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Crucifixion: Urgent Words for Apocalyptic Times, No. 3

Edited by Robert V. Rakestraw, PhD (3/7/16)

“Those in the apocalyptic school of biblical interpretation, if you want to call it that, share a common commitment to a worldview, which Jesus apparently had, in which there are three active agencies—God, human beings, and the Enemy. . . .

“Jesus comes knowing the entire world is in the grip of a demonic power, an enemy of God’s purposes. He knows that this Enemy will oppose him at every turn. He knows he will have to come to an apocalyptic confrontation with this Enemy, that he will have to grapple with it, suffer from it, die under its power, and then conquer it.

“It’s important because it’s in the New Testament. But it also gives us language to talk about the world. . . .

“An apocalyptic interpretation is exactly what we need, because it takes so seriously the situation we find ourselves in—wars and rumors of war. If I believe my personal struggles are part of a great and mighty cosmic work of God, that gives me hope and courage and strength. My little contribution to the battle against Satan and all his works means something. It’s part of my discipleship. …

“We have seen the end time in Jesus Christ. The love of God cannot be defeated. That’s what we see in the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. If you just have the Resurrection, then you have no sense of anything being defeated. You have no sense of Jesus having taken anything on. In the Crucifixion, Jesus has taken on everything satanic, everything evil, everything demonic, everything sinful, everything wrong. In the Resurrection we see that he has been vindicated and that his victory is complete.”

From editor Mark Galli’s interview with theologian Fleming Rutledge in Christianity Today, March 2016, p. 39. The complete interview with Rutledge is “Why the Cross,” pp. 35-39; her book is The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Christ (Eerdmans). This quotation may be found, along with other articles and essays, on Dr. Rakestraw’s website, You may write to him at

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