Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible #3
2. CHRIST—His Divinity
Christ is God
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.
He is man
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God.
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.
One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:5
Christ is here presented in two aspects—in his divine nature, by virtue of which he was God, and in his human nature, in respect of which he was man. On the one hand, he was "God, in substance and essence" 93, on the other, he was man, as having taken upon him human nature.
One with the Father
I and my Father are one.
Distinct from him
I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
The "oneness" of the first text is unity of essence, attributes, and will, but not unity of person. This is made clear in our Savior's prayer for his disciples: "That they may be one, even as we are one." 94 Here the petition is, not that the disciples might lose then individual existence and be merged in one corporeal organism, but that, in their great work, they might be "of one heart and of one soul." Again, we read: "I have planted, Apolios watered;. . . Now, he that planteth and he that watereth are one." 95 Not identity of person, but of purpose, is here intended. The underlying principle which harmonizes the two foregoing texts is therefore the following: Unity of essence and attributes, with distinctions of person.
Alford: "Christ and the Father are one-—-one in essence, primarily, but therefore also one in working and power and in will;. . . not personally one, but essentially."
(AS IN THE BEGINNING FOR MARRIAGE…. TWO SHALL BECOME ONE; AND THE CHURCH IS ONE BODY, MANY MEMBERS BUT ONE IN WORKING, POWER, WILL, ESSENCE - Keith Hunt)
Equal to the Father
Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
After Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Inferior to him
If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
93 So Alford, on John 1:1.
94 John 17:22.
95 1 Corinthians 3:6, 8.
The words "greater than I" do not assert Christ's inferiority in respect to essence. Barnes: "The object of Jesus here is not to compare his own nature with that of the Father, but his condition. Ye would rejoice that I am to leave this state of suffering and humiliation, and resume that glory which I had with the Father before the world was. You ought to rejoice at my exaltation to bliss and glory with the Father."
Calvin: "Christ does not here compare the divinity of the Father with his own, neither his own human nature with the divine essence of the Father, but rather his present state with that celestial glory to which he must shortly be received."
In this interpretation concur Luther, Cocceius, De Wette, Tholuck, Stuart, and Alford, with other critics and commentators. 96 This exposition is in perfect keeping with the context.
(BUT THEY ALL MISS THE REAL TRUTH HERE PRESENTED BY CHRIST. THEY MISS IT BECAUSE OF THE "TRINITY" DOCTRINE THEY ARE BLINDED WITH. THERE ARE MAINLY THREE TRINITY TEACHINGS: 1. GOD IS A NOTHING, CANNOT THINK OF HIM IN ANY REAL PERSONAL WAY [I DO NOT WORSHIP A NOTHINGNESS GOD - IT'S A CRAZY THEOLOGY] 2. GOD IS ONE BEING ABLE TO MANIFEST HIMSELF AS ONE, TWO, OR THREE PERSONS, THEN GO BACK TO BEING ONE SINGLE BLOB OF WHATEVER. 3. THE GODHEAD IS MADE UP OF THREE INDIVIDUAL BEINGS, SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM EACH OTHER - ALL BEING GOD. NONE OF THESE TEACHINGS ARE CORRECT. THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS FOUND NOT ONLY IN THE WORDS OF CHRIST ABOVE, BUT ALSO BY PAUL IN 1 COR. 11:1-3 "….THE HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD [THE FATHER]. ALSO THE NT AND ESPECIALLY THE BOOK OF REVELATION MAKES IT VERY CLEAR CHRIST WENT BACK TO HEAVEN TO SIT ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER; NOT INSIDE HIM, NOT ON TOP OF HIM, BUT ON HIS RIGHT HAND. CHRIST IS GOD; GOD THE FATHER IS GOD; THEY HAVE EQUAL EVERYTHING IN ESSENCE AND POWER, WISDOM AND JUDGMENT, AND ALL ATTRIBUTES; BUT GOD THE FATHER IS GREATER IN AUTHORITY; HE IS THE SUPREME AUTHORITY IN THE UNIVERSE; THE HEAD OF CHRIST, GREAT IN AUTHORITY THAN CHRIST; HE SITS ON THE HEAVENLY THRONE, AND JESUS ON HIS RIGHT HAND - Keith Hunt)
The Son is God
The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ.
1 Peter 1:18-19
The Father the only God
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God.
In respect to the quotation from Acts, there are different readings. Some critics read "theos," God; others, "kurios," Lord. Alford, Wordsworth, Mill, and others adopt the former; Griesbach, Lachmann, Meyer, Davidson, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Green, and Hackett apparently, adopt the latter reading. If we read "the church of the Lord," the passage will have no direct bearing upon the point under discussion. On the words, "the only true God," Barnes observes: "The only God in opposition to all false gods. What is said here is in opposition to idols, not to Jesus himself, who, in 1 John 5:20, is called 'the true God and eternal life.'"'
Alford: "The very juxtaposition of Jesus Christ here with the Father, and the knowledge of both being defined to be eternal life, is a proof by implication of the Godhead of the former. The knowledge of God and a creature could not be eternal life, and the juxtaposition of the two would be inconceivable."
(AGAIN THESE SCHOLARS MISS THE IMPORTANT POINT SHOWN IN THE NT: THE WORD "GOD" IS USED IN DIFFERENT WAYS IN DIFFERENT CONTEXTS. "GOD" IS OFTEN APPLIED TO "THE FATHER" AND HENCE TO THE SUPREME ONE OF THE GODHEAD. HE IS THE ONLY SUPREME GOD, HEAD, AND ALWAYS WILL BE. AND JESUS COULD HAVE BEEN SPEAKING AS MANKIND THINKS [WITH HAVING MANY SO-CALLED GODS. JESUS THEN ANSWERS THEM ALL BY SAYING, "NO THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE GOD; ONE SUPREME GOD IN THE UNIVERSE - Keith Hunt)
Christ, the Son of God
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Son of man
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
The term "Son of God," is to be regarded as descriptive of Jesus, in his divine nature; "Son of man," in his human nature. The latter term, says Alford, is "the name by which the Lord ordinarily in one pregnant word, designates himself as the Messiah-—-the Son of God manifested in the flesh of man—-the second Adam. And to it belong all those conditions of humiliation, suffering, and exaltation, which it behooves the Son of man to go through." From the following passage, "Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God?" 98 it would appear that the Jews took the two expressions, "Son of God" and "Son of man," as nearly or quite synonymous, both denoting the long-expected Messiah.
(IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL, HE SEES IN VISION ONE LIKE THE SON OF MAN COMING TO THE ANCIENT OF DAYS. SO FROM THIS BIBLE INTERPRETING THE BIBLE, "SON OF MAN" IS ALSO DEITY. BUT ALSO "SON OF MAN" CAN DENOTE HIS HUMAN NATURE; JESUS WAS BOTH HUMAN AND DIVINE - Keith Hunt)
The only Son of God
The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1 John 4:9
Men also sons of God
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God. 1 John 3:2
Observe that the first two texts do not assert that Jesus is the "only," but the "only begotten," Son of God; that is, he is the only being who sustains that peculiar relation to the Father, which is implied in the term "begotten."
(CONCEIVED LIKE NO OTHER HUMAN EVER - Keith Hunt)
One class of theologians hold that, while men may become sons of God by adoption," Jesus is son by generation, and consequent participation in the divine essence and attributes. Such was the view of the Nicene trinitarians.100 By analogical
97 This verse is retained by Bornemann, Wordsworth, and the Arabic, Armenian, Syriac, and Vulgate versions. It is omitted by Alford, Hackett, Meyer, Tischendorf, and most other modern critics.
98 Luke 22:69-70.
99 Romans 8:15-16.
100 Shedd, History of Christian Doctrine, i. 331.
reasoning, they maintained that, as the human son participates in the nature and attributes of the human father, the same holds true of the Divine Son in relation to the Divine Father. According to this view, held by many theologians at the present day, Christ is distinctively "the Son of God"—or, in the language of Dr. Hodge,101 "the only person in the universe to whom the word can be applied in its full sense, as expressing sameness of essence."
There is another explanation of the term, "Son of God," which is given by Dr. Watts,102 Prof. Stuart,103 Prof. Park, and others. They hold that Christ bears this appellation because, in respect to his human nature, he is derived from God; also because of the elevated dignity which was conferred on him as the Messiah—his resurrection from the dead being the commencement of his elevation to supreme dignity, and being, moreover, the beginning of a new life; that is, something analogous to birth or generation. The last-named theologian104 adduces the additional reason that Christ was greatly beloved of the Father.
On either of the above hypotheses, the fact that men are occasionally styled "sons of God," while Jesus is denominated "the only-begotten Son of God," occasions no difficulty, since the two appellations are respectively used with very different significations.
(INDEED JESUS WAS A BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD IN A MIRACULOUS WAY, THAT NO OTHER HUMAN CAN EVER CLAIM; HE WAS CONCEIVED IN THE WOMB OF MARY BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, A MIRACULOUS CONCEPTION, NON OTHER WILL EVER BE ABLE TO CLAIM - HUMANS BECOME SONS OF GOD THROUGH REPENTANCE AND RECEIVING THE SPIRIT OF GOD; JESUS BEING SINLESS NEEDED NO REPENTANCE; HE WAS BEGOTTEN AND WAS A SON OF GOD FROM CONCEPTION THROUGH A MIRACLE. A SON OF GOD IN A WAY NO OTHER HUMAN WILL EVER BE - Keith Hunt)
Had all power
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
Was not almighty
To sit on my right hand, and on my left is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hand upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
Matthew 20:23 is rendered by Grotius, Chrysostom, Clarke, Barnes, and others thus: "is not mine to give, except to those for whom," etc. With this the Syriac Peshito precisely agrees. The italics in the common version of this text pervert the meaning. The real sense is: "It is not fitting that I should bestow it upon others." The question is not one of power at all, but of fitness.
Mark 6:5 implies not physical but moral impossibility. It was not lack of power which prevented his working miracles at Nazareth; but, as the next verse
101 Theology, i. 474. Compare Dr. Miller's Letters on Eternal Sonship, pp. 37-40.
102 See Works, v. 232-258 (edition in 7 vols.).
103 Letters to Dr. Miller on Eternal Generation, Letter viii.
104 MS. Lectures.
shows, the "unbelief of the people was the reason why it was inconsistent for him, or why he "could not" thus work. So one often says of a thing which he deemed improper, or incompatible with his purposes, "I could not do it."
Alford: "The want of ability is not absolute, but relative. The same voice which could still the tempest, could anywhere and under any circumstances have commanded diseases to obey; but in most cases of human infirmity, it was our Lord's practice to require faith in the recipient of aid, and that being wanting, the help could not be given."
(ON MAT. 23:23 THEY HAVE IT WRONG. THE "TRINITY" DOCTRINE BLINDING THEIR MINDS. JESUS SAID WHAT HE MEANT AND MEANT WHAT HE SAID. AS GOD THE FATHER IS HEAD OF CHRIST, IS THE SUPREME RULER IN AUTHORITY; IT IS THE FATHER ONLY THAT CAN DECIDE WHO SITS ON JESUS RIGHT AND LEFT HAND IN THE AGE TO COME…THE 1,000 YEAR RULE OF CHRIST ON EARTH - Keith Hunt)
Knew all things
But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee.
And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.
Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Ignorant of some things
And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren. Hebrews 2:17
Obviously, some passages represent Christ in the aspect of his Godhead, while others speak of him simply in his human nature—as a man. When he is spoken of as "increasing in wisdom and stature,"105 the humanity is placed in the foreground; when he claims to have existed "before Abraham was,"106 he speaks in his inherent divinity. As another has remarked: "His infancy and childhood were no mere pretence, but the divine personality was in him carried through these states of weakness and inexperience, and gathered round itself the ordinary accessions and experiences of the sons of men." In the person of Christ, the Divinity voluntarily entered into, and took upon itself, the conditions and limitations of humanity.
105 Luke 2:52.
106 John 8:58.
Ewald 107 observes: "Even the highest divine power, when it veils itself in mortal body, and appears in definite time, finds, in this body and this time, its limits." To nearly the same purport, Colenso108 says: "It is perfectly consistent with the most entire and sincere belief in our Lord's divinity, to hold, as many do, that when he vouchsafed to become a 'Son of man,' he took our nature fully, and voluntarily entered into all the conditions of humanity, and among others, into that which makes our growth in all ordinary knowledge gradual and limited."
The divinity and humanity were, as we believe, so united that they exerted a reciprocal influence, each modifying the action of the other. If it be said that such a union is improbable, we reply that there is an equal, antecedent improbability that a spirit, being immaterial, would be united with a body composed of matter, so as to form one personality, one ego; yet we know that this actually occurs in the case of man. In consequence of the union above mentioned, our Savior could say "I" of either component of his nature-—-the divine or the human. Sometimes he spoke in one relation, sometimes in the other, according as circumstances or the exigencies of discourse required."109 In a somewhat analogous way, a man says, "I rejoice at it," and, at another time, "weigh so much." In the first instance, the "I" refers exclusively to the soul; in the second, to the body. The soul rejoices, the body weighs. Yet the pronoun "I" is applied indifferently to either. We cannot but think that the principle underlying this mode of conception and speech, indicates a simple and correct interpretation of the second series of texts quoted above. They bring Christ before our minds in his lower and subordinate relations, in the humiliation, the "emptying" himself of his Godlike majesty and visible glories, which he voluntarily undertook and endured.110
As to the case of the fig tree, Jesus wished to teach his disciples an important lesson. This was enforced upon their minds by his suddenly blighting the tree. The foliage of the tree was in such a state that it was antecedently probable that there was fruit also. Jesus acted "according to the appearance of things; being a man as well as divine he acted, of course, as men do act in such circumstances."
108 Qn Pentateuch, Part i. p. xxxi.
109 Dr. Payson, on his deathbed, said, in substance, to his friends, "I suffer as much pain, as if every bone were undergoing dislocation;" and, in the same breath, "I am perfectly, perfectly happy and peaceful—more happy than I can possibly express to you." That is, he was at the same moment intensely happy, and suffering intensely. Yet this involved no contradiction. The language had respect to different relations, or to different departments of being. See Payson's
Memoir, by Cummings, p. 476.
110 See Philippians 2:7-8; Greek sauxov eKsvcooe, emptied himself.
As to Mark 13:32, Augustine says, "He did not know so that he might at that time disclose to the disciples." He adds elsewhere, "Though as God he could not be ignorant of any thing, yet his human understanding did not know it."
Lightfoot, on the passage: "It is not revealed to him from the Father to reveal to the church."
Wordsworth, on the same text: "It is true that the Son, as Son, knoweth not the day of judgment, because the Father 'hath put the times and seasons in his own power, and the Father will reveal them when he thinks meet; and therefore it is no part of the office of the Son to know, that is, to determine and declare the day of judgment."
Some of the Lutheran commentators say that our Lord knew "in respect to possession, but not in respect to use." That is, he might possess but not use this knowledge.
Waterland:111 "He denies the knowledge of the day of judgment, but in respect of his human nature; in which respect also he is said to have increased in wisdom, Luke 2:52; the divine Logos having, with the human nature, assumed the ignorance and other infirmities proper to it."
Schaff, in Lange, on Matthew 24:36: "Christ could, of course, not lay aside, in the incarnation, the metaphysical attributes of his divine nature, such as eternity; but he could, by an act of his will, limit his attributes of power and his knowledge, and refrain from their use as far as it was necessary for his humiliation."
Alford: "In the course of humiliation undertaken by the Son, in which he increased in wisdom (Luke 2:52), learned obedience (Hebrews 5:8), uttered desires in prayer (Luke 6:12, etc.)—-this matter was hidden from him."
(I LIKE THE LAST TWO EXPLANATIONS. IT IS ALSO A TRUTH THAT JESUS WILLFULLY DID NOT CHOOSE TO KNOW EVERY DETAIL IN THE PHYSICAL LIFE, OF THOSE HE KNEW, HENCE WOULD ASK THEM ABOUT THIS OR THAT. AGAIN THE TRUTH IS HERE SHOWN THAT CHRIST DOES NOT HAVE ALL AUTHORITY; THE SUPREME GOD THE FATHER IS GREATER IN AUTHORITY, AND HE IT SEEMS FROM JESUS' WORDS IS THE ONLY ONE TO KNOW THE DAY/S OF JUDGMENT, OR THE DAY OF CHRIST RETURN TO EARTH. JESUS IS QUITE WILLING TO ACCEPT THAT AUTHORITY, KNOWING ALL WILL ONE DAY COME TO PASS AS THE FATHER HAS DECIDED - Keith Hunt)
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless, let us go unto him.
111 Works, ii. 163 (Oxford edition, 1856).
The first texts refer to his spiritual presence with his people; the second series relates to his visible presence, in the body. Paul, in Colossians 2:5, employs language of a quite similar import.
He is holy
He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
2 Corinthians 5:21
The word "sin," in the latter text, doubtless means "sin-offering."112 In this view concur Augustine, Ambrose, Erasmus, Lightfoot, Macknight, Stuart, Whitby, and many other commentators.
Chrysostom says, "Him who knew no sin, who was righteousness itself, he hath made sin; that is, hath suffered to be condemned as a sinner, to die as a person accursed."
De Wette and Alford give the passage a somewhat different turn, thus: Sin, i.e. Christ on the cross was the representative of sin—of the sin of the world.
With a singular obliquity of mind and heart, F. W Newman 113 says of our Savior, as represented in the Gospels, "I almost doubt whether, if one wished to draw the character of a vain and vacillating pretender, it would be possible to draw anything more to the purpose than this," and expresses his "conviction," that "in consistency of goodness Jesus fell far below vast numbers of his unhon-ored disciples."
What must be our estimate of a man who can thus coolly ignore the verdict of the ages, and wantonly revolt the moral sense of Christendom, by suffering his pen to trace such atrocious sentiments as these?
(YES TERRIBLE WORDS FROM NEWMAN. IN HIMSELF JESUS WAS HOLY AND SINLESS; BUT HE TOOK UPON HIMSELF OUR SINS, TO DIE FOR US; THE PENALTY OF SIN DEMANDS DEATH IN GOD'S PLAN. THE HOLY ONE, BECAME SIN BY TAKING OUR SINS IN HIS DEATH, SO WE COULD BE FORGIVE OUR SINS, AND HAVE SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH - Keith Hunt)
God hath blessed thee for ever.
All nations shall call him blessed.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
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.
112 Sehleusner, Lexicon to the LXX, defines the original Greek term, as "peccatum, etiam poena peccati, et sacrificium piaculare." Biel gives, also, "sacrificium pro peccato." Examples of the secondary signification are Ezekiel 43:22; 44:29; 45:22. According to Gesenius, the corresponding Hebrew term, with two kindred words, means both sin and sin-offering. Fuerst says [hEBREW GIVEN] denotes sin in 1 Samuel 20:1; Psalm 59:4; Job 13:23; and sin-offering in Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:3. The Greek word mentioned above has clearly its secondary or Hebraistic sense in 2 Corinthians 5:21.
113 Phases of Faith, chap. vii. (third edition).
Luther and some other commentators, taking the language in Galatians literally, have supposed that by some mysterious transference of human guilt to Christ, he actually became a sinner. This interpretation is, however, uncalled far, and repugnant to our feelings.
Conybeare renders: "He became accursed for our sakes."
Ellicott and Meyer think that the abstract word "katara," curse, is chosen instead of the concrete, to "express with more force the completeness of the satisfaction which Christ made to the law."
Barnes: "Jesus was subjected to what was regarded as an accursed death. He was treated in his death as if he, had been a criminal."
As Christ suffered in the stead of those upon whom the curse properly devolved, he might be styled "accursed," or, in the sense just explained, a "curse" for us.
He is merciful
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives but to save them.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.
Called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. Revelation 19:11
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
De Wette114 says that these latter passages "glow with the spirit of Messianic revenge." The apparent difficulty is easily obviated. Just in proportion as any being loves holiness, in that proportion will he hate sin. Christ, being
1 Introd. to New Testament, p. 376.
perfectly holy, being also a wise and benevolent sovereign, cannot but be most powerfully impelled to reward virtue, and to punish and exterminate vice. The texts to which exception is taken, are vivid, figurative expressions of the infinitely wise, just, and righteous principles which Christ displays in the administration of his kingdom.
(IT IS EASY TO SEE ONE SET OF TRUTHS IS THE BASIC "WHY" OF THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST; THE OTHER SET OF VERSES ARE TO DO WITH HIS SECOND COMING - Keith Hunt)
Spares bruised reed
A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench. Isaiah 42:3
Wields iron sceptre
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
These passages present the Messiah in a twofold attitude; toward the penitent and humble, and toward the proud and rebellious. The "rod of iron" indicates the strength and crushing force with which he would chastise the revolters; the first text brings to view the tender compassion which he would exercise toward the dejected and helpless. The same mouth which breathed the tender words, "Come unto, me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,"115 could, without any incongruity, thunder at those scoffing hypocrites, the scribes and Pharisees, the terrible denunciation, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"116
Courage and Fortitude
Shrunk at death
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.
Met it composedly
He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Theophylact, Grotius, Tholuck, Barnes, and others, take the Savior's words interrogatively, thus: "Shall I say, Father, save me from this hour?" This interpretation makes good sense, and accords well with the context.
115 Matthew 11:28.
116 Matthew 23:33.
Hebrews 5:7 may be rendered: "He was heard on account of, his pious resignation"-—or, "because of his reverence." So, in substance, Afford, Barnes, Bleek, Conybeare, Delitzsch, Luther, Robinson, Tyndale, and all the Greek commentators.
Prof Stuart, following in substance the common version, maintains that it was not death which Christ "feared"; he dreaded lest he should sink under the agony of being deserted by his Father. In this respect he was "heard," and received divine aid.117 Either interpretation dispels the difficulty.
(THE FATHER HEARD AND HELPED HIS SON DO WHAT THE FATHER SENT HIM TO DO; BEING HUMBLE AND RESPECTFUL HE WAS HEARD, EVEN TO SAVE HIM FROM DEATH IN RAISING HIM TO IMMORTAL LIFE - Keith Hunt)
His witness true
Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came and whither I go.
If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
Grotius takes the first passage as a mere hypothesis, "even though I should bear witness of myself," etc. Bishop Pearce, Wakefield, and others render the second text thus: "If I bear witness of myself, is not my witness true?" Should the common version be retained, the meaning is, "If I alone bear witness of myself" The Mosaic law required at least two witnesses.118 Jesus therefore admits that his own testimony alone would not be "true"; that is, would not be regarded as legal-proof; hence he proceeds to adduce the corroborative testimony of another.
Andrew Fuller:119 "The first passage sets forth his testimony as it was in itself; the second as it was in the account of men. . . . Admitting their laws or rules of evidence, his testimony would not have been credible; and therefore in the verses following he appeals to that of John the Baptist, and the works which he had wrought in his Father's name, which amounted to a testimony from the Father."
Alford: The assertion in chapter 5 was, that his own unsupported witness (supposing that possible) would not be trustworthy, but that his testimony was supported by, and in fact coincident with, that of the Father. The very same argument is used in chapter 8, but the other side of it presented to us. He does witness of himself, because his testimony is the testimony of the Father who witnesseth in him.
117 Luke 22:43.
118 Deuteronomy 19:15.
119 Works, i. 679.
Received human testimony
And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Did not receive it
But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be
"I receive not," etc.; that is, the "testimony" of which I have spoken is not derived from human sources. It is infinitely more authoritative and conclusive than man's witness would be. I need not human testimony for myself; I merely adduce it for your sakes, that "ye might be saved."
The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
That is, the object of his mission was peace, but a result of it would, in many cases, be strife and war. Often, in securing a valuable end, we cannot avoid certain incidental evils. The object of the surgeon in amputating a diseased limb is the preservation of life, yet pain, as an incidental evil, follows the stroke of his scalpel.
A religion of inherent, radical purity could not be promulgated in the world without awakening the fierce antagonism of everything impure and evil. Hence would arise strife and division, bitter conflicts—as incidental evils, the grand, ultimate, unvarying object being, nevertheless, holiness and peace.
(ISAIAH IS A PROPHECY YET TO BE REALIZED. THERE IS PEACE FOR THE SAINT IN CHRIST. BUT THE WORK OF CHRIST WILL AS GOD CALLS SOME AND NOT OTHERS, CAUSE CONFLICT BETWEEN PEOPLE - Keith Hunt)
Extended to all men
I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all.
1 Timothy 2:5-6
To Israelites alone
Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
He made atonement, "tasted death," for every man, and the benefits of his mediation are, to a certain extent, enjoyed by all, but his personal mission was chiefly to the "house of Israel." And the first, but not the later, mission of the apostles was similarly restricted.
(THEY ARE WORDS FOR A TIME PERIOD; THE EVENTUAL LARGE SCALE WORK; THE BEGINNING WORK OF THE GOSPEL - Keith Hunt)
To the Samaritans
And sent messengers before his face; and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria.
So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word.
To Jews only
He departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea, beyond Jordan.
The woman was a Greek, a Syro-phenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
"It is impossible," says Zeller,120 "to reconcile these different accounts." Now the truth is that the infrequent exceptions alluded to in the first series of texts only prove the general rule, that Christ's personal mission was to the Jews. The mere fact that, in journeying from Judea to Galilee, he passed through Samaria, which lay between the two, or that he wrought a miracle upon one Samaritan, and virtually commended another,121 or that he actually tarried two whole days in Sychar, does not, in the slightest, militate against the certainty that his personal ministry-was among the children of Israel.
(ONE WAS THE OVERALL MISSION AND WORK OF CHRIST, THE OTHER THE EXCEPTIONS DURING THE OVERALL - Keith Hunt)
To fulfil the law
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
To redeem from its curse
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.
He came to carry out the great end of the law, to secure the righteousness of man. He "fulfilled," perfectly obeyed, the moral law, while in him, as the great Antitype, the types and figures of the ceremonial law culminated and
120 Strauss and Renan, p. 79.
121 Luke 17:16 and 10:33-37.
were fulfilled. At the same time, he came, to redeem, by his atonement, penitent sinners from the "curse," the penalty of the law.
(CHRIST CAME TO FULFIL THE CORRECT RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW, AND THE "TYPES" IN THE LAW THAT POINTED TO HIM. HE REDEEMED PEOPLE FROM THE LAW'S DEATH PENALTY, WHICH WAS INDEED A CURSE TO ALL SINNERS, AND AS PAUL SAID "ALL HAVE SINNED" - THE DEATH PENALTY CURSE WAS ON ALL PEOPLE - CHRIST TOOK OUR SINS AND DIED FOR US - Keith Hunt)
To judge the world
For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son... and hath given him authority to execute judgment also.
Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
The Greek word "krino" has the distinct, though associated, meanings, to judge merely, and to condemn. In some of the above passages it seems to be used in one sense, in others a different one is employed. Jesus came, in a sense, to "judge" the world, that is, to determine, by means of the gospel, the moral status, and consequent final destiny of men; yet his primary object was not to condemn men, though, in the process of judgment, the condemnation of some will be a certain, although incidental, result. "I judge no man," i.e. after your manner, or else, during my present mission. At his second coming he will in the ultimate and highest sense, "judge the world."
Proof of divine mission
And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.
Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up.
Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
The works which, the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.
Not a proof
Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents.
And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders.
2 Thessalonians 2:9
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those, miracles.
On this general subject, we may say that miracles are one, but not the only proof of the divine mission of a religious teacher. His own character and claims, as well as the nature of his miracle, and of the doctrine he propounds, must be taken into the account. There are two or three preliminary questions which must be considered before we proceed further.
1. What constitutes a miracle? We give various answers. Dr. Charles Hodge:122 "An event, occurring in the external world, which involves the suspension or counteracting of some natural law, and which can be referred to nothing but the immediate power of God." "After all," he says elsewhere, "the suspension or violation of the laws of nature involved in miracles is nothing more than is constantly taking place around us. One force counteracts another; vital force keeps the chemical laws of matter in abeyance; and muscular force can control the action of physical force. When a man raises a weight from the ground, the law of gravity is neither suspended nor violated, but counteracted by a stronger force. The same is true as to the walking of Christ on the water, and the swimming of the iron at the command of the prophet."
1 Theology, Vol. ii. p. 75, and Vol. i. p. 621.
Prof. Park:123 "A miracle is a violation of the laws of matter and of finite mind in their established method of operating." Or, more specifically, "a phenomenon which occurs in violation of the laws of nature as they commonly operate, and which is designed to attest the divine authority of the messenger in whose behalf it occurs."
Archbishop Trench:124 "An extraordinary divine causality belongs to the very essence of the miracle... Beside and beyond the ordinary operations of nature, higher powers (higher, not as coming from a higher source, but as bearing upon higher ends), intrude and make themselves felt even at the very springs and sources of her power."
Bleek 125 and Schleiermacher: "A miracle is an event only relatively supernatural; not absolutely violating the laws which God has established, but brought about by a hidden cooperation (rarely exercised in this manner) of other and higher laws than those which appear in ordinary phenomena."
2. What is the legitimate force of a miracle? John Foster has the remark that a miracle is the ringing of the great bell of the universe calling the multitudes to hear the sermon. Bishop Butler: "Revelation itself is miraculous, and miracles are the proof of it." Pascal: "Miracles test doctrine, and doctrine tests miracles." Rothe: "Miracles and prophecies are not adjuncts appended from without to a revelation in itself independent of them, but constitutive elements of the revelation itself." Gerhard:126 "The doctrine is the title-deed, and is essential to the significance of the seal attached to it. The miracle is the seal, and is important for the authority of the title-deed. The seal torn away from the parchment cannot fulfil its main design, and the parchment with the seal cut out is lessened in value."
Dr. Hodge:127 "When a man presents himself as a messenger of God, whether he is to be received as such or not depends, first, on the doctrines which he teaches, and, secondly, upon the works which he performs. If he not only teaches doctrines conformed to the nature of God and consistent with the laws of our own constitution, but also performs works which evince divine power, then we know not only that the doctrines are true, but also that the teacher is sent of God."
Dr. Thomas Arnold:128 "You complain of those persons who judge of a revelation not by its evidence, but by its substance. It has always seemed to me that
123 MS. Lectures. See, also, Smith's Bib. Diet., Art. "Miracles," appendix by Professor Park.
124 Notes on Miracles, p. 18.
125 Introd. to New Testament, i. 221.
126 Smith's Bib. Diet, Vol. iii. pp. 1960-1968.
127 Theology, i. 636.
128 Life, ii. 202 (Popular edition, Boston, 1871).
its substance is a most essential part of its evidence; and that miracles wrought in favour of what was foolish or wicked would only prove Manicheism. We are so perfectly ignorant of the unseen world, that the character of any supernatural power can only be judged of by the moral character of the statements which it sanctions: thus only can we tell whether it be a revelation from God or from the devil."
Trench:129 "A miracle does not prove the truth of a doctrine, or the divine mission of him that brings it to pass. That which alone it claims for him, at the outset, is a right to be listened to; it puts him in the alternative of being from heaven, or from hell. The doctrine must first commend itself to the conscience as being good, and only then can the miracle seal it as divine. But the first appeal is from the doctrine to the conscience, to the moral nature in man."
John Locke:130 "Though the common experience and the ordinary course of things have justly a mighty influence on the minds of men, to make them give or refuse credit to anything proposed to their belief: yet there is one case wherein the strangeness of the fact lessens not the assent to a fair testimony given of it. For where such supernatural events are suitable to ends aimed at by him who has the power to change the course of nature, there, under such circumstances, they may be the fitter to procure belief, by how much the more they are beyond, or contrary to, ordinary observation. This is the proper case of miracles, which, well attested, do not only find credit themselves, but give it also to other truths, which need such confirmation."
Dr. Thomas Brown:131 "A miracle is not a violation of any law of nature. It involves, therefore, primarily, no contradiction nor physical absurdity. It has nothing in it which is inconsistent with our belief of the most undeviating uniformity of nature; for it is not the sequence of a different event when the preceding circumstances have been the same; it is an effect that is new to our observation, because it is the result of new and peculiar circumstances. The antecedent has been, by supposition, different; and it is not wonderful, therefore, that the consequent should be different. It is essential, indeed, for our belief of any miraculous event, that there should be the appearance of some gracious purpose, which the miracle may be supposed to fulfil; since all which we know of the operation of the divine power in the universe indicates some previous purpose of that kind."
We are now prepared to see the distinction between true miracles and other events which might be confounded with them. A genuine miracle tends
129 On Miracles, p. 27.
130 On Human Understanding, Bookiv., chap. xvi. sect. 18.
131 On Relation of Cause and Effect, pp. 224, 230.
to confirm the associated doctrine, and is in turn sanctioned by it, while both the doctrine and the miracle commend themselves to our reason as worthy of the Author of nature. It obviously follows that not every strange feat is to be regarded as a "miracle." The almost incredible performances of certain jugglers, contemplating no great moral end, are not to be classed with "miracles," but are to be attributed to "sleight-of-hand," or to a knowledge of certain occult laws and forces of nature. The wonders wrought with fire,132 in the Middle Ages, which men then regarded as miracles, we now see to have been mere tricks, utterly unworthy of the intervention of the Divine Being.
Again, it must be remembered that, as Trench 133 has clearly shown, Satan's kingdom has its own miracles, as well as the divine kingdom, and these really involve the intervention of spiritual and supernatural agencies coming from the realm of darkness. Not being "miracles," in the very highest sense of the word, they only partake in part of the essential elements of the miracle. They exhibit "not the omnipotence of God wielding his own world to ends of grace and wisdom and love, but evil permitted to intrude into the hidden springs of things, just so far as may suffice for its own deeper confusion in the end, and, in the meanwhile, for the needful trial and perfecting of God's saints and servants."
Alford: "Miracles, as such, are no test of truth, but have been permitted to, and prophesied of, false religions and teachers." For illustration of this statement, he refers to several of the texts quoted at the head of this article.
As to the feats of the magicians of Egypt, Bush, Dwight, and others think they were merely the tricks of skilful jugglers.134 Many commentators, however, seem disposed to recognize the supernatural character of the feats ascribed to the magicians.
Keil: "With our very limited acquaintance with the dark domain of heathen conjuring, the possibility of their working 'lying wonders after the working of Satan,' i.e. supernatural things (2 Thessalonians 2:9), cannot be absolutely denied." He adds, "In the persons of the conjurers Pharaoh summoned the might of the gods of Egypt to oppose the might of Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews."
Trench: "Rather was this a conflict not merely between Egypt's king and the power of God; but the gods of Egypt, the spiritual powers of wickedness, which underlay, and were the soul of, that dark and evil kingdom, were in conflict with the God of Israel."
132 See Brewster's Letters on Natural Magic, Letter 12.
133 Notes on Miracles, pp. 25-27.
134 Compare Davidson's cart remarks on this point; Introd. to Old Testament i. pp. 221-222.
Hengstenberg:135 "The object to which all of these occurrences were directed, according to chapter 8:20, was to show that Jehovah is Lord in the midst of the land." This critic thinks that the author of the Pentateuch does not speak definitely upon the nature and origin of the results produced by the Egyptian magicians, and that there is nothing existing which can give us any information concerning his opinion.
As to Deuteronomy 13, we have seen that the miracle per se, apart from the message, is not conclusive proof of the divine mission of the thaumaturgist. In this specific case, if the miracle-worker should inculcate "idolatry"—which had been most strictly and explicitly forbidden by Jehovah-—this single circumstance was to be taken as absolute evidence that he was a false prophet and a deceiver. Hence, the "miracle" would, in such case, be simply the work of Satan, which God suffered to be wrought for the purpose of testing man's loyalty and fidelity to him.
The "great signs and wonders," in Matthew 24, if of a supernatural character, are like those we have just mentioned.
Luke 11:19 was a home-thrust, an argumentum ad hominem. He said, in substance, "I cast out devils, as also your sons claim to do. Now, if, as you assume, the exorcist is in league with Satan, how is it with your own sons?"
As to 2 Thessalonians 2:9, Trench says, "They are 'lying wonders,' not because in themselves frauds and illusions, but because they are wrought to support the kingdom of lies." Or, as Alford says, they "have falsehood for their base and essence and aim."
Much the same may be said with reference to the text in Revelation, which Alford interprets as delineating one characteristic of the Papal church, the claim to work "miracles" of various kinds.
This topic may be dismissed with the single remark that, inasmuch as the miracles and the doctrine of our Savior are, at the same time, congruous with each other, and worthy of God, the miracles may fairly be urged in corroboration of the divinity of his mission.
Modes of Representing Him
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.136
1 Peter 2:7
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were bur faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
135 Egypt and the Books of Moses, pp. 98,104-105.
136 The original word properly means an honour.
These two texts contemplate quite different classes of persons; the one, those who, being spiritually enlightened, see the real character and glory of the Messiah; the other, those who are still in the darkness and blindness of sin.
As a root out of a dry ground: he hath, no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand... . His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.
There is no proof that these last texts refer to the Messiah. If they do so, it only need be said that he is despised by some persons, and admired by others.
Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
In one aspect, he is termed a "lion" in another a "lamb." The term "lion" brings out the idea of his dominion, as well as that of his descent from the tribe of Judah;137 the lamb was an emblem of innocence, and was usually offered in sacrifice.
We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.
He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. . . . Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.
In making the atonement, he voluntarily laid down his own life; he "gave himself 'a ransom for all'; he was the offerer and the offered, both priest and victim. On the term "high priest," Alford says, "the propitiatory, sacerdotal representative of men before God."
I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Jesus Christ himself being the chief
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.
1 Peter 2:8
137 See Genesis 49:9.
The figure of the "vine" and "branches" sets forth the intimate, vital union Christ and his people, together with their entire dependence upon him for spiritual nutriment and growth. Alford: "The inner unity of himself and his."
The term "stone" metaphorically presents Jesus as the "foundation" upon which his people build; also as the occasion of the "stumbling" and final over-throw of his enemies.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep.
The Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1 Peter 2:25
He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth.
Washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The first figure represents his tender, watchful care and oversight of his "little flock"; the second brings to view the meekness and innocence of his personal character, together with the fact that he, like a lamb, was offered as a sacrifice.
I am the door: by me if any man enter, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
The first text points out the fact that Christ is the only medium of access to the Father; that in his name, by his aid, and through his atonement, we come to God. The second text implies that as material bread must be eaten, digested, assimilated by us, for the maintenance of physical life, so Christ's spirit and teachings must be received into our hearts and incorporated in our lives, in order to our spiritual vitality.
The Light of the world
"That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
Men are lights
Ye are the light of the world.
He was a burning and a shining light.
Among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
In the primary and highest sense, Christ is the Light of the world; in a secondary and subordinate sense, Christians, viewed as receiving and reflecting his light, maybe designated as the "light of the world."
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:11
Men are foundations
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.
The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness.
1 Timothy 3:15-16
It is not clear that the quotation from Ephesians implies that the apostles and prophets were themselves the "foundation"; the meaning probably is the foundation which pertained to them-—their foundation. Similarly, "sword of the Spirit"138 means the Spirit's sword. Meyer, Ellicott, Stier, and others say, "the foundation which the apostles and prophets have laid." Alford and Bucer: "the apostles' and prophet's foundation—that upon which they as well as yourselves are built."
On the last quoted text, Ellicott says that "pillar" and "ground," designating the church, are "only simple, metaphorical expressions of the stability and permanence of the support," and adds, "were there no church, there would be no witness, no guardian of archives, no basis, nothing whereon acknowledged truth could rest." Chrysostom, Theodoret, Tholuck, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, De Wette, Huther, Alford, and Wordsworth concur in this view, deeming the church "the element in which, and medium by which, the truth is conserved and upheld." But if we admit that, in this secondary sense, the church is the "ground" or basis of the truth, it must be remembered that Christ is, after all, the deep substructure, the foundation, of the church itself.
It should be added that Oosterzee, with a host of critics, punctuates the passage differently, thus: "The pillar and ground of the truth, and confessedly great, is the mystery of godliness," etc. With this translation the Syriac Peshito closely corresponds.
(THE NT CHURCH IS A PILLAR AND GROUND FOR TRUTH; THE FRAMEWORK THAT THE NEW COVENANT IS SET ON, BUILT UPON THE APOSTLES OF THE NT AND THE PROPHETS OF THE OT; BUT MOST IMPORTANT CHRIST IS THE FOUNDATION STONE, AS IT ALL HAS COME THROUGH HIM, BOTH OLD [GOD OF THE OT] AND NEW [SAVIOR AND FOUNDER OF THE NT].
Died for friends
I lay down my life for the sheep.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us... When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.
1 See Ephesians 6:17.
He laid down his life for those who, though "enemies" for the time being were prospectively "friends." This exhibition of his love broke down their enmity, and transformed their hostility into friendship.
The former passages refer to the prospective, the latter to the present, attitude toward him, of those for whom he died. On the first text from John, Alford says, "The Lord lays down his life strictly and properly, and in the depths of the divine counsel, for those who are his sheep." On the second text, "Our Lord does not assert of himself that he laid down his life only for his friends (as defined in the next verse), but puts forward this side of his love as a great and practical example for his followers."
Laid down his own life
I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.
Jews murdered him
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.
And killed the Prince of life.
The Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers.
Both statements are true, and there is not the slightest discrepancy. The simple fact is that Jesus, knowing perfectly the hatred, power, and purpose of the Jews, voluntarily surrendered himself into their hands; whereupon they "with malice aforethought and prepense," took his life. He laid down his own life, and they killed him.
The only Mediator
One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:5
Holy Spirit intercedes
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groan-ings which cannot be uttered.
The last text when properly translated, does not assert that the Holy Spirit actually intercedes for Christians, but simply intervenes for their aid.
Barnes: "It simply means that the Holy Spirit greatly aids or assists; not by praying for us, but in our prayers and infirmities." Stuart: Prayer or supplication made by the Spirit is not here intended. The Spirit "maketh intercession" by exciting in Christians such longings for conformity to God, deliverance from evil, and the enjoyment of future blessedness as no language can adequately express.
Alford: "No intercession in heaven is here spoken of, but a pleading in us by the indwelling Spirit, of a nature above our comprehension and utterance."
(THIS IS WHERE THE SO-CALLED "SCHOLARS" DO NOT READ THE CONTEXT OF ROMANS 8. IF THEY DID THEY WOULD SEE THE "SPIRIT" MENTIONED IS CHRIST. VERSE 26, 27, IS CLEAR, IT IS THE SPIRIT INTERCEDING FOR US. VERSE 34 TELLS US IT IS CHRIST WHO INTERCEDES FOR US. THE SPIRIT IS NOT SOME THIRD PERSONAL BEING OF A "TRINITY" GODHEAD. THE SPIRIT IS THE NATURE AND POWER THAT BELONGS TO BOTH THE FATHER AND SON. HENCE USING THE WORD "SPIRIT" IN PERSONIFICATION, APPLIES TO EITHER THE FATHER OR SON. IN ROMANS 8 THE CONTEXT [VERSE 34] IT IS APPLIED TO THE SON - CHRIST. THIS IS WHERE THE FALSE "TRINITY" TEACHING CONFOUNDS THE SCHOLARS TO HAVE TO DENY THE CLEAR WORDS USED IN ROMANS 8. THERE IS INDEED ONLY ONE THAT MAKES INTERCESSION FOR US - CHRIST JESUS - FULL OF THE SPIRIT NATURE AND POWER OF THE GODHEAD - Keith Hunt)
Intercedes not for the world
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me: for they are thine.
Does intercede for it
If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
1 John 2:1
As the connection evinces, the first text is equivalent to, "I am not now, at this time, praying for the world." The prayer in the 17th of John was offered specially for the disciples. This fact, however, furnishes no proof that Jesus does not, at present, intercede for all mankind.
(DURING THE PRAYER OF JOHN 17 IT WAS INDEED FOR THE SAINTS AT THAT TIME. I JOHN 2:1 IS ALSO FOR THE SAINTS., THE CONTEXT IS ABOUT SAINTS NOT THE SINNERS OF THE WORLD AT LARGE. BOTH ARE TO DO WITH THE SAINTS. CAN CHRIST BE AN ADVOCATE FOR THOSE NOT CALLED, BUT IN SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS? YES INDEED IF HE SO DECIDES. VARIOUS MERCIES AND BLESSINGS CAN BE GIVEN TO ANYONE; AS JESUS SAID GOD SENDS THE RAIN ON THE JUST AND THE UNJUST. IF GOD DOES NOT CALL SOMEONE TO SALVATION, THAT IS HIS DOING, IN THEIR LIFE AT THIS TIME [ROMANS 9 - 11] SO CHRIST CAN STILL SHOW THEM KINDNESS ON THEIR BEHALF WITH THE FATHER - Keith Hunt)
TO BE CONTINUED