An Angel's View of the Cross
[The reader will please note that the following story is completely fictional, and is solely based upon the author's imagination combined with some Scriptural references that have stirred his interest. The author is well aware that any human speculation into the realm of spirit beings will fall well short of reality. His hope is that this story will give the reader a greater appreciation for the miracle of the cross. Readers can check endnotes for more information.]
If you have never thought about 1 Peter 1:11,12, you may not realize that we angels were not given any prior knowledge as to what would happen to Christ during His passion. Therefore, we were as shocked as you humans were to see what was taking place. My first inkling that something big was about to happen was when I was allowed by God the Father (I will call Him by His Old Testament name of Yahweh) to listen in on a conversation that Satan was having with several of his leading demons. You should understand that Satan and his hordes realize that Yahweh knows all, and therefore do not restrict our access when Yahweh decrees we attend their meetings. In recent days before this gathering, I had seen Satan looking downtrodden. He had lost big in the wilderness during his uninterrupted forty days of tempting Christ, he had been losing souls all over Israel and the surrounding nations, and I could tell he looked beaten.
Yet, now as I peered in on this particular conference, I was shocked to see how excited Lucifer was! He was gloating over the hardness of the vast majority of the leaders in Israel against Jesus, and was pleased that I was there to hear about it! "We've got Yahweh exactly where we want Him!" he boasted. "He has set up this world of men to operate within the confines of man's free will!" Then turning to his followers, he lowered his voice. "Do you wretches know what that means? It means that Jesus will not be the Savior and King of His people if they do not want it so!"
Then, looking directly at me, he bellowed, "I demand that Yahweh stick to the conditions on which he created mankind, and allow His Own people of Israel to decide whether or not they want Jesus as their Messiah! Then he laughed sarcastically, "If Yahweh allows His precious people to make up their own mind, they will kill His Son within the week!" At that point, he and his entire wicked host laughed an obnoxious and false laugh (Satan has no true happiness or joy), and all demanded that Yahweh do right! I have always had confidence in Yahweh, but I confess that I did NOT have faith in how you humans would respond to Jesus when the choice was left up to you.
After this meeting, I had several other assignments, and was too busy to spend much time thinking about Satan and his plans. Suddenly, however, I was thrust back into the situation when Yahweh ordered me to go to the Garden of Gethsemane to help His Son. As always, I immediately obeyed, but upon arrival I was horrified at what I saw. There was Jesus in such indescribable agony that I felt sick just looking at Him! He was praying, and His words both astounded and distressed me. He spoke with such passion that each word burned within me: 'Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.' I was stunned! Jesus was agonizing over something that Yahweh wanted Him to do? How could this be? Jesus is God! He is full of joy! Yet, Christ at that point was so overwhelmed with grief while He prayed that he started to actually sweat blood!
It was then that Yahweh revealed why He had called me there. "Go to Him and strengthen Him," He said. I was so glad to do so! I looked at Him with all the love and compassion I could muster, but when I gazed deeply into His eyes, I was troubled to see that though He appreciated my help, He knew I had no idea as to what He was experiencing at that point! I felt helpless, but did aid Him physically, and I am convinced that Yahweh used my ministry to strengthen Jesus for what lie ahead.
Because my attention was focused on Jesus, I did not notice the approach of the crowd that was coming to arrest Him until they were almost to the garden. If you were there, you would have seen a mob coming with torches and weapons, as if to seize some dangerous criminal, but what I saw was far different.
I had never before seen so many demons in one place since their original sin against God! There were thousands of them! In fact, I later learned that every demon on the face of the earth had been gathered for this event! Some were not in the garden, but were working on other key leaders in the city. However, every single demon who was not working on another essential project concerning Christ's rejection was there! Literally multitudes of miserable people throughout the earth were at least temporarily freed from their captors! Governmental officials across the planet were thinking more clearly (at least for a few hours) as Satan had focused all of his forces on this lone event in world history!
By their expressions, I could tell that these evil beings were in dead earnest. Satan was pinning all of his hopes of victory for time and eternity on Israel's rejection of Jesus Christ! The demons were constantly whispering lies and evil thoughts into the ears of the humans in the mob, and Satan himself was personally indwelling Judas Iscariot! I heard him tell that sad wretch to betray Christ with a kiss! What a horrible scene!
After Christ's arrest, I was assigned to minister to the man you know as the Apostle John. Although he had run from Christ in the garden, I was to protect him during his courageous identification with Jesus at His trial. Therefore, I cannot tell you much of what went on with the Savior during the next several hours. However, I was still with John when he met up with Jesus' mother, Mary and Mary Magdalene; both of whom had been alerted of Christ's condemnation to death by crucifixion. When I came with them to Golgotha (the place you commonly call Calvary), I was again taken aback by what I saw! Satan and his most wicked and powerful demons were literally surrounding Christ's cross!
Oh, the horror of seeing Jesus hanging there! It was just as Satan had planned it! Mankind had been asked what they wanted to do with Jesus, and they answered with a resounding: "NO!" that they did not want Jesus as their Savior and Lord! Now ALL wicked powers were there, armed and ready for battle! By the grim looks on their faces I could see that they were expecting any minute an all-out war with Yahweh and his angels.
It was then that I noticed my fellow-angels. They had all gathered too! Interestingly, Yahweh had not demanded their presence, but let it be known that they were allowed to come. We were all there: Michael, Gabriel, and all the host of Heaven! Yet, there was not the usual joy and fellowship that typically mark our times together. Instead, there was an only an eerie silence! Every angel, without a word from Yahweh, was arming himself for conflict! The looks on their faces displayed the greatest anger and earnestness I had ever seen!
As I pondered the scene, I too started to get angry. "Who do these foolish humans think they are?" I thought. They did not make room for Christ at His birth, they have failed to recognize Him during all His earthly life, they have only sought to use His power for their own gain, and they have seldom even seen their obligation to worship and serve their Lord and Master! Now they are trying (as only ignorant and arrogant humans can) to put the Son of God to death! If Yahweh will allow it, I will help destroy every human on the planet!" I could see by their faces, the other angels were thinking the same thing. "Someone is going to be eternally judged here!" I thought.
Just then my attention was shifted to the cross. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22. You as a human could not have picked up His words, but I could clearly hear them. He said: "Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet…."
You will have to ask Christ about this, but I think that when Jesus spoke of the "Strong bulls" that surrounded Him, He was talking about the host I saw: Satan and his hordes. I also noticed that the least powerful and influential demons were on the outside, the closest to the angelic host. They looked terrified - dreading the battle they felt certain would come over the fate of the Son of God! The most powerful and fearsome fallen angels were right by Christ, and Satan himself was looking more confident by the moment as he barked out orders and turned to mock Jesus.
"See Jesus?" he sneered, "these humans You created are too stupid to love and worship the Only Intelligent Being that ever truly loved them! This is what Your creation thinks of You: THEY WANT YOU DEAD - AND NOT JUST DEAD, BUT DEAD BY THE WORST TORTURE THAT THEY CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE! You have determined to let them have their own way, and NOW THEY HAVE SPOKEN! AS A JUST AND HOLY GOD, YOU HAVE TWO CHOICES: DESTROY THEM, OR LET THEM SERVE ME FOREVER!" We in the angelic host said nothing, but kept looking - longing - for a command from Yahweh to attack the devil or the humans or BOTH!
It was then that I saw Him! Yahweh was coming to the cross! I almost jumped for joy as I saw my Lord and Master standing there! Surely Yahweh would set all right! Would He destroy the humans? Would He destroy Satan? I was opting for EVERYONE! A look of sheer terror swept across Satan's face, but - knowing the significance of this moment - he got control of himself and began to wail, "You are the Judge of All the Earth! You have decreed that these wretches should choose whether or not they would love or serve You! I demand that You let the humans make up their own mind as to whether or not they want - ." At that point, Yahweh merely looked at Satan, and the devil bowed in fear and stopped mid-sentence.
It is impossible to describe to you humans the face of Yahweh, but I will tell you that I have never seen such profound grief on His wonderful face either before or since! As He approached, a wide path opened up in both armies as He walked straight toward the cross. As He approached, He did not look at Satan, or his armies, or even at we His angels. Instead, He stared with unfathomable love and pity at His Son! When He reached Jesus, I fully expected that Yahweh would take Christ down from the cross, and then turn to destroy His enemies, including Satan and all of sinful humanity. How I wished He would allow me to help!
Instead however, He pulled out something I had not seen to that point. You as humans have never seen how your sins look in the spiritual realm, but if you could picture a crushing weight that smells like the most putrid, rotting garbage, you would just begin to get the picture! I was amazed to see Yahweh take out this disgusting, devastating load and place it on His beloved Son! Jesus groaned pitifully as the Father placed your sin there, AND THEN YAHWEH GROANED DEEPLY- AND STARTED BEATING CHRIST HIMSELF!
I was so stunned, my mouth dropped open, and I quickly looked toward Michael to see if he might have known what was going on at that point. Michael looked just as shocked as I was! Satan, who had been bowed with his face to the ground looked up in utter disbelief at what was taking place.
IT SEEMED THAT THIS WOULD NEVER END, BUT FINALLY YAHWEH TURNED AND SIMPLY WALKED AWAY WITH HIS BACK MOST PROFOUNDLY TOWARD JESUS!
I was dumbfounded! I could not speak - only watch with amazement what I could not yet understand. Satan stood at the foot of the cross not knowing what to do next. I could tell he was puzzled too! Then, just when he was about ready to say something cruel again, he stopped. Suddenly his eyes grew wide in utter terror, and the color drained out of his face as it began to dawn on him what was happening.
"Get Him down!" he shrieked. "GET HIM DOWN NOW!!!" He began to shove those nearest him wildly in his rage. His demons looked at him in disbelief. We angels were equally surprised. "Don't you understand?" he screamed. "JESUS IS DYING IN THEIR PLACE!!! This will ruin all! GET HIM DOWN!!!"
Satan's top leadership rushed to him. They did not understand all at this point, but they knew enough to follow directions. "How can we get Him to come down?" they asked.
Satan was so distraught, even this master strategist had few ideas. "Appeal to His pride! Appeal to His compassion! Appeal to His desire to have people believe in Him!" he shot back, but in his voice I could tell that Satan had little hope any of these strategies would work. Still, his servants began to talk to the humans that were there. Satan himself focused on speaking to Christ directly.
The demons rushed into action. One used the priests to try to tempt Christ to be proud. You may recall that the Apostle Matthew recorded their words: "And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
Satan liked that term: "save Yourself", and immediately picked up on it. "Yes, save Yourself, Jesus!" he tried to say as sweetly as he could. "You are too good and too holy to die for such wretches! Save Yourself!"
The other demons chimed in on the same theme and began whispering similar thoughts into the minds of others nearby. The chief priests then spoke. They tried to play on Christ's desire to have the lost believe in Him. "He saved others;" [they said] "Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"
Another demon was working on a soldier. As he came near Christ to offer Him some sour wine, he said, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."
Yet another demon was whispering to one of the criminals who was being crucified with Jesus. His appeal was not only that Christ save Himself but that He save the rebellious blasphemer as well! You may recall the bitter words of the one rebellious criminal: "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."
At that time, I wanted Christ to save Himself as well! I wanted Him to save Himself and then attack all of His enemies! Yet, Jesus never answered any of these taunts! Instead, He merely continued to hang there, and AGONIZE! In my ignorance, I wondered for a moment if Christ was too weak to respond, but that idea was dispelled when Christ answered the other thief (the truly repentant one) when he begged for mercy. Jesus said to him, "… today you will be with Me in Paradise."
After Christ's amazing words of compassion and hope, I realized why we angels were not permitted to destroy the humans: there were some who truly wanted to turn to God! There was John, as imperfect as he was, weeping out of love for his Lord, and comforting Jesus' mother Mary. There was Peter, standing farther away, and staring at Christ with a look that revealed his profound sorrow and unresolved guilt.
For what seemed like eternity, Jesus just hung there, straining against the nails to push Himself up for every breath. Suddenly He broke His silence with a statement that still I cannot fathom: "My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?" It occurred to me at that point that this was the first time in all of eternity that Jesus had ever been rejected by YAHWEH! I felt that even YAHWEH'S blows were not as profoundly painful to Jesus as was the horror of His rejection of His Beloved Son! It also occurred to me that YAHWEH was in greater agony than even His Son as He punished Christ in man's place!
When Jesus spoke those awful words, I wondered if the weight of sin was about to destroy Him! All the torments of your eternal Hell, Dear Human, were fully poured out on Christ at that point! The full fury of God's wrath upon your sin was poured out on Jesus - all the filth - all the shame - all the penalty - was borne by your Savior!
Of course, you know that none of Satan's appeals worked. Jesus stayed on the cross until your sins, and the sins of every other human who has ever walked the earth were paid for in full. At that precise moment, Yahweh turned back to face His Son with a look so loving and approving that I cannot put it into words. Jesus looked right back at Him, and yelled excitedly: "It is finished!" That statement was both a cry of victory and a statement that man's sins were "paid in full!"
Then Jesus, still looking into His Father's face said: "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit." The next moment He bowed His head, and it was over.
This may seem hard to believe, but at that moment I caught a look of admiration on the devil's beautiful, but sin-hardened face. "Brilliant," he softly said as he stood at the foot of the cross shaking his head. "Brilliant. Use the most evil choice of wicked men to work to save them! To think my very moves to destroy mankind and crucify Jesus were exactly what God had planned to deliver the wretches! Brilliant."
I confess that I still did not understand much of the significance of what I had seen until three days later when Christ rose victorious over death. I was the privileged one called to roll back the stone! What a joy that was! Christ is risen! Halleluiah!
I am still learning to appreciate what I saw those many years ago at Calvary. Every time I see another sinner saved by the blood of Christ that was shed at that wonderful and awful spot, I realize in a new way just how blessed it is to be forgiven! We angels do not have that privilege you know. So be thankful, Dear Human, that you have a Savior that loved you so much that He died for you! You also have a Heavenly Father who was willing to punish His Beloved Son in your place! Never let the wicked one tell you that God does not love you - just look at the cross!