Christ Before Coming to the Earth

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From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was the image of God, the outshining of His glory. To manifest this glory, to reveal the light of God’s love, He came to our sin-darkened earth. Therefore it was prophesied of Him, “They shall call His name Immanuel, … God with us.” Matthew 1:23; cf. Isaiah 7:14. – {HLv 11.1}
Jesus was “the Word of God”—God’s thought made audible. Not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. Both redeemed and unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. They will see that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. They will see that the law of life for earth and heaven is the law of self-renouncing love. That love which “seeketh not her own” has its source in the heart of God and is manifested in Jesus, the meek and lowly One. – {HLv 11.2}
In the beginning, Christ laid the foundations of the earth. His hand hung the worlds in space and fashioned the flowers of the field. He filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song. See Psalms 65:6; 95:5. Upon all things He wrote the message of the Father’s love. – {HLv 11.3}
Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Nothing, save the selfish heart of man, lives unto itself. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The ocean receives streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from it fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud. The angels of glory find their joy in giving. They bring light from above, and move upon the human spirit to bring the lost into fellowship with Christ. – {HLv 11.4}
But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. We see that it is the glory of God to give. “I seek not Mine own glory,” said Christ, but the glory of Him that sent Me. John 8:50; 7:18. Christ received from God, but He took to give. Through the Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns in joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. Thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete. – {HLv 12.1}
In Heaven This Law Was Broken!
Sin originated in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven. He sought to draw heavenly beings away from their Creator and win homage to himself. Investing the Creator with his own evil characteristics, he led angels to doubt the word of God and distrust His goodness. Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men, and the night of woe settled down upon the world. – {HLv 12.2}
The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. God desires only the service of love, and love cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to that of Satan. This work only one Being could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. – {HLv 12.3}
The plan for our redemption was not a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of “the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.” Romans 16:25, RV. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. God foresaw sin’s existence and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. – {HLv 12.4}
Lucifer had said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; … I will be like the Most High.” But Christ, “being in the form of God, … emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” Isaiah 14:13, 14; Philippians 2:6, 7, RV. – {HLv 13.1}
A Voluntary Sacrifice
Jesus might have retained the glory of heaven. But He chose to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring life to the perishing. – {HLv 13.2}
Nearly 2000 years ago, a voice was heard in heaven, “A body hast thou prepared Me… . Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.” Hebrews 10:5-7. Christ was about to visit our world, to become incarnate. Had He appeared with the glory that was His before the world was, we could not have endured the light of His presence. That we might behold it and not be destroyed, His glory was shrouded, His divinity veiled with humanity. – {HLv 13.3}
This great purpose had been shadowed forth in types and symbols. The burning bush, in which Christ appeared to Moses, revealed God. The lowly shrub, that seemingly had no attractions, enshrined the Infinite. God shrouded His glory that Moses could look upon it and live. So in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God’s glory was veiled, that finite men might behold it. So Christ was to come “in the likeness of men.” He was the incarnate God, but His glory was veiled that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men. – {HLv 13.4}
Through Israel’s weary wandering in the desert, the symbol of God’s presence, the sanctuary, was with them. See Exodus 25:8. So Christ pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men that He might make us familiar with His divine character and life. “The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.” John 1:14, RV, margin. – {HLv 13.5}
Since Jesus came to dwell with us, every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. In every divine attraction in the Saviour’s life on earth, we see “God with us.” – {HLv 14.1}
Satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares it impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.” Hebrews 2:17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then on this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Hebrews 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power not freely offered us. As man, He met temptation and overcame in the strength given Him from God. He made plain the character of God’s law, and His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God. – {HLv 14.2}
By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold on the throne of God. As Son of man, He gave us an example of obedience; as Son of God, He gives us power to obey. To us He says, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18. “God with us” is the surety of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of power to obey the law of heaven. Christ revealed a character the opposite of that of Satan. “Being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8, RSV. Christ took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. “He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.” Isaiah 53:5. – {HLv 14.3}
Treated As We Deserve
Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. – {HLv 15.1}
It was Satan’s purpose to bring eternal separation between God and man; but in taking our nature, the Saviour bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him, not only to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. – {HLv 15.2}
“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried it to the highest heaven. The “Son of man” shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love. – {HLv 15.3}
The exaltation of the redeemed will be an eternal testimony to God’s mercy. “In the ages to come” He will “show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” in order that “the manifold wisdom of God” might be made known to “the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 2:7; 3:10, RV. – {HLv 15.4}
Through Christ’s work the government of God stands justified. The Omnipotent One is made known as the God of love. Satan’s charges are refuted, and his character unveiled. Sin can never again enter the universe. Through eternal ages all are secure from apostasy. By love’s self-sacrifice, earth and heaven are bound to the Creator in bonds of indissoluble union. – {HLv 16.1}
Where sin abounded, God’s grace much more abounds. The earth, the very field Satan claims as his, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe. Here, where the King of glory lived and suffered and died, here the tabernacle of God shall be with men, “and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3. Through endless ages the redeemed will praise Him for His unspeakable gift—Immanuel, “God with us.”cropped-godcreatedworld.jpeg

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