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JESUS - OFFERED LIFE TO SATAN?

Jesus Christ claimed to be God's right hand man. He claimed to be the Son of God. For too many he was more than just these. He was God. He claimed to possess miraculous powers. Yet he was arrested and died an ignominious death on a cross. The Church eventually did some spin doctoring and turned this death into a triumph over the evil in the universe. All sorts of explanations for why Jesus had to die and what good this death did came into being. It was generally felt that Jesus died to atone or make up for the sins of others. This doctrine is the atonement. Jesus himself stated that he would die as a ransom for sinners. At least that is what the gospel says.
 
For the first millennium, the favourite view the Church took of the meaning of the ransoming death of Jesus was this. Satan owned the human race. It belonged to him for it had sold itself to him by sin. God wanted to buy the human race back from Satan. Satan demanded that he be allowed to kill God's son and then he would let God take the human race back. When Jesus died for it was the price the Devil demanded in return for the human race. Jesus died to ransom us from the Devil and it was not a payment to God.
 
The first great theologian of the Church with any authority and competence was St Irenaeus of Lyons, second century theologian and spokesman for the Church, of the second century. He declared that Jesus offered his ransom price to Satan to buy us back for God (page 30-31, Documents of the Christian Church. The idea went unchallenged and was promoted by Origen and accepted as the main theory in the Church (page 274-275, The History of Christianity). It was not until the time of St Anselm of Canterbury that it began to be doubted. He was born in 1033 and died in 1109 AD. He gave origin to the idea that God needed atonement for sin and Jesus paid that atonement. The new idea appeared when he wrote Cur Deus Homo (Why did God become Man?) (page 279, The History of Christianity, Lion, Herts, 1977).

Who did Jesus offer himself to God or Satan? The Bible says that the sacrifice of the cross was offered to God (Hebrews 9:14). But this does not answer our question. If Jesus died to pay Satan alone and not God then what he did could still be a sacrifice to God for he pays Satan out of love for God. If Jesus was doing good he was pleasing God and offering what he did for Satan to God so it would be a sacrifice to God in an indirect sense. Scripture never actually says it was offered to Satan but it never denies it either.

Satan had no rights over the human race. If I sell myself to another that person still does not own me from the viewpoint of human rights. No person can belong to another – religion would add the spurious doctrine “except God who is infinitely more important than any person and our maker” – for a person is absolutely valuable. There was no need for such a macabre bargain. Satan wouldn’t have preferred the death of God incarnate or his son who was able to rise up again to owning the human race. Satan knew that God would not be letting such a thing happen if there was nothing in it for himself.

Perhaps the transaction was made against Satan’s will? Perhaps the situation was like where an employee is cheated out of her wages and she goes to the law and is given 100 Mars bars out of her employer’s safe fridge instead of the money she prefers? But if Satan was the owner of the human race in justice nobody had the right to take it from him and give him something he didn’t want instead. The theory is an insult to justice.

Maybe God did have the right to commit this injustice against Satan because it averted a greater injustice, the Devil making human existence a misery. But if that were true then God did not need to give him compensation in the form of letting him have the dead body of Jesus Christ. God should not have given him compensation. Battered wives don’t owe their husbands compensation for walking out on them. Besides we sinned and sold ourselves to Satan. We only got what we deserved.

When the theory claims that we belong to Satan over what Adam, who started the human race, did, committing the first human sin, it becomes absolutely laughable. An all-powerful God could have prevented the situation if the first man’s sin really had to result in such a thing. But it makes no sense anyway. In conservative families, the father is the head and representative of the family but still that does not make any sin he commits the sin of the whole family. If the king declares war the whole country suffers but that is because we don’t live in an ideal world. At the same time, the country should not suffer unwillingly over a man.

This theory is an outrage for it infers that God is ruled by the Devil and give him worship. God would not want the Devil to own humanity so if he does then the devil is the stronger. And if God gives him an unnecessary sacrifice then God is worshiping him.

God should have got a rebel angel who was not the Devil or anything near to him in villainy to tempt Adam and Eve instead of the Devil.

The theory claims that when God raised Jesus from the dead he cheated Satan. The bargain was that Jesus would be killed by Satan and stay dead. Satan wouldn't exchange the human race for a son of God that would die temporarily. The theory cannot be regarded as decent or just. It puts God in a bad light. And what use would a dead Jesus be to Satan when there was a God? He’d want God in his divine nature to die and never come back to life.
 
If somebody had to die then why couldn't it be Satan for a being loses all it has when it dies. Even marriage is ended by death, the wife no longer belongs to her husband when he dies. Satan would have lost all right to the human race if he died.

Some hold that Jesus killed Satan by incarnating Satan in his body to die on the cross. The Local Church of Witness Lee teaches that sin is choosing to be mingled with the Devil and that sin is the embodiment of Satan. Sin and the personal Satan are identified. Sin and Satan are some kind of material or substance that can stick to you. Jesus took a body that Satan became a part of and Jesus got himself crucified to kill Satan. The incarnation and the crucifixion were traps to kill the Devil.

The basis of this doctrine is where Peter is called Satan for sinning (Matthew 16:23) which makes them think that Peter had become the Satan-force. And where, according to some translations like the RSV, Jesus was said to have destroyed the Devil by being crucified (Hebrews 2:14) which makes them think that Jesus became the Devil to kill him.

Satan means adversary – any adversary. Jesus was not saying that Peter was the Devil and if he had there would be no point in taking him literally. If Peter were mingled with the Devil he would not be the Devil unless the Devil’s mind had replaced his own mind in his body. He would not be Peter then. We say people are shattered when they are over-tired and devastated when they lose something precious. It cannot be proved that Hebrews is for the notion that Satan was killed on the cross for destroy and kill do not always mean put out of existence in the Bible.

If Jesus wanted to kill the Devil he wouldn’t need to trick him or to die on a cross to do it. He could have magically stopped the Devil from becoming one being with sinners instead of making more trouble for himself.

The Christian has to assert that Jesus did not offer himself to buy us from the Devil and he did not become the Devil on the cross to kill him.

Jesus did not offer himself to the Devil if he got himself crucified and killed. He was not a truly good man. To choose one of many instances, he told the Jews that the Devil would not cast his own angels out of the possessed. One might as well say that a king would not ask his servant to leave the castle. Jesus lied. And the Bible says over and over again that it is a sin to lie and Jesus said we should be so truthful that we shouldn't need to take oaths. For a sinner to claim to be the Son of God and the sacrifice that saves the world is to swear allegiance to Satan. To die for evil lies is to offer oneself to the Devil as a sacrifice. We know that Jesus’ passion and cruel death were useless if they happened and did not save anyone so they were suicide and masochism. If Jesus was God’s Son then Satan is more powerful than he is for he got him killed for nothing.

 
BOOKS CONSULTED

 
A SUMMARY OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
APOLOGETICS AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Most Rev M Sheehan DD, M H Gill & Son, Dublin, 1954
DOCUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, edited by Henry Bettenson, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1979
ESSENTIALS, David L Edwards and John Stott, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1990
JESUS THE ONLY SAVIOUR, Tony and Patricia Higton, Monarch Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 1993
KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1973
OXFORD DICTIONARY OF PHILOSOPHY, Simon Blackburn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996
PROFOUND PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY, Rev George Jamieson BD, Simpkin, Marshall, & Co, London, 1884
RADIO REPLIES 3, Frs Rumble and Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1942
THE ATONEMENT: MYSTERY OF RECONCILIATION, Kevin McNamara, Veritas, Dublin, 1987
THE BIBLE TELLS US SO, R B Kuiper, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1978
THE CROSS OF CHRIST, Christadelphian Publishing Office, Shaftmoor Lane, Birmingham
THE CROSS THE VINDICATION OF GOD, DM Lloyd Jones, Banner of Truth, Edinburgh
THE LIBERATION OF PLANET EARTH, Hal Lindsey, Lakeland, London, 1975
THE METAPHOR OF GOD INCARNATE, John Hick, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1993
THE POWER OF THE CROSS, Tony Ling, CMI Publishing, Coventry 1995
THE SACRED EXECUTIONER Human Sacrifice and the Legacy of Guilt Hyam Maccoby Thames and Hudson, London, 1982
WHO WILL DELIVER US, Paul Zahl, Fount Original, Collins/Fount, London, 1983
WHY DID CHRIST HAVE TO DIE? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
WHY GOD PERMITS EVIL, Dawn Bible Students, East Rutherford, New Jersey