ungrateful, unappreciative people to perish in their sins? 12MR 407.3


Not long before this, He said, “Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour” [John 12:27]. What melting, heart-stirring words. “Father, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.” The Father responded to this request. “Then came a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” [verse 28]. 12MR 407.4


As the angels beheld the overmastering anguish of the Son of God, the words were spoken, “The Lord hath sworn, and He will not repent.” Father and Son have clasped their hands, and are mutually pledged to fulfill the terms of the everlasting covenant, to give fallen man another chance. 12MR 408.1


“Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished,” cried out with a loud voice, “It is finished.” The work that Thou gavest Me is accomplished. Thus He gave His dying testimony to men and angels that the work He came to earth to do was to save a perishing world by His death. 12MR 408.2


When Christ spoke these words, He addressed His Father. Christ was not alone in making this great sacrifice. It was the fulfillment of the covenant made between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the earth was laid. With clasped hands they entered into the solemn pledge that Christ would become the substitute and surety for the human race if they were overcome by Satan's sophistry. The compact was now being fully consummated. The climax was reached. Christ had the consciousness that He had fulfilled to the letter the pledge He had made. In death He was more than conqueror. The redemption price has been paid. His right hand and His glorious holy arm have gotten Him the victory. 12MR 408.3


When He uttered the cry, “It is finished,” Christ knew that the battle was won. As a moral conqueror, He planted His banner on the eternal heights. Was there not joy among the angels? Not a son, not a daughter of Adam, but could now lay hold on the merits of the spotless Son of God, and say, Christ has died for me. He is my Saviour. The blood that speaketh better things than that of Abel has been shed. 12MR 408.4


The darkness rolled away from the Saviour and from the cross. Christ bowed His head and died. In His incarnation He had reached the prescribed limit as a sacrifice, but not as a Redeemer. The controversy in regard to the rebellion was answered. The human race has an open door set before them. “These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” [Revelation 3:7]. 12MR 409.1


When Christ cried, “It is finished,” God's unseen hand rent the strong fabric composing the veil of the Temple from top to bottom. The way into the Holiest of all was made manifest. God bowed His head satisfied. Now His justice and mercy could blend. He could be just, and yet the justifier of all who should believe on Christ. He looked upon the victim expiring on the cross, and said, “It is finished. The human race shall have another trial.” The redemption price was paid, and Satan fell like lightning from heaven. 12MR 409.2


Look at the superscription written above the cross. The Lord arranged it. Written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, it is a call for all, Jew and Gentile, barbarian and Scythian, bond and free, hopeless, helpless, and perishing, to come. Christ has made of none effect the power of Satan. He laid hold of the pillars of Satan's kingdom, and passed through the conflict, destroying him that had the power of death. A way was now opened whereby mercy and truth could meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other. By His death Christ perfected forever them that are sanctified. This enabled Him to proclaim with a triumphant voice on the cross of Calvary, “It is finished.” 12MR 409.3


Christ's heel was to be bruised by Satan. The whole energies of apostasy gathered together in an effort to destroy Him who was the light of the world, the truth which makes men wise unto salvation. But no advantage was gained by this confederacy. They knew not what they were doing. Satan bruised Christ's heel, but Christ bruised Satan's head. He was indeed enduring the contradiction of sinners against Himself. But every pang of suffering that He endured tore away the foundation of the enemy. With every advance move Satan made, he was effecting his own eternal ruin. 12MR 410.1


Satan bruised the heel of the seed of the woman, but he could not touch the head of our Mediator. Through death Christ destroyed him that had the power of death. In the very act of grasping his prey, death was vanquished, for Christ's death brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Never was the Son of God more beloved by His Father, the heavenly family, and by the worlds unfallen than when He humbled Himself to bear disgrace, humiliation, shame, and abuse. 12MR 410.2


When Christ bowed His head and died, He bore the pillars of Satan's kingdom with Him to the earth. He vanquished Satan in our human nature. The nature by which the enemy was overcome is the same nature over which in Eden he obtained an easy victory. He sustained a humiliating defeat. He was overcome by the human nature of Christ. The power of the Saviour's Godhead was hidden. He must overcome in human nature, relying upon God for His power. This is the privilege of all who accept Jesus Christ. In proportion to their faith will be their victory. 12MR 410.3


Christ was crucified. The Prince of Life had been taken by wicked hands and slain. In His spotless purity, the Son of the infinite God had been killed as a disturber of the peace and customs of the people. He was lying in Joseph's new tomb. Christ descended into the grave as our Sin-bearer, opening a grave for the sins of all who will accept Him as their personal Saviour. 12MR 411.1


The night following the crucifixion was the darkest night that the church had ever known. But the redemption price for a fallen world had been paid. The sacrifice for sin had been offered. All heaven was triumphant. 12MR 411.2


The ceremonies of the Passover moved on with the usual routine. But the imposing dress of the high priest covered a heart that needed the molding of the Spirit of God, but that would never receive it. The ostentatious and ceremonious rites of their religion were mingled with selfishness, fraud, discontent, and unholy passions. 12MR 411.3


The rulers had chosen Barabbas, and Barabbas they would have as long as life should last. They cried out against Christ, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” “His blood be on us, and on our children.” The blood thus invoked upon themselves would indeed be upon them. The characters they had chosen would ever be their characters. By their life and character they contradicted their grand ceremonies. The words, “His blood be on us, and on our children,” would never cease to torture the hearts of the speakers. The blight of God's curse was upon them. Jesus never spurned the true penitent, but He hated hypocrisy cloaked by a garment of religion. 12MR 411.4


All heaven heard the challenge, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him” [Matthew 27:42]. Never in outward appearance could humanity descend lower than this. But Satan saw that his disguise was torn away, that the character he had tried to fasten on Christ was fastened on himself. It was as if he had the second time fallen from heaven. He had acted out his own attributes. After the crucifixion, he saw that he had over reached himself. The charges he had made against Christ were made against God Himself. 12MR 411.5


All heaven saw the cruel work done to Christ. In the dreadful scenes transacted in the judgment hall, God showed to the heavenly universe the spirit that would be manifested by those that are unwilling to yield obedience to His law. God then presented the once-hidden principles of Satan's power. All heaven saw them as they were. The sympathies of the heavenly angels were with Christ, and Satan was uprooted. 12MR 412.1


The principle of rebellion is incurable. Satan revealed his true sentiments through the actions of the priests, who had been blessed with evidence upon evidence, but who would be hardened, not convinced, by more evidence. By the spirit manifested by Christ all through His trial, Satan's power as an accuser of the brethren was proved to be powerful but false. Satan is an accuser, a thief, and a murderer. He instigated men to put to death not only innocent human beings, but the incarnate God. If he could, he would have held Christ locked in the tomb. In his treatment of the Son of God, Satan showed what he would do if he had the nation wholly under his control. He would murder the innocent and save the wicked, represented by Barabbas. Barabbas represents the class that under Satan's dictation do the works of their father the devil. 12MR 412.2


Satan will be judged by his own idea of justice. It was his plea that every sin should meet its punishment. If God remitted the punishment, he said, He was not a God of truth or justice. Satan will meet the judgment which he said God should exercise. 12MR 413.1


The scenes of persecution enacted during Christ's life will be enacted by false religionists till the close of time. Men think that they have a right to take into their charge the consciences of men, and work out their theories of apostasy and transgression. History will be repeated. Christ declared that prior to His second coming the world would be as it was in the days of Noah, when men reached such a pass in following their own sinful imagination that God destroyed them by a flood. 12MR 413.2


Every power that has been exercised since the betrayal of Christ to force the consciences of men, every court that has taken upon itself to decide man's destiny by its measurement of what constitutes religion, has revealed satanic attributes. Men have betrayed and persecuted God's chosen ones. They have taken the life that God alone can give. They have done that which they will wish they had never done, when they are asked, Who gave you this authority? Who required this at your hands? Who authorized you to put God's children to death? 12MR 413.3


A large company beheld the events of this day and the day following. Some regard the publicity of Christ's death only as shame and defeat. But this God had appointed. He was betrayed by Judas, and forsaken and denied by His disciples. He was scorned as a deceiver, and hunted down as one unfit for human sympathy. He was betrayed in the garden of Gethsemane, and He underwent a mock trial in the judgment hall. He was condemned by Pilate. The governor declared, “I find no fault in Him.” Yet he condemned to death an innocent Man, a God disguised by humanity. 12MR 413.4


Christ was crowned with thorns. His hands and feet were pierced by nails. Every step onward in the shameful scene was one of intense suffering. But it was God's purpose that publicity should be given to the whole transaction, point after point, scene after scene, one phase of humiliation reaching into another. It was appointed that these events should take place on the occasion of the Passover. 12MR 414.1


He who came from the heavenly courts on an embassage of love, mercy, and truth to save from sin the people that had been made the repositories of sacred truth, and to enlighten the world by the knowledge of God, was crucified. The One to whom the Jewish sacrifices pointed clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might become a teacher of humanity. He revealed Himself as the sent of God, the hope of Israel. He was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. “I find no fault in Him,” was the testimony of an irreligious heathen judge. But Satan and his synagogue were leagued against divinity. Christ was rejected and dishonored as far as humanity and satanic agencies combined could do the shameful work. They chose a robber and a heathen king in the place of the Prince of Life. “We have no king but Caesar,” they shouted. Thus they withdrew from the divine theocracy, choosing a heathen ruler. 12MR 414.2


He who left the heavenly courts and clothed His divinity with humanity that He might secure the salvation of Israel, and that through them the light might shine to the world, was stigmatized by the highest authorities of the Jewish nation. Heathen rulers confederated with them to put the Redeemer to death. But Christ's word to them is plain and irrevocable, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” [Matthew 26:64]. 12MR 414.3


In His life Christ fulfilled every specification of the law. Did He do this that from henceforth the law might be made void and that sinful beings might be given what Satan claimed to be their privilege—freedom from law? Has the enemy of God obtained in this world what he was refused in heaven? No. Christ declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” [Matthew 5:17]. Righteousness was leagued with truth to make unrighteousness appear. 12MR 415.1


By Christ's becoming man's substitute, the lustre of an abundant vindication is shed on the faithful, obedient child of God. Though entirely innocent, Christ submitted to be punished for man's disobedience. In His own body He offered the antitypical sacrifice, thus paying the penalty and bearing the curse, that no one who believes in Him should perish, but have everlasting life. The rainbow of promise encircles the throne. 12MR 415.2


In stooping to take the habiliments of a man, Christ did not cease to be God. The human did not become divine, nor the divine human. Christ lived the law of God, showing all men and women that through His grace they can do the same. By faith, in His humanity Christ saw what we are permitted to see by faith—the atoning sacrifice connected with the Lord upon the mercy seat. The golden censer is waved, and the incense, the representation of the purity and righteousness of Christ, ascends, bearing the prayers of every soul that receives and believes on Christ to the altar which is before the throne of God. And Jesus is in the midst. 12MR 415.3


Entire justice was done in the atonement. Christ was the object of that justice. In the place of the sinner, the spotless Son of God received the penalty, and the sinner goes free as long as he receives and holds Christ as his personal Saviour. Though guilty, he is looked upon as innocent. The character of God was shown to the world by the obedience and death of the Son of God. By His own merits Christ covered everything that the justice of God demanded. God's character as a God of holiness, a God of goodness, compassion, and love combined, was expressed in His Son. In the cross of Christ God gave the mightiest pledge of justice and love. [Hebrews 9:13, 14, quoted.] 12MR 416.1


When the loud cry, “It is finished,” came from the lips of Christ, the priests were officiating in the Temple. The lamb prefiguring Christ—for to Him all the sacrificial offerings pointed—had been brought to be slain. Clothed in his significant and beautiful dress, the priest stood with lifted knife, as did Abraham when he was about to slay his son. With intense interest the people look on. But the earth trembles and quakes, for the Lord Himself draws near. With a rending noise, the veil of the Temple is torn from top to bottom by an unseen hand, throwing open to the gaze of the multitude a place once filled with the presence of God. In this place the Shekinah once dwelt. Here God had once manifested His glory above the mercy seat. No one but the high priest ever lifted the veil separating this apartment from the rest of the tabernacle. He entered in once a year to make an atonement for the sin of the people. But lo, this veil is rent in twain. No longer is there any secrecy there. 12MR 416.2


All is terror and confusion. The priest is about to plunge his knife to the heart of the victim, but the knife drops from his nerveless hand, and the lamb, no longer fettered, escapes. At the moment that the expiring Saviour exclaimed, “It is finished,” an unseen hand rent the veil of the Temple from the top to the bottom. Thus God said, “I can no longer reveal My presence in the Most Holy Place.” Type had met antitype in the death of God's Son. The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, is dead. The way into the Holiest of all is laid open. A new and living way, which has no veil between, is offered to all. From henceforth all may walk in this way. No longer need sinful, sorrowing humanity await the coming of the high priest. It was as if a living voice had spoken to the worshipers: There is now an end to all sacrifices and offerings. The Son of God has come according to His word, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do thy will, O My God” [Psalm 40:8]. “Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” [John 1:29]. 12MR 416.3


At the setting of the sun on the evening of the preparation, trumpets sounded, signifying that the Sabbath of rest had begun. The next day the courts of the Temple were filled with worshipers. The high priest from Golgotha was there, splendidly robed in his sacerdotal garments. White-turbaned priests, in their officiating dress, full of busy activity, were preparing to perform their duties. But some present were not at rest as they offered the blood of bulls and goats for the sin of Israel. They were not conscious that type had met antitype, that an infinite sacrifice had been offered for the sin of the world. 12MR 417.1


But never had the service been performed with such conflicting feelings. The trumpets and musical instruments and the voices of the singers were as loud and clear as usual, but a sense of strangeness pervaded everything. One after another inquired about the strange event that had taken place. Hitherto the Most Holy Place had always been most sacredly guarded from intrusion. It was left in sacred solitude. Only once a year was it entered, and then by the high priest. But now a curious horror is seen on many countenances, for this apartment was open to all eyes. At the very moment that Christ had expired, the heavy veil of tapestry, made of pure linen, and beautifully wrought with scarlet and purple, had been rent from top to bottom. The place where Jehovah had met with the priest, to communicate His glory, the place that had been God's sacred audience chamber, lay open to every eye—a place no longer recognized by the Lord. 12MR 417.2


Many who at that time united in the services of the Passover never again took part in them. Light was to shine into their hearts. The disciples were to communicate to them the knowledge that the great Teacher had come. 12MR 418.1


According to their practice the people brought their sick and suffering to the Temple courts, inquiring, Who can tell us of Jesus of Nazareth, the healer? Some had come from far to see and hear Him who had healed the sick and raised the dead. With persistent earnestness they asked for Him. They would not be turned away. But they were driven from the Temple courts, and the people of Jerusalem could not fail to see the contrast between this scene and the scenes of Christ's life. 12MR 418.2


On every side was heard the cry, “We want Christ, the Healer.” A world without a Christ was blackness and darkness, not only to the disciples and to the sick and suffering, but to the priests and rulers. The Jewish leaders and even the Roman authorities found it harder to deal with a dead Christ than with a living Christ. The people learned that Jesus had been put to death by the priests. Inquiries were made regarding His death. The particulars of His trial were kept as private as possible, but during the time that He was in the grave, His name was on thousands of lips, and reports of His mock trial, and of the inhumanity of the priests and rulers were circulated everywhere. 12MR 418.3


By men of intellect the priests were called upon to explain the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, and while trying to frame some falsehood in reply, the priests became like men insane. Upon many minds the conviction rested that the Scriptures had been fulfilled. [Luke 23:50-52, quoted.] 12MR 419.1


Joseph was a disciple of Christ, but in the past he had not identified himself with Him for fear of the Jews. He now went boldly to Pilate, and asked [for] the body of Jesus. He was a rich man, and this gave him influence with the governor. Had he delayed, the body of the Saviour would have been placed with the bodies of the thieves in a dishonored grave. 12MR 419.2


Nicodemus, a chief ruler and a rabbi, was also a disciple of Christ. He had come to the Saviour by night, as if afraid to have it known that his heart was troubled. That night he listened to the most important discourse that ever fell from the lips of man. The words he heard had penetrated his soul. He had been enlightened by them, but still he had not identified himself with Christ. He had been among the number spoken of by John: “Among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue” [John 12:42]. But Nicodemus had endeavored, as far as he could, to defend Christ. On one occasion he had asked the priests, “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” [John 7:51]. “Art thou also of Galilee?” was the retort. “Search, and look; for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet” [verse 52]. 12MR 419.3


After the crucifixion Nicodemus came to the cross, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes to embalm Christ's body. He had witnessed the cruel treatment of the priests; he had marked Christ's patience and Godlike bearing, even in His humiliation. He now saw more clearly the real character of the high priest, and he came boldly to take the bruised body of his Saviour, looked upon as the body of a malefactor. Thus he identified himself with Christ in His shame and death. 12MR 420.1


With the death of Christ the hopes of the disciples had perished. Often they repeated the words, “We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel” [Luke 24:21]. Lonely and sick at heart, they remembered Christ's words, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” [Luke 23:31]. They met together in the upper chamber, and closed and fastened the doors, knowing that the fate of their beloved Teacher might at any time be theirs. 12MR 420.2


[Luke 23:54, 56; Matthew 28:1, 2, quoted.] 12MR 420.3


Mary saw that her Lord was not in the tomb. “Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him” [John 20:2]. While Mary was hastening to the abode of Peter and John, other women came to the tomb from another direction, wondering how they would roll away the stone. But they found the stone rolled away, and, entering the sepulcher, they saw that the body of their Lord was not there. 12MR 420.4


“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven.” Clothed with the panoply of heaven, this angel left the heavenly courts. The bright beams of God's glory went before him and illuminated his pathway. “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men” [Matthew 28:3, 4]. Now, priests and rulers, where is the power of your guard? 12MR 421.1


[Proverbs 1:24-31; Psalm 2:4-12, quoted.] 12MR 421.2


How impotent on this occasion was the power of the kings and rulers. They could not act their will on Him who was slain for the sins of the world. Had it been possible, the prince of darkness with his apostate army would have kept forever sealed the tomb that held the Son of God. But a heavenly host guarded the sepulcher. With majestic and terrible tread, the God of heaven, followed by the angels, walked round the tomb of Christ. They had been unseen witnesses of all that had taken place in the mock trial in the judgment hall. Every action was noted, every taunt recorded. 12MR 421.3


The hour of Christ's triumph has come. The Lord has broken His bonds in sunder. Christ came forth from the tomb proclaiming, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” The Saviour's words to His disciples were fulfilled. [John 16:19, 20, 22, quoted.]—Manuscript 111, 1897. 12MR 421.4


White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

August 4, 1983.

Entire Manuscripts: 91, 101, 111, 1897.



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