Special Article taken from the Book

Spiritual Teachings and Universal Truths

Copyright © 1998 by Raphael. All rights reserved.


Immanuel's Sufferings and Crucifixion


      His inner sufferings at the hands of Evil were hidden from human eyes and so nothing is said about them in the Bible beyond the very casual account of His temptation in the wilderness.  Yet the onslaughts made upon Him there by Lucifer were so savage, that any one of the earlier divine emissaries would have abandoned God, if He had allowed the Powers of Hell to proceed against him with the same vigor as He permitted them to assail Immanuel.  Moreover, the bodily tortures which Immanuel had to undergo until His last breath were such that His predecessors could not have held out against them, even less so because they had to be endured in addition to equally severe mental suffering. 

      It is true that the sufferings of Immanuel had a higher significance than did those of any other of the divine prophets.  For them, death spelled the fulfillment of their tasks, if they had remained true to God.  For Immanuel, however, the end of His Earthly life marked only the fulfillment of a portion of His mission, the more important part of which was still to be completed afterward, by gaining a victory over the Prince of Darkness.  His crucifixion was a condition precedent to that victory, not just crucifixion in itself, but His ability to endure it without faltering in His loyalty to His Master.  He might, while yet alive upon the Cross, have lost faith in God at the last moment and gone over to the Enemy.  Had He done so, He would have died upon the Cross nevertheless, but defeated and apostate.  Until that moment, He had stood upon the defensive against the terrific hail of missiles that Hell poured upon Him, had He yielded, all would have been lost.  The effort for Redemption would have failed and Immanuel would have been a prisoner of the Prince of Darkness. 

      If, on the other hand Immanuel held out against the most dreadful anguish of soul and body inflicted on Him by the Hellish powers, the moment of His death on Earth would mark also the beginning of the second part of the War of Redemption.  He, Who as a mortal, had stood on the defensive against the Powers of Hell, would now, as a spirit, advance to attack them in order to render His victory complete.  To force the decision He would descend into Hell.  He descended into the lower parts of the Universe. 

      However, I will dwell a little longer upon the first stage of this war, the most important that was ever fought, and review those hours of Immanuel's human suffering which people call the Passion, seeing that humanity appreciates far too little the unspeakable anguish that this Divinely sent Bearer of the Cross was forced to endure in order that people might be saved. 

      On the evening before His death Immanuel was in the guest chamber of a house, in company with His Apostles. 

      The feast of the Passover that He was observing with them was also His farewell feast, but who among you can measure and realize the anguish of His soul?  He knew from the divine spirit messengers that all preparations for His arrest and speedy execution had already been made.  He knew that one of His Apostles had conspired with the high priests and for a traitor's reward of thirty pieces of silver had declared himself ready to deliver his Master to them and at that very moment the traitor was lying at a taboret with Him.  They were not seated about a long table as you think and as they are shown in paintings, but were reclining upon the skins of animals, elevated, at the head by bolsters, gathered in groups of three around low taborets, their left elbows resting on the bolsters, their right hands taking the food before them.  At the same taboret with Immanuel reclined John and Judas, John to the left, his head close to his Master's breast, and on His right, Judas, who dared not meet his Master's eye and was anxiously awaiting the moment when he could leave the chamber without attracting attention. 

      The Master's heart bled on seeing before Him His traitor in this youth, whose terrible end He foresaw.  As He looked upon him, Immanuel's eyes filled with tears, because His heart was filled with love for even this lost brother, in His mind he saw a picture of what, within a very few hours, was to be a reality.  Judas, despair in his soul, standing, rope in hand before the tree on which he was to end his own life and beside him Lucifer, ready to take the spirit of him who he had led astray, into the Pit.  Terrified at the vision, the Master trembled. 

      As for the other Apostles, would they stand by Him and console Him in the hour of His martyrdom? 

      The events that the next twelve hours were to bring passed before His mind's eye.  He could see them all fleeing in terror for their own lives and Peter shaking with dread before a maid, denying all knowledge of his master with oaths and curses.  He saw the devils crowding outside the door of the guest chamber, ready to seize upon His Apostles as they went out and in this very night fill their minds with doubt of their Master, in order that they might offer no support or help to one Who was doomed to die. 

      Immanuel told His Apostles, "Lucifer has asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat."  Why had Lucifer desired this?  Only now it had been divinely revealed to him what he had at stake in this war. 

      God's sense of justice did not permit Him to conceal any longer from Lucifer the fact that the battle which was now to start between him and Immanuel was to decide the sovereignty of Hell over the fallen spirits.  God had revealed to Lucifer that Immanuel, should He remain steadfast throughout the death agony which was at hand, would thereafter as a spirit advance and attack Hell at the head of the celestial legions, that he, the Prince of Hell, would be overcome and would be deprived of an essential part of his sovereignty.  At this news, Lucifer trembled, then, appealing to that sense of the divine justice which on one occasion had given him absolute sovereignty over the fallen spirits, he demanded that God observe strict neutrality in the decisive battle which was impending.  What Lucifer asked was, that God withdraw His hand entirely from Immanuel, leaving Him not any human support, while allowing Hell to have a free hand.  Should God agree to these demands, Lucifer hoped that by doing his utmost, he would succeed in breaking the spirit of this Immanuel of Nazareth at the last moment and in driving Him to abandon His cause. 

      God granted the terms asked by Lucifer with the sole exception of reserving to Himself the right to strengthen Immanuel's purely physical vitality.  Had He not done so, Immanuel would have died in the garden of Gethsemane and His martyrdom would never have reached consummation. 

      At Lucifer's desire, all the mental and physical anguish possible, crowded into a few short hours, was to be concentrated upon his antagonist, simultaneously with an attack to be launched upon Him and His followers by the entire infernal spirits.  Lucifer hoped if Immanuel was alone, betrayed by one of His Apostles, deserted by the others, denied any divine aid against the forces of Hell, he could prepare an end worthy of a Judas. 

      After Judas had left the guest chamber and even as Immanuel gave to His Apostles the wine and the bread symbolical of His approaching death, His heart was bleeding from a thousand wounds.  He was human, as you are, and had no advantage over other humans during this hour and those that were to follow.  On the contrary, He lacked even those things that most people have, to fortify and console them in the hour of suffering. 

      Picture Him now, going out into the dark of the night to the garden of Gethsemane .  The night is no man's friend, least of all his who is overwhelmed with sorrow.  His Apostles, on whom the evil spirit forces are already at work, walk silently beside Him, in dread of what is to come.  Under the burden of His mental torments, He too is silent. 

      At the remote spot in the garden, chosen by Him as the place in which to offer prayer for strength, Lucifer is in wait with his ablest assistants, ready to break down their intended victim's spiritual resistance by their united efforts.  This is the very opportunity that God had conceded to the Prince of Darkness. 

      Human words would fail to portray the terrors of the visions held up by Hell to its victim in this brief hour!  As once before, the same Lucifer, who had tempted the Son of Man in the wilderness, and showed Him the kingdoms of the world in all their splendor in order to cause His fall, this time and to the same end, he exhibited to Immanuel all that is fearful and detestable in mankind.

      He caused to pass before His eyes pictures of blaspheming, sinful humanity in its full viciousness and corruption, in a steady succession of hideous pictures.  Next he showed to Immanuel the supposed "fruits" of His years of endeavor among the Jews as "God's people", pointing mockingly to His Apostles, one of them actually approaching at the head of a multitude, the others fast asleep near by, with never a word of comfort for their Master and unwilling to sacrifice a single hour of sleep for His sake.  "And would you die to prove your gospel for such as these?"  Lucifer's mocking voice sounded in His ears, "For such as blaspheme your Father and will condemn you as a fool if you give your life for this perverse generation, and have you taken thought what your end will be?"

      Before the clairvoyant eyes of his trembling victim there now passed the scenes of the suffering in store for Him, His capture, the flight of the Apostles, Peter's denial, the roar of the multitude which but a few days earlier had hailed His entry into Jerusalem and which now thirsted for His blood, the death sentence, the whipping of His body, His captors' brutality, the crown of thorns, Calvary, the Crucifixion, everything painted in its most terrifying aspects, in order that He might give way to despair and abandon His resistance.  All the while the spirits of hopelessness and desperation were driving the maddest of thoughts into the mind of this victim of theirs Whom all had forsaken.  His pulse throbbed, His whole body was shaken with fever, and His heart threatened to burst.  The terror of death seized upon Him, drops of blood oozing from His pores and trickling to the ground. 

      Through it all, His Apostles were sleeping peacefully. 

      The meager outlines preserved by the Bible of the story of the "Passion" of Immanuel fail completely to convey to your mind the anguish of soul and body suffered by your Redeemer.  Many of the worst tortures are not even mentioned in the Bible.  Nothing is said of the frightful hours which He was compelled to spend in the underground dungeons of the courthouse which were filthy, full of feces and urine, and swarming with rats, into which the soldiers had thrust Immanuel after they had whipped and mocked Him and crowned Him with thorns, and after they had rubbed salt into the countless deep gashes left by the lash upon His lacerated body and had bound His hands, because by removing the salt He might find some relief from His unspeakable torments. 

      Never did a man endure such torture as did this Son of God incarnated!  Through its human tools, Hell did its worst, because in Him it recognized its greatest foe who could ever appear on Earth, but not even the physical sufferings which it prepared for Him could equal those which His soul had to endure, in addition, both forms of torment, mental and bodily, were applied to Him simultaneously.  Add to this, He was without any human consolation and what was still harder, without any divine aid.  God had withdrawn His protecting hand and had left Him helpless to the devices of Hell.  The cry by Immanuel as He hung dying upon the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) reveals in full the mental agony which He felt on finding Himself forsaken by all in this hour of supreme physical suffering. 

      Lucifer should never be able to allege the excuse that his failure to reduce this mortal to submission was due to the help received by his victim, from external sources.  He should be forced to confess that he had met his match in an unaided human being, who in spite of the most excruciating torments of mind and body, could not be driven to desert His God. 

      The "Biblical account", according to which the mother of Immanuel stood by the Cross accompanied by John, is incorrect.  Even this consolation was denied Him.  Not one of those dearest to Him was near, at the Crucifixion.  They could not have endured the sight; can you find a mother who would look on while her child was being crucified?  Again, the religions go so far as to assume that Mary was standing by the Cross throughout, had she been present at all, she would surely not have remained standing, but would have fallen unconscious!  Therefore, it is also untrue that Immanuel exclaimed from the Cross, "Woman, behold your son!"  And to the Apostle John, "Behold your mother."  He did, in fact, speak similar words to Mary and John as He was being led from the court after Pilate had pronounced the death sentence and while His mother and John were clinging to Him in anguish until they were torn away by the soldiers.  His mother had been present at the trial, as had the Apostles and had never lost hope that it would end in His favor, because there constantly recurred to her mind the story of Abraham, whose son was spared from sacrifice at the last instant, even as the knife with which he was to be slain was being bared. 

      To this day there has not been a mother who would not attend a trial in which her child's life hung in the balance, nor on the other hand is there a mother who would go to witness the execution of her own offspring. 

      To see His mother on the verge of swooning from agony and terror cut Immanuel to the soul and all He thought of was to spare her any further sight of His own suffering.  He begged John to take her to his home until everything was over and spoke lovingly to her, urging her to go with John and to implore God for strength in this hour of tribulation, telling her that the things which He must now suffer were as the Heavenly Father had willed and that after three days she would see Him again. 

      John willingly agreed to his Master's request and took Mary, pierced by a thousand sorrows and standing on her feet only with the utmost effort, to his home.

      He did not take her there permanently, as might be gathered from the text of the Bible, but for the time being, to remove her from these horrifying surroundings.  At that home others also gathered, who had remained faithful to Immanuel.  Some time later, when it was assumed that the crucifixion was in progress, some of them, among whom was Mary Magdalene, went to a spot where the site of the execution could be seen, and returned to relate the "death" of Immanuel. 

      His mother remained at the home of John only so long as she lingered in Jerusalem .  In the end she returned to Nazareth , the home of her other children and her own home.  Naturally, she often revisited Jerusalem to see the Apostles, in particular John, as long as they continued their sojourn there. 

      As during His life Immanuel had been confirmed as God's envoy by signs, so was He in the hour of His death.  The sun's light failed for three hours and darkness came over the land, not by reason of natural causes but as a sign from God.  At the moment when Immanuel's spirit left His body, the veil of the Jewish temple was torn from top to bottom down the middle, as a token that the wall dividing the realm of God from that of Lucifer had been shattered by His death.  The Earth shook and the rocks were torn in half, but the story recorded in the Bible that the dead had arisen from their tombs and had been seen by many in Jerusalem is a falsification of one of the original, accurate texts, which reads, "The veil in the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom, and the Earth did quake, and the rocks were rent, and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of those who had fallen asleep were cast forth.  Many, who had come from the holy city, did see the bodies lying there." 

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