Of Him as prophet it was written in the days of Moses: "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him." Deut. 18:18,19. And this thought was continued in the succeeding scriptures until His coming.
Of Him as priest it was written in the days of David: "Yet have I set ['anointed,' margin] My King upon My holy hill of Zion." Ps. 2:6. And this thought, likewise, was continued in all the scriptures afterward unto His coming, after His coming, and unto the end of the Book.
Thus the Scriptures abundantly present Him in the three offices of prophet, priest, and king.
This threefold truth is generally recognized by all who have acquaintance with the Scriptures, but above this there is the truth which seems to be not so well known---that He is not all three of these at the same time.. The three offices are successive. He is prophet first, then after that He is priest, and after that He is king.
He was "that Prophet" when He came into the world, as that "Teacher come from God," the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, "full of grace and truth." Acts 3:19-23. But He was not then a priest, nor would He be a priest if He were even yet on earth, for it is written, "If He were on earth, He should not be a priest." Heb. 8:4. But, having finished His work in His prophetic office on earth, and having ascended to heaven at the right hand of the throne of God, He is now and there our "great High Priest" who "ever liveth to make intercession for us," as it is written: "He shall be a priest upon His [Father's] throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Zech. 6:12, 13.
As He was not that Priest when He was on earth as that Prophet, so now He is not that King when He is in heaven as that Priest. True, He is king in the sense and in the fact that He is upon His Father's throne, and thus He is the kingly priest and the priestly king after the order of Melchizedek, who, though priest of the Most High God, was also King of Salem, which is King of peace. Heb. 7:1,2. But this is not the kingly office and throne that is referred to and that is contemplated in the prophecy and the promise of His specific office as king.
The kingly office of the promise and the prophecy is that He shall be King upon "the throne of His father David," in perpetuation of the kingdom of God upon this earth. This kingly office is the restoration and the perpetuation, in Him, of the diadem, the crown, and the throne of David, which was discontinued when, because of the profanity and wickedness of the king and the people of Judah and Israel, they were taken captive to Babylon, when it was declared: "And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him." Eze. 21:25-27.
Thus and at that time the throne, the diadem, and the crown of the kingdom of David was discontinued "until He come whose right it is," when it will be given Him. And He whose right it is, is only Christ, "the Son of David." And this "coming" was not His first coming when He came in His humiliation, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; but it is His second coming, when He comes in His glory as "King of kings and Lord of lords," when His kingdom shall break in pieces and consume all the kingdoms of earth and shall occupy the whole earth and shall stand forever.
It is true that when He was born into the world, a babe in Bethlehem, He was born King and was then and has been ever since King by right. But it is equally true that this kingly office, diadem, crown, and throne of the prophecy and promise, He did not then take and has not yet taken and will not take until He comes again. Then it will be that He will take to Himself His great power upon this earth, and will reign fully and truly in all the splendor of His kingly office and glory. For in the Scripture it is portrayed that after "the judgment was set, and the books were opened," one like the Son of man came to the Ancient of days, "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." Dan. 7:13, 14. Then it is that He shall indeed take "the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:32, 33.
Thus it is plain that in the contemplation of the scripture, in the contemplation of the promise and the prophecy, as to His three offices of prophet, priest, and king, these offices are successive, and not all nor even any two of them at the same time. He came first as "that Prophet;" He is now that Priest, and will be that King when He comes again. He finished His work as "that Prophet" before He became that Priest; and He finishes His work as that Priest before He will become that King.
And as He was, and as He is, and as He is to be, so our consideration of Him must be.
That is to say: When He was in the world as that Prophet, that is what the people were then to consider Him; and, as concerning that time, that is what we are now to consider Him. But they at that time could not consider Him as that Priest, nor, as concerning Him in that time, can we consider Him as that Priest; for when He was on earth, He was not a priest.
But when that time was past, He became Priest. He is now Priest. He is now just as truly Priest as, when He was on earth, He was that Prophet. And in His office and work of priest we are now to consider Him just as truly, just as thoroughly, and just as constantly that Priest, as when He was on earth; they and we must consider Him as that Prophet.
And when He comes again in His glory and in the majesty of His kingdom, and upon the throne of His father David, then we shall consider Him as that King, which He will then indeed be. But not until then can we truly consider Him in His kingly office, as He in that kingship and kingly office will be.
In His kingly office we can now truly contemplate Him as only that which He is yet to be. In His prophetic office we can now contemplate Him only as that which He has been. But in His priesthood we must now consider Him as that which He now is, for only that is what He now is. That is the office in which alone He is now manifested, and that is the office in which alone we can now actually consider Him in His own person and procedure.
Not only are His three offices of prophet, priest, and king successive, but they are successive for a purpose. And they are successive for a purpose in the exact order of the succession as given--prophet, priest, and king. His office as prophet was preparatory and essential to His office as priest; and His offices of prophet and priest, in order, are preparatory to His office as king.
And to us the consideration of Him in these offices in their order is essential.
We must consider Him in His office as prophet, not only in order that we may be taught by Him who spake as never man spake, but also that we shall be able properly to consider Him in His office as priest.
And we must consider Him in His office as priest, not only that we may have the infinite benefit of His priesthood, but also that we shall be prepared for what we are to be. For it is written: "They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." Rev. 20:6.
And having considered Him in His office of prophet as preparatory to our properly considering Him in His office as priest, it is essential that we consider Him in His office as priest in order that we shall be able to consider Him in His office as king; that is, in order that we shall be with Him there and reign with Him there. For even of us it is written: "The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever," and "they shall reign forever and ever." Dan. 7:18; Rev. 22:5.
His priesthood being the present office and work of Christ, this having been His office and work ever since His ascension to heaven, Christ in His priesthood is the all-important study for all Christians, as well as for all other people.
Such An High Priest
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."
This is the summing up of the evidence of the high priesthood of Christ presented in the first seven chapters of Hebrews. The "sum" thus presented is not particularly that we have an High Priest but that "we have such an High Priest." "Such" signifies "of that kind; of a like kind or degree,"--"the same as previously mentioned or specified; not another or different."
That is to say: In the preceding part (the first seven chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews) there have been specified certain things concerning Christ as High Priest, certain qualifications by which He became High Priest, or certain things which are becoming to Him as an High Priest, which are summed up in this text: "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest."
It is necessary, therefore, to an understanding of this scripture that the previous portion of this epistle shall be reviewed to see what is the true weight and import of this word, "such an High Priest." The whole of the seventh chapter is devoted to the discussion of this priesthood. The sixth chapter closes with the thought of this priesthood. The fifth chapter is almost wholly devoted to the same thought. The fourth chapter closes with it, and the fourth chapter is but a continuation of the third chapter, which begins with an exhortation to "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;" and this as the conclusion from what had already been presented. The second chapter closes with the thought of His being "a merciful and faithful High Priest" and this also as the conclusion from what has preceded in the first and second chapters, for though they are two chapters the subject is but one.
This sketch shows plainly that in the first seven chapters of Hebrews the one great thought over all is the priesthood of Christ and that the truths presented, whatever the thought or the form may be, are all simply the presentation in different ways of the great truth of this priesthood, all of which is finally summed up in the words: "We have such an High Priest."
Therefore, in discovering the true weight and import of this expression, "such an High Priest," it is necessary to begin with the very first words of the book of Hebrews and follow the thought straight through to the summing up, bearing constantly in mind that the one transcendent thought in all that is presented is "such an High Priest" and that in all that is said the one great purpose is to show to mankind that we have "such an High Priest." However rich and full may be the truths in themselves, concerning Christ, which are contained in the successive statements, it must be constantly borne in mind that these truths--however rich, however full--are all expressed with the one great aim of showing that we have "such an High Priest." And in studying these truths as they are presented in the epistle, they must be held as subordinate and tributary to the great truth over all that is the "sum,"--"we have such an High Priest."
In the second chapter of Hebrews, as the conclusion of the argument there presented, it is written: "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God." In this it is declared that Christ's condescension, His likeness to mankind, His being made flesh and dwelling amongst men, was necessary to His becoming "a merciful and faithful High Priest." But in order to know the measure of His condescension and what is the real meaning of His place in the flesh as the Son of man and man, it is necessary to know what was first the measure of His exaltation as the Son of God and God, and this is the subject of the first chapter.
The condescension of Christ, the position of Christ, and the nature of Christ as He was in the flesh in the world are given in the second chapter of Hebrews more fully than in any other one place in the Scriptures. But this is in the second chapter. The first chapter precedes it. Therefore the truth and the thought presented in the first chapter are essentially precedent to the second chapter. The first chapter must be fully understood in order to be able to follow the thought and understand the truth in the second chapter.
In the first chapter of Hebrews, the exaltation, the position, and the nature of Christ as He was in heaven before He came to the world are more fully given than in any other single portion of the Scriptures. Therefore it is certain that an understanding of the position and nature of Christ as He was in heaven is essential to a proper understanding of His position and nature as He was on earth. And since it behooved Him to be what He was on earth, in order that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest, it is essential to know what He was in heaven, for this is essential precedent to what He was on earth and is therefore an essential part of the evidence that is summed up in the expression, "We have such an High Priest."
Christ As God
What, then, is the thought concerning Christ in the first chapter of Hebrews?
First of all there is introduced "God"--God the Father--as the speaker to men, who "in time past spake unto the fathers by the prophets" and who "hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son."
Thus is introduced Christ the Son of God. Then of Him and the Father it is written: "Whom He [the Father] hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He [the Father] made the worlds." Thus, as preliminary to His introduction and our consideration of Him as High Priest, Christ the Son of God is introduced as being with God as Creator and as being the active, vivifying Word in the creation--"by whom also He [God] made the worlds."
Next, of the Son of God Himself we read: "Who being the brightness of His [God's] glory, and the express image of His [God's] person ["the very impress of His substance," margin R.V.], and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
This tells us that in heaven the nature of Christ was the nature of God, that He in His person, in His substance, is the very impress, the very character, of the substance of God. That is to say that in heaven as He was before He came to the world the nature of Christ was in very substance the nature of God.
Therefore it is further written of Him that He was "made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." This more excellent name is the name "God," which, in the eighth verse, is given by the Father to the Son: "Unto the Son He [God] saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever."
Thus, He is "so much" better than the angels as God is better than the angels. And it is because of this that He has that more excellent name --the name expressing only what He is in His very nature.
And this name "He hath by inheritance." It is not a name that was bestowed but a name that is inherited.
Now it lies in the nature of things, as an everlasting truth, that the only name any person can possibly inherit is his father's name. This name, then, of Christ's, which is more excellent than that of the angels, is the name of His Father, and His Father's name is God. The Son's name, therefore, which He has by inheritance, is God. And this name, which is more excellent than that of the angels, is His because he is "so much better than the angels." That name being God, He is "so much better than the angels" as God is better than the angels.
Next, His position and nature, as better than that of the angels, is dwelt upon: "For unto which of the angels said He [the Father] at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?" This holds the thought of the more excellent name spoken of in the previous verse. For He, being the Son of God--God being His Father, thus hath "by inheritance" the name of His Father, which is God and which is so much more excellent than the name of the angels as God is better than they.
This is dwelt upon yet further: "And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, and let all the angels of God worship Him." Thus He is so much better than the angels that He is worshiped by the angels: and this according to the will of God, because He is, in His nature, God.
This thought of the mighty contrast between Christ and the angels is dwelt upon yet further: "Of the angels He saith, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever ["from eternity to eternity," German translation]."
And again, "A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows."
And yet again, the Father, in speaking to the Son, says: "Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands: they shall perish; but Thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but Thou are the same, and Thy years shall not fail."
Note the contrasts here and in them read the nature of Christ. The heavens shall perish, but He remains. The heavens shall wax old, but His years shall not fail. The heavens shall be changed, but He is the same. This shows that He is God, of the nature of God.
Yet more of this contrast between Christ and the angels: "To which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Thus, in the first chapter of Hebrews Christ is revealed higher than the angels, as God; and as much higher than the angels as is God, because He is God.
In the first chapter of Hebrews Christ is revealed as God, of the name of God, because He is of the nature of God. And so entirely is His nature of the nature of God that it is the very impress of the substance of God.
This is Christ the Saviour, Spirit of Spirit, substance of substance, of God.
And this it is essential to know in the first chapter of Hebrews, in order to know what is His nature revealed in the second chapter of Hebrews as man.
Christ As Man
Christ's likeness to God, as set forth in the first chapter of Hebrews, is only introductory to the setting forth of His likeness to men, as in the second chapter of Hebrews.
His likeness to God, as in the first chapter of Hebrews, is the only basis of true understanding of His likeness to men, as in the second chapter of Hebrews.
And this likeness to God, as given in the first chapter of Hebrews, is likeness--not in the sense of a mere picture or representation--but is likeness in the sense of being actually like in very nature--the very "impress of His substance," Spirit of Spirit, substance of substance, of God.
And this is given as the preliminary to our understanding of His likeness to men. That is to say: from this we are to understand that His likeness to men is not merely in shape, in picture, or representation, but in nature, in very substance. Otherwise, the whole first chapter of Hebrews, with all its detail of information, is, in that connection, meaningless and misplaced.
What, then, is this truth of Christ made in the likeness of men, as given in the second chapter of Hebrews?
Bearing in mind the great thought of the first chapter and the first four verses of the second chapter,--of Christ in contrast with the angels, higher than the angels, as God,--we begin with the fifth verse of the second chapter, where begins the thought of Christ in contrast with the angels, lower than the angels, as man.
So we read: "For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that Thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subject under his feet. For in that He put all in subject under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus." Heb. 2:5-9.
That is to say: God has not put in subjection to the angels the world to come, but He has put it in subjection to man--yet not the man to whom it was originally put in subjection, for, though it was so, yet now we see it not so. The man lost his dominion, and instead of having all things in subjection under his feet, he himself is now in subjection to death. And he is in subjection to death only because he is in subjection to sin, 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." Rom. 5:12. He is in subjection to death because he is in subjection to sin, for death is only the wages of sin.
Nevertheless, it stands eternally true that not unto the angels hath He put in subjection the world to come, but unto man. And, now, Jesus Christ is THE MAN.
For, though this dominion having been put in subjection to man and though now we see it not so, though man was given the dominion over all, and now we see that dominion lost to that particular man, yet we do "see Jesus," as man, come to regain that original dominion. We do "see Jesus" as man, come to have all things put in subjection under Him.
That man was the first Adam; this other Man is the last Adam. That first Adam was made a little lower than the angels; this last Adam, Jesus, also we see "made a little lower than the angels."
That first man did not remain in the position where he was made, "lower than the angels." He lost that and went still lower and became subject to sin and, in that, subject to suffering, even to the suffering of death.
And the last Adam we see in the same place, in the same condition: "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death." And again: "Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all OF ONE."
He which sanctifieth is Jesus. They who are sanctified are men of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. And one man sanctified out of any nation, any kindred, any tongue, or any people, is divine demonstration that every soul of that nation, kindred, tongue, or people might have been sanctified. And Jesus, having become one of these that He might bring them to glory is proof that He is one of mankind altogether; that He, as man, and all men themselves, are "all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren."
Therefore, as in heaven He was higher than the angels, as God; so on earth He was lower than the angels, as man. As when He was higher than the angels, as God, He and God were of one; so when He was on the earth, lower than the angels, as man, He and man are "of one." So that just as certainly as, on the side of God, Jesus and God are of one--of one Spirit, of one nature, of one substance; so, on the side of man, Christ and man are "of one"--of one flesh, of one nature, of one substance.
The likeness of Christ to God is in substance as well as in form. And the likeness of Christ to man is in substance as well as in form. Otherwise, there is no meaning in the first chapter of Hebrews as introductory to the second chapter--no meaning in the antitheses between the first and second chapters, and the first chapter is out of place and empty, as a basis of introduction to the second chapter.
He Took Part of the Same
The first chapter of Hebrews reveals that Christ's likeness to God is not simply in form or representation but also in very substance, and the second chapter as clearly reveals that His likeness to men is not simply in form or in representation but also in very substance. It is likeness to men as they are in all things, exactly as they are. Wherefore, it is written: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John 1:1-14.
And that this is likeness to man as he is in his fallen, sinful nature and not as he was in his original, sinless nature is made certain by the word: "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death." Therefore, as man is since he became subject to death, this is what we see Jesus to be, in His place as man.
Therefore, just as certainly as we see Jesus lower than the angels, unto the suffering of death, so certainly it is by this demonstrated that, as man, Jesus took the nature of man as he is since death entered and not the nature of man as he was before he became subject to death.
But death entered only because of sin; had not sin entered, death never could have entered. And we see Jesus made lower than the angels for the suffering of death. Therefore we see Jesus made in the nature of man, as man is since man sinned and not as man was before sin entered. For this He did that He might "taste death for every man." In becoming man that he might reach man, He must come to man where man is. Man is subject to death. Therefore Jesus must become man, as man is since he is subject to death.
"For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Heb. 2:10. Thus, in becoming man, it became Him to become such as man is. Man is subject to sufferings. Therefore it became Him to come to the man where he is--in his sufferings.
Before man sinned he was not in any sense subject to sufferings. And for Jesus to have come in the nature of man as he was before sin entered, would have been only to come in a way and in a nature in which it would be impossible for Him to know the sufferings of man and therefore impossible to reach him to save him. But since it became Him, in bringing men unto glory, to be made perfect through sufferings, it is certain that Jesus in becoming man partook of the nature of man as he is since he became subject to suffering, even the suffering of death, which is the wages of sin.
And so it is written: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." Verse 14. He, in His human nature, took the same flesh and blood that men have. All the words that could be used to make this plain and positive are here put together in a single sentence.
The children of men are partakers of flesh and blood, and because of this He took part of the same.
But this is not all. He also took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which the children are partakers.
Nor is this all. He also Himself took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which the children of men are partakers.
Nor yet is this all. He also Himself likewise took part of the same flesh and blood as that of which men are partakers.
Thus the Spirit of inspiration so much desires that this truth shall be made so plain and emphatic as to be understood by all, that He is not content to use any fewer than all the words that could be used that just as, and just as certainly as, "the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same" flesh and blood.
And this He did in order "that through death He might...deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." He took part of the same flesh and blood as we have in the bondage of sin and the fear of death, in order that He might deliver us from the bondage of sin and the fear of death.
And so, "Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."
This great truth of the blood-relationship, this blood-brotherhood of Christ with men is taught in the gospel in Genesis. For when God made His everlasting covenant with Abraham, the sacrifices were cut in two and He, with Abraham, passed between the pieces. Gen. 15:8-18; Jer. 34:18, 10; Heb. 7:5, 9. By this act the Lord entered into "the most solemn covenant known to the Oriental" or to Mankind,--the blood covenant,--and thus became blood-brother to Abraham, "a relation which outranks every other relation in life."
This great truth of Christ's blood-relationship to man is further taught in the gospel in Leviticus. In the gospel in Leviticus there is written the law of redemption of men and their inheritances. When any one of the children of Israel had lost his inheritance or himself had been brought into bondage, there was redemption provided. If he was able of himself to redeem himself or his inheritance, he could do it. But if he was not able of himself to redeem, then the right of redemption fell to his nearest of kin in blood-relationship. It fell not merely to one who was near of kin among his brethren but to the one who was nearest of kin who was able. Lev. 25:24-28; 47-49; Ruth 2:20; 3:9, 12, 13; 4:1-14, with the marginal readings.
Thus in Genesis and Leviticus there has been taught through all these ages the very truth which we find here taught in the second chapter of Hebrews--the truth that man has lost his inheritance and is himself also in bondage. And as he himself can not redeem himself nor his inheritance, the right of redemption falls to the nearest of kin who is able. And Jesus Christ is the only one in all the universe who is able.
But to be the Redeemer he must be not only able, He must be a blood relative. And He must also be not only near of kin, but the nearest of kin and the nearest of kin by blood-relationship. Therefore, "as the children" of man--as the children of the one who lost our inheritance--"are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same"--took part of flesh and blood in very substance like ours and so became our nearest of kin. And therefore it is written that He and we "are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call us brethren."
But the Scripture does not stop even yet with the statement of this all-important truth. It says, further: "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 behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren," whose blood-brother He became in the confirming of that everlasting covenant.
And this He did in order that wherein "He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." For He was "touched with the feeling of our infirmities;" being "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Heb. 4:15. Being made in His human nature in all things like as we are, He could be and He was tempted in all points like as we are. The only way in which He could possibly be tempted "like as we are" was to become "in all things" "like as we are."
As in His human nature He is one of us, and as "Himself took our infirmities" (Matt. 8:17), He could be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Being in all things made like us, He, when tempted, felt just as we feel when we are tempted and knows all about it and so can help and save to the uttermost all who will receive Him. As in His flesh, and [as] Himself in the flesh, He was as weak as we are and of Himself could "do nothing" (John 5:30); so when He bore "our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4) and was tempted as we are, feeling as we feel, by His divine faith He conquered all by the power of God which that faith brought Him--in our flesh He has brought to us.
Therefore, His name is called Emmanuel which is "God with us." Not God with Him only but God with us. God was with Him in eternity and could have been with Him even though He had not given Himself for us. But man through sin became without God, and God wanted to be again with us. Therefore Jesus became "us" that God with Him might be "God with us." And that is His name, because that is what He is. Blessed be His name.
And this is "the faith of Jesus" and the power of it. This is our Saviour--one of God and one of man--and therefore able to save to the uttermost every soul who will come to God by Him.
Made Under the Law
"Christ Jesus,...being in the form of God,...emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men." Phil. 2:5-7, R.V. He was made in the likeness of men, as men are, just where they are.
"The Word was made flesh." He "took part of the same" flesh and blood as that of which the children of men are partakers, as they are since man has fallen into sin. And so it is written: "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made...under the law."
To be under the law is to be guilty, condemned, and subject to the curse. For it is written: "We know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that...all the world may become guilty before God." This because "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:19, 23; 6:14.
And the guilt of sin brings the curse. In Zech. 5:1-4, the prophet beheld a "flying roll; the length thereof...twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits." The Lord said to him: "This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth." And what is the cause of this curse over the face of the whole earth? This: "For every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it."
That is, this roll is the law of God, one commandment being cited from each table, showing that both tables of the law are included in the roll. Every one that stealeth--every one that transgresseth the law in the things of the second table--shall be cut off as on this side of the law according to it, and every one that sweareth--every one that transgresseth in the things of the first table of the law--shall be cut off as on that side of the law according to it.
The heavenly recorders do not need to write out a statement of each particular sin of every man but simply to indicate on the roll that pertains to man the particular commandment that is violated in each transgression. And that such a roll of the law does go with every man wherever he goes and even abides in his house is plain from the next words: "I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by My name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house."
And unless a remedy shall be found, there that roll of the law will remain until the curse shall consume that man, and his house, "with the timber thereof and the stones thereof:" that is, until the curse shall devour the earth in that great day when the very elements shall melt with fervent heat. For "the strength of sin" and the curse "is the law." 1 Cor. 15:56; Isaiah 24:5, 6:2 Peter 3:10-12.
But, thanks be to God, "God sent forth His son, made...under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." Gal. 4:4,5. By His coming He brought redemption to every soul who is under the law. But in order perfectly to bring that redemption to men under the law, He Himself must come to men, just where they are and as they are, under the law.
And this "was made."He did, for he was "made under the law;" He was made "guilty;" He was made condemned by the law; He was "made" as guilty as any man is guilty who is under the law. He was "made" under condemnation as fully as any man is under condemnation because of his violation of the law. He was "made" under the curse as completely as any man in the world has ever been or ever can be under the curse. For it is written: "He that is hanged ["on a tree"] is accursed of God." Deut. 21:23.
The Hebrew makes this stronger still, for the literal translation is: "He that hangeth on a tree is the curse of God." And this is exactly the strength of the fact respecting Christ, for it is written that He was "made a curse." Thus, when He was made under the law, He was made all that it means to be under the law. He was made guilty; He was made condemned; He was made a curse.
But bear in mind forever that all this He "was made." He was none of this of Himself, of native fault, but all of it he "was made." And He was made it all for us: for us who are under the law; for us who are under condemnation because of transgression of the law; for us who are under the curse because of swearing and lying and killing and stealing and committing adultery and all the other infractions of the roll of God's law that goeth with us and that remaineth in our house.
He was made under the law to redeem them that are under the law. He was made a curse to redeem them that are under the curse because of being under the law.
But for whomsoever it was done, and whatsoever is accomplished by the doing of it, there must never be forgotten the fact that, in order to the doing of that which was done He had to be "made" that which those already were for whom the thing was done.
Any man, therefore, in all the world, who knows guilt, by that very thing knows also what Jesus felt for him and by this knows how close Jesus has come to him. Whosoever knows what is condemnation in that knows exactly what Jesus felt for him and so knows how thoroughly Jesus is able to sympathize with him and to redeem him. Whosoever knows the curse of sin, "the plague of his own heart," in that can know exactly what Jesus experienced for him and how entirely Jesus identified Himself, in very experience, with him.
Bearing guilt, being under condemnation and so under the weight of the curse, Jesus, a whole lifetime in this world of guilt, condemnation, and the curse, lived the perfect life of the righteousness of God, without ever sinning at all. And whenever any man knowing guilt, condemnation, and the curse of sin, and knowing that Jesus actually felt in His experience all this just as man feels it; then, in addition, that man by believing in Jesus can know in his experience the blessedness of the perfect life of the righteousness of God in his life to redeem him from guilt, from condemnation, and from the curse; and to be manifested in his whole lifetime to keep him from ever sinning at all.
Christ was made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. And that blessed work is accomplished for every soul who accepts of that redemption.
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." His being made a curse is not in vain: it accomplishes all that was intended by it in behalf of every man who will receive it. For it was all done "that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Gal. 3:14.
Still, whatever was intended by it and whatever is accomplished by it, there must always be borne in mind by every soul the FACT that, in His condescension, in His emptying Himself and being "made in the likeness of men" and "made flesh," He was made under the law, guilty,--under condemnation, under the curse,--as really and as entirely as is any soul that shall ever be redeemed.
And having passed through it all, He is the author of eternal salvation and is able to save to the uttermost from deepest loss all who come unto God by Him.
Made of a Woman By what means was Christ made flesh? Through what means was He partaker of human nature?--Exactly the same means as are all of us partakers: all of the children of men. For it is written: "As the children [of the man] are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same."
Likewise signifies "in the like way," "thus," "in the same way." So He partook of "the same" flesh and blood that men have in the same way that men partake of it. Men partake of it by birth. So "likewise" did He. Accordingly, it is written, "Unto us a Child is born."
Accordingly, it is further written: "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman." Gal. 4:4. He, being made of a woman in this world, in the nature of things He was made of the only kind of woman that this world knows.
But why must He be made of a woman? why not of a man?--For the simple reason that to be made of a man would not bring Him close enough to mankind as mankind is, under sin. He was made of a woman in order that He might come, in the very uttermost, to where human nature is in its sinning.
In order to do this, He must be made of a woman, because the woman, not the man, was first and originally in the transgression. For "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." 1 Tim. 2:14.
To have been made only of the descent of man would have been to come short of the full breadth of the field of sin, because the woman had sinned and sin was thus in the world before the man sinned.
Christ was thus made of a woman in order that He might meet the great world of sin at its very fountain head of entrance into this world. To have been made otherwise than of a woman would have been to come short of this and so would have been only to miss completely the redemption of men from sin.
It was "the Seed of the woman" that was to bruise the serpent's head; and it was only as "the seed of the woman" and "made of a woman" that He could meet the serpent on his own ground, at the very point of the entrance of sin into this world.
It was the woman who, in this world, was originally in the transgression. It was the woman by whom sin originally entered. Therefore, in the redemption of the children of men from sin, He who would be the Redeemer must go back of the man to meet the sin that was in the world before the man sinned.
This is why He who came to redeem was "made of a woman." By being made of a woman He could trace sin to the very fountain head of its original entry into the world by the woman. And thus, in finding sin in the world and uprooting it from the world from its original entrance into the world till the last vestige of it shall be swept from the world, in the very nature of things He must partake of human nature as it is since sin entered.
Otherwise, there was no kind of need whatever that He should be "made of a woman." If He were not to come into closest contact with sin as it is in the world, as it is in human nature; if He were to be removed one single degree from it as it is in human nature, then He need not have been "made of a woman."
But as He was made of a woman--not of a man; as He was made of the one by whom sin entered in its very origin into the world--and not made of the man, who entered into the sin after the sin had entered into the world; this demonstrates beyond all possibility of fair question that between Christ and sin in this world and between Christ and human nature as it is under sin in the world there is no kind of separation, even to the shadow of a single degree. He was made flesh; he was made to be sin. He was made flesh as flesh is and only as flesh is in this world and was made to be sin only as sin is.
And this must He do to redeem lost mankind. For Him to be separated a single degree or a shadow of a single degree in any sense from the nature of those whom He came to redeem would be only to miss everything.
Therefore, as He was made "under the law," because they are under the law whom He would redeem, and as He was made a curse, because they are under the curse whom He would redeem, and as He was made sin, because they are sinners--"sold under sin"--whom He would redeem, precisely so He must be made flesh and "the same" flesh and blood, because they are flesh and blood whom He would redeem and must be made "of a woman," because sin was in the world first by and in the woman.
It is thoroughly understood that in His birth Christ did partake of the nature of Mary--the "woman" of whom He was "made." But the carnal mind is not willing to allow that God in His perfection of holiness could endure to come to men where they are in their sinfulness. Therefore endeavor has been made to escape the consequences of this glorious truth, which is the emptying of self, by inventing a theory that the nature of the virgin Mary was different from the nature of the rest of mankind; that her flesh was not exactly such flesh as is that of all mankind. This invention sets up that by some special means Mary was made different from the rest of human beings, especially in order that Christ might be becomingly born of her.
If He were not of the same flesh as are those whom He came to redeem, then there is no sort of use of His being made flesh at all. More than this: Since the only flesh that there is in this wide world which He came to redeem is just the poor, sinful, lost, human flesh that all mankind have; if this is not the flesh that he was made, then He never really came to the world which needs to be redeemed. For if he came in a human nature different from that which human nature in this world actually is, then, even though He were in the world, yet for any practical purposes in reaching man and helping him, he was as far from him as if He had never come, for, in that case, in His human nature He was just as far from man and just as much of another world as if He had never come into this world at all.
This invention has culminated in what is known as the Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Many Protestants, if not the vast majority of them as well as other non-Catholics, think that the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Jesus by the virgin Mary. But this is altogether a mistake. It refers not at all to the conception of Christ by Mary but to the conception of Mary herself by her mother.
The official and "infallible" doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, as solemnly defined as an article of faith, by Pope Pius IX, speaking ex cathedra on the 8th of December 1854 is as follows:--
By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a special grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore is to be firmly and steadfastly believed by all the faithful.
Wherefore, if any shall presume, which may God avert, to think in their heart otherwise then has been defined by us, let them know, and moreover understand, that they are condemned by their own judgment, that they have made shipwreck as regards the faith, and have fallen away from the unity of the Church.--Catholic Belief, page 214.
This conception is defined by Catholic writers thus:--
The ancient writing, "De Nativitate Christi," found in St. Cyprian's works says: Because (Mary) being "very different from the rest of mankind, human nature, but not sin, communicated itself to her."
Theodore, patriarch of Jerusalem, said in the second council of Nice, that Mary "is truly the mother of God, and virgin before and after childbirth; and she was created in a condition more sublime and glorious than that of all natures, whether intellectual or corporeal."--Id., pages 216, 217.
This plainly puts the nature of Mary entirely beyond any real likeness or relationship to mankind or human nature as it is. Having this clearly in mind, let us follow this invention in its next step. Thus it is, as given in the words of Cardinal Gibbons:--
We affirm that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word of God, who in His divine nature is, from all eternity, begotten of the Father, consubstantial with Him, was in the fulness of time again begotten, by being born of the virgin, thus taking to himself from her maternal womb a human nature of the same substance with hers.
As far as the sublime mystery of the incarnation can be reflected in the natural order, the blessed Virgin, under the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, by communicating to the Second Person of the adorable Trinity, as mothers do, a true human nature of the same substance with her own, is thereby really and truly His mother.--Faith of Our Fathers, pages 198, 199.
Now put these two things together. First, we have the nature of Mary defined as being not only "very different from the rest of mankind," but "more sublime and glorious than all natures:" thus putting her infinitely beyond any real likeness or relationship to mankind as we really are.
Next, we have Jesus described as taking from her a human nature of the same substance as hers.
From this theory it therefore follows as certainly as that two and two make four, that in His human nature the Lord Jesus is "very different" from the rest of mankind; indeed, His nature is not human nature at all.
Such is the Roman Catholic doctrine concerning the human nature of Christ. The Catholic doctrine of the human nature of Christ is simply that that nature is not human nature at all, but divine: "more sublime and glorious than all natures." It is that in His human nature Christ was so far separated from mankind as to be utterly unlike that of mankind, that His was a nature in which He could have no sort of fellow-feeling with mankind.
But such is not the faith of Jesus. The faith of Jesus is that "as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same."
The faith of Jesus is that God sent "His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh."
The faith of Jesus is that "in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.
The faith of Jesus is that He "Himself took our infirmities" and was touched "with the feeling of our infirmities," being tempted in all points like as we are. If He was not as we are, He could not possibly be tempted "like as we are." But He was "in all points tempted like as we are." Therefore He was "in all points" "like as we are."
In the quotations of Catholic faith which in this chapter we have cited, we have presented the faith of Rome as to the human nature of Christ and of Mary. In the second chapter of Hebrews and kindred texts of Scripture there is presented--and in these studies we have endeavored to reproduce as there presented--the faith of Jesus as to the human nature of Christ.
The faith of Rome as to the human nature of Christ and Mary and of ourselves springs from that idea of the natural mind that God is too pure and too holy to dwell with us and in us in our sinful human nature; that sinful as we are, we are too far off for Him in His purity and holiness to come to us just as we are.
The true faith--the faith of Jesus--is that, far off from God as we are in our sinfulness, in our human nature which He took, He has come to us just where we are; that, infinitely pure and holy as He is, and sinful, degraded, and lost as we are, He in Christ by His Holy Spirit will willingly dwell with us and in us to save us, to purify us, and to make us holy.
The faith of Rome is that we must be pure and holy in order that God shall dwell with us at all.
The faith of Jesus is that God must dwell with us and in us in order that we shall be holy or pure at all.
Thus all the sin of this world, from its origin in the world to the end of it in the world, was laid upon Him--both sin as it is in itself and sin as it is when committed by us; sin in its tendency and sin in the act: sin as it is hereditary in us, uncommitted by us; and sin as it is committed by us.
Only thus could it be that there should be laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. Only by His subjecting Himself to the law of heredity could He reach sin in full and true measure as sin truly is. Without this there could be laid upon Him our sins which have been actually committed, with the guilt and condemnation that belong to them. But beyond this there is in each person, in many ways, the liability to sin inherited from generations back which has not yet culminated in the act of sinning but which is ever ready, when occasion offers, to blaze forth in the actual committing of sins. David's great sin is an illustration of this. Ps. 51:5; 2 Sam. 11:2.
In delivering us from sin, it is not enough that we shall be saved from the sins that we have actually committed; we must be saved from committing other sins. And that this may be so, there must be met and subdued this hereditary liability to sin; we must become possessed of power to keep us from sinning--a power to conquer this liability, this hereditary tendency that is in us to sin.
All our sins which we have actually committed were laid upon Him, were imputed to Him, so that His righteousness may be laid upon us, may be imputed to us. Also our liability to sin was laid upon Him, in His being made flesh, in His being born of a woman, of the same flesh and blood as we are, so that His righteousness might be actually manifested in us as our daily life.
Thus He met sin in the flesh which He took and triumphed over it, as it is written: "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." And again: "He is our peace,...having abolished in His flesh the enmity."
And thus, just as our sins actually committed were imputed to Him that His righteousness might be imputed to us, so His meeting and conquering in the flesh the liability to sin and in that same flesh manifesting righteousness, enables us in Him, and Him in us, to meet and conquer in the flesh this same liability to sin and to manifest righteousness in the same flesh.
And thus it is that for the sins which we have actually committed, for the sins that are past, His righteousness is imputed to us, as our sins were imputed to Him. And to keep us from sinning His righteousness is imparted to us in our flesh as our flesh, with its liability to sin, was imparted to Him. Thus He is the complete Saviour. He saves from all the sins that we have actually committed and saves equally from all the sins that we might commit dwelling apart from Him.
If He took not the same flesh and blood that the children of men have with its liability to sin, then where could there be any philosophy or reason of any kind whatever in His genealogy as given in the Scriptures? He was descended from David; He was descended from Abraham; He was descended from Adam and, by being made of a woman, He reached even back of Adam to the beginning of sin in the world.
In that genealogy there are Jehoiakim, who for his wickedness was "buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (Jer. 22:19); Manasseh, who caused Judah to do "worse than the heathen;" Ahaz, who "made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord;" Rehoboam, who was born of Solomon after Solomon turned from the Lord; Solomon himself, who was born of David and Bathsheba; there are also Ruth the Moabitess and Rahab; as well as Abraham, Isaac, Jesse, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah: the worst equally with the best. And the evil deeds of even the best are recorded equally with the good. And in this whole genealogy there is hardly one whose life is written upon at all of whom there is not some wrong act recorded.
Now it was at the end of such a genealogy as that that "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." It was at the end of such a genealogy as that that He was made of a woman." It was in such a line of descent as that that God sent "His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." And such a descent, such a genealogy, meant something to Him, as it does to every other man, under the great law that the iniquities of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations. It meant everything to Him in the terrible temptations in the wilderness of temptation, as well as all the way through His life in the flesh.
Thus, both by heredity and by imputation, He was "laden with the sins of the world." And, thus laden, at this immense disadvantage He passed triumphantly over the ground where at no shadow of any disadvantage whatever, the first pair failed.
By His death He paid the penalty of all sins actually committed, and thus can justly bestow His righteousness upon all who choose to receive it. And by condemning sin in the flesh, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, He delivers from the power of the law of heredity and so can, in righteousness, impart His divine nature and power to lift above that law, and hold above it, every soul that receives Him.
And so it is written: "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Gal. 4:4. And "God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for [on account of] sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. 8:3,4. And "He is our peace,...having abolished in His flesh the enmity,...for to make in Himself of twain [God and man] one new man, so making peace." Eph. 2:14, 15.
Thus, "in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren....For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted."
Whether temptation be from within or from without, He is the perfect shield against it all; and so saves to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.
God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, Christ taking our nature as our nature is in its sinfulness and degeneracy, and God dwelling constantly with Him and in Him in that nature--in this God has demonstrated to all people forever that there is no soul in this world so laden with sins or so lost that God will not gladly dwell with him and in him to save him from it all and to lead him in the way of the righteousness of God.
And so certainly is his name Emmanuel, which is, "God with us."