Exodus 20:4; “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
Ensign, “Gratitude,” May 1997 [April General Conference], 33; “I express gratitude and love for Jesus Christ and His Atonement, for His willingness to leave the realms of the heavens as a God and come to earth as a lowly babe.
In the final hours of His mortal life, He went into the Garden of Gethsemane and took upon Himself the sins of all mankind, from Adam until the last person born on earth.” – Jerald L. Taylor
Today we’re exploring one of the most important topics of Christianity so that we can make a correct determination of where the sins of man was paid for, and why it’s important.
This article stems from multiple comments on our blog, made by a faithful Mormon. According to Mormonism, Jesus paid for the sins of man in the Garden of Gethsemane, and not on the cross. The Bible tells us his defense of this is wrong. The other argument of this Mormon gentleman is found in his repeated accusations that we’re bowing down to graven images; i.e. the cross.
31. The number of times you can find the term ‘graven image’ in the KJV Bible.
The Hebrew word ‘pesel’ is the transliteration for this all important term! (See Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary #H6459)
We’ll speak more to that in a moment. First, let’s look at the next topic –
1. The number of places where Jesus could have paid the price for the sins of mankind.
John 12:32; “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
This clearly tells us Jesus was referring to His crucifixion and when that happened mankind will come to Him for salvation. He didn’t draw anyone to Himself whilst praying in Gethsemane.
The next item of consideration is the physical address, so to speak, of the cross.
As we see in Hebrews it took place outside the city walls. The reason for this is that when priests sacrificed animals for various rituals, it was always done so outside the city gates, aka, outside the camp, or without the gate.
Hebrews 13:12; “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”
I found an awesome article on this – here’s a small portion of why the cross was outside the walls of Jerusalem. I highly recommend you read the whole thing because this was absolutely awesome! From outsidethecamp.org;
“In Old Testament times, outside the camp was where everything unclean went. The Israelites were commanded to burn the remains of the sacrificial bulls, including their dung, outside the camp as sin offerings (Ex. 29:14;Lev. 4:12,21; 8:17; 9:11; 16:27)… Outside the camp was a place of defilement, uncleanness, impurity, corruption, dirtiness, filthiness, pollution, contamination, condemnation, punishment, rejection, castigation, and reproach…
Is this anywhere for the King of Glory to be?…
Why was Jesus Christ among those who suffered and died outside the camp? He had done nothing wrong. Wouldn’t He be the last person one would expect to see being crucified among the executed criminals? Yet there He was, outside the camp, ridiculed, reproached, and scorned, treated as dung, His entire body bloodied by torture, His hands and feet nailed all the way through to the wood of the cross, pulling Himself up by those nails in His hands just to be able to breathe. This was the King of Glory? The rulers and soldiers came by scoffing, saying, “He saved others, let him save himself, if this one is the Christ, the elect of God. … If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself” (Luke 23:35-37). If He really was the Christ, why didn’t He come down from the cross? Why didn’t He set up a kingdom on the earth, with Jerusalem as the capitol? Why did He remain outside the camp, being reproached by those who hated Him, hanging on the cross and eventually dying?
Praise God, we know the answer, because it is clearly in His Word. Jesus Christ did not die as a private person. He died as a Substitute and Representative of certain people. All the sins of all those people were imputed to Jesus Christ – Jesus Christ was legally charged with their sins. And, just as the sacrificial bull was burned outside the camp for a sin offering in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ suffered and died outside the camp as a sin offering for His people. He became unclean, defiled, worthy of death – not in his own perfectly holy character and conduct, but by imputation. And as such, it was needful for Him to be punished outside the camp, where the unclean and defiled go.”
Moving forward to Galatians, we find Paul’s explanation of why Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins whilst on the cross –
Galatians 3:13; “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
Equally important is timing. Note what it says in John’s gospel –
John 18:11; “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
Two things to take note of in this verse –
1.It tells us Jesus still hadn’t fulfilled the job God had given Him to do, and that was to pay for the sins of man.
2.The transliteration for the word ‘cup’ is potērion which means fate, drinking vessel, and the contents thereof. (See Strong’s #G4221)
This cup, destined for Jesus only, was filled with ‘the wrath of God, and the punishment due to sin’. (See John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible.)
Our last example for why Jesus didn’t pay for sins in Gethsemane comes from Luke 22:44. Our online Mormon friend has used this verse to prove his point, as have many leaders in the Church. I want to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ that when/if someone uses a certain verse to defend an unbiblical concept, don’t ever be afraid of using that same verse to correct them. 2 Timothy 3:16.
Let’s look at the text.
Luke 22:44; “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
The medical term for bloody sweat is ‘hematidrosis’. This rare condition can happen when someone is under extreme stress. Stress can cause the capillary blood vessels feeding the sweat glands to rupture, thus mixing some blood with sweat.
We want to make it very clear, we have no doubt that God can cause anything at all to happen in life – of this there’s no question! Our concern with this verse and Mormonism comes into play with the theory Gethsemane is where Jesus paid for the sins of men and they’ve based it on this one verse.
A great study on this can be found at TruthMagazine.com where Pastor Terry Ray examines other verses in the Bible with the same phrase ‘as it were’, to determine if Jesus fulfilled God’s strict requirements for atonement. He, like many others, believe it’s theologically unsound to insist Jesus atoned for sins at Gethsemane.
And last, but not least beloved, our Mormon visitor (Fred) is a living example of what the Apostle Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 1:18; the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are unsaved. Here’s what he had to say about our witnessing tip for October 9th and Jesus’ death on the cross –
“To think a common everyday punishment is all that Jesus went through to give us the atonement seems narrow thinking to me. The atonement is greater than the physical death on the cross.
It was in the Garden of Gethsemane where the Christ accepted His earthly death. At the time of His final acceptance He sweat ” great drops of blood” because of the pain.”
Fred’s right. The cross was a very common tool used by the Romans to murder and humiliate those who didn’t agree with them. In fact it was so common even Josephus made note of it while traveling through the Galilean region. In one day he counted 2,000 crucifixions. See Antiquities 17: Book 10.
Again, the problem in Mormonism is the lack of concern about our dear Lord, and the lack of concern about accuracy. The Bible is abundantly clear, and foretold where Jesus would atone for sin. As we’ve always said, a sign of a cult is how they’ll build an entire doctrine on just one verse of the Bible so beware.
And most certainly, please, pray for these dear people who are truly lost!
With Love in Christ;