Notes of Readings at Seattle, 1920, with C.Crain

1. On the Relations of the Persons of the Godhead
2. The Assumed Limitations of the Lord Jesus Christ as Man on Earth
3. The Lord in Resurrection
4. The Son Delivering Up the Kingdom
5. On the Resurrection-body

1. — On the Relations of the Persons of the Godhead

Introductory Note. — In February 1920, a number of servants of Christ being providentially brought together in Seattle, Washington State, USA, it was suggested to ask Mr. C. Crain, to meet with them for daily readings — a proposition that was agreeable to all. So much that was profitable was brought out that it was thought well to prepare the notes for publication, that others might share in the edification. Those present were, in addition to Mr. Crain, B.C. Greenman, A.E. Booth, F.J. Enefer, Wm. Haigh, R.F. Elliot, N. Thompson, H.A. Ironside and occasional local brethren (X.).

John 5:19 was read. A question was asked as to whether the words, “The Son can do nothing of Himself” referred to His humiliation, or were always true of Him.

C.C. — Such are the relations of the persons in the Godhead that no act of one can be independent of the others. Therefore it is always true that the Son can do nothing of Himself — never acts independently of the Father and the Spirit.

A.E.B. — That is illustrated, is it not, in creation? There we have, “In the beginning God created;” it is the Trinity, as further down, “Let us make man in our image,” etc.

C.C. — Yes; note carefully that God is a trinity in unity. It means, to use different terms, that the Godhead expresses the idea of an association, a partnership, a fellowship, but such terms imply unity.

F.J.E. — What of that verse in Colossians 1, “In Him all the fulness was pleased to dwell?” and in Colossians 2, “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily?”

C.C. — The last applies to Him in manhood. We are not dealing with that just now.

W.H. — But the other would be as the Eternal Son. Colossians 1 is what He was from eternity.

C.C. — Yes; but the other verse is the Son in manhood.

A.E.B. — Does not John 1:1 help us as a starting-point?

C.C. — Yes; I think the important thing to be noticed in that chapter is the distinction between “was” and “became.” We have first what He was, and then what He became. So we begin with the eternity of the “Logos” — the Word. He was the Creator; Himself uncreated and underived.

A.E.B. — I think that expression is in very fine form. He was uncreated, and the Creator of all things.

C.C. — He never began to be; and He brought into being everything that ever came into being.

W.H. — He was uncaused, underived and uncreated.

B.C.G. — Sometimes we have to meet one who confesses the eternity of the Word but denies the eternity of the Son. But it is written, “God so loved. . . that He gave His only-begotten Son.” He had to have a Son to give. The nature of the gift is called in question if you deny His eternal Sonship.

F.J.E. — Some object very strongly to the expression “the eternal Son.” They say it is not in Scripture.

A.E.B. — Yes; they own the eternal Logos on the authority of this verse, John 1:1. 1 John 1:2 cleared me as to the eternal Son. “We show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” The “Life” was with the Father.

H.A.I. — That’s it. There could be no Father in the past eternity, if there were no Son.

A.E.B. — Yes; so we have the eternal Word in John 1, and the eternal Son in 1 John.

B.C.G. — He says Himself, “I came forth from the Father.”

A.E.B. — But some might say an angel could do that. But the Life was with the Father; it is the clear declaration of Sonship before incarnation.

H.A.I. — He was God the Son before He became the Son of God as a man, born of the virgin.

C.C. — Then notice: If the Godhead is a trinity, there must of necessity be distinctions in the Godhead. We speak commonly of three persons. That is, we have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All are in perfect fellowship. But if you speak of fellowship, persons are implied. If you speak of association, persons are implied. If you speak of partnership, it is the same thing — there must be persons.

B.C.G. — What is the force of the word, Godhead?

C.C. — Deity.

P.J.E. — It is different, is it not, in Romans 1? There it should be divinity instead of deity.

C.C. — Yes; that is another line. It is a different word. Now, if there are persons in the Godhead, and yet the Godhead is a unity, in what sense or senses are the three persons one? They are one in substance; one in nature; one in life; one in purpose, plan and counsel.

A.E.B. — They are one in aim — always have the same object.

C.C. — Also one in work; none acts independently of the others.

F.J.E. — And of course they are one in power.

C.C. — We may say, also, one in wisdom; but that is perhaps implied in counsel.

A.E.B. — And so we see, as in psalm 139, the Trinity is omniscient (verses 1 to 6); omnipresent (verses 7 to 12); and omnipotent (verses 13 to end).

C.C. — Now, if we turn to Genesis 1, and are able to read it in the Hebrew, we are struck with the very simple fact that the word for God, “Elohim,” is in the plural. The Hebrew has singular, dual and plural. In the plural there must be at least three, and so is this word for God; yet it is constantly used as the subject of a singular verb.

B.C.G. — I think it is used 45 times in the first two chapters of the Bible, and over and over again we find this plural noun used with a singular verb. This would seem ungrammatical in English, yet it is the divine way of expressing the fact.

C.C. — We might say in English, “In the beginning the Trinity created.” Trinity expresses plurality, but it is trinity in unity.

H.A.I. — There are those who object, and say it is simply the plural of majesty that is used here.

C.C. — But the use of it is too common for that. “Let us make in man in our image, after our likeness,” implies unity of persons in counsel.

B.C.G. — Counsel always implies deliberation.

F.J.E. — In the New Testament we read that God created all things by Jesus Christ. Is that the same thing?

C.C. — Yes; but what is important is that while we think of Persons in the Godhead, there is no Person that is independent of the rest. Neither Person thinks, speaks, or acts independently.

B.C.G. — Of course all human illustrations fail, but we might think of a firm of three partners commissioning one partner to do a certain thing on behalf of all. Thus, one might take a servant’s place, but in full harmony with the rest.

H.A.I. — I have tried to illustrate it by a firm appointing one of its partners to act as receiver and straighten out the business, then hand it back to the firm. Christ became, so to speak, the receiver for this universe after sin had marred it. When all is straightened out, He hands it back to the firm.

X. — As to the Word, He was always that, was He not, but only spoken in time?

C.C. — From eternity He was the potential Word. Let us think of creation. Was not God speaking when He created? Creation was a form of revelation. God was displaying Himself, revealing Himself. How can we think of that apart from the Son Himself as the speaker?

F.J.E. — What is the thought of the eternal Word? — always the expression of God?

C.C. — Yes; I believe so. The best definition that I have seen is that given by G.V.Wigram: “A word is an idea and the expression of it.” Now apply that definition to the term the “Logos” in John 1:1-2. It is the title of the second Person of the Trinity. In the beginning was the Word. He existed eternally as the idea and expression of Deity. Being that, He was the Expressor of the mind and will of God.

W.H. — Would you not say the eternal Expressor, whether before or after the incarnation?

B.C.G. — Expressed or not, that is what He is.

C.C. — God was never without the ability to express Himself.

B.C.G. — Some raise the question, Why called “the Word” when there was no activity?

C.C. — He is that in Himself. John’s first chapter speaks of Him as eternally living. In Him was life. Life never began in Him. It began in us. As being eternally the Living Word, we see the ability of Deity to express itself.

W.H. — We need to hold fast to that. Christ was eternally the Living Word.

F.J.E. — Would you say Christ?

C.C. — I think so. In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle writes, “They drank of that spiritual rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” He applies the term to pre-incarnation. Then Moses is said to have borne the reproach of Christ, He was the one to whom faith looked; and even in that day, as being present amongst His people, He was under reproach.

A.E.B. — The Anointed, or Christ, is more than a Jewish title. It is more than what we generally associate with the thought of the Messiah of Israel. In Proverbs 8 wisdom says: “I was set up from everlasting.” “Set up” is the same as anointed. He was anointed from everlasting. So He was the Christ in the mind of God in the past eternity. He was the Christ in God’s purpose before incarnation. Historically He was anointed as Christ at His baptism; and God made Him Lord and Christ, confirmed Him as such, in resurrection.

B.C.G. — Even the Jews said, “We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever.”

C.C. — But Jesus was His human name. It was the name given Him in incarnation. He was the Anointed from everlasting, just as He was the Lamb from everlasting — the foreordained Lamb, set apart for sacrifice. What is very important is that the young believers be brought to see that the relations of the Persons of the Godhead are such that there is no independence in purpose, counsel, or activity.

W.H. — There is danger, I believe, of pressing passages like John 1, Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1, as though creation were the independent work of the Son.

C.C. — The point is that in creating He was not acting simply from Himself, just as the Holy Spirit now is said not to speak from Himself. He acted in conjunction with the other Persons of the Trinity.

H.A.I. — Then are we to understand that John 5:19 has no reference to His humiliation, and refers only to Him as a divine Person?

C.C. — Well, I would not say that dogmatically. I would not say that He is limiting it to His deity. I understand that He is speaking in view of the fact that He has come down into human conditions, and as man He is in the place of dependency. But always He did nothing independently. As become man, He still has divine authority, divine wisdom, and sovereignty, but He does not act independently. It would be contrary to His relations (whether those essential and eternal, or those assumed when become man) so to do.

F.J.E. — It says He can do nothing, not merely He will do nothing.

C.C. — The nature of the case is such that He can do nothing of Himself — the unity of the Godhead necessitates co-operation.

W.H. — Verse 36 gives us the perfection of the Son in humiliation. He speaks of the works that the Father had given Him to do.

C.C. — We must not lose sight of the fact that we are occupied with a unique man. His humanity was thoroughly unique.

F.J.E. — Is that thought of dependency all through John’s Gospel, in spite of what is revealed as to His true deity?

C.C. — Yes; for He is both God and man; possessing divine sovereignty, and at the same time a submissive, subject man.

F.J.E. — Some use the term the God-man. Is it not better to say God and man in one Person?

C.C. — I think the expression is all right if the thought behind it is right. I have used it. But I find even Unitarians now use it. They mean He is a divine man. They deify His humanity and deny His deity. So the fuller expression is better.

A.E.B. — We need to press that. Humanity is never deified. Christ is perfect man and true God.

C.C. — There are two natures combined in one Person, yet distinct.

A.E.B. — Some expressions which were once safe to use are now unsafe owing to new forms of error giving new meanings to these expressions.

C.C. — He is a real man — spirit, soul and body.

A.E.B. — Yes; many see in Him God, as to Person, in a human condition.

C.C. — But there is more than that. It was not merely that Deity was enshrined in a body. Deity and manhood are united. Manhood implies spirit, soul and body.

A.E.B. — Well then, what of our opening verse, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do?”

C.C. — This was always true, as we have seen. But He was here on earth, in a new position for Him. Before His incarnation, He knew nothing of obedience. He did not act independently, He acted sovereignly with the Spirit and the Father. But He became man. As having come into our condition and circumstances, as having entered into a new relationship, that of dependence, He learned obedience — an entirely new experience for Him.

F.J.E. — What of “The Father sent the Son”? Was that not obedience before He came to earth?

A.E.B. — In John 14 we are told that the Father would send the Spirit. In chapter 15 the Son would send Him. In chapter 16 He would come Himself. So with the Son. There is perfect interdependence.

B.C.G. — There is no independent action on the part of any member of the Godhead.

C.C. — But as man he is subject to orders, to command. The temptation illustrates it very clearly. He will do nothing without orders from His Father.

H.A.I. — It is really, “The Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness.” He was impelled to go by the Spirit.

C.C. — Yes. He was taken to the wilderness to be tempted. The devil says, “If thou be the Son of God” do thus and so. But He would not exercise sovereignty, though possessing it, and He had no word from God to make stones into bread, or to leap from the pinnacle of the temple. He could not turn aside from the path of subjection, of dependence.

W.H. — John 12:49 shows He was under commandment.

C.C. — Yes; His words were the Father’s words, and His works those that the Father had given Him to do. Though He exercised sovereign power, He was yet acting in subjection and obedience as under authority, as when with a word He stilled the tempest.

B.C.G. — Even in connection with His atoning death He said, “This commandment have I received of my Father.”

W.H. — But it was also voluntary, for He says, “No man taketh my life from Me. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again.”

C.C. — Yes; but the great point is, He was not acting independently, even there. All was in accord with the counsel of God.

F.J.E. — When the wrath was borne, we are told that “He dismissed his spirit.” This shows He willingly offered Himself.

W.H. — And it shows that He was possessed of a true human spirit — which some deny.

C.C. — He says elsewhere, “Now is my soul troubled”; so we know He had a human soul.

B.C.G. — Isaiah says, “He poured out His soul unto death.”

H.A.I. — And we read, “He groaned in spirit and was troubled.” The denial of this is an old heresy known as Apollinarianism. It is the teaching that the Logos took the place in His body that my spirit and soul do in mine.

C.C. — Well, let us remember that He only did the works that the Father gave Him to do. I would like to speak of a few concrete examples. Take the storm again. When the terrified disciples appeal to Him, He rises and quiets the wind and the wave. It is the exercise of sovereign power, but He says, “The works that my Father gave Me to do.” Stilling the storm was one of the works. He exercised sovereign power in obedience to His Father. Divine sovereignty and obedience combine in Him, just as the divine and human natures unite in perfect harmony in Him.

F.J.E. — That is a new thought to many, and very helpful, that sovereign power was exercised only in obedience.

W.H. — Do we not see the same thing in the incident where He sends Peter to get the money in the fish’s mouth? It was omniscience, but He was doing the works the Father gave Him to do.

C.C. — Yes; that is the same thing.

B.C.G. — Then what we need to see is that every miracle He wrought was in accordance with the Father’s will. Therefore the Son did nothing of or from Himself.

C.C. — Yes; and so every act was the act of a divine Person, and also of a perfect man.

A.E.B. — In verse 20 of John 5 we read, “The Father loveth the Son and showeth Him all things that He Himself doeth; and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” It is all of one piece. There is perfect harmony, fellowship, and subjection. In verse 17 He says, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” That is the past. Verse 19 is the present, and verse 20 carries the thought on to the future.

C.C. — Then we have what is strange to a great many in verse 31, “If I bear witness of Myself, my witness is not true,” i.e., not valid, The law requires two witnesses, and He recognizes its claims upon Him. In the preceding verse He says, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” That is, He cannot act independently. “As I hear, I judge.” His judgments were in accordance with the mind and will of the Godhead. He was in such relationship with the Father that His judgments were fully in accord with His.

H.A.I. — This thought of perfect fellowship in the Godhead is a very precious one. It makes the idea of trinity in unity very clear.

B.C.G. — And as a man on earth this fellowship was never interrupted. The Lord was ever receiving of the Father. That is what we have in Isaiah, is it not? — “He wakeneth mine ear morning by morning. He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”

H.A.I. — It is really “as the learner” — is it not?

C.C. — Yes; and so we see Him as a man on earth receiving instruction, and taking orders daily. So He can say, “As I hear, I judge.”

A.E.B. — In relationship, independence, in communion, He got all from the Father.

C.C. — He says also, “My judgment is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father who hath sent Me.” And as the perfect subject man, He adds, “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not valid.” The law could not accept the testimony of only one witness. So He brings forward more than the law required. He cites four witnesses: John the Baptist, in verses 32 to 35; the works He did, in verse 36; the Father Himself, in verse 37; and the Old Testament Scriptures, in verse 39 — they all confirm His own testimony.

F.J.E. — In verse 34, “I receive not testimony from man: ” what of that?

C.C. — He does not depend on John’s testimony.

A.E.B. — He says, “I have greater witness than that of John.” So He cites three more witnesses.

B.C.G. — Because a man’s testimony is rejected in court, it does not prove that it is not true. It may be unsupported and incompetent.

W.H. — In chapter 8 they throw it up to Him, “Thou bearest witness of thyself: thy witness is not valid.”

C.C. — Yes, the Pharisees refuse His testimony as though it were unsustained. In verse 14 the Lord might seem to some to contradict Himself, “Though I bear witness of myself, my witness is valid.” But notice the difference in His way of meeting them here from His way in chapter 5. Here He is bearing testimony to what He has eternally known. He is witnessing as personally acquainted with the Father from whom He had come, and to whom He was going. He was testifying to what He knew personally as the eternal Son. He says, “Ye judge after the flesh, I judge no man, yet if I do, my judgment is just.” But He says, “I am not alone — I and the Father that sent Me.” So the Father confirmed His testimony. (See verse 18.)

H.A.I. — His witness was therefore valid, for the Father had confirmed it, but they would not receive His testimony.

C.C. — Yes; and as they had rejected the fourfold testimony previously given, He presses the validity of His own witness as that which had been fully proven to be valid.

W.H. — They claimed to be Moses’ disciples. The Lord in effect said, “Now abide by the principles of Moses’ law.”

A.E.B. — In verse 26 (chap. 8) He says that He, speaks those things which He heard of the Father.

F.J.E. — Do we understand that while on earth He was constantly receiving from the Father?

C.C. — Yes, it is, “As I hear, I judge.” He was constantly receiving; His was ever the open ear.

H.A.I. — That shows how real were His exercises in prayer. It was no mere form with Him.

C.C. — Yes; think of His spending the whole night in prayer before selecting His twelve apostles. He went over every case with the Father.

B.C.G. — And at the grave of Lazarus, how real were His exercises.

C.C. — It is all exceedingly interesting. He does not draw on the divine resources within Himself. He is a dependent servant. As such He looks to the Father for counsel, for guidance.

A.E.B. — He knew all things, yet He took the place of dependence. In verses 26 to 29 this is made very plain: “He that sent Me is with Me;” “He hath not left Me alone;” “I do always those things that please Him.”

C.C. — His words expressed Himself: verse 25; “I am exactly what I am saying” is a better translation.

B.C.G. — We may use speech to conceal thought. He was altogether what He said.

2. — The Assumed Limitations of the Lord Jesus Christ as Man on Earth

At the suggestion of A.E.B. John 14:8-13 was read.

C.C. — The Lord says, “I speak not of or from Myself” — that is, He did not speak independently; He was speaking the words that He had received from the Father.

A.E.B. — Here it is “words;” in the 12th chapter it is “commandments.” It is the same in principle.

C.C. — He is not alluding to the essential unity with the Father; but as man here He made the Scriptures a study. At twelve years of age He went up to the temple and definitely entered upon His responsibilities as a disciple of the law. And in this He was about His Father’s business; it characterized Him through those eighteen years following until He entered on His special work.

H.A.I. — His boyhood was perfect. He was not what we would call a precocious child; there was nothing forward about Him. He is not said to be teaching the elders in the temple. He was hearing them, and asking them questions. Is not all this part of His perfection?

C.C. — Yes; He was a normal human person in every stage of life, the sinless Son of God, and ever subject to the Father.

B.C.G. — That passage, “as His custom was,” is instructive. He was accustomed to attend the synagogue service on the Sabbath day, He was a regular attendant, as we say; thus honouring the law of Moses.

C.C. — And as a student of Moses He would meditate in the law of the Lord and receive instruction through meditation. See Psalm 16:7.

A.E.B. — As in the first psalm, which refers primarily to Him.

C.C. — Yes; and thus He received the words of the Father. Undoubtedly there were communications direct from the Father throughout His entire life also, as at the grave of Lazarus where He was answered by the voice from heaven, and He says, “I thank Thee. . . that Thou hearest Me always.”

F.J.E. — On that occasion He waited three days before He went — waiting for orders.

B.C.G. — And so as to the feast. He could say, “Your time is alway ready.” But He would not take a step until He received instruction from the Father to do so.

C.C. — It is not only intensely interesting, but most profitable, to study the life of our blessed Lord from this stand-point, to consider His perfect submission to the will of the Father.

A.E.B. — He says, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” That is not personality, is it?

C.C. — No; it is community of life and nature, but it was being manifested in a life of dependence, obedience and subjection to the Father.

A.E.B. — Seeing one Person we see the expression of all. All are identical in life and nature.

C.C. — He was in perfect accord with the will of the Father. He was characterized by this. He said, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” But our present point is that as a man He had to learn that will from day to day. He learned it by meditation in the Word of God and in communion with the Father.

A.E.B. — “According to the volume of the book” — that is, He came according to the outline of the prophetic scriptures.

F.J.E. — It is said that He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. In what sense did He learn obedience?

C.C. — Before incarnation He had no such experience. But having come into a position where He was the subject one, He learned obedience.

B.C.G. — He did not learn to obey as though there were resistance, but the point is He learned a new thing, experimentally — obedience.

C.C. — He was not one who had no will of His own, as people sometimes say. He had a will as a true man, but He subjected His will to the will of the Father. He never exercised His will in independence. He would not have been a perfect man if He had had no will. Think of Him never exercising His will of Himself!

F.J.E. — To the leper He said, “I will.”

C.C. — Yes; but in doing that He was exercising His will in accord with the will of the Father.

H.A.I. — And for us this is true Christian obedience. We often hear people say that “God wants a broken will.” This is wrong. A man with a broken will is a crushed man, a useless man. But He would have us subject our wills to Himself. If we refuse, He may have to break them. The apostle Paul had a tremendously strong will, but it was subjected to the will of the Lord.

A.E.B. — Do you think that John 14:11 explains the perfect unity? In Him you see the Father’s will fully manifested.

C.C. — Think of the Father looking down upon the earth and beholding a man (in a scene where God had been so terribly dishonoured) who was absolutely subject, who had no desire save to glorify Him! What perfect complacency! His communion with the Father was uninterrupted.

F.J.E. — What of the cross, where He cries, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

C.C. — There He was being made sin; and as standing in the sinner’s place, He could not say, “My Father”. It is, My God. Even in His abandonment He vindicates God: “Thou art holy,” He says (Ps. 22:3).

H.A.I. — Many have difficulty here. They do not see that He was the whole burnt offering, a sweet savor, and the sin-offering at the same time. He was never more dear to the Father’s heart than at the very time He was forsaken by God as taking our place.

A.E.B. — It was God as judge who forsook Him, but the abandonment was so real, He could not say, “My Father”.

H.A.I. — Yet the Father’s love was unchanged.

B.C.G. — His communion was unbroken, save when He was bearing the wrath of God, when He was made sin.

F.J.E. — He says, “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” What does He mean by the Father dwelling in Him?

B.C.G. — Is it not communion based on life and nature?

A.E.B. — It is written of us, “Whosoever confesseth that Jesus is the Christ, God dwelleth in him and he in God.” It is life and nature in fullest communion. New birth gives us the very life of God. And we are made partakers of the divine nature. It is communion. It is not putting us in Deity.

B.C.G. — So we have, “The church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father.” That is not putting them in Deity. It is family relationship.

C.C. — Now in Philippians 2 we are told that the Lord “emptied Himself” — “made Himself of no reputation,” in the common version. He emptied Himself of the exercise of His divine wisdom, omnipotence, omnipresence.

H.A.I. — Is there not a danger of pressing this too far, as in the kenotic theory of the New Theologians, who say He so emptied Himself that He was subject to all human limitations, all the ignorance of His times?

C.C. — Yes; but we need to see that as man He governed Himself by the Word of God. He did not draw on His essential knowledge.

B.C.G. — He knew all things, yet He did not act from that standpoint, but He received instruction from the revealed Word.

F.J.E. — Have we not something like that in the Old Testament? God said to Abraham, “Now by this I know;” yet in another sense He always knew.

N.T. — So the Lord says in one place, “I know that Thou hearest Me always, yet because of those that stand by I said it.”

F.J.E. — In Philippians 2, “Made Himself of no reputation,” does not fully meet the case, does it?

C.C. — No; it does not go far enough. It is one word in the original, and it means to empty, to divest, oneself. He divested Himself of the glory which He had with the Father before the world was. He laid aside the majesty that was properly His, and He assumed a servant’s form. He became a subject man, and was ever guided by the word of God.

B.C.G. — He came out of the circumstances of glory and came into other circumstances, but He was the same Person.

N.T. — On the mount of transfiguration; what glory was it that the disciples beheld?

A.E.B. — His official glory was there manifested.

B.C.G. — It was not His essential glory; it was not a question of glory shining out, but rather of glory conferred upon Him. “He received from God the Father honor and glory.”

F.J.E. — Is it correct to say that He left the bosom of the Father?

C.C. — He came forth from the Father’s bosom.

W.H. — Was He not there still while on the earth?

C.C. — Coming forth is not the same thing as leaving.

B.C.G. — The expression “leaving the Father’s bosom” is taken as referring to affection. He never left His place in the Father’s affections. He came forth from the circumstances in which He ever had been.

C.C. — And as having thus come forth and taken a servant’s form, He voluntarily became dependent on revelation as to how to live in this scene. This comes out in the temptation. He lived by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. He met the tempter with Scripture, and He would not act apart from a definite word from the Father. This was characteristic of His whole life, He assumed the limitations of one daily being taught by the Father. Take that much-disputed passage in Mark 13:32. He says that no one knows the day nor hour of His second coming, not even the angels, no, nor the Son, but the Father only. We have no difficulty as to angels; God had given them no revelation as to it. But neither had He given such a revelation to man. Now Christ was here as man; in human condition He learned by revelation.

Think of Him as a student of the Scriptures: He could not find any word there to tell the day or the hour of His second coming.

H.A.I. — It is a great mystery how the eternal wisdom could be veiled in flesh, and as a man He increased in wisdom as He increased in stature.

C.C. — People cannot understand it, and we are told sometimes, “No man knoweth the Son but the Father;” so people say, Be careful, don’t speculate. That is good; we need care here; but we do not need to be afraid of what God has revealed. We do not need to hesitate to follow the Word of God wherever it leads.

B.C.G. — There will always be a limit beyond which we cannot go. Scripture sets that limit.

C .C. — And so in Mark, they were asking for a revelation, they wanted to know the hour of His return. He replies, It has not been made known. The Father has not communicated it yet. He would not use His personal divine knowledge; He would not draw on His essential knowledge as God to communicate what was not a subject of divine revelation. He did not have that knowledge as a deposit,

W.H. — No one in creature-condition could have it unless God revealed it.

C.C. — It was a part of His perfection as the self-emptied servant not to know what the Scriptures had not declared, nor the Father revealed directly to Him. So He can truly say, “Neither the Son.” But of course we have to recognize the fact that we cannot solve all mysteries connected with the Person of the Son of God. He is a supernatural Being, and we cannot explain Him by any principles that apply to other men. People say, “Why is the Bible so written that we cannot clearly understand everything in it?” It is written to test our hearts. It is so written that he who will not be taught by it stumbles over it.

A.E.B. — The Lord says Himself, “The servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth;” and He was the perfect servant. So He reveals all that God reveals to Him; but this one thing was not revealed. He had not received it from His Father.

X. — What answer would you give to one who claimed from such scriptures that the Lord was limited in knowledge?

C C. — He was self-limited. He divested Himself of His prerogatives.

H.A.I. — I like that word divested better than emptied. It seems to me it is not so likely to be misunderstood. You empty what is within. You divest yourself of what is without, He did not cease to be God when He became man, but He divested Himself, as you have said, of His prerogatives of Deity. He took a servant’s form and place.

A.E.B. — He chose not to use His omniscience and His omnipotence, just as having emptied Himself, He had laid aside His omnipresence. As man He could not be omnipresent. So with all His prerogatives.

C.C. — Yes; it was a great descent on His part to become flesh, to become man. He was not “made” flesh, as our Authorized Version says. It was voluntary. He became flesh.

F.J.E. — What would you say of Galatians 4: , “Made of a woman, made under the law?” You say He was not “made” anything. Some might have a difficulty as to this passage.

A.E.B. — J.N.D.’s version reads, “Come of a woman, come under law.” It was voluntarily so. Again, in Philippians 2 it reads, “Made in the likeness of men.” It should be, “Taking His place in the likeness of men” — His voluntary act.

B.C.G. — And the blessed truth for our souls is that He who thus stooped so low for our redemption is the One “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

C.C. — Yes; He did not cease for one moment to be God, though He took the servant’s place, and became a learner, guided as a man on earth by that same word of God which guides the steps of every subject one today. He was the pattern, dependent man. His delight was to do the Father’s will as He learned it from the Scriptures and the Father’s direct communications. Beyond that He chose not to go.

3. — The Lord in Resurrection

The 20th chapter of John was referred to as a starting point, and a question was asked as to the difference between our Lord’s body before His death and after His resurrection.

C.C. — First of all, we need to realize that our Lord’s body when here on earth was not a mortal body. That idea is prevalent in some quarters. Some hold that He was not an immortal man until He arose from the dead. But there was in Him, as man, an energy of holiness that absolutely shut out sin, that shut out all evil, and of course shut out the power of corruption to lay hold upon His body. He was like Elisha’s vessel with salt in it — salt symbolizing the preservative energy of holiness.

A.E.B. — That is the meaning of salt in the meal-offering. It is a preservative — the personal life of holiness that ever characterized the Lord in this world.

C.C. — While not subject to death, our Lord was able to die. Liability to death and ability to die, are very distinct things. In John 11, as the Lord said to Martha, He was the resurrection and the life. He was that in Himself. He not only possessed in Himself the energy of holiness which shut out all evil, and therefore all tendency to corruption, but He was also the annulment of death and corruption for others.

A.E.B. — Will you give us a word on the difference between the life and the resurrection? Would life here be the same as in John 14 — “The Way the Truth, and the Life”?

C.C. — The Son of God having become man, having assumed humanity as we have it, but apart from sin, He carried it beyond death. In Him was life and incorruptibility — possessing them in Himself, He was able to take humanity out of its present condition into a permanent condition.

W.H. — In resurrection, He speaks of flesh and bones, not of flesh and blood. He had poured out His blood on the cross, and is not said to take that up in resurrection.

F.J.E. — Thus He differs from the persons He raised from the dead when He was here. They were only raised to their former earthly condition, to a life such as they had previously known, so they were subject to die again.

C.C. — Yes, It was not to a fixed or final condition, as is His since He rose from the grave in His spiritual body,

W.H. — What about the order of verse 25 — the resurrection and the life?

C.C. — He had come into a place where sin is, where death reigns. In this scene, He is the resurrection and the life, the deliverer, the Saviour. He must be the resurrection to be the life.

F.J.E. — Does He carry the thought into the future when He says, “Though he were dead yet shall he live”?

A.E.B. — That is our resurrection.

C.C. — There He is applying it backward: “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live” — they are going to be brought into that condition of life and incorruptibility. Then He says, “He that liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” Some would add, “when He returns: ” but the Lord, it seems to me, is saying that no believer in Him shall die — as under sin’s penalty.

F.J.E. — Is that in connection with John 5:24, “Is passed from death unto life”?

C.C. — Yes; is passed — the Lord Himself having taken the penalty.

A.E.B. — So, if he actually dies it is counted as sleep.

B.C.G. — It is the same as, “Shall not taste of death.” It comes not as the king of terrors to the believer.

C.C. — It comes as a friend, a servant, bringing rest after labour; so in this sense, death is ours.

W.H. — You get the solemn contrast in chapter 8:24, “If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”

C.C. — Well then, what we need to see is that the Lord was not under the appointment to die. “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment;” but He was not a sinful man. He was not liable, therefore, either to judgment or death. He could have gone to heaven as a man without dying; but then He must have been a man eternally alone. He must have been without human associates.

F.J.E. — That is as in John 12, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

C.C. — Yes; so He takes the penalty in order to provide a way of deliverance for men, exposed to death and judgment, whom He would have with Himself for all eternity.

W.H. — Referring again, to John 11:25, would you say that life in Him was, always characterized by resurrection?

A.E.B. — It could only be expressed as such where death had come in.

C.C. — I cannot realize how He could have been fore-ordained to be the Lamb of God if He was not characterized by resurrection life. God always knew what sin is — knew it absolutely, not experimentally. Therefore sin must always have been abhorrent to Him. He has never changed His attitude toward it. We see that attitude told out in the cross. God’s abhorrence of sin was fully manifested there as it had never been manifested anywhere else. The flood told of God’s hatred of sin; so did the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah; but it was only in the cross that it was fully manifested. But if He always knew sin, and eternally abhorred it, He always had in Himself resources for vindicating His attitude in respect to it. God did not need that sin should come in and actually exist in order to know it.

H.A.I. — There is a striking verse in Daniel 2:22, “He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him.”

C.C. — He not only knew what would come, but He knew it in its nature and character, and provided for it.

F.J.E. — That is, redemption was no afterthought with God.

C.C. — He provided for it. It seems to me that unless what we have been saying is true we could not apply the term holiness to God. Holiness implies the knowledge of sin, but the refusal of it.

Ques. — What of the angels, are they not holy?

C.C. — We do not speak of holiness until after testing. Men and angels were created in innocence, not in holiness. We do not properly speak of holiness until after the attitude as to sin is taken. Angels who stood the test are called “holy” and “elect” angels.

A.E.B. — Now shall we turn to John 9 again? — “I am the resurrection and the life.”

C.C. — It is what was ever true of Him, but manifested historically in its fulness after He arose from the dead.

B.C.G. — When it says, in Romans 1, “Declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection of the dead,” does it not include both the ability to raise those sample cases in this life as well as His own resurrection?

C.C. — Yes; He was always the Creator, so He was always the resurrection and the life. He was that essentially in Himself.

A.E.B. — Life, incorruptibility, resurrection, power to meet all the questions raised by sin, all were essentially His, apart altogether from the occasion of display.

W.H. — So, apart from all questions of manifestation or display, He was in Himself the resurrection and the life.

C.C. — And when arisen from the dead He was manifested as the Victor who could not be holden of death. In the same body that He arose, He was taken up into heaven.

A. E B. — Now a word as to 2 Timothy 3, the last verse, it says He was received up in glory — not into. To what does that refer?

F.J.E. — Is that going back to whence He came?

A.E.B. — Well take another passage — the last verse of Philippians 3: “The body of His glory.” That could not be said before death and resurrection.

C.C. — No; as man in this world, He had a body suited to this earth, not one suited to heaven. It was a body of flesh and blood, suited to existence here. When He arose from the dead He took up humanity in a new condition, suited to the glory.

A.E.B. — So it is written that as we have borne the image of the earthy we shall bear the image of the heavenly. As to Christ we may say that the same Person who had existed from all eternity took a body suited to earthly conditions, to die. Now, in resurrection, He has taken up humanity in a new and permanent condition.

C.C. — And now He is the Head of a new race, of humanity after a new order, and at His second coming we shall be made like Him in this. Even Adam innocent had not a body suited to heaven. Christ risen is the beginning of new creation — the creation where all things are of God.

A.E.B. — Adam unfallen had neither a nature nor a body suited for heaven. New birth was always needed.

W.H. — We are told that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

R.F.E. — Does not that passage show the necessity of the change that is to take place at the rapture? Blood is to sustain natural life and to repair waste. In resurrection, the glorified body will be of a different character.

C.C. — The difference between the Lord’s body before death and after His resurrection is very clearly brought out in John’s account of the visit of Peter and himself to the empty tomb. His body wrapped about with a winding-sheet (among the wealthy sometimes 120 yards long), wound round and round the body, came out of this without unwrapping it. What a proof of resurrection and the character of the resurrection-body. The great stone was not rolled away to let the Lord out of the tomb, but to let His disciples in. The napkin that was about His head was wrapped by itself, and the wrappings lying just as they had been around His body — Himself gone out of them.

H.A.I. — It is just as when the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis condition. The shell remains unchanged. Some have thought the description in John simply implied an orderly exit and lack of haste.

C.C. — But this is to miss the real truth of the passage.

B.C.G. — Nicodemus brought a hundred pounds of spices. The Lord had the burial of a rich man. This was ten times what was ordinarily used; so the winding-sheet was undoubtedly such as the wealthy used.

C.C. — Well, Scripture states we are to be like Him, that He shall change these bodies of our humiliation, and fashion them like unto the body of His glory. His resurrection-body is the typical one. We are to be conformed to His image.

W.H. — To guard against the thought of this resurrection-body not being material, we are told that He ate with His disciples after He arose from the dead. It was not needed to sustain Him, but He could do so.

A.E.B. — This however was miraculous; for we shall not need food in that new condition. It is written, “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats, but God shall destroy both it and them.” This makes it very definite that material food will not be required for the new, spiritual body. Thus we shall be like Him both morally and physically, though of course never like Him in omniscience, etc. We shall ever be learners.

B.C.G. — We shall be perfect in our sphere, not in His.

F.J.E. — We shall eat of the hidden manna, and of the tree of life.

C.C. — Yes; that is Christ Himself.

X. — What would be the difference between Christ’s transfigured body and the resurrection-body?

C.C. — When He arose He was in a permanent condition; unchanged He was taken up into heaven. The transfigured body was His body enveloped in glory, but it was the same as that in which He afterward died upon the cross. But no change, no transformation of His resurrection-body was required ere He ascended. Such as it was after He arose from the dead, such is it now in heaven; and such will our bodies be at His coming — bodies suited to the sphere in which we are going to be. As to His eating, it was only to convince them that He was a real man, as has been pointed out. On the Mount of Transfiguration we have a pattern of the coming kingdom. We have in vision the glorified Lord, Moses representing the saints who will be raised from the dead, and Elijah those caught up without passing through death.

A.E.B. — It was an earnest of what the kingdom will be.

H.A.I. — But there was no actual change in His body. For a moment, as it were, His essential glory was shining out, and He was enveloped in the glory conferred upon Him by the Father.

C.C. — See how Peter speaks of it. He says that by this “we have the word of prophecy made plainer” (2 Pet. 1:1, Greek). That is the meaning of it. It did not make it any more sure. But it confirmed it — made it plainer.

B.C.G. — It added emphasis to the Old Testament prophecy, and made the nature of the kingdom easier to understand.

C.C. — There is a word in 2 Corinthians 5 that is important here: “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now know we Him so no more” (ver. 16). There were those living when the epistle to the Corinthians was written, who had known Christ in His earthly existence — Peter, John, and others — they had seen Him in the body suited to that existence, His flesh-and-blood body, but He will never again be seen in a body like that.

H.A.I. — That is one great difference between Christ and the Antichrist. Christ will come from heaven in the body of His glory, the Antichrist will be a man in a flesh-and-blood body, and of natural birth. People are looking for a great world-teacher. Some imagine this will be the second coming. of Christ. But we shall never know Christ after the flesh.

F.J.E. — Our Lord has been on earth once as a man of flesh and blood, but never again in that condition.

W.H. — That is it; He is out of that condition forever.

C.C. — In Mark 16:19-20 we are told that He was received up into heaven and put on the right hand of God. The word means to place, to put, to cause to sit. It was what the Father did for Him, the resurrected man.

A.E.B. — Not as in Hebrews 1, where we are told that He set Himself down.

C.C. — No; in Mark He is put there. It is power taking Him up and putting Him there. In Hebrews He established Himself there. Both are blessedly true.

A.E.B. — In Hebrews it is His deity. In Mark, His manhood.

W.H. — It is the same in regard to resurrection, God raised Him from the dead. Yet He raised Himself. It was His own act.

C.C. — And He is also said to have been “quickened by the Spirit.” The important thing now is that God has put Him on the throne as man. In Matthew, as risen He says, “All authority is given unto Me.” But we do not get the ascension there. In Mark we see Him exalted above everything. God sets Him as a glorified man over all, as in Hebrews 2. So there is a man on the throne of God who is going to carry out all the plans and counsels of God, who will fulfil all His purposes. He is acting from the throne. He has many offices, but the great thing to see is that He is on the throne, and is there as man to fulfil all God’s thoughts.

4. — The Son Delivering Up the Kingdom

(1 Corinthians 15:22-28 was read.)

C.C. — We were noticing yesterday, at the end of Mark’s Gospel, that the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God. Today, let me first say a few words in regard to His taking up the sin-question and vindicating God as to it. Here we have a Man into whose hands God could entrust the maintenance of His glory in respect of every question raised by sin. In taking up that work, He manifested God’s character in all its attributes — of righteousness, holiness, love, wisdom, goodness, and so on. In Him God was well pleased. He glorified God in regard to every question raised by the entrance of sin in God’s creation. In raising Him from the dead, and putting Him on the throne in heaven, God has put into His hands the carrying out of all His counsels. There are many things connected with this. He is God’s mediator. He has already mediated the sin-question. He has glorified God and God has been glorified in Him. And now He is put in the place of power on the throne of God to carry out all God’s plans and purposes — to fulfil all His counsels.

W.H. — Would it be right to call Him “God’s administrator in all this?”

C.C. — Yes; but in all this He is still the Mediator, as we see in the Revelation: it is “the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him.” He is the Mediator, who has communicated it to us.

A.E.B. — Does not that connect with what we had in a previous reading — giving out what He received of the Father?

C.C. — Yes; a part of it. The Spirit gives what He further revealed through the apostles.

B.C.G. — Possibly He gave more than what is preserved in the written Word, as the apostle refers to things spoken by the Lord on earth but not elsewhere recorded, as when he says, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). But we have in the Book all that faith requires. God has preserved all that we need.

J.C. — The Lord said, “He (the Spirit) shall show you things to come.” So, in the Gospels, the Spirit was bringing all things to remembrance concerning the life and death of the Lord Jesus. In the Acts, the Epistles and the Revelation we have further revelations according to the word, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now;” and among these sayings are the things to come of which He spoke.

B.C.G. — There are really three things in what you have referred to: first, “He shall bring all things to your remembrance;” second, “He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you,” and, third, “He will show you things to come.”

C.C. — Yes; but they are all His things.

H.A.I. — Reverting again to the Mediator, or Administrator, what of that verse in Galatians: “A mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one?”

C.C. — The apostle is not referring to a contract between two parties. God is the one contractor; there is but one party to the covenant, and Christ is to administrate it.

B.C.G. — Is not this ever true of God’s covenants of grace, as with Noah. and with Abraham? And no unconditional covenant can be annulled by anything that comes in afterwards.

C.C. — Yes. To make a little clearer how the Lord Jesus is the Mediator when there are not two contracting parties, turn to Colossians 1:19-20. Notice that expression, “by Him.” It is Christ who is to reconcile all things to God, He is going to bring heaven and earth into a state of complete harmony with God. He has already reconciled us, as in verse 21 — the same thing as in 2 Corinthians 5:15, “He hath reconciled us unto Himself,” and “hath put in us the ministry of reconciliation.” That is, when Christ was here He was reconciling the world to God, as to the principle of His ministry, and we have been brought into this reconciliation by Him. We have been laid hold of — the conscience and heart have been reached — by the power and grace displayed in the Cross, bringing us at His feet, to own Him as Saviour; and we have been entrusted with this word of reconciliation. Christ is no longer here, but we are here to minister the word of reconciliation on His behalf. So Christ is the one Mediator.

F.J.E. — It is not that God became reconciled to us, but we had to be reconciled to Him, (See Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19).

C.C. — God was never alienated; but man is alienated from Him. God could never be reconciled to sin, but in the Cross He has come in love to beseech man to become reconciled to Him. In Acts 13:38 we see the One who has borne the penalty due to sin, is entitled, by that fact, to administer forgiveness — it is “by Him.”

B.C.G. — He is said to be exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31). What was in God’s heart to do, could not be until the work of the cross.

C.C. — And so in verse 39 of Acts 1, we see that now “all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses.” This is much more than forgiveness.

B.C.G. — Is not this what many fail to realize, and is found only in Paul’s writings?

W.H. — Would you give a word on the difference between the two things?

C.C. — Justification is the clearance from, the complete annulling of, the charges. They cannot be held against the believer because God Himself has cleared him, has put him where no condemnation can rest upon him.

F.J.E. — Is it not a judicial exoneration from all sin and guilt?

C.C. — Yes; it is much more than forgiveness.

A.E.B. — And Christ is the administrator of all this. Justification is by Him. That is one of the characteristic features of our dispensation. The believer is justified from all things.

W.H. — Have we really apprehended the difference between the two — justification and forgiveness?

C.C. — To forgive is, in one sense, the very opposite of justification. In forgiving a man charged with theft, he has not lost the character of a thief. His misdeeds are not held against him because he is forgiven; but if he is justified from the charge, he is cleared as to his character; and God has cleared us from every charge.

A.E.B. Is it not love that forgives; and righteousness that justifies?

N.T. — Does not 2 Corinthians 5:21 fit in here?

C.C. — Yes; Christ having been made sin for us, righteousness demands our justification. God declares His righteousness in clearing us completely.

B.C.G. — Among men, if a man is forgiven it is because he was guilty; he cannot be justified therefore. If he is justified, he does not need forgiveness. But in Christ we have both, God justifies in virtue of the work of His Son.

A.F.B. — That is clear. Christ, then, is the administrator of forgiveness here on earth first. “The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins;” then, as exalted in resurrection to be a Prince and a Saviour, He gives repentance and remission of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified. Then, in 1 Thessalonians 4 we see Him as administrator of something else. It is He who puts His saints to sleep when their day of service is over.

B.C.G. — “None can keep alive his own soul,” says the Old Testament. The issues of life and death are in Christ’s hands.

C.C. — What the apostle here says is that His servants are removed from labour and put to sleep, i.e., to rest, by Jesus.

H.A.I. — It is not, as in the Authorized Version, “Them who sleep in Jesus,” or as we sing sometimes, “asleep in Jesus.” It is they that sleep through, or by means of, Jesus. So we read, “the dead in Christ,” not the dead in Jesus. Jesus is His personal name. We are “in Christ,” not in Jesus. People often sign their letters, I notice, “Yours in Jesus,” but it is a misapprehension. Living or dead we are “in Christ.”

C.C. — Yes; and so as our brother has said, it is the Lord as administrator who gives them rest after labour, as a mother puts her wearied child to sleep.

A.E.B. — Then we have a further step — have we not? — in 2 Corinthians 4:14, where we are told we shall be raised up also by, or through Jesus. So we see Him as administrator (1) through whom we are justified, (2) who puts His saints to sleep, and (3) who raises them up.

C.C. — In the same way, the Lord Jesus is the mediator or administrator of all the plans and counsels of God — of the covenant with Noah, the covenants with Abraham and with David, of all the Old Testament prophecies as to Israel and the whole earth. He will be the King of the Jews, and the Head of the nations, as He is now the Head of the Church. All authority and power in heaven and earth are put in His hands. Everything is to be headed up in Him. Heaven itself is to be cleansed — cleared of the wicked spirits now there; the heavenly things are to be reconciled as well as the earthly. The entire universe is to be brought into harmony with God. The wicked are to be judged and cast out “by Him.” All judgment is committed to Him. He is the administrator of all this; the Mediator.

We may think of it in this way: — God has entrusted authority to Christ; He has made Him ruler. Just as God put earthly things into the hands of Adam, so He has put everything into the hands of Christ. Men set up in the place of responsibility have failed everywhere; but here is a Man who will not fail in meeting to the full the responsibilities imposed upon Him. He will administer all things according to the mind and will of God.

A.E.B. — He intimates this in the parable of the nobleman going into a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom, and to return.

B.C.G. — Might we not add that even the gift of the Holy Spirit has been administered by Him?

F.J.E. — And I was thinking also that in Ephesians 4 it is He who having ascended on high has given gifts unto men. In psalm 68:18 He is said to have received gifts for men. In Ephesians He administers them, He gives them to men.

A.E.B. — Primarily the psalm refers to Israel, but the Holy Spirit uses it in the New Testament as referring to the Church, for it is the same administrator in both instances.

C.C. — I think we may apply what the apostle says in Colossians 1:25 as to “fulfilling,” or completing, the word of God in this sense, filling up the Old Testament Scriptures — expanding their application.

A.E.B. — Exposition and application are very different things.

C.C. — But to hasten on with our subject: There is a time coming when the Lord Jesus Christ shall, so to speak, render His account of the administration committed to Him. We read, “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” We have seen that when dominion over earthly things was entrusted to Adam, sin came in, and Adam never brought them back to God as he had received them from Him. But Christ Jesus will restore all things spoken of by the prophets; He will fully carry out the mind of God. Therefore after He has brought everything into subjection, when death itself, the last enemy, has been destroyed, when the primeval promise of Genesis 3 has been fulfilled, He will hand the kingdom back to the Father.

A.E.B. — “He was manifested to undo the works of the devil,” as is the correct rendering of 1 John 3:8. He will reign until this has been fully accomplished. He is the Lamb of God who beareth away the sin of the world.

F.J.E. — Would you say that is the final result of the work of the cross?

C.C. — Yes; the work of the cross is the basis on which it all depends. In Hebrews 9:26 we are told that, “Once in the end of the ages He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Actually sin is not yet put away; it has been atoned for; God has been vindicated, but the universe is going to be brought ultimately into perfect harmony with God.

A.E.B. — Not the wicked, of course.

C.C. — They will be thoroughly subjected.

H.A.I. — God will be glorified in that. They will never more be permitted to act in rebellion against Him.

C.C. — When the time comes that the Lord will deliver back the kingdom to the Father, all will have been fulfilled in new creation. Creation will be brought back to God in a perfect condition, and every trace of the serpent’s work will be removed. The expression here has perplexed some: “When all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” In what sense shall the Son be subordinate? When the Son of God came into this world, He entered, He took, a subordinate place, and He will retain it always. The thought is that, having accomplished the work of redemption and restoration for which He became man, He will not give up, but retain the subordinate place in incarnation that He took. The thought is exceedingly precious. Think of it: if the Lord should cease to be man after having brought to pass all that God has purposed and designed, the very link that brings Gad and man together would be gone!

A.E.B. — So He will abide forever in that place.

F.J.E. — He delivers up the kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24) — it is not taken from Him.

C.C. — The purpose for which He was set up as Mediator is then accomplished.

A.E.B. — And the results abide forever.

C.C. — Creation will then be in its final and permanent form. God’s purposes will all be fulfilled in an unchanging, everlasting condition of things. Heaven and earth will embrace each other; God and man will dwell together, and the link will ever be, “the Man Christ Jesus.”

A.E.B. — What is the strict force of that expression, “That God may be all in all”?

C.C. — Everything shall be a display of God (See Eph. 4). Christ will spread abroad the glory of God everywhere. That glory will be felt and realized everywhere in the universe, even in the abode of the lost, who will be reduced to absolute silence; they will have to be submissive, though in eternal alienation from God.

H.A.I. — “God,” of course, is the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So when the Son as man is subject, it is to God as the Trinity.

W.H. — In regard to the wicked, they are subdued, but never reconciled.

C.C. — We see, then, that Christ has assumed a subordinate position that Deity might be displayed. It is His delight thus to glorify God.

A.E.B. — He is like the Hebrew servant with the bored ear, He will serve forever, for love’s sake (Ex. 21:2-6).

B.C.G. — In psalm 40 He says, “Mine ear hast Thou digged.” In the New Testament (taking it from the Septuagint) we read, “A body hast Thou prepared Me.” But it is the same thing; He took a body that He might be the listening one, the hearing servant.

A.E.B. — And in Isaiah 50:4 He is said to have the opened ear, being instructed morning by morning. These three passages point to three important truths — for the three words in the Hebrew have a shade of difference — beginning with His birth, then His dependent life, and finally His sacrifice on the cross.

H.A.I. — So the “digged,” ear in psalm 40 is in incarnation. He never had an ear in that sense before; He never had to receive orders. Then the “opened” ear, in Isaiah 50, is in His perfect life. He daily received instruction from the Father. And the “bored” ear, in Exodus 21, is in the cross — refusing to go out free, so He remains servant forever.

C.C. — And so, in Him, God is fully glorified. God, through Him, will be forever all in all.

5. — On the Resurrection-body

(The 5th chapter of 2nd Corinthians was read)

B.C.G. — In view of the fact that “we look not at the things which are seen, but the things that are unseen,” how do you explain the warning of the apostle, in Colossians 2, against “intruding into the things not seen?”

C.C. — When guided by revelation, by the Scriptures, there is no intrusion.

B.C.G. — Ah, that’s it; if we hold to what God has been pleased to reveal in His holy Word we have the fullest liberty to look into the things that are unseen.

C.C. — We are not to give reign to our imaginations. We are dependent on revelation for what is otherwise altogether beyond our horizon.

B.C.G. — We can know nothing of what is beyond this life by our five senses. We must know it by faith which receives what God has revealed. Now what is the force of “our earthly house of this tabernacle?”

C.C. — It is our present body. A few remarks on the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness may be helpful. There was an exterior part, and an interior one. To the ordinary Israelite one was visible; the other was invisible to him. It is the same with us; there is what is material and seen, and what is immaterial and not seen. God has so constituted us.

B.C.G. That is what man as man is — without regard to conversion or a second birth. All men are both physical and spiritual.

C.C. — Yes; and death is the end of this condition, at least for a time. While we do not apply the term to the inner man, yet death is, in fact, the taking down of the tabernacle, a separation of the spiritual from the material.

H.A.I. — That is what we have in James, is it not? — “As the body without the spirit is dead,” etc. That is what we understand by death. The body is left without the spirit.

B.C.G. — It is the destruction of “our earthly house of this tabernacle.”

C.C. — Yes; and so there should be no difficulty about the house being the body, a temporary building or structure. The tabernacle was suited to the wilderness. Our body is suited to this present earthly life.

B.C.G. — Called in Job, “houses of clay.”

C.C. — Just so; and it is of the dissolution of the temporary building that the apostle speaks here, “if our earthly tabernacle-house be dissolved.”

F.J.E. — That is the body falling into decay. Death would be, then, the separation of the parts of man, but it in no wise involves extinction.

C.C. — Neither the spirit nor the body becomes extinct at death. It is simply a change of condition. By death man passes out of the present condition into another condition of existence. And the resurrection is the passing out of that separated condition into a different condition of existence again. But it is the same man, the same identity, all through. Conditions change, but personality abides.

H.A.I. — We are told that our material bodies are completely changed every seven years, and some say, even more frequently. Yet we have a consciousness of being the same persons. Our personality is unchanged from year to year, and so in regard to the greater changes yet to come. The same life is in the butterfly that was in the grub.

X. — You say that our present bodies are material, what of the resurrection-body? Was the resurrection-body of the Lord Jesus material?

C.C. — Yes; only it had become spiritualized. And so with our resurrection-bodies.

X. — .What then is the condition of the departed believer between death and resurrection? Is the spirit any more secure than when here on earth in the body?

C.C. — The believer now is saved; he could not be any more secure than he is at present. In the departed state he is with Christ, at rest; he is not looking for judgment, as in the case of the unsaved.

B.C.G. — It is evident, from the little that Scripture tells us regarding the intermediate state, that believers will be fully conscious and with clearer mentality than here. We shall know even as we ourselves have been known. The wicked too will be fully conscious and awake to what had hitherto seemed of small moment to them.

H.A.I. — We see that in the rich man’s concern for his five brethren.

F.J.E. — Will there be physical suffering for the wicked after the resurrection?

C.C. — There are questions we cannot very clearly answer. Scripture does not throw much light on the resurrection-bodies of the wicked. Yet we know they will all be raised. In 1 Corinthians 15 Christ is said to be the first-fruits of them that slept. This is not said of the wicked, of course, but of the righteous. Yet He will also raise the wicked. Their’s will be a resurrection to judgment. But will their bodies when raised be fashioned like ours? Surely they will not be in His image.

B.C.G. — Surely not. But in what does the difference consist?

C.C. — Might we say that they will bear eternally in their bodies the marks of sin? Their bodies will not be raised in glory. Will they not then be of necessity raised in shame? We are told to fear Him who hath power to cast body and soul into hell, into Gehenna. It is the lake of fire, and the body has its part in that awful judgment. It is everlasting destruction, but not annihilation. A tool is made for a certain purpose: it may be destroyed concerning that purpose — not annihilated. So with man. The lost will not fill the purpose for which they were created; in that sense, therefore, are destroyed.

R.F.E. — Is death an incident or a condition?

C.C. — Dying is the incident. Death is a condition.

X. — Is there any such thing as annihilation?

B.C.G. — No; there is change, but not annihilation. Nothing is ever absolutely annihilated that God has once created.

R.F.E. — It is said that the wicked will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb, Revelation 14:10-11. What does this imply?

B.C.G. — It is not the dissolution of the body. The lake of fire is the second death. They are cast into the lake of fire as complete men.

H.A.I. — “Fear hath torment.” I think it is important to see that torment is largely mental. It is not exactly the same as torture, though both the English words are from the same root. But God is never represented in Scripture as torturing men. They are in torment, but it is the direct result of their own sin. The rich man says, “I am tormented in this flame.” But there is no thought of God torturing him. When this is seen people cannot accuse God of taking pleasure in man’s eternal punishment. Judgment is His strange work.

C.C. — Every man who has refused the grace of God in Christ will be judged for his own sins. But to go back to our chapter. We are told in regard to believers that if the temporary home is destroyed we are to have a permanent home. In the first part of the verse our present home is characterized as earthly; in the second part, our future home is said to be heavenly, “Not made, with hands.” But this present body was not made with hands. Why does he then speak of the heavenly body in this way? I believe, we have the explanation in Hebrews 9:11, where in the original we read, “But Christ, being come. . . . . by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands” (not of this ktisis, that is not of this creation). So the new body is not of this creation, as is the present body. This is what the term, “not made with hands” means. (Read 1 Cor. 15:44-49). The present body is characterized by suitability to this earth. The future or resurrection-body will be suited to heaven.

H.A.I. — As to “We have a building of God, a house not made with hands,” some prominent teachers have sought to make this apply to a spiritual body between death and resurrection.

C.C. — But we have that answered in verse 4, where the apostle speaks of our desire not to be unclothed. That is, we prefer to live till Christ returns, in which case we would never be unclothed. Otherwise we will be unclothed until the first resurrection and the rapture.

B.C.G. — Death is not putting on some kind of a body. It is putting off the body that we now have. Resurrection is putting on a new body.

C.C. — And so we desire to be clothed upon with our house that is from, or of, heaven — that is, heavenly in character, and suited to the glory of that scene.

H.A.I. — Some object that the passage says we have a house, etc.; not we shall have one at the resurrection.

C.C. — It is an illustration of how language may be confused. One is reminded of Luther on, “This is my body.” Scripture speaks of the things that are not as though they were.

B.C.G. — It is like, “We which have believed do enter into rest.”

H.A.I. — Faith sees the unseen things and lays hold of them now.

R.F.E. — What of that word, “The spirit returns to God who gave it.” Is this true of both saved and unsaved?

C.C. — Yes; it implies that they have to do with God, not with Satan. Men go to God to give account.

R. F. E. — It was He who gave the spirit, and the spirit goes back to Him.

B.C.G. — So then, for the believer we see that while he is at home in the body, he is absent from the Lord; but at death he passes out of the body; he is said to be “absent” from it, but at home with the Lord.

X. — Do we understand, then, from what has been said, that “the building of God,” the house not made with hands; eternal in the heavens, is the resurrection-body — not a spirit-body that we put on when we die? I had always thought it was ours as soon as we leave this mortal body.

C.C. — No; it is clearly the resurrection-body. It is heavenly in character and eternal. It does not come from heaven, but it is “of heaven,” or heavenly. Our Lord is said to be the Second Man which is “of heaven.” His body did not come out of heaven, but it was heavenly in character. So with the resurrection-bodies of the saints. But “present with the Lord” is not the same thing as being in the new body. Read carefully verses 7 and 8.

H.A.I. — A careful consideration of the entire passage, that is, of the first 8 verses of the chapter, makes this plain. If we see our bodies wasting away, we rest in hope, for we know we shall have new bodies, heavenly in character. In this present mortal body we groan, longing for the time when we shall have our glorified, our resurrection bodies, provided we are truly the Lord’s — “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” That is, resurrection itself is not all. Some will be raised and yet be found naked. They will be uncovered in the presence of God, because never having availed themselves of “the best robe;” so they will not find any joy in the resurrection. So we who are saved groan in this body, but we do not long for death, “not that we would be unclothed.”  But we do long for the return of the Lord when we shall be clothed upon, and mortality shall be swallowed up of life. Now it is for this God hath wrought us. This is what He has before Him. And He has sealed us with His Spirit in view of this very thing. So we wait in faith, confident that all is well whether left here in the body or called to leave it behind and taken to be with the Lord. There is no hint of a spirit-body between death and resurrection.

C.C. — The difficulty is that people do not understand the expression, “Our house which is from heaven.” As I have said it is really “of heaven,” that is, heavenly. In Romans 2:8 we have the same construction. There, “contentious” is really “of contention.” It is what is characteristic.

B.C.G. — It says that mortality shall be swallowed up in life. Does this imply that man as at present constituted is all mortal.

F.J.E. — A similar passage is that in 1 Corinthians 15; “This mortal shall put on immortality.”

C.C. — It refers of course to the body — our mortal body. We wait for the redemption of the body. The man lives on after he leaves the body, while waiting for the new, immortal body.

N.T. — What is involved in departing to be with Christ which is far better? Just what will be our condition in that state? I refer to Paul’s words in Philippians 1.

C.C. — It is difficult to speak of what one has never experienced. But “with Christ” is enough for our hearts.

H.A.I. — Would you say something now as to the natural and spiritual bodies of 1 Corinthians 15? Some people think of a material, or of an immaterial body when they read that scripture.

C.C. — It is really a soul-controlled and a spirit-controlled body. The word for natural is an adjective formed from the word soul. We do not have it in English. The natural body is suited to the soul which is the seat of man’s emotional nature. The new body will be suited to the spirit, which is the highest part of man, the seat of his intelligence. The resurrection-body will be material, but it will be perfectly suited to heaven, as our present one is suited to earth.

N.T. — Is that why the Lord said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak?”

C.C. — Yes; the present body is often a hindrance to the spirit. That is why “we groan, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the body.”

B.C.G. — The natural man is really the soulish man. But if walking aright we will not be controlled by our desires or appetites.

H.A.I. — I think it important that we see that the word of God alone pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. It makes it clear that the soul is the seat of emotion, and the spirit of intelligence.

C.C. — And yet we must guard against the thought of two distinct personalities in the one man. Soul and spirit together make-up the unseen man. “At death when the spirit leaves the body, the soul, of course, is with it.

B.C.G. — God is said to be the Father of spirits. It is the spirit that gives man pre-eminence above the beast.

C.C. — Adam in innocency had a body suited to the earth. It was of the earth and suited to an earthly existence. Even in his sinless state it was not suited to heaven. It would have had to be spiritualized to be suited to heaven. The resurrection-body will not be capable of decay. It will not need food to repair the ravages of waste and decay, as our bodies do now.

X. — In 2 Peter 1:13-14 what does Peter mean by his decease?

C.C. — It is very striking. He speaks really of his exodus, his going out of his body. This would not alter his personality; It would only be a change of condition.

F.J.E. — Would you give a word on verse 9 in our chapter?

C.C. — We labor now as saved ones that we may be acceptable to Him. We are His now, but we want His approbation. We wish to be well-pleasing to Him.

B.C.G. — This contrasts with what we have in Ephesians 1 where we are said to be accepted in the Beloved. This is salvation. In verse 9 it is reward, accepted of Him, not in Him.

F.J.E. — In Leviticus 1 we have the burnt-offering accepted for the offerer. In Ephesians 1 we are seen as accepted in Christ, and here we labor to be acceptable to Him. Now a word as to verse 10.

C.C. — Everything must be manifested before the judgment-seat. I do not think this need be limited to the saints. As we have already seen in verse 3, the apostle has the unregenerate also in mind; so here everyone shall be manifested. It is the judgment-seat of Christ in every instance. The Father has committed all judgment unto the Son. And all will come out for review in that day. If the true story of your life did not come out, would you not feel that you had missed something? That story will be, for every saint, the manifestation of the grace of God; for believers do not come into judgment, though we shall give an account for all our service and be rewarded or suffer loss accordingly (1 Cor. 3). But giving account of our service as saints is not the whole matter. We will be manifested; and that will be true of the wicked as well, only their manifestation will be at another time — before the Great White Throne.