It Pleased God

Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:10)

Examining this chapter from a larger perspective is like examining a building that has been dramatically remodeled from its original design, with new walls installed, doorways blocked up and new one put in other places to change its entire function and purpose. Yet by examining carefully the nature of all the changes to discover what the original layout was intended to be, one can begin to discern what the intent of the original builder was for the purpose of the building. When the original design begins to be recognized it can be seen that a great deal of effort has been exerted to obscure the original design by all the changes and alterations done to thwart the original purpose from ever being accomplished.

This passage is often hijacked to serve the penal view that makes God out to be the punisher for sin instead of the one seeking to restore trust and intimacy with His children. Thus to read this with any taint of that false system is to assume misleading ideas about the meaning of various phrases which in turn obfuscates the powerful truth of the real gospel this chapter was originally designed to convey.

It is necessary that we cleanse our mind of every false notion about there being any difference between the Son and the Father and cling to the truth that they were in complete harmony in their purpose and plan to restore what was lost after sin ruined the original intimate relationship God designed for humans to have with the godhead. Only by maintaining a diligent guard against any false notion infecting our view of this passage can we begin to discern the original design laid out here that is the foundation of God's method for restoring as many as possible into close fellowship with heaven.

It is important to determine what is pleasing to God and what is not before coming to conclusions about this passage. Violence and cruelty, inflicted punishment for transgressions and the notion of artificial law are alike not pleasing to God, for they were never part of God's original design in creation. These all belong to the counterfeit system invented by Lucifer that is rooted in commerce and modeled on a design of balance between good and evil using rewards and punishment. All of these false ideas must be rooted out of our thinking in order to see the potent truth that can set us free from distrust of God while seeking to understand this along with every other passage about salvation.

Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

If faith (trust) is what is well pleasing to God, then it must follow that since Jesus was well pleasing to God (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17; John 8:29), this statement in Isaiah must in some way be linked to the trust Jesus always maintained in His Father. It is not a peek into a more dark, sinister side of God as so many imagine, for in God is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

This not only applies to us but is the example that Jesus set while living as a human among us.

Jesus therefore answered them, "Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise." (John 5:19)

Just as we are called to do while working out our own salvation, Jesus did before us. It was God who was at work in Jesus to will and to do of God's good pleasure.

I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me. (John 5:30)

For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn't believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. (John 3:17-20)

Jesus clearly defines judgment here, not as punishment to be inflicted on guilty sinners but rather as our reaction when the light of truth about God confronts anything or anyone that is out of harmony with it. Judgment is our reaction, and all who embrace any lies that make God appear different from what Jesus reveals Him to be will hate the light and either try to run from it or will fight to oppose it.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

By taking on human form in its fallen condition and then allowing humanity to exhibit all the virility of our animosity against the purity of God, what Jesus exposed was our iniquity, perversity, twisted thinking and hatred of God, not God's supposed offense over sinners breaking His rules.

But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation. We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

Since God was in Christ all throughout His life on earth, why do we imagine that it was God who was bruising Jesus and putting Him to grief? This all comes from the most subtle and sinister lies the enemy has ever invented, that God is more concerned about everyone keeping His rules than He is even about His love for His only Son. This lie has done more damage to God's reputation than any other accusation the enemy has alleged against God and must be disarmed if we are to be drawn back into saving trust.

What does it mean that Christ was made to be sin on our behalf? According to the penal view it means Jesus was punished by God for our sins. But that is founded on a logic of legal fiction which is against the law. It is never right for an innocent person to be punished for someone else's crime. Yet religion teaches that God did this very thing to Jesus implying that God is unrighteous.

Woe to those who are mighty to drink wine, and champions at mixing strong drink; who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice for the innocent! (Isaiah 5:22-23)

This notion that God engages in punishing the innocent on behalf of the guilty originates with the father of lies and is designed to further undermine our appreciation of God's trustworthiness. This is the intoxication of the wine of Babylon that has distorted true justice all throughout history. Yet modern Christianity asserts that Jesus in essence bribed God to acquit guilty sinners by denying justice to His Son, the innocent one willing to take the punishment supposedly due to sinners. God is not unrighteous and will never participate in the intoxicating wine of such lies of Satan, for in God is no darkness.

Part of our problem is in our definition of sin as well as our idea of how law operates. Sin involves believing lies that make us afraid of God. This produces shame and fear which in turn makes it impossible to have fellowship with our Creator. This is broken trust relationship is what God is seeking to repair so that as many as are willing to trust (believe) may be restored to our original design to enjoy uninhibited fellowship with the godhead and with each other.

Many will object that until the demands of a broken law are satisfied, fellowship is impossible to be restored. But we must realize that God's laws are not arbitrary but are creation principles that operate on cause and effect, not by rewards and punishments imposed artificially. When this correction is installed in our logic we can begin to see more clearly how salvation and the cross of Christ are intended to reconcile us to God, not appease an offended deity angry over broken rules.

What was really lost after our first parents sinned by embracing lies about their loving Creator?

They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
The man said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Genesis 2:25; 3:10)

When looking for a solution to a problem, it is important to establish the original context and properly understand the nature of the problem so that the remedy makes sense and is actually effective.

God created humans completely naked, vulnerable and transparent and then declared everything He had done as being very good. This means that God was pleased with what He had made, including the fact that His children were vulnerable and naked. This is vital to understanding the nature of what sin did to us and what God is doing to restore what has been damaged or lost. God's plan of salvation is designed to restore us to our original design of nakedness and vulnerability, where we are no longer ashamed or fearful. After the fall it is important to remember that their naked condition was not their problem but that shame and fear was what brought a rupture in their trusting relationship with God. Unless we embrace this truth as God's purpose for salvation, we will remain susceptible to the lies of the enemy that continues to keep us afraid of God while giving credibility to the lies of shame that have stolen our innocence and deeply damaged our ability to bond at the deepest levels of intimacy.

Take a look at another passage that alerts us to what was happening on the cross. Jesus endured the cross for a very specific purpose, to disarm the power of shame in our lives, not to use shame to continue to manipulate us into repentance.

Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

This passage is key to understanding Isaiah 53, for unless we see shame as the primary problem God is out to resolve instead being upset over broken rules demanding punishment, it will be impossible to enter into the deeper truth that has the real power to set us free from all fear and shame. And these are the essence of the curse of sin. Our problem is not God taking offense and wanting to execute punishment on someone; our problem is our perceptions of God as being of such a state of mind in the first place. God's focus is on reversing the damage to our perceptions about Him that brought in all the lies of fear, shame and false ideas about the nature of His character of love as well as how His laws operate. But until we identity the core problem we will remain confused about what God is doing to eradicate the sin problem and how He is going about to accomplish that.

Isaiah 53 is describing the mystery of how God exposes the truth about sin by having Jesus demonstrate the truth about God that we were created to reflect. To be human by definition in Genesis 1:26-27 means to reflect God. But so long as we retain false ideas about God in our thinking, our actions and attitudes will reflect twisted reflections that make God out to be more like Satan than like what Jesus reflected while living as a human among us. Only Jesus lived as a truly normal human being, for Jesus consistently reflected the true image of God and developed a human likeness/character formed around that image by choosing to remain in God's love and truth His entire life.

What happens when humans filled with lies, fear and shame are confronted with a pure revelation of the real truth about God that exposes their reflections and beliefs as invalid? What happens is judgment according to Jesus.

This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. (John 3:19-20)

This is the symptom that first was witnessed after our first parents accepted lies about God that made them afraid and and feeling ashamed. When the light of truth came walking in the Garden looking for intimate fellowship with them, they ran and hid because their perception of what God felt about them had been distorted by lies now believed in their hearts that God was out to punish them.

They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

This is in stark contrast with how they were described at the end of the last chapter as being totally naked and not ashamed. Sin had robbed them of their openness with God and with each other, so fear and shame created assumptions that God really was like what the serpent had insisted.

But God is NOT like what the serpent keeps telling us in spite of all the lies that religion and evil spirits continue to press into our thinking and feelings. God is not at all like most of our perceptions and fears we have about Him, yet this is what He must overcome to bring us back into harmony with the truth so we may be restored into intimate fellowship with His heart and set free of all fear and shame.

Shame sends the message that someone is less than worthy of being fully loved, accepted and valued. Shame is anti-value and defaces the image of God in a human being. Shame comes from the belief that I am not good enough to be honored, respected, love and cherished unconditionally. Shame is like a cancer of the soul that eats away at our sense of worth until we are ready to give up and die without love and without hope. Shame is the real enemy in our heart that God is out to exterminate. This is why Jesus despised shame, for this was the enemy that is the greatest lie of all. Shame was the target of the godhead when the Son of God was put on public display for all to heap shame on while hanging on a cross, naked and vulnerable to anything anyone felt like doing to Him. But Jesus refused to give any credence to the lies of shame, whether it was directly against Him or found in anyone else.

Do not forget however, that while this was all happening to Jesus on the cross, God was in no way participating in the infliction of shame and punishment on Jesus. And even though the feelings of Jesus made it seem momentarily that God had forsaken Him to die in shame as an accused criminal of the worst sort, God remained in Christ the entire time, absorbing fully all the shame, humiliation, torture and evil just as Jesus experienced it. This is extremely important to perceive, for any notion that God in any way distanced Himself from Jesus while on the cross adds credence to the lies of shame and the false doctrines of demons that God had to punish sin artificially and so He unleashed it on His Son.

God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all remained united as always throughout the entire humiliation and attack of shame and hatred during the trial, torture and crucifixion of the Son. God did not escape experiencing what Jesus endured by abandoning His Son, but remained in line with everything Jesus experienced, so there is no doubt about the nature of His unconditional love and forgiveness. Jesus did not exploit some legal loophole for us by dying for our sins so that God might forgive us. Rather Jesus was God's expression of how God feels about sinners who hate Him as Jesus continually prayed until His last dying breath, Father, forgive them. This is just as much the sentiment of the entire godhead as it was of Jesus, for Jesus never did anything but what He saw or heard from His Father.

It is from this perspective that we need to read the prophets, so as to understand more accurately what God was seeking to reveal about His plan to restore humanity back into trusting intimacy with His heart of love. It is not enough that God demonstrated the unconditional nature of His love and forgiveness on the cross, because true love requires mutual offers of acceptance free of coercion. It is impossible for love to thrive without complete freedom to say no to it. So even though God submitted Himself in Christ to be treated as harshly as we could unleash our vitriol against our distorted perceptions of what we imagined Him to be, He still will never threaten or retaliate even as we continue to choose to cling to our lies in place of His revelation of true love on the cross.

Having stated that as clearly as possible, I am in no way inferring that there are not horrible consequences to clinging to such lies, for they will prove deadly in the end for all who reject the truth as it is in Jesus. But the point that must not be missed is that those horrific consequences are never inflicted by God but rather come through principles that govern all reality and operate by cause and effect. God never needs to intervene to impose punishments, because all punishment is inherent in the principles themselves. We understand this when we observe the laws that govern nature and physics. Yet when it comes to higher invisible principles reflected in nature (Romans 1:20), we strangely believe that God has to use Satan's methods to interpose by enforcing what we believe are deserved punishments for violations of rules. This is yet another of the subtle deceptions of the great exploiter who confuses us about God's methods, disposition and character to keep us afraid of Him.

Behold, Yahweh's hand is not shortened, that it can't save; neither his ear heavy, that it can't hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)

Seek you Yahweh while he may be found; call you on him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says Yahweh. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down and the snow from the sky, and doesn't return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing I sent it to do. (Isaiah 55:6-11)

What is this describing here? God is saying to us that His ways and thoughts are reflected in how nature operates by the principle of cause and effect. God does not artificially create bread, but He has put in place a system whereby we may produce it through reliance on and in cooperation with principles that govern creation. The same applies in the spiritual domain which is the original that is reflected in the physical realm where we can see the same patterns of cause and effect in operation.

For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. Because, knowing God, they didn't glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. (Romans 1:20-21)

For God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, "This is the word of Yahweh to Zerubbabel, saying, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh of Armies. (Zechariah 4:6)

When we use these insights to discern how God is repairing all the problems that sin has caused, we can better understand why fear of punishment from God should have no place in our participation in redemption and restoration. And while it may be appropriate to have a healthy fear of violating natural principles, there is no place for living in terror of God, for the fear we have about God is rooted in lies that block us from being able to trust Him like we must in order to be restored into His likeness.

Many imagine that shame and fear are supposed to work in tandem with mercy and love in order to manipulate sinners into conforming in order to align their lives with the laws of God. But this mentality is inherited directly from the Tree inhabited by the deceitful serpent whose false system of control relies on enticements of reward and fear induced through threats of punishment. God's family system is not based on manipulation through favor and threats but is based on the principle of life and freedom as represented in the Tree of Life.

So why did it please God to allow Jesus to be bruised and brought to grief if it was not to punish Him for our sins? That is an all-important question that is necessary to address and resolve if we are to sink our anchor of trust deeper into the foundation of truth that sets us free from all fear and shame.

What happened at the cross was the unleashing of the core of the counterfeit system of Satan that has been practiced by the entire world as all of its systems are modeled on the principles from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Jesus came to this world to bring back the true light that would create a violent reaction from our ways of relating and governing that has become the norm for our planet.

All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome it.
The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn't recognize him. He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive him. (John 1:3-5, 9-11)

Judgement is the reaction we have when we encounter this light. It is not something God does to us by legally making an arbitrary determination about guilt or innocence and whether we will be rewarded or punished for our behavior. No, judgment is something we do and is how we react to the revelation of the real truth about God. Furthermore, our reactions result in our judgment/determination of God's trustworthiness, for God is the one who is most on trial and is being judged in a legal sense, not us.

May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, "THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED." (Romans 3:4 NAS95)

This is the backdrop we need when we come to Isaiah 53 to see God's way of being vindicated from all the accusations leveled against Him. But when we abuse this passage by imagining it provides proof that God is judging and punishing our sins by inflicting acts of atrocity against His own Son, we add our support to the accusations of the enemy and are siding with his allegations against God that were the original cause of the sin problem. This is why Paul says that all will be found to be liars, because we have all been infected by Satan's lies about God that launched the war in heaven so long ago, and we all are in need of a radical change in the way we think and feel about Him if we are ever to experience the healing and salvation He longs to bring to us. This radical shift is called repentance.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. For what the law couldn't do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh; that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:2-4)

Sin is distrust of God caused by lies about both God as well as our true identity in Christ. The flesh is the mindset that clings to these lies about the One we reflect. Jesus exposed/condemned every one of them by introducing light, both in the truth about God as well as the truth about our value and identity from God's perspective. One of the biggest lies is shame. God condemned shame by allowing it all to come onto His Son and then having it all die with Him while He refused to give credence to any of it.

By letting us unleash all the venom of our world's animosity against God on Jesus, He knew that the lies behind all that animosity would be inevitable be exposed and would at last be discredited. This is what was pleasing about all the evil that happened to Jesus from God's perspective, not that it would placate some pagan notion that God was furious at sinners but that sinners would come to see the lies that kept them angry and hostile towards God.

God's desire is never for punishment but always for reconciliation. And the only possible way to accomplish reconciliation was for God to make Himself completely vulnerable to us in a way that we could vent our insane vengeance on Him until it became obvious to us that He was not at all like what we have imagined Him to be. This is why the apostles were so insistent about the importance of believing that Jesus became fully flesh and blood (1 John 4:1-3), for this truth means that the God of all creation made Himself fully available to us so we could hurt Him to test His character. Yet in doing so He knew that our unfounded violence against Him would react to open our eyes to the fact that the real problem of sin is lies and we could quit blaming God for our problems and be reconciled with Him.

To better understand why it pleased God for all this to happen to Jesus, it is important to examine the surrounding context. So I want to review a little the entire chapter where this verse is found.

Who has believed our message? and to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of suffering, and acquainted with disease: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we didn't respect him. Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:1-4)

Note carefully all the highlighted phrases in this passage. Do you see something? They are all things associated with shame. The things we value that make us think someone is credible or worthy of our trust and admiration were missing from what Jesus became while as a human. Why is this?

Jesus was made sin for us, remember that verse? Divesting Himself of the very things we rely on to judge others meant shame according to our standards of value. Shame is at the core of sin, for shame says that we are unworthy of love or forgiveness unless or until we do something to earn value or until someone comes along to artificially impute value on our behalf. This is how we operate in our world, but it is not how heaven relates to us. God had to expose the foundation of the lies in our system for us to begin to see the real beauty of the truth we were created to live in that brings life and joy.

In case you missed it, notice the indictment in the last verse above. ...yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted. God knew we were going to blame Him for all the evil committed against Jesus, so He told us before it happened so we would know it came as no surprise to Him. Just as Jesus knew that Peter and the rest of His disciples would betray and forsake Him when things got tough, so too God knew we would blame Him for the violence we would commit when His Son came to show us His love. But this in no way intimidated or angered God, for He knows we are manipulated by lies and fear, so in no way is His heart altered or diminished in His passionate love for us by anything we do or think or say to Him. This is the real message that the experience of the cross is meant to bring to us.

This point cannot be emphasized enough. God was not involved or complicit in all the punishment and violence inflicted on His Son except to allow us to do it to Him by withdrawing His protection. Every bit of it was caused by humans inspired by demons of darkness, the same spirits by which we are motivated to inflict all punishment, shame, torture and hatred experienced by all humanity. It was humanity that inflicted all the suffering and abuse and shameful treatment of the loving, innocent Son of heaven, not God. Yet God knew that the only way to get us to see this about ourselves was to let us unleash all our fury on Him so we could see how God would react before we could believe that God is not like our fabricated doctrines and prejudices retained in our sick minds about what He is like.

But he was pierced for [by] our transgressions, he was crushed for [by] our iniquities; the punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; everyone has turned to his own way; and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn't open his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he didn't open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:5-7)

The words I put in brackets in this passage have huge implications, which is why some might react strongly in protest that they are misleading. But why? Because they undermine one of the most tenacious lies of religion that traps us in dear and distrust of God. These slight changes in how this passage is worded make all the difference as to who is implied to be the source of the piercing and crushing and punishing that was inflicted on Jesus.

Why do most translations tend toward the religious preference that insists it was God inflicting all the punishment and suffering on Jesus rather than evil humans inspired by Satan? Because this lie has run very deep in the psyche of humanity ever since Adam and Eve embraced the lie that God was their problem instead of their own distorted feelings resulting from fear darkening their image of God. As soon as our first parents bought into Satan's counterfeit system of reward and punishment in place of the simple true system of freely given life and trust in God's love, we have been infected with the virus of belief in the lie that love is not enough to overcome evil and punishment is necessary.

The reason I placed those replacement words in brackets to counteract the previous misleading words is because based on the original Hebrew it can be seen that the English word used by translators is switched around in different parts of this same passage depending on the spin they want to put on the meaning. This reveals the infection of sin and how all are infected with unbelief so that even Bible translators participate in the misleading allegations of Satan that God has a darker sinister side while Jesus is more sympathetic with us and was sent to do whatever it took to appease God's anger over having His rules violated.

By seeing this translated more accurately, it becomes even more clear that the evil treatment instigated against Jesus originated in the evil hearts of humans inspired by Satanic hatred against our loving Creator, not by the Father of Jesus. He was in fact, on the receiving end of all our hatred just as much as Jesus. God was neither punishing Jesus as a whipping boy substitute for our sins, nor punishing Himself as some have asserted. Rather the godhead was all revealing before the entire universe the real truth that has for so long been obscured by false allegations of the enemy, that God really is humble and is willing to suffer ignominy and death rather than lessen in the slightest bit their passionate love for everyone they have created, including Satan.

From our immature and distorted perspective, we have imagined that the suffering and death of Christ was to satisfy demands of a broken law that imposes punishment for every infraction. Yet such presumption is based on the mistaken belief that God's laws operate like our laws, meaning they have to be artificially enforced or they will be impotent and violators will be left free to ignore them. Yet this logic originates in the false paradigm of commerce which, according to Scripture, may well have been the first counterfeit system invented by Lucifer at the very outset of his rebellion. Since we have been immersed in the principles of commerce throughout the entire history of this planet, we find it very difficult to imagine that God operates in a different way that is entirely outside our paradigm of earning and deserving, reward and punishment, enticements and threats that maintains a constant tension between good and evil. Yet this very belief that it is necessary to balance good and evil to maintain law and order comes directly from ancient paganism and has infects all religion and philosophy.

The response of Jesus to all the injustice committed against Him is in stark contrast to what is expected in anyone who operates in the spirit of commerce (which is really the spirit of Mammon according to Jesus). Jesus refused to resist the evil that was brought against Him and demonstrated in real life what He had already taught us.

You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.
(Matthew 5:38-39)

Yet many miss the deeper issues at stake in these words. Once we begin to see that the entire system of commerce pervades everything in the false way of living, i.e., earning and deserving, debts and credits, rewards and punishment, it becomes clear that Jesus was teaching that we need to eradicate all motives originating from the kingdom of darkness that keeps score or depends on imaginary scales of balance. Instead, we are to live in love alone which never keeps score but loves unconditionally.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV)

Because this is such a difficult concept to begin to even grasp, Jesus knew we would never get it simply from being told. So He allowed evil to fully vent its venom on Him publicly to the fullest extent possible without resisting it, so that we could witness a clear demonstration of what He was talking about when He told us not to participate in debt collecting (eye for eye, tooth for tooth retaliation mentality) and to love our enemies without reservation like God does. Instead of protesting over the unfairness of everything that was happening to Him, Jesus remained entirely silent while the empire of evil unleashed all its venom on God until it was finally seen that its own logic of fairness and justice is a lie and that Satan is a fraud, not the master designer of a better way of living under law and order.

In fact this is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and gave you an example, so you should follow in his footsteps. Christ never committed any sin. He never spoke deceitfully. Although he was abused, he never tried to get even, when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but left everything to the one who judges fairly. (1 Peter 2:21-23 FBV, GW, CEV, NET)

It is increasingly popular again to embrace the illusion that what can fix the ills of humanity by a more stringent system of law enforcement. In nearly every society we see this logic employed as a means of addressing nearly every problem. Anytime there is a breakout of behavior that hurts others, the solution that is expected to resolve it is to make more laws or to legislate even more severe punishments imagining that this will deter other people from committing similar crimes. Yet while this may appear to work for a period of time, making more and more laws with greater and more pervasive violent enforcement networks has never brought peace, harmony and joy to our world. The end result has always been to exacerbate the cycle of violence, for relying violence to repay violence does not address the cause of violence which is in the heart, it only antagonizes toward greater rebellion which in turn elicits ever stronger responses by those in power until open warfare breaks out.

The problem of sin cannot be solved by installing a better political party but by changing the entire way we think and live, abandoning our whole system of debts and credits and our belief that rewards and punishments can ever cure evil. It will never work, for our entire system of justice and hierarchy is all rooted in selfishness which is our core problem. So long as selfish people wield power over others, it matters not how many laws are passed or how severe the punishments become, the result will only be more evil, more resentment, more anger and more wars and bloodshed. All social arrangements modeled on Satan's false system of reality and controlled order will never accomplish what we need, restoration to our original design. Artificially enforced laws cannot arouse love in the heart, and without unselfish love and humility and kindness, life becomes meaningless, empty and gravitates toward evil and death.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for [by] the disobedience of my people to whom the stroke was due? They made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:8-9)

The reference to oppression and judgment here also includes the element of bribes which is another aspect of commerce logic that infects our ideas of justice. Bribery is the offering of some sort of benefit that appeals to someone's baser desires, sufficient to entice them to alter their practice of integrity and fairness.

Woe to those who are mighty to drink wine, and champions at mixing strong drink; who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice for the innocent! (Isaiah 5:22-23)

In you have they taken bribes to shed blood; you have taken interest and increase, and you have greedily gained of your neighbors by oppression, and have forgotten me, says the Lord Yahweh. (Ezekiel 22:12)

Bribery is really crass commerce at its worst (Proverbs 17:8), yet we must realize that all commerce is systemically false. The taking of bribes is just at the low end of the spectrum of commerce while what we call honest trading is at the higher end. Yet whether it be trading to get what we want for ourselves by exchanging things of estimated value, or whether we surrender our integrity in exchange to satisfy someone else's desire for evil by taking a bribe, the entire system of commerce foreign to heaven's way of life, for it is the original system that became the cause of evil in the heart of Lucifer.

By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. (Ezekiel 28:16 NKJV)

Do you notice a recurring theme throughout this chapter? Jesus refuted the very principles of our kind of justice based on earning and deserving, rewards and punishments, scales of justice. Jesus refused to react like we react under similar circumstances because He was reflecting God's character and choosing to stay in heaven's system which will have nothing to do with our ways of commerce that leads toward abuse, unfairness and shame. Jesus remained in His Father's love and rejected every temptation to react with resentment, to take offense or to do anything but to love and forgive continuously. This is the most spectacular demonstration of the principle of the Tree of Life that will ever be exhibited in all eternity. This is why the cross of Christ has become the lynchpin that will secure God's government of truth, love and freedom for all eternity, for it is here that we see the real contrast between darkness and light, truth and lies, force and freedom and between selfish defensiveness and selfless love. This is the true power of the cross.

For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. For in it is revealed God's righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, "But the righteous shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17)

We now come back to the original thought that began this discourse, that it somehow pleased God that Jesus was bruised and put to grief. Given the background now laid out we can begin to see better that it was not God who was doing the bruising or grieving, yet in allowing it all to come onto Himself in the person of Christ the sinister deceptions of the entire kingdom of darkness could all be exposed and would never be possible to hide again.

Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear [away] their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10-12)

The cross spelled the beginning of the end of the empire of evil forever, though it did not exterminate it immediately, for that will take much more time as the healing, remediating power unleashed by the cross has it inevitable influence on hearts and minds everywhere.. By allowing Satan's counterfeit morality and justice that maintains order with a balance of good and evil to be exposed as not only inadequate but evil to the core, God was pleased that the cross would become the catalyst to eventually open the eyes of all to see that the accusations against God are baseless. The problem of sin is entirely due to these lies and was never a problem of our needing to change God's mind about us.

Jesus made His own soul an offering for sin. What does this mean? I believe it means that Jesus was willing to have the deepest core of who God is exposed by the most intense testing of evil to clearly expose the truth to all who see this revelation. This is the Light that came into our world that exposed the hidden things of darkness and all that is opposed to God. This was accomplished by letting all the sinister powers of evil be drawn out to attack the light in such a way that evil was exposed as really evil instead of being mistaken for good as it so often masquerades to be. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not a viable alternative to living by the principles of the Tree of Life. Yet this could not be made clear without the One represented by the Tree of Life giving Himself to be vulnerable to all the assaults of evil and our kind of justice until the very soul of God broke out and it became clear who is really telling the truth and who has been lying all along.

At the end of this section we come to a revelation of how God overcomes evil His way instead of relying on our ways of violent retribution as religion falsely asserts about Him.

he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear [away] their iniquities.

What is this pleasure of Yahweh that prospers in the hand of Jesus? We are looking at what pleases God, so this must have something to do with what brings God pleasure. Take a look at another verse that identifies what really pleases God and how it fits perfectly into what we are finding here.

Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

On the cross as well as all throughout His life here on earth, Jesus demonstrated clearly this kind of faith. He refused to back down in the slightest from His implicit trust in His Father's love, faithfulness and goodness no matter how horrific the circumstances became or how overwhelming the evidence might appear to contradict this reality. This is the faith of Jesus made available to every one of us and that we may rely on to live in implicit trust of our loving Father no matter what is going on in our lives. This is the faith that awakens our faith, just as His love awakens love within us. Instead of trying to work up more faith in ourselves, we need to focus on how much faith Jesus had on the cross so that same mindset can be reflected in us and our experience can mirror the victory He achieved.

Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn't consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

What fueled and empowered Jesus to endure all the horrors that our injustice could heap on Him? Joy! Joy by definition is produced by someone who is glad to be with you. The deepest craving of the human psyche is the desire to be the sparkle in someone's eye. We never lose this craving for it is part of what it means to be human. When someone is genuinely glad to be with us no matter what we are doing or experiencing, we feel joy. But joy is not the same as happiness. Joy is far deeper and bonds hearts together with a power that is far stronger than anything involving fear.

The reason Jesus spent His last hours with His disciples talking about joy and being together with them and with His Father was because He knew that it would bring Him the joy strength He needed to get through what was about to happen to Him. He also knew that as a result of allowing evil to expose His soul that the unmitigated release of the unconditional love and forgiveness of God would be exposed in the process and would result in saving of millions of people who would respond to this ultimate expression of love when they finally caught sight of it.

This is what brought Jesus satisfaction even while His body and spirit were being tortured beyond anything we can imagine, for He knew that in this evil would be exposed as the complete fraud it is, with all of its false promises of of what could be achieved through law and order and commerce. The universe would thus be forever secured from ever being deceived again by any such counterfeit and God's family-based system based on joy and love could thrive uninhibited without any threat to its security. God will not rely on fear to keep evil at bay like so many assume is necessary, for all who choose to participate in the kingdom of love will do so because they see the truth about God as revealed by Jesus and His reaction to evil on the cross. The result will be that all will be convinced that only God's ways are effective to keep peace and freedom and joy in any society anywhere.

It is only through a knowledge of the real truth about God's character of love alone that we may be set free of the lies that produce iniquity in our lives. Iniquity means twisted thinking which is similar to what James calls double-mindedness. This distorted, confused thinking comes from views of God as being both light and dark, good and evil, rewarding and punishing which inhibits us from being able to live in joy and robs us of true freedom. It is all the result of commerce thinking and must be swept away entirely in order for us to come into a true appreciation of the nature of God so we can respond in faith as we see His faith in us.

Jesus came to reveal the trustworthiness of God's heart, and because He did so in such a spectacular way He exposed all the deceptions of the enemy. He has proven that He can be trusted to represent God truthfully and consistently and that all of Satan's allegations are groundless, false and sinister. This is the method by which God achieves victory over evil – by making Himself vulnerable instead of using His infinite power to overwhelm His enemies. By making His own soul a sacrifice to allow sin to be exposed, He defeats the power of evil and the true power of love is finally seen.

We find in the last and possibly most important book in the Bible a scene that portrays in symbols what happened when Jesus took on the task of exposing the enemy's lies by laying down His life to be abused and killed by His enemies to bring to light the real truth about God.

Then he came, and he took it out of the right hand of him who sat on the throne. Now when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sang a new song, saying, "You are worthy to take the book, and to open its seals: for you were killed, and bought us for God with your blood, out of every tribe, language, people, and nation, and made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign on earth." I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!" I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever! Amen!" The four living creatures said, "Amen!" The elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5:7-14)

This entire prophetic scene is all about worth, but worth not measured on any economic scale of commerce but has to do with trust. What everyone in the universe finally sees clearly is that God is totally worthy of the trust of everyone, friends and enemies alike, because of what was reflected about Him in the faithful life, experience and death of the Lamb of God who was Jesus.

What this also strongly infers is that the contest that began in heaven over who was right about the nature and character of God will only be forever settled when it becomes clear that the Lamb's version of God is true while the fallen cherub turned the great accuser who launched a rebellion to overthrow God's kingdom of love and freedom will be exposed by the Lamb to be false and untrustworthy.

Satan promises to exalt his followers to be rulers, kings and priests as rewards for participating in his way of doing things. But the priests and kings of this world are corrupt and end up being abusive and oppressive. Satan's promises can appear convincing, but in the end they turn out to be not just empty but erode the very fabric of the soul, ultimately leading people toward death. This world's methods and ways of solving problems can never work in the long run, for they are counterfeit and devoid of real power even though they rely on the power of fear to control others to do their will.

Only the power of love is effective to hold hearts and society together in ways that are life-giving and sustainable. Only in the atmosphere of freedom and vulnerability, honesty and truth, humility and joy can order and peace be maintained throughout the universe.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who doesn't love doesn't know God, for God is love. By this God's love was revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning [at-one-ing, i.e. reconciling] sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another.
We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him, and he in God. We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love. We love Him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:4-7, 14-19)


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