From their otherworldly realm, the Father and His hosts of angels observe what is happening on Earth. In the time since man's creation, they have all watched and played instrumental roles in the events that transpire at any given time. Sometimes the things they see, such as a sinner's repentance, bring them infinite joy; other times, they experience unfathomable sorrow as they watch sin's power deceive and corrupt the masses. What they see now, however, is incomparable to any grief they have previously known, any horror that has been witnessed in the past. It seems like the worst possible thing that could happen, and some are surprised to realize that it is even possible.
The horrible magnitude of this event prompts one of the angels to repeat his shocked words, to desperately entreat the Father for some other possible course of action. "This cannot be! It must be stopped!"
This particular angel looks into the Father's eyes and has the privilege of seeing those almighty eyes stare back into him. They are eyes that hold infinite love and compassion, but are presently filled with ineffable sorrow and grief as they watch the Son, on Earth in human form, being subjected to the cruelest forms of torture and shame that human minds can conjure up. His body, hanging upon that withered and grotesquely carved instrument of death, is struggling to sustain His life, and bears a burden that feels like the utmost physical pain a human body can endure. But even worse than the pain—worse for both the Son and the Father—is the knowledge of what is about to happen, the great separation that must take place between the two of them when the Son surrenders His spirit. It is a knowledge which grieves them both intensely. And yet, both know what must be done.
"No," the Father replies to the angel. "It cannot be stopped. This is the only way. For souls that are lost to be found again, this is the only way."
The angels are silent. They know He is right, but they do not know what else to say. Instead they merely watch and commiserate wordlessly. Tears fall from the Father's eyes as darkness fills the Earth.
"Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?"
Jesus hangs upon the cross in unparalleled agony. The words are difficult to speak, due to His body's weakened state. He carefully looks around Him, at the criminals on either side, and at the viciously taunting masses below—the precious, beloved children for whom He allows this terrible deed to be done to Him. His power is infinite. With merely a thought, He could restore His body and wipe all of them out—but He will not, for His death is the only way. Not His will, but the Father's will must be done. The only way.
The pain is unbearable, but it will soon be worse, and He knows it. It is time. Gradually, He savors one last breath, and then wills His body to breathe no more, His spirit to leave the Earth. The flesh hangs limp, and He enters a horrible place, a place which He has seen before, but was never meant to experience. The pain He had known moments before feels like nothing now.
There is no light, but He can feel the wrath of the unquenchable fire all around Him. He senses souls, thousands upon millions, writhing in eternal agony. There are heavenly beings here too, but only the ones who have chosen to follow evil and have been cast out of paradise. Nearby is a familiar presence, one that carries an unmistakable aura of malice and deceit. It is Satan, the accuser, the prince of darkness himself.
"So, you have arrived," the prince of darkness says spitefully. His words are the only cold thing in the entire realm. "You, who have fought against us for so long, and who claim to have unlimited power." The pause in his bitter monologue is filled with the fallen angels' scornful laughter.
Jesus humbly sits in silence. This shame must be endured. Satan continues. "Well, I suppose we see who is the most powerful now. Now we know who has the ultimate victory. And the best part is that with you trapped down here, fruitlessly bearing the sins of humanity upon yourself, the entire world and all future generations are mine to command. That's right—your death was all for nothing." The demons continue to scoff. The flame continues to burn. Jesus continues to remain silent.
The devil smacks Jesus across the face and smiles cruelly as he does so. He addresses the fallen angels around him. "My servants, you will aid me in making sure that his stay is as unpleasant as possible. And you are free to take great pleasure in doing so." With these words, hordes of demons advance toward him, eager to act upon their master's commands. Jesus' soul feels the pain and longs to be anywhere else. He longs for it to end, but it does not. The torture has only begun.
"So, how is our 'Son of God' feeling today?" Satan's words are an insincere mockery, as is every element of his being. Jesus knows that the words mean nothing. The words, the taunts, even the pain—all of it will soon be nothing more than a memory. But not soon enough. Right now, the excruciating anguish is all too real. "I hope you're enjoying your stay", Satan continues. "But if not, you've got all eternity to get used to it."
"No," Jesus finally replies. "I have allowed you to keep me here for this long, but I will not stay here. I will leave, and you will not be able to stop me."
Satan cackles grimly. "Leave? Leave? If your knowledge is so infinite, then you would know that nobody leaves this place. Nobody. Ever. You will see."
Jesus does not respond. Satan is wrong, but it is pointless to argue with him. His time will come. For now he just remains still—patient, enduring, and willingly suffering. The supernatural fire gnaws relentlessly at his soul. He is unjustly confined within a literal inferno. The demons crowd around him, claw at him mercilessly, and refuse to leave him alone. Jesus lets out a pained cry of suffering. He feels the epitome of evil all around him, and he tastes the blemish of the sins of humanity that have been laid upon him. Hated and forsaken, he resigns himself to the torment once more, as the Father watches from heaven and turns His face away from a sight which His compassionate heart cannot bear to see.
Horrible. Terrible. Unbearable. If the harshest meanings of all these words were combined into one, they could not begin to accurately describe the unearthly afflictions that Jesus is suffering right now. By earthly standards, the pain and the shame of it all have so far lasted for almost three whole days. But there is no day here; there is only night, and the continuous torture has been unbroken for a very, very long time. The Prince of Darkness stands in front of him still. He has not yet grown tired of bringing pain to the Son of God. It is obvious that Lucifer relishes seeing Jesus' pained reactions to the undying burn.
"Oh, how the mighty have fallen", Satan gloats. Jesus ignores him. Even in the midst of his own pain, he has deep compassion on the others, the millions of souls whose choices have led them astray and caused them to suffer endlessly in this place. For him, the pain will soon be over, but for mortals who enter this place, there is no return. They are the purpose for the wretchedness he is enduring now. He suffers so that man need suffer no longer.
Satan continues. "Some 'Son of God' you are now. You think you made a bold and noble sacrifice, but now you're trapped. Trapped here, forever, in my domain."
"No," says Jesus. "I will soon leave this place. Very soon."
"So you keep saying," the devil mocks. "But you're still here. When are you going to leave?"
"Now," Jesus answers. "It is time."
"No, it is not," the devil scoffs. "You're foolish to entertain your delusion." As he says these words, he stares into the eyes of Jesus' soul, which is currently present in this place of infinite death. He smiles brutally, preparing to once again strike out in hatred at his eternal enemy. He thinks to himself that he'll never get tired of this, readies himself to strike, and then stops in shock.
Jesus' soul is gone.
"No…" the devil utters in consternation, refusing to believe what is happening. But there is no doubting it—the Son of God has left. He had been speaking the truth; He always speaks the truth. No one had ever left before, but now, somehow, the Almighty managed to pull it off. He brought back His Son from the depths of hell. "No," Satan repeats. "It can't be! No! It's not fair! NOOOOO!!!"
Every soul in hell can hear his frustrated wails.
Jesus stands outside the recently vacated tomb. He is in the flesh again, exactly as He was before, except for the holes in His hands and feet. His torture has ended. Death has lost and life prevails, once and for all. Not just for Him, but for all who choose to believe.
Inside his body, His soul communes with the Father and the Spirit. The Trinity is united anew and will never again be broken. He rejoices with the Father and with the hosts of angels at the victory they have achieved, and the countless treasured souls who will one day join them in eternal fellowship because of it. He feels the warmth of abundant and undying love, a love strong enough that it lays down its life and its own comfort for others, that it is willing to spend three days in death and hell to bring about the salvation of the world. No greater love is there than this.
Smiling, Jesus begins to walk away. There are many people he needs to see again before ascending to heaven and leaving Earth forever.