What Happened to Our Sins When Jesus Died?

In Some Regard, The Death of Jesus Upon the Cross Is a Mystery.

Conservatively, Jesus died for more than 100 Trillion sins*

If Jesus died for our sins, what happened to those sins during His crucifixion, where did they go? Since Jesus took our sins, do they still exist, were they simply covered, or was there more at work in this process than many people understand?

Jesus knew ahead of time all things that were going to transpire regarding His death and resurrection. He had determined every event before He created the first man on the earth. The plan of salvation for all people was not an afterthought for God. It was the first thing that He considered when He determined to create us.

From eternity, God had already known everything that would happen and every act that He was going to accomplish. This is what makes the Lord—God: the fact that He knows everything, and there is nothing that He must learn.

Acts 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.

The preeminent purpose of all Bible Prophecy is to demonstrate in the realm of linear time, that God has already seen all the events that will take place. When He speaks, He does so as if all the events He describes had already taken place. In eternity, nothing is future; everything has already happened. When God speaks of future events, they are only future to those who live on the earth. No event is outside of the knowledge of God, and He is not predicting the future. He is simply describing what has already taken place.

Romans 4:17 …God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did

A large part of the plan of God in allowing Jesus to suffer for the sins of all men was that God would have a righteous basis to forgive our sin. The pronouncement of God was that the soul that sins will die.

Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.

In order for God to be seen as Just, He must punish sin by the death of the guilty. In making our salvation a reality, God did not overlook our sin. He punished them all just as He promised. This was accomplished by a provision in the law of God that an innocent could take the penalty for the guilty, and thereby set them free.

Leviticus 1:3-4 “If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD. 4 Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.

The law of God allowed the substitutionary death of someone whose life was perfect and had sufficient value. That sacrifice had to be a Male, without blemish (sin) and offered of his own free will. Jesus met all of these strict requirements. Some of the many stipulations that God made for an acceptable sacrifice are described throughout the Old Testament. Jesus met all of these demands.

1. He was perfect, without sin.
2. He is firstborn.
3. A male.
4. He offered His life freely.
5. He became one of us.
6. He is also God, dwelling in the body of a perfect man.
7. Jesus said that He is the door to heaven (John 1:9).
8. He died for us, paying our penalty.
9. His life for ours satisfied God’s requirements.
10. Because His life is eternal, it is of sufficient worth to pay for all human lives.

See Jesus as the Passover Lamb in Prophecies 21, 22, 23, and 24

Jesus met all of the demands of God’s law for the substitutionary death of the guilty; and therefore, He was allowed to offer His life in exchange for ours. By successfully completing the plan of salvation for all people, Jesus fully vindicated God and showed all creation that God is Loving, Merciful, and Just.

Isaiah’s prophecy is that the Messiah will see the labor of His soul and be satisfied.

Isaiah 53:11a He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.

The labor of His soul was to die for the sins of the world—every sin for every person for all time. How many sins did Jesus pay for on the cross? The obvious answer is that He paid for all of them. Taking a reasonable approach in estimating the number, I formulated the following example:

*There are various and many estimates for the number of people who have lived on the earth since Adam. A conservative number would be 110 Billion.[1] Taking into account the Bible’s estimation of human sin as being constant and without end, at about 50 per day. Allowing for sickness, disease, famine, war, and lower life expectancy for human beings after the flood of Noah, a conservative life expectancy of about 50 years, I estimate that the total number of sins committed by all human beings since Adam, at approximately 100 Trillion, 375 Million.

110 Billion people.[2]
Average age – 50 years.[3]
Average sins per day/person – 50 (2.7 per hour at 18 waking hours).[4]
Times 365 days per year = 18,250 sins per year
Times 50 years = 912,500 sins/person/lifetime
Times 110 billion people = 1.00375e+17

100 Trillion, 375 Million Sins

In reality, the number of sins which Jesus died for is very likely much higher than this number.

When Isaiah describes the labor of His soul, it was the knowledge that Jesus would bear these Trillions of sins, that was His great burden at the cross. Could any of us imagine the stress, anxiety, and fear that Jesus was experiencing as He contemplated what this would feel like?

The prophet Isaiah describes the Messiah as swallowing up death–forever. Literally, He will taste death for everyone and remove it forever.

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.

The language of Isaiah 25:8, swallow up death, lends itself to a common form of execution that many criminals were forced to undertake in ancient days. A condemned man would be compelled to drink a cup of poison in order to put him to death.[5] In this regard, he was said to swallow up death.

In similar fashion, the cup is also spoken of–in both the Old and New Testaments, as an illustration of sin, death, and judgement.

Isaiah 51:22 Thus says your Lord, The LORD and your God, Who pleads the cause of His people: “See, I have taken out of your hand The cup of trembling, The remains of the cup of My wrath; You shall no longer drink it.

After the Last Supper, Jesus began to prepare His disciples for the fulfillment of the Feast of Passover the following day when He would become the Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Traveling the short distance across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, Jesus and His disciples arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane. Knowing that He would soon take the cup of God’s wrath for all sins, Jesus asked the Father if the task could be accomplished by any other course of action.

Matthew 26:39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. (NLT)

In context with Isaiah’s description of a “cup of God’s wrath” (Isaiah 51:22 above), we understand what Jesus was referring to.

A present day photo from the Old City of David in Jerusalem with the Kidron Valley in the center, and the Mount of Olives to the left.[6]Kidron Valley

Jesus was about to offer His life for the sins of the world. In order for this to become possible, the penalty demanded against our sins would first have to be paid. According to the Law of God, the penalty for sin is death.

Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.”

So that our sins might be forgiven by God, they must be atoned for. This is to say, a penalty must be exacted against the sinner. Ezekiel 18:4 describes the method by which sins are atoned for through the death of the offending party. According to the Old Testament law of sacrifice, an innocent animal could be brought to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle or Temple (See Prophecy 332). The sinner would lay his hand upon the head of the sacrifice and figuratively transfer his guilt to the innocent substitute.[7] In this way, God was illustrating the time when the Messiah would come as the Lamb of God who would offer up His perfect and eternal life, for the sins of all people.

All of the stories and examples found in the Old Testament are intended as illustrations of spiritual truths that are revealed to us in the New Testament. Jesus came as the Messiah in fulfillment of all these real-life stories from the Hebrew scriptures, in order to give us an understanding of their true purpose.

Those who brought their animal to the priest for a sacrifice, did so by faith. They believed that if they came with a perfect sacrifice, God would transfer their gilt to the innocent animal as he was put to death and their sins would be covered. These sacrifices were intended as a temporary solution that would last only until the Messiah would arrive and make His life the one perfect sacrifice for all sins, forever.[8] Once Jesus died, all sins were fully atoned for and there remained no need for the former sacrifices of the Old Testament to be continued.

This commitment by Jesus, to be our perfect sacrifice, took place at the Garden of Gethsemane. It is interesting that the word Gethsemane means to press.[9] It was here that Jesus was pressed on every side by many trials, to confirm that He would go to the cross the next day and die for us.

On the night before Jesus was crucified, He knew that on the following day all the sins of the world would be placed upon Him. While in the Garden of Gethsemane on that final night, Jesus prayed and asked the Father if there was any other means by which He might save us. Jesus asked the Father if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me…

This cup contained all the sins of the world, and the fierce judgement of God’s wrath against those sins that have been committed. We might forget that had Jesus not come into the world to remove our sins, each one of us would have been required to personally stand before God and experience His wrath. We can all thank the Father that He was willing to allow His only Son to come to earth and take the complete wrath for all sins that had been stored up for all the ages of man upon the earth.

It was this great fury and the unimaginable horror of the world’s sin, in this cup, that Jesus asked the Father to forbid Him to drink from. Feeling the weight of His purpose, to die for all—one time, Jesus answered, not as I will, but as you will.

I am personally very glad that Jesus prayed this prayer because it allows me to see a side of Him that I would otherwise never know.

First, Jesus shows us His true humanity. He was afraid—no, He was terrified, of the sins that would be placed upon Him. This would be the first moment in all of eternity that God had experienced sin personally. Not just a few sins, but the entire weight of all the sins of the world, for all time.

Second, the Son becoming sin would cause the eternal bond of fellowship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to be severed for the first time in eternity. Now let us imaging a hundred trillion, trillion, years. And multiply this infinitely to the amount of time that God has enjoyed perfect uninterrupted fellowship. All this was about to change, because of our sins. Jesus would later cry out from the cross, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? It was at that moment while Jesus was nailed to the cross, that all of our sins were place upon Him. When this occurred, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, had their eternal fellowship, severed.

During the course of our lives here on earth, we might have the great blessing of knowing and loving a few people for many, many, years. As time passes, our love grows as well as our need to spend time with these cherished people. When they leave us at death, the void that remains and the deep sense of loss that we feel is almost unbearable. Imagine a relationship between three beings which has exited forever. The love and intimacy that they must have enjoyed together is beyond our capacity to comprehend.

This Relationship Was Broken Because Of Us

God could not, would not, allow us to be lost, without first making it possible for any who would believe, to be saved. He would allow His Son to take the Wrath for our sins and thereby permit us our freedom. How much He must love us that He was willing to undergo such horrific suffering.

Third, we gain some understanding for how much God hates sin and what it has done to all of our lives, by the fact that God would permit His Son to suffer such great horror and wrath for us.

This 189th prophecy by Isaiah, speaks of the Messiah swallowing up death forever. Jesus accomplished this and fulfilled this prophecy, by drinking the poison that was in the cup of the world’s sins.

Jesus became all our sins and took them from us. The Bible speaks of Jesus being made sin for us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

What Happened To our Sins?

The removal of sin is sometimes a confusing principle for many people. It is often thought that God will simply forgive the guilty sinner and accept Him based on the grace and mercy of God. The true result of sin is that a penalty must be exacted against the sinner. God created every soul; they all belong to Him. He requires moral perfection of all beings, even as He is perfect. Sin is a flaw which exists by the will and action of the soul who commits the sin. It is, however, not a natural byproduct of God’s creation of human beings. From the beginning we were made perfect. We became sinners because each one of us has broken the laws of God by our choice. All sin must be punished by God, for this is what He has said: The soul who sins will die.

Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.”

This was the hopeless state of the entire world when Jesus came to earth in fulfillment of all the prophecies which predicted His arrival. All people over the course of all time were under the condemnation of God for their sins. There was no possibility of their removal unless God would intervene. All of us were helpless to change our present situation, and we would have all been lost if God had not acted to save us. Only a Savior who would be perfect and without sin and have a life of infinite value could bear the entire cost of all the sins of the world. This Savior would have to be a human being but never have sinned Himself. He would need to be willing to take all our sins upon Himself and be punished for them in the same way that we should have been punished, thereby paying the penalty of death that was due.

If a Savior could be found who could meet all these requirements, the effect of Him offering His life to die for the sins of the whole world would be to swallow up death forever (this 189th prophecy). For the penalty of sin is death. The Savior would forever cancel the existing penalty of death and take it away forever.

When Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians regarding the process of sin and death and how the person who places all his trust in Jesus Christ can obtain eternal life, he spoke of the present body which will die—being transformed into an eternal body at the Rapture, which can never die. When this happens, then death is swallowed up in victory.

1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.

The entire world was headed towards the executioner. All of us were on our way to be put to death for our sins. The wrath of God against all sin was following closely behind us, waiting for the last breath of our life until it would fall upon us. Jesus stepped out of eternity and swallowed up our sin, thereby taking away the wrath of God that was due us.

Because Jesus took all our sins, He has removed them from our record, and they no longer exist. Our present state before God is that of a perfect being. Though we live in our same fallible bodies, and we will at times, continue to sin, all these transgressions have been removed by the precious blood of Jesus when He died for us.

All sin, for all time, for all people, was fully paid by Jesus’ one sacrifice for us. Those who believe this and accept His sacrifice for themselves are seen by God as perfect forever.

Hebrews 10:12,14 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

We cannot possibly imagine what it must have been like for Jesus, as God, to become sin. He was perfect in every way—forever. At the cross, every filthy and vile act that every person has committed during their life, was poured into Jesus. All the murders, rapes, tortures, and brutality; all the sickness, suffering, and death—Jesus would take them all upon Himself.

The consequences of laying hold of all our sins and being made sin for us—was not what terrified Jesus. It was not death that was the greatest obstacle, Jesus could easily overcome the grave. It was the separation of fellowship between Himself, the Father and the Holy Spirit, which would cause Jesus unimaginable agony. We see evidence of the horror Jesus experienced in this broken fellowship, at the moment He became our sin on the cross, when He cried out:

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”—Matthew 27:46

Why did God forsake Jesus at that moment? Because on the ninth hour of Jesus’ death on the cross, He became all our sins. God cannot have fellowship with the sinner. As Jesus became our sins, His eternal fellowship with God was broken. At that moment when Jesus took our sins, it finally became possible for all of us to have fellowship with God for the first time.

Knowing that this was going to happen soon, the fear of these things terrified Jesus when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. This fear caused such great stress, that the cells of His sweat glands ruptured and caused His blood to fall as great drops to the ground. Under the most extreme stress, a medical condition known as “Hematidrosis” or “Bloody Sweat” occurs in a person subjected to unimaginable pressure.[10] See The Crucifixion of Jesus for an in-depth discussion on all that Jesus experienced as He was put to death for us.

Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Jesus took all of our sins, drank them into His being and swallowed up death forever. The effects of this amazing act of God is immediately effective for all those who will receive Jesus and His great sacrifice that He has made for us. All that is required is that a person come to God in humility, repent from his sins and believe that Jesus has paid the price that were owed to God. At the moment anyone believes this, all sins are transferred from their account to Jesus’ account, and the wrath of God and all future judgement for sin are erased.

The promise of God is that those who have received Jesus and have experienced the removal of their sins, will immediately be taken into the presence of God at their death.

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

How wonderful that Isaiah’s prophecy made 2,700 years ago, describing the Messiah’s promise to remove our sins and swallow up death forever, can be ours today—immediately, if we will only believe what God has said and receive Jesus as our Savior.

See also:

The Crucifixion of Jesus
David Describes Jesus Crucifixion, 1,000 Years in Advance


[1] 1.Haub, Carl (November–December 2002). “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?” (PDF). Population Today (Population Reference Bureau) 30 (8): 3–4. http://www.prb.org/pdf/PT_novdec02.pdf
2.Haub, Carl (October 2011). “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?”. Population Reference Bureau.
3.Kuhrt, A. (1995). The Ancient Near East, c. 3000–330 BC. Vol. 2. London: Routledge. p. 695.
[3] 1.Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2012 Sex). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 473. ISBN 0-13-063085-3.
2.John S. Millar and Richard M. Zammuto (1983). “Life Histories of Mammals: An Analysis of Life Tables”. Ecology (Ecological Society of America) 64 (4): 631–635. doi:10.2307/1937181. JSTOR 1937181.
3.Eliahu Zahavi,Vladimir Torbilo & Solomon Press (1996) Fatigue Design: Life Expectancy of Machine Parts. CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-8970-4
[4] Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
[5] Read about the evidence, Plato (Plat. Crito). Demosthenes (Dem. 23). Antiphon (Antiph. 2). From the end of the 5th century, the Athenians seem to have been willing to let wrongdoers convicted to death use hemlock to commit suicide in advance of their execution provided they could afford to pay for the dose. It was expensive—12 dr. a dose at the end of the 4th century—no doubt because it grew only in cold, shady, and distant spots like Susa in Asia Minor and Crete.
[6] The copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KidronValleyFromOldCity.JPG
[7] Leviticus 1:4 Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
Leviticus 3:2 And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron’s sons, the priests, shall sprinkle the blood all around on the altar.
Leviticus 3:8 And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar.
Leviticus 3:13 He shall lay his hand on its head and kill it before the tabernacle of meeting; and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar.
Leviticus 4:4 He shall bring the bull to the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD, lay his hand on the bull’s head, and kill the bull before the LORD.
Leviticus 4:24 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it at the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD. It is a sin offering.
Leviticus 4:29 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering.
Leviticus 4:33 Then he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill it as a sin offering at the place where they kill the burnt offering.
[8] Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified
[9] Strong’s New Testament #1067, “to press”, Thayers Greek Lexicon, Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011
[10] Hematidrosis (also called hematohidrosis) is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood. It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death. Several historical references have been described; notably by Leonardo da Vinci: describing a soldier who sweated blood before battle, men unexpectedly given a death sentence, as well as descriptions in the Bible, that Jesus experienced hematidrosis when he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43-44). From Wikipedia.

Categories: An all sufficient sacrifice, Atonement, How Salvation Occurs, Jesus born to die, Jesus is the Messiah, Justification, Salvation through Jesus, The First Arrival of the Messiah, To die for the world's sins, Why Jesus had to die

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