Defeating Death by Dying
By Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon
Tom: 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.
In this first segment of our program, we’re going through Dave Hunt’s book When Will Jesus Come? Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ.
Now, Dave, you titled chapter 6 of your book, “Victory in Defeat.” For some people out there, they’re thinking, Oh, yeah, well, that sounds like you’re putting a positive spin on something that really didn’t turn out as one would expect or hope. But right after that title you quote John 12:24—this is Jesus speaking: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Dave: Well, Tom, God pronounced judgment upon man for sin. “The soul that sinneth, it must die.” He told Adam and Eve, “On the day you eat thereof you will surely die.” And God himself cannot just wave a magic wand, He can’t just pat us on the head and say, “Well, try again. Do better next time,” or, “I’ll forgive you this time.” He can’t do it. He cannot violate His own Word. So death was pronounced upon mankind, and the human race has to die. It’s not a matter of the Messiah’s going to come and rescue the Jews from the Roman armies. That’s what they wanted, and they thought. But He’s going to have to pay the penalty for our sins.
Tom: And only He could, Dave, because it’s an infinite penalty, right?
Dave: Exactly, exactly. The wages of sin is death, but we’re already dead in trespasses and sins. There is no human being who could pay that penalty except through the second death, the Lake of Fire, for eternity. But they will never pay it off. But Jesus Christ, who alone had life, He had life to give—nobody else had any life to give—and He gave His life for us. That’s the simple story of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures. Was buried, rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
So I often think, Tom, of Satan. He was confused. He probably still is confused. He’s brilliant beyond our imagination, but he doesn’t understand. For example, when it says, “the angels are kept in chains of darkness,” I don’t think it means they’re chained up somewhere. I think it means they cannot understand, and Ephesians 4 talks about their followers having their minds darkened. They cannot understand the gospel because they don’t want to.
So Satan, first of all, he inspires Peter to tell Jesus not to go to the cross. “Be positive, Lord! I know you’re discouraged, but take a positive outlook on it, Lord. You can do it.” When Jesus said, “I’m going to Jerusalem and they will crucify Me,” “Oh,” Peter said, “far be it from you, Lord. You can’t let that happen.” Well, without that there would be no salvation.
Tom: And he’s thinking defeat here. “No, no, let’s not take a defeatist’s attitude! Let’s get after this and be positive!”
Dave: That’s right. Good, positive mental attitude—positive confession, as some people would say in the Christian world. And Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” So, it was Satan who inspired Peter like that. He said, “You don’t know the things of God; you’re talking like a man.” We have a lot of that in the church today, borrowing from the church.
And, Tom, you just finished a terrific video on psychology—so-called Christian psychology—and this is what they’ve done. They’ve taken from the world and they’ve tried to integrate godless psychology, atheistic psychology, with the Bible.
But anyway, it’s very clear he was inspired of Satan. But then, Satan later on inspires Judas to get Him crucified. So that tells me Satan doesn’t know. And 1 Corinthians 2, Paul says, “If the princes of this world had known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” And I don’t think that’s talking just about the leaders, human leaders, but the powers of darkness as well. So they thought it was defeat. The Pharisees, they’re laughing; they think that they have defeated Christ. “What are you doing on that cross?” they say. “I mean, if you’re the Messiah, come down! Prove it by coming down.” And the thieves say the same. It says, “They cast it in His teeth.”
“If you’re the Christ, if you’re the Messiah, save yourself and us,” and then they mocked Him, the crowd. “He saved others, Himself He cannot save.”
And I probably quoted that poem last week maybe, Tom: “In weakness like defeat….” Did I? I don’t remember, but it would bear quoting again:
“In weakness like defeat,
He won the victor’s crown,
Tread all our foes beneath His feet,
By being trodden down.
He, Satan’s power laid low,
Made sin, He sin ‘oerthrew,
Bowed to the grave, destroyed it so,
And death by dying slew.”
Now, that’s victory in defeat!
Tom: Dave, and it’s so contrary to the way we think. Now, I’m putting myself out here. You know, we want victory, we want the team that we love to win. That’s our mentality, yet what’s amazing about this is, and you point out in your book When Will Jesus Come?, the prophets had laid all of this out. It was there. They should have been able to see this except they were blinded by self, by their own ambitions, and so on.
Tom: We’ll get into this religious establishment in a little bit.
Dave: Well, you have a lamb all through—the lamb that Abel offered. It was accepted by God, the lamb. And we’ve talked a lot about this, but you can meditate on it forever. The lamb that God provided in the place of Isaac when they went up that hill together, and Isaac said, “Well, here is the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb?”
And Abraham said, “God will provide Himself a lamb.” I think Jesus must have been referring to that statement when in John 8 he said, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.”
So all the way through you’ve got the Passover lamb, you’ve got the sacrificial lamb, and you’ve got Isaiah 53: “He is led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” Now, who would that be referring to? See, the Jews try to say, “Oh, well, that’s about Israel.” No, Israel was not…didn’t die to redeem themselves. But it talks about, “led as a lamb to the slaughter…as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, he opened not his mouth.” That was one of the things that the Rabbis marveled at: “Aren’t you going to give a defense? Don’t you have anything to say in your defense?”
And Jesus “answered not a word,” it says, because He was taking our place, and we had no answer. We are guilty. So, defeat—it seemed like defeat. The two on the road to Emmaus, Christ comes alongside and says, “What’s your problem? Why are you so discouraged?”
“Well, are you a stranger? You don’t know what’s been going on? Why, you know, Jesus of Nazareth, He did miracles, and we were sure He was the Messiah, but I guess He wasn’t. He couldn’t have been, because they killed Him.” So what seemed like defeat was really victory. The victory is Christ willingly giving Himself for us. Wow! Letting men hate Him, mock Him, and crucify Him.
And, Tom, I don’t think Satan understands that to this day. I think Satan is still trying to bait the hook with success, with popularity. And, you know, Tom, this is very important in our own lives. Because Jesus said in John 5 (He’s talking to the Rabbis), “How can you be men of faith, you who receive honor one of another and seek not the honor that comes from God alone?”
So I must be willing to have my colleagues or the people around me think, Well, the guy’s in defeat. I’m not seeking their acclaim. I’m not seeking to please them or to have them applaud me for being victorious, or whatever. We must seek the honor that comes from God, and the keyword there is alone.
“Oh, I would like the honor that comes from God, but I like the honor from men, too.” Jesus said, “You’ve had your reward. If you get honor from men, you have had your reward.” And Jesus said, “I receive not honor from men.”
And, Tom, that’s one of the things that really troubles me in the church. We could begin to name them, and I won’t—I don’t want to embarrass these people—how many of them out there have phony doctorates? When did these guys ever do the probably six years…my oldest son, you know him, he has a PHD in philosophy. He’s a very bright guy, Phi Beta Kappa and very brilliant. I think it took him six years to get that with the dissertation and so forth. And these guys, they are nobody last week, and next week they’re “doctor!” “Doctor this and that….” And, Tom, they want to be—they even demand to be called “doctor.” Jesus said, “Don’t be called Rabbi, Rabbi, Rabbi.”
Tom: Dave, along that line—the antithesis of what you’ve just stated, you know—you mentioned Satan earlier: his whole deal was to, even to the Lord of glory, to have Him bow down and worship him. So…
You also talked about, Does Satan really understand this? and so on.
Dave: I don’t think so.
Tom: When Self is so elevated…you could start with Nebuchadnezzar, for example, exalting himself. And you just…on a radio program the other day, a person who called and asked me about how self-love began, and I started with Friedrich Nietzsche—remember?—chiding Christians for not loving themselves enough, and he went insane!
Dave: Of course, it began with Eve; began with Satan.
Tom: But the point is that pride was there, a self, and blindness is going to follow that so quickly. It’s amazing.
Dave: Well, Tom, let me make it clear to our listening audience: I have nothing to be proud of and everything to be ashamed of. We have nothing but God’s grace that brought us where we are today and allows us to do anything for Him. I love that old hymn:
“Not have I gotten but what I’ve received,
Grace has bestowed it since I have believed.
Boasting excluded, pride I abase,
I’m only a sinner saved by grace.”
And, Tom, there are people, the “positive confession” people—many of them in the charismatic movement—you can hear them on TBN or elsewhere; you can read their books in the Christian book stores: “Oh, to say, ‘I’m a sinner saved by grace…’ No, no, no, you’re not a sinner now! Well, you’ve been cleansed!”
Well, we have been cleansed, but if we’re not sinners saved by grace, if we will not always for all eternity be sinners saved by grace, why does the last chapter in the Bible tell us that God’s throne is also called the Throne of the Lamb? Why will Jesus always appear as the crucified One, a Lamb freshly slain throughout eternity? If that’s not a reminder of who we really are and what it cost Him to redeem us…so we will always be sinners saved by grace. And so it takes a certain amount of “defeatism” (if you want to call it that) to admit I am a sinner, I’m hopeless. There is nothing I can do to earn my salvation—nothing I could do even to please God. The Bible talks about pleasing God, but how do I please Him? By allowing Him to be my life, and not trying to be something for Him.
I love, again, what David said: “What shall I render to God for all his benefits?” What am I going to do, some great thing? “I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” I’ll acknowledge that He is everything that I need and He has done everything that I need, and I will just rest in His victory.
Tom: Dave, this brings us to, in your chapter 6 of When Will Jesus Come?, the religious establishment. Now, there is pride for you! There’s self-righteousness, there’s blindness, because of what they were going to lose—jealousy of Christ and so on.
Dave: You’re speaking of the rabbis, of course, at that time. Wow! And, Tom, it’s pretty much the same today in many places.
Tom: Well, let me quote so our listeners will get an idea of what we’re talking about here. This is in John 11, and I’ll just read verse 47: “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.”
Dave: So, Tom, there you have it. They acknowledged that He did miracles, just as Nicodemus did in John 3: “Rabbi, we know that you’re a teacher come from God: for nobody can do the miracles that you do, except God be with him.” So they acknowledge Jesus did miracles. They even acknowledged that He had raised Lazarus from the dead. He had been dead four days. Jesus raised him from the dead, and they said, “We will kill Lazarus along with Jesus.” So maybe it’s beyond blindness. As you’re pointing out, it’s selfishness, it’s pride. Defending…it says, “The Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” So they are defending themselves. All they want is—and, Tom, you know, that is so foolish, because…
Now, I’m a few years older than you are, Tom. You’re getting there.
Tom: I know. I’m a little gray here, Dave. I still have my hair though. [Laughs]
Dave: Yeah, you’ve got your hair. I lost mine long ago, I think in my late twenties. But anyway, this life is very short. I’m not going to defend myself, defend my territory, defend my reputation, whatever, for this brief time! All that matters is: What is God going to say? You know, it’s eternity. So you could be very easily deceived into thinking you’ve got to defend yourself now, I’ve got to make my way now, I’ve got to get what I’m going to get now. Well, that’s “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” But don’t forget that what counts is eternity, and we better live for eternity, not for time.
So Jesus, it says of Him in Hebrews 12, “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” Okay? Horrible to bear, horrible to bear.
Tom, I have a little saying, and even when I’m in the dentist’s chair—and I don’t take Novocain unless it’s going to be really, really bad…
Tom: No root canal?
Dave: No, I take Novocain for a root canal, but you get out of the dentist’s office and you’ve got a fat cheek, you know, and you can’t talk straight. I’d rather get it over with. So it’s horrible what Jesus endured, but it was for the joy set before Him, and I’ll say to myself when the pain is becoming overwhelming in the dentist’s chair, “This too shall pass. This too shall pass.” And you can say that about all of life: “This too shall pass.” No matter how horrible it is, or how wonderful it is! And, you know, the greatest athlete, the guy with all the gold medals who outdid everybody, finally he’s dying and all he has left are faded newspaper clippings. A lot of people don’t even remember him anymore. It’s the new gang now, the new athletes, and so forth, or whatever it is, Tom—the president, past president. So let’s please the Lord.
So it may seem like defeat now. Paul said, “When I am weak, then am I strong,” because Jesus said, “I want you to be weak. My strength is your sufficiency.” And Paul said, “In my weakness, that’s when I’m strong, because then I am not trusting myself but I am trusting the Lord.”
Tom: And again, Dave, that is so contrary to the way we think. You know, this is prophetically—I believe we are in the last days, and I can prove it from 2 Timothy 3:1-2, you know: “Mark my words, in the last days perilous shall come. Men will be lovers of themselves.” This is the “me” generation, and everything that you said is so contrary to our thinking, to the world’s thinking, and so on. It makes it difficult.
Dave: Tom, when I was a boy in school, even from grammar school on up, I was a fighter. I’ve been in more fights than you could count. And the thing that you hate—well, you were on the Judo team—what do you hate? You don’t want to lose! You just do not want to lose. I don’t want somebody to be better than I am in anything, you know. And that’s why we pay these athletes—immoral, most of them. The lives they lead is pitiful. The illegitimate children here and there, and the tragedies that eventually come out of it, drug abuse, and so forth. We’re paying their egos, and they don’t want to lose, and we don’t want our team to lose. Jesus didn’t lose, but from the world’s standpoint it looks like He lost, because the rabbis think they had done away with Him. But He came back three days later, rose from the grave, and if He had not died, if He had not accepted what seemed to be defeat…
Tom: And fulfilled every prophecy that was directed to the Messiah throughout the scriptures.
Dave: God’s judgment. So He submitted to His Father. It says in Philippians 2 that He humbled Himself. Just think of the Lord of glory, and He lets these punks (what are they?) hit Him, mock Him, these Roman soldiers. He could wipe them out with a word. And “He humbled Himself, became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Tom, I’ve been falsely accused quite a number of times, and I can tell you—of this and that—and I can tell you one of the most difficult things: Sit in a room with men who are telling lies about me, and people are believing it. And okay, it’s not going to do any good for me to try to talk back because they are not going to believe a word that I say. So…“Okay, guys…” That’s what you want to say.
I think that’s one of the things I mentioned in Judgment Day!, Tom: Why hasn’t Israel talked back? Why haven’t they done a better job of propaganda? The Palestinians tell such lies. I don’t think it’s because the Jews are so humble. I think it’s they’ve come to the point where, “What is the use? The world is so against us. They will not believe. We tell them the truth; they will not believe us.” The UN does nothing but condemn Israel. Israel could never get a point across at the UN.
So, Tom, we’re going to wait for God’s judgment. And this is what Jesus did, but He took the penalty for us that looked like defeat, and this was the victory that won our salvation.
Tom: Dave, when we come back to this next week, I want to talk about what the rabbis, the religious establishment, used and thought, “Oh, well, now we’ve got Him!” And that is Jesus’ claim to be God.
Program Number: 1942