THE WORLD'S CRISIS.
"Now is the krisis of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."--John 12:31.
The Greek word rendered judgment, in this text, is the word krisis from which our English word crisis is derived, and to which the same exact meaning is given, viz., The point of time when any course of action must terminate or take a new course, the decisive moment, the turning point; as the crisis of a disease, when the turning point for life or death is reached. Compare Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon and Webster's Dictionary. The word judgment, does not improperly translate the word; for there is a crisis, a sharply defined decisive turning point in every trial or judgment. The crisis, the decisive point of judgment was that to which Jesus referred in the above quotation.
It was just a few days before his crucifixion that he uttered these words, in full view of the terrible experiences which must shortly follow. Not long before this he had raised to life Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, who were then living in Bethany about two miles from Jerusalem, whither the Jews from all parts assembled to keep the Passover. The sisters had arranged for the entertainment of Jesus and the disciples on this occasion. The wonderful miracle had been noised abroad among the Jews, and as they came up to Jerusalem multitudes made it a point to see Lazarus, and Jesus who had raised him from the dead. And when they had seen, the people were convinced that this must be the Messiah, the king long foretold by the prophets; and upon the spur of their convictions they determined to acknowledge him publicly as their king. And "when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna, Blessed is the king of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord."--John 12:12,13.
But while the hearts of his disciples bounded high with glowing anticipations as they saw these evidences of public favor, Jesus was sorrowful, knowing that his hour was come. He knew that the prophecy of Isaiah was about to be fulfilled --that he was about to be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities; that the chastisement of our peace was about to be upon him; that it would please the Lord to bruise him, to put him to grief, to make his soul an offering for sin, to permit him to pour out his soul unto death, and be numbered with the transgressors.--Isa. 53.
Knowing the bitter disappointment that must soon overtake the hopes of his disciples, Jesus sought to prepare them in a measure to receive it. He talked to them of the necessity of entire consecration to the will of God, even if he should require them to lay down life itself in his cause; and then he assured them that the Father would assuredly honor and reward such service.
As he approached the last dreadful conflict, in full view of it, and with a fixed determination to submit his will fully to the will of God, even unto death, he said: "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But [no], for this cause came I unto this hour: Father, glorify thy name." (vs. 27,28.) Yes, he had come to this dread hour for the very purpose of suffering death, that thereby he might redeem the world from the condemnation of death.
It was in reference to this fact that Jesus said, "Now is the crisis of this world." Yet the world was entirely unaware of its critical situation at that moment. The world's salvation was in the balance then. All depended upon the faithfulness of him who was about to redeem them with his own precious blood. No wonder that when in Gethsemane's garden, realizing the awful responsibility upon him, and the agony of bearing it, Jesus sweat great drops of blood; no wonder that weary and faint and longing for human sympathy, he came time and again to his disciples who could not realize the situation, longing for their sympathy and saying, Can ye not watch with me one hour? (Mark 14:34,37.) Little did they realize that at that critical hour their own and the whole world's salvation hung upon the shoulders of their trembling, suffering Lord. Yes, it was the dark hour of the world's crisis.
The world was being judged again, in its second representative, the man Christ Jesus, who then took upon himself the penalty which had fallen upon Adam and the race represented in him, thereby substituting his human being, psuche, for that of the man Adam and those represented in him.
From the moment that Jesus said, "It is finished," and died, the crisis was past. That was the great turning point, the decisive act which legally released man from the bondage of death and secured for him the right to live again. (Rom. 3:25,26.) That was the decisive act which made Christ the rightful Lord of the human race which he thus purchased by his death. (Rom. 14:9.) And in that it gave to Christ the right to rule, it fixed the doom of Satan the usurper. "Now," from that moment it was a settled thing that the present "prince of this world," Satan, who has the power of death and reigns only to deceive, oppress and destroy mankind, shall be cast out. Thus through death Jesus spoiled the principalities and powers of darkness, and openly showed it in his resurrection, thus triumphing over them through death.--Col. 2:14,15. Satan's present sway is only permitted until the time appointed of the Father. His sentence of ejectment was sealed at Calvary.
That the decisive act which determined this change of rulership, and turned the condemnation from the world, was the death of Christ, is clearly seen from the following verses (32,33). "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." "This he said, signifying what death he should die." Jesus had spoken before of his being lifted up, referring to his crucifixion (John 3:14,15 and 8:28), and the people whom he now addressed rightly understood him to refer to his death. But ignoring the prophecies which foretold the death of Christ, they reasoned, If this be the Christ, how can this be; for the Scripture saith, Christ abideth forever. Blinded by prejudice, they overlooked or ignored the prophecies which foretold the sufferings, and saw only the glory that should follow.--1 Pet. 1:11.
The only reply which Jesus made was to not deceive themselves thus. (Vs. 35,36.)
The world's crisis came and passed, yet the world was totally unaware of it. As in the crisis of a disease, the patient may be entirely unaware of the change which takes place at the critical moment, yet it may be clearly discerned by the skilled physician, so the world was unconscious of the change which the death of Christ secured for all--the privilege of restitution to perfection, to harmony with God, and consequently thorough obedience to everlasting life.
And although nearly two thousand years have elapsed since the crisis was passed, the mass of mankind are still unaware of the good tidings of great joy which shall in due time be to all people. Those however who have been students of the divine Word, know that the time now draws very near when the world shall all see and experience the blessed results which must flow from that decisive act of our Lord at the moment of the world's crisis.
The world has passed through two crises in its two representatives Adam and Jesus, though unaware of both. The decisive instant, the crisis, came in each case which determined certain results to the world. In the first instance the crisis was followed by the "krima" or sentence; sentence came by the one man Adam upon all his race unto condemnation to death. In the second instance also the crisis was followed by "krima" or sentence which came by the one man Christ Jesus, unto justification to life (Rom. 5:17-19) giving all the right to live again because "redeemed," "bought," "purchased by the precious blood of Christ," who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified to all in due time.
While the right to live again which was purchased for all mankind by the death of Christ, is an everlasting right which never can nor will be disputed nor ignored by God, it yet remains for man to individually claim the everlasting continuance of that right, by compliance with the conditions upon which it is offered; for this right, thus purchased at so great a cost may be again forfeited by men. But it can never again be forfeited by a representative, as in the first instance. Each individual redeemed in the second representative crisis, must stand trial for himself, and prove his own claim to an everlasting continuance of life by obedience, or else by disobedience forfeit life for himself--but not for another.
There is then, a coming individual trial or judgment and there will therefore be a crisis, a turning point, a decisive moment and act to each individual, upon which will hinge the issues of the everlasting future for life or death, in his individual case. If he gratefully accepts of life and its privileges and future possibilities as the purchase of the precious blood of Christ, and if he fully and from the heart complies with the conditions of its everlasting continuance, viz., obedience to God, then the crisis is past, and the "krima" or sentence, is in his favor-- to life everlasting: otherwise it is against him--to the second death. Nor will the life once redeemed, and then again individually forfeited, ever be redeemed again--"Christ dieth no more;" "there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins." Such ungrateful, willful, deliberate sinners justly merit and shall die the second death.
But while the church with all the world has passed through the first two crises as represented in Adam and Jesus, the church shall not come into judgment with the world--John 5:24. Krisis is here translated condemnation.
The church will be receiving her reward, when the world's individual crisis or judgment is in process. But the church is not exempt from individual judgment; her crisis takes place before the Millennial Age, during the Gospel Age now closing. Each member of the church therefore in the present life is standing on trial for himself, and at some time during the judgment there comes a critical decisive point to each individual of the church--a time which proves to be the crisis of our course, where a standstill is not possible, but where we must go forward either in the right or the wrong direction, either to the fulfilling of our covenant or the ignoring of it.
In fact, every test that is applied to us, places us in a critical situation, so that we need to watch and pray that we may have strength to overcome. And to each there will come a final test, as in our Lord's case. While the world's representative crisis was reached at the time appointed for Jesus to lay down his life in sacrifice, it was also a crisis to him as an individual. As an individual he was being tested, and proved worthy of the glory to be revealed in him.
The final test in our individual cases may not always be at death. If we have been faithful in the preceding tests, or if we have been rightly exercised by the discipline of the Lord, the closing scene of life will be the last test. It is possible, however, for a consecrated one to ignore and despise his covenant and to refuse further compliance with it and to ignore and despise the discipline of the Lord, or to despise the means by which God brought this salvation to men--even the precious blood of Christ. Such reach the crisis and turn it unfavorably before death. But to those who continue faithful and obedient, the final moment of crisis is at death, even as with the Master --"faithful unto death."
With thankfulness for the grace which carried us through the crisis of our redemption through the death of Christ, may each individual of those now on trial, watch and pray that he may successfully pass through the crisis of his own individual trial.