"Adam," "The seed of the woman," and "Part with me."

Genesis 3 and John 13.

Some have found a difficulty in understanding what the Lord is opening out to "His own" in this central part of John's gospel, and by washing the disciples' feet that they may have "part" with Him in it. They therefore fail in their communion with the departed One, in this new portion and place to which His unbounded love has carried us with Himself.

1. It may be helpful to such, in apprehending what it is to have "this part" with the only-begotten Son, where He now is (and instructive for other reasons), if a previous inquiry be made as to the original "portion and part" which we all inherit with the man who fell. "Adam begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image." This personal relation as his children, is not all that constitutes our "part" with him; for "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men: for that all have sinned." Thus in our life and nature, as well as by the activities of our being, in mind and will, we have a very conscious part with Adam fallen, and in a world which still "groaneth under the bondage of corruption." Moreover, our own sins and iniquities placed us under the like condemnation and judgment of God. Heavy and dark as these inflictions and penalties upon mankind are known to be by us, because we each inherit a suffering part under the justice and righteous government of God the Creator, yet by sovereign grace and through faith we have another part in the promise - "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," and through which we are by Christ redeemed. It is this "seed of promise" in Adam's world, or "the corn of wheat" when this seed was manifested (as the Christ of God) in this world, or as "the wave-sheaf" by His resurrection out of the grave, which safely conduct us, in their appointed times and seasons, outside and beyond the part we had as sinners with the man who fell, into "our part" with a risen and glorified Christ.

2. In the onward history of God's ways with the races of men upon this earth, we come under and take our part with Noah, as the second head in a world since the flood; but under different conditions and in another standing as a family. God created Adam alone, and in "His own image," and put him as the responsible head over an unfallen creation but "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord," and was led into; and through, and out of, the ark on the other side of death and judgment, as a redeemed man, to begin a new history in another world under God's promises and covenanted blessings. By faith he builded an altar, and took of every clean beast, and offered burnt-offerings to the Lord; and God blessed Noah and his sons, and accepted them "in that sweet savour," saying, "I will establish my covenant with you and with your seed after you … from all that go out of the ark to every beast of the earth." Upon this new ground it is, that God gave the world out afresh to him by adding, "Into your hand are they delivered, and the fear and dread of you shall be upon them."

We never had "any part" with Adam in innocence, nor was he then the head of the human race, but became such when driven out of paradise. It is as fallen and expelled, that all his posterity had "part and place" with him as sinful and guilty creatures. The second head in this second world (or the world since the flood) was Noah; but upon these altered relations, and under covenanted and unconditional blessing, of which the rainbow set by God in the cloud was the comprehensive token, and under the protection of which we take our part as "his seed" and descendants. It is this unchanging covenant which rests upon the faithfulness of God that secures all blessing to every living creature, and that marks the difference between these two heads in their respective worlds, and shows our part in relation to each. After this, the earth was rearranged and apportioned between Noah's three sons; and the world became geographically divided into the Shem, Ham, and Japheth nations, in the last of which divisions we find "our place and part" as Europeans.

3. But besides being children of Adam and of the seed of Noah, we pass on to the special and distinct "call of Abraham" - a third head of patriarchal and covenanted blessing, to whom "the God of glory appeared," and said, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee." Under this headship of Abraham, viewed according to the patriarchal line, as having the sign and seal of circumcision in the flesh, and restricted by genealogy, we could "neither take part nor place," being the wrong people, and were also dispensationally and governmentally excluded from the land of Canaan which God gave to him and his posterity. We were thus outside this Abrahamic circle of promise and blessing according to the flesh; nevertheless the covenant ran - "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," which in its prophetic and wide extent embraces all, and has yet to be fulfilled. In the meanwhile, and through sovereign grace, those who are "of the faith of Abraham" are blessed with him; as it is written, "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith." Shut out as we were, and having no part or portion by genealogy and the flesh, yet we gain a title, and inherit upon this divine principle of faith. Again, our title to blessing under this third head with Abraham, the friend of God, rests not only upon the sovereign grace of being counted righteous by faith; but, higher and better still, we can now trace "our part" and portion downward from the true seed himself at the right hand of God; for "if ye be Christ's, ye are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to promise."

4. Another and a different display of God's wisdom, and power was yet to follow these three ancestral heads of races, and their divisions and settlements in the earth; for the set time was now come for Moses to bring forth the nation of Israel out of Egypt according to that word - "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord's portion is His people, and Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." In this fourth circle of promise and blessing, when all mankind were classified under the head of Jews and Gentiles, it is evident we could nationally have no part or portion, being, "called uncircumcision, by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands, that at that time ye were without Christ … having no hope, and without God in the world." Moreover, we were aliens, from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise; so that personally, relatively, and dispensationally we could not be numbered among the twelve tribes and their promises, under Moses, nor could we inherit the blessings with them under Joshua when the land was divided and allotted, or even claim protection under the kingly rule and power of David, or the throne and sceptre of Solomon.

At this point, nevertheless, we may notice there was an exception made by God governmentally on "behalf of a stranger," provided he were circumcised, and thus became identified outwardly with Israel after the flesh. So likewise, in the celebration of their yearly feasts to the Lord, they were "not to make clean riddance of the corners of their fields, but leave the gleanings to the poor, and to the stranger." But above and beyond these exceptional cases of men, it is instructive to observe that, though God may form a dispensation, and put His people into it as He did under Moses and the law at Mount Sinai, and even walk with them in these narrow confines for their well-being under government, yet He always maintains Himself upon the sovereign rights of His own nature and supremacy over all, and is always free to act according to "the good pleasure of His will." In the exercise of this prerogative, God put an outward difference between the nation of Israel and all other nations, as we have seen under Moses, by the law and circumcision. Thousands of years after, He brought in and established righteousness by the death and resurrection of Christ, even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ "unto all and upon all them that believe," as a new principle, and declared there is "no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," when the glory became the last standard and test of relationship with Him.

Consistently with this great change in dispensation, which is proclaimed by the gospel of Christ, and of our salvation, the question is boldly asked, "Is He the God of the Jews only? is He not also of the Gentiles?" Yes, of the Gentiles also, seeing it is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith, "in and by the death and propitiation of the Lord Jesus Christ." But the Spirit of God and of truth carries us farther than this in Christianity, inasmuch as it declares "the middle wall of partition is broken down," and there is no difference, because in the risen and glorified Head there is neither Jew nor Greek, nor bond nor free. Dispensationally by-and-bye, and in the thousand years of millennial blessing, the Spirit of prophecy teaches us that these differences will exist again, and that during the future reign of the Lord Jesus as the Messiah on earth, each will be nationally gathered together upon the sovereign ground of "the mercy of God;" as it is written, "Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people." In that day "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the earth with fruit;" and "the Gentiles shall also glorify God for His mercy," according as it is said, "For this cause I will confess to Thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto Thy name." In this light we, who "have part" with the departed One, can say with Paul, "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out," seeing that in the previous economy under Moses and the law, we were "the uncircumcision according to the flesh;" but in this economy we are "the true circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." Under the former dispensation, which boasted of descent and genealogy, we were incomplete and shut out; but in this dispensation (if indeed it may be called one) we "are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power," in whom also we are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands.

5. Besides these four heads of patriarchal and national history there remains another; for in the righteous government of God with the nation of Israel (because of its rebellion and sin) He transferred kingly power from the throne and sceptre of Solomon into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, as head of the Gentiles, and gave Jerusalem to be trodden down by them, till the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. The centre of administrative authority, was thus changed from a theocracy in "Jerusalem, the city of the great King," to Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar, who was (as Daniel writes) a king of kings. A vast territorial grant was likewise assigned to him; "for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;" also "the children of men, the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the heaven, hath He given into thine hand, and made thee ruler over them all." Supreme power was also granted unto him, and whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive. "Thou, O king, art this head of gold;" and under this headship it is, that the nations of the Gentiles, in their respective times, are gathered into their part and portion, as of Babylon, or Persia, or else of Greece, or Rome. Geographically, too, and dispensationally, as in this nineteenth century, their lot is cast under "the fourth beast" of Daniel's vision, or else of the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw, and possibly among the ten toes or kingdoms of the Roman earth. Prophetically, "the stone cut out of the mountain without hands" will as surely do its work upon the entire image, by grinding it to powder, as the promised seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head; or the corn of wheat, by passing through death, bring forth in the glory of resurrection its much fruit.

As in the flesh, we can plainly discover and understand our "part and place" in this Gentile image by our natural birth, and yet by the Spirit of grace, and as born a second time (born of God), be assured we have no fixed part with this doomed head of gold, but pass out of it into our "part and portion with Christ" as King of kings and Lord of lords. "Our citizenship is in heaven," by that eternal redemption which He has obtained for us through the shedding of His blood, and by His glorious ascension there. In the meanwhile, and "under the sun," the history of power, as connected with the Nebuchadnezzar image, runs its downward course from gold to silver and brass and iron, and the feet part of iron and part of clay, till they shall be broken in pieces, with those who take pleasure and have part and portion therein. This transfer of power, from the kings of Israel and the throne in Jerusalem became the occasion for Babylon, under the proud absolutism of its monarchs, to display itself in a far worse form of wickedness, by their own alienation from God, and the idolatrous worship by which the kingdom of this "head of gold" was inaugurated. The profanation and blasphemy by which it was followed, and exceeded at Belshazzar's feast, have been continued in Gentilism and its history; so that the little horn of Daniel, which "spoke great words against the Most High," prophetically remains undeveloped till "the man of sin," or the "son of perdition" in Paul's writings, appears, and is only consummated in the yet future Antichrist of the apocalyptic visions. Associated with this abomination are the ten horns (whether of Daniel's prophecy or the apostle John's), who give their power and strength unto the beast; and "these make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful."

Adam fell, Noah fell likewise, the nation also fell, as did Solomon, its king; and "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin," was written upon the walls of great Babylon, and its head of gold driven into the fields to eat straw like an ox, "till he should know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will." Power and majesty, dominion and glory, kingdoms and thrones, have thus in the sovereignty of God been bestowed upon the elect and royal line of Israel, but only to be profaned in their use, and still further desecrated, when transferred to the great head of the Gentiles and his successors, till Pilate crucified Jesus, - and Barabbas became the man of the people's choice.

6. What is the summary of these enquiries and examinations? It is this. A world in which the Creator put Adam in His own image, and in which He walked and talked with him in the cool of the day, is become a "paradise lost." The heavens and the earth which were of old have perished by the deluge, and the heavens and the earth which are now by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men, when the elements melt away by fervent heat.

"Part, and portion," and place like this, and even now in a groaning creation, with Satan the god of this world, where men are led captive by the devil at his will, is the common ground for all its teeming populations, and is only one remove from the blackness of darkness, and the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched. And this is where we all once lived, and had a part under condemnation before God, "dead in trespasses and sins," and were by nature children of wrath even as others. In such hopelessness and despair, where could the eye look? The cherubim and the flaming sword, which turned every way, barred the road back. To whom could the heart and conscience turn? The power of death had been let loose, and violence and corruption had come in, "till it repented God, that He had made man upon the earth." The Deliverer - and the needed deliverance could not enter from the north, or the south, or the east, or the west; and the wide world said, "It is not in me;" nor had any above or below heard "the fame thereof." The only resource was in God Himself, and this was declared by "the still, small voice" in which He whispered to the ear of faith what His reserves were, in "the promised seed" of the woman. The bright line of covenant and prophecy, whether to Noah or Abraham, the friend of God, or David, the man after his own heart (along which these meditations have carried us), historically are faith's stepping-stones into "our present place, and portion, and part," with the second Man in glory, as "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ."

7. Now that the Son of man is crowned with power and glory at God's right hand on high, we can look below to see (and with great joy of heart too) the final transfer of earthly power from the image to the Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by Daniel in his night vision (chap. 7): "I beheld one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him before him, and there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and languages, should serve him," etc. In harmony with the spirit of prophecy by Daniel, which of us does not heartily join with the elders, and the thousands upon thousands round about the throne in Rev: 5 (upon that heavenly investiture of power), saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing"? Moreover, in all that is comprehended in this universal outburst of praise from every creature, we take "our part with Christ," but on another standing, and say, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever."

8. Precious as it is to see "our part and portion with the Son of man in power and glory at the right hand of God above, or by Daniel's visions of the future on the earth, or by John's revelations of Him as the Lamb that was cast out and slain, there is still a part which we have by grace with Christ which none other than Himself could disclose to "His own." This is the great subject in that gospel of all others, of which "the disciple whom Jesus loved" was the inspired penman, and it is to this that we are now brought.

The revelation of our place and portion with the departed One where He is, and the mode of its communication to us by the Spirit, which proceedeth from the Father and the Son, is as wonderful and peculiar as "the part" itself: "At sundry times and in divers manners God spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, but bath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds." His change of place from earth to heaven, and His exaltation as the Son of man to the right hand of God, as Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all, necessitated no less a power and agency than "the Spirit of truth" for its communication to us. He also is the power for our present communion and "part with Christ" in those things which were kept secret from before the foundation of the world, and lay hidden in God till the time appointed. Therefore Jesus said to His disciples, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." This mission and present ministry of the Holy Ghost, to glorify the Son, and to take of His things and show them to us (that we may have part with Him), is only secondary to the great object and errand of Him that came forth from God, to "make known the Father," and Himself as "the way, the truth, and the life," amongst the children of men. In reality the Christian economy embraces these two ministries, which are essential to present communion with "the departed One" where He now is, with the Father; and finally for the gathering together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him, in whom we have obtained an inheritance, "according to the good pleasure of His will."

9. besides these differences of heavenly power and agencies for the revelation of this "part with Christ," and for our fellowship in it, by the unction of the indwelling Spirit, there remains yet for us in this gospel of John, while we are here below, the precious ministry of Jesus Himself, by the towel wherewith He girded Himself, and the water wherewith He washed the disciples' feet. He makes us thus in every way the objects of His personal love whilst in this defiling world, where He has left us (little as they then understood it, as expressed by Peter), and yet draws them to Himself, like John, who, in the confidence and repose of that unfathomable grace, could lay his head upon Jesus' breast, and even ask, "Who is it" that betrayeth thee?

He who so well knew what He was doing and what He had done for them, had already declared with His own lips, they were "clean every whit;" and oh, what an assurance for our souls is this! Only needing the basin and the towel under His eye and hand for our refreshment, and to keep the feet clean; and then the beloved disciple's head upon His breast, as the closing scene below. After this manner it was, that His love to His own perfected itself in its own delights with us on earth, in view of our everlasting joy with Himself and with the Father above, when He presents us "holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight." He has part with us, as truly as we have part with Him. We may take, perhaps, John 17 as a compendium of the blessedness and blessings which are unfolded in this gospel, as our present and everlasting portion with Christ; for it is in this scripture He personally speaks to the Father "of our part" with Himself, saying, "The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one." In this intercourse with "the Father of glory" Jesus passes into a region and range of subjects that are peculiarly His own, and of which He is also the centre, as the only-begotten Son, and yet Son of man. In the length and breadth of this precious chapter we are presented to the Father, and are taken into a "part and portion with Christ," where He now is, according to the counsels of God. These carry us with Him (under the anointing of the Holy Ghost) far higher than the promises and covenants and prophecies, whether to Adam, or Noah, or Abraham, or Joshua and David, which have occupied us, and which still await their millennial manifestations below, when Christ comes again. All these illustrious heads of covenanted blessings (with whom we shall then take "our part" with Christ the Lord) have more to do with Jehovah as the God of Israel, and Creator of the heavens and the earth, than with the hidden counsels of the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit, though connected therewith. The mystery of the eternal wisdom and glory iii Christ, and with Christ and the Church, throughout the ages of ages, is where we who are "His own" have our place and portion, through the riches of God's grace. But even beyond this Jesus said, "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I an; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." Founded, too, on the personal ministry of His own grace, He adds, "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be iii them, and I in them." What a blessed part we have in all this with Him, and by divine love, and power, and glory, in order that it may be known "what is the hope of His calling," and to manifest "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and the greatness of His power to usward who believe."

10. The personal and relative glories of the Son with the Father, and with us "as His own," give occasion for the Headships into which by redemption the Lord has passed in resurrection, as the Pauline epistles unfold, as head of His body the Church, and in whom all things in heaven and earth are to be gathered together. The offices of Christ likewise, as Mediator, Intercessor, Advocate, and Priest, are the further display of the resources in His glorious Person before God on our behalf, and towards us in the exercise of sympathy and grace whilst we are in "this time of need." Having loved His own which are in the world, He loves them to the end. Yea, more; for, as regards God, "it became Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many suns unto glory to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." And again, as to our blessed Lord and Saviour - "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same" that we might have a part with Him, where flesh and blood cannot enter, nor anything that defiled' or maketh a lie.

"All the Father's counsels claiming
Equal honours to the Son;
All the Son's effulgence beaming
Makes the Father's glory known."
J. E. B.