Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: Why did Jesus have to die?
Answer: There is much confusion among Christians in general as to why Jesus had to die, so let
us consider this subject by using 1 Timothy 2: 5, 6 as our text:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave
himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
Over six thousand years ago Father Adam fell into sin through disobedience. As a result, he
immediately lost the human perfection he had previously enjoyed as a gift from his benevolent
Creator. Eventually, after much sorrow, pain and suffering, he lost life itself and went into the
death state. We note that God had warned Adam that the penalty of disobedience was death
(Genesis 2: 17). After Adam’s sin God confirmed that penalty to him (Genesis 3: 19).
Additionally, the entire human family suffers the same penalty of death, for all having descended
from Adam, have inherited that same penalty.
In order for Father Adam (and the entire human race in Adam) to be released from the death
penalty, Divine Justice required an exact equivalent to Adam − a perfect man. That perfect man
could then take the place of Adam as a substitute, and by going into death, would satisfy Divine
Justice, and permit Adam and the whole human race to be released from the death penalty. But
where could a perfect man be found, since all of Adam’s descendants are fallen and imperfect
(Romans 3: 10)?
The answer is Jesus, who before becoming “the man Christ Jesus” was the highly exalted
spiritual being, whom John 3: 16 speaks of as God’s “only begotten Son” − His First and Chief
God offered Jesus the privilege of divesting Himself of the spiritual nature and becoming a
human being, so that He could sacrifice His perfect human nature in death as Adam’s substitute.
A great reward was attached to the faithful carrying out of God’s will in this matter − exaltation
to the Divine nature, the highest of all spiritual natures, the very nature of God Himself. Jesus
joyfully accepted the offer, carried out God’s will faithfully and was granted the promised
reward (Philippians 2: 7-9).
The word “ransom” comes from the Greek word antilytron, meaning corresponding price.
Divine Justice could not have accepted an angel as the ransom, for an angel, being of a higher
nature than man would have been more than a corresponding price. An animal, lower than the
human nature likewise could not have been acceptable, due to its being less than a corresponding
price. Finally, an imperfect man from Adam’s race could not have been the ransom, for one
already under condemnation to death could have nothing to offer (Psalm 49: 7).
The preceding paragraphs explain why Jesus alone was placed in the position to pay the exact
equivalent price for Adam’s debt, by going into death as Adam’s substitute. The philosophy of
the ransom may, in simplest terms, be viewed as a commercial business transaction, as shown in
various Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 6: 20:
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are
Divine Justice furthermore requires that Jesus’ human nature always remain in the death state,
otherwise the ransom would be taken back, and Adam and his race would come under
condemnation to death again. We are assured, however, that Jesus’ humanity will always remain
dead, for the Divine nature, of which Jesus is a member, is unchangeable.
Although Divine Justice only required the death of the perfect man Jesus, God saw the wisdom
of permitting Jesus to suffer (Isaiah 53: 4, 5). His sufferings not only proved to be tests of His
faithfulness, but also prepared Him to sympathize with those He had come to redeem − the
Church during the Gospel Age, and the world during the Millennial Age.
The testimony referred to in verse 6 of our text indicates that there is a due time for the truth
regarding the ransom and the work of the ransom to be accomplished. The due time for Christ’s
Church to be given this testimony and to receive the benefit of the ransom has been the Gospel
Age. But for the vast majority of the human race, their due time is future, in the Millennial-Age
Kingdom of Christ and His Church. All will be granted release from Adam’s condemnation and
given the opportunity to gain all that Adam lost − perfect human life forever on a perfect earth.
Note: Please find a more thorough examination of this subject in Study 9 of God’s Wonderful Plan of the Ages.