Part 2 out of 7
Where both parties are bound to perform certain things, then what do we
call the covenant? ¶ 100.
Why was God's covenant with Abraham a one-sided covenant? ¶ 101.
What is the important statement of the Abrahamic covenant or promise?
Whom will the Abrahamic covenant ultimately affect? ¶ 101.
"IS IT COME?"
Poet and seer that question caught,
Above the din of life's fears and frets;
It marched with letters, it toiled with thought,
Through schools and creeds which the earth forgets.
And statesmen trifle, and priests deceive,
And traders barter our world away;
Yet hearts to that golden promise cleave,
And still, at times, "Is it come?" they say.
The days of the nations bear no trace
Of all the sunshine so far foretold;
The cannon speaks in the teacher's place;
The age is weary with work and gold;
And high hopes wither, and memories wane;
On hearths and altars the fires are dead;
But that brave faith hath not lived in vain;
And this is all that our watcher said.
String 4: _The Birth of Jesus_
It has pleased Jehovah to use men and women to picture or foreshadow
various parts of his plan. For instance, Abraham at times pictures or
represents God; while Sarah his wife was used to picture or typify God's
covenant with Abraham through which he promised to bring forth the seed
for the blessing of all the families of the earth. Sarah was the mother
of Isaac, her only son. Isaac was used to typify or foreshadow Jesus,
the son of God, the Redeemer of the world. Hagar had a son by Abraham,
and Hagar typified or foreshadowed the law covenant, which was made by
Jehovah with Moses as a mediator for the children of Israel at Mount
Sinai. As Hagar was a bondwoman, the servant of Sarah, so was the law
covenant one of bondage that brought forth no real blessings to the
Jews; but it was made for the purpose of teaching the Jews their
inability to lift themselves up to life and to show them the absolute
necessity for a redeemer. After the death of his wife Sarah, Abraham
married Keturah and by her had many children; and Keturah is used as a
type foreshadowing the new covenant that is to be made by Jehovah with
Christ as the Mediator for the world of mankind, through which all will
have an opportunity to gain life everlasting.
The apostle Paul speaks of these figures or pictures relating to
the covenants, as follows: "For it is written, that Abraham had two
sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was
of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was
by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two
covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage,
which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to
Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But
Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it
is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry,
thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than
she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the
children of promise." (Galatians 4:22-28) Isaac pictures the entire
Christ, head and body--Jesus the Head, the church the body members.
It is noted that God's covenant with Abraham stated that there
would be an offspring or seed which would bless all the families of the
earth. This seed is the Redeemer, Christ Jesus, the Savior of the world;
and by adoption into the family of God the true Christians, the church,
the members of Christ's body, become a part of that seed. "And the
scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith,
preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all
nations be blessed. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.
He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed,
which is Christ."--Galatians 3:8,16.
Before the blessing promised could come to the peoples of earth,
the seed which was promised must first come. The Israelites, otherwise
called Jews, therefore expected that one of the natural descendants of
Abraham would become their king and that through that king and his
kingdom all the nations of the earth would be blessed by receiving the
benefits first given to them. For this reason the faithful Jews looked
forward with great expectancy to the birth of the one who was to be
their king. They based their hopes upon the repeated promise made by
Jehovah. Without doubt it was thought by some that Isaac, the son of
Abraham, would be the one through whom the blessing would come. "After
the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the
well Lahai-roi." (Genesis 25:11) When Isaac was about sixty years old
there were born to him and his wife Rebekah two sons, twins, who were
named by them Esau and Jacob.--Genesis 25:26.
Isaac then went to live in the land of the Philistines, and while
there, God said to him: "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee,
and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all
these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham
thy father; and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven,
and will give unto thy seed these countries; and in thy seed shall all
the nations of the earth be blessed". (Genesis 26:3,4) Thus the
Abrahamic promise was renewed to Isaac. Before the death of Isaac, he
pronounced his blessing upon his son Jacob, and Jacob thereby became the
successor of his father to the Abrahamic promise.
Under the rule of descent, the firstborn or eldest son was the heir
of the father's estate and any other rights or privileges that went with
that estate, unless for some cause there should be an exception to the
rule. Esau having been born a few moments before his brother Jacob,
under the operation of this rule would be the successor to the Abrahamic
promise and heir to his father. His birthright, therefore, would include
the promise made to Abraham. But the Lord clearly indicated that there
should be an exception to the rule in this case and that Jacob should
be the heir and not Esau. When it was known that the mother would bear
two sons, and just before the time of their birth, Rebekah the mother
inquired of the Lord concerning the expected children and the Lord said
unto her that two sons would be born to her and that the elder should
serve the younger. (Genesis 25:22,23) This definitely shows that it was
God's purpose that Jacob, who was born last, should be the heir and
successor to the Abrahamic promise.
These two sons grew to manhood's estate. Esau became a great
hunter and loved the outdoor sports; while Jacob was a plain man,
remaining quietly at home. Esau showed that he did not appreciate the
birthright, viz., the Abrahamic promise, even if it were his, which in
fact it was not, since God had foreordained that it should belong to
Jacob. Esau thought more of his own selfish, immediate comfort than
anything that might come to him by reason of this promise. On one
occasion he was in the field hunting. He returned hungry and faint. He
found that Jacob had prepared a pot of lentils. When Esau smelled this
appetizing food he said to Jacob: "Feed me, I pray thee, with that same
red pottage, for I am faint". And Jacob said: "Sell me this day thy
birthright". "And Esau said, Behold I am at the point to die: and what
profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this
day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then
Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink,
and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright."
Genuine, real right and title to the birthright was now Jacob's
for two good and sufficient reasons: (1) because it was so ordered by
the Lord before his birth, as above stated; and (2) because he had
bought it in an open and fair transaction with his brother Esau. These
two brothers were not mere children at this time. They were past forty
years of age (Genesis 26:34), both capable of entering into a contract;
and they made a contract which was binding upon both.
Notwithstanding these two good reasons why Jacob was justly
entitled to the birthright, Esau attempted to deprive him of it. The
birthright carried with it the privilege of the special blessing from
their father. Isaac was old and his eyes were dim, so that he could not
see; and he knew that the day of his death might be near. (Genesis
27:1,2) He directed his son Esau to go into the field and take some
venison and bring it to him that he might eat; and give Esau his
The Bible does not clearly show that Isaac knew God had
foreordained that this birthright should belong to Jacob, nor that he
knew Esau had sold it to Jacob; therefore we can excuse the old father
for thinking it was his duty to bestow his blessing upon his son Esau.
Rebekah the mother, however, knowing of both these reasons why Jacob was
entitled to the birthright, knowing that Esau did not appreciate it, and
knowing of his wrongful intent to deprive his brother Jacob of the
privileges and blessings incident to the birthright, advised Jacob what
to do in order to protect his own rightful and proper interests. The
mother therefore was carrying out God's will in this respect. She was
doing what all honest persons should do--try to protect the rights and
privileges of those that are near and dear to them. She therefore
directed Jacob to slay two kids of the goats and bring them to her and
she prepared some savory meat; and then, in order that the blind father
might not obstinately refuse to aid them in carrying out the divine
purposes, and in order that he might think he was blessing Esau, the
mother Rebekah fastened upon the arms of her son Jacob the skins of the
kids and also put the skins about his neck that he would appear as a
hairy man like unto his brother Esau.
Jacob then came in before his father and presented the savory meat.
His father kissed him and laid his hand upon him and gave to Jacob his
blessing. The old father then spoke in prophetic phrase, evidently under
the direction of the Lord, saying unto his son Jacob: "Let people serve
thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let
thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth
thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee".--Genesis 27:29.
Almost immediately Esau returned from the field and found that
Jacob had received his father's blessing and that he (Esau) had been
unsuccessful in carrying out his purpose of defeating the open and fair
transaction which he had made with Jacob when he had sold his
birthright. He hated his brother Jacob and determined to kill him as
soon as his father Isaac was dead.
It seems rather strange that many Christian people have severely
criticized Jacob and his mother Rebekah in this transaction. It has
evidently been due to the fact that they were ignorant of the record. No
part of Jacob's action in connection with the birthright is
reprehensible. Everything with reference to Esau is reprehensible. God
subsequently showed that Esau pictured the peoples of earth who are
Christians in name only, but not in truth and in fact, who are
hypocritical, and who persecute the true Christians; while Jacob
pictured or foreshadowed the true followers of Christ who have been
misrepresented and persecuted by the merely nominal Christians. God
showed his approval of the conduct of Jacob and his mother Rebekah, and
showed that it was his purpose and intention that Jacob should receive
the blessing going with the birthright. Jacob had shown his great desire
for the birthright, which was merely a promise; while Esau had despised
it. Acting upon the advice of his mother, Jacob now fled from the wrath
of Esau; and as he went away, he lay down and slept at a place situated
north of the present site of Jerusalem and which afterward he named
Bethel, which means the house of God. There he had a dream, in which God
signified his approval of Jacob and pronounced a blessing upon him.
"And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night,
because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and
put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he
dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it
reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending
on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God
of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou
liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as
the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to
the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy
seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am
with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will
bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have
done that which I have spoken to thee of."--Genesis 28:11-15.
Whom God approves and blesses all others should approve. We may be
assured, then, that Jacob was blameless before Jehovah in this
transaction. It shows how carefully Jehovah was guarding his promise and
the seed which would spring from it ultimately and through which the
families of the earth should be blessed.
Some years later God showed his further favor to Jacob by changing
his name from Jacob to Israel. The name Israel means, _He will rule as
God_. "And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be
called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his
name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and
multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings
shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave Abraham and
Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give
the land." (Genesis 35:10-12) According to the promise given to Jacob at
this time, a nation should spring forth of him.
Jacob had twelve sons. There were born to him by his wife Leah the
sons Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; and by his wife
Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin. His other sons were Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and
Asher. Jacob's wife Rachel was the most beloved by him, and she was the
mother of his beloved son Joseph. After Jacob had been deprived of
Joseph's presence and fellowship, he devoted his affections to Benjamin,
the other son by his beloved wife Rachel. The Scriptures show that these
two sons typified those who will be born on the spirit plane, Joseph
being a type of the royal family of heaven; while Benjamin typified the
great company or tribulation class born on a spirit plane lower than
those possessing the divine nature.
Jacob spent his last days with his family in Egypt. Just before
his death he called before him his sons, that he might bestow upon them
his last blessings. From this time forward dates the history of the
nation of Israel. While pronouncing the blessing upon his various sons,
he said concerning his son Judah: "Judah is a lion's whelp: from the
prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion,
and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart
from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and
unto him shall the gathering of the people be." (Genesis 49:9,10) This
prophetic promise definitely shows that the mighty one to come through
whom the blessings of the people would flow must spring from the tribe
of Judah, the word Shiloh being one of the titles applied to the great
Prince of Peace, the Deliverer, the Savior of mankind.
After the death of Jacob his offspring were known as the children
of Israel, or Israelites. Joseph when a lad had been sold into Egypt,
had grown to manhood, had become a mighty man and ruler in Egypt under
the king, and was dwelling there in power and glory when his father
Jacob and the other members of his family moved into Egypt to live.
During the lifetime of Joseph the Israelites were well treated. After
his death, however, a new king came to the throne of Egypt, who began to
oppress and persecute the Israelites. God raised up Moses and used him
to deliver the Israelites from the land of Egypt and the oppressive hand
of Egypt's king.
We incidentally remark that here are some other pictures
foreshadowing portions of the divine plan. Egypt under the rule of a
wicked king pictures or represents the world of mankind in darkness
under the rule of the unrighteous one, Satan, who is the god of this
world. The Israelites in Egypt picture the people of God and those who
shall ultimately come into harmony with him; while Moses was a type
foreshadowing the great Messiah, who is to deliver all mankind from the
bondage of sin and death.
Moses was a prophet of God and God spoke through Moses, using him
as a mouthpiece or messenger. After the Lord had delivered the children
of Israel from Egypt by the hand of Moses, he spoke through Moses, who
prophesied unto Israel, saying: "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 shall hearken". (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22) From that
time forward the Israelites watched and waited for the coming of the
great prophet, priest, and king who should be like unto Moses and of
whom Moses was a picture or a type. They knew that such a one must come
from the house of Judah, because God had promised as much. David was a
direct descendant of Judah.--Luke 3:31-34.
From time to time God's prophets gave utterance to words that kept
alive in the minds of the Israelites the hope that God would send them a
mighty one, through whom the promise made to Abraham would be fulfilled.
In time this promise was specifically limited to the house of David, the
Lord causing his prophet to write thus: "The Lord hath sworn in truth
unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I
set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my
testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon
thy throne for evermore."--Psalm 132:11,12.
David himself was a prophet of Jehovah, and the Lord spoke through
him with reference to the heir of the Abrahamic promise who should be
king over Israel. "Then David the king stood upon his feet, and said,
Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to
build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for
the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: but God
said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou
hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. Howbeit the Lord God of
Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel
for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of
Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked
me to make me king over all Israel: and of all my sons (for the Lord
hath given me many sons) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the
throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. And he said unto me,
Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have
chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. Moreover I will
establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments
and my judgments, as at this day,"--1 Chronicles 28:2-7.
Thus far the divine record definitely establishes the fact that
the great heir or king of Israel, the seed through which the blessings
of God would be bestowed, must come through David's line; and that also
it should come through Solomon, provided, of course, the conditions laid
upon Solomon were fulfilled. In any event, it must come through David's
line, and through his son Solomon provided Solomon met the requirements.
We repeat the words for emphasis: "Moreover I will establish his kingdom
for ever, _if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments_,
as at this day". And then David said: "And thou, Solomon, my son, know
thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with
a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all
the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of
thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever".
--1 Chronicles 28:9.
The question is, Did Solomon receive the approval of the Lord? If
so, the great Messiah must come through his line. If not, then he could
not come through Solomon. This question is answered by the Scriptures,
as follows: "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives
turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect
with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.... And the
Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord
God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him
concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept
not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon,
Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and
my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom
from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days
I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of
the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but
will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for
Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen,"--1 Kings 11:4,9-13.
After Solomon's death the nation of Israel was divided. The last
three kings of Solomon's line to rule over Israel were Jehoiakim,
Jehoiachin (also called Coniah) and Zedekiah. Zedekiah became a wicked
ruler and of him it is recorded: "And thou, profane and wicked prince of
Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith
the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not
be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will
overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until he come
whose right it is; and I will give it [to] him." (Ezekiel 21:25-27) This
shows a complete overthrowing of the line of Solomon and definitely
settles the proposition that Messiah could not be counted through the
line of Solomon, but must be some other way. Seemingly God's promise to
bring the mighty deliverer through the line of David had failed, because
of Solomon's failure. But not so. David had another son, whom the Lord
used. Solomon's line had been exalted. Now this line must be abased, and
the lower line must be exalted.
The obscure line of David was his son Nathan. Mary the mother of
Jesus was a direct descendant of Nathan of the house of David.
Jeremiah prophesied concerning the coming of Messiah, as follows:
"Behold the day is coming, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David
a righteous branch and a king shall reign and prosper.... In his day
Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is the
name that Jehovah proclaimeth him, Our Righteousness."--Jeremiah 23:5,6,
Mary, the mother-to-be of Jesus, was approached by the angel of the
Lord, who said to her: "Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favor with
God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son
and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called
the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne
of his father David: and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said
Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the
angel answered and said unto her: The holy spirit shall come upon thee,
and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that
holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of
Then Mary, seemingly directed by the power of Jehovah, said: "My
soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; for behold, from
henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty
hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on
them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath showed
strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of
their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted
them of low degree." (Luke 1:46-52) Her words draw the contrast between
the once favored family of Solomon and the humbler family of Nathan,
Solomon's family being abased and Nathan's now exalted. Thus the proof
is brought forth that the Lord did raise up unto David a righteous
The promise made to Abraham, which was subsequently repeated to
others, thoroughly impressed the minds of the devout Israelites with the
thought that at some future time there would be born of a woman of the
Jewish people a holy child, and that in some way to them not understood
this child would be the means of blessing all the families and nations
of the earth. They expected the Jewish nation to become the greatest
nation of earth, and looked for all other nations to flow unto it, be
subservient to it and receive their blessings through it. These
conclusions they based upon the words of the prophets, even though they
did not fully understand the meaning of those prophecies. To them the
prophet Isaiah had said: "And it shall come to pass in the last days,
that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of
the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations
shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let
us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob;
and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out
of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:2,3) And again: "For unto us a child is born, unto
us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and
his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The
everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his
government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David,
and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and
with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of
hosts will perform this."--Isaiah 9:6,7.
The prophet Zechariah said: "And it shall come to pass that every
one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall
even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and
to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not
come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the
King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain."--Zechariah
These prophecies, while relating in a measure to the birth of
Jesus, had only a partial fulfillment at that time. Their far greater
fulfillment is yet future, as we shall see.
The birth of Jesus, the greatest event in the world's history, was
about to be enacted. Two thousand years had passed since God had made
the promise to Abraham of the coming of the mighty One through whom all
the families of the earth should be blessed. During that time Jehovah
was executing his preconceived plan, renewing his promise to keep it
fresh in the minds of the faithful, and shaping the course of those who
should participate in this great transaction. And now, as the day drew
near, the stage was being set.
The place selected was Bethlehem, situated on an elevation south
of Jerusalem. It was once the home of Boaz, whose fields the beautiful
Moabitish woman Ruth had gleaned whom Boaz redeemed and afterward took
as his wife. Here Jehovah had used Boaz as a type of Christ Jesus and
Ruth as a type of the church, his bride, foreshadowing things yet to
Later Bethlehem was the home of Jesse and of David his son. The
name David implies 'beloved one'; and it was here that he was anointed
to be king over Israel, from which time he typified Jesus, the mighty
Son of God. Jehovah had selected this as the birthplace of Jesus; hence
here the birth must take place.--Matthew 2:5,6; Micah 5:2.
Away to the north in Galilee stood the humble and despised city of
Nazareth. It was the home of Joseph the carpenter, a meek, little-known,
yet honest, man. He was espoused to Mary. We should expect that Jehovah
would time everything exactly; and so he did. The scepter had departed
from Judah; the Romans were in control of Palestine, and the time for
the birth of the mighty One was due. Exercising his perfect wisdom and
power, Jehovah was overruling all things to the accomplishment of his
purpose. Augustus Caesar, then the emperor and ruler over all Palestine,
issued a decree that all the people should be taxed. Every one must go
to the city of his nativity, there to be numbered and taxed. Joseph the
carpenter, although a resident of Nazareth, was of the house of David,
and hence must go to the city of David to be numbered and taxed.
Naturally his espoused virgin would accompany him to that city. She
likewise was of the house of David through another line--another reason
why she should go there. But above all, the Lord directed them there
because it was a part of his arrangement.
At that time there were no means of easy and rapid transit. It was
a long journey, a tedious and tiresome one. Joseph, with his espoused
seated upon an ass, journeyed through the hills along the Jordan
probably for three days, and late in the evening reached the city of
Bethlehem. The city was crowded; the private homes were full; all the
hotels, inns, and other places were crowded out. Tired, worn, and weary
from their long journey, they were jostled by the crowd in the narrow
streets of the city. Applying to various places for lodging, at each
place they were turned away; until finally they found a location where
they could sleep in a stall with the cattle. And they retired for the
Over the brow of the hill, in the field once owned by Boaz and
gleaned by the beautiful Ruth, the faithful shepherds were watching
their sheep. According to custom, they had four watches during the
night. Some would watch while the others slept.
The earthly stage is now set. But behold that there was no great
earthly splendor or show! In truth the condition of poverty of Joseph
and his espoused, and the like poor condition of the shepherds who were
now shortly to be used of the Lord, was the only fitting way that we
should expect the Lord would have it. All the pomp and glory of earthly
preparation would have been but tawdry tinsel, detracting from the
glorious things that were shortly to follow. Each one of the earthly
players whom Jehovah had assigned to perform a part upon this stage was
humble, meek, and possessed of faith in the promises of God. In heaven
there was a host of angels that should participate in the great drama;
and all the hosts of heaven were witnesses to this unparalleled and
On earth it was night, picturing the fact that the whole world was
lying in darkness and a great light was coming into the earth. The time
had now arrived for the birth of the mighty One, and all the heavenly
hosts were awake to the importance of the hour. Doubtless while others
slept, Mary was pondering in her heart the great events that had taken
place during the few months past; and while she thus meditated there in
the silence of that night, without pain and without suffering there was
born to her Jesus, the Savior of the world. And the shepherds watching
their sheep in the field were attracted by the angel of the Lord, who
came upon them, "and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and
they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for,
behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all
people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
Which is Christ the Lord."--Luke 2:8-11.
When this heavenly messenger had finished his wonderful speech to
the astonished shepherds, then it was, as if waiting a given signal, the
multitudinous heavenly host stood forth and sang the good tidings of
great joy which ultimately shall be to all people. Their song was but
the reflex of what had been announced. There sweet singers told in words
of praise of God's beneficent purpose ultimately to bless all the
families of the earth. It was a song of glory from heaven, and the hills
of Judea echoed the message of peace and good will toward men. And
throughout the gospel age this sweet anthem has filled with joy the
heart of many a sad wanderer; and seemingly again and again these have
heard the song from heaven: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, good will toward men".
The world is now entering its darkest period, and when mankind
reaches the point of extremity, then will be God's opportunity to reveal
to all sad hearts that the birth of Jesus was the greatest event in
history to that time; and that shortly this same great Jesus, now in
glory, will extend the blessings of life, liberty and happiness to the
whole groaning creation.
The place of Jesus' birth was truly according to and in fulfillment
of prophecy, thus showing that God had foreordained and prepared the
conditions for his birth. (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:4-6) Jesus was not born
on December 25, as is generally supposed; but his birth occurred about
the first of October. Midwinter would have been a very inopportune time
for the shepherds to be watching their sheep in the fields and sleeping
in the open. In addition to this circumstantial evidence, all the facts
show that the birth of Jesus was in October, and that December 25, nine
months previous, was probably the date of the annunciation. (Luke 1:30,31)
For a full discussion of this subject see STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES,
Volume 2, page 54.
Much has been said and written concerning the three wise men who
journeyed from the East to pay their homage to the babe Jesus, born in
Bethlehem. Particularly at Christmas time is our attention called to
this by pictures on cards, etc., of the wise men journeying to the West,
supposedly being guided by the star sent by Jehovah. It has been
presumed that Jehovah by the star led these wise men to the place of
Jesus' birth. The Bible proof shows, however, that these three wise men
were not sent by the Lord God, but that they were directed by the great
adversary, the devil, in his attempt to destroy the babe. Whether they
knew it or not, these three wise men were parties to a great conspiracy,
originated and carried out by the master mind, Satan, the devil, in his
attempt to destroy the seed of promise, the great Savior of the world.
When Jehovah drove Adam and Eve from Eden he likewise pronounced a
condemnation upon Satan. He said concerning Satan and the woman: "I will
put enmity between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and
thou shalt bruise his heel". (Genesis 3:15) From that time forward,
Satan the great adversary has attempted to destroy every one whom God
has favored and who he thought might constitute the seed of promise.
Jehovah has given to Satan four separate and distinct names, all of
which have a deep significance. Besides the name _Satan_ he is
designated as the _dragon_, that old _serpent_ and the _devil_. Dragon
means devourer or destroyer; and Satan has at all times been seeking to
destroy or devour Jesus and his true followers, who constitute the seed
of promise. His name Satan indicates adversary; and he has opposed in
every way the development of the new creation, consisting of Jesus and
his bride. His name serpent means deceiver; and he has applied all of
his wily methods to deceive, and as Jesus has declared, he would
deceive, if possible, the very elect, but God will not permit him thus
to do. His title devil means slanderer; and he has constantly carried on
a campaign of slanderous propaganda against the people of God even unto
this day, and has never lost an opportunity to try in his various ways
to destroy them.
When it was announced to Mary by the angel that she should bring
forth a child whose name should be called Jesus and that he would be the
Savior of his people, Satan recognized this promised and unborn babe as
the one who would ultimately bruise his head. The apostle Paul plainly
states to us that God sent Jesus into the world, one of his missions
being ultimately to destroy the devil. (Hebrews 2:14) The enmity of
Satan toward the seed of promise has never abated. Learning of the
promised birth of the child, Satan at once began to lay his plans for
its destruction. He attempted to induce Mary's espoused husband Joseph
to put her away and cause her to be put to death under the terms of the
Mosaic law; but God prevented this by advising Joseph through his
messenger in a dream to fear not, but to take Mary for his wife.
Stars do not move above the canopy of heaven in such a manner as to
lead men. It seems unreasonable that Jehovah would have made a star move
from the East and stand over Bethlehem. Satan and his emissaries, the
demons associated with him, have power to produce lights; and many
instances are cited in history of these lights appearing near the earth.
The "star" or light that guided the wise men was without doubt such a
light and not a star moved by the power of Jehovah.
The wise men residing in the East were sorcerers and magicians.
They were star-gazers. They were followers of the false religion. They
sacrificed to and worshiped the devil. (1 Corinthians 10:20) Pharaoh the
king of Egypt was a type of Satan the devil; and Pharaoh used wise men
like unto these sorcerers and magicians to oppose the Lord and his
messengers in the day that they were in Egyptian bondage. (Exodus 7:11)
These were devotees of astrology and demon worship. Doubtless many of
them were sincere, but they were the dupes of a false religion
inaugurated by Satan. The Biblical record definitely fixes the fact that
Herod, then ruler in Jerusalem, was a wicked man, under the influence of
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod
the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his
star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:1,2) Be it
noted that these wise men went directly to Herod, a representative of
Satan. If the star guiding them was sent by the Lord Jehovah, why would
he guide them to Herod, a representative of Satan, and a mortal enemy of
the babe Jesus? If the sole purpose of the star was to guide these men
to the place of Jesus' birth there was no need for them to go to Herod
at all. The reasonable answer, then, is that Satan had prepared a great
conspiracy with the object of destroying the babe. A conspiracy is a
design to commit a wrongful act in which two or more join in committing
the act or some part of it. Sometimes persons are involved in a
conspiracy and participate without knowing the real purpose of the one
who forms the conspiracy. Such may have been the case with these wise
men; but without doubt Satan had formed and directed it.
When these wise men came into the presence of Herod, he was
troubled, because he feared the new king would interfere with his reign;
and he "gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people [the
seed of Satan and also his representatives--John 8:44] together and
demanded of them where Christ should be born"--in other words he
demanded to know where the babe Jesus could be found. Then Herod, in
furtherance of the conspiracy, privately consulted with these wise men.
We now see Herod manifesting one of the characteristics of Satan, viz.,
deception, in this, that he pretended to desire himself to find the babe
Jesus, that he might go and worship him; whereas all the facts and
circumstances show that his real purpose was that he might find the babe
in order to destroy him. "Then Herod, when he had privily called the
wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And
he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the
young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may
come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed;
and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it
came and stood over where the young child was."
We cannot for a moment believe that the heavenly Father would use a
wicked one like Herod and aid him in carrying out his wicked purpose by
having a star to direct these three wise men to the place of Jesus'
birth, in view of the fact that the king had demanded that they should
return and report to him, and when it was King Herod's purpose to
destroy the babe. The fact is that the devil and his instruments, Herod
and others, would have succeeded in this wicked conspiracy and have
caused the death of the babe Jesus had not God intervened to save the
The wise men reaching Bethlehem found the babe and brought their
presents and worshiped. Without a doubt it was their intention to return
and report to Herod. And the result of such a return would have been the
death of the child. But God here intervened and warned them in a dream.
These wise magicians relied upon dreams. "Being warned of God in a dream
that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own
country another way." Satan again was thwarted in his wicked purpose.
The real intent of Herod in sending these wise men is disclosed by
what subsequently happened. "Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked
of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the
children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two
years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently
inquired of the wise men." (Matthew 2:16) Determined not to be thwarted
in his purpose, Satan and his instrument Herod were willing to destroy
all the babes in and about Bethlehem, with the hope of destroying the
one that was to be the King and Savior of the world. Jehovah saved the
babe Jesus from this slaughter by directing his mother and Joseph to
take the young child and flee into Egypt, which they did.--Matthew 2:13.
We would not be justified, then, in presuming that God was using
these devil worshipers, the "wise men"--"Magians," Magicians--for the
purpose of being his witnesses to the birth of his beloved Son. But on
the contrary, the facts show that it pleased him to reveal this great
truth to the shepherds and to use them as his witnesses.--Luke 2:8-18.
There is nothing whatsoever in the account of this experience of
the wise men to indicate that their mission was in any wise beneficial
to mankind; but the most charitable view we can take of it is that they
were dupes of a deep-laid plot by Satan, the arch conspirator, to
destroy the seed of promise; and that Jehovah let the conspiracy proceed
to the point where it would fully demonstrate the wickedness on the part
of Satan and his instrument, and then demonstrated his great protecting
power. Without a doubt Satan has attempted to deceive and has deceived
multitudes of honest people into believing that these wise men were the
witnesses of the Lord, and hid from their minds the fact that they in
truth and in fact represented Satan.
All the wicked persecution that came upon the Lord Jesus afterward,
and upon his followers to this day, has been because of the influence of
Satan the devil. And yet at all times the Lord has protected his own at
the very critical moment, just as promised: "The angel of the Lord
encampeth round about them that fear [reverence] him, and delivereth
St. Paul says: "As by one man sin entered into the world, and death
by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned".
(Romans 5:12) "There is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalm 14:3)
These Scriptures being true, and since Jesus was born of a woman, was he
not born like other children? And if so, was he not a sinner like others?
Jesus was not a sinner. He was born pure, holy, sinless, without
spot or blemish. He was not begotten and born like other children. While
he was born of the woman Mary, Joseph was not his father. Joseph was
espoused to Mary, Jesus' mother, and before they were married she was
found to be with child. (Matthew 1:18) Mary was a virgin, yet she was
about to give birth and did give birth to the babe Jesus. (Matthew
1:20,23) The holy child that was born of the virgin Mary was and is the
Son of God.--Luke 1:35.
The words translated in our Bibles _Holy Ghost_ should be properly
translated _holy spirit_. The holy spirit is the invisible power, energy
and influence of Jehovah. God is holy; therefore his power, energy, and
influence are holy. Father means life-giver. Jehovah is the Father of
Jesus because he gave life to Jesus; hence Jesus is called the Son of
God. The spirit, energy, or influence of Jehovah operating upon earthly
substance produced earthly creatures. (Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:47)
The same holy power, energy, and influence begat the child Jesus, who
was born of his mother Mary. Therefore the life of Jesus was without sin
or imperfection. The germ of life of him who was born Jesus was
transferred from the spirit plane or nature to the human plane or
Jesus was our Lord's human name. It implied his humiliation and
lowly estate, in comparison with the glory which he had with the Father
before the world was. (John 17:5) He existed long before he became a
human being. His prehuman name was the _Logos_, which is translated in
our common version Bible "the Word". The word _Logos_ is therefore one
of the titles of Jesus and should not be translated at all. It means the
spokesman, active agent, or messenger, of Jehovah. St. John, writing
concerning the Logos, who later became Jesus, says: "In the beginning
[which means the beginning of God's creative activity] was the Logos,
and the Logos was with God [the God, Jehovah], and the Logos was a God
[a mighty one]. The same was in the beginning with God [the God,
Jehovah]. All things were made by him [the Logos]; and without him [the
Logos] was not anything made that was made"--he was the active agent of
Jehovah in making all things,--John 1:1-3.
The beginning here referred to could not mean the beginning of God
the Father, because he is from everlasting to everlasting and never had
a beginning. (Psalm 41:13; 90:2) The _work_ of Jehovah, however, had a
beginning, and his creative work is clearly what is here meant. The
Logos was the first and only direct creation of Jehovah; and thereafter
God's creation was performed through his Logos. This is the thought
expressed by the apostle Paul, who says of Jesus: "He is the image of
the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; 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."--Colossians 1:15-17.
As further evidence of Jesus' prehuman existence, we have his own
words: "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will
of him that sent me". (John 6:38) "I proceeded forth and came from God;
neither came I of myself, but he sent me." (John 8:42) Again: "Before
Abraham was, I am". (John 8:58) Again: "I came forth from the Father,
and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the
Father". (John 16:28) "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own
self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." (John
17:5) Again Jesus said: "I am the beginning of the creation of God".
(Revelation 3:14) Furthermore, the apostle Paul under inspiration
states: "God ... hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom
he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds".
(Hebrews 1:1,2) And again he states: "For ye know the grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became
poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich". (2 Corinthians 8:9) He
was in the form of God before he became a man. "Who, though being in
God's form, yet did not meditate a usurpation to be like God, but
divested himself, taking a bondman's form, having been made in the
likeness of men."--Philippians 2:6,7, _Diaglott_.
Some have earnestly believed that Jesus was God himself. But such a
conclusion is not warranted by the Scriptures. John said: "The Father
loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand". (John 3:35)
Again Jesus said: "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all
judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they
honor the Father. He that honoreth the Son honoreth the Father which
hath sent him.... For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he
given to the Son to have life in himself." (John 5:22, 23, 26) Again
Jesus said: "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two
men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that
sent me beareth witness of me." (John 8: 17, 18) Thus Jesus definitely
fixes the fact that he and the Father are separate and distinct beings.
Again Jesus said: "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than
all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my
Father are one." (John 10:29,30) It may be asked, Does this not prove
that they were one being? Our answer is that it does not; but that it
does show, in connection with the other Scriptures quoted, that Jesus
and the Father, Jehovah, are one in spirit, one in purpose, one in
harmonious action; just as Jesus subsequently prayed to the Father that
the church, his followers, might be made one with him, when he said:
"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe
on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art
in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world
may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I
have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." (John
17:20-22) Thus Jesus definitely shows what is meant by being one with
Again Jesus prayed to the Father, saying: "Father, save me from
this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy
name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified
it, and will glorify it again." (John 12:27,28) Jesus could not have
been praying to himself here, but he was praying to Jehovah God, from
whom he came.
That the Father is greater than the Son, Christ Jesus, he shows
when he says: "I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye
would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is
greater than I."--John 14:28.
Many others have believed that Jesus, while on the earth, was still
a spirit being and that his flesh was merely a covering or house in
which that spirit being resided. Otherwise stated, that he was merely an
incarnated creature and not wholly a man. The incarnation theory is that
a spirit being inhabits for a time the human body, or a human body is
created for the express purpose of that spirit being's occupying it for
a time. The incarnation of Jesus is Scripturally erroneous. Indeed, if
he had been merely an incarnated being, he could never have redeemed
mankind. It is not disputed that he could have appeared as a human
being; and such is attested to in the instances given in Genesis 18:1,2
Some insist that Jesus when on earth was both God and man in
completeness. This theory is wrong, however. We should never formulate a
theory concerning God's plan in direct contradiction to his plain Word.
We should have faith in God and in his Word. Faith means to have a
knowledge of his Word and then to rely upon that Word confidently. The
Bible is the revealed Word of God, given to man for his instruction; and
where plain statements of the Bible are given, we should take them at
their face value. Following this course, we find that the plan of God
everywhere appears harmonious and beautiful.
The adversary takes advantage of an honest desire on the part of
some and leads them into error. Every conscientious and reverential mind
desires to honor God. For fear they might dishonor him, they are easily
led into failure to give proper consideration to plain statements of the
Bible. Some have been induced to believe that should they say that Jesus
when on earth was a man and not God, such would be a dishonor to God.
We should not permit ourselves to be beguiled or misled by sophistry or
theories, but should follow the plain teachings of the Bible and then
reach a conclusion in the light of that revealed Word after a full
The record concerning Jesus' prehuman existence, his being
begotten and his birth, entirely disproves the theory that he was
incarnated. The Scriptures above cited plainly show that he was begotten
in the womb of a woman, Mary, by the holy spirit, the power, energy or
influence of Jehovah; that thereafter he was born in the same general
manner that other children are born of a woman (Luke 2:9-11); that he
grew to manhood's estate and increased in wisdom and stature and in
favor with God and man. (Luke 2:40,52) None of these things would have
been necessary were he merely an incarnated being, a spirit being
inhabiting a body of flesh. He worked at the carpenter's trade until he
was thirty years of age, at which time he began his ministry. At that
time he went to John to be baptized in the Jordan. (Luke 3:21-23)
Immediately following that he spent forty days and nights in the
wilderness, fasting and studying Jehovah's plan. (Luke 4:1-14) If he
were God incarnate, this experience in the wilderness would seem wholly
Jesus was not an angel or spirit being, because we have the
positive statement of the Apostle to the effect that, "We see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels". (Hebrews 2:9) And again:
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also
himself likewise partook of the same". (Hebrews 2:14) Furthermore, he was
at one time rich in heavenly power and glory and became poor for the sake
of mankind by taking upon himself the nature of man. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
He was made in the nature and likeness of man. (Philippians 2:8) The
Apostle, writing under inspiration, speaks of Jesus as the man: "For
since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the
dead.... The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the
Lord from heaven."--1 Corinthians 15:21,47; see also 1 Timothy 2:5,6.
Had Jesus been merely an incarnated being it would not have been
necessary for him to be born as a babe and grow to manhood's estate.
While he was born of a woman, yet he was without sin, because from his
Father, Jehovah; for he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from
sinners" (Hebrews 7:26); "and he was manifested to take away our sins,
and in him is no sin", (1 John 3:5) He was without spot or blemish;
therefore perfect and holy.--1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 9:14.
God says to us: "Come now, and let us reason together, ... though
your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be
red like crimson, they shall be as wool". (Isaiah 1:18) We should reason
upon God's plan as revealed in the Bible, because he thus invites us to
do. When we see the reason why Jesus was made a man, why it was necessary
for him to be a perfect man while on earth, then we are glad and give
praise to God. Had he not become a man, there would have been no hope for
any of the human race to get life through Christ Jesus; and the Apostle
declares that there is no other name given under heaven whereby mankind
can live.--Acts 4:12.
In what peculiar manner has Jehovah used men and women in the Bible?
Give some examples. ¶ 102.
What was typified by Hagar? ¶ 102.
What was the purpose of the law covenant God made with Israel? ¶ 102.
Give the name of Abraham's third wife; and what did she typify? ¶ 102.
Give the apostle Paul's statement as to what the wives of Abraham
typified. ¶ 103.
What did Isaac typify or picture? ¶ 103.
What constitutes the seed of Abraham, according to the promise? ¶ 103.
Quote the words of St. Paul concerning the seed of Abraham. ¶ 103.
What is first necessary relative to the seed before the people can be
blessed? ¶ 104.
What was the expectation of the Jews concerning this seed? ¶ 105.
Give the names of Isaac's two sons; and what was Isaac's age when they
were born? ¶ 105.
After the birth of his sons, where did Isaac go to reside? and while
there, what did God say to him? ¶ 106.
Which of Isaac's sons became successor to the promise? and why? ¶ 106.
What really determined who would be the successor to the father's
estate? ¶ 107.
Did the Lord indicate that there should be any exception to this rule
relative to Jacob and Esau? ¶ 107.
How did the Lord indicate this to Rebekah the mother? ¶ 107.
How did Esau occupy his time generally? ¶ 108.
What different disposition did Jacob possess? ¶ 108.
Did Esau show an appreciation of the birthright, particularly the
Abrahamic promise? ¶ 108.
Relate the circumstances of Esau's selling of his birthright. ¶ 108.
Why did the birthright properly belong to Jacob? ¶ 109.
About what was the age of Jacob and Esau at the time of this
transaction? ¶ 109.
Was their contract binding on both? ¶ 109.
What privileges did the birthright carry with it? ¶ 110.
State the circumstances under which Esau attempted to deprive Jacob of
the birthright after he had sold it to him. ¶ 111.
Was the mother of these men justified in her action in this matter? and
if so, why? ¶ 111.
Relate the conditions under which Jacob obtained the blessing from his
father. ¶ 112.
What blessing, as shown by the Scriptures, did Isaac bestow upon Jacob?
After Esau failed in his attempt to defeat his own contract with Jacob,
what did he do toward obtaining the blessing from his father? ¶ 113.
Why have Christian people severely criticized Jacob and Rebekah because
of this transaction? ¶ 114.
Who was the more reprehensible, Jacob or Esau? and why? ¶ 114.
Whom did Esau picture or typify? ¶ 114.
Whom did Jacob picture or foreshadow? ¶ 114.
Did God approve or disapprove Rebekah's action? ¶ 114.
Why did Jacob flee the country? and upon whose advice? ¶ 114.
At what important Biblical place did Jacob spend the night? and what
occurred there? Give the Scriptural account. ¶¶ 114, 115.
Why should we disapprove any one whom God approves? ¶ 116.
How did God later show his favor to Jacob? ¶ 117.
What is the meaning of the name Israel? ¶ 117.
What promise did God make to Jacob after his name was changed to Israel?
How many sons did Jacob have? ¶ 118.
Give the names of his wives, and the sons by these wives, respectively,
Which one of his wives did he love most? ¶ 118.
Which was Jacob's beloved son? ¶ 118.
Under what circumstances was Joseph taken away? and upon whom did Jacob
bestow his affection thereafter? ¶ 118.
Whom did Joseph typify? and of whom was Benjamin a type? ¶ 118.
Where did Jacob spend his last days? ¶ 119.
What marks the beginning of the nation of Israel? ¶ 119.
In pronouncing the blessings upon his sons, what special prophecy was
made by Jacob concerning Judah? ¶ 119.
Who is foreshadowed by this prophecy? ¶ 119.
After Jacob's death, by what name were his offspring known? ¶ 120.
What position did Joseph now hold in Egypt? ¶ 120.
How were the Israelites treated during Joseph's lifetime? ¶ 120.
How were they after Joseph's death? ¶ 120.
Whom did God raise up as a deliverer of the Israelites from Egypt? ¶ 120.
What did Egypt typify or picture? and what was typified or pictured by
Egypt's ruler Pharaoh? ¶ 121.
Whom did the Israelites in Egypt picture? and of whom was Moses a type?
¶ 121. Who was Moses? ¶ 122.
What prophecy did Moses speak relative to a mighty one to follow him?
After hearing this prophecy, for whom were the Israelites looking? ¶ 122.
From what tribe did David descend? ¶ 122.
Through whom did God repeat the promises to Israel? ¶ 123.
To what particular house or line was the promise finally limited? ¶ 123.
What promise did the Lord make to David relative to the throne of
Israel? Quote the prophecy. ¶ 123.
When David was king, what prophetic utterance did he make concerning the
building of a house unto Jehovah? ¶ 124.
Why did God not permit David to build the temple? ¶ 124.
Which one of David's sons was permitted to build the temple? ¶ 124.
Upon what condition was Solomon's to be the line from which the great
Deliverer would descend? Give the Scriptural proof. ¶ 125.
Did Solomon receive Jehovah's approval? ¶ 126.
Why was the kingdom taken away from Solomon? ¶ 126.
After Solomon's death, what happened to the nation of Israel? ¶ 127.
Name the last three kings of Solomon's line to rule over Israel. ¶ 127.
What did Jehovah pronounce through the Prophet concerning Zedekiah? Give
the Scriptural statement. ¶ 127.
In view of this, was it possible for the Messiah to be counted through
the line of Solomon? ¶ 127.
What other son did David have who was subsequently exalted? ¶ 128.
From whom did Mary the mother of Jesus descend? ¶ 128.
What did the prophet Jeremiah prophesy concerning the coming of Messiah
through David's lineage? ¶ 129.
What message did the angel of the Lord bring to Mary relative to the
Messiah? ¶ 130.
What did Mary say in response to the messenger? ¶ 130.
Why did Mary say: "From henceforth all generations shall call me
blessed"? ¶ 131.
What was meant by her prophetic statement: "He hath put down the mighty
from their seats and exalted them of low degree"? ¶ 131.
Why were the Jews looking for some child to be born who would be a great
ruler? ¶ 132.
Why did they expect their nation to become great? ¶ 132.
What prophetic utterances led the Jews to believe that there should be
raised up amongst them a great king? Quote the prophecies. ¶¶ 132, 133.
Did the prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah relating to the coming king
have a complete fulfillment at the birth of Jesus? ¶ 134.
Of what relative importance was the birth of Jesus? ¶ 135.
How much time elapsed from the original promise made to Abraham until
the birth of Jesus? ¶ 135.
During that time, what was Jehovah doing relative to the promise? ¶ 135.
Where was Jesus born? ¶ 136.
How was Bethlehem foreshadowed by the Prophet? ¶ 136.
Give a brief statement of the important things which occurred in and
about Bethlehem. ¶ 137.
Where was Nazareth situated? ¶ 138.
State the relative importance of the city of Nazareth. ¶ 138.
Who were in control of Palestine at the time of the birth of Jesus? ¶ 138.
What important decree was issued by the ruler of Palestine that led
Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem? ¶ 138.
Why must they go to Bethlehem and not to some other city? ¶ 138.
How did Joseph and Mary journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem? and at what
time did they reach the latter city? ¶ 139.
Where did they find lodging? ¶ 139.
What important field lies near Bethlehem? and who were watching their
flocks there? ¶ 140.
How many watches were kept in a night? ¶ 140.
Was there great earthly splendor and show at the birth of Jesus? and if
not, why not? ¶ 141.
What kind of people had God chosen to participate in the events of that
night? ¶ 141.
Who in heaven were participating in this great event? ¶ 141.
What did the night on the earth picture? ¶ 142.
At what particular place was Jesus born? ¶ 142.
What attracted the attention of the shepherds? and what message was
delivered to them? Repeat the message. ¶ 142.
Repeat all the text of Luke 2:8-11. ¶ 142.
What song did the shepherds hear from the heavenly hosts on this
occasion? ¶ 143.
What effect has this heavenly message had upon the hearts of men for
centuries past? ¶ 143.
Under what conditions will the peoples of earth learn of the importance
of the birth of Jesus? ¶ 144.
What was the date of Jesus' birth? ¶ 145.
Tell what you can concerning the three "wise men" that journeyed from
the East to Bethlehem at the birth of Jesus. ¶ 146.
Who sent the "wise men" to Herod? ¶ 146.
Why should we expect Satan to try to form a conspiracy to destroy the
babe Jesus? ¶ 147.
Explain the significance of the names given Satan; and how do these
apply to his operations against Jesus and his followers? ¶ 148.
When the promise was made to Mary that she should be the mother of
Jesus, how did Satan regard this promise? ¶ 149.
What was one of the purposes of Jesus' coming to earth relative to
Satan? ¶ 149.
What attempt did Satan make to destroy Mary and her babe before the
birth of Jesus? ¶ 149.
What was the "star" or light that guided the "wise men" to Bethlehem?
Who were these "wise men" and whom did they worship? ¶ 151.
Had Pharaoh the king of Egypt employed similar men? and for what
purpose? ¶ 151.
What kind of man was Herod? and under whose influence was he? ¶ 151.
Give the Scriptural account of the "wise men" going to Herod. ¶ 152.
Why would they go to Herod, the enemy of Jesus? ¶ 152.
Define a conspiracy. ¶ 152.
Is it possible for one to be involved in a conspiracy without knowing
the real purpose? ¶ 152.
What did Herod do when the "wise men" approached him? ¶ 153.
What characteristics did Herod manifest in his consultation with the
"wise men"? ¶ 153.
Would we expect God to help a wicked man like Herod carry out his
purpose to destroy God's beloved Son? ¶ 154.
Where did the "wise men" find the babe? ¶ 155.
Why did they not return to Herod? ¶ 155.
How did God thwart Satan's purpose here to destroy the babe? ¶ 155.
What wicked thing did Herod do when he found that the "wise men" had not
returned to him? ¶ 156.
Who prompted Herod to do this wicked act of slaying children? ¶ 156.
How was Jesus saved from this slaughter? and where did his parents take
him? ¶ 156.
Could we presume under these circumstances that God would use the "wise
men" for his witnesses to the birth of Jesus? ¶ 157.
What humble, honest creatures did he use as such witnesses? ¶ 157.
Was there anything in the mission of the "wise men" that is beneficial
to mankind? ¶ 158.
Why would God permit this conspiracy? ¶ 158.
Does Satan deceive honest people? ¶ 158.
Who has been responsible for all the persecution of Jesus and his
followers? ¶ 159.
Who has protected them, and how? ¶ 159.
Why are all the descendants of Adam sinners? Quote the Scripture. ¶ 160.
Jesus being born of a woman, was he a sinner? and if not, why not? ¶ 161.
What is meant by the words "holy ghost"? ¶ 162.
What is the meaning of the word father? ¶ 162.
Why is Jesus called the Son of God? ¶ 162.
Why was our Lord named Jesus? and what does the name imply? ¶ 163.
Did he exist before he became Jesus? and what was his prehuman name?
What is the meaning of the word Logos? and what relation has the Logos
to all of Jehovah's creation? ¶ 163.
Did Jehovah have a beginning? ¶ 164.
What is meant by the term "in the beginning" as used in John 1:1,2? ¶ 164.
Give further Scriptural evidence of the prehuman existence of Jesus.
¶¶ 164, 165.
Are Jesus and Jehovah one and the same being? Give the Scriptural proof.
In what sense are the Father and the Son one? Give Scriptural proof.
When Jesus prayed to the Father, did he pray to himself or to another?
Who is the greater, Jehovah or Jesus? Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 169.
When Jesus was on earth, was he a spirit or a human being? ¶ 170.
What is meant by the incarnation theory? ¶ 170.
Do the Scriptures warrant the conclusion that Jesus was an incarnated
being? If not, why not? ¶ 170.
When Jesus was on earth, was he both God and man? If not, why not? ¶ 171.
By what must we determine these questions? ¶ 171.
What is the meaning of faith? ¶ 171.
How does Satan sometimes lead persons of honest heart into error? ¶ 172.
Should we follow sophistry or the Bible in reaching a conclusion on
these questions? ¶ 172.
Briefly review the argument of the begetting and birth of Jesus which
disproves that he was an incarnated being. ¶ 173.
If Jesus was God incarnate, why should he have had the experience in the
wilderness? ¶ 173.
Angels are spirit beings. What Scriptural proof have we that Jesus was
not an angel? Cite the Scriptural proof. ¶ 174.
Give further Scriptures to show that he _was_ a man, made in the
likeness of men, and that he _is_ the Lord from heaven. ¶ 174.
Had Jesus been an incarnate being, would it have been necessary for him
to be born as a child? ¶ 175.
Why should we reason upon God's plan? ¶ 176.
Could there have been any hope for the redemption of the human race except
by Jesus becoming a man and by his death providing the ransom-price? ¶ 176.
THE ANGELS' SONG
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace to the earth, good-will to men
From heaven's all-gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
* * * * *
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And men, at war with men, hear not
The love-song which they bring:
Oh! hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!
And ye, beneath life's crushing load
Whose forms are bending low;
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,--
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh! rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing.
For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When Peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
String 5: _The Ransom_
The great ransom sacrifice is the most vital to man of the strings upon
the harp of God, because without it no real lasting joy could be had by
mankind. In due time its benefits shall result to the entire human race;
and all who appreciate it will sing aloud and rejoice with exceeding
joy. They will have melody in their hearts and upon their lips because
of this wonderful provision made by Jehovah for man's benefit. For
thousands of years divine wisdom has been working out his plan concerning
man; and the ransom sacrifice is the very pivotal part of that plan. Its
importance cannot be overstated. It is the gateway that leads to life
and happiness. It is the means of bringing back man into harmony with
God. To appreciate this great doctrine we must understand it. Therefore
let us reason together in the light of the divine Word, that we may
The most precious thing possessed by any creature is life, because
without life everything else would be useless and could not be enjoyed.
Even now we observe that a man with but a small spark of life clings to
that with desperation. It is only when a creature is perfect and
enjoying complete life and the right to it that he can properly glorify
Jehovah, his great Creator. God's great arrangement must ultimately
bring glory to his name.
Jehovah created Adam the first man in his own image and likeness.
He created him perfect; for all the works of Jehovah are perfect.
(Deuteronomy 32:4) He gave to man life and the right to life. Life means
any conscious existence. Right to life means the full authority to
maintain existence. Adam and Eve in Eden were perfect in their bodies,
without pain, without sorrow; and were beautiful creatures. They had not
a scar nor a mark upon them anywhere. They enjoyed life and all the
blessings incident to that life. Their home was perfect; and even all
the animals and birds of Eden were subject to them, and they had
absolute dominion and control. God gave them all these privileges to
enjoy eternally, upon one expressed condition, namely, that they be
obedient to his law and thereby honor him. He informed man that a
violation of this law would bring upon him loss of life, loss of the
right to life, loss of all the blessings incident to it.
Satan induced mother Eve to believe that God was keeping back
something from them and, therefore deceiving Eve, induced her to violate
the law. There was no real wrong in the fruit which Eve ate. The wrong
was in disobeying the Lord. When Adam found that she had violated God's
law, knowing that she must die he preferred to be with her in death
rather than to be separated from her; so he became a party to the
transgression also by voluntarily and willingly violating the law of
God. Jehovah in the exercise of his perfect justice, sentenced man to
death. This sentence deprived Adam and Eve of the right to life. They
were driven out of Eden and in due time they lost life itself. For 930
years they were compelled to go about in the earth and earn their bread
by digging in the soil and partaking of such food as they produced,
which was imperfect and poisonous. In this manner they were put to
This sentence of death passed upon Adam had an indirect effect
upon his offspring. Before he was driven from Eden he and Eve had not
exercised the authority given to them by Jehovah to beget and bring
forth children on the earth. This they did exercise after being driven
from Eden. Being now under the sentence of death and undergoing that
death penalty, it was impossible for their children, born under such
conditions, to come into existence perfect. It would follow, then, that
when the children were born, while they would have a measure of life and
the rights incident to that measure of life (and these we call "life
rights" as distinguished from right to live), they would have no right
to life, because Adam having no right to life could not bring children
into the world who would have greater right than he had.
Any human being that is living possesses the right to food, air,
light and certain privileges in society; and these are called life
rights; that is to say, they are incident to animation, privileges
belonging to creatures that live in any measure. The right to live,
then, means a just right of existence which cannot be properly taken
Because the parents possessed no right to life, every child born
into the world from then until now has been born imperfect, unrighteous,
a sinner, disapproved in God's sight, under condemnation, and therefore
with no right to life. The life that any of us has lived has been merely
by permission; and all who have died have died justly; for nothing but a
perfect creature is entitled to life. For this reason the Prophet wrote:
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me".
(Psalm 51:5) St. Paul writing under inspiration, expressed the same thing,
saying: "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned".--Romans 5:12.
All the human race, then, from Adam until now having been born
imperfect, it follows that if any ever get full life and the right to
life he must get it through the loving Jehovah God. Unless God had made
some provision for the redemption of man from death and the lifting up
of him again to the condition of life, the time would come when there
would be no people on the earth. We remember that Adam lived 930 years;
and now a man scarcely lives to be half a century old. The race has been
degenerating for centuries, growing weaker and weaker, and ultimately
all would come to that condition in which they would be unable to
transmit even the spark of life, and the earth would be depopulated.
Hence we see our utter dependence upon God; and if we find the great
Jehovah has made a provision for us to live, that ought to fill our
hearts with gratitude; and as we further examine his great plan it
should fill our hearts with boundless love for him. And surely that
provision would bring joy to the heart and enable one to see that such
provision constitutes one of the strings upon the great harp of God.
At the time that Jehovah entered the judgment or sentence against
man he vaguely hinted at a time coming when man should be released from
that judgment. Satan, one of whose names is the old serpent, was the
first inducing cause of sin. And God at that time said to him: "I will
put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her
seed; it shall bruise thy head". (Genesis 3:15) This foreshadowed the
fact that ultimately Satan should be destroyed and that the same would
result as a blessing to man.
But we must remember that the judgment of God entered against man
must stand forever. It could not be reversed or set aside or annulled,
for the reason that Jehovah cannot deny himself. Nor could any of his
creatures have faith in him if he changed his mind. While it is true
that this judgment must stand forever, it is equally true that God could
make a consistent provision for having the terms of the judgment met by
another, equal to Adam; and this is exactly what we find the Scriptures
to disclose that he did.
Jehovah desired that man should understand the necessity and
reason for providing redemption, that when man does understand it he
will rejoice in the loving-kindness manifested by God toward him. For
this reason God caused certain pictures or types to be made by his
On the night that Jehovah led the children of Israel out of the
land of Egypt he caused a lamb to be slain and its blood sprinkled upon
the doorposts of the house and the people to eat that lamb, and arranged
that at midnight the death angel would pass through and smite the
firstborn of every house where the blood did not appear upon the
doorposts. The firstborn here pictured the church, about which we shall
see later, and which first must be saved before the blessing can come to
the world in general. The lamb pictured the one who should be the
ransomer or redeemer of mankind. The blood pictured the life poured out
to provide a redemptive price.--Exodus 12:3-17.
When Jesus appeared at the age of thirty years, John the Baptist
pointing to him said: "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin
of the world". (John 1:29) And we read in the Bible concerning Jesus,
that he is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world".
(Revelation 13:8) These Scriptures and others show that the sacrifice of
the lamb foreshadowed the sacrifice of the great One who should become
the redeemer of mankind and take away the sin of the world.
A few days after this passover in Egypt, the Israelites were all
delivered when God commanded Moses to smite the waters of the Red Sea
and they passed over on dry land; and when the Egyptians attempted to
follow they were swallowed up in the sea and drowned. The deliverance of
Israel here pictured the deliverance from the great enemy, Satan and
death, of all the human race that will ultimately be obedient to God's
After the children of Israel were on the other side of the Red
Sea, they marched on in the desert; and when they came to Mount Sinai
God made with them a covenant, which is known in the Bible as the law
covenant. In connection with this covenant animals were sacrificed. This
covenant was instituted at the hands of Moses as a mediator. Moses here
was a type of Christ Jesus, who in due time will make a covenant on
behalf of all mankind for their deliverance.
In connection with the law given to the Israelites at this time,
God instructed Moses to erect in the wilderness a tabernacle, which was
to be used by the Israelites in connection with their ceremonies of
sacrifice. One day of each year was known as the atonement day, and what
was done on that day particularly foreshadowed the great sin-offering to
be made on behalf of mankind.
The tabernacle was constructed of two parts. It was 45 feet long,
15 feet wide, and 15 feet high, built of boards and then covered over
with a tent of three thicknesses of material. The first division of the
tabernacle was called the Holy. It was 15 feet wide and 30 feet long.
The second or rear apartment was known as the Most Holy, it being 15
feet long, 15 feet wide, and 15 feet high--an exact cube. The tabernacle
was situated inside of a court or yard, which court was 75 feet wide
and 150 feet in length. The fence enclosing this court was made of linen
curtains, suspended from hooks which were fastened on wooden posts, the
posts being set in copper sockets at the base.
On the atonement day the high priest took a bullock, which must be
without spot or blemish. Inside of the court he killed the bullock, took
its blood in a vessel went from the court into the Holy and from there
into the Most Holy, and sprinkled the blood upon the mercy seat which
was in the Most Holy. Then he went back and slew a male goat, which
likewise must be without defect, and did the same thing with its blood.
This was known as the atonement sacrifice. (See Leviticus 16:1-34) It
was an offering for sin, made for the people of Israel, but in fact
foreshadowing the great sin-offering that is to take away the sin of the
St. Paul plainly tells us that the things here done foreshadowed
better things to come. (Hebrews 10:1) God required in the law that the
Jews should keep this day of atonement and offer these sacrifices
through the high priest once each year. We remember that God had
promised to Abraham: "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be
blessed". So St. Paul says that the law "was added because of
transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made;
and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator"; and that the
law was a schoolmaster to bring the people unto Christ. (Galatians
3:19,24) In other words, Jehovah was teaching the children of Israel
concerning the great sin-offering that must be made on behalf of mankind
and he was using them to make living pictures; and the record of the
events concerning them has enabled all students of the Bible since to
see how Jehovah foreshadowed the redemption and deliverance of mankind
from the bondage of sin and death. To foreshadow means to foretell
something coming; and this shows how important the great ransom is to
mankind, that God would take so much time and go into so much detail to
teach the people by these pictures. Hence this should encourage us to
study the subject earnestly that we might see, understand, and
Adam was sentenced to death, and when he actually went into death
after 930 years, justice was satisfied. The law demanded the life of a
perfect human being. It had received it when Adam died. Between the time
of Adam's sentence and the time of his death he begat many children that
were born into the earth. These being born imperfect had no right to
life; hence the living of the children was only by permission of
Jehovah, and every one who died, died because of imperfection resulting
from the sin of father Adam.
The Scriptures clearly show that God planned long in advance for
the redemption and deliverance of the human race. Hence his wisdom led
him to embrace in the effects of this death sentence all of the human
family, all of the offspring of Adam, so that in due time he might
redeem them all through the sacrifice of one. (Galatians 3:22) The
sentence against Adam and the resulting effects upon all of his
offspring must stand. An earthly court may reverse its judgment because
imperfect, but God cannot reverse his, because it is perfect; and he
cannot deny himself. He could make provision, however, for another man
exactly equivalent to Adam to go into death voluntarily; and by thus
dying his life could be given as a corresponding price for Adam and his
offspring, that Adam and his offspring might be released from death and
given a trial for life. The Scriptures definitely show that it was
God's purpose and intention from the beginning to make just such a
provision. He made a specific promise to this effect when he said: "I
will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from
death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy
destruction". (Hosea 13:14) This promise of Jehovah to ransom the human
race must be carried out, because God is unchangeable. Having made the
promise, he will perform it.--Malachi 3:6; James 1:17.
It is very important, then, that we understand the meaning of
ransom; hence we here define it. _Ransom_ means something to loosen
with; that is, a redemptive price. It is the means or price or value
which can be used in loosening or releasing something that is in bondage
or in restraint or imprisoned. Necessarily the ransom price must be
exactly equivalent to, or corresponding with, that which justice
requires of the thing or being that is in bondage or imprisonment. Hence
we say that ransom means an exact corresponding price. A perfect man
sinned and was sentenced to death; hence an exact corresponding price
would be the death of another perfect man and the value of that life
presented in place of the one who first sinned and was held in bondage.
_Sin-offering_ means the presentation and use of the ransom-price.
On the atonement day performed by the Jews in type, the blood of the
bullock represented the poured-out life; and therefore it stood for the
ransom-price or value of the life. The carrying of the blood into the
Most Holy and sprinkling it there pictured the sin-offering, that is, a
presentation in the Most Holy (which represented heaven itself) of the
value or merit of the perfect life. We will see, therefore, as we
examine this question that the ransom-price was provided on earth by the
death of Jesus; that preparation for the sin-offering was begun on earth,
but must be finished in heaven, where the value of the ransom-price is
Other Scriptures show that it was intended by Jehovah that the
great Redeemer should pour out his life in death and that this should
constitute the ransom-price, which should be made an offering for sin.
God foretold this--which is equivalent to a promise--through his prophet
when he wrote concerning the great coming Redeemer the following:
"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord
revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and 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. He is
despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we
esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our
sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have
turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the
iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he
opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a
sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was
taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his
generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the
transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with
the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no
violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord
to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul
an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of
the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall
my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall
divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul
unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the
sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."--Isaiah 53.
Because of this death sentence standing against Adam, he was and
is held in restraint or imprisonment of death. He and his offspring who
have died are in the great prison-house of death, and the grave is thus
spoken of by the Prophet--Isaiah 42:6,7; 49:9
The dead could never again live, nor could those who are living
ever hope to have eternal happiness unless the disability resting upon
mankind because of sin be first removed; and the Scripture is quite
clear, as above noticed, that this can be removed only by means of the
great ransom sacrifice. Since ransom means an exact corresponding price,
the ransomer must be exactly like the perfect Adam in Eden.
A perfect man had sinned and lost everything; therefore none but a
perfect man could provide a price sufficient to buy and release Adam and
his race from this sentence of death and its effects. Divine justice
demanded the life of a perfect human being and this was received when
Adam went into death. It followed that divine justice would accept
nothing more or less, as a price for releasing Adam and his offspring,
than a perfect human life. In order to meet these divine requirements,
the ransomer must be a perfect human being.
When God gave the law to Israel at Mount Sinai he indicated by the
promise of that law that the only means by which the human race could be
redeemed or ransomed would be by the giving of a perfect human life in
the place of Adam's perfect human life, which he had forfeited by his
disobedience. We remember that St. Paul said that this law was a shadow
of better things to come. That law required an eye for an eye, a tooth
for a tooth, a foot for a foot, a life for a life; that is to say, a
price exactly corresponding to that which had been lost. As an
illustration: Under the law if one man knocked out another's tooth, he
must lose one of his own teeth. If he struck out a man's eye, he must
give up his own eye. If he took the life of his fellow creature, he must
give up his own life. Thus the law pictured that the great ransomer
would correspond exactly with the perfect man Adam when Adam was in
Eden.--Exodus 21:23-25; Leviticus 24:17-21; Deuteronomy 19:21.
But who in all the world was able to bear this burden or meet the
requirements of the divine law? Adam could not redeem himself. All of
his offspring were imperfect and God could not accept an imperfect human
being as a ransom. Was there nobody, then, on earth who could redeem the
human race from death according to God's promise? The Prophet of the
Lord answers: "None of them [no creature on earth] can by any means
redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him". (Psalm 49:7) For
this reason, then, it seemed hopeless for man ever to expect to be
released from the condition of death.
Furthermore, this judgment and sentence against Adam was entered
in the divine court of heaven and it follows that the ransom-price,
namely, the value of a perfect human life, must not only be provided by
the death of a perfect human being, but the value of that life must be
presented to divine justice in heaven itself; and no human being has
access to heaven.
Hence there were two reasons why it was utterly impossible for any
of Adam's stock or offspring to redeem mankind: (1) Because all were
imperfect and could not provide the price; and (2) if the price were
provided, it could not be presented in heaven by any such.
Thus is presented to the human race a condition of absolute
helplessness. Thus we see that mankind was wholly without power to
release itself from the condition of death, and that there never could
be any hope of any one of the human family enjoying life everlasting in
a state of happiness unless God, in the exercise of his loving-kindness,
should make some provision. He had promised to make such provision. His
great plan provided for such. It is first necessary, however, for us to
see man's absolute extremity in order that we might appreciate God's
opportunity for blessing mankind, and the great debt which the human
race owes to Jehovah and his beloved Son for the provision made.
If a man found himself and his family in a dungeon and a million
dollars were required to release him, and he had not one penny, but a
friend of his appeared and provided the money and released him and his
family, that man would owe a great debt of gratitude to his deliverer.
He would feel much gratitude in his heart. He would surely love his
deliverer and would be anxious to do anything he could for him. Adam and
all of his family are either in the prison-house of death or under the
effects of death; and if we find that the great Jehovah God has made
provision for the release and deliverance of all such from the tomb,
the prison-house of death, with a view to granting them everlasting
life, liberty, and happiness, then such fact should bring joy to the
heart of every one who learns of it.
THE GREAT RANSOMER
The apostle Paul, having in mind these things, wrote: "We were
children in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the
fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made
under the law". (Galatians 4:3,4) How did God send his Son? Since a
perfect man had sinned and the life of a perfect man must be given as a
sin-offering, it is now important to see if the Son of God whom he sent
was qualified to meet the requirements of the law and be the ransomer or
It is easy to be seen that Jesus when on earth could not have been
merely an incarnated spirit being, because that would constitute a
fraud, and God would not sanction anything wrong. He must be a man,
perfect in every respect, equal and corresponding to the perfect Adam
while in Eden. It is also easy to be seen that Jesus could not be part
God and part man, because that would be more than the law required;
hence divine justice could not accept such as a ransom. The divine law
definitely shows that the ransomer must be exactly corresponding to
Adam, a perfect human being. How, then, did God send his Son? And when
he sent him, was he part man and part God?
The Scriptures answer, as we have heretofore seen, that prior to
his coming to earth he was the Logos, a spirit being; that his life was
transferred to the human plane and he was born a human being. He was rich
and for our sakes became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9); that is to say, he was
rich in heavenly glory and power possessed by him as the great active
agent of Jehovah in the creation of all things, and he became poor by
becoming a man. It was absolutely necessary for him to be a perfect man;
hence he must be born holy, harmless, separate from sinners and without
sin; and he met this requirement. (Hebrews 7:26) Furthermore, he met the
requirements because he was made flesh and dwelt amongst men. (John 1:14)
He partook of flesh and blood, became a human being for the very purpose
of destroying him that has the power of death, that is the devil; and to
deliver mankind. (Hebrews 2:14,15) He took upon himself the form of a
servant or bondsman and was made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:7)
He was the only perfect man that has ever lived on earth, except Adam. He
was not part human and part spirit being, because "he was made a little
lower than the angels for the suffering of death". Angels are spirit
beings, and thus creatures that are lower than angels are human beings.
He was human. Had he been part God and part man he would have been higher
than the angels instead of lower, for the reason that angels are the
lowest order of spirit beings.
Being a perfect man, he had the power to produce a perfect race of
people and with these populate the earth; therefore in every respect
exactly corresponding to the perfect man Adam in the condition he was in
while in Eden. He was perfect in every respect, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14) When he stood before Pilate, silent as a sheep is dumb
before its shearers, when the mob incited by the Jewish clergy of that
time were demanding his life blood, Pilate, in order that he might shame
the Jews for such action, cried out unto them: "Behold _the_ man". The
emphasis here is on the word _the_. We might paraphrase Pilate's words
thus: 'The man whom you are asking me to put to death is not only the
greatest man among you, but he is the man above all other men on earth'.
The people there had seen a perfect man. None of us have seen a perfect
man. He was the only One who has ever lived on earth qualified to become
the redeemer of mankind. He was sent to earth by Jehovah for that v
qualify as a priest.
We note that Jesus grew from boyhood's estate to manhood's estate
and when he was thirty years of age he presented himself to John at
Jordan to be baptized. At the age of thirty, then, he was perfect in
body, perfect in mind, perfect under the law, in every respect an
absolutely perfect human being; hence qualified to be the ransomer or
redeemer of Adam, the perfect man, and of all Adam's offspring.
Why did God send his beloved Son, this great Man, to earth? When a
great man of the world comes into prominence he expects others to
minister unto him, and they do minister unto him. But Jesus, the
greatest man who has ever lived on earth, and the only perfect One aside
from Adam, came to earth and became the servant of others, that he might
render the greatest good to mankind. True greatness consists in doing
good unto others. True greatness is magnified in Jesus. He was the
truest friend of the human race. He said: "The Son of man came not to be
ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for
many". (Matthew 20:28) And again he said: "Whosoever will be great among
you shall be your minister [servant]; and whosoever will be the
chiefest, shall be servant of all".--Mark 10:43,44.
The perfect man Jesus became the servant of all. The importance of
Jesus and his work is magnified when we consider that he in heaven and
in earth was the dearest treasure to Jehovah's heart. He was God's
dearly beloved Son. He was the most precious thing possessed by the
great Creator, Jehovah. It was the supreme sacrifice on behalf of
Jehovah to use him to redeem the human race. It was God's great love for
fallen humanity that prompted him to do this; hence we read: "God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God
sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world
through him might be saved."--John 3:16,17.
It was this truly good and truly great Man who for three and a
half years went about in the earth and taught and ministered unto the
people and did good unto every one and evil unto none. All the time he
was thus ministering and doing good, the scribes, Pharisees, doctors of
the law and other dupes engaged in misrepresenting and persecuting the
Lord, sought to kill him. Why did they do this? Because they were
instruments of Satan, the devil.--John 8:44.
Jesus, the devil knew, was and is the great Seed of promise which
God had promised to Abraham should be the redeemer and blesser of
mankind. Jesus Christ is the Seed of the woman foreshadowed in God's
statement made to mother Eve and Satan. (Genesis 3:15) Satan sought,
therefore, in every way to destroy him. Jesus was teaching the Jews the
message of God to lead them in the right way, and to open unto them the
way of life. These scribes and Pharisees were opposing him and therefore
were the enemies of the people. Jesus said of them: "The scribes and the
Pharisees sit in Moses' seat" (Matthew 23:2); meaning that they had
assumed the position of leaders of the people. Because of their blinding
the people he said to them: 'You are hypocrites, blind guides, fools;
you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; you devour widows' houses
and for a pretence make long prayers; you compass sea and land to make
one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child
of _gehenna_ than yourselves. You are guilty of fraud and deceit, and
you are like unto whited sepulchres, which are full of dead men's bones
and all uncleanness; you are serpents, a generation of vipers. You do
not understand my speech because you cannot hear and understand my word.
You are of your father the devil.'--Matthew 23:13-33; John 8:43,44.
Jesus knew that he was to be crucified and he told his disciples
of his coming death. The last night he was on earth with them he spent
teaching them great lessons and truths which were not only a blessing to
them, but have been a great blessing to every one from then until now
who has loved the Lord and sought to know and do his will. While he was
thus doing, the enemy was preparing to take his life. The Sanhedrin was
a high tribunal or court composed of seventy-three men, made up of
priests, elders, and doctors of the law, Pharisaical hypocrites, the
seed of the serpent, blinded to God's purposes. That body was the
highest court of Israel and it was the duty of this court to protect the
innocent as well as to punish the guilty. They beheld Jesus doing good
and the people flocking to him.
"Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council [a
court], and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we
let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall
come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named
Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know
nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man
should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And
this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he
prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation.... Then from that day
forth they took counsel together for to put him to death."--John
In other words, this supreme tribunal secretly met, indicted
Jesus, prejudged his case, and agreed to put him to death, only waiting
for an opportunity. They acted as grand jury, prosecutor, and trial
court. They entered into a wicked conspiracy, which was formulated by
Satan, their father, for the destruction of the Son of God. They
conspired with Judas and hired him, for the paltry sum of thirty pieces
of silver, to betray the Lord into their hands. Satan himself entered
into Judas as the latter executed the betrayal. Then they organized a
mob, sent it out after the Master, arrested him, and brought him before
this supreme court for trial at night, which was contrary to their own
laws. "They that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the
high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled," in
furtherance of the wicked conspiracy.--Matthew 26:57.
The meek and defenseless Lamb of God was led into a den of
ravenous wolves, who were thirsting for his blood. They did not dignify
his case by even filing a formal charge against him. They sought,
contrary to the law, to make him testify against himself. They knew
nothing themselves against him; and notwithstanding they sat as the high
and dignified court of the nation of Israel, they resorted to
subornation of perjury. "Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the
council [the entire court], sought false witness against Jesus, to put
him to death; but found none; yea, though many false witnesses came, yet
found they none. At the last came two false witnesses." (Matthew 26:59,60)
This exalted tribunal, in violation of every law and every precedent
known to Jewish jurisprudence, demanded of Jesus that he testify against
himself. "The high priest arose and said unto him, ... I adjure thee by
the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of
God." (Matthew 26:62,63) And when he told the truth, saying, "Ye say
that I am," they said, "What need we any further witness? for we
ourselves have heard of his own mouth". (Luke 22:66-71) They immediately
voted that he should die--also contrary to their law, which required
that each member of the court should consider the case and then vote
individually. Holding the session of court at night to convict him, they
knew they were proceeding contrary to law; so they convened the court
the following morning to ratify the sentence, which was likewise
contrary to law.
They condemned Jesus to death, but knew they had no legal power to
put him to death. Then they led him before the Roman governor, Pilate,