Bible Testimony to the Son of God

A J Pollock

Contents
Chapter 1: The Son of God is God, the Son
Chapter 2: The Son of God is the Great Creator and Sustainer of all things
Chapter 3: The Son of God is the Son of Man
Chapter 4: The Son of God is the Great Redeemer
Chapter 5: The Son of God in Resurrection
Chapter 6: The Son of God in Ascension
Chapter 7: The Son of God in relation to the Church
Chapter 8: The Son of God in relation to Israel, Judgment, His coming again and Eternity

Foreword

  “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of ME” (John 5:39).

There is one Figure that stands out pre-eminent and predominant in the Word of God, and that is the Figure of the Son of God. With the dark record of man’s sin and failure in the background, there is delineated the character of One who is utterly unlike any other being that has ever been in this world.

He is not one among many, not even the foremost of the human race, if nothing more is conceded to Him than that. He stands by Himself, unique, incomparable, a solitary Figure, grander than words can express, even in the lowliness to which He stooped in Divine love, a solitary Figure in unapproachable majesty, wisdom, tenderness, compassion. His honour never can be shared by another.

Even His enemies, who can only gather what thoughts of Him they have from the Bible, are constrained to praise Him, in language never employed of any other, in language that would be grossest exaggeration, and most fulsome flattery, nay most blasphemous, if applied to any other than to Him. Yet when applied to Him, it is only truth, and even then in modest and very partial measure.

Had they but realized that in beholding only the sweep of His garments they were constrained to write thus, that they had not even got a glimpse into the inner shrine of His being, would they not have gone further in their search, and have discovered that He was “God manifest in the flesh,” and, like one of old, have bowed in the presence of the pierced hands and side, to exclaim with adoring fervour, My Lord and my God”?

It is arresting to read these testimonies, for the thoughts expressed have been gathered, as far as they go, from the Scriptures.

The late Theodore Parker, a well-known infidel writer in America, wrote:
  “Measure Jesus by the shadow He cast into the world; no, by the light He has shed upon it. Shall we be told that such a Person never lived? The whole story is a lie? Suppose that Plato and Newton never lived. But who did their works and thought their thoughts? It takes a Newton to forge a Newton. What man could have fabricated a Jesus? None but Jesus.”

Jean Paul Richter says of Christ:
  “The holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of civilization out of its channel, and still governs the ages.”

Lecky, the infidel historian, tells us:
  “Christ has exerted so deep an influence that it may truly be said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.”

Napoleon, who certainly was not a professed Christian, said to his companions in exile at St. Helena:
  “I know men; I tell you that Jesus is no mere man—everything in Him astonishes me, between Him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a Being by Himself. His ideas and His sentiments, the truths which He announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained by human organization, or by the nature of things. His birth and the history of His life; the profundity of His doctrines, which present the mightiest difficulties, and which is of these difficulties the most admirable solution; His apparition and His empire, His march across the ages and the realms; everything for me is a prodigy, a mystery insoluble which plunges me in reveries I cannot escape; a mystery which is there before my eyes, a mystery which I cannot deny nor explain. Here I see nothing human.”

Is there not sufficient in these admissions to convince men that they are on the threshold of a wonderful revelation from God? If Jesus can be spoken of in such language, surely it were impossible for Him to misrepresent Himself; and in the self-presentation of Him we get the revelation of God Himself, and therein lies all the blessedness of the creature.

Look at the mighty moral effect of that short public life of our Lord and of that wonderful death. Wherever it has taken possession of men it has civilized them, lifted them up, blessed them, made them, made them triumphant in the presence of death; but when men turn their back upon this great light, it is to gravitate back to heathendom with its unspeakable horrors. It may be civilized heathendom, veneered and gilded, but it is heathendom nevertheless, and blacker underneath because of its veneer and gilt.

Think of the Bible, translated in whole or in part into some seven hundred languages, and spite of the rising tide of indifference in so-called Christian lands, its circulation rises higher and higher. Truly it is a living book, whose leaves are for “the healing of the nations.”

May the reader give careful consideration to the following pages on the entrancing theme of Bible Testimony to the Son of God.

It is only possible to take up the theme in the scantiest way. Space and time forbid anything else. So great are the materials in the Bible concerning the Son of God, that one is reminded of the text:
  “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25).

These well may be the closing words of divine inspiration.

Chapter 1: The Son of God is God, the Son

This statement—the Son of God is God, the Son—is absolutely vital to Christianity. No person can be a Christian who denies it.

A lady, a complete stranger to me then, wrote to ask my help in answering a long letter. This letter was written by an ardent propagandist of a very anti-Christian sect. It fairly bristled with questions. There were literally scores of them.

I replied that to answer these questions would take many days. I counselled her to make one statement, backing it up with Scripture, and to refuse to go any further till this statement was agreed to. Moreover, if her correspondent were brought to see that this statement was true, it would automatically settle most, if not all, of his questions. The statement was, THE SON OF GOD IS GOD, THE SON.

It is not sufficient in these days to ask the question, Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Once upon a time this statement was sufficient, and an answer in the affirmative was perfectly satisfactory.

But it is not so today. The apostasy is far on the way. The central citadel of the Christian faith is the Person of the Son of God, and is the unceasing object of attack.

John Newton, converted slaver and drunkard, wrote truly,
  What think ye of Christ? is the test
  To try both your state and your scheme,
  Ye cannot be right in the rest,
  Unless ye think rightly of Him.”

The stream poisoned at its source, cannot be pure in its lower reaches.

A SUBTLE LIE OF THE DEVIL EXPOSED

The most unsound theologians of the present day will cheerfully admit that Jesus is the Son of God. But by this they do not mean what the Scriptures mean. There is a subtle lie of the devil abroad, that affirms that all men are the Sons of God. “The universal Fatherhood of God,” is the popular phrase which enshrines this error, Shakespeare, they say, was the son of God. “The man in the street” is the son of God. Jesus was the Son of God. They will put Jesus on a level with men. They will exalt His manhood, and deny His Deity and atoning work.

This is all very flattering to the natural man, but it is absolutely untrue. It is true that God is the Creator of all mankind.

  “He has made of one blood all nations of men” (Acts 17:26);
  And the Apostle Paul quoted the poet, Epimenides,
  “For we are also His offspring” (Acts 17:28), as conveying a true idea.

But Scripture never speaks of unregenerate men as the sons of God. On the contrary, Ephesians 2:2, speaks of them as “children of disobedience,” and the next verse describes them as “children of wrath.” The Lord Himself addressing the bitter opposing Pharisees in withering terms said, “Ye are of your father, the devil” (John 8:44).

THE SON OF GOD, A UNIQUE TITLE

The Lord Jesus is the Son of God, as no one else is. The Gospels prove that the Jews in the time of the Lord knew that the title, “Son of God,” was unique. They knew that the title was equal to the claim that He was God, the Son, that the Lord in claiming this title claimed Deity. This is clearly seen in the following Scriptures:
  “The Jews sought. . . . to kill Him, because He said . . . that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
  “The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God” (John 10:33).

There is no mistaking the meaning here. If He were not the Son of God, it was the most terrible blasphemy possible, and the opposition of the Jews was abundantly justified. But, if He was the Son of God, and this Scripture affirms, then the denial of His unique position as Son of God is surely grossest blasphemy. There can be no mistake as to the situation. There can be no neutrality here.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLE JOHN

The Gospel of John, we believe, was the last book of the Bible to be written. In his Epistle, written about the same time, he tells us:
  “Even now there are many antichrists” (1 John 2:18).

The ceaseless attack on the Person of Christ had begun, and the Apostle John was inspired to write the wonderful Gospel that bears his name to counteract these attacks, and guard the believer from error. The opening verses of the Gospel are overwhelming in their simplicity and grandeur.

  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2).

Here we have FOUR STATEMENTS OF THE MOST VITAL IMPORTANCE.
  (1) The eternity of the Being of the Son of God, in itself an assertion of Deity, for only God has immortality inherently.
  (2) The assertion of His distinct Personality in the Godhead. He is not God, the Father; not God, the Holy Spirit; but God, the Son. This is implied in this passage, but not unfolded in detail.
  (3) The assertion of His Godhead.
  (4) The assertion that His relation to Divine Persons and His Godhead are eternal.

What a statement, “In the beginning WAS!” There was no human witness to that beginning when,
  “The worlds were framed by the, word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3).

We know there must have been a beginning, and that the Creator existed necessarily before His creation. That word, “WAS,” goes back to that which was before the beginning, which had no beginning, even to God Himself, uncreated and eternal, and John 1 tells us that the Son of God was there, a distinct Person in the Godhead, and yet God. What creature can understand these profound mysteries? Well might Job of old ask the question, “Canst thou by searching find out God?”

We do not understand the mysteries of our own beings, nor the myriad marvels of the universe around us.

  “Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (Job 38:33).

Is it any wonder that the mystery of the Godhead is beyond the creature’s grasp?

THE TESTIMONY OF GENESIS

One of the most impressive things in Scripture is its unity. This unity is impossible apart from inspiration. When we find writers, separated by centuries, writing in different countries, writing on themes utterly beyond human ken, writing from different standpoints, writing, as a Puritan author happily phrased it, “without collusion or collision,” we can only come to the conclusion, that these writers were divinely inspired.

The correspondence between Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, is a case in point. We read,
  “In the beginning God [Elohim; plural] created [singular] the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).

Here we have the beginning in the creation of the heaven and the earth. But why should Moses write the word, God, in the plural number? He certainly could not have known what the Apostle John in his day would write.

THE NAME, GOD, IN THE PLURAL

Moses left to himself would never have written the name of God in the plural. In the Hebrew language there are three numbers, singular, one, and one only; dual, two, and two only; plural, three at least, or more. The idea of the Trinity is undoubtedly enshrined in the word, God, being in the plural. That being so we have God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit. Of course the truth could not be unfolded in detail, but it is most clearly implied, and supported by the uniform testimony of Scripture, and Genesis 1:1 is most strikingly in accord with the statement of John 1:1, viz., that the Son of God was from all eternity, a distinct Personality in the Godhead, and Himself God.

It is interesting to note that the word, God [Elohim], is in the plural over 2,500 times in the Old Testament, whereas the word, God [El] in the singular occurs only a little over 300 times.

Moreover in Genesis 1:1, the verb, created, following the plural noun, is in the singular, showing that there is only one God, though there are three persons in the Godhead, a plural unity, if we may so phrase it. There is one particularly interesting example of the use of the word, God, in the plural, we would draw attention to. In the special affirmation of the oneness of God in connection with the solemn occasion of the giving of the law, we read:
  “Hear, O Israel; the LORD [Jehovah, singular] our God [Elohim, plural] is one LORD [Jehovah, singular]” (Deut. 6:4).

This clearly shows that whilst Scripture affirms that there are three distinct Persons in the Godhead, yet there are not three Gods, but one; not a trinity of Gods, but a triune God.

Perhaps the triune constitution of man—spirit, soul and body, yet one man—may very dimly illustrate for us this still greater mystery. If we cannot understand creation, how can we understand the Creator; if we cannot understand ourselves, how can we understand God, if we cannot understand the finite how can we understand the infinite?

THE TESTIMONY OF HEBREWS

This epistle opens with a most wonderful affirmation of the Godhead of the Lord Jesus. The first chapter is so full in this respect that space will only allow us to glance at one or two points in it. We read:
  “Unto the Son He says, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).

Here we get God addressing His beloved Son as GOD. Is it possible to get a stronger proof of the Deity of the Son of God than this?

  “And again, when He brings in the First-begotten into the world, He says, And let all the angels of God worship Him” (Heb. 1:6).

Here we get the Divine decree that the myriad hosts of heaven are to worship God’s First-begotten when brought into the world.

Would God, who gave the ten commandments with their majesty and power, the first of which was that they should worship no other God but Himself, have bidden the angelic hosts to break that command? Would He have brooked the worship of the creature? Assuredly not.

Behold the Child of the virgin, wrapped in swaddling clothes, in the lowly manger of the stable of Bethlehem’s inn.

  “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:13-14).

Here we get the fulfilment of the Divine decree, the acknowledgement of the angelic hosts that the Babe in Bethlehem’s manger was God. Wonder of wonders! What a moment for heaven and for earth!

THE TESTIMONY OF ISAIAH

The consideration of that scene in Bethlehem’s stable, where the angels worship their God in the form of the Infant of the virgin, naturally leads us to Isaiah’s testimony. We read:
  “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).

Could such a verse be penned apart from inspiration? Impossible! Here we get what would be humanly impossible—a Child of days and the Father of Eternity predicated of one Person. This Child is named of heaven the Mighty God, the Father of Eternity. Nothing short of the incarnation of God, the Son, could encompass this.

A previous chapter in this prophecy tells us:
  “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).

Seven centuries later this wonderful prophecy is fulfilled. Jesus is born at Bethlehem. In His Person
  “God was manifest in the flesh. . . . seen of angels” (1 Tim. 3:16).

One more wonderful passage we should like to quote.
  “Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and His Spirit, has sent Me” (Isa. 48:16).

Who is this that can speak of Himself as existing before the beginning? Surely none but a Divine Person. Here we have the Trinity—“The Lord God and His Spirit has sent Me”—“Me,” the Word of John 1:1, and one of the persons of the Elohim of Genesis 1:1, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have given but a fragment of the testimony that the Old Testament can furnish as to the Godhead of the Lord Jesus. In the Old Testament the Spirit of God was patiently preparing the way for the recognition of the Son of God when He should become incarnate.

No wonder the hearts of the two disciples going to Emmaus burned within them when the risen Lord
  “expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

What a marvellous exposition that must have been! What a wonderful wealth of material the Old Testament Scriptures furnished for that discourse!

We come now to the New Testament.

THE TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

Twice over the Forerunner emphasized the absolute pre-eminence of Jesus. He testified,
  “This was He of whom I spake, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for He was before me” (John 1:15, 30).

When questioned by the priests and Levites as to who he was he affirmed that he was not the Christ, but was “a voice crying in the wilderness,” preparing the way for Jehovah as prophesied by Isaiah (see chapter 40:3-5).

Surely the sentence, “For He was before me,” is language that could only be used of a Divine Person. As a matter of fact John the Baptist was a few months older than the Lord according to the flesh, and therefore it is clear that his affirmation that the Lord was before him referred to His Deity. In short, Jesus was Jehovah.

So when the Baptism of the Lord took place, the sign of the Holy Spirit, visibly descending on Him, led the Forerunner to exclaim,
  “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34).

And remember that the Forerunner was quite aware that the title, Son of God, meant God, the Son.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE DEMONS

The demons acknowledged Him, even if they hated and feared Him. For once they were compelled to speak the truth.

Read their testimony:
  “What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Matt. 8:29).
  “And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried saying, Thou art the Son of God” (Mark 3:11).
  “And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone, what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One of God” (Luke 4:33-34).

Shall it be that demons acknowledge the Deity of the Son of God and men will not?

THE TESTIMONY OF THE LORD HIMSELF

When the Pharisees were disputing with the Lord. He said to them,
  “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56).

This astonished them beyond measure, and they replied,
  “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?”

The Lord replied,
  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, BEFORE Abraham was, I AM.”

Here is the most unqualified assertion of Deity, He claimed to be the great “I AM”, Jehovah, the self-existent One.

In the same chapter He made the same tremendous claim. He said to the unbelieving Pharisees.
  “If ye believe not that I AM* . . . ye shall die in your sins” (v. 24).
{*The word “He” in the Authorised Version is in italics, and is not in the original.}

In Revelation 1:8 the Lord announced Himself,
  “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

This description—“Which is and which was and which is to come”—is really a title, which corresponds to the Hebrew name, Jehovah; “which is,” present participle, which always is; “which was”, imperfect tense which ever was; “which is to come”; participle, which always is the coming One. Note the present tense comes first in order. God is the great eternal Present, stretching backwards and forwards over a boundless eternity. And this is the Lord Jesus.

Necessarily we have the poverty of human language in expressing Divine ideas, for here we have a beginning that never had a beginning, and an ending, which will never have an end.

Revelation 1:12, answers to Isaiah 48:12:
  “Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He; I am the First, I am also the Last.”

How wonderfully Scripture hangs together. Bind sixty-six books on any subject you like—medicine, astronomy, geology, science—and you bind books that will contradict each other, but in the Bible we have sixty-six books, yet one Book in unity and testimony. The Book is Divinely inspired.

Running through the Gospel of John there are assertions by the Lord Jesus as to who He was, and what He came to do, which, if not true, would have been the most frightful blasphemy possible. No servant of God, other than the Lord, ever used or could use such language. They are assertions that could not be true unless He was the Jehovah of the Old Testament on the one hand, and the Seed promised to Abraham, the Child of the virgin, the Man, Christ Jesus, on the other, yet one blessed Person.

JESUS IS JEHOVAH

Notice that the Scriptures we are about to quote all begin with the words, I AM, the affirmation of Deity, and that the filling out in detail of the affirmation could only be true if He, a Divine Person, became Man and died an atoning death on the cross.
  “I AM the Light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
  “I AM the Living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever: and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:61).
  “I AM the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).
  “I AM the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
  “I AM the Resurrection and the Life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall He live: and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).
  “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me” (John 16:6).
  “I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman” (John 15:1).

There was and could be no light, no Divine life, no blessing from God to man, no revelation of Divine love, no truth, no knowledge, apart from Him. Could any servant of the Lord, however eminent or gifted put forth such claims? They would be laughed to scorn. But on the lips of the Lord Jesus they carry conviction with them, such is their power, and such things are necessary for the blessing of the world. If light were to be adequate, it must be “the Light of the world”; if bread were to be adequate, it must be “the Life of the world.” It must stretch into all time and into all parts.

THE SON OF GOD CLAIMED PRE-EMINENCE

The Lord claimed to be greater than Jonas, greater than Solomon, greater than the Temple, greater than the Sabbath, to be on an equality with God, that for men not to honour the Son, as they honour the Father, would be failure to honour the Father Himself, who sent Him. Such is the full and absolute claim of Christ to honour and dignity, than which none could be higher, even that of Deity itself.

His manner of performing His miracles, and the character and number of them attested His Godhead.

THE SON OF GOD INVOKED NO NAME WHEN PERFORMING MIRACLES

Though in wondrous grace the Mighty God became incarnate, though He took the place of dependence, and only spake the words, and performed the deeds His Father gave Him to do, yet His was the voice of authority that accomplished these deeds. When Peter and John healed the lame man at the Gate Beautiful of the Temple, they invoked another Name than their own, and said,
  “In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6),
and they disclaimed that it was by their power or holiness that the miracle was performed.

Not so in the case of the blessed Son of God. He spoke as from Himself. If He had not been “God manifest in the flesh” He could not have done so. When it was even a case of death, He stopped the funeral procession,
  “And He came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise” (Luke 7:14).

He spoke the word, as of and from Himself, though in His dependence it was the word that the Father had given Him to speak. This is a characteristic case. He invoked no name of power as Peter and John did. His was the word of might, that even death obeyed. It was the same in that greatest of His miracles.

We read:
  “And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43).

It was the same when He rebuked the winds and the waves, and there was a great calm; He rebuked the demon, and the evil spirit gave up possession of the one, who had been tormented; He rebuked the fever, and immediately in full strength Peter’s wife’s mother arose, and ministered to those around her. His was the word of power, that never fell to the ground.

THE TESTIMONY OF MIRACLES TO THE SON OF GOD

The Apostle Peter, on the great day of Pentecost, described the Lord as
  “A Man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you” (Acts 2:22).

Here we find that miracles were given by God as a supernatural credential to establish in the minds of men who and what Christ was.

MIRACLES, A SUPERNATURAL CREDENTIAL

It is a fashionable thing in Modernistic circles to deny that there are, or can be, such things as miracles. At the bottom this denial of miracles is both illogical and infidel. All through Scripture we read of miracles, and to refuse to believe in such is to refuse Scripture. What right has man to say that God, who has created the universe with all its wonderful laws, must be Himself tied to these laws, so that He cannot alter them for a moment, or for special purposes? How do they know?

It is extraordinary how these unconverted Modernistic theologians, and infidel scientists, often calling their unproved theories, “assured results,” unite in explaining away the miraculous. They deny the miraculous in detail, and pass over the great miracle of original creation, when
  “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3).

When one contemplates the wonderful creation with all its many-sided marvels, the myriad suns that stud the heavens, held in space by the mighty fiat of God; the mystery of our own beings, and ten thousand things beside, it is impossible to logically refuse to believe in miracles. Everything is miraculous so far as man is concerned.

Further, to refuse to believe in miracles is to disbelieve Scripture. It plainly uses the words—miracles, signs, wonders—in reference to the life of the Lord.

MIRACLES CROWDED INTO THREE BRIEF YEARS

In the case of the Lord, the miracles that He performed were all crowded into three brief years. What can a man do in three years? Three years are not long enough for even extraordinary men to get into positions, where they can control things. It takes years of strenuous effort for a politician to get to the summit of his ambition, or for a soldier to become a commander on the field of battle.

Yet here we find the Lord in three short years setting in motion that which will go on through the eternal ages.

There is, indeed, no rational middle ground between believing that the Lord’s claims were all true, supported by God’s power and heaven’s approval, or believing that He was the greatest impostor possible, for the greater the claims the greater the imposture, and no one has ever made such claims as He.

If Jesus was a good Man He was God. If He was not God, He was not a good man. The issue is plain.

A UNIQUE CHARACTER OF MIRACLES

The nature and number of the Lord’s miracles are like none else.

In Psalm 8 one of the special marks of the Son of Man, a Divine Person, was that He should have power over the fishes of the sea. Nebuchadnezzar, with whom “the times of the Gentiles” began, had power given him over men and beasts and the fowls of the air; but not over fish. This power is reserved for the Son of Man, the Son of God.

The Lord Jesus was the only One, as we may expect from Psalm 8, who performed miracles in connection with fish. In the one case that might be cited as an exception, Jonah did not perform the miracle. The miracle was performed upon him.

When Peter cast his net into the sea at the bidding of Christ, though he had toiled all night and caught nothing, finding a multitude of fishes enclosed, and the net breaking, he threw himself at the Lord’s feet in the acknowledgement of His Divine Person. The miracle disclosed who He was.

Again He, who could command the denizens of the deep to swarm in multitudes into Peter’s net, where for a whole night none had been caught, could command one fish to attach itself to Peter’s hook, its mouth containing the sum that was needed to pay the tribute money necessary for the Lord and Peter.

Again in resurrection He exerted the same power. After a fruitless night of fishing, the Lord bade the disciples cast their net over the right side of the ship, and they enclosed a great multitude of fishes, so much so that they could not drag the net to land without help from the shore. And when the Lord invited the disciples to dine,
  “None of the disciples durst ask Him, Who art Thou? knowing that it was the Lord” (John 21:12).

These were unique miracles attesting that He was the One prophesied of in Psalm 8.

THE LORD’S MESSAGE TO JOHN, THE BAPTIST

When John, the Baptist, depressed and cast down and in prison, sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord if He was the promised One, or had they to look for another,
  “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them” (Matt. 11:4-5).

This was His assertion of His Person and mission.

Miracles by servants of God in Old Testament times were few and far between. Think of the multitude of miracles that followed the Lord like a trail of light, constantly insisting upon the truth of who He was.

The man born blind, who received his eyesight, replying to the opposition of the Pharisees, said, as it were an unanswerable argument, for indeed it was a unique miracle,
  “Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind?” (John 9:32).

In the Old Testament it was never heard that a demon-possessed person was delivered from his affliction, but in the case of the Lord often, and often He healed such cases.

THE RAISING TO LIFE OF THE DEAD

The raising of the dead were notable miracles, producing an effect so great in the case of Lazarus that the Pharisees said among themselves,
  “Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after Him” (John 12:19).

Compare the ease and directness with which the Lord performed His miracles in raising the dead with the way that Elisha went about it, when he was the instrument used in bringing back to life the son of the Shunammite woman. See how even the personal presence of the Lord was not necessary, when He spoke the word of healing, and the centurion’s servant was healed immediately. It was never so done in Old Testament times.

Surely never were proofs more abundant than in the case of the Lord, as the Fulfiller of the prophetic Psalm:
  “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all thine iniquities; who heals all thy diseases” (Ps. 103:2-3).

THE SON OF GOD FORGAVE SINS

We pass from the healing that the Lord practised to what is even higher. Again and again the Lord forgave sins in an absolute way. Take one case, when He forgave the poor palsied man his sins,
  “The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21).

They were quite right in proclaiming that God alone could forgive sins; they were quite wrong in refusing to acknowledge the Person of Christ, and that this power belonged by right to Him, and that He was Jehovah Himself, as marked out in Psalm 103.

THE SON OF GOD INCARNATE IS WORSHIPPED

When the wise men of the East, led by the star, found themselves in the house at Bethlehem, we read:
  “They saw the young child with Mary His mother; and fell down and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matt. 2:11).

Again we read:
  “And behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean” (Matt. 8:2).

The Lord in no wise refused such worship but accepted it.

Again we read:
  “Behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live” (Matt. 9:18).

Again there is no repudiation of the worship as not belonging to Him.

Perhaps the most striking case was the response that Thomas made, when the Lord in resurrection showed him His hands and side. He exclaimed, as the reality of Christ in resurrection dawned upon him:
  “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

The Lord accepted this homage without question.

When the Apostle John fell down to worship the angel that had shown him the vision of things to come, we read:
  “Then said he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: WORSHIP GOD” (Rev. 22:9).

Would not the Lord, like the angel, have refused worship, if it had not belonged to Him as the Mighty God?

GOD PUNISHES SUMMARILY THE CREATURE WHO ASSUMES DIVINE HONOURS

It is noticeable that God will not brook any assumption of Divine honours by the creature.

When Nebuchadnezzar erected the golden image and demanded worship, it was soon followed by his being degraded to the level of the beast, and losing his reason till seven times passed over him.

When Herod received without protest the shout of the people that his was the voice of a god, and not of a man, immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, and he died, because he gave not God the glory.

When the later Roman Emperors claimed for themselves Divine honours, it was soon followed by the break-up of the Roman Empire.

And in the last days when “the abomination of desolation” shall be set up in the Temple at Jerusalem, and Divine honours claimed for the image of the beast, it will soon be followed by the casting of the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire. How near we seem to be getting to the time, when such things are possible.

We could multiply cases where the Lord Jesus was worshipped, but space forbids. Suffice it to say that there is that about the Lord that irresistibly carries conviction that He was rightly worshipped.

THE FATHER’S VOICE ACKNOWLEDGES THE SON OF GOD

Once at the beginning of the Lord’s public ministry, the heavens were opened to look for the first recorded time on an Object of supreme satisfaction on earth.

As He emerged from His baptism, and the Spirit of God, like a dove, abode upon Him, we read:
  “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

Again on the Mount of Transfiguration, when Peter proposed three tabernacles, one for the Lord, one for Moses and one for Elias, he was rebuked for seeking to put the Lord on an equality with Moses and Elias by a bright cloud overshadowing them, and a voice coming out of the cloud which said,
  “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him” (Matt 17:5).

The Father would permit no rival to the Son of His infinite delight.

Finally at the end of His wonderful pathway, the Lord, troubled in soul, cried,
  “Father glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28).

And then we are told that the voice from heaven, the Father’s voice surely, was not for the Lord’s sake, but for that of the people.

Surely with all the testimony we have furnished, a mere tithe of the wealth of material available, all but the wilfully blind must with glad and deep adoration acknowledge that THE SON OF GOD IS GOD, THE SON.

Chapter 2: The Son of God is the Great Creator and Sustainer of all things

Whenever creation is ascribed in Scripture to a particular Person in the Godhead it is invariably to the Son. For a long time it was a matter of wonder why this should be till it was seen that Scripture itself furnished the answer.

In John 1 we learn that the Son of God is called “The Word.” This means that it pleased the Godhead to give expression to all that God is for man through the Son of God.

This was manifest in two ways, (1) in creation and (2) in the incarnation of the Son of God. In the former,
  “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. 1:20).

In the latter, God in His nature, in His righteousness and holiness and infinite love, has been declared.

In the former His fingers are seen (see Ps. 8); in the latter His heart is revealed.

If only men would listen to the testimony of creation it would be a mercy. Most men see the wonders of creation, and yet live as if they had no responsibility to their Creator. Forgetting God, they will worship images like to corruptible man, to birds, beasts and even creeping things. Thus is man, who will not retain God in His knowledge, degraded. He drops down to the level of the beast, as he turns his back on God.

The identification of the Creator with “The Word made flesh” is deeply interesting, and this is especially emphasized in John 1. It is as if the Spirit of God would allow no loophole whereby we should fail to understand that the Son of God, who became incarnate, is “the Mighty God” (Isa. 9:6).

We read:
  “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).

There is a certain class of people, who teach that God created Christ, with power to create all else, that He Himself is the only exception. How in the light of this verse such nonsense can be put forth passes one’s comprehension.

Lower down in the chapter another assertion of the Creatorship of the Son is made.
  “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” (v. 10).

It is happy to realize that we owe everything to the Lord Jesus, whether it be our very existence, or the sun to ripen the corn, or the clouds that water the earth, or the ground that brings forth all that we eat, or the higher and deeper blessings that have come to us through the revelation of God in “The Word made flesh,” the things that are spiritual and eternal.

God the Father would have us honour the Lord Jesus, even as we honour Himself.

A GALAXY OF GLORY

Things moral as well as material were created by the Son of God. We read:
  “By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Col. 1:16-17).

What a wondrous assertion of the glory of the Son of God! Things heavenly and things earthly, angels and men, things animate and things inanimate, things material and things moral—ALL were created by the fiat of the Son of God.
  “By the word of the Lord [Jehovah, and Jehovah is Jesus] were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:6, 9).

There are two things said in the magnificent prologue of Hebrews 1 and they are both predicated of the Son of God.

We read:
  “By whom also He made the worlds” (v. 9).

and that Christ is
  “upholding all things by the word of His power” (v. 3).

Creator and Sustainer! What glories centre in our Saviour!

Lower down in the chapter we read:
  “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands” (v. 10).

How gladly we re-echo the outburst,
  “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

Scripture testimony is full and clear that THE SON OF GOD IS THE CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OF ALL THINGS.

Chapter 3: The Son of God is the Son of Man

Here we come to the great mystery of the incarnation. It believes us to listen to what Scripture unfolds on this sacred subject, and to be careful not to go beyond what is written.

It is a fundamental truth in the faith of God’s elect that the Son of God became the Son of Man.

God made man in His image and likeness, but alas! man soon fell, is God’s thought to be frustrated? is God defeated? Nay, a thousand times, nay. The first man, Adam, failed. The second Man, the Lord from heaven, shall bring in all the glory for God, and uphold all His designs for the blessing of this world. The Son of Man is the hope of the world, little as the world realizes it.

The way in which it was brought about is most instructive. Hard following on the fall, the Lord God indicated a great mystery. Speaking to the serpent, who had beguiled Eve, He said:
  “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).

Who inspired Moses to write about “the seed of the woman?” We all know that procreation is brought about by the seed of the man. Who told Moses to write down what looked like an unscientific and impossible statement? The hand of God was in this. Inspiration is a great reality. Here we have the first indication of the virgin birth.

THE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM

Nearly two thousand years roll their course, and God promised a son to Abraham, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. Again the matter was beyond the power of mere nature, for Abraham was old and well-stricken in years, and Sarah, his wife, was long past the age when she could hope for offspring in the ordinary course of nature. Galatians tells us that the seed was Christ. Isaac was but a link in the chain, so was Jacob, and Judah, and all the links that followed, but THE SEED WAS CHRIST. Isaac was not “the seed of the woman.” That was Christ and Christ alone.

THE PROMISE TO DAVID

Nearly another thousand years roll by, and we find King David desiring to build a house to the Lord, but the Lord recounted how He had taken David from following the sheep to be ruler over Israel, and ended by saying,
  “Also the Lord tells thee that HE will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son” (2 Sam. 7:11-14).

Thus did God make promise to David, a promise which could be only fully secured in Christ.

If the promise to Abraham had a world-wide significance, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,” the promise to David can only be completely fulfilled when the Lord shall sit on the throne of David, and reign in His Messianic character. It is deeply interesting that the promise relating to Solomon, “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son,” is quoted in Hebrews 1:5, as applied to Christ. It brings out in bold relief the thought that if everything in the hands of men goes to wreck and ruin, in the hands of Christ everything is at once and for ever divinely secure.

ISAIAH’S PROPHECIES

Something like three centuries pass by, and Isaiah takes up his inspired pen, and prophesies,
  “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel [God with us]” (Isa. 7:14).

Again he tells us,
  “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6).

The virgin birth is here clearly stated, and the union of Godhead and humanity in one Person is plainly set forth. Thus we trace the predictions getting clearer and clearer as the time of the fulfilment drew nigh.

THE DIVINE AND HUMAN IN ONE PERSON PROPHESIED

We pass on to Micah, who prophesied that One, who should unite in His Person the Divine and human, would be born in Bethlehem, the city of David.

  “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah. . . . out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

WHO IS THIS SON OF MAN?

We pass on another seven hundred years, and we come to the beautiful accounts of the birth of Christ. In Luke’s Gospel we find the Lord’s genealogy traced upwards to Adam, who was of God, showing His title as Son of Man in Matthew’s Gospel we get His descent given through Abraham and David, establishing Him as the One who should secure the promise of world-wide blessing made to Abraham, and the promise of kingly and Messianic blessing made to David.

As the Son of Man the Lord shall reign over the whole earth. Daring hands have grasped at world dominion from time to time, but a few brief years sufficed for their eclipse. The testimony of history ought to be sufficient to teach men weighty lessons. Today men are trying to evolve a millennium without Christ, but they are doomed to dismal disappointment.

TWO OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES

Two Old Testament Scriptures throw great light upon the position and character of the Son of Man. In Daniel 7:13-14, we read:
  “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

This gives us to realize what is the rightful position for the Son of Man to occupy. It is that of universal dominion and power. Keep this well in mind as we unfold our theme.

The second Scripture is the well-known Psalm 8. It is a night scene, and as David is impressed with the glory of the heavens, the moon and the stars, he bursts into truly prophetic and inspired language,
  “What is man [Enosh], that Thou art mindful of him? and THE SON OF MAN [Adam] that Thou visitest him?” (v. 4).

Enosh is a Hebrew name for man, meaning poor, frail, mortal, sinning man. The blessed Lord was never the Son of Enosh. In Him the entail of the fall was entirely broken. He was born of a virgin, begotten by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Wonderful words were addressed to Mary by the angel,
  “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that HOLY thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:55).

ADAM OR ENOSH?

Psalm 8 is beautiful, the hall-mark of inspiration stamped upon it. “What is man [Enosh] that Thou art mindful of him?” is asked. Man fallen, in sin and misery, death and judgment lying full in his path, is under the eye of God. Will His eye pity? Will His hand be stretched out to save? Yes, but man [Enosh] is hopeless. There is no salvation in him.

But the question runs on, “And, the Son of Man [Adam], that Thou visitest him?” Adam is a Hebrew name for man, and used to designate our first parent as created by God. Here we get the prophetic announcement of man after a new order. Truly a man descended from Adam, the entail of sin, as we have already said, broken in Him, heaven giving character to His manhood, as we read, “The second Man is the Lord from heaven” (1 Cor. 15:47), and when here on earth He could speak of Himself as “The Son of Man which is in heaven” (John 3:13).

Then follows the place that the Son of Man will have, and a description given, that is prophetic only of Christ, and which is quoted in Hebrews 2:6 as directly applying to Him. “Made . . . a little lower than the angels,” Hebrews 2, adding the words, “for the suffering of death,” “crowned. . . . with glory and honour,” the Son of Man is to have dominion over the works of God’s hands, and all things are to be put under His feet.

Thus between Daniel 7:13-14, and Psalm 8 we get an idea of who the Son of Man is.

THE GLORY OF CHRIST’S PERSON GUARDED

How wonderfully the glory of Christ’s Person is guarded in the Scriptures. We have seen how Jesus is Jehovah, the Mighty God, but there is one point that is plain in Scripture and which we do well to ever keep in mind. The Lord Jesus was God before He became Man, but there never was a time when His holy Manhood existed apart from Deity. The Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger of the stable of Bethlehem’s inn, was indeed “The Mighty God, the Father of Eternity.”

Seeing that Deity and humanity are united indissolubly in His blessed Person, not two Persons, but One, we have to carefully seek to keep within the testimony of Scripture on this truly sacred subject.

We read that the Lord is
  “The Firstborn of every creature” (Col. 1:15).
  “The Beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14).

Yet it would be very wrong to go so far as to call the blessed Lord a creature seeing that Deity is united to humanity. In the unity of His Person He was unique. We read an article written lately where the writer indignantly rebuked the practise of some in speaking of the Lord as Man in a light way, and our heart went with the rebuke that the writer of this article administered.

REVERENCE INCULCATED

We need to exercise our souls in the cultivation of reverence when speaking of the Lord of glory. That He is a man is a truth VITAL to Christianity, precious beyond words, necessary for our salvation, if He were to take our place in death under the judgment of God for sin. His stoop from the eternal throne, His emptying Himself of the “form of God” (Phil. 2:6), and taking in lowly grace “a bondman’s form” (N.Tr.), though never ceasing to be God with the nature and attributes of God, amazes us, and fills our heart with adoring worship.

We love to think of the coming glory, but not all the blaze of glory, of which He is so worthy, will ever dim the lustre of His stoop and humiliation.

A LIMITATION OF OUR KNOWLEDGE

We are reminded here of a Scripture that sets a limit to our knowledge, the transgression of which is answerable for untold sorrow in the church of God.

The great divisions in Christendom from the earliest times have invariably centred round speculations as to the Person of Christ. We do well to be warned not to transgress in this respect, yet, surely, all the testimony of Scripture on the subject is for our learning and blessing.

This historic Scripture consists of words that flowed from the lips of the Lord Himself.

  “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27).

This Scripture should be well pondered and laid to heart.

Note, there are two things said about the knowledge of the Father, but only one about the knowledge of the Son.

First, the Son knows the Father, and, second, the Son reveals the Father to whomsoever He will.

But in the case of the knowledge of the Son there is only one step, “No man knows the Son, but the Father,” and there it stops. What can this tremendous statement mean, averring that the Father knows the Son, and that no one else does?

That the knowledge of the Lord is the blessedness of the believer is evident from Scripture.

  “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

Further, when the Lord questioned His disciples as to who He was, and Peter replied that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lord said,
  “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17).

Now these Scriptures, and the one quoted in Matthew 11:27, do not contradict each other, for immediately following the statement that none know the Son but the Father, the Lord sounded out the invitation that has found a response in ten thousand times ten thousand hearts:
  “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

The answer is evident, we may know the Lord, who bids the weary and heavy laden to come to Him, but we may never know the mystery of His Person, we may never understand the manner in which God and man can be united in one Person, such Person having the nature and attributes of God, and yet a true and complete Man, sin apart.

We may well say with the Christian poet that such things are
  “... darkness to my intellect, but sunshine to my heart.”

Indeed if we could understand this mystery it would prove that the creature could grasp the Creator; and if such could be the case, it would be to reduce the infinite and illimitable to the finite, to that which can be measured by the human and fallen mind.

A thousand times over we would that it should be as it is. It satisfies our minds as nothing else can. We bow before the inscrutability of the Person of the blessed Son of God become Man, and own that in that mystery lies all our blessing for time and eternity.

MANHOOD NECESSARY FOR ATONEMENT

But we shall be losers, if we do not receive all that Scripture is pleased to give us on this blessed and holy subject.

We read:
  “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

Here we get the assertion of the Manhood of the Lord in a very emphatic way, showing that He must become Man in order to be the Mediator. This is supported by Hebrews 2:14.

  “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.”

Note the phrase—“flesh and blood,” is a technical expression. The meaning of it can be gathered from a study of the way that it is used in Scripture. The animals have “flesh and blood,” but it is clear that the phrase is confined in its usage to express the thought of humanity. It implies all that humanity stands for. A man is not only “flesh and blood,” but spirit, soul and body. Apart from the spirit there cannot be “flesh and blood.” “Flesh and blood” is an expression standing for full manhood, spirit, soul and body.

  “The body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26).

MANHOOD MEANS SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY

There is one illuminating passage, showing plainly the tri-partite character of man.
  “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).

Here it is very plain that man is composed of spirit, soul and body. Take one of these three parts away from man, and he would cease to be man, he would be no longer “flesh and blood.”

CHRIST’S MANHOOD IS FULL MANHOOD

The blessed Lord in assuming manhood took all that was necessary for manhood, spirit, soul, and body; the spirit of a man, the soul of a man, the body of a man—in other words a human spirit, a human soul, a human body—full complete manhood. And yet, united to Deity there was but one indivisible Person. Such is the teaching of Scripture, such the mystery that our Lord declares none can know but the Father.

We must believe that He is very God, for this is clearly taught in the Word; we must believe that He is very Man, for this is clearly taught in the Word—very God and very Man, yet one blessed Person, Godhead and humanity united indissolubly and indivisibly and forever. Blessed Mystery, before which faith falls with adoring worship.

THE SPIRIT OF A MAN

We would now avail ourselves of the testimony of Scriptures on this sacred, but most holy subject. The blessed Lord was born a Babe, grew to childhood and manhood in the course of nature.

We read:
  “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40).
  “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

Further reference is made to His spirit in the following passages:
  “When Jesus perceived in His spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, He said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8).
  “And He sighed deeply in His spirit, and says, Why does this generation seek after a sign?” (Mark 8:12).
  “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Luke 10:21).
  “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled” (John 11:33).
  “When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me” (John 13:21).
  “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46).

The first two Scriptures we quote—Luke 2:40 and 52—are deeply interesting and throw much light on the subject. Everything about the Manhood of the Lord Jesus was beautifully natural. Nothing outraged nature in the Bible narrative. He grew to the stature and intelligence of a man in the ordinary way. “The Child grew.” He “waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom.” If His spirit had not been the spirit of a man it could not have “waxed strong.” Such an expression could not be affirmed of Deity.

In a translation, which is much prized, Luke 2:40 reads,
  “And, the child grew and waxed strong [in spirit], filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was upon Him” (J.N.Darby’s New Translation.).

In a footnote Mr. Darby explains why he put the words “in spirit,” in brackets. Some of the manuscripts omit the words, but the Textus Receptus gives them, and this is his authority for so doing. Whether the words “in spirit,” should be there or not, does not really alter the import of the passage for in Luke 2:52, as in this passage, the Lord is said to increase in wisdom.

Now wisdom is clearly connected with the spirit, and if the spirit of the Lord was not the spirit of a man, there could be no increase. Deity cannot increase in wisdom.

And yet, so great is the mystery that the Child, who grew and increased in wisdom and stature, was all the time “the Mighty God,” omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. Such mystery we can state, but cannot fathom, we can believe, but cannot explain.

As to the other Scriptures quoted, what an appeal they make to the heart of the Christian. We love to think of the Lord in all the exquisite feelings of His spirit as a Man, that marked Him, and that bring Him so close to us. He perceived in spirit; groaned in spirit; was troubled in spirit; rejoiced in spirit; dismissed His spirit into His Father’s keeping.

There is another passage that is very helpful on this point.

“IN ALL THINGS . . . MADE LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN.”

We read:
  “For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham, wherefore IN ALL THINGS it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:16-17).

If the Lord had not the spirit of a man, then He was not made like unto His brethren “IN ALL THINGS.” How happy it is to bow to Scripture.

The spirit is the highest part of man. If the spirit is absent there can be no man. The beast has soul and body (not an immortal soul as man has); man has spirit, soul (an immortal soul), and body, and without one of these constituent elements he could not be a living man on the earth.

The attempt, conscious or unconscious, to explain to human minds the unknowable is responsible, we believe, for much that has been put forward all down the centuries on this sacred theme. If, as God, our Lord is Spirit, and if, as Man, He had a spirit, some, fearing the teaching of double personality, try to guard the matter by intruding into the unknowable with their definitions. We desire to receive the full light of Scripture, and yet be absolutely loyal to the statement, “No man knows the Son but the Father.” Here only is safety. The Lord is very God and very man, yet one in the unity of His Person for ever.

Further, the true manhood of the Lord is connected closely with the atoning work He came to do. He is made in all things like unto His brethren, in order that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest “TO MAKE RECONCILIATION FOR THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE.” It is this thought that makes us so tenacious as to the truth of the Lord’s full manhood. Without it we have no true Christ. It is a vital truth, essential to the truth of Christianity.

THE SOUL OF A MAN

The blessed Lord when on earth referred to His soul. We, herewith, quote the passages where this occurs.
  “Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour” (John 12:27).
  “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me” (Matt. 26:38, Mark 14:34).

Acts 2:27, quoting Psalm 16:10, as prophetic of Christ reads:
  “Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell [Hades N.Tr.], neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.”

How touching it is to be permitted to how somewhat of the deep anguish of His holy soul as He drew near to the awful ordeal of the cross. It was His holy humanity that was necessary for the great work of atonement.

THE BODY OF A MAN

This brings us to a Scripture that speaks of His body, and it will be seen that it is used in connection with the great work of atonement.

We read:
  “Wherefore when He comes into the world, He says, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me” (Heb. 10:5).

This is a quotation from Psalm 40:6, “Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened [margin, digged]: burnt offering and sin offering hast Thou not required.”

This again is an allusion to Exodus 21:1-6. There we have a touching type of our Lord in the Hebrew slave, who, having the opportunity of going out free, but having, as the condition of so doing, to leave his wife and children, plainly says that he loves his master, his wife and children, and will not go out free. Then his master, brings him to the judges, and then to the door post, his master boring his ear through with an awl, and he serves him for ever. The slave’s ear is opened or digged.

This is typical of the Lord Himself, who need not, in one sense, have come forward to suffer on the cross, there to do God’s will, to gain His bride and to be of blessing to the children of God.

But the Lord said plainly:
  “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:7).

He loved His Master, His wife, His children. It was necessary for Him to become Man in order to make atonement.

In the light of Scripture it would be monstrous to say that Hebrews 10:5 means that the Lord’s manhood was confined to a body even as it would be illogical to admit that He had the body and soul of manhood, and not the spirit of a man.

We need to be careful to allow all that Scripture teaches. If it was incumbent in the Apostle John’s day for a Christian lady and her family to refuse one who did not bring the doctrine that Jesus Christ is come in flesh, surely it is none the less incumbent in this day.

It is remarkable that this exhortation is given to a lady and her children. We believe this emphasizes the seriousness of the matter. It is harder for a woman to take such a decided stand than for a man, still harder for children to do so. But so serious is this matter that it is affirmed that to fail to refuse one who brings not the doctrine of Christ is to be a “partaker of his evil deeds.” Surely this is a matter of the gravest importance.

We have seen that the Son of Man is to have universal dominion. And yet if He has to enter into this high estate, where will he find subjects to reign over? Apart from atonement there could be nothing short of God sweeping the whole scene in judgment.

THE SON OF MAN IN HIS LOWLY STOOP

This brings us to an interesting study. The Son of Man came into this world the Head of all creation, and yet in greatest humility. The Son of Man—whose right it is to have, and who will yet have, universal dominion, and His kingdom never to have an end—had to say that the foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, but He, the Son of Man, had not where to lay His head. Again, He, who in the coming day will reign, had to say that the Son of Man had come, not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many. Again, He tells those around Him that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. Behold the One, who was the Firstborn of all creation, the Son of Man, the Only One who had a right to reign, hanging on a cross between two thieves.

Is not the contrast startling? Does it not bring out the grace of the Lord that He would only take the place of supremacy by the way of the cross, that only thus could He have willing subjects to reign over?

And yet, as the Son of Man in such humiliation that He had not where to lay His head, He had powers that none else possessed—power to forgive sins, power to heal diseases, was Lord of the Sabbath, could prophesy His own triumphant resurrection with all that that implied, could speak of His coming supremacy when He should sit on the throne of His glory, when He should fulfil God’s plan that Man should be the Head of God’s creation.

But let us never forget the mystery of His Person, nor forget that He was “The Mighty God.” Who could put such things together but God? The Lord was crucified through weakness, and yet at one and the same moment was upholding all things by the word of His power; whilst He could feed the hungry multitudes, He refused to meet His own need in a miraculous manner when tempted in the wilderness; He could sleep in the hinder part of the boat, yet when appealed to by the frightened disciples He could rise up, and by one omnipotent word the raging tempest was stilled.

DEITY AND HUMANITY INDISSOLUBLE, YET BOTH FIND EXPRESSION IN CHRIST

Deity and humanity are united on one blessed Person, yet whilst not separating the one from the other in our thoughts, we can surely distinguish between the two, and see how both Deity, though veiled, and humanity expressed themselves, as presented in Scripture.

The instances just given are examples. “Crucified through weakness,” (2 Cor. 13:4) could only be affirmed of manhood when in the position that the Lord in lowly grace took upon the cross. “Upholding all things by the word of His power,” (Heb. 1:3) could only be affirmed of Deity. And yet the two statements are affirmed of one and the same blessed Person.

Again, “asleep on a pillow,” (Mark 4:38) in the hinder part of the ship could only be affirmed of manhood.

  “Behold, He that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4).

Yet who, but a Divine Person, could arise and rebuke the wind and the sea, and the wild tempest at His bidding sank to rest at the voice of the Mighty Creator. Yet the One asleep, and the One who quelled the tempest at His word, are one and the same Person.

Blessed mystery! We cannot explain, but we can believe.

With all that has come before us surely we can say with adoring hearts, THE SON OF GOD IS THE SON OF MAN.

Chapter 4: The Son of God is the Great Redeemer

The red line of redemption runs right through the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation. How any person reading, even superficially, and professing to believe the Scriptures, can harbour Unitarian belief passes comprehension, did not Scripture give the reason.

The Apostle Paul wrote:
  “If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the Image of God should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

The idea of redemption, or of approaching God by sacrifice, is a truth that has from time immemorial been widely held. The sacrifices of the ancient Druids, the temple sacrifices, with their priestly caste in India, the temples of heathen China, the fetishes of African forests, the degraded worship of many a dark place of the earth—all bear testimony to this fact.

This is often used as an infidel argument that Christianity is only one religion among many, perhaps less degrading than others, still one of them, and that they are all, including Christianity, superstitious and false.

The truth is just the other way. The false religions are but the perversions of the original knowledge of God as demonstrated to us in Romans 1. At the beginning all men had an equal knowledge of God. The thought of God’s judgment on sin, the knowledge that faith had in approaching God, were seen in Abel’s offering; and after the flood when the world got a new start, Noah’s sons and their wives would all witness his first act when coming out of the ark, viz: to offer a burnt offering unto the Lord.

ANCIENT LEGENDS AND THEIR MEANING

What we say is borne out by the insistence with which legends, in mutilated and depraved forms, have come down from pre-historic times, of a tree, a serpent, a man and a woman, in which we have reproduced the story of the fall. Also there are persistent legends of a flood and a family saved through it, the very name of Noah, though mutilated, is near enough to the original to be easily recognized.

Heathen sacrifices bear witness to the widespread and ancient conviction that man is a sinner, and the idea that he needs the blood of an innocent victim to appease the wrath of God. That this is a perversion of an original and Divine revelation there can be no reasonable doubt.

But one fact is clear. In heathen circles, while there is some sense of guilt, mixed up with fear as to vengeance of their gods, and some idea of the necessity of bringing what they deem a suitable propitiatory offering, yet they have the lowest conception of God, as cruel, vindictive, spiteful; indeed, simply a glorified man with all his passions and sins, an exaggerated copy of themselves. Or, on the other hand, they will bow to an image made like to corruptible man, to birds, four-footed beasts and even creeping things, as Romans 1 tells us so graphically.

This we see in the deities of ancient Greece and Rome on the one hand—Jupiter, Mercurius, and all of the gods of the Olympian Heights,—or the bulls and cats and beetles of ancient Egypt.

We must remember that there were no original heathen, but that men got into that condition, because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, as Romans 1:28 tells us.

We may well take these things to heart for they were men like ourselves, who degraded the knowledge of God in this frightful manner.

TYPES OF THE REDEEMING WORK OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

As soon as our first parents sinned, and God had passed upon them the sentence of death, we read:
  “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21).

Right on the very threshold of sin’s entrance into the world, God indicated how the problem would be met. The penalty of sin was passed upon the sinner. The first death, however, was not the death of the sinner, but the death of the innocent victims, which provided the coats of skins with which God covered our first parents. Thus did God disclose in type two things, viz: His own desire to bless His guilty creatures—this is seen in His immediately acting in the matter—and, further, that the only way of meeting the case was by the death of a sufficient sacrifice to meet the demands of justice. Think this out, and you will see that God had in view the redemptive work of His beloved Son. That was a cost indeed, but God would do no less, for less would not do.

The coats of skins were only typical, and looked forward to the atoning work of Christ. It is easily put down on paper, but what a tremendous statement it is, and how much is involved in it:
  IF DEATH IS THE SENTENCE UPON SIN THEN ONLY DEATH CAN MEET THAT SENTENCE.

There is more in that statement than meets the eye. ‘Who can meet the whole question of sin to the satisfaction of God, and enable Him righteously to offer forgiveness world-wide? Who is sufficient to meet the needs of the millions of the human race in all parts of the world since the day of man’s first sin, and the downfall of the whole human race?

God knew what it all meant. He had the problem worked out in His mind, and He knew what those coats of skins meant. He knew that they meant Calvary, and the atoning death of His beloved Son.

THE MEANING OF ABEL’S OFFERING

Next we have Abel’s offering. What a preacher he is! His dead lips have rendered more efficient service than any living lips. Dead though he is, all these long centuries he has been diligently preaching the same sermon—approach to God by sacrifice, approach to God by death, approach to God by faith. The lesson is badly needed today. The need for it has not ceased.

THE OFFERING UP OF ISAAC

Here we get a very solemn type of the atonement of Christ. For the first time in the Bible we get the idea of a human sacrifice. It was the test of Abraham’s faith and obedience on the one hand, and typical of the death of Christ on the other. The love of Abraham to Isaac is clearly typical.

  “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest . . .” (Gen. 22:2).

is surely a touch that is intended to set forth the love of the Father to the Son. It is noteworthy that it is the first mention of love in the Bible. These first mentions in the Bible are very significant. Does this particular case not set forth the truth that the spring of all God’s actions in grace is found in the gratification of the love that Divine Persons have for each other, rather than in the meeting of the sinner’s need, though most surely including the latter. Does it not put the truth upon a very high platform?

It is interesting to note that the offering up of Isaac took place on a mountain in the land of Moriah, and it was on Mount Moriah that the Temple with its system of sacrifices was erected.

How pathetic and innocent was Isaac’s enquiry:
  “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (v. 7).

How the question must have wrung with exquisite poignancy the heart of the father. How noble was his calm reply,
  “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (v. 8).

Note the form of the answer, “God will provide Himself a lamb,” not “God will Himself provide a lamb.” In one sense God needed the Lamb as much as the offerer. The emphasis is not laid on the fact that God would provide the lamb but that He needed the lamb for Himself, as on the other hand it was needed for the sinner.

And this is surely a very blessed truth. God could not bless His creature, poor fallen man, unless the claims of His holy throne were met, and those could only be met by the giving up of His only and well-beloved Son to the death of the cross. The lamb Isaac spoke of was but a feeble picture of a great reality, viz:, THE LAMB OF GOD, our Lord Jesus Christ.

But God, having tested Abraham, held back the sacrificial knife, as it was about to do its fearsome work, and the ram caught in the thicket by its horns was given as a substitute.

  “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen” (v. 14).

  “Jehovah-jireh” means the Lord will provide. Yes, blessed be God, He provided His Son, and when the moment came for Him to die, there was no ram caught in the thicket by its horns, there was no escape for Him. His death under the judgment of God against sin was a necessity, if God was to gratify His heart of infinite love on the one hand, and bless the believing sinner righteously on the other.

Our Lord could say of that scene:
  “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:66).

How touching and solemn is the whole incident, and how it clearly pointed forward to the great Antitype.

THE PASSOVER IN EGYPT

There is no doubt that this sets forth the great truth of redemption. The New Testament is our warrant for this.

The Lord Jesus, the great Antitype, died as the fulfilment of this type on the anniversary of the feast of the passover. So we read:
  “Even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” ( 1 Cor. 5:7).

The scene is too well-known for us to need to expatiate upon it in detail. The bondage of the taskmaster of Egypt is a picture of the bondage of sin as brought about by Satan in a world, where he is alike its prince and god.

The necessity for the lamb to be offered, the sprinkling of its blood on the lintel and doorposts of the houses, and the houses so marked not touched by the destroyer, are all so clear in their typical meaning that we may pass on.

THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS

The whole system of Jewish sacrifices clearly is typical of the redemptive work of Christ. The testimony of Jewish altars is very marked. Sin demanded punishment. Sacrifice would meet that punishment. Sin and sacrifice in that way went together. Man is the sinner, God is the Saviour-God—the sin, demanding punishment, the sacrifice, meeting the demand, so that God could go on in grace, where otherwise it would have meant making a clear sweep of the sinner.

MANY TYPES OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

There are many other incidents in the Old Testament that are typical of the redemptive work of Christ, such as the scapegoat; the cleansing of the leper; the lifting up of the brazen serpent, used by our Lord as typical of His own death, when speaking to the enquiring Nicodemus; the plague, brought about by David numbering the people, being arrested by the burnt offerings offered up by him on the altar, which was erected on the ground that he had purchased from Oman, the Jebusite.

There is no lack of material, but sufficient has been given to show that redemption by sacrifice is fully indicated in the Old Testament. Let us turn now to the New Testament, and we shall see how fully it proclaims the same truth.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE GOSPELS

The Lord Himself linked up the Old and New Testaments, the type and the Antitype, together.
  “As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).

He told His disciples,
  “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

When the Lord instituted the supper on the occasion of His partaking of the passover on the eve of His fulfilling that type by His death on the cross,
  “He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:27-28).

Again He linked up the Old and New Testaments, the type and the Antitype,
  “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Again the Lord linked up the Old and New Testaments, when He said to His disciples,
  “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted upon: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death; and the third day He shall rise again” (Luke 18:31-32).

Much more could be adduced under this head, but enough has been quoted for our purpose.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE CHRISTIAN ORDINANCES

In contrast to the elaborate ritual of the Old Testament, the New Testament only gives us two simple ordinances in connection with Christianity. These are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

They are both founded on the redemptive work of Christ. That any person pretending to be a Bible-loving Christian should be a Modernist in the face of the abundantly clear testimony of Scripture to the absolute necessity of the atoning work of Christ simply proves that he does not read the Scriptures with the intelligence of an ordinary school-child.

How clear it is that the ordinance of baptism refers to the death of Christ, the following Scripture will make plain:
  “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into [unto N.Tr.] Jesus Christ were baptized into [unto, N.Tr.] His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into [unto N.Tr.] death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:3-5).

That the Lord’s Supper refers to the death of Christ is equally plain.

We read :
  “When He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come” (1 Cor. 11:24-26).

In the solemn ordinance of Baptism, that lies on the threshold of the Christian’s career, and the remembrance of the atoning death of our Lord, in the Lord’s supper week by week, on the Lord’s day, linked up, as it is with the blessed hope of His coming again, we see the desire of God that the death of His beloved Son should find its true and proper place in the minds and affections of His people.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

The great testimony in the Acts of the Apostles is to the resurrection, and therefore a testimony to His death.

When filling the place of Judas Iscariot in the apostolate, one of the conditions that the one chosen must fulfil was that he should with the other Apostles be a witness of the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection of Christ was a cardinal point in their testimony.

We read:
  “With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33).

In the synagogue at Antioch, the Apostle Paul testified of the resurrection of Christ.

  “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him from the dead” (Acts 13:29-30).

The Apostle Paul was three Sabbath days at Thessalonica, and
  “... reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ” (Acts 17:2-3).

Take away the death of Christ, and you destroy the whole fabric of Christianity, and render worthless the great testimony of the Scriptures in all its parts.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE EPISTLES

The testimony in the epistles to the redemptive work of Christ stands in the same relation to Christianity as a foundation does to a building. There can be no superstructure without it.

Everything in Christianity is founded and grounded on the death of Christ. The Lord plainly declared that He must abide alone, unless, like the corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dying brings forth fruit, He should die. Thus and thus only could He bless others and bring them into association with Himself.

No wonder that the epistles refer to the death of Christ as the foundation of the whole scheme of Christianity.

Is it a question of our individual salvation?

  “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).

Is it a question of rebuking sectarianism, that most hateful thing that has wrought such untold disaster in the Church of God? It is condemned in language that could not be more severe:
  “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:13),
plainly meaning that the Lord was crucified for them, and that they had been baptized unto the death of Christ.

Is it a question of the new life the Christian is called upon to live, and the motive power of it, and a satisfying Object given for the soul?

We read:
  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

There is an appeal in the death of Christ for moving the affection of God’s people that exists nowhere else. No wonder that the devil is using the Modernist, who makes light of it, but if we would keep bright as Christians let us ever give in our minds and hearts the place that the death of Christ has in the Scriptures.

Is it a question of peace between Jew and Gentile, a wonderful feature in Christianity, the import of which not being understood leaves the mind of the Christian open to many serious misconceptions?

  “Now in Christ Jesus ye [Gentiles] who sometimes were far oft are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our [Jew and Gentile] peace, who has made both [Jew aid Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us. [Jew and Gentile]” (Eph. 2:13-14).

Is it a question of being lowly followers of the Lord Jesus? We read:
  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who . . . being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5, 8).

Is it a question of the reconciling of all things, the wonderful display of God’s counsels in the blessing of man, which shall be one day public and universal? We read:
  “And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in the earth, or things in heaven” (Col. 1:20).

The death of Christ is put as a mighty lever in connection with our belief in things that flow out of that death.

  “If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him” (1 Thess. 4:14).

Now we come to a magnificent Scripture:
  “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:5-6).

Here we are shut up to Christ for any blessing from God to man.

Is it a question of the believers seeing the Lord in the place of power and exaltation? The Spirit of God is careful to tell us how He reached that place, or else we could not see Him by faith in that place, which He has won for us.

  “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9).

The Apostle Peter tells the believers that they were redeemed,
  “With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).

The Apostle John tells us that
  “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

How clear, abundant, and uniform is the testimony to the death of the Lord Jesus in the epistles.

THE TESTIMONY IN THE REVELATION

Listen to the magnificent outburst at the beginning of the Apocalypse,
  “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5).

How sweetly it sounds in all its peace-giving power, just before the inspired penman begins to unfold the awful and terrifying drama of judgment.

Again we hear an outburst of praise that cannot be restrained,
  “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

Finally, as if the Spirit of God would never let us forget the precious death of the Lord Jesus, we are reminded in that wonderful vision of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, that the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it, and the glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb is the light of it. Moreover the city itself, in another aspect, is called the Lamb’s wife.

Surely we can say with all our hearts, as we listen to the cumulative testimony of the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation, THE SON OF GOD IS THE GREAT REDEEMER.

Chapter 5: The Son of God in Resurrection

The resurrection is the great proof that the Man, Christ Jesus, was, indeed, the Son of God, a Divine Person. Scripture prophesied it a thousand years before it occurred.

  “Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell [hades]; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Ps. 16:10).

The Apostle Peter, in his memorable sermon on the great day of Pentecost, referred to this Scripture, making a notable statement:
  “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn by an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell [hades], neither His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:29-32).

TYPES OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION

Typically, the resurrection of Christ was prophesied in the annual Feast of Firstfruits, as recorded in Leviticus 23:9-14, “On the morrow after the Sabbath,” it was to be offered. Now “the morrow after the Sabbath” was an unusual day for the Jew, who kept the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, and that by divine appointment. It looked forward to that new era, that wonderful “first day of the week,” when the Lord should break the bands of death and rise triumphant from the dead. He was the sheaf of the firstfruits of the harvest waved before the Lord.

  “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept . . . But every man in his own order, Christ the firstfruits, afterwards they that are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:20, 23).

Again, the resurrection was typified in the cleansing of the leper, when one of the birds used in the ceremony was to be dipped in the blood of the bird that was killed, and thus stained with the blood of the dead bird, the living bird was to be let loose into the open field—one bird setting forth the death of the Lord Jesus; the other, His resurrection.

PROPHECIES OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION

The resurrection is a necessity, if certain prophecies were to be fulfilled.

For instance take Isaiah 53:10,
  “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

If the Lord was put to death, and did not rise again, it could not be said that He would see His seed, and that He should prolong His days, seeing He was cut off in the midst of His years. “Who shall declare His generation?” could only find its answer in resurrection.

It is the same thing in Psalm 22. The first part of the Psalm is taken up with the feelings of the blessed Lord, prophetically foreshadowed, when He should be in that moment of moments on the cross, the object of man’s scorn and derision on the one hand, and the forsaken One of God, His soul made an offering for sin, on the other.

Yet in the second part of the Psalm, we pass from the gloom and anguish of the cross, prophetically delineated, to a joyful and triumphant scene, when the Lord should declare God’s name unto His brethren. This could not come to pass save in resurrection. This is quoted in Hebrews 2:11, and historically was fulfilled when the Lord sent the message to His brethren on the resurrection morning through the lips of her, who had once been possessed of seven demons:
  “Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God” (John 20:17).

True, the message was given to a frail woman, and handed on by her to a few disciples, who at first could not believe it, but the message has come down to the whole Church of God all through the centuries.

THE LORD PROPHESIED HIS OWN RESURRECTION

The Lord prophesied His own resurrection, putting a time limit of three days that He would lie in the grave, ample testimony to the fact of His death.

We read:
  “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matt. 16:21).

This testimony is recorded again and again in the three synoptic Gospels. The fulfilment of it is recorded by the Apostle Peter in Acts 10:40 and by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:4. The evidence of the resurrection is very ample and full in the Scriptures. For full forty days did the Lord remain on earth after his resurrection and before His ascension. He appeared only to His own, in accordance with His own word spoken when weeping over the city that He loved. Yearning over Jerusalem, willing to gather her children, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, He was obliged to say in deep sorrow:
  “Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39).
  “What centuries of sorrow lay between the time when these words were spoken, and the time when God’s ancient people purified by the great tribulation, will welcome their Messiah, and the Lord shall reign on the throne of His father David!

THE RISEN LORD APPEARED TO HIS DISCIPLES

Three times over did the risen Lord show Himself to His disciples, as recorded at the end of John’s Gospel. Once on the day of His resurrection, He appeared to His disciples, showing them His hands and side, and they were glad when they saw the Lord. Eight days after, He appeared the second time to His disciples, this time Thomas amongst them, who convinced by the sight of his eyes exclaimed, “My Lord and my God.” The third time He appeared to them in Galilee, on the shore of the lake, in such fashion that none of the disciples durst ask who He was, knowing that He was, indeed, their risen Lord. These were men who knew Him well, were unbelieving and incredulous at first, slow to believe, save as assured beyond question.

THE TESTIMONY OF FIVE HUNDRED BRETHREN

1 Corinthians 15:6, tells us that the risen Lord was seen of about five hundred brethren at once, the greater part alive when the Apostle Paul wrote the epistle, in which this fact is stated. If the Apostle’s assertion were not true, would this large body of witnesses have remained quiet, would there not have been indignant denials, if the statement had not been correct?

Never was an historical fact more amply verified than the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE BIBLE INVITES EXAMINATION

It is related of Lord Lyttleton and Mr. Gilbert West, who lived in the 18th century, that they recognized that the great obstacle to the overthrow of Christianity was the belief of Christians in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and they determined to explode this truth. They were both deists, as were so many at that time. Deists were those who believed in the existence of a Supreme Being, but who rejected the Bible. They denied that there was such a thing as revealed religion.

These two gentlemen were university men, trained lawyers, of great intellectual powers, both members of Parliament, one of them attaining to Cabinet rank in the Government of that day.

They determined that one of them should write on the resurrection of Christ, and the other on the conversion of the Apostle Paul.

If Saul of Tarsus was converted by the voice of the Lord from heaven, then the resurrection of Christ was a fact.

So they set to work. With minds trained to weigh evidence, and, analysing the records of the Bible, they both found themselves convinced of the truth of the sacred narrative.

Like honest men, they wrote down their convictions. One of them wrote that Christ did indeed rise from the dead, the other that Saul of Tarsus was converted by the arresting voice of the Son of God from the glory.

The books they published on these subjects can be seen in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, today.

There would be fewer infidels, if the Bible were really studied. The Bible does not dread the most microscopic examination.

IMMENSE MORAL RESULTS FLOW FROM THE RESURRECTION

Not only the ample historical proofs of the resurrection are available, but the immense moral results of the propagation of Christianity by those who believed in the resurrection cannot be explained away. Wherever the Gospel has got a foothold, there has been an uplifting of the people. Contrast heathen lands with Christian countries. Contrast the lives of unbelievers with the lives of true Christians. Contrast their death-beds.

So mighty was the power of the Holy Spirit in the testimony of the apostles to the resurrection that the envious Jews of Thessalonica drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying,
  “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6).

It has been wittily said that their warrant for turning the world upside down was that the world was wrong-side up.

THE ARGUMENT OF THE GREAT RESURRECTION CHAPTER

1 Corinthians 15 argues out the resurrection of Christ as vital to Christianity. If Christ was not risen then the believers had believed in vain, and they were yet in their sins. It reasons out that the resurrection of the dead in Christ depends upon the resurrection of Christ, indeed, that the whole fabric of Christianity rests upon it.

BELIEVERS TO EXPERIENCE BODILY QUICKENING BECAUSE OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION

Romans 8:11 argues out the connection between the Holy Spirit being the power whereby Christ was raised from the dead, and that same power indwelling the bodies of the believers being the pledge of their mortal bodies being quickened, which event will take place at the coming of the Lord for His people.

THE RESURRECTION, THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

The resurrection of Christ is the assurance of salvation to the repentant believing sinner. He is bidden to put his faith in the God, who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, and so doing he learns that Christ was
  “delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 4:25; 5:1).

THE RESURRECTION, THE ASSURANCE OF JUDGMENT

The resurrection of Christ is the assurance of judgment to the unbeliever. We read that God
  “has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

THE TESTIMONY OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION

In the book of The Revelation the Lord presents Himself as
  “the faithful Witness, and the First Begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5).

Again, in the same book He presents Himself as
  “I am He that lives, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [hades] and of death” (Rev. 1:18).

Finally, we have kept the most interesting passage to the last. The Apostle Paul tells us that he was separated to the Gospel of God. He tells us that that Gospel is
  “concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord [note the solemn and full recital of His titles], which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh [note the assertion of His Manhood and kingly descent]; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, BY THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD” (Rom. 1:3-4).

This Scripture is well worth pondering over. The resurrection of Christ is God’s seal of fullest approval of all that He said and did in this world. The Lord made the most tremendous claims, which, as we have already said, were either most blessedly true, and most vitally necessary for God’s glory and our rich blessing in Him, or else were the most daring and blasphemous assumptions that could call forth the direst wrath of God. There is nothing between these two positions.

The Lord claimed to be God; claimed to be the promised Son of Man; claimed to be the King of the Jews; claimed to be the Light of the world; the Bread from heaven, without the appropriation of which there was no divine life for any; claimed to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that He alone could be the way to the Father, He alone was the depositary of the truth, nay, was the Truth itself in His own Person, was the Life, from whom all divine life would flow; claimed to be the Resurrection and the Life; claimed that His death was to be an atoning death on the cross; claimed that the work His Father had given Him to do was done to His glory, exclaiming on the cross, “IT IS FINISHED”—words of the deepest blessing to the human race, or words that were untrue and, if so, the most daring height of blasphemy possible, and what was God’s answer to all this?

  “GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD” (Acts 13:30).

  “Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father” (Rom. 6:4).

  “God raised Him from the dead.” Aye, and that “according to the spirit of holiness.” Hallelujah! What a story of grace and glory!

The resurrection of Christ was the great eternal AMEN that God spoke on that glorious first day of the week, to all that Christ claimed to be, or to have done; the sound of which, to know no diminution throughout the ages of the ages, shall hail THE SON OF GOD IN RESURRECTION.

Chapter 6: The Son of God in Ascension

The ascension of the Lord was the logical sequence to His resurrection. The two events might have followed one another without a break, so far as the blessed Lord was concerned. But how essential it was to establish the truth of the resurrection in the minds of the bewildered and frightened disciples. Without the truth of the resurrection being established, there would have been no Christianity. The whole thing would have vanished tracelessly.

But once that wonderful sojourn of the blessed Lord was accomplished during the forty days He was upon the earth in which the truth of His resurrection was firmly established, He ascended into heaven. We read:
  “And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:50-52).

Let it never be forgotten that He, who was “God manifest in the flesh,” carried manhood up to the throne of God. In becoming Man He became Man for ever, though “over all, God blessed for ever” (Rom. 9:5).

With His ascension a new era began. He did not return to heaven as He had left it. He did not return for Himself alone. He did not, and could not, die for Himself. His death was representative. His resurrection, too, was representative, He
  “Was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).

Just in the same way did the Lord ascend on high representatively. It is just this that makes such an appeal to the renewed affections. Our hearts are drawn to the place where He has gone, to the One, who died for us on the cross, to the One who is our Life, our Hope, our All, our Representative on high.

Luke, who wrote the Gospel bearing his name, and from which we have quoted his account of the ascension, supplements it in the Acts of the Apostles, of which he was also the writer.

We read:
  “While they [the disciples] beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

The appearance of the angels, and their cheering message that the very same Lord who departed would return, filled the hearts of the disciples with joy. They returned to Jerusalem, there to await the promise of the Father, the enduing with power from on high, when the ascended Lord should send down the Holy Spirit to indwell the believers, and to form them into one body on earth, the Lord, their Head in heaven.

These were wondrous days when the infant church was brought into existence, and a new era began.

WHAT THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS TELLS US

Four times over does the Epistle to the Hebrews testify to the ascension and that the Lord had taken His seat on high. He has passed into the heavens,” He is “made higher than the heavens.” We read:
  “When He had by Himself purged our sins, [He] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).

Here the Lord is seen taking that august seat, which only Deity can claim. We behold the One, who hung on that central cross, who was “crucified in weakness, in all the value of that work done on our behalf, sitting at the very right hand of the Majesty on high. He takes that seat as our Saviour. Could anything be more peace-giving than to realize this?

Next we read
  “We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Heb. 8:1-2).

Here we have our Lord taking this exalted seat as our great High Priest, who is charged with our support as we pass through this wilderness world with all its trials, sorrows and temptations. He sympathizes, succours, and supports.

We read:
  “We have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).

He appears now in the presence of God for the wayworn, tried believer, and the throne of the Majesty in the heavens is the throne of grace for such.

WHAT AARON’S BREASTPLATE AND SHOULDER-PIECES TYPIFIED

Aaron’s breastplate, with its many coloured gems, reminds us that we are borne in remembrance on the heart of our Great High Priest; whilst the shoulder-pieces with the names of the sons of Israel engraved thereon, remind us that all the power of the Lord is at our disposal as well as all His love, whilst that mysterious part of the breastplate, the Urim and Thummim, remind us that the wisdom of the Lord makes no mistakes, when we seek and obtain guidance from Him. Wisdom, love and power are combined in Him. We can rest perfectly content in His hands.

TWO FUNCTIONS OF THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST

But the High Priest has two functions. One is to succour and support in wilderness circumstances, as set forth in Hebrews 4:15-16, as we have just seen. Infirmities are not sin, but they are the results of our bodies being connected in this present life with a groaning creation, the result of sin. The High Priest has to do with infirmities, and not with sin.

The other function of our Great High Priest—and this is the prominent thought in Hebrews 8:1-2,—is to be the Minister of the Sanctuary, in other words to be the Leader of His people’s praises. The Father is seeking worshippers, who shall worship Him in spirit and in truth, and we do well to ask ourselves how far we enjoy the privilege of being led by our great High Priest into this most blessed sanctuary service—the highest that the children of God can render, than which there can be no higher, and which will be the eternal occupation of the redeemed on high. He sits yonder for the encouragement of His people as they run the heavenly race:
  “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 12:2).

He has run the whole course, He has reached the goal, He is now the glorious Object and Example for His own. We are to consider Him, to remember what He passed through, we have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin, as He has done.

How many a tired worker, how many a tried saint, has been on the point of giving up when the remembrance of what their Lord endured, and where He sits on high, charged with the happy task of their succour and support, has led them to buckle on the armour again and begin the fight once more; to gird up the loins afresh, and with renewed courage press on in the race of faith.

Lastly, we read:
  “But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Heb. 10:12-13).

Here His seat is the place of power, and the pledge that all evil will be dealt with according to God’s holiness and righteousness. What a rest to the heart of the believer to know that everything lies for God and for man in the pierced hands.

THE FUNCTIONS OF THE ADVOCATE

There is one more ministry of the ascended Lord, whilst His failing people are down here, we would draw attention to.

Perhaps a backslider may say, “It is all very well for you to tell us about the great High Priest, and how He succours us in our infirmities, and that infirmities are not sins, but I have to confess with bitter shame, child of God though I am, that I have been guilty of sin. I have wandered from the Lord, and have behaved shamefully to my Saviour, whom I am assured loves me still, spite of all. What provision is there for my case?”

God has made provision even for this.

We read:
  “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous” (1 John 2:1).

As soon as the believer sins, alas! that it should ever be so, the blessed Advocate—meaning one called alongside to help—interests Himself in the case, and by His ministry with the Father would produce brokenness of heart, and true repentance, so that, the sin confessed and forgiven, the joy of salvation and communion with God, and happiness in His holy presence may be restored.

  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Right shameful it is for the believer to sin, but oh! how touching is “the love that will not let me go”.

Peter’s case may afford a picture of this blessed service, the prayer that his faith would not fail, the look that caused him to weep bitterly, the secret interview on the resurrection morning, the probing to the bottom when the Lord asked him three times, “Lovest thou Me?”

His restoration was wonderful, so much so that he was the chosen spokesman on the day of Pentecost, when he charged the nation with doing what he himself had been guilty of so recently.

What a gracious Lord we have to do with! May the backslider be encouraged to return to the Lord.

  “O Lamb of God still keep us,
  Close to Thy pierced side,
  ‘Tis only there in safety,
  And peace we can abide.”

THE POWER THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD IS THE MIGHTY POWER THAT IS AVAILABLE FOR THE BELIEVER TODAY

This seems an extravagant statement, but it is just what Scripture asserts.

When the Apostle Paul’s heart went out in an outburst of desire for the Ephesian saints, he prayed that they might know
  “what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:19-21).

What a magnificent outburst! How it opens out the place of power the Lord has received to our wondering gaze! How it exhausts language in describing His supremacy over every other person and thing!

And how wonderful that it links up the power that placed Him there and thus, as the very power that is available for the believer in this world.

We may well sing
    “How rightly crowned is Jesus,”

and hail Him as THE SON OF GOD IN ASCENSION.

Chapter 7: The Son of God in relation to the Church

The relation of the Son of God to the church in one aspect is the relation of the foundation to the building. This is plainly stated on the occasion when Peter confessed Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God.

  “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock [the confession of Christ’s person] I WILL [future] build My church; and the gates of hell [hades] shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

There was no church in Old Testament times, or else the Lord would not have used the future tense when He spoke of building His church.

Not until Christ had died, and completed the work of redemption on the cross, not until He had risen and ascended to God’s right hand, was it possible for the church of God to exist.

The materials were there, just as a contractor may gather materials, but until those materials are brought into relation one to the other according to the design of the architect, there can be no building. In the same way, a collection of a number of believers does not necessarily form a church. It needed the bringing of those believers into relation to the Son of God in heaven as Head, and to each other as members of His body, on earth.

So we find the confession of Christ’s true Person is the foundation of the church, even as the ascended Lord is the Head of His church, His body.

It was on the memorable day of Pentecost that the church was formed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; the promise of the Father, the enduing with power from on high, being bestowed upon the gathered believers by their risen and glorified Lord. This is stated in 1 Corinthians 12:13:
  “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

THE CHURCH TYPIFIED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

The church is typified in Leviticus 23. Fifty days had to be numbered after the feast of firstfruits—the waving of the sheaf of the firstfruits by the priest being typical of the resurrection of the Lord—when a new meat offering was to be made, consisting of two loaves, of two tenth deals, baken with leaven.

Why should this feast be chosen to be fifty days after the feast of firstfruits? The word Pentecost is coined from a Greek word, meaning fifty days. We ask, If the feast of firstfruits sets forth the resurrection of Christ, what notable event occurred fifty days later?

After resurrection, the Lord sojourned on this earth for forty days, and then bade His disciples tarry at Jerusalem till they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Ten days after the ascension—or fifty days after the resurrection—the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the formation of the church took place.

We read:
  “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1).

The two loaves, forming one offering, set forth that great distinctive truth of Christianity that Jew and Gentile are brought into one body in Christ; whilst baken with leaven, the fire stopping the action of the leaven, sets forth that the former condition of sinfulness that believers forming the church were in has been met through the judgment of sin at the cross.

There were types of the church in the Old Testament, Leviticus 23 for one, as we have just seen, but there was one wonderful aspect of the church that was not hinted at in the Old Testament.

THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST

We refer to that aspect where the church is looked at as the body of Christ. This is stated plainly in Scripture.

  “Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my Gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:25-26).

This truth was not revealed on the day of Pentecost, though the body was formed on that day. A special servant was raised up in the wisdom of God, who should be the chosen vessel of the Spirit of God, to communicate this most wonderful truth. We refer to the Apostle Paul. The very manner of his conversion indicated this.

FIRST INTIMATION OF THE MYSTERY

When the light above the brightness of the sun suddenly shone around about him, he, who believed that Christ was an impostor, and that he was doing God’s service in seeking to stamp the Christian faith off the face of the earth, heard a voice from the glory in the Hebrew tongue, saying:
  “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 26:14).

There was no mistaking that voice, and in the recognition of it the soul of Saul of Tarsus was bowed, his whole life was revolutionized, and he instantly began to propagate the faith he had been seeking to destroy.

Take notice, the Lord did not say, Why persecutest thou My people? but “Why persecutest thou ME?” Was this not an indication of the great truth of the union existing between the Head in heaven and the members, however humble and obscure, on the earth? Indeed, so close is the connection between the Head and His members, that the illustration of the human body is used.

  “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is CHRIST” [the Christ N.Tr.] (1 Cor. 12:12).

In nature how absolutely vital is the head to the human body. In the same way God would teach us, that as nourishment comes through the head of our natural body, all direction, all wisdom, so everything-sustenance, nourishment, guidance,—comes to His church through the Divine Head in Heaven. May we ever realize how vital is the position that Christ holds in relation to His mystical body. If we do not hold the Head as Colossians points out, in that degree we shall be losers of the blessing and support and guidance that He would fain minister. How apparent is the neglect of this in Christendom, and with all of us.

GIFTS TO MEN GIVEN BY AN ASCENDED LORD

Ephesians 4 tells us that the ascended Lord has led captivity captive, and has given gifts to men. We see this in the gift of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers,

  “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ [the Christ, N.Tr.]” (vv. 12-13).

In the passages just quoted it is plain that the expression, the Christ, is intended to represent Christ and His people, as the Head and His members—the one Body of Christ. Could such thoughts ever emanate from the mind of man?

THE CHURCH IN ASSOCIATION WITH CHRIST

And see what a wonderful place the church is given in relation to Christ. We must understand the wonderful place that the Lord Himself has, and then we shall understand the honour put upon the church, for it is as the church is associated with Christ that she is blessed. It is only and altogether as this is seen that we shall have right thoughts.

We read of Christ that God has
  “... raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23).

There the Lord is put into the place of the very highest honour as the One who has won everything for man’s blessing at the cross. Note the wonderful place the church has in relation to Him. He is Head, supreme over all things. Everything of God in the wide creation, whether in the material, moral, or spiritual domain owes its support and position to Him, and yet He is said to be “Head over all thins TO THE CHURCH.” Amazing language! And further the church, His body, is said to be His fulness, “the fulness of Him that fills all in all.”

CAN THE CHURCH ADD ANYTHING TO CHRIST?

It may be said, and rightly said, that the church cannot add anything to Christ, and yet here we read that the church is His fulness. The language seems staggering!

It is true that nothing, and no one, in one sense, can add anything to Christ, for the simple reason that everything is OF Him, and flows FROM Him.

Have we not an illustration on another line? When Eve was presented to Adam, in one sense Adam got no addition, for Eve was of Adam,—she was bone of HIS bone, and flesh of HIS flesh, and this is given to us as an illustration of Christ and the Church. An aged servant of Christ, when this point was raised, was fond of asking the question, Do the feathers of a bird add to the bird, or do they come out of the bird?

All things come from Christ, are of Him and for His glory, and the church will love to have it so.

THE CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

There is another aspect of the Church that we must indicate, and that is as the bride of Christ. This is illustrated in the Old Testament again and again, notably in Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel.

Ephesians 5 takes up the marriage relationship, not as a convenient illustration of Christ and the church, that happens to present itself, but one that was designed at the outset to illustrate this great truth. How touchingly is the Lord presented to us:
  “Christ . . . loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).

We do well to ponder over this precious passage till the tender love of the Lord for His church begets some response in our hearts, feeble, indeed in the best of us.

His past and present and future are all represented to us most touchingly. His past, He gave HIMSELF, nothing was kept back; His present, He is cleansing His church by the washing of water by the word, and alas! how much that ministry is needed by us all; His future, He is going to present His church to Himself, in every way suited to Himself, and that may happen today, for surely the coming of the Lord is very near. We may be soon in the Father’s house, in glory with our blessed triumphant Lord.

Finally we would draw attention to that very solemn presentation of the attitude of the Lord to that which professes His holy name on this earth, His attitude to the responsible professing church in government.

THE SON OF MAN IN THE MIDST OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS

Read the solemn account of the Son of Man walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, girt about the paps with a golden girdle, indicating affections restrained in their outflow, even if still the same towards His own; His eyes a flame of’ fire, nothing hid from His searching gaze; His voice as the sound of many waters; majesty and power His attributes—all is calculated to give the utmost solemnity to the scene.

The seven churches in Asia come under His review, setting forth in prophetic delineation all that passes under His eye from the day that the Apostle John wrote till the day when the Lord shall come.

The decline of first love, once begun in the Ephesian assembly, runs on its course till we see the depths to which things can sink in that which bears the name of Christ in Thyatira, fit picture of the corruption of Rome.

Then we see how dead orthodoxy may become in Sardis, fit picture of Protestantism, as witness the deadness of the Lutheran Churches in Germany, the home of the glorious Reformation; and the Modernism on the one hand, and the truckling to Rome on the other, seen in the Church of England.

Then we have a blessed revival in Philadelphia, a picture of the Lord working in the hearts of His people, a moral movement in these closing days.

Finally we get Laodicea, with all its empty arrogance, and lukewarmness, and worldliness and self-complacency, picture of the Modernism of today, that is working its artful way to full-blown apostasy.

When we get archbishops on the one hand traitorously complaisant towards a plot to seek reunion with Rome, to completely undo the Reformation, and on the other hand we see one bishop deploring fundamentalism—the statement of the great fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith—as one of the great curses of “institutional religion,” and another saying we must accommodate our theology to the unproved guesses of evolution, the facts all pointing the other way, when we see the unabashed worldliness of that which professes the name of Christ, we may well believe that we are on the very eve of the catching up of the church on the one hand, and of the spewing out of apostate profession on the other. What a day of awakening is coming!

If we are inclined to get despondent as to these things, or to allow the thought of the Lord’s final triumph to become dim, or in any way to give up, just when the need is greatest, may we be helped to remember that the great Head of the church has as much power on behalf of His own today as on the day of Pentecost, that His love and interest in them is unabated, that all things are working to that moment when the brightest event in the history of the church will occur, viz., the Lord presenting His church to Himself without spot or wrinkle or any such thing at His coming.

How happy to trace in Scripture the truths concerning THE SON OF GOD IN RELATION TO THE CHURCH

Chapter 8: The Son of God in relation to Israel, Judgment, His coming again and Eternity

We have only enough space left to very briefly summarize what remains to be said on this interesting subject.

THE SON OF GOD IN RELATION TO ISRAEL

All God’s promises made to Abraham, as the head of promise, not only to Israel but for the whole world; all God’s promises made to David as to the establishment of his house in kingly power, will all be fulfilled to the letter in the faithfulness of God. Israel, though in unbelief, is at this moment as much as ever,
  “Beloved for the father’s sake” (Rom. 11:28).

Many Scriptures prophecy that Israel will return to the land, evidently in unbelief. Zechariah 12:10-14, plainly shows that until Israel is gathered to their own land there will be no national repentance. What a glorious day for God’s ancient people, when they shall find all God’s promises fulfilled, but they can only be fulfilled in the Son of God. He was the promised seed and not Isaac. Isaac was indeed a link in the chain, as were all those who followed till Christ came.

  “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He says not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed which is CHRIST” (Gal. 3:16).

On every hand we see the beginning of the fulfilment of Scripture. The great war led to the Turk being flung out of the land. The British have a mandate, and the Jew is encouraged to return. New towns are springing up, over fifty agricultural colonies have been brought into being, some of them of very large size; railways, roads, and harbours are being constructed, a university has been erected on Mount Scopus, a spur of the Mount of Olives.

But not till the Son of God gets His rightful place will Israel come into the promised blessing.

We live in deeply interesting times, and all God’s governmental dealings with the world have Israel in view. But it is only in CHRIST that Israel can be blessed.

THE SON OF GOD IN RELATION TO JUDGMENT

All judgment lies in the pierced hands. It is fitting that it should be so, for He has done a work on the cross that has made propitiation for the whole world. He would fain be the Saviour of all, but, if He is slighted and refused, He is the One who will be the Judge.

  “The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father” (John 5:22-23).

The manifestation of believers as to the deeds done in the body will take place at the judgment seat of Christ. The judgment of the livings nations, as foretold in Matthew 25:31-46 will be held before the judgment throne of the Son of Man. In the last solemn drama of the great white throne, when the wicked dead, raised at the second resurrection, shall be judged, the One who shall sit upon the throne of judgment, will be the One who would have been their Saviour, but then will be their Judge. In each case the Son is the One to whom the Father commits the work of judgment.

THE SON OF GOD IN RELATION TO HIS COMING AGAIN

All blessing whether for the Old Testament saint, or for the church of God in this dispensation, or for Israel and the world in a coming day, is all centred in Christ, and will be consummated at His coming again.

His coming is composed of two parts, viz., His coming at any moment for His own, whether Old Testament saints or belonging to the church, whether they have passed away, or are alive upon the earth—all that are Christ’s shall be caught up when the first resurrection takes place. After the happenings, as foretold in Revelation 4-20:6, have taken their course, the coming of the Son of Man to set up His earthly kingdom as delineated in Matthew 24:29-42 will take place.

We have dealt with this subject, and that of the judgment seat of Christ, in detail in a pamphlet, entitled, “May Christ come at any moment?” to be obtained of our publisher, and therefore we refrain from further details here, as space does not permit.

THE SON OF GOD IN ETERNITY

There is very little told us in Scripture concerning the Eternal State, by which we mean the fixed condition of things when the present earth shall have been burned up with fervent heat, according to 2 Peter 3:10-13, and the new earth and heaven shall have taken their place.

We get a wonderful glimpse of that time in Revelation 21:1-8. The church, as the bride of Christ adorned for her Husband, will be seen coming out of heaven. The relationship of the bride to Christ, therefore of Christ as the Bridegroom to the church, will surely subsist to all eternity. What a scene of ineffable glory! It is remarkable that there is no positive account of the place, but we are told that it will be characterized by the absence of that which brings in sorrow in this world. There will be no more death, no sorrow, no crying, no tears—all fruits of the fall.

  “All trace of sin shalt be removed,

    All evil done away.

  And we shall dwell with God’s beloved

    Through God’s eternal day.”

And yet in this same Scripture we are reminded that there will be an eternal state, not only of blessedness for the saint of God, but also of unutterable woe for the unbeliever. The lake of fire, the second death, will be a dread reality.

For further details on this important subject, the reader is referred to the pamphlet, “Hades and Eternal Punishment”.

I Corinthians 15:23-28, gives us a rare but wonderful glimpse into the Eternal State, and tells us that it will be brought about by the mediatorial work of Christ.

He came to do the will of God. The work of redemption is complete. He is the sender of the Holy Spirit. He is the Sustainer of His people as He intercedes for them on high. He will rapture His own to glory. He will yet execute judgment. Then when He has subdued all things He will be Himself subject, that
  “GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL.”

His mediatorial work complete, God’s purposes carried into full effect, God will dwell among His people, His tabernacle will be with men and He will rest in the complacency of His love for ever.

  “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph. 3:21).

We can have no true appreciation of any divine truth, unless we rightly appreciate Christ. How blessed a meditation is that of BIBLE TESTIMONY TO THE SON OF GOD.