The study of the "Life and Work of Christ" is confined by most students to His "Earthly Life," that is to the "DAYS OF HIS FLESH." But we must not forget that Jesus was-
"THE ETERNAL CHRIST."
The reason therefore why so many have a defective view of Christ's "Life and Work" is because they have but a partial view of Him. His work of Atonement on the Cross was but one phase of His work, which began in the Creation of the Universe, and will continue as long as God exists. The "Greater Life and Work of Christ" is a circle of which the circumference is "Eternity," and the centre is CALVARY.
In tracing the lineage of Jesus Matthew traces Him back to Abraham, (Matt. 1:1-3), Luke to Adam, (Luke 3:23-25), and John to God. (John 1:1-2.) Jesus said of Himself "I am 'Alpha' and 'Omega.' the 'BEGINNING' and the 'ENDING, ' the 'FIRST' and the 'LAST, ' which IS, and which WAS, and which is TO COME, the ALMIGHTY." Rev. 1:8, Rev. 1:11. Jesus thus identifies Himself with God, and confirms His earthly statement-"I and my Father are ONE." John 10:30. John tells us (John 1:14) that-"THE WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His GLORY (on the Mount of Transfiguration), the GLORY as of the ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER." And in His prayer in the "upper room" before going out to Gethsemane Jesus prayed, "And now, 0 Father, glorify thou me with Thine own self with the GLORY which I had with Thee BEFORE THE WORLD WAS." John 17:5. Thus we see that Jesus existed before the World was and is the ETERNAL CHRIST.
In studying the Dispensational or Greater Life and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall for simplicity divide it into three parts, His Past, Present and Future Life and Work.
I. Christ's Past Life And Work
The "Office Work" of Christ is "Threefold, " that of "PROPHET," "PRIEST" and "KING." But He does not hold these offices conjointly but successively. His "Prophetic Work" extended from Creation to His Ascension; His "Priestly Work" extends from His Ascension to the Rapture of the Church; and His "Kingly Work" from His Revelation at the close of the Tribulation Period, until He surrenders the Kingdom to the Father, that "God may be All and in All. 19 1Cor. 15:28. His Past Life and Work we may divide into Three Periods.
1. CHRIST'S WORK IN CREATION.
The Scriptures begin with the sublime statement, "In the beginning GOD." Gen. 1:1. The finite mind cannot grasp the thought that there was a time when there was absolutely nothing but God. Whether the Father existed at first alone, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit proceeded from Him, thus making the Divine Three, is not clear. If the expression "The Only Begotten of the Father" (John 1:14) as applied to Jesus, refers to His Eternal origin, then He was not coexistent with the Father, if it refers to His Earthly origin, to His birth of the Virgin Mary, then He was the "Only Begotten of the Father" in the sense of being begotten by the Father through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:30-32. But there is another passage that is confusing. In writing to the Colossians in regard to Christ Paul says-
"In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the 'Image of the Invisible God,' the FIRSTBORN OF EVERY CREATURE." Col. 1:14-15.
What are we to understand by this? Is Jesus only a "Creature" and therefore not a part of God from the beginning? It can hardly mean that, for in the next verse He is described as the Creator of all things. The probable explanation is that as Jesus became by His human birth-"God manifest in the FLESH, " (1Tim. 3:16), thus becoming to men the "IMAGE of the Invisible God, " that He thus became the "Firstborn" of the "NEW CREATION" of God, of which race the "Second" or "Last Adam" (Christ) is the HEAD. 1 Cor. 15:45, 2Cor. 5:17. However this may be it is the clear teaching of Scripture that the "Divine Three" existed in a co-ordinate relation to each other before anything else existed.
In His "Creative Work" Jesus is spoken of in the Scripture as
"In the Beginning was the 'WORD' and the 'WORD' was with God, and the 'WORD' WAS GOD. The same was in the Beginning with God. ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM; and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1:1-3. This is corroborated by Paul in Col. 1:16-17:
"For BY HIM were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; ALL THINGS were created BY HIM, and FOR HIM; and He is BEFORE ALL THINGS, and BY HIM all things consist."
While all things were made by Christ, He was aided by the Father and the Holy Spirit. This is clearly revealed in Gen. 1:26, where it says-"And God (the Divine Three) said, Let US make man in OUR IMAGE, after OUR likeness." The work of the Father was the creation of matter, that of the Son, the formation of matter into all its various forms, and that of the Holy Spirit to give LIFE to such forms as have life. Christ's work in Creation is beautifully described in Isa. 40:12: "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance."
Job, the oldest book in the Bible, is particularly rich in its account Of the Creative Work of Christ. See the 38th and 39th chapters of job.
We have a beautiful illustration of Christ's Creative Power in the miracle of making wine out of water. John 2:1-3. In that miracle He produced from water without the natural process of the vine, WINE, and thus manifested His Creative Glory.
2. CHRIST'S WORK FROM CREATION TO HIS INCARNATION.
With the Creation of Man the "Creative Work" of Christ ceased, for we read in Gen. 2:2, that-"On the Seventh Day God ended His Work which He had made; and, He rested on the Seventh Day." From that time His work has been that of "Supervision" and "Redemption." In Gen. 2:4 we find the word God changed to "LORD God." Why is this? The Hebrew name for God as "Creator" is ELOHIM, as "Revealer" it is JEHOVAH, translated "LORD." The name "God" is used over 6000 times in the Old Testament, and when in the Authorized Version we find the word "God" or "Lord" printed in small capitals, the original is JEHOVAH.
In the first part of the Book of Genesis four names are given, each of which reveals some distinct attribute of God. They are God (Elohim), LORD (Jehovah), God Almighty (El Shaddai), and Most High (El Elyon). They are all used in Psa. 91:1-2. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust." JEHOVAH has seven compound names that reveal Him as meeting every need of man.
1. JEHOVAH-JIREH-"The Lord will provide." Gen. 22:13-14. That is, provide a sacrifice.
2. JEHOVAH-RAPHA-"The Lord that healeth." Ex. 15:26.
3. JEHOVAH-NISSI-"The Lord our Banner." Ex. 17:8-10.
4. JEHOVAH-SHALOM-"The Lord our peace." Judg. 6:23-24.
5. JFHOVAH-RA-AH-"The Lord my Shepherd." Psa. 23.
6. JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU-"The Lord our righteousness." Jer. 23: 6.
7. JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH-"The Lord is present." Ez. 48:35.
It is therefore only as we know the meaning of the different titles of God that we can understand their significance. The word for Christ as "Creator" is "ELOHIM," for Christ as "Revealer and Redeemer" is Jehovah (translated LORD). As "Creator" (Elohim) Christ is revealed in His Covenant Relationship to man, as "Revealer and Redeemer" (Jehovah). He is revealed not only as a God of Love, but righteous and just, and who will punish evil. The use of the words separately or together will reveal their significance. In the Old Testament Dispensations Christ is called either "Elohim," or "Jehovah," or "Jehovah-Elohim" (LORD God), according to whether He is referred to as "Creator" or "Preserver," that is Revealer or Redeemer. With this in mind let us now trace Christ's work from Creation to His Incarnation. It was the "LORD God" or Christ that planted the Garden eastward in Eden, and placed Adam and Eve in it, and instructed them what, and what not to do. It was Christ who came to them in the cool of the evening charging them with disobedience, and gave them the promise that the Seed of Woman should bruise the Serpent's head, and it was Christ who drove the m from the Garden.
Gen. 3:8-10. It was Christ who charged Cain with killing his brother Abel. Gen. 4:9.It was Christ who warned Noah of the Flood, and told him to build the ark. Gen. 6:1-3. It was christ who called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees and directed him to Canaan. Gen. 12:1-3. It was Christ who appeared with two angels at Abraham's tent door and foretold the birth of Isaac, and the destruction of the Cities of the Plain, Sodom and Gomorrah Gen. 18:1-3. It was Christ who wrestled with Jacob at the ford Jabbok. Gen. 32:24-26. It was Christ who appeared to Moses at the Burning Bush in the Wilderness. When Moses asked the "Angel of the LORD" His name, lie replied-"I AM THAT I AM" and added-"Say unto the Children of Israel 'I AM' hath sent me to you. 11 Ex. 3:13-14. The "I AM " of the Burning Bush is the "I AM" of the New Testament, who said-"I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life." It was Christ who sent the Plagues on the Egyptians, who commanded the slaying of the Passover Lamb, a type of Himself, Ex. 12:1-3, and who opened the Red Sea for the Children of Israel to cross over. It was Christ who fed Israel in the Wilderness with manna and quails. Ex. 16:1-3. It was Christ who gave the "Ten Commandments" from Mt. Sinai, (Ex. 20:1-3), and who appeared in the Shekinah glory of the Tabernacle and Temple of Solomon, and who in the "Pillar of Cloud and Fire," led the Children of Israel throughout their Wilderness Wandering. Ex. 13:21-22.
It was Christ, who as "Captain of the Lord's Host" (Josh. 5:13-15), opened the River Jordan that Israel might cross over, and helped them in the siege of Jericho and the conquest of the land. It was Christ who called for the judges in the Days following Joshua, and commissioned them to fight for Israel. He was with Gideon, Samson and Samuel. It was Christ who chose Saul the first king of Israel, (1Sam. 9:15-17), and blessed him until his disobedience compelled Christ to choose David in his place. 1Sam. 16:1-3. It was Christ who called the prophets and fitted them for their work. It was a vision of Christ that Isaiah saw in the Temple in the year that King Uzziah died, and before whose glory Isaiah saw himself to be a man of unclean lips. Isa. 6:1-3. It was Christ who, in answer to Daniel's prayer as to the expiration of the "Seventy Years of Captivity," sent the Angel Gabriel, and revealed to Daniel the exact date of His (Christ's) death on the Cross, in the Vision of the "SEVENTY WEEKS." Dan. 9:1-3. From all these references we see how active Christ was from Creation until His Incarnation in supervising the affairs of men, particularly those of His own chosen people Israel.
While Moses asked the LORD to show him "HIS GLORY, " and the LORD said-"Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see ME, and LIVE, (Ex. 33:17-19), we are told in Verse 11, "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." The only way we can reconcile these two statements is on the supposition that the "LORD God" when He personally appeared to men, as to Abraham at his tent door, did so in disguise, or, as some have supposed, in a "form" that He provided Himself with before the Creation of man, in anticipation of the need of personally appearing to men, and that "form was the form of a man, for we know that in the creation of man, God said-"Let US make man IN OUR IMAGE, after OUR likeness." But that "Image" does not necessarily imply "flesh and blood." As these appearances were but occasional, and comparatively few, there was no need for Christ to incarnate Himself in the Flesh in Old Testament times, but when that became necessary for the purpose of Redemption, then He "took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the LIKENESS OF MEN." Phil. 2:5-7 This was a physical likeness that required a human bodily form of, flesh.
While Christ as a Prophet foretold many things before His Incarnation, it was not until after His Incarnation that He entered fully on His Prophetic Office. He was the Prophet foretold by Moses, "'The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shalt hearken." Deut. 18:15. And Peter in his sermon in the Temple declared that Christ was that Prophet. Acts 3:19-21. As a Prophet Christ foretold His Death and Resurrection. His Parabolic Teaching was full of prophetic statements, and in His "Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:1, Matt. 25:46) He outlined events that should come to past from the time of His Ascension until His Return. But the main purpose of His Incarnation was to make an Atonement for the sin of the human race. This He only could do by becoming a MAN, only as the "SINLESS MAN" could He atone for the sin of sinful men. This He did by His death on the Cross. To understand the need of the Atonement we must understand what sin is. Sin is
"THE WORLD'S BLOOD POISON."
It takes no Bible, or standard of morals, to make a man realize that when he would do good, evil is present with him. And we recognize that there is a conflict between our conscience and our conduct, between our better judgment and our carnal appetites. Men may call this "Moral Inharmony" or what they will, the Bible calls SIN. And the sins we commit only reveal the "PRINCIPLE OF SIN" that is within us, as the boils, carbuncles, etc., reveal the bad state of the blood in a human body. This "Principle of Sin" we inherit. King David said-"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psa. 51:5. He did not mean by that, that he was born out of wedlock, or was the son of an adulteress he meant that he was born with a sinful nature. By "Original Sin" or "Natural Depravity" is not meant that there is nothing good in man but that the natural tendency of the human heart is toward evil. Sin is not the result of environment or temptation, but is the outcome of a SINFUL INCLINATION. James 1:13-14. Christ pictures the human. heart as the source of all kinds of specific sins. Mark 7:20-22 We must distinguish between "SIN" and "SINS." "SIN" is the natural disposition that we inherit from Adam, "SINS" are the specific, acts of sin that we commit because of the disposition to sin in us. Sin is to the natural man what the tendency to rot is to the apple. Adam was born innocent, there was but a step between his innocence and righteousness, and but a step between his innocence and sin. He chose to take the latter step and became a sinner. If he had taken the former step he would have become righteous and would have been permitted to eat of the "Tree of Life" and live forever in a state of holiness. Adam and Eve had no children before the Fall. If they had had they would have been born innocent. The children Adam begat after the Fall were born sinners, so the human race became sinners by inheritance. "Wherefore, as by one man (ADAM) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Rom. 5:12. The fact that all men die is therefore proof that all men are sinners. Now the penalty of Adam's sin was both spiritual and physical death, and the only way the human race can be saved from spiritual and physical death is by some one paying that penalty for them. This Christ came into the world to do. To this end it was necessary that He should become a MAN. This required that he should be born of a woman. But He must be a SINLESS MAN, that is He must have no inherited taint of SIN in His nature, therefore He could not have a human father. Wherefore the "HOLY THING" that was born of Mary (Luke 1:35) was generated in her womb by the Holy Ghost, and was sinless because Mary only imparted to it its physical body. Being sinless Jesus was qualified to make an atonement for sin.
Now it is a "Principle of Law" THAT THE PENALTY OF A BROKEN LAW MUST FALL ON THE BREAKER OF THE LAW OR ON A SUBSTITUTE, OTHERWISE THE LAW IS OF NO EFFECT.
An "ATONEMENT" then is any "Provision" that may be introduced into the Administration of a Government, whereby that Government may on JUST, SAFE, and HONORABLE GROUNDS grant a PARDON to the Offender.
Now Adam broke the Law, the penalty for breaking the Law was DEATH. Spiritual and physical death. God could have set aside the Law, but that would have defrauded the Law of its rights, and been unjust, more, it would have been an impeachment of the integrity of God's word. The Penalty therefore must be paid by Adam or by a substitute. But as Adam was unable to provide a substitute, God, in his love and justice, at once took steps to provide one, and at once notified Adam and Eve to that effect. The substitute was to be Himself in the person of His Son Jesus. Gen. 3:15. This substitute however was not provided at once. It was not until 4000 years later that Jesus bore the penalty of Adam's sin, and the sin of the race, on the Cross. But during those 4000 years, by the shedding of the blood of bullocks, goats, and innocent lambs, whose bodies were laid smoking and quivering on Hebrew altars, God, in one great "Object Lesson," kept before the people the fact that without the SHEDDING OF BLOOD there could be no remission for sin. The sprinkling of the blood of every Passover Lamb was a reminder of Him who was to be the "Lamb of God" who should take away the sin of the world. John 1:29. And when the hour had come for the offering up of THE SACRIFICE, we see justice and Mercy standing on the Hill Calvary, and hear Justice say to Mercy-"Where is He who, over 4000 years ago, in the Garden of Eden, offered Himself a SUBSTITUTE for the sin of the world? " "Behold Him," said Mercy, "coming up the Hill bearing His Cross." When He reached the top of the Hill justice presented the "Bond," executed centuries before, and demanded its payment. The Son of God replied-"I will this day cancel it.," Soon all the preparations for the sacrifice were complete, and the "Lamb of God" was laid on the ALTAR OF THE CROSS. As Jesus laid His hand upon the crossbar of the Cross, He held in it, invisible to human eyes, the "Bond" to be canceled, and when the Roman soldier drove the nail through that hand, there was fulfilled the words of the Apostle-
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; BLOTTING OUT THE HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took IT out of the way, NAILING IT TO HIS CROSS." Col. 2:13-14.
By the cancellation of the "Bond" the Law and justice of God were satisfied, and it was possible for God to-"Be JUST and the JUSTIFIER of them who BELIEVE IN JESUS." Rom. 3:26. The penalty of "Spiritual Death" was paid when Jesus cried-".My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me? " and the penalty of "Physical Death" when He cried "It is Finished," and yielded up the Ghost.
The efficacy and "Substitutionary" character of the Atonement of Christ on the Cross is beautifully illustrated in the story of Barabbas. Barabbas was a robber, who had been arrested, tried, found guilty of insurrection and murder, and had been condemned to die. John 18:39-40. Matt. 27:15-17. Mark 15:6-8. It was the "Feast of Passover," at which time it was customary to liberate some notable criminal, and when the multitude demanded the death of Jesus, Pilate gave them the choice between Jesus or Barabbas. They chose Barabhas, and Jesus was turned over to the Officers of the Law for death by crucifixion; and by His death, as a SUBSTITUTE for Barabbas, Jesus, who was innocent, satisfied the "Law" and Barabbas was freed. The "Barabbas" or "Substitutionary View" of the Atonement is the Scriptural view of the Atonement. If Barabbas, after his liberation, had gone out to Calvary to witness the Crucifixion, and had informed himself as to who it was that had taken his place on the central cross, he would have known five things.
1. That he was a JUSTLY CONDEMNED SINNER.
2. That Jesus was an INNOCENT SUFFERER.
3. That that "Innocent Sufferer" had taken HIS PLACE.
4. That he HAD DONE NOTHING TO MERIT THAT SUBSTITUTION.
5. That Christ's substitution in his place SATISFIED THE LAW.
If Barabbas had thus gone out to Calvary to witness the Crucifixion and had been recognized and some one had threatened to point him out to the Centurion as an escaped convict, Barabbas could have said-"Oh, the Centurion cannot arrest me. It was he who set me free this morning and told me that Jesus of Nazareth was to take MY place on the Cross, and his death SATISFIES THE LAW FOR ME, and I am free." Barabbas was the first man to have a practical experience of the Atonement. If Jesus had not hung on that central cross Barabbas would have had to. There was at least one man in Jerusalem that day who understood the meaning of Jesus' death, and experienced its saving power, and that man was Barabbas. As believers our position is that of Barabbas, free from the Law.
As sinners we were under the "Curse of the Law, " but as believers "Christ hath redeemed us from the CURSE OF THE LAW, being MADE A CURSE FOR US; for it is written CURSED IS EVERY ONE THAT HANGETH ON A TREE." Gal. 3:13. The "Tree" that Christ hung on was the "CROSS." As we inherited our sinful state from Adam, we now by faith in Christ, the second Adam, inherit all that He did for us on the Cross, and our position now is that of having been crucified, dead, buried, risen and ascended with Christ, so we can say with the Apostle Paul-
"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME; and the Life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Gal. 2:20.
In the preceding verse (Gal. 2:19) Paul says-"For I through the Law am DEAD TO THE LAW, that I might live unto God." Now Paul does not mean that he was physically dead, but that he was JUDICIALLY dead. That is, that the penalty of the Law, which was death, was paid for us by Christ when He died on the Cross, and cannot be required of us, for "He was wounded for OUR transgressions, He was bruised for OUR iniquities; the chastisement of OUR peace was UPON HIM; and with HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED." Isa. 53:5. It follows therefore that if our iniquities are UPON HIM, they are not UPON US.
But some one may say, how could an innocent person assume the guilt of another? This can only be done by the innocent person entering into "Corporate Oneness" with the guilty person, and thus becoming IDENTIFIED WITH HIM. For illustration the debts of a poor widow could not be justly charged up to a millionaire neighbor, but if he entered into "Corporate Oneness" with her by marrying her, and thus assuming all her obligations, then he could justly and legally be held responsible for her debts. Now this is just what the Apostle says-
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become DEAD TO THE LAW (our first husband) by the body of Christ (that is by Christ's death); that ye should be MARRIED TO ANOTHER, even to Him (Christ) who is RAISED FROM THE DEAD." Rom. 7:4.
This union with Christ results in a "LEGAL ANSWERABLENESS" by Him for all our debts to the Law, and Jesus recognized the justice of all His sufferings on the Cross, when He said to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus-"O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: OUGHT NOT CHRIST TO HAVE SUFFERED THESE THINGS, and to enter into His Glory? " Luke 24:25-26. We see then that the Atonement of Christ means more than mere "Substitution, " it means a "CORPORATE ONENESS, " a union in which it was perfectly just for God to exact from His Son the penalty of "Spiritual" and -"Physical" death in satisfaction of the broken Law. We are therefore as believers to "RECKON OURSELVES DEAD TO THE LAW." Rom. 6:1 I. That is, we are to believe and act as those who have been freed from the Law, for "there is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them who are in Christ Jesus," (Rom. 8:1), for we were judged for sin in Christ on the Cross, and our judgment for "Sin" IS PAST.
We see then that Christ's work from the Incarnation to His Ascension was to make an Atonement for Sin.
II. CHRIST'S PRESENT LIFE AND WORK
Christ's present work is that of a High Priest. He is now "TARRYING WITHIN THEVAIL." As the High Priest entered through the "veil" into the "Most Holy Place" once a year , on the "Day of Atonement," to present the blood of the sacrifice and make a intercession for the SINS of the people, so Jesus entered into the "Holy of Holies" of the Heavenly Tabernacle when He ascended and passed through the "Veil of the Cloud" and disappeared from earthly view. Acts 1:9. Heb. 4:14. "For Christ is not entered into the Holy Places made with hands (such as the Tabernacle or Temple), which are the figures of the true; but INTO HEAVEN ITSELF now to appear in the presence of God for us." Heb. 9:24. Heaven, not earth, is the sphere of Christ's PRIESTLY Ministry. He never appeared as a Priest in the Temple at Jerusalem. He went there to teach, but never to offer sacrifices or burn incense.
The sacrifices and ceremonies of the Tabernacle and Temple services did not make the offerers perfect, or they would not have ceased to be offered. They were but SHADOWS or Types of things to come. Heb. 10:1-3. Among them was the "Day of Atonement." On that day the High Priest entered alone into the Holy Place, and having divested himself of his garments of "Glory and Beauty," he washed himself, and arrayed himself in linen clothes with a linen Mitre upon his head. He then filled a Censer with burning coals from off the Incense Altar and entered through the "Veil" into the "Most Holy Place," and putting incense upon the coals of the Censer, so that the smoke would cover the "Mercy Seat" on the "Ark of the Covenant" and hide it from view lest he die, he withdrew from the "Most Holy Place" and passed out into the Court of the Tabernacle, where he slew a bullock for a "Sin Offering" for himself and his house, and taking of its blood he re-entered the Tabernacle and passing through the "Veil" he sprinkled with his finger of the blood seven times eastward before the "Mercy Seat," thus making Atonement for himself and his household. He then returned to the Court of the Tabernacle and slew the goat that had been selected by lot for the "Sin Offering," and took of its blood and re-entered for the third time the "Most Holy Place," and did with its blood as he had done with the blood of his bullock, thus making Atonement for the sins of the Congregation. He then returned to the Court, and going to the "Brazen Altar" he made Atonement for it by sprinkling of the mixed blood of the bullock and goat upon it with his finger seven times, after he bad first anointed the Horns of the Altar with the blood. He then took the live goat, called the "Scapegoat," and laying both of his hands upon its head, he confessed the sins of the Children of Israel, thus placing them upon the head of the "Scapegoat," and then he sent it by a "fit man" into the wilderness, into a land uninhabited, where it was left, thus carrying away the iniquities of the people.
Aaron then returned to the Holy Place of the Tabernacle and took off his linen garments, washed himself, and robed himself again in his garments of "Glory and Beauty," and then returned to the Court of the Tabernacle. Until he thus appeared the people were in doubt as to whether God had accepted the "Sin Offering" or not. If his stay was unduly prolonged they would fear that the offering had been rejected and the High Priest smitten with death. They listened then for the tinkling of the bells upon the bottom of the High Priest's robe, and when they heard them they were assured that the sacrifice had been accepted.
When the High Priest came out in his garments of "Glory and Beauty" he went to the "Brazen Altar" and offered a "Burnt Offering" for himself, and one for the people, as a token of their revived consecration to God.
Let us take the work of the High Priest on the "Day of Atonement" and apply it to our High Priest, Jesus
Christ. When Jesus "emptied Himself" of His Heavenly Glory (Phil. 2:5-7), He laid aside His garments of "Glory
and Beauty," and put on the "Linen Garment" of humanity in which to minister. He had no occasion to offer
incense in the "Most Holy Place," or to offer a bullock as a "Sin Offering" for Himself, for He was sinless, but
He had to offer a Sin Offering for the world. It is here that we see that no single offering could typify the
work of Christ, for Christ's work is twofold. First He died as a "Sin Offering" for SIN, and then rose
from the dead and ascended through the "Veil of the Cloud" into the "Holy of Holies" of the "Heavenly Tabernacle"
and offered HIS OWN BLOOD as an Atonement for the sin of the world. This could only be foreshadowed by the
use of two goats. The first was made a ':Sin Offering" and as such had to die, the second was called the
'Scapegoat" and bore away the sins of the people into the- wilderness. Lev. 16:8-10, Lev. 16:20-22. So in
connection with the cleansing of the leper, two birds were necessary. One was killed in an earthen vessel over
running water, and the living bird was to be dipped in the blood of the slain bird, and let fly in the open
field, after the blood of the slain bird had been sprinkled seven times upon him who was to cleansed of hjs
leprosy. Lev. 14:1-3
The High Priest entered into the "Most Holy Place" once a year with the blood of others, but Jesus Christ our High Priest entered once for all with His OWN BLOOD into the "Holy of Holies" of the "Heavenly Tabernacle," otherwise He must have suffered yearly since the foundation of the world (Ages), "but now once in the END OF THE AGE (the Old Testament Age) hath He appeared to Put away in by the sacrifice of Himself." Heb. 9:24-26.
Having, as our High Priest, taken His own blood within the "Veil," Jesus still tarries engaged in His High Priestly work, and will continue to tarry throughout this
"GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT."
and at its close he will lay aside His High Priestly robes and come forth in His Kingly dress of "Glory and Beauty" to rule and reign in Kingly splendor.
There was no provision made for sitting down in the Tabernacle or Temple, for there was no time for sitting down, as sacrifices were continuously being offered; but Jesus our High Priest offered the sacrifice of Himself "ONCE FOR ALL", and then "SAT DOWN" at the right hand of God, on God's Throne (Heb. 12:2), which is in this Dispensation the "Throne of Grace." Heb. 4:16. In Acts 7:55-56, we read that Stephen saw Jesus STANDING at the right hand of God. This may mean either of two things. Either Jesus rose to receive Stephen or that He had not yet sat down, for we must not forget that Jesus really did not begin His Priestly work until after His final rejection by the Jews, that culminated in the stoning of Stephen, who charged them with being "stiffnecked" and resisting the Holy Ghost. Acts 7:51. It is worthy of note that the "Divine Three" were rejected in succession by the Jewish nation. They rejected "God the Father" in the days of Samuel (1Sam. 8:6-7) ; "God the Son" in the "Days of His Flesh," saying-"We will not have this man to rule over us" (Matt. 21:37-39) ; and God the Holy Ghost when they resisted the Holy Ghost who spoke through Stephen. Acts 7:51.
Paul writing to Timothy said that the will of God was that all men might be saved, and that he had appointed to that end a "MEDIATOR" between God and man, the MAN CHRIST JESUS. 1Tim. 2:3-5. He is a "Mediator" for both believers and unbelievers, but He had to become a MAN to "Mediate" between God and man. A man can mediate between two men,
but he cannot mediate between a man and a horse, because he has not the nature of both a man and a horse. So the Son of God could not mediate between God and man until He became the "Divine MAN, " that is, had the nature of both God and man. It was necessary then for the Son of God to become a MAN that He might mediate between God and man, and when He ascended He took up His MANHOOD with Him, and He is now in Heaven the MAN CHRIST JESUS. 1Tim. 2:5.
In 1John 2:1 we read-"My little children, these things write J unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." From this we see that Jesus is the Advocate of the righteous only, for the Epistle is addressed to "My Little Children, " and to those who were entitled to call God FATHER. The sinner does not need an Advocate; he needs a SAVIOUR. What is the use of an Advocate when the trial is over, the jury has rendered its decision, the judge pronounced sentence and the day of execution set? What a condemned man needs then is not an Advocate, but a PARDON. The Bible distinctly states that, "he that believeth not IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, " and, "that the WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM." John 3:18, John 3:36. What the sinner needs to do is not to ask Jesus to intercede for him, but to accept the, FINISHED WORK of Christ on the Cross in his behalf.
There are some who claim that Jesus is the Advocate for everyone, because the next verse says-"And He is the 'Propitiation' for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD." The word "Propitiation" does not mean that the Atonement of Christ saves the whole world, but that it makes possible the salvation of the whole world. There are three views of the Atonement.
1. Some hold that the Atonement was in the nature of a COMMERCIAL TRANSACTION. In a commercial transaction there must be a "buyer" and a "seller," a "thing to be sold," and a "price to be paid," and if the thing sold was l 00 horses, the "buyer would want to be sure that he not only got the right number, but the right ONES. On this view of the Atonement Jesus paid with His blood only for a certain number, and they the ones He had chosen, the ELECT. The advocates of this view hold to the theory of a LIMITED ATONEMENT.
2. Others claim that as the Bible represents the Atonement as made for ALL men, therefore all men will be saved. These persons are consistently UNIVERSALISTS.
3. The third class holds the view that the nature of Christ's Atonement was not the mere payment of the debt of a few, the elect; neither does it save all men, but it was such an assumption of the penalty of the Law, that God can now honorably and justly forgive any man his sin who repents and accepts Christ as his Saviour. This latter view must be the correct view, for it is the only view that corresponds with the facts. For the Scriptures distinctly teach in such passages as-"WHOSOEVER cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37), that salvation is not limited to any special class; and the demand for repentance and faith shows that if men are to be saved, they are to be saved on certain conditions, and not merely because Jesus died on the Cross. Jesus then is the "Advocate" of only those who are saved.
If Jesus is our Advocate then, what is He our Advocate for? Not for SIN, for that was Atoned for on the Cross. He is our Advocate for the "sins" we commit since we became a Christian. "My Little Children, these things write I unto you, that ye SIN NOT. And if any man SIN, we have an Advocate." 1John 2:1. Our Advocate then is to intercede for us because we SIN, that is His business, that is why He remains constantly beside the Father. If a man break the law, or is accused of breaking it, the first thing he needs is a lawyer, or advocate, one who will plead his cause and see that he gets justice. So the believer when he sins needs an Advocate.
Many Christians are disheartened and discouraged because they sin and feel that it is a sign that they were never converted. But the Scriptures teach that they will sin.- The Apostle says-"If we say that we have NO SIN, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in US." 1John 1:8. We must learn to distinguish between our
STANDING AND STATE.
Our "Standing" is that of a SON. John 1:12-13. 1John 3:1-2. And we are a "Son" NOW. 1John 3:2. And this "Sonship" makes us "HEIRS." Rom. 8:17. And this "Heirship" guarantees our PRESERVATION. 1Pet. 1:4-5. John 3:16. John 6:39. And no man shall be able to pluck us out of our Father's hand (John 10:27-29), for we are "Sealed" unto the Day of Redemption. Eph. 4:30, and our "life" is HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD. Col. 3:3.
But while our "Standing" is SETTLED and SURE, our "State" is VARIABLE. This is owing to the fact that after our "New Birth" we have "TWO NATURES, " where before we had but one. We do not lose the "Old Adam," or "Flesh Nature," when we receive the "New Adam" or "Spiritual Nature." For that which was born of the "Flesh" is STILL FLESH, and only that which is born of the "Holy Spirit" is SPIRIT. John 3:6. This explains the "SPIRITUAL WARFARE" so vividly portrayed by the Apostle Paul in Rom. 7:14-16. This was the Apostle's own experience after his conversion, and reveals the fact that the believer has a DUAL NATURE, and he is sinful or sinless according to which nature is uppermost, for that which is "born of God' in him, his "Spiritual Nature," cannot sin. 1John 3:9. As to "Experience, " the believer may be in any one of three places. (1) He may be in EGYPT, the "Type of the World." The Children of Israel were SAFE in Egypt the moment they sprinkled the "Blood" of the "Passover Lamb" on their doorposts. So the believer is SAFE, or SAVED, the moment he applies the Blood of Christ by faith to his soul, though he may in experience be still
living in Egypt a type of the world. (2) He may be in the WILDERNESS, the "Type of the Flesh." But as to experience living on the Egyptian side of the Wilderness, longing for the leeks, onions and garlic of his old Egyptian life, and murmuring, restless and unfruitful, fearing to return to Egypt, and yet not happy in his Christian life.(3) He may be in CANAAN, a "Type of the Rest of Faith," but fighting for the possession of the land against the Canaanites, Hittites," Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites of his soul. Josh. 3:10.
The Scriptures mention three ways in which the believer mayovercome the Flesh. (1) By AMPUTATION. Matt. 18:8-9. (2) By MORTIFICATION. Rom. 8:13. Col. 3:5-7. (3) by LIMITATION. Heb. 12:1. From what has been said we see that our "Fellowship" with the Father may be broken, but our RELATIONS never. 1John 1:3, 1John 1:7.
There is a vast difference between a "SINNER'S SINS" and a "BELIEVER'S SINS." Not that God does not hate both alike the Believers it may be the most because he sins with greater light, but the difference is not in the sin, but in the WAY GOD TREATS IT. Here is a father who sends his son and his hired servant to do a piece of work. They are lazy and inefficient, and do not do the work. He bears with them, and tries them again, but it is no use. His son and, his servant are good for nothing, his son perhaps the worse of the two Now what does he do? He discharges the servant. He puts him out of the house. He will have nothing more to do with him. But does he discharge his son? Does he send him away from the house? Does he disinherit him? Nothing of the kind. He may rebuke him cut off his allowance, punish him worse than he punished the servant but he will not send him away because he is his son. We see the that "Sonship" is a REAL THING. Is "Sonship" then a shield from the punishment of sin? Does my "Sonship" make it safer for me I sin? Oh, no! It simply gives me the blessed privilege of having a Advocate, and since it is inevitable that I will sin, it is better to sin as a SON than as an unbeliever.
III. CHRIST'S FUTURE LIFE AND WORK
Christ's future work is that of KING. When Christ has finished His High Priestly work He will leave His Father's Throne and descend into the atmosphere of this earth to meet His espoused Bride- THE CHURCH. 1Thes. 4:15-17. He will then accompany His Bride back to Heaven, and taking His place upon the "Judgment Seat of Christ" (Rom. 14:10) will judge the saints and reward them according to their works, after which He will present the Church to Himself, "a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." . Eph. 5:27. Then follows the Marriage of the Lamb. Rev. 19:6-8. Then, having received the Kingdom from the Father, Christ, accompanied by the armies of Heaven, will descend to the earth, and the Battle of Armageddon will be fought (Rev. 19:11-13), following which He will sit upon the "Throne of His Glory" and judge the nations (Matt. 25:31-33), after which the Millennial Kingdom will be set up. At its close Satan will be loosed from the Bottomless Pit, there will be a great Apostasy, and fire will descend from heaven and destroy the wicked. The heaven and the earth will then be renovated by Fire, and the New Heaven and Earth will appear, upon which shall be placed righteous nations taken from the old earth, over which Christ shall reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, until such a time as He shall see fit to surrender the Kingdom to the Father, that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL. 1Cor. 15:28.