Friday Morning Manna
November 22, 2019
The Incarnation Gift
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”John 3: 16
What does this very familiar verse actually mean?
The increasing light that a more in-depth study of the mystery of the incarnation, by its inherent nature, naturally zeroes into the word “gave” and then moves outward. In one fell swoop the central problem of sin and its eternal consequences, and the one-and-only, once-and-for all solution for eliminating it, forever, are herein stated and defined, in general terms. It is the gospel remedy. Its reason and central driving force are God’s perfect, just, righteous and unconditional hatred for sin on one side, and on the other, His perfect love–-divine, excelling, exceeding, immeasurable, unconditional and eternal. It urges the elevating thoughts of: what and who was given, to whom, when, where, how, the value, quality, warranty and longevity of this gift–and its expected benefits and results, both for the giver and receiver. So thus:
“He who repents from his sin and accepts the gift of the life of the Son of God, cannot be overcome. Laying hold by faith on the divine nature, he becomes a child of God. He prays, he believes. [So that] When tempted and tried, he claims the power that Christ died to give, and overcomes through His grace. This every sinner needs to understand. He must repent of his sins, he must believe in the power of Christ, and accept that power to save and to keep him from sin and sinning.” RH Jan 28, 1909/SD 349.
“God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son.’ John 3: 16. He gave Him not only to live among men, and die their sacrifice. He gave Him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who was one with God has linked Himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken. Jesus is ‘not ashamed to call them brethren’ (Heb. 2: 11); He is our Sacrifice, our Advocate, our Brother, bearing our human form before the Father’s throne [a form He did not have prior to the incarnation], and through eternal ages one with the race He has redeemed
[an identity He did not have till the incarnation]
—the Son of man. And all this that man might be lifted from the ruin and degradation of sin that he might reflect the love of God and share the joy of holiness.”- Steps to Christ, p.14.
Lest we forget and be distracted, confused and consumed by what is taking place at this momentous junction of American political history in the impeachment hearings, on top of all the other daily “late-breaking news” of rapid-fire developments and constantly record-breaking changes taking place in every level of human society and endeavor, the uber stressful crush, hassle and bustle in the onset of every frenetic holiday seasons—the pagan Halloween, the highly-commercialized Thanksgiving and Christmas occasions and the hedonistic New Year celebrations, excesses actually–all conspiring to overwhelm senses, dull conscience, weaken spiritual discernment and sensibilities with the severe sensory overload.
God’s people need to take a pause and be reminded that as men “run through and fro” on earth, swallowed up in their dizzying temporal pursuits, the silent yet momentous closing work of our Savior in His incarnated nature as High Priest and Judge of all the earth, is likewise taking place in the heavenly sanctuary. It is court week in heaven in the progressive pre-advent or investigative judgment final phase of Christ’s work in behalf of penitent sinners. Recall what the apostle wrote by way of a prophecy currently fulfilling:
“For the time has come for Judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 1 Pet. 4: 17, 18, N.K.J.V. (see also Prov. 11: 31.) From the Great Controversy, pp. 90, 491, we read:
“Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years [beginning 1844] this work has been in progress. Soon—none know how soon—it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Savior’s admonition, ‘Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.’ Mark 13: 33. ‘If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.’ Rev. 3: 3.
“When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all would have been decided for [eternal] life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. Christ in the Revelation looking forward to that time, declares: ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold [at the end of the investigative judgment, ending earth’s probation], I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.’ Rev. 22: 11, 12, K.J.V. [Now note the following]:
Jesus declared: “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of man.” The righteous and the wicked will still be living upon the earth in their mortal state,–men will be planting and building, eating and drinking, all unconscious that the final, irrevocable decision has been pronounced in the sanctuary above. Before the flood, when Noah entered the ark, God shut him in, and shut the ungodly out; but for seven days the people, knowing not that their doom was fixed, continued their careless, pleasure-loving life, and mocked the warnings of impending judgment. ‘So,’ says the Savior, ‘shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ Matt. 24: 39. Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief, will come the decisive hour which marks the fixing of every man’s destiny, the final withdrawal of mercy’s offer to guilty men.
“Watch ye therefore: . . . . lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.’ Mark 13: 35, 36. Perilous is the condition of those who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. [What are these?] While the men of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure-lover is seeking indulgences, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments,– it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth [Ps. 82: 8; John 5: 22, 23; Rom. 14: 10] shall pronounce the sentence, ‘Thou art weighed in the balances [of the sanctuary in heaven] and art found wanting.’ Dan. 5: 27.”- Great Controversy, pp. 490. 491.
NOTE: Back in the early 2000’s, before I started seriously studying the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation alongside the Great Controversy, I used to automatically assume that the above verses and others like them mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament referred to the second advent of Christ. They actually don’t but specially apply to the judgment hour announced in the first angel’s message (Rev. 14: 6, 7)of the investigative judgment currently in progress during this antitypical day of atonement! That’s why there seemed to be no compelling urgency in them since they were supposed to apply to the future instead of now!
If we had been diligently studying the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8: 14, in connection with the sanctuary message, as professed members of the remnant church should, we would have cited and discussed these verses with the gravity, seriousness and urgency that they bear to every living soul today, before we pass on to our deaths. This also explains why the antitypical foolish virgins have, and will continue to “fall asleep” without adequate oil in their lamps during this rapidly-approaching midnight hour of earth’s history! The antitypical midnight cry, called the final loud cry of the fourth angel, will soon join the three angel’s messages.
All who are earnestly seeking to become as fully acquainted as they can with the yet-invisible, soon-coming Christ by diligently studying all that may be known of Him, as revealed in the Bible and “the spirit of prophecy which is the testimony of Jesus”– from creation to His incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension and two-successive-part ministry as our merciful High Priest, Mediator, Intercessor, Advocate and now, righteous Judge of all the earth in the heavenly sanctuary, and are correspondingly striving earnestly by His grace to “overcome even as He overcame” (Rev. 3: 21), will receive the seal of God. God willing, we will cover this awesome subject in later issues.
The Humanity of Christ is Everything to Us
Why is it everything to us, according to gospel plan? Because it is the golden-linked chain that bind us sinners to the sinless humanity of Christ, and through His human-divine nature to God the Father Himself! We will quote once more important passages from the inspired pen that we invoked at the very outset of this series on the incarnation and the humanity of Christ:
“(Exo. 3: 5.)—To redeem man, Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. [Phil. 2: 8]. The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden-linked chain which binds our souls to Christ and through Christ to God [the Father]. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man, and He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. And He was God in the flesh. When we approach the subject of Christ’s divinity clothed with garment of humanity, we may appropriately heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’ We must come to the study of this subject with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart [not with preconceived ideas and opinions]. And the study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field [eventually yielding the “fruits of the Spirit”], and will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth.”- (MS 67, 1898)
The Incarnation is Bound Christ to Humanity to with Unbreakable Ties
From the Desire of Ages, pp. 25, 26 we read:
“In stooping to take upon Himself humanity, Christ revealed a character opposite the character of Satan. But He stepped still lower in the path of humiliation. [Phil. 2: 8 quoted]. As the high priest laid aside His glorious pontifical robes, and officiated in the white linen dress of the common priest, so Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim.
“Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed.’
“By His life and His death, Christ achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. [Here’s how]. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Savior has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. [John 3: 16 quoted]. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Himself to the human race. [God gave divinity to humanity, that is, even to depths of fallen humanity!]. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace [Zech. 6: 13; Heb. 6: 17], God gave His only begotten Son to become one of the human family. [In the incarnation, humanity gained a new member of its family—the second Adam!], forever to retain His human nature. [A nature which He didn’t have prior to the incarnation].
The Incarnation is God’s Pledge that He will Fulfill His Word
“This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. ‘Unto us [unto humanity] a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder [if only all church dignitaries and heads of earthly civil governments took this passage seriously, how different the state of affairs of the world would have been!] God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same to the highest heaven [“third heavens,” 2 Cor. 12: 2]. It is the ‘Son of man’
who shares the throne of the universe [with God the Father]. It is the “son of man’ whose name shall be called, ‘Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ Isa. 9: 6. The I AM is the Daysman [Job 9: 23, “arbitrator,” “mediator,” “judge between,” “umpire”] between God and humanity, laying His hand upon both. He who is ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,’ is not ashamed to call us brethren.’ Heb. 7: 26; 2: 11. In Christ the family of earth [mankind] and the family of heaven [unfallen angels] are bound together. Christ glorified is our Brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.” Desire of Ages, pp. 25, 26. (To be continued next week)