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THE STATEMENT of the Law is very positive—"The man that doeth these things shall live by them." Whoever keeps God's commands will live in them and will receive everlasting life as a reward for keeping them. (Lev. 18:5; Rom. 10:5.) In making the promise of life to the Jews, God did not tell them in what manner He would arrange for its fulfilment. As a matter of fact, although the Jews did not understand the types of the Law Covenant, God had showed how the keeping of that Covenant would give everlasting life; namely, through sacrifice.
In His great Plan of the Ages God had already provided a Redeemer. (Eph. 1:4.) It was therefore in view of this provision of Divine grace that the promise of life through keeping the Law could be made. But in giving the Law Covenant, God did not omit the great Atonement sacrifice, which was the type of the work of Redemption.
That our Lord had some understanding with the Heavenly Father before He was made flesh is self-evident; for His change of nature is represented as a voluntary act on His part. (Phil. 2:8.) He took not upon Himself the nature of angels, but that of the seed of Abraham. (Heb. 2:16.) He had an object in taking upon [R5128 : page 343] Himself the nature of Abraham's descendants. He did so "for the joy that was set before Him." (Heb. 12:2.) This expression implies that He had some knowledge of the nature of the work which He had come to accomplish.
This knowledge which our Lord possessed in His pre-human condition did not include the understanding of all the various types of which He was to be the Antitype, but evidently He knew that this stooping from the heavenly to the earthly nature was a means to an end, which was to be accomplished when He became a man. In order to take this great step, it was necessary for Him to have absolute confidence that the Father would not wish Him to do anything which would be to His injury, but to the contrary, something which would do Him good. So great was His faith in the Father that He wished to do the Father's will at any cost.
The first step toward the achievement of the Father's will was the taking of a nature lower than any on the spirit plane—the human. Then, being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:8.) He did not humble Himself before He became a man, but afterwards. As a boy He inquired of the Doctors of the Law what time would be appropriate for Him to enter upon His ministry. Evidently satisfied by His investigation that there was nothing to be done at that time, He returned to His home with His mother and her husband, and was subject to them until He was thirty years old.—Luke 2:51.
At thirty years of age, Jesus offered Himself at Jordan, where He went for no other purpose than to make His consecration. He knew that He had come into the world to be man's Redeemer; that God's will concerning His work of redemption was written in the types and shadows of the Scriptures, and that this will was altogether outside of the moral part of the Law, for it was not obligatory on one who would keep the Law. He also knew that to do this work of redemption He must present Himself in sacrifice. (Psa. 50:5.) Gladly He offered Himself, saying, "Lo, I come...to do Thy will, O My God."
In the Atonement Day offering, our Lord's consecration is pictured by the High Priest when he smote the bullock and killed it. Here we have in the type a picture of our Lord, who was represented by both bullock and priest. The new mind, the new will, the New Creature, offered up the flesh. It was not that He offered up Himself as man's Redeemer; He presented Himself a sacrifice—not to mankind, not to Satan, not to the world, but unto God. He was so loyal that He was ready to sacrifice to the Father everything which He possessed; He was permitted to prove His loyalty and faithfulness even unto death.
As a result of His obedience unto death, even the shameful death of the cross, our Lord was raised from the dead and given the very highest nature—the Divine. In due time He will be permitted to offer the merit of His sacrifice as a Ransom-price for the sins of the whole world, and thus He will become the world's Redeemer.
This word Redeemer is quite broad. It signifies one who obtains control of something and brings it back to a former condition in a legal and satisfactory manner. Our Lord began to do this work. He has accomplished the first part, which in due time will become a satisfactory price for the sins of the world. He has already been highly exalted and thus qualified for the great office of Mediator between God and men. He is waiting merely until the members of His Body be joined to Him and made participators of His glory, and then the work of Restitution for mankind will begin.
Our Lord will be a thousand years in doing the second part of this work of redeeming. At the close of the thousand years the work will have been finished. Now He is the Redeemer, the Restorer, not because He has done the work, but because He has the power and authority to do it. At the close of the thousand years He will be the One who will have accomplished this work of Restitution, and the name Redeemer will be His forever, even though the work of redeeming will be in the past.
Nothing in the Scriptures indicates how clearly our Lord understood the terms and conditions upon which He would please the Father after coming into the world. We are, therefore, not to dogmatize on the subject. But it is probable that He did not know all the experiences through which He would pass while in the flesh, and that some of these were afterwards revealed to Him, as we read that when after His baptism He came up out of the water, the heavens—the higher things, the spiritual—were opened to Him. (Matt. 3:16.) Thenceforth He was able to appreciate the deeper features of God's Plan.