The Triumph of the Cross
Rev. Andy Heer
THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 1. Spring 2011. Volume 29.

John 12:27-36 (NASB) ""Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. "Father, glorify Thy name." There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, "An angel has spoken to Him." Jesus answered and said, "This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. The multitude therefore answered Him, "We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" Jesus therefore said to them, "For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. "While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and He departed and hid Himself from them."

This subject is one where we have become accustom to think contrary to the Word of God. All I am trying to do in this short series is to read the Scripture in a more careful manner. I am convinced that if we believe the plain teaching of Scripture in these matters of eschatology it will change the way we live and ultimately allows us to enjoy the hope of the Gospel.

Martin Luther has written a familiar hymn for most of us, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. In this hymn there is a line we have sung a number of times and yet I wonder how many of us have ever grasped its Biblical truth fully? "This World with devils filled…" We hear this phrase and get all excited about the demon of this and the demon of that. Before long we are binding demons, casting out demons and seeing demons around every corner. Tragically many Christians are functional Satanist. They don't like Satan but they think he runs everything. They think he is omnipotent, they think he is omniscient, they think he is in control and God is in charge somewhere else but not here on planet earth. They believe Satan is the god of this world.

Many Christians are right in thinking like Luther when he says the world is with devils filled, but they miss Luther's second and main point about this observation. Luther says, "One little word shall fell him."

We have to understand if we are going to be Biblical Christians that Christ came to conquer. He doesn't come to conquer the second time He came to conquer the first time. Some made a comment about my message last week Jesus Christ Savior of the World that Jesus came to save but not to violate man's free will. Thus we have a world that has largely rejected the offer of salvation. How do we square this rejection with the numerous prophecies from Scripture that tell of an ever-expanding Kingdom of God? How do we understand the Scriptures, which tell of a day when Messiah comes and conquers the world?

Most often people push this victory of Jesus to His second coming. In His first coming we don't want to violate man's free will but when He comes the second time it is OK to force salvation down our throats. No one seems concerned about man's free will during the second coming of Jesus.

What I am trying to encourage for each one of us to get back to the basics of being a Biblical Christian. If God says it then believe it. We don't have to play contortion games with Scripture, like rebuilding the temple a third time or inserting parentheses in the course of history so our eschatology will fit. Take the Bible at its clear teaching and believe it.

When Jesus came to earth the first time He came to conquer. He did not come to earth to suffer and die to no effect, then to come back a second time in judgment to conquer. He came to conquer by a means we did not expect the first time and He was successful. There is not a dichotomy in what Jesus did in the first advent and what He will do in the Second Advent. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Victor. Our Lord Jesus Christ conquered in the past tense. He came 2000 years ago and He conquered His enemies on the cross. He conquered His enemies in His resurrection and He assumed His reign when He ascended into heaven and took His place at the right hand of the Father.

We see the power of the cross in passages like the ones we looked at last time...Jesus is the Savior of the World…Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world…The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Jesus Christ established His kingdom, not a possible or potential kingdom. He established a kingdom made up of all the nations.

We also see the power of the cross in this aspect: The death of Jesus Christ conquered and destroyed the devil. This point is either ignored or it is "spiritualized." Many Christians believe there was not real impact in the spiritual world. Many Christians still believe Satan is alive and well in planet earth. The Bible says otherwise, the Bible says the death of Jesus Christ conquered and destroyed the devil.

In verses 31 & 32 we read, "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." NOW, not then, or not later, but NOW. How much more clearly could you make it?

We might get confused with this talk of Jesus being lifted up but John and the Holy Spirit make it clear that this lifted up is Jesus' death on the cross. There are two things that will happen when Jesus is lifted up on the cross. Number one is this: The rulers of this world will be cast out, thrown down, defeated, destroyed. Secondly, when Jesus is lifted up on the cross He will draw all men unto Himself. We cannot have one without the other. It is a package deal. It comes with the cross.

We are going to take a little time to look at some of the many passages in Scripture, which affirm this very truth. They don't refer to this victory in some obscure fashion but they refer to this in a plain and blunt fashion. In fact it is recorded in such a blunt fashion I have to qualify it on the other side. Some may think the Bible teaches the devil is completely annihilated or vaporized. If we were to read the Bible in a prima-facia manner we may come to this conclusion, that the devil has been completely destroyed and removed. No this is not what the Bible teaches.

Throughout the Old Testament we see celestial and angelic beings over the nations of men. The gods of the various nations are not dismissed as mere superstition. Now some of the gods and idols we manufacture are nothing at all but superstition. They have no more reality than Peter Pan.

However the Bible tells in the Old Covenant there were demonic angles or strongholds assigned to certain cities or nations. There are gods or entities, which are treated by Scripture as having a genuine reality. Paul says in Corinthians those who worship idols were in fact actually worshipping demons. 1 Corinthians 10:19-21 (NASB) "What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons."

So when the pagans looked at what they thought was a god or an idol, was not necessarily nothing, but from a Christian worldview what they were worshipping was in fact a demon. The pagan worship was not merely superstition but the Bible tells us their worship of gods and goddesses was rather the worship of demons or fallen angles. There was a real entity in pagan worship.

Throughout the Old Testament, the gods of various nations were closely identified with those nations. When you went to war with these nations your god was going to war with their god. They really were there. They really were empowering the pagan nations

Do you remember one time in the Old Testament when the Israelites went to war with the Arameans and the Israelites defeated the Arameans? The King of Aram reasoned that their god was the god of hills and that is why he was defeated, so lets fight them again. 1 Kings 20:23 (NASB) "Now the servants of the king of Aram said to him, "Their gods are gods of the mountains, therefore they were stronger than we; but rather let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they."

These gods of the people were really there. We can see some specific examples, in Daniel 10, we see where Daniel received an answer to prayer three weeks late. Daniel 10:12-13 (NASB) "Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia."

The thing that is interesting about this is to see how the prince of Persia had a spiritual entity about him, which withstood the messenger of the Lord until Michael came on the scene. This is a good example of how a political entity like Persia had a spiritual entity doing spiritual warfare on its behalf.

For another example lets look at Ezekiel 28:12-19 (NASB) "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. "You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created, Until unrighteousness was found in you. "By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. "By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade, You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. "All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified, And you will be no more."'"

Notice what is spoken to the king of Tyre. Does Ezekiel believe the king of Tyre lived in the Garden of Eden? No. The king of Tyre the man was not in the Garden of Eden and he was not guilty of these particular sins listed in this passage. This is a reference to the cherub that is connected to the king of Tyre, who was in the Garden and who fell into sin and who was banished from the Garden.

These are two specific examples, the king of Tyre had a spiritual entity behind him and the Prince of Persia had a spiritual entity behind him as well. There are many other examples but here are just two to make a point.

Hear with me Psalm 86:8-9, "There is no one like Thee among the gods, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Thine. All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; And they shall glorify Thy name." What is the destiny of the human race? What will happen on this planet? Where is God taking this place? Verse 9 is the answer and it is the point of my message tonight. The contrast is between the God who lives and reigns and the god who are simply created beings. The distinction is between a self-sufficient God and the contingent creatures like you and me and the demons.

In the New Covenant God has deposed all the god, demons, and princes of evil and has established a one Prince, Jesus Christ. There is only one Prince, Jesus Christ. I did not dream this up last night. This is a plain truth that the Bible tells us bluntly over and over. We see this in the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.

Hebrews 2:5-9 (NASB) "For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, "WHAT IS MAN, THAT THOU REMEMBEREST HIM? OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT THOU ART CONCERNED ABOUT HIM? "THOU HAST MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; THOU HAST CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAST APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS; THOU HAST PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone."

God has always been sovereign. God has always been in control of everything. God has always run the world. In the Old Covenant, it was God's good pleasure to run the world through the auspices of angles some of them fallen and some of them not. That was how the sovereign God governed the world of the Old Covenant; the angles serve as his mediators. It was also His good pleasure to establish at the coming of Christ, one mediator.

The mediatorial rule of Jesus Christ is new. It was accomplished through the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. The sovereign rule of God is not new.

If we understand this truth we are going to have a sense of triumph, which is sadly missing, from much of the church today. The modern church is largely acting like whipped puppy. We are crouching around with our tail between our legs. We do this because we don't understand what God has done for us in the cross. We do this because we don't read our Bibles enabled by the Holy Spirit, to see what God is telling us over and over again.

1 Corinthians 2:6-9 "Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM."

This phrase, "EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD" is not talking about heaven. This is talking about the world to come, the world, which has been ushered in by the work done by Jesus on the cross. The rulers of that age did not know when they were motivating the crowd to yell "crucify him!" they were in fact sawing off the limb they were sitting on themselves. They did not know how they were being helplessly and hopelessly out maneuvered.

John 16:7-11 (NASB) "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged." The Holy Spirit comes to tells us the ruler of this world has been judged.

Colossians 2:13-15 (NASB) "And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him." The enemy has been defeated 2000 years ago and now everything else we have today is simply a mopping up operation. How much clearer does it have to be before we will believe the plain truth of Scripture?

Hebrews 2:14-15 (NASB) "Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." What language do we want it in? What happens through the death of Jesus? He will destroy the enemy and set free the captives. We have no fear of what devils or demons can do to us because Jesus has set us free.

Do you remember the temptation of Jesus by Satan? In Matthew 4 we see how Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world. Jesus refused Satan's offer, why? He did not refuse because He did not want those kingdoms. He refused because He was going to take the kingdoms another way, through the cross. He was not going to take them as a present from the devil, instead He was going to knock the devil down and take them away.

In Mark 3:27 (NASB) ""But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house." The Lord Jesus Christ came, He bound up the strong man and He took all his stuff. Jesus has plundered Satan's house. If Jesus left anything behind it is because He did not want it. Everything that was worthwhile He took. This is what the cross did.

Matthew 12:28-29, "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. "Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house." Did Jesus cast out any demons? Has His Kingdom been inaugurated on this earth?

If you ask someone the question who is the god of this world what do you think would be the most common response? The devil is right??? This is not what the Bible says. In the Great Commission Jesus says all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. It is very clear the God of this world is Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:4-6, "John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Who is the ruler of this world? Jesus Christ. Who is the King of Kings? Jesus Christ is the King of Kings. Who is the Lord of Lords? Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords. Who is the God of Gods? Jesus Christ is the God of Gods.

Revelation 11:15-18 (NASB) "And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Thy wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." I hope when you learn this truth you will never be able to listen to or sing Handel's Messiah the same way

The New Testament clearly portrays Jesus Christ as a King who has come to establish His kingdom. At His birth there is a fulfillment of long awaited Messiah King. The angels sang of this newborn King, Mary sang of the newborn King. Jesus cast out demons, healed the sick and told us His kingdom was at hand.