SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW)

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Chapter 27

15-26 (Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:18-25; John 18:39, 40). A Symbol of Last Days—The scene in the judgment hall in Jerusalem is a symbol of what will take place in the closing scenes of this earth's history. The world will accept Christ, the Truth, or they will accept Satan, the first great rebel, a robber, apostate, and murderer. They will either reject the message of mercy in regard to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, or they will accept the truth as it is in Jesus. If they accept Satan and his falsehoods, they identify themselves with the chief of all liars, and with all who are disloyal, while they turn from no less a personage than the Son of the infinite God (The Review and Herald, January 30, 1900). 5BC 1105.7

A Matter of Choice—When Jesus was on earth, Satan led the people to reject the Son of God, and to choose Barabbas, who in character represented Satan, the god of this world. The Lord Jesus Christ came to dispute the usurpation of Satan in the kingdoms of the world. The conflict is not yet ended; and as we draw near the close of time, the battle waxes more intense. As the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ draws near, satanic agencies are moved from beneath. Satan will not only appear as a human being, but he will personate Jesus Christ; and the world that has rejected the truth will receive him as the Lord of lords and King of kings. He will exercise his power, and work upon the human imagination. He will corrupt both the minds and the bodies of men, and will work through the children of disobedience, fascinating and charming, as does a serpent. What a spectacle will the world be for heavenly intelligences! What a spectacle for God, the Creator of the world, to behold! 5BC 1105.8

The form Satan assumed in Eden when leading our first parents to transgress, was of a character to bewilder and confuse the mind. He will work in as subtle a manner as we near the end of earth's history. All his deceiving power will be brought to bear upon human subjects, to complete the work of deluding the human family. So deceptive will be his working, that men will do as they did in the days of Christ; and when asked, Whom shall I release unto you, Christ or Barabbas? the almost universal cry will be, Barabbas, Barabbas! And when the question is asked, “What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?” the cry again will be, “Crucify him!” 5BC 1106.1

Christ will be represented in the person of those who accept the truth, and who identify their interest with that of their Lord. The world will be enraged at them in the same way that they were enraged at Christ, and the disciples of Christ will know that they are to be treated no better than was their Lord. But Christ will surely identify His interest with that of those who accept Him as their personal Saviour. Every insult, every reproach, every false accusation made against them by those who have turned their ears away from the truth and are turned unto fables, will be charged upon the guilty ones as done to Christ in the person of His saints (The Review and Herald, April 14, 1896). 5BC 1106.2

When Christ was upon this earth, the world preferred Barabbas. And today the world and the churches are making the same choice. The scenes of the betrayal, the rejection, and the crucifixion of Christ have been re-enacted, and will again be re-enacted on an immense scale. People will be filled with the attributes of the enemy, and with them his delusions will have great power. Just to that degree that light is refused will there be misconception and misunderstanding. Those who reject Christ and choose Barabbas work under a ruinous deception. Misrepresentation and false witness will grow to open rebellion. The eye being evil, the whole body will be full of darkness. Those who give their affections to any leader but Christ will find themselves under the control, body, soul, and spirit, of an infatuation that is so entrancing that under its power souls turn away from hearing the truth to believe a lie. They are ensnared and taken, and by their every action they cry, Release unto us Barabbas, but crucify Christ. 5BC 1106.3

Even now this decision is being made. The scenes enacted at the cross are being re-enacted. In the churches that have departed from truth and righteousness it is being revealed what human nature can do and will do when the love of God is not an abiding principle in the soul. We need not be surprised at anything that may take place now. We need not marvel at any developments of horror. Those who trample under their unholy feet the law of God have the same spirit as had the men who insulted and betrayed Jesus. Without any compunction of conscience, they will do the deeds of their father, the devil. They will ask the question that came from the traitorous lips of Judas, What will you give me if I betray unto you Jesus the Christ? Even now Christ is being betrayed in the person of His saints. 5BC 1106.4

In view of the history of the life and death of Christ, can we be surprised if the world is hollow and insincere? Can we in our day trust in man, or make flesh our arm? Shall we not choose Christ as our Leader? He alone can save us from sin. 5BC 1106.5

When the world is at last brought up for trial before the great white throne, to account for its rejection of Jesus Christ, God's own messenger to our world, what a solemn scene it will be! What a reckoning will have to be made for nailing to the cross One who came to our world as a living epistle of the law. God will ask each one the question, What have you done with My only-begotten Son? What will those answer who have refused to accept the truth? They will be obliged to say, We hated Jesus, and cast Him out. We cried, Crucify Him, crucify Him. We chose Barabbas in His stead. If those to whom the light of Heaven is presented reject it, they reject Christ. They reject the only provision whereby they may be cleansed from pollution. They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame. To them it will be said, “I never knew you: depart from me.” God will assuredly avenge the death of His Son (The Review and Herald, January 30, 1900). 5BC 1106.6

21. See EGW on Romans 3:19. 5BC 1107.1

21, 22, 29 (Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 6:16; 14:10). Two Kinds of Crowns—On whose side are we? The world cast Christ out, the heavens received Him. Man, finite man, rejected the Prince of life; God, our sovereign Ruler, received Him into the heavens. God has exalted Him. Man crowned Him with a crown of thorns, God has crowned Him with a crown of royal majesty. We must all think candidly. Will you have this man Christ Jesus to rule over you, or will you have Barabbas? The death of Christ brings to the rejecter of His mercy the wrath and judgments of God, unmixed with mercy. This is the wrath of the Lamb. But the death of Christ is hope and eternal life to all who receive Him and believe in Him (Letter 31, 1898). 5BC 1107.2

Under Satan's Black Banner—Each son and daughter of Adam chooses either Christ or Barabbas as his general. And all who place themselves on the side of the disloyal are standing under Satan's black banner, and are charged with rejecting and despitefully using Christ. They are charged with deliberately crucifying the Lord of life and glory (The Review and Herald, January 30, 1900). 5BC 1107.3

22, 23 (Mark 15:12-14; Luke 23:20-23; John 19:14, 15). A Representative Scene—The scene transacted in Jerusalem at the betrayal and rejection of Christ represents the scene which will take place in the future history of the world, when Christ is finally rejected. The religious world will take sides with the first great rebel, and will reject the message of mercy in regard to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Manuscript 40, 1897). 5BC 1107.4

25, 26 (Mark 15:14, 15; Luke 23:23, 24; John 19:15, 16). Angels Could Not Interfere—Be astonished, O heaven, and be everlastingly ashamed, O inhabitants of earth! With sorrow and indignation the angels heard the choice made by the people and the sentence passed upon Christ. But they could not interfere; for in the great controversy between good and evil, Satan must be given every opportunity to develop his true character, that the heavenly universe and the race for whom Christ was giving His life might see the righteousness of God's purposes. Those under the control of the enemy must be allowed to reveal the principles of his government (Manuscript 136, 1899). 5BC 1107.5

32 (Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26). A Means of Conversion—The cross he [Simon] was forced to bear became the means of his conversion. His sympathies were deeply stirred in favor of Jesus; and the events of Calvary, and the words uttered by the Saviour, caused him to acknowledge that He was the Son of God (Manuscript 41, 1887). 5BC 1107.6

37 (Psalm 85:10; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19). An Arranged Superscription—Look at the superscription written above the cross. The Lord arranged it. Written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, it is a call for all, Jew and Gentile, barbarian and Scythian, bond and free, hopeless, helpless, and perishing, to come. Christ has made of none effect the power of Satan. He laid hold of the pillars of Satan's kingdom, and passed through the conflict, destroying him that had the power of death. A way was now opened whereby mercy and truth could meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other (Manuscript 111, 1897). 5BC 1107.7

38 (Mark 15:27; Luke 23:33; John 19:18). Christ Placed as Most Notorious Criminal—Joseph and Nicodemus watched every development at the condemnation and crucifixion of Christ. Not an action escaped them. These men were diligent searchers of the Scriptures, and they were deeply indignant as they saw this man, whom the judges had pronounced to be entirely without fault, placed in the center of two thieves, “on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.” This instruction had been given by the chief priests and rulers, that by his position all might judge that Christ was the most notorious of the three (Manuscript 103, 1897). 5BC 1107.8

42. See EGW on Luke 24:13-15. 5BC 1108.1

45 (Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). In Sympathy and Confirmation—The darkness upon the face of nature expressed her sympathy with Christ in His expiring agony. It evidenced to humanity that the Sun of Righteousness, the Light of the world, was withdrawing His beams from the once favored city of Jerusalem, and from the world. It was a miraculous testimony given of God, that the faith of after generations might be confirmed (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:167). 5BC 1108.2

God and Angels Clothed in Darkness—The dark cloud of human transgression came between the Father and the Son. The interruption of the communion between God and His Son caused a condition of things in the heavenly courts which cannot be described by human language. Nature could not witness such a scene as Christ dying in agony while bearing the penalty of man's transgression. God and the angels clothed themselves with darkness, and hid the Saviour from the gaze of the curious multitude while He drank the last dregs of the cup of God's wrath (Letter 139, 1898). 5BC 1108.3

45, 46 (v. 54; Mark 15:33, 34, 39; Luke 23:46, 47; John 19:30). Circumstances Sowed Seed—The conviction forced upon many at the time of Christ's trial, at the time when the three hours’ darkness enshrouded the cross, without any natural cause for it, and when the last sentences were uttered, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” “It is finished,” “Into thy hands I commend my spirit,” was seed sown that ripened into harvest when at a future date the gospel was boldly proclaimed by His disciples. The shaking earth, the piercing cry, the sudden death which called forth in no whispered tones the cry, “It is finished,” forced from many the words, “Assuredly this man was righteous”; “Truly this was the Son of God.” Many who had scoffed and jeered at, and taunted the Son of God were terribly afraid that the shaking earth, the rent and trembling rocks would put an end to their own lives. They hastened away from the scene, beating upon their breasts, stumbling, falling, in awful terror lest the earth should open and swallow them up. The veil of the temple rent so mysteriously, changed the religious ideas of many of the Jewish priests, and a large company changed their faith. After the day of Pentecost, we read that “the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” (Manuscript 91, 1897). 5BC 1108.4

Father Suffered With Son—In the scenes that transpired at the judgment hall and at Calvary, we see what the human heart is capable of when under the influence of Satan. Christ submitted to crucifixion, although the heavenly host could have delivered Him. The angels suffered with Christ. God Himself was crucified with Christ; for Christ was one with the Father. Those who reject Christ, those who will not have this man to rule over them, choose to place themselves under the rule of Satan, to do his work as his bondslaves. Yet for them Christ yielded up His life on Calvary (The Bible Echo, August 6, 1894). 5BC 1108.5

50 (Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30; Hebrews 2:14). Satan Overcome by Christ's Human Nature—When Christ bowed His head and died, He bore the pillars of Satan's kingdom with Him to the earth. He vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan obtained the victory. The enemy was overcome by Christ in His human nature. The power of the Saviour's Godhead was hidden. He overcame in human nature, relying upon God for power. This is the privilege of all. In proportion to our faith will be our victory (The Youth's Instructor, April 25, 1901). 5BC 1108.6

51 (Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; Ephesians 2:14, 15; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 10:19, 20; See EGW on John 19:30). The Mercy Seat Opened to All—Christ was nailed to the cross between the third and sixth hour, that is, between nine and twelve o'clock. In the afternoon He died. This was the hour of the evening sacrifice. Then the veil of the temple, that which hid God's glory from the view of the congregation of Israel, was rent in twain from top to bottom. 5BC 1108.7

Through Christ the hidden glory of the holy of holies was to stand revealed. He had suffered death for every man, and by this offering the sons of men were to become the sons of God. With open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, believers in Christ were to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory. The mercy seat, upon which the glory of God rested in the holiest of all, is opened to all who accept Christ as the propitiation for sin, and through its medium, they are brought into fellowship with God. The veil is rent, the partition walls broken down, the handwriting of ordinances canceled. By virtue of His blood the enmity is abolished. Through faith in Christ Jew and Gentile may partake of the living bread (Letter 230, 1907). 5BC 1109.1

(Ch. 26:65; Daniel 5:5, 25-28; Hebrews 10:19, 20.) Israel a Nation Unchurched—In Christ the shadow reached its substance, the type its antitype. Well might Caiaphas rend his clothes in horror for himself and for the nation; for they were separating themselves from God, and were fast becoming a people unchurched by Jehovah. Surely the candlestick was being removed out of its place. 5BC 1109.2

It was not the hand of the priest that rent from top to bottom the gorgeous veil that divided the holy from the most holy place. It was the hand of God. When Christ cried out, “It is finished,” the Holy Watcher that was an unseen guest at Belshazzar's feast pronounced the Jewish nation to be a nation unchurched. The same hand that traced on the wall the characters that recorded Belshazzar's doom and the end of the Babylonian kingdom, rent the veil of the temple from top to bottom, opening a new and living way for all, high and low, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile. From henceforth people might come to God without priest or ruler (Manuscript 101, 1897). 5BC 1109.3

(Hebrews 6:19; 8:6, 7; 10:19, 20.) God's Presence Withdrawn From Earthly Sanctuary—By the rending of the veil of the temple, God said, I can no longer reveal My presence in the most holy place. A new and living Way, before which there hangs no veil, is offered to all. No longer need sinful, sorrowing humanity await the coming of the high priest. 5BC 1109.4

Type had met antitype in the death of God's Son. The Lamb of God had been offered as a sacrifice. It was as if a voice had said to the worshipers, “There is now an end to all sacrifices and offerings” (The Youth's Instructor, June 21, 1900). 5BC 1109.5

A New Way Opened to Fallen Man—When Christ on the cross cried out, “It is finished,” the veil of the temple was rent in twain. This veil was significant to the Jewish nation. It was of most costly material, of purple and gold, and was of great length and breadth. At the moment when Christ breathed His last, there were witnesses in the temple who beheld the strong, heavy material rent by unseen hands from top to bottom. This act signified to the heavenly universe, and to a world corrupted by sin, that a new and living way had been opened to the fallen race, that all sacrificial offerings terminated in the one great offering of the Son of God. He who had hitherto dwelt in the temple made with hands, had gone forth never again to grace it with His presence (The Signs of the Times, December 8, 1898). 5BC 1109.6

52, 53 (see EGW on ch. 28:2-4). Resurrection Known to Priests and Rulers—The captives brought up from the graves at the time of the resurrection of Jesus were His trophies as a conquering Prince. Thus He attested His victory over death and the grave; thus He gave a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection of all the righteous dead. Those who were called from their graves went into the city, and appeared unto many in their resurrected forms, and testified that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, and that they had risen with Him.... 5BC 1109.7

It was well known to the priests and rulers that certain persons who were dead had risen at the resurrection of Jesus. Authentic reports were brought to them of different ones who had seen and conversed with these resurrected ones, and heard their testimony that Jesus, the Prince of life, whom the priests and rulers had slain, was risen from the dead (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:223). 5BC 1109.8

54 (Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47; see EGW comment on 5BC 1109.9

vs. 45, 46; John 1:1-3, 14). The Sermon in Action—[Matthew 27:54 quoted.] ... What so enlightened and convinced these men that they could not refrain from confessing their faith in Jesus? It was the sermon that was given in every action of Christ and in His silence under cruel abuse. At His trial one seemed to vie with the other in making His humiliation as degrading as possible. But His silence was eloquence. In that lacerated, bruised, broken body hanging on the cross, the centurion recognized the form of the Son of God (Manuscript 115, 1897).