Prof. Dr. Werner Gitt
Englisch: Krippe, Kreuz und Krone
Crib, Cross and Crown
Prof. Dr. Werner Gitt erklärt in dieser Schrift den Heilsplan Gottes - angefangen bei der Geburt Jesu (Krippe), über seinen Tod (Kreuz), bis hin zur Entrückung und ewigen Herrlichkeit (Krone).
Gott schuf Abhilfe für die "Urkatastrophe" der Menschheit, den Sündenfall. Wie in der Bibel vorhergesagt, sandte er seinen Sohn auf die Erde. "Nie aber hat die Welt einen Gott gesehen - bis es Weihnachten wurde."
Das Kreuz wurde für Kritiker zum Anstoß. Sie verstehen nicht, wie ein "Hinrichtungsinstrument" zum Zentrum eines Glaubens werden kann. Prof. Dr. Gitt sieht diese Kritik als Indiz, dass die Menschen ihr Sündenbewusstsein verloren haben: Es gab keinen anderen Weg für die Rettung des Menschen, weil die Trennung zwischen Gott und uns durch die Sünde so groß ist.
Wenn Jesus einmal wieder kommt, wird man ihn als König erkennen. Dann wird die Menschheit zweigeteilt sein in Angenommene und Verworfene. Für diejenigen, die Jesus in ihr Leben aufnehmen wollen, gibt es ein vorformuliertes Gebet, das ihnen dabei hilft.
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10 Seiten, Best.-Nr. 122-3
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Crib, Cross and Crown
The Original Catastrophe
Again and again our world is ravaged by catastrophes. Some 160 thousand people died as a result of the tsunami in December 2004, the loss of the Titanic cost 1522 lives and the Second World War left 50 million people dead. The original catastrophe, however, was the Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. This is the reason for all other catastrophes that have befallen the world. Sin brought about the separation of man from God. Without God man was drawn into everlasting damnation. Were God to allow just one sin into Heaven, suffering and death would enter. That is not God’s will.
It breaks God’s heart that man whom He has created and whom He loves has turned away from Him and handed himself over to death. Oh, how dreadful! As the proverb says, “There is no cure for death”. Not even a herb from the Garden of Eden. But maybe God has a remedy!?
God’s remedy – He sent His Son
God had a plan for salvation even in the Garden of Eden and He announced it, although in a very encrypted manner, immediately after the Fall: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). A never ending chain of prophetic statements points again and again to the coming Saviour, e.g.:
“A Star shall come out of Jacob: a Sceptre (i.e. a symbol of sovereignty) shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17).
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
The very last announcement of the Saviour was delivered by an angel as he revealed to Joseph the birth and the name of the Holy Child: “Mary, your wife … will bring forth a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
In the course of history many people have walked this earth who have made a name for themselves among men, such as emperors and kings, poets and philosophers, gurus and magicians, good people, and evil people. Never before had the world seen a god until the first Christmas. The child in the crib is not a god as the Greeks imagined on Mount Olympus or the Germanic tribes in Valhalla. He is the Only One who could say: I am the Creator through Whom everything was made (John 1:1&3); “I am the Truth” (John 14:6); “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11); “I am the door” (to Heaven) (John 10:7).
Which way did He choose to come into this world? Did He arrive with drums and trumpets or roars of thunder? Did He come with the Heavenly hosts? No! God chose an unmarried woman from Israel, Mary, who found favour in His eyes to bring the Son of God into the world. With this He even surprised the Jews, who knew, for example, the following prophetic words about their Messiah: “Behold, your King is coming to you” (Zechariah 9:9) or “He will break all kingdoms in pieces” (Daniel 2:44). For this reason they did not expect a child in a manger but a king! He was supposed to appear with power and drive the Romans from Israel, set up residence in Jerusalem and nominate the high priests and scribes as His ministers.
But Jesus did not come in this way, so the Jews rejected Him. They had overlooked those passages of Scripture, which prophesied His first coming as a child. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). It depends on Him alone whether we spend eternity in Heaven or in Hell. This Messiah may be characterised by the “3 Cs”:
Crib (This first C symbolises the coming of Jesus into the world.)
Cross (This C symbolises our salvation through the death of Jesus on the cross.)
Crown (This C symbolises the reign of Jesus on His Second Coming as King.)
No cross without the crib! No crown without the cross! Without the crib and without the cross no Heaven for us! Therefore, there had to be Christmas first!
What is irritating about the cross?
Critics of the Christian faith repeatedly ask, “Why this brutal death on the cross? In your faith everything revolves around an instrument of execution. Could God not have chosen a gentler way to reconcile mankind to Himself? Why was the path of reconciliation paved with death, agony, tears, and grief? Could it not have been accomplished in a nicer, more aesthetic and elegant way? Could God not have turned a blind eye to our human shortcomings?”
All the “whys” are irrelevant because they belittle sin. That seems to me to be the sickness of our times. Only the cross shows us what no philosopher nor scholar can:
The cross shows us how deep the abyss is between God and man because of sin. This abyss is so immeasurably deep that Hell is the consequence (Matthew 25:46).
The cross gives us a realistic view of how far God, in His love for us, was prepared to go. He went so far as to tear from His heart that which was most beloved to Him, His Son Jesus.
The cross of Jesus is God’s deepest humiliation. The Creator of the universe and of all life allows Himself, without resistance, to be executed like a criminal. What a high price for sin! But through this Jesus can invite every sinner unto Himself. “… the one, who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). It is also true, though, that whosoever does not come is lost, and lost forever!
The cross also marks the end of all human ways of salvation. For this reason Jesus could exclusively declare, “No-one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6). In the face of the cross all religions are only a glittering “Fata Morgana” in the desert of lost mankind.
The message of Christmas is, together with the message of the cross, a unique message of salvation: “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11).
He will come again
Jesus will come into this world a second time, though no longer as a child in the manger, but as King, Judge, and World Ruler. In Matthew 24:30 He clearly promises this event. “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in Heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory.”
What a reason for joy! The Creator of the world appears! The Saviour of the world comes! Why then is it written in Revelation 1:7 that all tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him? Why do they cry out to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him …!” (Revelation 6:16)? Many have heard of the necessary decision for this Jesus during their lifetime, but have said, “No!” Now they are lost and there is no way back. It is irrevocably too late. This is the reason why they cry and mourn.
Most people walk their paths without Jesus. Their imagination knows no bounds. For example, the well-known American actress Shirley MacLaine, who lives on a ranch with her dog, said, “With my dog, Terry, I even have my own god at my side, for he is a reincarnation of the Egyptian god Anubis who has the appearance of a dog. It may sound strange, but Terry and I have had at least one life together in ancient Egypt. He as an animal god and I as a princess. Now life has again brought us together.”
Jesus will come again visibly. “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they, who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him”, writes John in Revelation 1:7. When Neil A. Armstrong, as the first human being to do so, set foot on the moon on July 20th, 1969, 500 million people watched this event on television. The British Princess Diana lost her life in a traffic accident. On September 6th, 1997 her funeral in London, the then largest of all time, was watched by 2500 million people or 40 % of the world’s population. This entered the history books as the first “global funeral”.
But no camera will be necessary for the Coming of Jesus. All of mankind will experience this “live”, the greatest event of world history. Jesus will be visible for everyone. This will not only be true for the world’s population at that time, but also for all past generations as well as for all readers of this article. Then there will only be one question to be answered, “To which group do I belong, to the saved or the lost?”
Jesus will come again suddenly. “For as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:27). In a single moment He will be seen simultaneously across the entire earth. At which time of day will this be? We find the answer in Luke 17:43, “… in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.” So at night then!? But two verses on it is written, “two men will be in the field (i.e. during the day) the one will be taken, the other left.” I do not know whether Columbus, the discoverer of America, knew this text. If he did, he could have drawn the following conclusions: if the Second Coming will take place in a single moment and the Bible describes both a day and night situation then this is only possible on a sphere. I can thereby sail to the west and still arrive in the east. It is of note that the evangelist Luke wrote these words at a time when the majority of mankind had no idea that the earth was round.
These two verses highlight a further essential point. At the Second Coming there will be a separation of mankind into two groups; those who will be saved and those who will be lost. With that the true problem of mankind is addressed. Only one question counts, “Do I belong to the saved ones or the lost ones?”
God created all men as personalities equipped with a free will. This clearly distinguishes us from animals. This free will allows us to either distance ourselves from God or draw closer to Him. God has done everything in Christ to show us the way to Heaven. Nevertheless the Bible teaches clearly and warningly that not all choose the path of salvation. What could God do? Were He to take away our free will, He would rob us of our personality. We would be machines, puppets, or robots merely executing their specific programs. The will is an important part of our personality in this world as in the next. Our choice, therefore, determines our eternal destination.
Are we prepared for this coming day? In the parable of the ten virgins our Lord Jesus urges us to be ready. He asks us to consider that all ten were “truly faithful”. They firmly believed that the wedding would take place! Nevertheless, not all of them acted according to their faith. And only five reached the destination. To those who were not ready Jesus said, “I do not know you” (Matthew 25:12). With that they lost out on a whole eternity. It came about as Heinrich Kemner once said, “You can also sleep yourself into Hell!” “Believers” who only accept facts, but never apply them to their personal lives, gamble with their eternal life.
All three or none
Every year at Christmas many enjoy celebrating the baby Jesus in the manger. It often stops there. But the “3 Cs” are inseparable. The crib is part of Jesus becoming man, the cross part of His suffering followed by the victory of His ascension, and the crown part of His Kingdom that will be revealed to all at His Second Coming. From the beginning of time this was God’s plan of salvation from the original catastrophe of this world. The last catastrophe, which those without Jesus will experience, is Hell. Unfortunately it will cost more lives than all catastrophes in history and this death will last forever. Yet at Christmas, but not only then, God asks us individually whether we want to accept the gift of “Crib, Cross and Crown”. Say “Yes”, accept the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ and confirm it with a prayer! Your prayer might resemble the following:
“Lord Jesus, I have read that I can only enter Heaven through You. I want to be with You in Heaven one day. Please save me from Hell, the place I deserve to go to as a result of all my sins. Because You love me so much You died for me on the cross and took upon Yourself the punishment for my sins. You see all my wrongdoings since my childhood. You know every sin I have committed, not only those which I can remember, but also those that I have long forgotten. You know every desire of my heart. In front of You I am like an open book. I beg You to forgive me my sins, which I deeply regret. Please come into my life now and make it new. Help me to give up all that is not right in Your eyes. Bestow me with new habits, which You can bless. Help me to understand Your Word, the Bible. Help me to understand what You are saying to me and give me an obedient heart so that I may do what pleases You. From now on You shall be my Lord. I want to follow You. Please show me the way I should go in all walks of my life. I thank you for hearing my prayer that I may now be a child of God who, one day, will be with You in Heaven. Amen.”
Dr. Werner Gitt
Director and Professor (retired)