The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 1


III. Christ Truly “Died” According to Prediction, Fulfillment, Attestation

It is essential to establish the fact that Christ died on Calvary—truly died. And no inner or real self, or being, as a separate, continuing entity, lived on during the period between His giving up of the “ghost,” or “expiring,” and His resurrection on the “third day.” Observe the conclusive Biblical evidence. Note the italicized words. CFF1 377.2


Here are six explicit Old Testament predictions: CFF1 377.3

Now follow about a score of Christ’s own personal New Testament predictions of His approaching death and His designated period in the grave. Again follow the italicized words. (Those in small capitals indicate the time element.) CFF1 377.4

And here follows the unimpeachable evidence of competent eyewitnesses as to His death: CFF1 377.5

According to the unvarying testimony of Scripture, Christ, as the voluntary substitute in death for sinners, was without any thought or activity while in the embrace of death, awaiting the summons of the life-giving Spirit—the Third Person of the Godhead—at His resurrection on the “third day.” CFF1 377.6


And here is the galaxy of supporting apostolic witnesses to Christ’s death: CFF1 377.7

To deny that Christ died is consequently to repudiate the whole irrefutable testimony of Holy Writ. CFF1 377.8


And here is the infallible witness of the risen, ascended Christ Himself that He was dead, but from the resurrection onward lives forevermore: CFF1 377.9

In the light of such an array of divine predictions of Old Testament prophets, iterated and reiterated New Testament forecasts by Jesus Himself, together with the inspired eyewitness record of His actual death and burial, and of multiple concurring apostolic witness, and finally of attestation from the ascended Christ Himself in Heaven, we rest the case. Jesus actually and truly died! And He rose therefrom on the “third day.” CFF1 377.10


Now comes the tremendous alternative: If Christ did not Himself truly, actually die, as called for in the terms of atoning substitution—but only His body, while His spirit lived on as a continuing discarnate entity and busily visited the confined “spirits in prison” during the interim between the alleged moment of His “death” and the “resurrection” (within the “three day” asserted and reasserted)—then the declared transaction of the cross is a travesty; and the veracity of God and of Christ is impugned. CFF1 377.11

The credibility of their characters is destroyed. And the sole basis of our hope of repentance, reconciliation, and atonement is canceled and nullified, and all the benefits springing from an atoning death are alike swept away. Then we are indeed left destitute of any sound hope and trustworthy expectation of redemption—past, present, and future. CFF1 382.1

Then the promises of God would be invalidated, the inspired assurances rendered null and void, and the justice of God impugned. And most sobering of all, Satan’s claim, “Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4), would be vindicated and sustained. And God’s solemn declaration, “Thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17), would stand discredited and disproved before the entire universe—His veracity shattered. That is the gravity and the essence of the issue. But let us examine these dread possibilities in greater depth and detail. CFF1 382.2


Look at the imposing array of promised benefits, here listed, all contingent upon Christ’s death—but all canceled and lost if He did not truly die, but actually lived on. The terse point of the text is here listed, with the key word or phrase italicized. Observe: CFF1 382.3

That is the tremendous, sobering sweep of salvation that would be nullified, aborted, canceled—IF Christ did not die a complete, vicarious, atoning, all-sufficient, once-for-all death on Calvary’s cross. That is the gravity of the contention that Christ did not die, but lived on during the fateful “three days.” All redemption hinges on His death, as well as His resurrection, as His part of the transaction. But He did die, and was raised forevermore. Our redemption is assured by the immutable fact of Christ’s actually accomplished death, followed by His triumphant resurrection. Hear it: CFF1 382.4

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:8-11). CFF1 382.5