All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.

May 6, 2011



Why the

Cross?

Mini-Book

Part 1





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2011 by Merle E. Koepke

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WHY THE CROSS?



When Jesus was born into this world, He was born of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary. Jesus was the Word of God in the beginning. Jesus was God with the Father and the Holy Spirit from the beginning (John 1:1,2; 1 John 5:7).

The world, as we see it now was created by Jesus, who was the Word of God

Jesus died upon the Cross of Calvary. Three days later, Jesus arose again from the dead. The same day that Jesus arose again from the dead, He appeared to many who believed upon Him. Over a period of forty-days, Jesus appeared to His disciples a number of times. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give some details of what happened following the resurrection of Jesus.

In the Gospel of Mark, it tells of Jesus appearing to His disciples and giving them some of His last instructions. In Mark 16:15,16, it says, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature...He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

This is one of the most important statements that Jesus made to His disciples. This sums up the complete message of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. Those who believe the Gospel will be saved. But those who do not believe the Gospel will not be saved.

This message of the Gospel was first spoken of in Genesis 3:15, where the LORD God said to the serpent, "And 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."

It was the serpent that spoke to Eve in the garden, and deceived her into eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, the serpent has become the symbol of the works of the Devil.

From the day that Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God has been revealing to us His plans for our deliverance from all the works of the Devil.

God reveals to us spiritual things by types and shadows, figurative, and symbolic teachings. God was using symbolic language when He spoke of "the tree of life" and "the tree of knowledge of good and evil." As a tree grows, it produces fruit, the fruit produces seeds, the seeds produce more trees in the same likeness and image of the tree it came from.

Multitudes of people, "including Christians," have been deceived by the teachings of men. Many have been taught that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was like an apple tree, where you can pick the fruit off the tree and eat it, like you eat food in the natural.

These teachings are like "fairy tails," such as "there is pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and neither was there any natural physical food on the tree of life, nor on the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

God uses symbolic language all throughout the Scriptures. This is the same type of symbolic language that Jesus used in John 6:54-56, when Jesus said, "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day...For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed...He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him...As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me."

In John 6:63, Jesus explained what He was saying when He said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

Jesus said to His disciples, "...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." The words that Jesus spoke to His disciples had nothing to do with eating His physical body, or drinking His liquid blood.

The words spoken from "the Tree of Life" produce eternal life in the spiritual realm. The words spoken from "the tree of knowledge of good and evil" produce two types of deaths (eternal death, and physical death).

How did Eve eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Eve believed the words spoken to her by the serpent, then she spoke words to Adam. The LORD said to Adam in Genesis 3:17, "...Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life."

Adam believed the words that were spoken to him by Eve. When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, sin and death entered mankind. Therefore, everyone who is "born of the flesh" is born with sin and death resident in them. (The seed of the tree of knowledge of good and evil continued to reproduce after its kind).

In Romans 5:12, it says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

Eating of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, are symbolic terms, similar to eating food. They are not literal, as eating an apple from an apple tree.

God loves mankind whom He created in His own likeness and image (Gen. 1:26-28). Therefore, God reveals to us what He desires for us in His Word.

God reveals to us both, what we should do and what we should not do? In Genesis 2:16,17, it says, "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat...But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die {die, die}."

When God reveals His choice to us, many times it is in symbolic language, or figurative speaking. Long before, Jesus died on the Cross of Calvary, God had revealed to us in symbolic language the importance of the Cross. One of the best revelations of the Cross is in the deliverance of the Children of Israel from Egypt.

When the LORD God first spoke to Moses in the wilderness from the burning bush, He began to reveal in "symbolic type and shadow" the Cross of Jesus.

In Exodus 4:1-4, it says, "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee...And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod...And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it...And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand."

In the King James Version of the Bible, it uses the word "rod." In some of the other translations of the Bible it is called "a staff," referring to a shepherds staff. Moses was at that time tending the sheep of his father-in-law when he saw the burning bush (Ex. 3:1).

When Moses said to the LORD God, it was a "rod" in his hand, he was speaking of a staff. The rod or staff is a symbol of authority. The rod Moses had, was made from a branch of a tree. A staff, made of a "branch of a tree" is spoken of at times as "the authority of power."

In Isaiah, God used symbolic language in speaking of Jesus coming into this world as "the Son of King David." In Isaiah 11:1- 5, it says, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots...And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD...And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears...But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked...And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."

Jesse was not a tree with branches and roots. Jesse was King David's father. Jesus was called a branch, from the tree of Jesse, King David's father. This is symbolic language.

When the rod of Moses was used before Pharaoh, the magicians of Egypt also had rods. The rod of Moses had more power than the rods of the magicians of Egypt (Ex.7:11,12).

Just as "the tree of life" has more power than "the tree of knowledge of good and evil." Just as God has more power than the Devil.

Notice in Genesis 3:22,23 it indicates that "the Tree of life" has power over death. After Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, it says in Genesis 3:22,23, "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever...Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." Had Adam and Eve eaten of the Tree of Life at that time, the eternal life of "the tree of life" would have overcome the eternal death of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Moses' rod turned into a serpent then back into a rod (when Moses took it by the tail and lifted it up). That identified the power Moses' had been given over serpents. Therefore, by type and shadow, Moses was shown the authority the LORD had given him.

This is the same type of authority Christians have over demons and the works of the Devil. Even the disciples of Jesus had authority in Jesus' name "before they were born again." In Luke 10:17, it says, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name." Jesus said to them, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).

When Moses and Aaron went before Pharaoh of Egypt, they always took along the rod that Moses had in the wilderness when the LORD spoke to him from the burning bush. That rod was made of a branch of a tree. It was a symbol of power to destroy the works of the enemy.

The first time Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh of Egypt, they used the "rod" to demonstrate the authority Moses and Aaron had. When Aaron cast down Moses' rod before Pharaoh, it turned into a serpent (Ex. 7:10). When the magicians of Egypt cast down their rods, they also turned into serpents (Ex. 7:11). Moses' rod swallowed up the rods of the magicians of Egypt (Ex. 7:12). This demonstrates that no matter how much power the Devil has, the power of God is greater.

In Exodus 7:20, when the rod of Moses was used to smite the water in the river, the water turned to blood. In Exodus 8:6, when Aaron stretched forth the rod of Moses over the rivers, frogs came upon the land of Egypt. In Exodus 8:17, when Aaron stretched out his hand with Moses' rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man and in beasts; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.

In each of the first three times that Moses' rod was used to show the power of authority Moses was given, the magicians of Egypt also showed the power of authority they had been given by the Devil.

Then in the eighth plague, Exodus 9:23, it says, "Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt."

In Exodus 10:13, it says, "And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts."

Following the Passover, when the children of Israel were between Pharaoh and his army and the Red Sea, the LORD said to Moses, "lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea" (Ex. 14:16).

By all the signs and wonders the LORD did in the land of Egypt, the Children of Israel should have known the will of God for their lives and God's ability to take care of them wherever they went. They should have had faith in God and not in any other.

In Numbers 21:5-9, it says, "And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread...And the LORD sent (permitted) fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died...Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people...And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live...And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."

Why the pole? Why the serpent of brass? The pole is symbolic of "the Tree of Life." The serpent of brass is symbolic of the power of Satan, operating from "the tree of knowledge of good and evil."

On the pole was the symbol of a serpent that had no power to harm anyone. The serpent on the pole was powerless. It did not have any life in it. The Children of Israel lived when they believed that the serpent that had bitten them had lost its power to cause death.

This pole with the dead serpent upon it was a symbol of Jesus upon the Cross. Jesus made mention of this in John 3:14, saying, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up."

When Jesus was nailed to the Cross, He took all our sins, iniquities, infirmities, sickness and diseases upon Himself, and "swallowed them up," just as the rod of Moses swallowed up the rods of the Egyptian magicians.

The rod of Moses is symbolic of the Tree of Life. The pole on which the serpent of brass was placed is symbolic of the Tree of Life. The Cross of Jesus is symbolic of the Tree of Life. When sin and death is nailed to the Cross, it has no power.

In 2 Corinthians 5:21 it says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

In Isaiah 53:4,5 it says, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted...But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

On the Tree of Life, sin and death is swallowed up in victory. Therefore, in Colossians 2:13-15, it says, "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses...Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross...And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

In 1 Corinthians 15:54,55, it says, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory...O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"

This is the Gospel that Jesus said should be preached to all nations. It is the Good News that the sin and death we were born into this world with, was placed upon Jesus, when He went to the Cross for us. Jesus took that sin and death upon Himself, for all who will believe the Gospel.

In Revelation 1:18, Jesus said to the Apostle John, "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." When Jesus died on the Cross, He took all that the Devil had against us with Him, into the lower parts, and made an open show of the Devil and his demons. Then Jesus took the keys to hell and death from the devil, and arose again from the dead.

Jesus died, but He did not stay in the grave. Jesus came back from the dead by the resurrection power of God, and is alive today. Hebrews 13:20,21, says, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant...Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

The same blood that Jesus shed for us, cleansed Jesus of all our sins, iniquities, infirmities, sicknesses and diseases, that were placed upon Him before He died. There is no death in Jesus. There is only life in Jesus Christ. Jesus is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6).

When we receive Jesus into our lives, we eat of the Tree of Life, that lives forever. In Jesus, we have eternal life, a life without death. A life that can live forever and ever.

In Christ Jesus, all our past sins, iniquities, and infirmities are taken away. God no longer looks at what happened to us before we were born again in Christ Jesus. God adopts us out of Adam into Christ (Rom. 8:9). We become true children of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). God is our True Father, and we are one with God in Christ Jesus. God forgets who we were in Adam, and looks at us for who we are in Christ.

Being "born again" in Christ Jesus, we are a new creature, "born of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit" (1 Peter 1:23; John 3:6). Being that we are "in Christ," and not "in Adam," we must learn how to live in the Spirit, and how to stop trying to live in the flesh.

We are born again from above. We are not of this world. But, we are still in this world. Being in this world, we still see the world and the things of this world. We see, hear, feel, smell, and taste what the world has. All our senses still operate the same as they did when we were still in Adam (Rom. 8:9).

Being in this world, Satan does not stop trying to get us to eat of "the tree of knowledge of good and evil." Being that we are in Christ, and not in Adam, we must do the same thing that Jesus did when He was in the world.

Jesus overcame the world, and all that was in the world. Now that we are in Christ, we also have the power to overcome the world. The power to overcome the world is in "the life of God" that dwells in us.

The life of God that is in us, comes from the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life has power over the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The life of God in us has power over the death that is in the world. Death has no power over the life of God in us.

It is important that we understand what Jesus did for us on the Cross of Calvary. The Cross of Calvary was a new beginning for us. Just like when the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, and Pharaoh and his army was drowned in the Red Sea. Pharaoh and His army no longer had any power over the Children of Israel. They were defeated, and drowned in the Red Sea.

At that time in 1 Corinthians 10:1,2, it says, "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea...And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea...And did all eat the same spiritual meat...And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ...But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness."

When the Children of Israel were baptized unto Moses, Moses became their mediator between them and God. Whenever there was a situation in their lives, they went to Moses. Moses went to the LORD, and the LORD answered the prayers of Moses.

This is a type and shadow of the Body of Christ. When we were born again, we were baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). In Christ, Jesus is our mediator between us and God the Father (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus prays and makes intercession for us to God the Father, whenever we are attacked by the enemy. Jesus is our advocate before the Father (1 John 2:2).

When Jesus went to the Cross for us, Jesus sealed the covenant between us and God the Father with His own blood. That covenant is an everlasting covenant (Heb. 13:20). As long as we remain in Christ, that covenant remains in effect. Do not brake the covenant.

Therefore, just as the serpent was raised up in the wilderness after the Children of Israel were baptized unto Moses, the Cross of Calvary is still effective for us today. If we sin, we can repent and the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:9). If we walk in the Light of the Word of God daily, the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7). We can be cleansed by the blood anytime that the spirits of this world deceive us into eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, the Cross of Jesus is still effective.

When we look at what happened on the Cross of Calvary, and believe in what Jesus did for us on the Cross, we can repent and be restored to fellowship with the Father and the Son.

The greatest thing about believing what happened on the Cross of Calvary is, that it is effective against all the works of the Devil. Whatsoever the Devil does to people, we can look to the Cross, believing in what the Cross represents, and destroy the works of the Devil by our "faith in God." When we believe in the Cross of Jesus, our faith will deliver us from all the works of the Devil.

The Cross of Jesus is a symbol of our deliverance from all the works of the Devil. On the Cross, is the payment for all our sins, iniquities, and infirmities. On the Cross, is healing for our physical bodies. On the Cross is deliverance of any mental deformities. By Jesus' stripes, we are already healed. We are already set free by what Jesus did for us when He went to the Cross for us. Jesus set us free of all the works of the Devil on the Cross of Calvary. If we will believe what Jesus did for us on the Cross, we will be free.

On the Cross of Calvary, sin and death, sickness and disease was swallowed up by Jesus for us. Jesus took everything the Devil has against us and nailed it to His Cross. Jesus defeated the Devil for us. If we will believe what Jesus did for us we will be free.

The "Law of sin and death," that came upon mankind in the garden of Eden was defeated by the "the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1,2 tells us, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

For those who "walk after the Spirit" and not "after the flesh," the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes us free of the law of sin and death.

The other side of the message is, those who "walk after the flesh," put themselves back under the law of sin and death. They become like the Children of Israel who came out of Egypt, but did not put faith in the Word which was spoken to them (Heb. 3:17-19; 4:2). They died in the wilderness. They never entered into the promised land.

Our promised land is eternity in heaven with the Father and the Son. In "the Spirit of Christ," we are seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). In "the natural," we are still in this world. We must overcome the world, by faith in the words we speak and the blood of the Lamb that was shed on the Cross of Calvary for us (Rev. 12:11).

Jesus is our example. Jesus walked in the Light of the Word of God, and Satan had nothing on Jesus. Jesus spoke the Word of God and defeated every demon that came against Him. Jesus conquered death and hell by the words He spoke out of His mouth. Jesus said in John 6:63, "...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Jesus spoke "life" over every sickness and disease. Jesus defeated death by speaking words of life.

In Hebrews 1:3, tells us that, by the power of His Word, Jesus created all things. Jesus upheld all things by the power of His Word. Therefore, by the power of God's Word, all things exist.

The reason that the Bible is written, is so that people can know the Truth and the Truth can set them free. The Truth is revealed in the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. The world needs to know the Truth, before the Truth can set them free.

Everyone born into this world has a free will, to choose what they will believe? The Cross of Calvary is the point of decision. Will they choose, Life or death?

Remember, the serpent was put on a pole in the wilderness after the Children of Israel were already set free from Pharaoh and the Egyptians when they crossed the Red Sea. Christians need to understand, "if they sin after they are born again, they still have the Cross of Jesus to set them free."

Jesus said in Luke 24:47, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." In 1 John 1:8,9 it says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us...If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

In Hebrews 5:8,9 it says, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered...And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." It is important that we obey the LORD. For there is no salvation in any other than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

Therefore, Jesus said in Mark 16:15,16, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature...He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." It is important that we believe the Gospel that Jesus preached. For it will bring salvation to all who will believe in their heart. Not just believing in our head, but in our heart. See also, Romans 10:9-11.

Jesus continued in Mark 16:17,18, by saying, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues...They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

Everything is based upon what we believe in our heart. When we believe in our heart God will fulfill His Word in our lives. The Word of God will manifest according to what we believe in our heart.

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