Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. If you’re new to the program, as Gary mentioned, this is Search the Scriptures Daily, and our encouragement to all of our listeners, and to ourselves as well, Dave, is to search the Scriptures daily, to check out what anyone is saying out there that has to do with spiritual things, what has to do with what they believe is Christianity, or what God has to say. Check it out.
Dave: Amen. We check it out from the Bible, which is God’s Word, and we can prove that, And if it isn’t, all we are left with are the opinions of men.
Tom: Then we’re just chatting, Dave, and I’d rather be fishing.
Dave: (Chuckling) Yeah, isn’t that amazing—some people deny the Bible is God’s Word. They go to seminary, they spend their lives teaching, supposedly, from what they say is kind of mythology and looking to human opinion. I’m not interested in human opinion about eternal matters, but God has spoken and that’s what this program is about.
Tom: And what He has spoken to us—I assume that He knows that we can understand it if we are diligent, that not everything is easy to understand, and we do see through a glass darkly. There are some things that we certainly don’t have wired, but God has revealed Himself to us, specifically, through His Word, and there are things that He wants us to know, and I believe we can know them.
Dave: Right. The same Holy Spirit who inspired the writers indwells the believer, and it’s on that basis that we understand.
Tom: We’ve been going through Dave Hunt’s book, In Defense of the Faith, and if you have been following us, you know, in the book are many questions that Dave has been asked over his many years of ministry. And some are difficult, but as we said, with a little bit of diligence we can get to the bottom, get to the answer, that God’s Word would have us know.
The first question is: “I’m not a follower of the so-called faith teachers, as far as their ‘health-and-wealth’ gospel goes. However, it seems to me that they make a lot of sense when they teach that Christ had to sink into hell to be tortured by Satan. How else could He pay the full penalty for our sins?”
Dave: Well, Tom, it’s incredible that anyone—I mean, the man thinks it’s reasonable? It’s incredible that Hagin and Copeland and these “faith teachers” would even pass this sort of thing on. It comes from E. W. Kenyon, as you know. Satan is not the proprietor of hell, first of all. He’s not even there yet—he will be one day. He doesn’t run the show; the demons don’t run the show. If they had to torture Jesus, they would be exacting God’s penalty. This is a matter of justice, and God has pronounced a penalty for sin. Is Satan the one who administers this and exacts it? Obviously not! I mean, there are just so many reasons why this isn’t true. If Satan tortured Christ to pay the penalty for our sins, then he is our co-redeemer! And I think Satan is smart enough that he would torture Christ just, not quite enough to pay the full price, and then we wouldn’t be saved but he tortured Christ.
Come on! Jesus, as He committed His Spirit into His Father’s hands on the Cross, said, “It is finished! Tetelestai!” We talked about it before; that was a Greek word stamped on promissory notes and documents. It meant, “Paid in Full!” By His blood He paid the penalty for our sins, and furthermore, he said to the thief, the believing thief, “This day you will be with me in paradise.” It certainly didn’t indicate He was going to be tortured by Satan. Was the thief going to be tortured along with Him? Tom, let me just read a quote we give in the book.
Tom: Dave, while you are looking up the quote, I remember the first time I heard this teaching, actually, it was on TBN. A popular individual that they had on there, I believe he is deceased now, was, I think, Paul Billheimer, and he had a book titled Destined for the Throne. And amazingly…
Dave: And endorsed by Billy Graham, as I recall.
Tom: That’s what I was just going to get to. It’s incredible! I don’t know if Billy read the book, or he just had a relationship with Billheimer, but again, this is an incredible teaching and it’s not just a pocket of few. As you said. E.W. Kenyon sort of laid the groundwork for many of the, and maybe all of the “word faith teachers,” the prosperity teachers, and you can find it in most all of their writings.
Dave: Yeah, it was in Kenyon’s book, What Happened Between the Cross and the Throne, as I recall.
Tom: This is Kenneth Copeland, and it’s Believer’s Voice of Victory, and I’ll give you the date of it: September 1991. Go ahead.
Dave: Well, let me read what Copeland has to say: “He, that is, Christ, allowed the devil to drag him into the depths of hell as if he were the most wicked sinner who ever lived. Every demon in hell came down on him to annihilate him. They tortured him beyond anything that anybody has ever conceived.” That brings to your mind—isn’t there a popular song out there, Holiday in Hell, or something like that? Depicts the demons rejoicing, they are beating up on Jesus. It simply isn’t true.
Tom: Dave, they don’t want to be there any more than anybody else. This is absurd, but go ahead.
Dave: They are not in charge. They are not torturing anyone—they will be tormented for eternity. But, continuing with what Kenneth Copeland had to say: “In a thunder of spiritual force, the voice of God spoke to the death-whipped, broken, punished Spirit of Jesus in the pit of destruction and charged the Spirit of Jesus with resurrection power. Suddenly, His twisted, death-wracked Spirit began to fill out and come back to life. He was literally being reborn before the devil’s very eyes. He began to flex his spiritual muscles. Jesus Christ dragged Satan up and down the halls of hell. Jesus was raised up a born-again man. The day I realized that a born-again man had defeated Satan, hell, and death, I got so excited!” Tom, I just…
Tom: Now where would he come up with something like this?
Dave: Well, from Kenyon.
Tom: But still, the particulars—okay, let’s go to Kenyon. Where would he come up with something like this? Just in their imagination or…?
Dave: Yes, you don’t find it in the Bible.
Tom: Right. I mean not even close.
Dave: No. Jesus paid the penalty on the Cross for our sins. He said, “It is finished!” And then he gave His Spirit into His Father’s hands: “Father, into thy hands I commit my Spirit.” He said to the thief: “This day you will be with me in paradise.” We know where that was—Abraham’s bosom, it was called, where the redeemed went, and the other compartment in Hades, the lost were there—that was where the rich man was. And Lazarus the beggar was with Abraham. This was not a parable. I mean, if it were a parable, what would it be telling us? Telling the truth, but it was more than a parable. Jesus did not use the name of individuals in parables.
Isaiah 53 tells us, “It pleased Jehovah, it pleased Yahweh, to bruise him. Thou hast put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin….” The scripture also tells us Yahweh laid on Him the iniquity of us all. So, it was…the punishment that He endured was that which His own infinite justice required for sin. I don’t know what that could be—I don’t understand it, but this is so demeaning to Christ; it is so contrary to the Word of God, giving Satan credit for meting out the punishment upon Jesus that God’s justice demanded. Now this was God’s justice that demanded this penalty. Satan administers God’s justice? Well, Tom, we’ve probably spent enough time on this. This is just—it’s pitiful, it’s sad, that people believe this. Of course, there is a further question, I guess.
Tom: Yeah, Dave, there are a few more questions. I think this opens the door to, at least, maybe warning us about how far we can, some people would say, extrapolate from the Scriptures—how far we can go, in terms of understanding. For example, we began the program by saying, “This is God’s Word. He has revealed to us information that we can understand.” Now, we believe in a reasoned faith, not just a leap of faith. But at the same time, Dave, there are things we can’t comprehend because only…you would have to be God to understand them. And one of the things would be, How did Jesus taste death for every man? How did He pay the full penalty for our sins, at the same time being God?
Dave: Well, He had to be God in order to do it.
Dave: It was an infinite penalty—it would take an infinite being, a perfect, sinless being, to pay this penalty. What all of that involved, Tom, I do not understand. We know that…
Tom: And that’s fine, there’s no problem with that.
Dave: But the scripture makes it very clear. Jesus, in John 3, beginning at verse 14, says, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [that’s on the cross] that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So, the lifting up of Christ upon the Cross that accomplished our redemption—not just the nails driven into His hands and feet. That’s what we did, what man did to Him. That would only add to our condemnation, but as He hung there, He cried out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And in those hours, three hours of darkness, on the Cross when no human eye could see what was going on, He must have endured the penalty for our sins, because, when He came out of that…Jesus said, “No man takes my life from me, I lay it down of myself.” He didn’t just [groaning] “A-a-a-a,” you know, expire on the Cross. He cried in triumph with a loud voice, it says: “Tetelestai! It is finished!” It was finished—by His blood He purchased our redemption. It was not purchased by Satan beating up on Him in hell. In fact, He had already defeated Satan. He defeated Satan on the Cross.
In fact, as He was going to the Cross, He said [John:12:31,32], “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Either in salvation or in judgment.
But now, Tom, we have a further question. Someone who believes this—are they saved? If you believe that Satan exacted the penalty upon Jesus, if you believe that it wasn’t the Father, it wasn’t God, putting the judgment upon Him, putting our sins upon Him, and punishing Him, really. This is where it comes from. It was the Father’s judgment that Christ endured—the judgment of God against sin. This is what Christ endured—not something that Satan would punish Him with. That is so pitiful because Satan’s punishment could not possibly mete out the infinite judgment of God!
You just said we don’t understand it; it’s beyond our comprehension how He tasted death for every man, what this death was, what the judgment was that He endured, but it was a judgment that He endured at the hands of God, at the hands of God’s justice against sin.
Tom: So, Dave, if you push beyond what we don’t understand and then begin to create a scenario, whether it’s out of your imagination or somebody that you read and so on, doesn’t this become another gospel? This is not what took place, and you’re not only demeaning but you’re taking what God’s Word says and turning it into a lie, basically.
Dave: I don’t see how a person could be saved if they believe this. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, “This is the gospel that I preached unto you, that you received, by which you are saved if you remember what I told you,” he says. “How that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures. That he was buried and rose again the third day, according to the scriptures.”
Now they are saying that He didn’t die for our sins on the Cross. This is when He said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my Spirit,” that wasn’t sufficient. He had to, somehow, suffer what they call “spiritual death,” which means He was beaten up by Satan. What that would do, I don’t know, but it’s a very appealing idea to some people, apparently.
But the Bible says that, for example, let’s go to Hebrews, chapter 9:27,28: “And as it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Going on into chapter 10:12, it says, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sin, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. For by one sacrifice, he has perfected forever those that are sanctified.” You know that this reveals the error of the Roman Catholic Mass, the Eucharist. They call it the sacrifice of the Mass, and they deny that Christ finished the work on the Cross—and they are offering Him—it’s just as bad that they are offering Christ…their priesthood is offering Christ over and over and over, immolating Him, as you have quoted on this program. That’s as bad as Satan beating up on him in hell. It takes it out of the hands of Jesus; it is no longer Christ who offers Himself without spot to God, but now—and who does it and finishes the work once and for all—but now it’s the Catholic priests who continue to offer him perpetually on their altars.
Tom: Dave, so this ends up being another Jesus, another way of salvation, and as Paul wrote to the Galatians, this is another gospel.
Dave: I’m afraid so, Tom.
Tom: A gospel which can save no one—that’s the problem.
Dave: And such a clever substitute, clever counterfeit, by Satan, because it seems so much like it. The Catholic priests are offering Christ for the sins of the world—what could be wrong with that? Well, what’s wrong with it is because He finished the work on the Cross. He offered Himself once for all, and that did it. So now…
Tom: It’s a rejection.
Dave: It is a rejection, it is a denial, of the truth of the Bible, and a rejection of the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ. It’s not enough. In fact, Tom, it brings to my mind one of the more than a hundred anathemas in the Council of Trent, damning us to hell if we don’t go along with what they teach. And, basically, what it says is “Whoever says that the sacrifice of the Eucharist is merely a commemoration, a memorial, of a sacrifice completed upon the cross nineteen hundred years ago and denies that this is an ongoing propitiatory sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the living and the dead, let him be ANATHEMA!”
So the Catholic Church says, “You dare to say that Christ himself finished this work and that His sacrifice on the cross was complete and sufficient? You dare to say that, and you deny that we are offering Christ propitiatorily on our altars? ANATHEMA to you!” I’m sorry, it’s a false gospel.
This is why the problem comes up often. People say, “Well, there are many real born-again Catholics in the Catholic Church.” Well, maybe there are, briefly, but they come in conflict between what they now believe and what the Catholic Church teaches and practices. And they can hardly sit there through a Mass…
Tom: You would think.
Dave: Yes, and imagine that this wafer now is Jesus, that they are ingesting him into their stomachs and thereby they are building up grace—you can explain this better than I can—building up grace, salvific grace, contributing to their salvation, and it’s very much like Hagin and Copeland and these “faith teachers” saying that our salvation was not accomplished on the Cross. It was accomplished in hell, and Satan is the guy who did it! And if he didn’t beat Christ enough, then we are not saved. Wow!
Tom: Hey, Dave, it makes me think of a scripture repeated twice in Proverbs:14:12: “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” repeated twice. God must be—there must be something He wants us to understand. But that’s it. Once we begin to take hold of things, begin to develop, as I said, whether you would call it extrapolation, or trying to put together some ideas and then imposing it on Scripture, we can get ourselves into a lot of trouble that way, with regard to our understanding of who God is, what He has done, what His requirements are, how He would have us come to Him, because we keep introducing things, most of them of the flesh, centrally oriented, whether it be rituals or liturgies or whatever it might be. But they remove us from the truth of God’s Word.
Dave: There’s another problem, Tom, as you know, ecumenism. So, it doesn’t really matter whether Christ paid the penalty or not. That was a wonderful sacrifice, but let’s not push this on other people. Remember, Robert Schuller was at such a gathering at a mosque and saying, “Well, I realized it was ridiculous trying to get people to change their faith, and let’s just go along, you know. If you’re loving and kind and so forth….” That destroys the value, the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross! And Peter said, “There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must (he didn’t say, whereby we “may”) whereby we must be saved.” We must preach this to the Muslim, we’ll preach it to the atheist, we’ll preach it to the Buddhist, the Hindu…
Tom: The “word faith” people?
Dave: Yes, anyone that (chuckling, Thanks, Tom), anyone that we love with the love of God, we are going to bring before them the fact that there is no salvation outside of Christ and His full payment upon the Cross for our sins.