Chapter 4: GOD THE SON


Seventh-day Adventists Believe...

God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ.

Through Him all things were created, the character of God is

revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the

world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly

man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit

and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced

temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the

righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested

God's power and was attested as God's promised Messiah. He

suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and

in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to

minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will

come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people

and the restoration of all things.--Fundamental Beliefs, 4

 

GOD THE SON

The wilderness had become a nightmare of vipers. Snakes

slithered under cooking pots, coiled around tent pegs. They

lurked among children's toys, lay in wait in the sleeping

pallets. Their fangs sank deep, injecting deadly poison.

The wilderness, which once had been Israel's refuge,

became its graveyard. Hundreds lay dying. Realizing their

predicament, terrorized parents hurried to Moses' tent,

pleading for help. "Moses prayed for the people."

God's answer? Mold a serpent, and lift it high--and all

who looked on it would live. "So Moses made a bronze

serpent, and put it on a pole; and...if a serpent had bitten

anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived"

(Num. 21:9).

The serpent has always been Satan's symbol (Genesis 3;

Revelation 12), representing sin. The camp had been plunged

into Satan's hands. God's remedy? Not looking at a lamb on

the sanctuary altar, but beholding a bronze serpent.

It was a strange symbol of Christ. Just as the likeness

of the serpents that stung was lifted up on a pole, Jesus,

made "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), was to be

lifted up on the shameful cross (John 3:14,15). He became

sin, taking upon Himself all the sins of everyone who has

lived or will live. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be

sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in

Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). By looking to Christ hopeless humanity

can find life.

How could the incarnation bring salvation to humanity?

What effect did it have on the Son? How could God become a

human being and why was it necessary?

The Incarnation: Predictions and Fulfillment

God's plan to rescue those who strayed from His all-wise

counsel (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9) convincingly demonstrates

His love. In this plan His Son was "foreordained before the

foundation of the world" as the sacrifice for sin, to be the

hope of the human race (1 Peter 1:19,20). He was to bring us

back to God and provide deliverance from sin through the

destruction of the works of the devil (1 Peter 3:18; Matt.

1:21; 1 John 3:8).

Sin had severed Adam and Eve from the source of life, and

should have resulted in their immediate death. But in

accordance with the plan laid before the foundation of the

world (1 Peter 1:20,21), the "counsel of peace" (Zech.

6:13), God the Son stepped between them and divine justice,

bridging the gulf and restraining death. Even before the

cross, then, His grace kept sinners alive and assured them

of salvation. But to restore us fully as sons and daughters

of God, He had to become a man.

Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, God gave them hope

by promising to introduce a supernatural enmity between the

serpent and the woman, between his seed and hers. In the

cryptic statement of Genesis 3:15 the serpent and its

offspring represent Satan and his followers; the woman and

her seed symbolize God's people and the Saviour of the

world. This statement was the first assurance that the

controversy between good and evil would end in victory for

God's Son.

The victory, however, would be painful: "`He [the

Saviour] shall bruise your [Satan's] head, and you [Satan]

shall bruise His [the Saviour's] heel'" (Gen. 3:15). No one

would come out unscathed.

From that moment, mankind looked for the Promised One.

The Old Testament unfolds that search. Prophecies foretold

that when the Promised One arrived, the world would have

evidence to confirm His identity.

A Prophetic Dramatization of Salvation

After sin entered, God instituted animal sacrifices to

illustrate the mission of the Saviour to come (see Gen.

4:4). This symbolic system dramatized the manner in which

God the Son would eradicate sin.

Because of sin--the transgression of God's law--the human

race faced death (Gen. 2:17; 3:19; 1 John 3:4; Rom. 6:23).

God's law demanded the life of the sinner. But in His

infinite love God gave His Son, "`that whoever believes in

Him should not perish but have everlasting life'" (John

3:16). What an incomprehensible act of condescension! God

the eternal Son, Himself pays vicariously the penalty for

sin, so that He can provide us forgiveness and

reconciliation to the Godhead.

After Israel's exodus from Egypt, the sacrificial

offerings were conducted in a tabernacle as part of a

covenant relationship between God and His people. Built by

Moses according to a heavenly pattern, the sanctuary and its

services were instituted to illustrate the plan of salvation

(Ex. 25:8,9,40; Heb. 8:1-5).

To obtain forgiveness, a repentant sinner brought a

sacrificial animal that had no blemishes--a representation

of the sinless Saviour. The sinner then would place his hand

upon the innocent animal and confess his sins (Lev. 1:3,4).

This act symbolized the transfer of the sin from the guilty

sinner to the innocent victim, depicting the substitutionary

nature of the sacrifice.

Since "without shedding of blood there is no remission"

of sins (Heb. 9:22), the sinner then killed the animal,

making the deadly nature of sin evident. A sorrowful way to

express hope, but the sinner's only way to express faith.

After the priestly ministry (Leviticus 4-7), the sinner

received forgiveness of sins through his faith in the

substitutionary death of the coming Redeemer, which the

animal sacrifice symbolized (cf. Lev. 4:26,31,35). The New

Testament recognizes Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as "the

Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John

1:29). Through His precious blood, "as of a lamb without

blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:19), He obtained for

the human race redemption from the ultimate penalty of sin.

Predictions About a Saviour

God promises that the Saviour-Messiah--the Anointed

One--would come through Abraham's line: "`In your seed all

the nations of the earth shall be blessed'"

(Gen. 22:18; cf. 12:3).

Isaiah prophesied that the Saviour would come as a male

child, and would be both human and divine: "For unto us a

Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government

will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince

of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). This Redeemer would ascend the throne

of David and establish an everlasting government of peace

(Isa. 9:7). Bethlehem would be His birthplace (Micah 5:2).

The birth of this divine-human person would be

supernatural. Citing Isaiah 7:14, the New Testament states,

"`Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and

they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated,

`God with us'" (Matt. 1:23).

The Saviour's mission is expressed in these words: "`The

Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has

anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent

Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the

captives, and opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord'" (Isa. 61:1,2;

cf. Luke 4:18,19).

Amazingly the Messiah would suffer rejection. He would be

perceived as "a root out of dry ground." "He has no form or

comeliness, and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we

should desire Him....Despised and rejected by men, a man of

sorrows and acquainted with grief....We did not esteem Him"

(Isa. 53:2-4).

A close friend would betray Him (Ps. 41:9) for thirty

pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12). During His trial He would be

spat upon and beaten (Isa. 50:6). Those who executed Him

would gamble for the very clothes He wore (Ps. 22:18). None

of His bones were to be broken (Ps. 34:20), but His side was

to be pierced (Zech. 12:10). In His afflictions He would not

resist, but "as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He

opened not His mouth" (Isa. 53:7).

The innocent Saviour would suffer immensely for sinners.

"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;...

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for

our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him,

and by His stripes we are healed....And the Lord has laid on

Him the iniquity of us all....He was cut off from the land

of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was

stricken" (Isa. 53:4-8).

The Saviour Identified

Only Jesus Christ has fulfilled these prophecies.

Scriptures trace His genealogy to Abraham, calling Him the

Son of Abraham (Matt. 1:1), and Paul affirms that the

promise to Abraham and his seed was fulfilled in Christ

(Gal. 3:16). The Messianic title "Son of David" was widely

applied to Him (Matt. 21:9). He was identified as the

promised Messiah, who would occupy the throne of David

(Acts 2:29,30).

Jesus' birth was miraculous. The virgin Mary "was found

with child of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 1:18-23). A Roman

decree brought her to Bethlehem, the predicted birthplace

(Luke 2:4-7).

One of Jesus' names was Immanuel, or "God With Us," which

reflected His divine-human nature and illustrated God's

identification with humanity (Matt. 1:23). His common name,

Jesus, focused on His mission of salvation: "`And you shall

call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their

sins'" (Matt. 1:21).

Jesus identified His mission with that of the Messiah

predicted in Isaiah 61:1,2: "`Today this Scripture is

fulfilled in your hearing'" (Luke 4:17-21).

Although He made a profound impact on His people, His

message was generally rejected (John 1:11; Luke 23:18). With

few exceptions He was not recognized as the world's Saviour.

Instead of acceptance, He met death threats (John 5:16;

7:19; 11:53).

Toward the end of Jesus' three-and-a-half-year ministry,

Judas Iscariot, a disciple, betrayed Him (John 13:18; 18:2)

for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14,15). Instead of

resisting, He rebuked His disciples for trying to defend Him

(John 18:4-11).

Though innocent of any crime, less than twenty-four hours

after He was arrested He had been spat upon, beaten, tried,

condemned to death, and crucified (Matt. 26:67; John

19:1-16; Luke 23:14,15). Soldiers gambled for His clothing

(John 19:23,24). During His crucifixion none of His bones

was broken (John 19:32,33,36), and after He died soldiers

pierced His side with a spear (John 19:34,37).

Christ's followers recognized His death as the only

sacrifice of avail to sinners. "God demonstrates His own

love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ

died for us" (Rom. 5:8). "Walk in love," he wrote, "as

Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an

offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma"

(Eph. 5:2).

The time of His Ministry and Death

The Bible reveals that God sent His Son to earth in "the

fullness of the time" (Gal. 4:4). When Christ began His

ministry He proclaimed, "The time is fulfilled" (Mark 1:15).

These references to time indicate that the Saviour's mission

proceeded in harmony with careful prophetic planning.

More than five centuries earlier, through Daniel, God had

prophesied the exact time of the beginning of Christ's

ministry and the time of His death.(*1)

Toward the end of the 70 years of Israel's captivity in

Babylon, God told Daniel that He had allocated to the Jews

and the city of Jerusalem a probationary period of 70 weeks.

During this time, by repenting and preparing themselves

for the Messiah's coming, the Jewish nation was to fulfill

God's purposes for them.

Daniel also wrote of "`reconciliation for iniquity'" and

a bringing in of "`everlasting righteousness'" as marking

this period. These Messianic activities indicate that the

Saviour was to come within this time (Dan. 9:24).

Daniel's prophecy specified that the Messiah would appear

"`seven weeks and sixty-two weeks'", or a total of 69 weeks,

after "`the going forth of the command to restore and build

Jerusalem'" (Dan. 9:25). After the sixty-ninth week the

Messiah would be "`cut off, but not for Himself'" (Dan.

9:26)--a reference to His vicarious death. He was to die in

the middle of the seventieth week, bringing "`an end to

sacrifice and offering'" (Dan. 9:27).

The key to understanding time prophecies lies in the

Biblical principle that a day in prophetic time is

equivalent to a literal solar year (Num. 14:34; Eze.

4:6).(*2) According to this year-day principle, the 70

weeks (or 490 prophetic days) then represent 490 literal

years.

Daniel states that this period was to begin with "`the

going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem'"

(Dan. 9:25). This decree, giving the Jews full autonomy, was

issued in the seventh year of the Persian King Artaxerxes

and became effective in the fall of 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:8,

12-26; 9:9).(*3) According to the prophecy, 483 years (69

prophetic weeks) after the decree "`Messiah the Prince'"

would appear. Four hundred and eighty-three years after 457

B.C. brings us to the fall of A.D. 27, when Jesus was

baptized and began His public ministry.(*4) Accepting these

dates of 457 B.C. and A.D. 27, Gleason Archer comments that

this was "a most remarkable exactitude in the fulfillment of

such an ancient prophecy. Only God could have predicted the

coming of His Son with such amazing precision; it defies all

rationalistic explanation."(*5)

DANIEL 9 TIME CHART

 

At His baptism in the Jordan, Jesus was anointed by the

Holy Spirit and received God's recognition as the "Messiah"

(Hebrew) or the "Christ" (Greek)--both meaning the "anointed

one" (Luke 3:21,22; Acts 10:38; John 1:41). Jesus'

proclamation, "`the time is fulfilled'" (Mark 1:15), refers

to the fulfillment of this time prophecy.

In the middle of the seventieth week, in the spring of

A.D. 31, exactly 3 1/2 years after Christ's baptism, the

Messiah brought the system of sacrifices to an end by giving

His life. At the moment of His death the veil of the Temple

was super-naturally "torn in two from top to bottom" (Matt.

27:51), indicating the divine abolition of all Temple

services.

All the offerings and sacrifices had pointed forward to

the all-sufficient sacrifice of the Messiah. When Jesus

Christ, the true Lamb of God, was sacrificed at Calvary as a

ransom for our sins (1 Peter 1:19), type met antitype, and

shadow melded into reality. The earthly sanctuary services

were no longer necessary.

At the exact time prophesied during the Passover

festival, He died. "Indeed," Paul said, "Christ, our

Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Cor. 5:7). This

amazingly accurate time prophecy gives one of the strongest

evidences of the fundamental historic truth that Jesus

Christ is the long-predicted Saviour of the world.

The Resurrection of the Saviour

The Bible predicted not only the Saviour's death but also

His resurrection. David prophesied "that His soul was not

left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption" (Act 2:31;

cf. Ps. 16:10). Although Christ had raised others from the

dead (Mark 5:35-42; Luke 7:11-17; John 11), His own

resurrection demonstrated the power behind His claim to be

Saviour of the world: "`I am the resurrection and the life.

He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And

whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die'"

(John 11:25,26).

After His resurrection He proclaimed, "`Do not be afraid;

I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was

dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have

the keys of Hades and of Death'" (Rev. 1:17,18).

The Two Natures of Jesus Christ

In stating, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us"

(John 1:14) John set forth a profound truth. The incarnation

of God the Son is a mystery. Scripture calls God's being

manifested in the flesh "the mystery of godliness"

(1 Tim. 3:16).

The Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the

Godhead, became the helpless babe in the manger. Far

superior to any of the angels, equal with the Father in

dignity and glory, and yet He condescended to wear the garb

of humanity!

One can barely grasp the meaning of this sacred mystery,

and then only by calling on the Holy Spirit for

enlightenment. In trying to comprehend the incarnation it is

well to remember that "`the secret things belong to the Lord

our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us

and to our children'" (Deut. 29:29).

Jesus Christ Is Truly God

What is the evidence that Jesus Christ is divine? How did

He perceive Himself? Did people recognize His divinity?

1. His divine attributes.

Christ possesses divine attributes. He is omnipotent. He

said the Father has given Him "`all authority...in heaven

and on earth'" (Matt. 28:18; John 17:2).

He is omniscient. In Him, Paul said, "are hidden all the

treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3).

Jesus asserted His omnipresence with the assurances "`Lo,

I am with you always, even to the end of the age'" (Matt.

28:20) and "`Where two or three are gathered together in My

name, I am there in the midst of them'" (Matt. 18:20).

Although His divinity has the natural ability of

omnipresence, the incarnate Christ has voluntarily limited

Himself in this respect. He has chosen to be omnipresent

through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18).

Hebrews attests to His immutability, stating, "Jesus

Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever"

(Heb. 13:8).

His self-existence was evident when He claimed life in

Himself (John 5:26) and John testified "In Him was life, and

the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). Christ's

announcement "`I am the resurrection and the life'" (John

11:25) affirmed that in Him is "life, original, unborrowed,

underived."(*6)

Holiness is a part of His nature. At the annunciation,

the angel said to Mary, "`The Holy Spirit will come upon

you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;

therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be

called the Son of God'" (Luke 1:35). At the sight of Jesus

demons cried out, "`Let us alone!...I know who You are--the

Holy One of God'" (Mark 1:24).

He is love. "By this we know love," John wrote, "because

He laid down His life for us" (1 John 3:16).

He is eternal. Isaiah called Him "Everlasting Father"

(Isa. 9:6). Micah referred to Him as the One "`whose goings

forth have been from of old, from everlasting'" (Micah 5:2).

Paul dated His existence "before all things" (Col. 1:17),

and John concurred: "He was in the beginning with God. All

things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was

made that was made" (John 1:2,3).(*7)

2. His divine powers and prerogatives.

The works of God are ascribed to Jesus. He is identified

as both the Creator (John 1:3; Col. 1:16) and the Sustainer

or Upholder--"in Him all things consist" (Col. 1:17; Heb.

1:3). He is able to raise the dead with His voice (John

5:28,29) and will judge the world at the end of time (Matt.

25:31,32). He forgave sin (Matt. 9:6; Mark 2:5-7).

3. His divine names.

His names reveal His divine nature. Immanuel means "God

with us" (Matt. 1:23). Both believers and demons addressed

Him as Son of God (Mark 1:1; Matt. 8:29; cf. Mark 5:7). The

sacred Old Testament name of God, Jehovah, or Yahweh, is

applied to Jesus. Matthew used the words of Isaiah 40:3,

"`Prepare the way of the Lord,'" to describe the preparatory

work for Christ's mission (Matt. 3:3). And John identified

Jesus with the Lord of hosts sitting on His throne (Isa.

6:1,3; John 12:41).

4. His divinity acknowledged.

John depicted Jesus as the divine Word that "became

flesh" (John 1:1,14). Thomas acknowledged the resurrected

Christ as "`My Lord and my God!'" (John 20:28). Paul

referred to Him as the One "who is over all, the eternally

blessed God" (Rom. 9:5); and Hebrews addressed Him as God

and Lord of Creation (Heb. 1:8,10).(*8)

5. His personal testimony.

Jesus Himself claimed equality with God. He identified

Himself as the "`I AM'" (John 8:58), the God of the Old

Testament. He called God "`My Father'" instead of "our

Father" (John 20:17). And His statement "`I and My Father

are one'" (John 10:30) sets forth the claim that He was of

"one substance" with the Father, "possessing the same

attributes."(*9)

6. His equality with God assumed.

His equality with God the Father is taken for granted in

the baptismal formula (Matt. 28:19), the full apostolic

benediction (2 Cor. 13:14), His parting counsel (John

14-16), and Paul's exposition of the spiritual gifts (1 Cor.

12:4-6). Scripture describes Jesus as the brightness of

God's glory and "the express image of His person" (Heb.

1:3). And when asked to reveal God the Father, Jesus

replied, "`He who has seen Me has seen the Father'"

(John 14:9).

7. He is worshiped as God.

People worshiped Him (Matt. 28:17; cf. Luke 14:33). "`All

the angels of God worship Him'" (Heb. 1:6). Paul wrote that

"at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,...and that

every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord"

(Phil. 2:10,11). Several benedictions accord to Christ the

"glory forever and ever" (2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:21; cf. 2

Peter 3:18).

8. His divine nature a necessity.

Christ reconciled humanity to God. People needed a

perfect revelation of God's character in order to develop a

personal relationship with Him. Christ filled this need by

displaying God's glory (John 1:14). "No one has seen God at

any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the

Father, He has declared Him" (John 1:18; cf. 17:6). Jesus

testified, "`He who has seen Me has seen the Father'"

(John 14:9).

In total dependence on the Father (John 5:30) Christ used

divine power to reveal God's love. With divine power He

revealed Himself as the loving Saviour sent by the Father to

heal, restore, and forgive sins (Luke 6:19; John 2:11;

5:1-15,36; 11:41-45; 14:11; 8:3-11). Never, however, did He

perform a miracle to spare Himself from the personal

hardship and sufferings that other people would have

experienced if placed in similar circumstances.

Jesus Christ is "one in nature, in character, in purpose"

with God the Father.(*10) He truly is God.

Jesus Christ is Truly Man

The Bible testifies that in addition to His divine

nature, Christ has a human nature. The acceptance of this

teaching is crucial. Every one who "confesses that Jesus

Christ has come in the flesh is of God" and every one who

does not "is not of God" (1 John 4:2,3). Christ's human

birth, development, characteristics, and personal testimony

provide evidence of His humanity.

1. His human birth.

"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).

Here "flesh" means "human nature," a nature inferior to His

heavenly one. In plain language Paul says, "God sent forth

His Son, born of a woman" (Gal. 4:4; cf. Gen. 3:15). Christ

was made in "the likeness of men" and "in human form" (Phil.

2:7,8, RSV). This manifestation of God in human nature is

"the mystery of godliness" (1 Tim. 3:16).

Christ's genealogy refers to Him as "the Son of David,"

and "the Son of Abraham" (Matt. 1:1). According to His human

nature He "was born of the seed of David" (Rom. 1:3; 9:5)

and was the "Son of Mary" (Mark 6:3). Though He was born of

a woman as is every other child, there was a great

difference, a uniqueness. Mary was a virgin, and this Child

was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20-23; Luke

l:31-37). He could claim true humanity through His mother.

2. His human development.

Jesus was subject to the laws of human development; He

"grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom" (Luke

2:40,52). At the age of 12 He became aware of His divine

mission (Luke 2:46-49). Throughout His boyhood He was

subject to His parents (Luke 2:51).

The road to the cross was one of constant growth through

suffering, which played an important role in His

development. "He learned obedience by the things which He

suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of

eternal salvation to all who obey" (Heb. 5:8,9; 2:10,18).

Yet though He experienced development, He did not sin.

3. He was called a "man".

John the Baptist and Peter refer to Him as "a Man" (John

1:30; Acts 2:22). Paul speaks of "the grace of the one Man,

Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:15). He is the "Man" who brought "the

resurrection of the dead" (1 Cor. 15:21); the "one Mediator

between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). In

addressing His enemies, Christ refers to Himself as Man:

"You seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which

I heard from God" (John 8:40).

Jesus' favorite self-designation, one He used 77 times,

was "Son of Man" (cf. Matt. 8:20; 26:2). The title Son of

God focuses the attention on His relationship within the

Godhead. The name Son of man emphasizes His solidarity with

the human race through His incarnation.

4. His human characteristics.

God made humans "a little lower than the angels" (Ps.

8:5). Similarly Scripture presents Jesus as One "who was

made a little lower than the angels" (Heb. 2:9). His human

nature was created and did not possess superhuman powers.

Christ was to be truly human; this was part of His

mission. Being so required that He possess the essential

characteristics of human nature He was "flesh and blood"

(Heb. 2:14). "In all things," Christ was made "like" His

fellow human beings (Heb. 2:17). His human nature possessed

the same mental and physical susceptibilities as the rest of

humanity: hunger, thirst, weariness, and anxiety (Matt. 4:2;

John l9:28; 4:6; cf. Matt. 26:21; 8:24).

In His ministry to others He revealed compassion,

righteous anger, and grief (Matt. 9:36; Mark 3:5). At times

He felt troubled, and sorrowful, and He even wept (Matt.

26:38; John 12:27; 11:33,35; Luke 19:41). He prayed with

cries, and tears, once to the point of perspiring blood

(Heb. 5:7; Luke 22:44). His life of prayer expressed His

complete dependence on God (Matt. 26:39-44; Mark 1:35; 6:46;

Luke 5:16; 6:12).

Jesus experienced death (John l9:30,34). He was

resurrected, not as a spirit, but with a body (Luke 24:

36-43).

5. The extent of His identification with human nature.

The Bible reveals that Christ is the second Adam, He

lived "in the likeness of sinful flesh" or "in the likeness

of sinful man" (Rom. 8:3; 8:3, NIV). To what extent did He

identify with or become identical to fallen humanity? A

correct view of the expression "the likeness of sinful

flesh," or sinful man, is crucial. Inaccurate views have

brought dissension and strife throughout the history of the

Christian church.

a. He was "in the likeness of sinful flesh."

The uplifted serpent in the desert, described earlier,

provides an understanding of Christ's human nature. As the

brass image made in the likeness of the poisonous serpents

was lifted up for the people's healing, so the Son of God

made "in the likeness of sinful flesh" was to be the Saviour

of the world.

Before the incarnation Jesus was "in the form of God,"

that is to say the divine nature was His from the beginning

(John 1:1; Phil. 2:6, 7 NIV, NEB). In taking the "form of a

servant" He laid aside divine prerogatives. He became His

Father's servant (Isa. 42:1), to carry out the Father's will

(John 6:38; Matt. 26:39,42). He clothed His divinity with

humanity, He was made in the "likeness of sinful flesh," or

"sinful human nature," or "fallen human nature," (cf. Rom.

8:3).(*11) This in no way indicates that Jesus Christ was

sinful, or participated in sinful acts or thoughts. Though

made in the form or likeness of sinful flesh, He was sinless

and His sinlessness is beyond questioning.

b. He was the second Adam.

The Bible draws a parallel between Adam and Christ,

calling Adam the "first man" and Christ the "last Adam" or

"second Man" (1 Cor. 15:45,47). But Adam had the advantage

over Christ. At the Fall he lived in paradise. He had a

perfect humanity possessing full vigor of body and mind.

Not so with Jesus. When He took on human nature the race

had already deteriorated through 4,000 years of sin on a

sin-cursed planet. So that He could save those in the utter

depths of degradation, Christ took a human nature that,

compared with Adam's unfallen nature, had decreased in

physical and mental strength--though He did so without

sinning.(*12)

When Christ took the human nature that bore the

consequences of sin, He became subject to the infirmities

and weaknesses that all experience. His human nature was

"beset by weakness" or "compassed with infirmity" (Heb. 5:2;

5:2,KJV; Matt. 8:17; Isa. 53:4). He sensed His weakness. He

had to offer "prayers and supplications, with vehement cries

and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death" (Heb.

5:7), thus identifying Himself with the needs and weaknesses

so common to humanity.

Thus "Christ's humanity was not the Adamic humanity, that

is, the humanity of Adam before the fall; nor fallen

humanity, that is, in every respect the humanity of Adam

after the fall. It was not the Adamic, because it had the

innocent infirmities of the fallen. It was not the fallen,

because it had never descended into moral impurity. It was,

therefore, most literally our humanity, but without

sin."(*13)

c. His experience with temptations.

How did temptations affect Christ? Was it easy or

difficult for Him to resist them? The way He experienced

temptations proves that He was truly human.

i. "In all points tempted as we are."

That Christ was "in all points tempted as we are" (Heb

4:15), shows that He was a partaker of human nature.

Temptation and the possibility of sinning were real to

Christ. If He could not sin He would have been neither human

nor our example. Christ took human nature with all its

liabilities, including the possibility of yielding to

temptation.

How could He have been tempted "in all points" as we are?

Obviously "in all points" or "in every way" (NIV) does

not mean that He met the identical temptations we meet

today. He was never tempted to watch demoralizing TV

programs, or to break the speed limit in an automobile.

The basic issue underlying all temptations is the

question of whether to surrender the will to God. In His

encounter with temptation Jesus always maintained His

allegiance to God. Through continual dependence on divine

power He successfully resisted the fiercest temptations even

though He was human.

Christ's victory over temptation qualified Him to

sympathize with human weaknesses. Our victory over

temptation comes by maintaining dependence upon Him. "God is

faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what

you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way

of escape, that you may be able to bear it " (1 Cor. 10:13).

It must be recognized that in the end "it is a mystery

that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be

tempted in all points like as we are, and yet be without

sin."(*14)

ii."Suffered, being tempted."

Christ suffered while subjected to temptation (Heb.

2:18). He was made "perfect through sufferings" (Heb.

2:10). Because He Himself faced the power of temptation, we

can know that He understands how to help anyone who is

tempted. He was one with humanity in suffering the

temptations to which human nature is subjected.

How did Christ suffer under temptation? Though He had

"the likeness of sinful flesh," His spiritual faculties were

free from any taint of sin. Consequently His holy nature was

extremely sensitive. Any contact with evil pained Him. So,

because He suffered in proportion to the perfection of His

holiness, temptation brought more suffering to Jesus than to

anyone else.(*15)

How much did Christ suffer? His experience in the

wilderness, Gethsemane, and Golgotha reveal that He resisted

temptation to the point of shedding His blood

(cf. Heb. 12:4).

Christ not only suffered more in proportion to His

holiness, He faced stronger temptations than we humans have

to. B.F. Wescott notes, "Sympathy with the sinner in his

trial does not depend on the experience of sin but on the

experience of the strength of the temptation to sin which

only the sinless can know in its full intensity. He who

falls yields before the last strain."(*16) F.F. Bruce

concurs by stating, "Yet He endured triumphantly every form

of testing that man could endure, without any weakening of

His faith in God or any relaxation of His obedience to Him.

Such endurance involves more, not less, than ordinary human

suffering."(*17)

Christ also faced a powerful temptation never known to

man--the temptation to use His divine power on His Own

behalf. E.G. White states, "He had received honor in the

heavenly courts, and was familiar with absolute power. It

was as difficult for Him to keep the level of humanity as it

is for men to rise above the low level of their depraved

natures, and be partakers of the divine nature."(*18)

d. Could Christ sin?

Christians differ on the question of whether Christ could

sin. We agree with Philip Schaff, who said, "Had he [Christ]

been endowed from the start with absolute impeccability, or

with the impossibility of sinning, he could not be a true

man, nor our model for imitation: his holiness, instead of

being his own self-acquired act and inherent merit, would be

an accidental or outward gift, and his temptations as unreal

show."(*19) Karl Ullmann adds, "The history of the

temptation, however it may be explained, would have no

significancy; and the expression in the Epistle to the

Hebrews `he was tempted in all points as we,' would be

without meaning."(*20)

6. The sinlessness of Jesus Christ's human nature.

It is self-evident that the divine nature of Jesus was

sinless. But what about His human nature?

The Bible portrays Jesus' humanity as sinless. His birth

was supernatural--He was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt.

1:20). As a newborn baby He was described as "that Holy One"

(Luke 1:35). He took the nature of man in its fallen state,

bearing the consequences of sin, not its sinfulness. He was

one with the human race, except in sin.

Jesus was "in all points tempted as we are, yet without

sin," being "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from

sinners" (Heb. 4:15; 7:26). Paul wrote that He "knew no sin"

(2 Cor. 5:21). Peter testified that He "`committed no sin,

nor was guile found in His mouth'" (1 Peter 2:22), and

compared Him with "a lamb without blemish and without spot"

(1 Peter 1:19; Heb. 9:24). "In Him," John said, "there is no

sin....He is righteous" (1 John 3:5-7).

Jesus took upon Himself our nature with all its

liabilities, but He was free from hereditary corruption or

depravity and actual sin. He challenged His opponents,

"`Which of you convicts Me of sin?'" (John 8:46). When

facing His severest trial, He declared, "`The ruler of this

world is coming, and he has nothing in Me'" (John 14:30).

Jesus had no evil propensities or inclinations or even

sinful passions. None of the avalanche of temptations could

break His allegiance to God.

Jesus never made a confession of sin or offered a

sacrifice. He did not pray, "Father, forgive Me," but

rather, "`Father, forgive them'" (Luke 23:34). Always

seeking to do His Father's will, not His own, Jesus

constantly maintained His dependence on the Father

(cf. John 5:30).

Unlike that of fallen humanity, Jesus' "spiritual nature"

is pure and holy, "free from every taint of sin."(*21) It

would be a mistake to think He is "altogether human" as we

are. He is the second Adam, the unique Son of God. Nor

should we think of Him "as a man with the propensities of

sin." While His human nature was tempted in all points in

which human nature is tempted, He never fell, He never

sinned. Never was there in Him an evil propensity.(*22)

Indeed, Jesus is humanity's highest, holiest example. He

is sinless, and all He did demonstrated perfection. Truly He

was the perfect example of sinless humanity.

7. The necessity of Christ's taking human nature.

The Bible gives various reasons as to why Christ had to

have a human nature.

a. To be the high priest for the human race.

As Messiah, Jesus had to occupy the position of high

priest or mediator between God and man (Zech. 6:13; Heb.

4:14-16). This function required human nature. Christ met

the qualifications: (i) He could have "compassion on those

who are ignorant and going astray" because He was "beset by

weaknesses" or "compassed with infirmity" (Heb. 5:2,

5:2,KJV). (ii) He is "merciful and faithful" because He was

in all things made "like His brethren" (Heb. 2:17). (iii) He

"is able to aid them who are tempted" because "He Himself

has suffered, being tempted" (Heb. 2:18). (iv) He

sympathizes with weaknesses because He "was in all points

tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).

b. To save even the most degraded person.

To reach people where they are and rescue the most

hopeless, He descended to the level of a servant

(Phil. 2:7).

c. To give His life for the sins of the world.

Christ's divine nature cannot die. In order to die, then,

Christ had to have a human nature. He became man and paid

the penalty for sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23; 1 Cor.

15:3). As a human being He tasted death for everyone

(Heb 2:9).

d. To be our example.

To set the example as to how people should live, Christ

must live a sinless life as a human being. As the second

Adam He dispelled the myth that humans cannot obey God's law

and have victory over sin. He demonstrated that it is

possible for humanity to be faithful to God's will. Where

the first Adam fell, the second Adam gained the victory over

sin and Satan and became both our Saviour and our perfect

example. In His strength His victory can be ours

(John 16:33).

By beholding Him, people "are being transformed into the

same image from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18). "Let us fix

our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our

faith....Consider him who endured such opposition from

sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart"

(Heb 12:2,3,NIV). Truly, Christ "suffered for us, leaving us

an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:21;

cf. John 13:15).

The Union of the Two Natures

The person of Jesus Christ has two natures: divine and

human. He is the God-man. But note that the incarnation

involved the eternal Son of God taking on Himself human

nature, not the man Jesus acquiring divinity. The movement

is from God to man, not man to God.

In Jesus, these two natures were merged into one person.

Note the following Biblical evidence:

Christ Is a Union of Two Natures

The plurality associated with the triune God is not

present in Christ. The Bible describes Jesus as one person,

not two. Various texts refer to the divine and human nature,

yet speak of only one person. Paul described the person

Jesus Christ as God's Son (divine nature) who is born of a

woman (human nature; Gal. 4:4). Thus Jesus, "being in the

form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with

God" (divine Nature), "but made Himself of no reputation,

taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of

men" (human nature; Phil. 2:6,7).

Christ's dual nature is not composed of an abstract

divine power or influence that is connected with His

humanity. "The Word," John said, "became flesh and dwelt

among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only

begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John

1:14). Paul wrote, God sent "His own Son in the likeness of

sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3); "God was manifest in the flesh"

(1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:2).

The Blending of the Two Natures

At times the Bible describes the Son of God in terms of

His human nature. God purchased His church with His own

blood (Acts 20:28; cf. Col. 1:13,14). At other instances it

characterizes the Son of Man in terms of His divine nature

(cf. John 3:13; 6:62; Rom. 9:5).

When Christ came into the world, "a body" had been

prepared for Him (Heb. 10:5). When He took upon Himself

humanity, His divinity was clothed with humanity. This was

not accomplished by changing humanity into divinity or

divinity into humanity. He did not go out of Himself to

another nature, but took humanity into Himself. Thus

divinity and humanity were combined.

When He became incarnate, Christ did not cease to be God,

nor was His divinity reduced to the level of humanity. Each

nature kept its standing. "In Him," Paul says, "dwells all

the fullness of the God-head bodily" (Col. 2:9). At the

crucifixion His human nature died, not His deity, for that

would have been impossible.

The Necessity of the Union of the Two Natures

An understanding of the interrelationship of Christ's two

natures gives a vital insight into Christ's mission and our

very salvation.

1. To reconcile humanity with God.

Only a divine-human Saviour could bring salvation. At the

incarnation Christ, in order to impart His divine nature to

believers, brought humanity into Himself. Through the merits

of the blood of the God-man believers can partake of the

divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

The ladder in Jacob's dream, symbolizing Christ, reaches

us where we are. He took human nature and overcame, that we

through taking His nature might over-come. His divine arms

grasp the throne of God, while His humanity embraces the

race, connecting us with God, earth with heaven.

The combined divine-human nature makes effective Christ's

atoning sacrifice. The life of a sinless human being or even

an angel could not atone for the sins of the human race.

Only the divine-human Creator could ransom humanity.

2. To veil divinity with humanity.

Christ veiled His divinity with the garb of humanity,

laying aside His celestial glory and majesty, so that

sinners would be able to exist in His presence without being

destroyed. Though He was still God, He did not appear as God

(Phil. 2:6-8).

3. To live victoriously.

Christ's humanity alone could never have endured the

deceptions of Satan. But in Him dwelt "all the fullness of

the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). He was able to overcome sin

because He relied completely upon the Father (John 5:19, 30;

8:28), and "divine power combined with humanity gained in

behalf of man an infinite victory."(*23)

Christ's experience in victorious living is not His

exclusive privilege. He exercised no power that humanity

cannot exercise. We may also "be filled with all the

fullness of God" (Eph. 3:19). Through Christ's divine power

we can have access to "all things that pertain to life and

godliness."

The key to his experience is faith in the "exceeding

great and precious promises" through which we "may be

partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the

corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter

1:3,4). He offers the same power by which He overcame so

that all may faithfully obey and have a victorious life.

Christ's comforting promise is one of victory: "`To him

who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I

also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne'"

(Rev. 3:21).

The Offices of Jesus Christ

The offices of prophet, priest, and king were unique,

generally requiring a consecration service through anointing

(1 Kings 19:16; Ex. 30:30; 2 Sam. 5:3). The coming Messiah,

the Anointed One--prophecies pointed out--was to hold all

three of these offices. Christ performs His work as mediator

between God and us through the offices of prophet, priest,

and king. Christ the Prophet proclaims God's will to us,

Christ the Priest represents us to God and vice versa, and

Christ the King wields God's gracious authority over His

people.

Christ the Prophet

God revealed Christ's prophetic office to Moses: "I will

raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their

brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall

speak to them all that I command Him" (Deut. 18:18).

Christ's contemporaries recognized the fulfillment of this

prediction (John 6:14; 7:40; Acts. 3:22,23).

Jesus referred to Himself as "prophet" (Luke 13:33). He

proclaimed with prophetic authority (Matt. 7:29) the

principles of God's kingdom (Matthew 5-7; 22:36-40), and

revealed the future (Matt. 24:1-51; Luke 19:41-44).

Before His incarnation Christ filled the Bible writers

with His Spirit and gave them prophecies about His

sufferings and subsequent glories (1 Peter 1:11). After His

ascension He continued to reveal Himself to His people.

Scripture says He gives His "testimony"--"the spirit of

prophecy"--to His faithful remnant (Rev. 12:17; 19:10; see

chapter 17 of this book).

Christ the Priest

A divine oath firmly established the Messiah's

priesthood: "The Lord has sworn and will not relent, `You

are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek'"

(Ps.110:4). Christ was not a descendant of Aaron. Like

Melchizedek, His right to the priesthood came by divine

appointment (Heb. 5:6,10; see chapter 7). His mediating

priesthood had two phases: an earthly and a heavenly.

1. Christ's earthly priesthood.

The priest's role at the altar of burnt offering

symbolized Jesus' earthly ministry. Jesus qualified

perfectly for the office of priest: He was truly man, and He

was "called by God" and acted "in things pertaining to God"

with the special task of offering "gifts and sacrifices for

sins" (Heb. 5:1,4,10).

The priest was to reconcile the worshipers to God through

the sacrificial system, which represented the provision of

atonement for sin (Lev. 1:4; 4:29,31,35: 5:10; 16:6; 17:11).

Thus the continual sacrifices at the altar of burnt offering

symbolized the availability of continual atonement.

These sacrifices were not sufficient. They could not make

the offerer perfect, take away sins, or produce a clear

conscience (Heb. 10:1-4; 9:9). They were simply a shadow of

the good things to come (Heb. 10:1; cf. 9:9,23,24). The Old

Testament said that the Messiah Himself would take the place

of these animal sacrifices (Ps. 40:6-8; Heb. 10:5-9). These

sacrifices, then, pointed to the vicarious sufferings and

atoning death of Christ the Saviour. He, the Lamb of God,

became sin for us, a curse for us; His blood cleanses us

from all sins (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 John 1:7;

cf. 1 Cor. 15:3).

So during His earthly ministry Christ was both priest and

offering. His death on the cross was part of His priestly

work. After His sacrifice at Golgotha, His priestly

intercession centered in the heavenly sanctuary.

2. Christ's heavenly priesthood.

The priestly ministry Jesus began on earth He completes

in heaven. His humiliation on earth as God's suffering

servant qualified Him to be our High Priest in heaven (Heb.

2:17,18; 4:15; 5:2). Prophecy reveals that the Messiah was

to be a priest on God's throne (Zech. 6:13). After His

resurrection the humiliated Christ was exalted. Now our High

Priest sits "at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty

in the heavens," ministering in the heavenly sanctuary

(Heb. 8:1,2; cf. 1:3; 9:24).

Christ began His intercessory work immediately following

His ascension. The ascending cloud of incense in the holy

place of the Temple typifies Christ's merits, prayers, and

righteousness, which makes our worship and prayers

acceptable to God. Incense could be offered only on coals

taken from the altar of burnt offering, which reveals an

intimate connection between intercession and the atoning

sacrifice of the altar. Thus Christ's intercessory work is

built on the merits of His completed sacrificial atonement.

Christ's intercession offers encouragement to His people:

He is "able to save to the uttermost those who come to God

through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for

them" (Heb. 7:25). Because Christ mediates for His people,

all of Satan's accusations have lost their legal basis (1

John 2:1; cf. Zech. 3:1). Paul asked rhetorically, "Who is

he who condemns?" Then He offered the assurance that Christ

Himself is at God's right hand, interceding for us

(Rom. 8:34). Affirming His role as Mediator, Christ said,

"Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father

in My name He will give you" (John 16:23).

Christ the King

God "has established His throne in heaven, and His

kingdom rules over all" (Ps. 103:19). It is self-evident

that the Son of God, as one of the Godhead, shares in this

divine government over the whole universe.

Christ, as the God-man, will exercise His kingship over

those who have accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. "Your

throne, O God," it said, "is forever and ever; a scepter of

righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom"

(Ps. 45:6; Heb. 1:8,9).

Christ's kingdom was not established without strife, for

"the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take

counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed

[Messiah]" (Ps. 2:1). But their schemes fail. God will

establish the Messiah on His throne by decree: "`I have set

My king on My holy hill of Zion'"; He has declared, "`You

are My Son, today I have begotten You'" (Ps. 2:6,7; Heb.

1:5). The name of the King who is to occupy the throne of

David is "`THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS'" (Jer. 23:5,6) His

rule is unique, for He is to function on the heavenly throne

as both priest and king (Zech. 6:13).

To Mary the angel Gabriel announced that Jesus was to be

that Messianic ruler, saying, "He will reign over the house

of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end"

(Luke 1:33). His kingship is portrayed by two thrones

symbolizing His two kingdoms. The "throne of grace" (Heb.

4:16) represents the kingdom of grace; the "throne of His

glory" (Matt. 25:31) stands for the kingdom of glory.

1. The kingdom of grace.

Immediately after the first human had sinned, the kingdom

of grace was instituted. It existed by the promise of God.

Through faith people could become its citizens. But it was

not fully established until the death of Christ. When He

cried out on the cross, "It is finished," the requirements

for the plan of redemption were met and the new covenant

ratified (cf. Heb. 9:15-18).

Jesus' proclamation, "`The time is fulfilled, and the

kingdom of God is at hand'" (Mark 1:15) was a direct

reference to the kingdom of grace soon to be established by

His death. Founded on the work of redemption, not Creation,

this kingdom receives its citizens through regeneration--the

new birth. Jesus ruled, "`Unless one is born of water and

the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God'" (John 3:5;

cf. 3:3). He compared its growth to the phenomenal

development of a mustard seed and the effect of yeast on

flour (Mark 4:22-31; Matt. 13:33).

The kingdom of grace is not seen in outward show, but by

its effect on the heart of the believers. This kingdom,

Jesus taught, "`does not come with observation; nor will

they say, "See here!" or "See there!" For indeed, the

kingdom of God is within you'" (Luke 17:20,21). It is not a

kingdom of this world, He said, but a kingdom of truth. "`I

am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I

have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the

truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice'" (John

18:37). Paul said this kingdom is Christ's kingdom of

"righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" into

which believers have been transferred (Rom. 14:17;

Col. 1:13).

The establishment of this kingdom was an excruciating

experience, affirming that there is no crown without a

cross. At the close of His public ministry Jesus, the

Messiah, the God-man, came to Jerusalem as the rightful heir

to the throne of David. Seated on a donkey, as was the

Jewish custom for a royal entry (Zech. 9:9), He accepted the

masses' spontaneous, enthusiastic display of support. During

His triumphal entry into the royal city "a very great

multitude" spread their clothes to form a royal carpet,

cutting down palm branches and shouting, "`Hosanna to the

Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the

Lord!'" (Matt. 21:8,9) thus fulfilling Zechariah's prophecy.

Now Christ presented Himself as the Messianic king.

Unfortunately, His claim to the throne did not go

unopposed. Satanic hatred against the "sinless One" reached

its culmination. In a twelve-hour period the defenders of

the faith, the Sanhedrin, had Him arrested secretly, put Him

to trial, and condemned Him to death.

During His trial, Jesus publicly affirmed that He was the

Son of God and King of His people (Luke 23:3; John

18:33-37). In response to His claim He was scornfully

clothed in a royal robe and crowned, not with a crown of

gold, but of thorns (John 19:2). His reception as king was

sheer mockery. Beating Him up, the soldiers scoffed, "`Hail,

King of the Jews!'" (John 19:3). And when the Roman

governor, Pilate, presented Him to the nation, saying,

"`Behold your King!'" His own people unanimously rejected

Him, crying out, "`Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify

Him!'" (John l9:14,15).

Through the deepest humiliation--death on the

cross--Christ established the kingdom of grace. Soon

afterward exaltation ended His humiliation. Upon His

ascension He was enthroned in heaven as Priest and King,

sharing His Father's throne (Ps. 2:7,8; cf. Heb. 1:3-5; Phil

2:9-11; Eph. 1:20-23). This enthronement did not give Him,

as the divine Son of God, any power that was not already

His. But now, as the divine-human Mediator, His human nature

participated in the heavenly glory and power for the first

time.

2. The kingdom of glory.

A representation of the kingdom of glory was given at the

Mount of Transfiguration. There Christ presented Himself in

His glory. "His face shone like the sun, and His clothes

became white as light" (Matt. 17:2). Moses and Elijah

represented the redeemed--Moses representing those who have

died in Christ and will be resurrected, and Elijah

representing believers who will be taken to heaven without

experiencing death at the Second Advent.

The kingdom of glory will be established with cataclysmic

events at Christ's return (Matt. 24:27,30,31; 25:31,32).

Following the judgment, when the Son of man's mediatorial

work in the heavenly sanctuary has ended, the "Ancient of

Days"--God the Father--will bestow upon Him "dominion and

glory and a kingdom" (Dan. 7:9,10,14). Then the "kingdom and

dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole

heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most

High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all

dominions shall serve and obey Him" (Dan. 7:27).

The kingdom of glory will finally be established on earth

at the end of the millennium, when the New Jerusalem will

descend from heaven (Revelation 20,21). By accepting Jesus

Christ as our Saviour, we can become citizens of His kingdom

of grace today and the kingdom of glory at His second

coming. Before us lies a life with unlimited possibilities.

The life Christ offers is not a life filled with failure and

scattered hopes and dreams, but one of growth, a successful

walk with the Saviour. It is a life that increasingly

displays genuine love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,

goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal.

5:22,23)--the fruits of the relationship Jesus offers to all

who commit their lives to Him. Who can resist such an offer?

 

 

References

1. On the 70-week prophecy, see 70 Weeks, Leviticus, and

the Nature of Prophecy, ed., Frank B. Holbrook

(Washington,D.C.: Biblical Research Institute, General

Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, l986), pp. 3-127.

2. On the Biblical foundations of the year-day principle,

see William H. Shea, Selected Studies on Prophetic

Interpretation (Washington,D.C.: Review and Herald, l982),

pp. 56-93.

3. The dates for the reign of Artaxerxes have been firmly

established by the Olympiad dates, the Ptolemy's Cannon, the

Elephantine Papyri, and the Babylonian Cuneiform tablets.

4. See also C. Mervyn Maxwell, God Cares (Mountain View,

CA.: Pacific Press, 1981), vol. 1, pp. 216-218.

5. Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties

(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), p. 291.

6. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, CA.: Pacific

Press, 1940), p. 530.

7. That Scripture alludes to Jesus as the "only begotten"

and the "first born" and speaks of the day of His begetting

does not deny His divine nature and eternal existence. The

term "only begotten" (John 1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 1 John 4:9)

comes from the Greek word monogenes. The Biblical use of

monogenes reveals that its range of meaning extends to

"only" or "unique," depicting a special relationship, not an

event in time. Isaac, for example is called Abraham's "only

begotten son," although he was not Abraham's only son, or

even his firstborn son (Gen. 16:16; 21:1-21; 25:1-6). Isaac

was the unique son, the only one of his kind, destined to

become Abraham's successor. "Jesus Christ, the pre-existent

God, the divine creative Word, at His incarnation became in

a unique sense the Son of God--which is why He is designated

`monogenes' the only one of His kind, altogether unique in

many aspects of His being and life. No other child of the

human race was so compacted in his being, had so unequaled a

relation to the Godhead, or did such a work as is true of

Him. So `monogenes' describes a relation between God the

Father and Jesus Christ the Son as separate Persons of the

Godhead. This is a relation that belongs to Christ's

complex, divine-human personality, in connection with the

economy of the plan of salvation." (Committee on Problems in

Bible Translation, Problems in Bible Translation

[Washington,D.C.: Review and Herald, l954], p. 202).

Likewise, when Christ is called the "firstborn" (Heb. 1:6;

Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15,18; Rev. 1:5), the term does not refer

to a point of time. Rather, it emphasizes importance or

priority (cf. Heb. 12:23). In Hebrew culture, the firstborn

received the family privileges. So Jesus, as the firstborn

among men, won back all the privileges man had lost. He

became the new Adam, the new "firstborn" or head of the

human race. The Biblical reference to the day in which Jesus

was begotten is based on a similar concept to those of the

only begotten and the firstborn. Depending on its context,

the Messianic prediction, "You are My Son, today I have

begotten you" (Ps. 2:7), refers to Jesus': incarnation (Heb.

1:6), resurrection (Acts 13:33; cf. v. 30), or enthronement

(Heb. 1:3,5).

8. Additional evidence is found in laws of Greek grammar.

(1) The anarthrous use of "Lord" (used without a definite

article). The LXX translates YHWH with an anarthrous kurios.

Very often, when one finds an anarthrous kurios in the New

Testament it indicates God (e.g. Matt. 7:21; 8:2,6,25). (2)

A single article qualifies two substantives. Thus e.g.

Christ is described as God in the phrases "our great God and

Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13), "the righteousness of our

God and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1). (3) When there

are two substantives and the second is in the genitive case

without an article, for either substantive, the quality of

the one is attributed to the other. Thus in the same way

that Rom. 1:17,18 speaks of "righteousness of God" and

"wrath of God," so Jesus is described as "Son of God"

(Luke 1:35).

9. White, "The True Sheep Respond to the Voice of the

Shepherd, "Signs of the Times, Nov. 27, l893, p. 54.

10.White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.

11.These expressions have often been used by Seventh-day

Adventist writers to describe Jesus' identity with the human

race, but never do they imply that He was in any way sinful.

Throughout its history the official church position has been

to uphold the absolute sinlessness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

12.Christ took upon Him "the same susceptibilities, mental

and physical" as His contemporaries (White, "Notes of

Travel," Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Feb. 10, 1885, p.

81)--a human nature that had decreased in "physical

strength, in mental power, in moral worth" --though not

morally depraved, but totally sinless (White, "`In All

Points Tempted Like As We Are,'" Signs, Dec. 3, l902, p. 2;

White, Desire of Ages, p. 49).

13.Henry Melvill, in Sermons by Henry Melvill, B.D., ed.,

C.P. McIlvaine (New York, N.Y.: Stanford && Swords, 1844),p.

47. By "innocent infirmities" he meant hunger, pain, sorrow,

etc. He called this view of the pre-and post-Fall nature of

Christ "the orthodox doctrine" (ibid.).

14.White, Letter 8, 1895 in The Seventh-day Adventist Bible

Commentary, ed., Francis D. Nichol, rev. ed. (Washington,

D.C.: Review and Herald, 1980), vol. 5, pp. 1128, 1129; cf.

SDA Bible Commentary, rev. ed., vol. 7, p. 426.

15.Cf. White, "In Gethsemane," Signs, Dec. 9, 1987, p. 3;

White in SDA Bible Commentary, rev. ed., vol. 7, p. 927.

16.Brooke F. Wescott, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand

Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1950), p. 59.

17.F.F. Bruce, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews

(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, l972), pp. 85,86.

18.White, "The Temptation of Christ," Review and Herald,

April 1, 1875, p. [3].

19.Philip Schaff, The Person of Christ (New York, NY:

George H. Doran, 1913), pp. 35,36.

20.Karl Ullmann, An Apologetic View of the Sinless

Character of Jesus, The Biblical Cabinet; or Hermeneutical

Exegetical, and Philological Library (Edinburgh, Thomas

Clark, 1842), vol. 37, p. 11.

21.White, "In Gethsemane," Signs, Dec. 9, 1897, p. 3; cf.

White, Desire of Ages, p. 266.

22.White, Letter 8, 1895, in SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5,

pp. 1128, 1129, In E.G. White's time the following

definitions of Propensity were used; "Propensity," from the

Latin propensus, is defined as "Natural inclination; bias,

bent" (Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 3rd ed.,

[Springfield, MA: G.&& C. Merriam Co., l916]); cf. Nuttall's

Standard Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, MA: De

Wolfe, Fiske && C., 1886). Webster's Unabridged Dictionary

defines it as "the quality or state of being propense

[leaning toward, in a moral sense]; natural inclination;

disposition to do good or evil; bias; bent, tendency"

(Webster's International Dictionary of the English Language

[Springfield, MA: G.&& C. Merriam && C., 1890]). One of E.G.

White's favorite authors, Henry Melvill, wrote, "But whilst

he took humanity with the innocent infirmities, he did not

take it with the sinful propensities. Here Deity interposed.

The Holy Ghost over-shadowed the Virgin, and, allowing

weakness to be derived from her, forbade wickedness; and so

caused that there should be generated a sorrowing and a

suffering humanity, but nevertheless an undefiled and a

spotless; a humanity with tears, but not with stains;

accessible to anguish, but not prone to offend; allied most

closely with the produced misery, but infinitely removed

from the producing cause (Melvill, p. 47). See Tim Poirier,

"A Comparison of the Christology of Ellen White and Her

Literary Sources" (Unpublished MS, Ellen G. White Estates,

Inc., General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,

Washington, D.C. 20012).

23.White, "Temptation of Christ," Review and Herald, Oct.

13, l874. p. [1]; cf. White in SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7,

pp. 907, 904; vol. 5, p. 1113