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Looking Unto Jesus

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    02 CHRIST AS CREATOR

    God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be, - a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity, - appeared the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. This uncreated Word was the Being, who, in the fulness of time, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. His beginning was not like that of any other being in the universe. It is set forth in the mysterious expressions, “his [God’s] only begotten Son” (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9), “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), and, “I proceeded forth and came from God.” John 8:42. Thus it appears that by some divine impulse or process, not creation, known only to Omniscience, and possible only to Omnipotence, the Son of God appeared. And then the Holy Spirit (by an infirmity of translation called .. the Holy Ghost”), the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the divine afflatus and medium of their power, representative of them both (Psalm 139:7), was in existence also.LUJ 10.1

    This Son was in the likeness of the Father, and was equal with the Father. So Paul testified to the brethren at Philippi. Philippians 2:5-8: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: ... and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The word “robbery” here signifies something to be “grasped after,” “held fast to,” or “preferred” to some other thing, placed in comparison therewith. Man had sinned, and must perish unless some means for his redemption could be devised. No one but Christ, the only being save God, above law, and therefore able to meet the demands of the law in behalf of the sinner, could rescue him. But would he do it? This was the question, so momentous to the human race, that troubled in the balance. Christ was there, the associate Majesty of heaven, equal with the Father, and sharing equally in the glory; and he could have “held fast to,” and have “preferred” to remain in, that condition. But in that case, man must perish. Shall he retain his position, and leave man to die? or shall he yield up his station, and go to the help of a rebel world? This was the question which was to manifest to an amazed universe the “mind of Christ.” Rejoice, O earth! He did not think it “robbery,” or something to be “chosen” or “preferred” to hold fast his position of equality with the Father in heaven, to which he was justly ordained, and leave the world to its ruin; but by a boundless impulse of love, he sprang at once to the relief of the perishing. He left his heavenly station, divested himself of all his celestial environment, emptied himself of his glory and honor, made himself of no reputation, assumed the nature of the seed of Abraham, took the form of a servant among men, and obeyed, in man’s behalf, the demands of the law, even to the death of the cross, that whosoever would believe in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.LUJ 10.2

    The apostle, in this passage, is contrasting the original exaltation of the Lord Jesus with the humiliation he was willing to suffer for the sake of man; but one whole side of the contrast is lost, unless Christ was, before he undertook man’s redemption, in such a position of equality with God. That he did hold such a position, therefore, Paul must be understood as plainly affirming. He corroborates the declaration of John, that “the Word was God.”LUJ 11.1

    In this condition of glory, Christ Jesus antedated all things. In Revelation 3:14, he calls himself by a title which the translators have rendered “the beginning of the creation of God,” and which some hold to mean that the work of creation was begun, not by, but with him, thus degrading him to the level of a created being; whereas, the meaning of the word would suggest rather the idea of “headship,” and present him, not as the “beginning,” but as the beginner, of the creation of God; and the demands of harmony with other scriptures hold us imperatively to this construction. No work of creation was accomplished till after Christ became an active agent upon the scene; for all this work was wrought through him. John says: “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” Paul to the Hebrews corroborates the words of John. He says that God hath appointed his Son “heir of all things:” that he is “the express image of his person,” the “brightness of his glory,” and that by him “he made the world.” Hebrews 1:2, 3. But to the Colossians he bears a still more definite testimony. In chapter 1:15-17, he says of Christ: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born 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.”LUJ 12.1

    With the Son, the evolution of deity, as deity, ceased. All else, of things animate or inanimate, has come in by creation of the Father and the Son - the Father the antecedent cause, the Son the acting agent through whom all has been wrought. No ranks of intelligences, it matters not how high, above or below; no orders of cherubim or seraphim; no radiant thrones or extensive dominions, principalities, or powers, but were created by our Lord Jesus Christ. He was before them all, above them all, and the supporter of all; for by him all things consist.” To the Hebrews the same apostle declares that he upholds “all things by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3. And the four and twenty elders in the heavenly world, in their adoration of him who sits upon the throne, exclaimed, “Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11. It is no marvel that Christ, in his last prayer for his disciples should make mention of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, and express a desire that they, too, in his own good time, might have the privilege of beholding it with him. John 17:5, 24.LUJ 13.1

    Thus are we brought to the epoch of the creation of our world. The scriptures already referred to, show us the part Christ bore in this display of almighty power. When, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1), Christ was the creative agent through whom it was accomplished: for “without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3. When the Spirit of God moved, or brooded, upon the face of the waters, it was the Spirit of Christ, with its vivifying power, that hovered over the deep. When God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), and “light was,” it was Christ’s voice that spoke. “That God,” said Luther, “which speaks not out of Christ’s mouth, is not God.” And when God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good, it was Christ’s eyes that swept over the glorious scene. When the “morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,” it was Christ’s work, the glory of which they were chanting in celestial shout and song. Job 38:4-7. When he spoke, and it was done, and commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:6-9), it was Christ who pronounced the omnific word.LUJ 13.2

    Christ the Author of the Sabbath. - The same being who wrought in the creation of this earth, and the arrangement of it for the habitation of man, who had ordained the marriage institution, and had placed the first human pair in possession of their goodly heritage, was the same one who spent the seventh day in holy rest and contemplation, and thus laid the foundation of the Sabbath for the new-fledged world. He then blessed the day and set it apart for holy use. Severing it by a boundary which never should be invaded, from all secular time, he dedicated it forever to the worship of himself, and the memory of his creative work; for, says the record, he “sanctified” it; that is, he put it under the guardianship of a definite statue, formulated to regulate its observance. To “sanctify” means nothing less than this. When Christ declared so emphatically to the people of his time that “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27), he knew whereof he affirmed; for he was the very one who performed the acts that made it, and he knew, better than man can know, its object and intent.LUJ 14.1

    Christ Spoke the Law from Sinai. - As the Sabbath law proclaimed from Sinai was but a reiteration of the “sanctification” of the Sabbath pronounced in Eden; and as Christ was the one who there enshrined it in changeless precept for the human family, it follows thatLUJ 14.2

    PICTURE AND TEXT he must have been the one, also, who proclaimed it, with the other commandments of the moral law, from Sinai; not, indeed, independently of the Father, but in conjunction with him, as in all the other works in which they acted conjointly. That it was the voice of Christ that fell upon the ears of the people from the quaking mount, as the principles of God’s law were announced in such grandeur and power, is plainly stated by the writer of the book of Hebrews. Speaking of “Jesus the mediator of the new covenant,” and referring to the time when the law was proclaimed amid the thunder and flames of Sinai, he says: “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he that promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:26.LUJ 15.1

    That this is spoken of Christ there can be no question. The earth bowed beneath the tread of Deity; and the awful voice that uttered the precepts of the moral law, was a voice which paralyzed with fear the Hebrew hosts. It caused even Moses to fear and quake exceedingly, and shook the whole solid earth. The whole world heard that voice, and trembled at its power, because the whole world lay within the purview of the law there uttered; and as that voice was the voice of Christ, it shows us his relation to that grand royal table of ten commandments; but that does not divorce the Father from the scene. Inseparable from the Father in the creation of all things, inseparable from him in the ordaining of law and the establishing of government through all his glorious realms, he is not to be separated from him in the awe-inspiring scenes of Sinai. Acting for the Father, in whatever in their united counsel they willed to do, so he spoke for the Father, in whatever they had occasion to proclaim. Equal in the authority by which law was enacted, they were equally concerned in its promulgation. Whatever God does, Christ does, because God does it through him; and whatever Christ does, God does, because Christ does it by him. And as in actions, so in words: God’s words are Christ’s words, because God speaks by him; and Christ’s words are God’s words, because Christ receives them from him. Thus Paul says: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” Hebrews 1:1, 2. And Christ himself and previously testified that his works were the works of Him that sent him, and that his words were not his own, but such as he had received of the Father. John 14:10, 24.LUJ 16.1

    This union between the Father and the Son does not detract from either, but strengthens both. Through it, in connection with the Holy Spirit, we have all of Deity. Through it we are enabled to “see Jesus” in all his fulness and glory; for so it pleased God that in him should “all fulness dwell,” even “the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 1:19; 2:9. And “looking unto Jesus,” we thus behold him, when as yet there was Deity alone in all the universe.LUJ 17.1

    As related to all else, animate and inanimate, all shining worlds that people space, all orders of intelligences, above and below, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, visible and invisible, he antedated them all, as in uncreated being, derived from God, he took his place, as “the only begotten Son” “of the Father.” “In the beginning was the Word.” In point of existence he was thus before them all. And then began creation, of which he was the “beginner.” To all below him he was the Creator. And as to him they owe existence, upon him they lean for constant preservation; for he upholds “all things by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3. On the basis of this relationship, it need not be stated that all worlds and dominions, all ranks and orders of beings, are therefore under his authority and subject to his will. Standing thus at the head of the universe, and all things therein, creator, upholder, and ruler of all, what flight of imagination could span the measure of his glory and power?LUJ 17.2

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