The Crown, Rather than the Cross

by harold on January 5, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
In the coming years, I hope the symbol of Christianity changes from the cross to the crown.
 
Of course, the death of Jesus is necessary for our salvation and no one will get to heaven apart from the atoning sacrifice of our Lord’s death. But the heart of Christianity is the life of Jesus not the death of Jesus.
 
This is in agreement with the true gospel. Jesus and John the Baptist preached, “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” When Jesus sent out the disciples He instructed them to preach this same gospel.
 
Unfortunately, when you ask modern Christians what is the gospel, most will say that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and if we accept Him as Savior we will be saved. Indeed, that is part of the Good News. But the true Gospel is this: the Kingdom of God is here.
 
Or we can word it this way: Jesus is Lord. Two thousand years ago, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Yes, He died, but He also conquered death and ascended into heaven. Then He sat down on a throne. He has been sitting on that throne for 2,000 years and He will continue to reign until every enemy is put under His feet. This is the gospel: Jesus is King.
 
Notice what Paul said is necessary for salvation: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). Paul did not say, we must believe that Jesus died on the cross; he said, we must believe that God raised Him from the dead. He did not say that we must accept Jesus as Savior; Paul said we must confess Jesus as “Lord.”
 
When Peter first preached the gospel on Pentecost day, he did not explain why Jesus died on the cross. The heart of his message was the Jesus has risen from the dead and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father, pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17-39).
 
Of course, we want everyone to know that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, but that is not the most important point of the gospel. The life of Jesus is more central to Christianity than the death of Jesus.
 
Unfortunately, Christianity in the Western world has reversed this. It has not always been this way. During the first 1,000 years of Christianity, the Church was life-centered. People who have studied art throughout the history of the Church say that the the cross cannot be found in early art. The art of the early Church depicted Jesus as a baby, a young boy, a Shepherd, a King,… Jesus was shown working miracles, healing the sick, teaching the multitudes, resurrecting from the grave, ascending into heaven, sitting on His throne and releasing Holy Spirit. Christianity was focused on the life of Jesus rather than the death of Jesus.
 
To the early Church the cross was thought of as something shameful. The cross was an instrument of torture. To use the cross as a symbol in those days would have been more despicable and bizarre than someone in modern times using a hangman’s noose, a guillotine, an electric chair, or a torture chamber as a symbol of their hero.
 
Yet, many Christians today wear a cross around their neck. Of course, we know the cross has become known as a sacred symbol of our Lord and I do not want to take that away from sincere Christians revealing their love for Jesus. However, I wish they would consider more carefully the message that is being declared.
 
Protestant Christians made an improvement over Roman Catholicism when they began using an empty cross rather than a crucifix with the body of Jesus hanging on the cross. But even an empty cross does not adequately communicate the gospel. The gospel is not just that Jesus is off of the cross. It is that He is on a throne. Jesus is King and Lord.
 
Your Brother,
Harold R. Eberle
 
 
clancy wilkerson February 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I read several of your books. When I read “Jesus came out of the tomb” and so can you. I shared with many, I have a new revelation! I’m forgiven. Love your insight on propitiation. Here a thought, Jeus ruling with the “rod of iron”. Not a rod to beat me over the head with (my old thinking) but a superior rod. wood vs. iron. Neb. dream feet of clay and iron, the clay removed (men’s government) and the iron is left over (kingdom governement). Maybe we could have you speak at our church sometime. My phone # 469-247-7764

harold April 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Hi Clancy, Sorry it took me so long to answer you. Where do you pastor? If I am in your area I may be able to come by.
Harold

Linda Ebelre November 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Greeting Clancy.
Thank you for your encouraging words. They truly are life changing words. As I’ve traveled with Harold and head him preach this message, the words soak into my soul and I am changed; challenged to change my old thinking.
Harold travels every weekend. He’s be happy to look at his calendar and try to work a time with your church. Please have the pastor call our office at 509-248-5837.
Blessings

Donna Hinton February 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm

How refreshing that the ‘Gospel of The Kingdom’ is now being proclaimed—as Jesus instructed. The Church is in great need of reformation. We’ve been snoozing, and there is no One better able to wake us up than Holy Spirit of the Living God. YEA! Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done… Plan to be at Hope Fellowship in Brandon, MS Friday night.

harold April 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Yes! The kingdom is growing in the earth and we are partnered with God to see this increase.

Fatima May 7, 2012 at 2:23 am

Hmm. While what the world may or may not end (I don’t think we really know for sure what would hpeapn) I don’t think that’s what matters. What we do affects the world. Sure you can argue for or against global warming, but I don’t see how anyone can argue that we haven’t destroyed much of the rain forest. Or severely endangered species. Or killed anything we don’t want around. It disturbs me too. We are called to be good stewards, and that means checking up on our actions and how the world around us affected by them.And I think it’s now time for me to stop my little rant 😀

Pat Hux March 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I recently have been thinking, again, about the place of the cross. I friend has been talking a lot about taking our troubles to the foot of the cross for healing. This has begun to bother me, for the emphasis seems wrong for a believer….. seems we should be emphasizing the resurrected life…..

harold April 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Amen. At the cross our sins were taken care of. Also God established His covenant with us. Since we are covenanted with Jesus we get everything He got. So when He resurrected, we resurrect. When He ascended, we ascend. We are swept into the wake of His victory.

Pastor Jim Burns March 29, 2012 at 6:35 am

Greetings Harold, I am now living a victorious life set free from the bounds of traditional Christianity to worship Him in spirit and in truth in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. — Thanks for writing this liberating book that sums it all up.

Please call me about our Ministry in Israel at 406-465-2668
Your friend in Jesus,
Jim Burns in Helena, MT

harold April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm

HI Jim, Great to hear from you. Sorry it took me so long to respond. PTL you made it. Are you still dancing? If you come this way, we need to get together.

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