“Surely, this was not the way it was intended to be”. These sentiments were echoed back and forth across heaven. Wonder, consternation, and astonishment was written almost indelibly upon the faces of every angel and every creature that graced God’s universe. How could anyone have been prepared for that? I know I wasn’t, and looking at the expressions on the faces of those around me, I could see they weren’t expecting anything like what we were witnessing either. Sure, we knew the prophecies, even Jesus Himself had warned us a long time ago of what to expect, but all the foreknowledge in the universe could not have prepared us adequately. The unbounded joy and excitement we all experienced and expressed at the announcement of His birth (yes, I was there, among many thousand others, and all of heaven was singing that day, not just those the shepherds could see) was now, in light of recent events and what was transpiring before us, a fast fading memory.
It is difficult to describe what I was actually feeling at that moment. So many emotions were fighting for the ascendancy, it was impossible to discern whether it was the anger, the shock, or the horror (and in hindsight no small amount of confusion) that was foremost in my heart. That mere mortal sinful rebellious man could so blaspheme and insult all that is good and righteous and holy by abusing and violently assaulting his own Creator and the Author of righteousness staggered the imagination. That the entire watching universe was equally astonished was not open to question. That He who had been loved, worshipped and adored by all His creation for millennia should then be subjected to the disgusting and abominable insults and abuses by not just pagan idolaters but also by those who dared even to claim to be His children was extremely difficult to comprehend.
I remember glancing at the Almighty Father and could see oh so clearly the anguish etched into His face. Out of simple respect I could not allow myself to look upon Him longer than with the briefest of glances, veiling my eyes that I may not be tempted to look again, yet I will never forget how painful those events were for our Father, never before nor since was there such indescribable sorrow seen in the eyes of our Lord, though it was a little later that I understood more fully the reason why. I feared for those perpetrating these crimes, and wondered at God’s patience. I wondered at Jesus’ patience, as He calmly accepted the abuse, without any sign of malice or resentment on His part. What long-suffering as He endured the pain of the thorns, and the savagery of the punches. And as I watched, painful as it was even to witness, I was beginning to experience another emotion that was making itself more pronounced in my heart, and that was a deepening wonder at the love of God. Never before have we, nor any other creature, ever seen the grace of God. For before us then, we saw an aspect of the love of God that transcends any other. That the Almighty Father would give His only Son for the sake of man! For the sake of the only rebellious race in the universe, God was pouring out the very heart of His own love, His only Son. What manner of love is this? If only man could understand and perceive and trust in the inconceivable depth of the love that God has for him, there would be no limits to the power that God would be pleased to exert on his behalf.
We were wondering how long however could Jesus endure? Yet there was a greater inner conflict and battle than the physical. The spiritual battle that was raging in the soul of Jesus took a far greater toll than the physical suffering. Since that time man has focused his attention on the physical aspects of the trial and execution of Jesus, but the physical and verbal aspects of the suffering that Jesus was enduring was minimal compared with the spiritual suffering He had voluntarily accepted. This of course began in the garden. Before any man had laid hands upon Him, before anyone had spoken a word against Him, Jesus was already suffering and in His own words, declared, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” For a while then I was wondering what was happening. We all could clearly see the deep anguish that was coming upon Him. Sweating blood for goodness sake!! What was going on?? Then we could hear Him praying to His Father, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” And with that single prayer, a light was beginning to dawn upon our own hearts and minds as to what Jesus ultimate purpose was in becoming a man. Then, the light shone even brighter as He prayed, “O My Father, if this cup may not pass from Me, except I drink it, thy will be done”. Jesus was to drink the cup of God’s wrath against sin and sinners that man, if he would accept it, may be free from the curse of the law. And we later realized that the physical and verbal abuses were barely felt in comparison to the dread He must have been feeling at the separation from His Father. All the OT prophecies began to fall into place, and we realized, albeit belatedly, that this was the only way it could be.
Yet even then, every angel in heaven was waiting, watching their respective leaders for the slightest hint that they may fly to their Commander’s rescue. Jesus of course could have rescued Himself; He could have at any moment decided enough is enough, that man is not worth this. But no, clearly in the sight of Jesus and in the sight of the Father, man was indeed worth this, that Jesus would suffer separation from His Father rather than have man separated from Him. What love!!! What love for man that God, the Almighty Father and Creator of the universe could so love man with as much passion, consideration, and commitment as He did for His own Son. Astonishing. And as we began to contemplate this depth and passion of the love of God, our own love for Him grew exponentially, and our desire to deliver Him from that suffering increased proportionately, yet we stayed our hand, we obeyed our leaders and our God and patiently watched throughout the whole proceedings.
I remember looking at Gabriel. He was indescribably consternated. Pacing animatedly to and fro on the borders of heaven, he had one eye upon His Commander, tears streaming down upon his face, the other, almost pleadingly upon the Almighty, waiting and hoping even for the slightest hint, the barest nod, that he may send his armies to His Lord’s rescue. But the call never came, the nod not given.
After the trial was finally concluded, and the cross laid upon the bleeding back of our Lord, there was silence throughout heaven. There was none of the usual singing and playing of instruments in worship. Every eye was focused, every thought intent only upon what was being enacted upon Calvary. Previously there were moments of hope when we thought we may be released to bring our Lord home. When in the garden Jesus told Peter, “Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than 12 legions of angels?” our spirits lifted and upon hearing that, our hopes were raised, and all became instantly alert to any possible directive that may result in our winging our way to the earth, but our hopes faded when Jesus added, “But then, how shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that this must be?”
Then again, a little later during His mockery of a trial, all commotion broke forth in heaven as Jesus was blindfolded and punched, and those punching Him demanded He prophesy and tell them who it was who was doing such a thing! What unadulterated disdain this was for the Majesty of heaven! Surely we thought that now we would be sent to His aid. But no. Even this the Father endured. And then, as Jesus was hanging upon the cross, even as He ministered in love still to even those who hammered the nails into place, all heaven slowly became resigned to the fact that their beloved Lord was going to die. But not just die, the weight of the sins and the burden of guilt of the entire world were being placed upon Him, and the separation and wrath that sin is to bring upon the sinner was then being placed upon Him who knew no sin; Jesus was not dying from the physical wounds that the Roman soldiers had inflicted, Jesus was dying of a broken heart. And there was not a dry eye in heaven. All were weeping openly and without reserve. Unashamedly every angel in the universe of God was sharing in the Almighty Father’s sorrow and pain. And as we became aware that Jesus feared that because sin is so obnoxious to God, because sin and God cannot co-exist, He will be forever separated from His Father, we all desired that we could at least go and give Him comfort, and as His words “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” rung our hearts and brought to the surface fresh waves of sorrow and consternation, we would almost have ignored orders in our concern and love, but we were each reminded that this path must Jesus tread alone. Without comfort, without support, with no encouragement from neither God nor man, Jesus must on His own bear the burden of guilt for all mankind and suffer the cup of wrath poured out without mercy from the Father.
The Almighty however encouraged us in our sorrow. When it was all over, and Jesus was being laid in the tomb, Father reminded us that Satan was now defeated. The way for man’s redemption was now open, and all we needed to do was await the resurrection for the atonement to be complete. Then even the vilest sinner, even the very ones who put Him to death, would be forgiven if they repented of their sins, and accepted Jesus’ atoning sacrifice as their own. And our sorrow, our grief and anger, began to fade as we realized the fullness of the grace, mercy and love of God. Our sorrows turned to joy, and we became excited at the prospect of being ministers of God for man’s behalf; excited and impassioned at being given the privilege of having a share in the proclamation of the everlasting gospel to be preached by man to all the world.
In light of all the evidence that proclaims loudly of the deep love and compassion that God has for man, what man can now refuse and turn away or neglect such salvation? And with great hope and expectation we proceed to give our aid, albeit invisibly and quietly, to the disciples as they preach the word of salvation to their neighbours and compatriots. Alas however, Jesus’ own words become oh so poignant and relevant.
“ Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat……”
…… “ But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.”
Not what God desires nor hopes for, and certainly not what any should aim for, yet it will be true that although many shall accept God’s provision for the salvation of man, the vast majority shall reject it. And sadly, God’s heart and Jesus’ also and even our own will be wrung out again as we witness the wrath of God’s justice that will be poured out upon those whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb. That is a page yet to be written, although even now can we clearly see the pages of man’s history coming to a close, and the final episode of earth’s current existence before its final cleansing by fire, well advanced and drawing to its inevitable climax.
Our task and duty is to now do all that is possible in assisting you to understand the lateness of the hour. We rejoice that there is a remnant who have a passion for sharing truth to the world, but who also are very aware that because the population of the world is increasing far greater than the church can keep up with, they understand that without divine assistance, the task of preaching the gospel to mankind would be impossible. Even now we see in their corporate committee meetings, in their homes, churches, and as individuals, they are daily seeking for reformation and revival that they may be ready for the promised latter rain. Confessing their sins, and seeking a closer relationship with God, they understand that though they play a part, it will be God who finishes the work, and open the way for Jesus to return and take His redeemed ones home. Won’t you join them? What is there that the world can offer in comparison to your soul? What is there of greater worth than eternal life?
Never before has heaven been so busy. The sanctuary where Jesus and the Father sit, is awash with intense activity, as my brothers and myself constantly travel to and fro doing all we can to assist man in his quest for truth. No-one who sincerely seeks for truth will go unnoticed, or will be disappointed. Time is so short, the climax so near, yet the majority of mankind is so blind. Regardless of the power of the preached word, as with those of Noah’s day, most will be swept aside and destroyed. Not because they have sinned, but because they have ignored their opportunities, and spurned the many offers of mercy. Do not be like them. They have loved the world more than God: oh that you may listen, oh that you may humble yourself and pray, seek the face of God, and turn away from your sins. Then from heaven will God hear, forgive you of your sins, and heal them. He will heal your families, your homes, your relationships, and your name shall be written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Hear God’s word. Listen to His pleas for you to forsake the things of this world and make the kingdom of God your own. Jesus is coming soon; the greatest event in the history of the world where Jesus comes as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is soon to dawn upon mankind. God is preparing His people even now, and passionately desires that you be among them. Be not among those who fear His coming, but be of them who rejoice and who love His appearing. Know my friend, that Jesus loves you. With a passion. And when Jesus comes, He will find a people holy and unblameable, and if you accept the cross as your own, you may join them, and maybe, just maybe, I will be the one assigned to attend to you and guide you on your road to eternity. But if not, I look forward to standing with you before the throne of God, and joining with you in singing the praises of God and Jesus your Saviour.