13. Christ Planted in Death
On June 5, AD 29, the Lord Jesus Christ, the risen Savior, the glorious and triumphant King of heaven, became a mess. On June 5, the Day of Pentecost, the day the church was birthed out of His side, Jesus entered into the earth and was planted in death as a seed. Jesus became you, and Jesus became me.
13. Christ Planted in Death
The resurrection stands front and center in the fulfillment of the word God speaks – the unveiling of Jesus Christ, the great story of God. But the way to the resurrection is the way of the cross. We have never understood the cross. Our past understanding of the cross, whatever it might have been, was sufficient for God to draw us onward to Himself. The cross is absolute and it does its work for God whether we comprehend it or not. God fulfills the purpose of the cross in our lives even if our understanding of the cross is limited or incorrect.
But we are in an exciting time in the fulfillment of all that God speaks and as a result the lights are turning on. We see dimly, yes, but we continue to be astonished and amazed at the profound depths of what both the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ mean inside of us.
And so I write, not because I know what I’m talking about, but because writing helps me to see more clearly. I want to know what God actually says, and what He means by what He says when He talks about this thing called “death.” I want to know the revelation of God at the center and core of both Himself and His great story.
The cross/resurrection is the deepest place, the bottom line, the center and core of God and of His story. The cross/resurrection belongs to God long before it belongs to us, long before anything was created.
“You just need to die, brother,” was offered to me as God’s solution through many years of difficult and trying circumstances. I never had any idea what they were talking about. I did not know how to die, nor that anyone ever could “die,” as they said. It made no sense to me. I believed it, yes, because I thought God said something along those lines. The problem was I would always wake up the next morning and it was still me getting out of bed.
In a letter awhile back, I was talking about God speaking to me, and I received a reply stating, “I’ve got news for you, brother, you’re a dead man walking.” He meant, I assume, that since I am “dead” in Christ, there is no point in my talking about God doing this or that with me, since “I” was no longer around. But all this is just confusing nonsense. People throw these words around because it makes them feel religious. That’s okay; Jesus inside of us takes care of all our mess.
Now, I am not contradicting the wonderful truth that we must discover – that we are truly dead, already. And that we do not need ever again to worry about ourselves. There is a plumb line dividing truth from error, even when error is worded almost exactly the same as the truth.
The Greek word, “thanatos,” in all its forms, is found 132 times in the New Testament. It is always translated “death” in some way (deadly, put to death, etc.).
But it is normal in human language for one word to have many different definitions. From one generation to the next, new definitions are tacked onto a particular word and older definitions fall into disuse. Sometimes it’s as if you are dealing with two different words that are just spelled and pronounced the same. Try the South is north of Cuba, but Cuba is south of the South.
The word in English with the largest number of different definitions, 150 and counting, is the word “run.” A motor runs quietly, a road runs up the hill, a jogger runs down the street, a lady has a run in her nylons, a card player has a run of bad luck. And that’s only five. If I translate a passage from English into another language about a motor running poorly, and I use the word in that language for a “run” in a pair of nylons, I bring only confusion to my readers.
Translating from one language to another is not a simple thing. There is no such thing as one Greek word always being translated into only one English word. Language just doesn’t work like that. (The transliterate Bible tries to do that out of an ignorance of human language.) Greek words are just as capable of having several completely different meanings as are English words, and there is no rational matching between the differing sets of meanings. As with all words, meaning can be obtained only from the context. What did the author mean by that word when he used it in that context in the general language of his generation?
The Greek word “thanatos” is translated into the English word “death,” but it is clear from the contexts that the word “thanatos-death” has very different meanings in different verses. If we gave one definition only to the word “death” as it appears in the New Testament, we would only keep ourselves from the truth.
Let’s start with a first meaning of “death.” (First to look at.)
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience… But God, …even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… Ephesians 2:1-5
Notice we were “dead” in what we used “to live.” The difference between “were dead” to “alive with Christ” is known in experience by every believer in Jesus.
Here are several more meanings of “death” all tacked together into one passage. Notice that it is clear that the word “death” is being used to refer to some very different things.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death (the expiring of the physical body + death to sin), certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died (this is the putting to death of our fallen human spirit, the old man, when we are born again) has been freed from sin. Now if we died (obviously not physical death here) with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more (both are clearly the physical death of the body). Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin (not the death of the physical body, but rather death to sin)once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead (the same death to sin, not physical death at all, nor even the death of the old man) indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:5-11
So far we have four completely different meanings for the word “death.” The most obvious is the physical expiration of the human body – death. But also it is a way of “life” that is, living by the spirit of this world. It is also the ending of the fallen human spirit when we are born again. And finally, it is the nature of being “dead to sin,” which is the divine nature in which we presently walk.
There are other meanings as well, though it is not my purpose here to expand on all the meanings of the word “death” as found in the New Testament. I want to point out one thing, however, before I get to Christ planted in death.
“Dead to sin” is the nature of God; it is another way to say “incorruptible.” God by His nature is “dead to sin,” that is, sin is irrelevant as far as God is concerned, He is neither drawn by it, nor does He regard it. I am “dead to sin” in exactly the same way. But the only way I am dead to sin is by the incorruptible nature of God in me by which I am born from above. No created being can be dead to sin, even the angels who have not fallen; it is a quality enjoyed only by God and those who are born of God.
My present human task is to “reckon,” that is “put to my account,” that is, “speak with all joy,” that I am dead to sin, that is, that I possess the quality and nature of incorruptibility that belongs only to God because I am filled with God. This is a quality that we do not “see” with our natural eyes, but that we are commanded to confess by faith.
However, I want to focus in on, to see dimly, to set our eyes upon in some way by God’s help, the most incredible definition of the word “death” that there is. We are looking, here, at something so holy, so profound, so incredibly God; we have never seen or known such a deep and overwhelmingly meaningful thing, nor has creation, nor all the realms of heaven.
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. John 12:24
This word is found in a context, yes. But we have never known what Jesus meant, here, and all explanation of the context in the past has only sidetracked us away from this incredible revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ inside of us.
This use of “dies” here is entirely different from all other uses of the word “death.” We know a seed does not die in the normal sense of the word, that is, the life in it does not cease. If that happens there is no plant and no fruit. Rather, that seed takes upon itself the appearance of death by being “planted in the earth.”
This death is not “death to sin,” it is not physical death, it is not the old way of living, and it is not the cessation of the old fallen human spirit that used to govern our lives.
And it is not the initial death of the cross. Jesus was not referring to the instance and circumstances of April 14-17, AD 29 – the week leading up to the Passover and His physical death and resurrection.
It is something far different from all of those other definitions of “death”; it is something incredibly profound and holy. Yet it is also a “death.” Jesus was referring to something that would begin on June 5, AD 29, something angels cannot see or comprehend, something for which men will attempt to put us to death, if they discover we believe it to be true.
On June 5, AD 29, the Lord Jesus Christ, the risen Savior, the glorious and triumphant King of heaven, became a mess. On June 5, the Day of Pentecost, the day the church was birthed out of His side, Jesus entered into the earth and was planted in death as a seed.
Jesus became you, and Jesus became me. The Lord Jesus Christ is all of our messiness.
But let’s build some points of understanding before we come back to consider this most impossible to grasp truth of the purpose and determination of Almighty God.
First is a simple comprehension of the metaphor Jesus used. This is something we have all heard and understood to some degree. A seed is planted into the garden soil; beans grow well in my backyard, so let’s call it a bean seed.
I plant a bean seed into the dirt. It sits there, alone in the darkness. It is surrounded entirely by dirt. Then, water seeping through the dirt begins a slow work on the outer shell of that seed. It softens it and penetrates into the inner core.
Before going further, a seed has three parts. First, there is the germ in the core of the seed that contains the DNA of the plant that will grow and the many more seeds it will produce. Then, surrounding that germ of life is a substance containing food for the new little plant during the time before it can produce its own food. Finally, surrounding the food and the germ of life is a hard shell that serves to protect the life that is in it.
The water softens that shell and penetrates it.
We are not talking, here, about the redemption of man. We are talking about the Lord Jesus Christ planted in the earth. He is the germ of life; He is the food; He is the outer shell. You and I provide the dirt, though we are more than the dirt. We are also the air towards which part of the little plant grows.
A seed sprouts without dirt, but it cannot survive long. Seeds are made for dirt.
The human frame in all of its weakness is 100% compatible to the Lord Jesus Christ. He “became” flesh, yet He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Is Jesus human in His eternal existence with the Father? Is man created in the likeness of God?
So the germ of life inside the seed is also softened by the water which dissolves the elements inside of it, bringing oxygen to the molecules of the seed. The germ begins to grow, but it grows in two different directions, both at the same time. It grows down into the dirt, and it grows up towards the sky and the sun.
The plant looks nothing like the seed. It is not the same body!
When I look at the bean vine growing up the string, and the bean seed in my hand, they are not the same thing by almost any definition – except one. They share the same genetic code. All that the plant is in all of its form was inside that seed in pattern form, in genetic code, in a written language.
But that plant has two very large parts of equal size. It has the leaf half that grows in the heavens and draws into itself light from the sun and minerals from the air and is seen by those who walk in the heavens. And it has the root half that grows into the earth and draws into itself water and minerals from the earth and is seen by the denizens of the soil.
Both halves are part of the plant and both are essential to its life. In fact, the part of the plant that lives in the heavens is made up in part of stuff drawn from the earth. And the part of the plant that lives in the earth is made up in part of stuff drawn from the heavens. There is no dividing line. The roots in the earth are as much a part of the plant as the branches in the heavens.
However, the plant is the in-between state. It does not exist for itself. Yes, parts of it are eaten and bring life and blessing to others, and we eat both root and leaf from different plants. But the purpose of a plant is neither root nor leaf; its purpose is to produce many more bean seeds, identical in every way to that seed that was originally planted in the dirt.
And those new seeds are 100% of heaven, and they are 100% of earth. Christ is the union of heaven and earth. Without the earth, there is no Christ. But the purpose of Christ being planted in our earth is to reproduce Himself in us.
Then, every single one of those brand new seeds is capable of being planted again in the earth, they are capable of growing up into a plant, just like the first plant that bore them, and they are capable of each producing from themselves many more bean seeds just like the original seed out of which they came.
The plant is the in-between state between seed and seeds.
In our lives and experience right now, Christ is as the plant. The fullness of the new seed is shown to us in Revelation 12:5: “And the woman brought forth a male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” We could just as easily say, “And the plant, the Lord Jesus Christ in us as us, brought forth many seeds that contain in themselves the life of the original seed, Christ, the One who reveals the Father, and the Gardener harvested the seeds and found them good for planting anew.”
I want to bring in two other verses here. The first is found twice in Isaiah, this reference is in Chapter 59:15-17.
Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
And then, For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10
We are not saved by the death of Jesus on the cross. All are reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Jesus. But no Christian is yet saved. Salvation and redemption are two totally different things. Redemption puts Christ in us as a plant. Salvation is the fully mature seed harvested from the plant.
We are saved by His life inside of us. His life separate from me cannot save me. Jesus – back then, up there, some day – cannot save me. Christ in me is the only hope I have of knowing salvation, which is glory; that is, becoming all that God has appointed me to be.
So let’s look back at the dilemma God faces as expressed by Isaiah.
Salvation is entirely beyond man. No man is even inclined to seek after God. Even our redemption apart from His life in us doesn’t change that reality.
Some Christians have the idea that we are “able to keep” some requirements of God that will satisfy Him. They have not yet faced their own utter failure. They will never please God. They cannot. No matter how much devotion, how much dedication, how much obedience they are able to exhibit, they will still fail to measure up. They will not “make it.” They may bluster and pretend that they don’t know that and put on a good outward show, but deep in their hearts they know the truth. They do not and will never measure up.
So God said, “My own arm will bring salvation.”
When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, He was facing obedience to God’s request that He Himself become that salvation. Jesus was not struggling over the outward physical events of the cross only; neither was He sweating drops of blood over the issue of becoming the offering for sin for all mankind just as a momentary event. He was struggling with the reality of becoming salvation. He was wrestling over the day of Pentecost.
Jesus was sweating it out over becoming His church, over being planted into the earth for 2000 years – and being raised again at the dawning of the third day.
When Jesus said, “Not My will, but Thine be done,” He had yielded to the reality of spending the next two thousand years being all the foolishness and weakness, all the sinfulness and clamor, all the deceit and offense that is His church. He agreed to become you, and He agreed to become me.
Salvation can come no other way. We can be redeemed, yes. We can be reconciled to God, yes. We can even be happy in heaven, yes. But we can never be saved; we can never be what God created us to be, unless Jesus becomes us.
It is His life that saves us. By His life are we saved.
It is an amazing thing. We Christians find it easy to accept the idea that Jesus bore our sins in Himself upon the cross 2000 years ago. But we imagine the idea that Jesus becomes us right now in our present state of weakness to be heretical, blasphemous, and impossible to accept.
It is God’s own arm inside of us that alone fulfills all salvation for us. We can work out only what God is (continuously) working in.
The death of Jesus upon the cross brought an end to everything in me that was not of God. My earth is of God. My humanity is of God. The plant of Christ growing up as me MUST draw from all of His humanity and mine, and it must draw from all of His divinity and mine to be the plant that is Christ. But the whole purpose of that plant is to produce the new seed that is identical in every way to the original seed that was planted in my earth.
We shall be just like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
We are just like Him, for we see Him as He is.
The whole purpose of Christ in us and as us is the unveiling of Jesus Christ; it is the birthing of the manchild; it is the manifestation of the sons of God. Christ, having become us, is the center and core of the great story of God. Christ, becoming us IS the core of God’s heart ripped wide-open for all to see.
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” John 6:53-57
I, me, Daniel Yordy, I am His flesh. Paul said that I am in Ephesians chapter 5. No one can rob me of that most precious of truths.
I began to write these letters immediately after God showed me that I am not separate from the Lord Jesus Christ, that I am fully swallowed up in full union with Him. Before that time, I did not know what Jesus meant by these words, since that time I do. To look at every part of myself, of my humanity, of my weakness, of my earthiness, and to know that it is Jesus, that is what it means to eat of His flesh; it is to drink of His blood. He is so close, this One upon whose breast I lean my head. For the first time in my life, I have no “self” to concern myself with. Every time I “feel” human and earthy, I am He. Every time I “feel” divine and heavenly, I am He. And I am both at the same time all the time regardless of what I “feel.”
To eat His flesh and to drink His blood is to know Him in an intimacy, a fellowship, a closeness that knows no shadow of separation between Christ and me.
But when Jesus said, “And I will raise him up at the last day,” He was referring to a plant bearing seed. He was talking about the unveiling of Jesus Christ, the birthing of the manchild, the manifestation of the sons of God, the climax of the great story of God.
This is the only way it can be done. You and I will never know what we are right now before God, except that Christ Jesus is our life. To say, “I am what You are,” is the purest surrender to God I have ever known. I have never known cleanness as I know it now. I have never tasted an intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ in the way that I taste it now. And I have only begun to know Him.
There are those who would suggest that knowing Christ is to know only that which is heavenly. This cannot be true. Christ is as human as He is divine. The plant draws itself out of the earth as much as it draws itself out of the heavens. There is not one moment of my life on this earth, not one event or circumstance, not one element of my humanity, not one pain, not one tear, that is not holy and eternal, that is not the revelation of Christ in me in this earth.
There are those who would say, “Forget about the past.” In the sense of forgetting about that which was wrong thinking, yes. But I will never forget one moment of my life, not in a million years. All of it is Christ and every moment of His revelation within my humanity is precious to me. If this is not true, then God is a jokester, there is no purpose for any part of life on this earth; He’s playing games with us.
But we know that He is not.
And I would see Christ in every circumstance, in every painful moment, in every tear, in every dark and lonely place through which I have walked. All of it is Christ, all the earthiness, all the humanity, all the weakness! And inside of all of that is all that is heavenly, the perfect union of heaven and earth.
And when I see Christ in ME, I, in all my broken heartedness, am healed. It is He alone who has wounded me, and He is all of my healing. I magnify my Lord; with all of my heart I magnify Him in every moment of my life.
Christ is planted in my earth. And Christ growing up in me is fully human and fully divine. Fully of earth and fully of heaven.
And by this means alone, God brings salvation to Himself by His own arm.
I am saved by His life. I become that which I am. I am the revelation, the unveiling, the apocalypse of Jesus Christ.
As the revelation of Jesus Christ, as the salvation of God in the earth, I am sent by God to fulfill His purpose and His will. I am not being redeemed; redemption is behind me. I am here to fulfill my Father’s business and to prove His will in the earth. I am here to be and to write the final lines of His great Story.
But Christ is a many-membered man. And as the revelation of a many-membered Christ, I myself have a portion, an appointed task, one of many, given specifically to me by God. My task is unique and different from your task, and yours is unique and different from mine. Yet they are one, and they move together as one. My task fits my heart; your task fits your heart. We were created specifically for that place and that task. It is the only thing that makes us sing.
To fulfill, to prove the will of God in the earth is not a hardship; it is certainly not a “cross” in the way we once imagined it when we thought we were separate from Christ. It is our joy; it is what makes our hearts sing.
Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross and thought nothing of the shame.
It was not a hardship for the Lord Jesus to become you and to become me, in spite of appearances in Gethsemane. It is His joy. We make Him sing, all that we are, in our spirits, in our souls, and in our bodies, it is He singing in us. Our divinity, that which is born of God, and our humanity, that which is born of Jesus, all of it is a song to Him. All of it is Christ proving the will of God in the earth.
All those who are part of the firstfruits of Christ, who are members of that manchild caught up to God and to His throne, who are among the sons of God bringing joy and liberty to this earth as well as to heaven and to all creation, all of those will know Christ as themselves in all of their humanity. They eat His flesh, and they drink His blood. They sit with all confidence and joy upon the throne, the mercy seat of God, and they show God Himself to creation as themselves, as the revelation of Jesus Christ.