He who shall Be - I am ...
The Bread of Life
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
The crowd shewed their apprehension of this significance of the miracle of the loaves: They said one to another, "This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world;" and they shewed symptoms of giving effect to their impressions by gathering round Christ to proclaim him King, and force him to compliance after the Roman fashion of appointing leaders by acclamation.
Jesus "perceived that they would come and take him by force to make him a king." This was altogether outside the plan, and inconsistent with it. Christ's kingship was not only a matter of futurity, but of pure divinity. It was "not of this world." It was to owe nothing to the suffrages of the people. It was to rest on no human title, and prosper by no human favour.
God would set His king on His holy hill of Zion, when the time should come to make his enemies his footstool; and it would be by acts of world astounding and king-killing power that his throne would be established in righteousness (Psa. cx.).
It was therefore impossible that Jesus could for a moment tolerate the advances of the people. *
15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
He had come for seclusion, and meditation, and prayer in the sadness caused by the hearing of John's execution. He longed for the opportunity.
He therefore urged the disciples to get into the boat that had brought them to the "desert place" where they were; and having seen them off, he turned to the crowd and told them they must depart. He doubtless did this with an authority they could not resist, They began to disperse, and they were soon all gone.
The shades of evening were fast closing on the scene, and he hastened to one of the many mountain solitudes that surround the sea of Galilee, in the darkness, and there, "himself alone," he poured out his soul to God in one of those suspirations which are the highest ecstasies of human experience, but rarely attained. Such were more natural to Christ than to the degenerate sons of Adam. He and the Father were one, and the act of communion was reciprocal, and therefore complete and soul-filling and strengthening as our poor prayers rarely are, and cannot often be -- in mis-shapen and earth-cleaving mortality.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 34
26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
The people who had witnessed and profited by the miracle of the loaves had new ideas stirred in them by the event. They felt a new attachment for a teacher who could not only heal their diseases, but supply the larder without spending money. They deceived themselves as to the nature of their new feelings.
They confounded their hunger for temporalities with zeal for the Messiahship. In their excitement they eagerly watch the indications of where he was next to be found. Concluding from all they saw that he would be at Capernaum, they hastened thither in numbers, and having found him, they made enquiries of him with the eagerness of self-interested partizans.
Jesus was not deceived by their new-born zeal. He knew their motives better than they did themselves. "Ye seek me," he said, "because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled." He added this exhortation, ...*
27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
Whence all men, down to the present day, get this reliable cue, that it is according to the mind of Christ that "making a living" should not be the sole and engrossing business of life, as it is with most men, but the main object of endeavour should be the doing of the will of God, with a view to that perfect and endless life which Christ will confer, attending also to the other as a matter of duty in the confidence that God (who knows what things we have need of before we ask Him) will work with us in the matter, and ensure for us a needful supply of food and raiment while we "seek first the kingdom of God."*
The Seal and the Foreheads Sealed
John says, the angel who had ascended had a seal. It was a remarkable seal, and pertained to "the living Deity," as opposed to all other deities flourishing in those times which had no life in them. Of course, it was a symbolical seal he saw, and represented something capable of making an impression upon the sealed. Seals were anciently, as in modern times, engraved with devices, that when pressed upon a softened surface the device might be transferred thereto, as the mark of the owner of the seal.
The Deity has a device which he has himself engraved upon his own seal, the counterpart or mark of which is transferred to the hearts of those who are impressible, and they become his sealed servants. It is written in Job xxxiii. 16,
"The Deity openeth the ears of men and sealeth their instruction."
From this we may learn that sealing has to do with teaching, and, consequently, as the seal of the Deity is applied to a surface capable of thinking, his seal is that which impresses his ideas, or "thoughts and ways," upon the brains of his creatures.
Now, all the true servants of the Deity are thus "sealed in their foreheads," which, hieroglyphically, are symbolical of their intellects and affections. The Chief of these servants, the Messiah or Christ, was himself to be sealed. This predetermination was revealed by the Spirit to Daniel the prophet, in ch. ix. 24. In that place we are informed that, within the Seventy Weeks, prophetic time,"the Vision and PROPHET" should be sealed, lakhtom khazon wenavi; and, besides this, "the Holy of holies" should be "anointed", limshoakh kodesh kodashim.
Within the period prescribed, Jesus was manifested, and put in his claim to be THE PROPHET; and, from the New Testament, we learn that he was both anointed and sealed. "The Deity," says Peter, "anointed Jesus of Nazareth with holy spirit and power" -- pneumati hagio kai dunamei (Acts x. 38); and, speaking of the Son of Man, Jesus says,
"him hath the Father, the Deity, sealed."
Now, as sealing has to do with instruction, we find Jesus was not only able to do works of power, in "healing all that were oppressed of the devil," but he could speak words of spirit and life which the sealed only can do.
"The words I speak unto you," said he, "are spirit and life." And, again, he said: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." "I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment what I should say and what I should speak." "I am in the Father and the Father in me. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself."
Hence, the discourses of Jesus must be received as the discourses of the Deity or Spirit in him. What he gave utterance to was "the word," or teaching of the Spirit -- the things sealed or impressed upon his brain by the Deity. To be sealed is, therefore, to be taught of the Deity; and, in regard to those who in very deed come to Christ, it is written in the prophets,
"they shall be all taught of the Deity." "Every man, therefore," saith Jesus, "that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."
The Father teaches men by what he causes them to hear , that they may learn it.
"I have told you the truth which I have heard of the Deity."
"I speak to the world those things I have heard of him."
These things spake Jesus. He was sealed by what he heard; and the things spoken to him were the seal of the Deity by which he was impressed.
The seal of the Deity, then, is divine teaching. This may be sealed or impressed upon the brains or "foreheads" of men directly or indirectly. Jesus was sealed directly. He heard in his sensorium what no one heard but himself.
"How knoweth this man letters not having been taught?"
said the Jews.
"He knew what was in man,"
This was inspiration. Select ones alone were sealed thus. "The Revelation of the Mystery" was sealed upon the foreheads of the apostles in the same way.
"I have yet many things to say unto you," said Jesus to the apostles, "but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak from himself, but whatsoever he shall hear he shall speak, and will declare to you the things coming. He shall glorify me."
And, on another occasion, he said to them,
"When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given to you in that very time what ye shall speak: for it is not ye who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father which is speaking by you."
This was divine sealing direct, without the intervention of any human agency. The Father could have sealed or taught all men in this way. There can be no question of his ability so to do; but it did not so please him. It would have saved mankind a great deal of trouble, and might have saved them from much error. It would have been a system of infallible sealing or teaching, which would have left them nothing to think out; so that, for want of use, their brains might have become enervated and imbecile.
Thus, extremes meet. Imbecility from knowing all the truth without mental effort, and imbecility from knowing nothing about it, as in the case of our contemporaries who have sold themselves to the clerical soul-merchants of the world (Apoc. xviii. 13).
But except in the class of cases adduced, the Father requires men to use "their foreheads" upon what he causes to be presented to them for faith. He requires them to listen and to understand what the Spirit saith. He hath created them with ears for the purpose of hearing what he hath to say, that by the hearing they may learn the truth and believe it.
"Faith comes by hearing the word of the Deity,"
says Paul; and it matters not how the hearing gets into our "foreheads" so that the word heard effects a lodgment there.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
To this the crowd, in effect, responded, "Very well, we are willing to believe if you show us cause."*
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
This was a sniff in the direction of the loaves, which was the subject next their hearts. Their next remark shewed it...*
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
He saw they had not taken his point, and that in fact their heart was on temporal supplies, and not enlightened or believing with regard to his mission from God, of which the miracles were the mere attestation.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 34*
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (kosmos).
'...the flesh and the bread were types of something that was afterwards to descend from the heavens, and to become the life-sustaining principle of all that should receive it.
This was as much as to say, that the manna was representative of a life-imparting agent from heaven; even the Logos speaking by Jesus.
"In him," the Logos, "was life," says John; "and the life was the light of men." The Logos, or Spirit of Deity, was the manna, or true bread. It was this Logos who said, I am the Way and the Truth and the Resurrection, and the Life;" I am the Bread of Life," or the Manna; "I came down from heaven;" "this is the bread which descendeth from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die ... if any man eat of this bread he shall live in the Aion: and the bread that I, the Logos, will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the kosmos."
'...The Christ, then, or the Logos become flesh, is the "spiritual meat" represented by the flesh and manna in the wilderness. Hence, the apocalyptic Manna is representative of the last Adam, whom Paul styles "a life-imparting spirit;" and to eat from this manna, is to be the subject of incorruptibility of body and life, which together constitute "immortality," in the thousand years' Aion; which deathlessness is imparted by the Spirit which raised up Jesus from among the dead.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
The Captain of Our Salvation
'...we affirm that our Lord took an unclean nature, and felt the motions of sin within him, although it never broke out in action... Jesus was obedient unto death; therefore, though subject to temptation, in having the motions of sin in his members, he was without sin.
Sin consists in yielding to wrong impulse. Jesus did not yield to these impulses; therefore he was not a sinner..."he took not on him the nature of angels'', but took the same nature of flesh and blood that clothed the children of men'' - Bro JJ Butler
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Aug 1868
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
... there is a great deal more in the "coming" than most people realize. It means much more humility, much more anxiety, much more earnestness, much more ardour
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
When we contemplate the Cherub before his sealing and anointing, we see only the Son of Mary "the Seed of the Woman," in the words of Moses; and Son of God, in the same sense that Adam was. The New Testament writers give us very little information concerning Jesus during thirty years of his sojourn in the covenanted land. All we learn concerning him after his return from Egypt is, that he dwelt in Nazareth, and was subject to Mary and Joseph; and worked at the trade of his mother's husband.
He knew his real paternity was not of Joseph: he never went to school; yet was he wiser than those who assumed to be his teachers, being filled with wisdom, the grace of God being upon him; and was the beloved of all who knew him (Matt. 1:23; Luke 2:40, 46-52; Mark 6:3; John 8: 15; Psalm 119:97-104).
He was clearly in an intellectual and moral condition parallel with Adam's before he transgressed. The "grace of God" was upon Adam, and imparted to him much wisdom and knowledge; but still left him free to obey the impulses of his flesh if he preferred it, rather than the Divine Law.
This was the case also with Jesus, who, in his discourses, always maintained the distinction between what he called "mine own self" and "the Father Himself" who dwelt in him by His effluence. "The Son," said he, "can do nothing of himself"; and this he repeated in the same discourse, saying, "I can of mine own self do nothing."? He refers all the doctrine taught, and all the miracles performed to the Father, whose effluence rested upon and filled him. If this be remembered, it will make the "hard sayings" of his teaching easy to be understood.
Thus, in John 6:38, Jesus? says: "l came down from heaven": "I am the bread that came down from heaven the bread of life; if any man shall eat of this bread, he shall live in the Aion, and the bread that I will give is my flesh." These sayings caused the Jews who heard them to inquire: How can this man have come down from heaven whose father and mother we know? And, how can he give us his flesh to eat?
These inquiries were prompted by their rule of interpretation, which has been the rule of their posterity through all ages to this day. They interpreted the discourses of Jesus by the principles of the flesh. "Ye cannot tell whence I come," said Jesus, "and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh." They only conceived of the flesh born of Mary coming down from heaven, and of their eating that flesh as they would eat meat.
They did not recognize the voice of the Father in the words that came from the mouth of Jesus. If they had, they would have understood that it was the Spirit that had come down, and was to "ascend where he was before"; that the Spirit claimed the Cherub born of Mary as "His flesh," because it was prepared for Him (Psalm 40:6; Heb. 10:5); and that he gave this flesh, which he calls "my flesh," for the life of the world; which flesh Paul says, "through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without fault to God."
Judging according to the principles of flesh-thinking, they did not understand that it was an intellectual eating and drinking of the Spirit-and-life words, or teaching, that came down from heaven concerning the Christ and him crucified. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them," says Jeremiah (Ch. 15:16); but the contemporaries of Jesus had almost as little taste for such eating as ours. When a man marks, reads, and inwardly digests the subject-matter of the Father's doctrine, he eats and drinks it, and is "taught of God," (John 6:45), as all must be who would be saved.
That doctrine sets forth the things of the kingdom of God, and the things concerning Jesus Anointed, among which is the sanctifying of those who believe the promises covenanted, through the offering of the body of Jesus once. They who understand the doctrine of the Father and believe it unto obedience, eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man; for, saith he, "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in him" (John 6:56). This in-dwelling is by faith of the words which are spirit and life, as appears from Paul's exhortation to us, saying: "Let Christ dwell in your hearts by faith" (Eph. 3:17).
When the words or doctrine, of the Eternal Spirit concerning the kingdom and name are the subject matter of our faith, we dwell in Christ and Christ dwells in us. The Jews did not see into this, because they judged after the flesh, which, in this great matter of God and salvation, is altogether ignored as unprofitable. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I speak unto you are spirit and life" (John 6:63); therefore, if these words dwell in us, "Spirit and life" dwell in us, otherwise not.
We must judge then, after the Spirit, for "the deep things of God," which are "the things of the Spirit of God are spiritually discerned."
Phanerosis - The Anointed Cherub
Now, in what sense did Jesus come from heaven? To this, there can be but one answer. It was not "the man Christ Jesus" who came down from heaven, for that man was born in Bethlehem. It was the power embodied in that man that came down from heaven, even the Holy Spirit, who came upon Mary according to the words of the angel, and afterwards descended upon Jesus in visible form at his baptism in the Jordan, and abode upon him.
Remembering that the Holy Spirit is one with the Father, we can see how the birth and baptism of Jesus constituted a manifestation of the Father. The illustration of the jet of flame in relation to the light irradiated from it, will help us here. What the Father does by His Spirit, He does by himself. Thus He dwelt in Jesus, and spoke by him, and worked by him. This enables us to see how, although Jesus is the Son and a separate person, he is God. He is the arm of Yahweh outstretched toward us in love.
The Jews did not recognise this arm in Jesus. Let us be wiser than they. There were two persons; there was the man Jesus. This is what he says: "Is it not written in your law, the testimony of two men is true. I am one that beareth witness, and the Father who sent me" is another.-(Jno. 8:18.) "Of mine own will, I did not come." "Of mine own self, I can do nothing." "The doctrine that I speak I speak not of myself." "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me." Nevertheless, let us not exclude the other aspect, viz., that Jesus and the Father, by the Spirit, were one; that he was the mouth and arm of God in a more vital sense than the prophets.
You see this when you look at the man Christ Jesus, who had only been alive about 33 years, standing over Jerusalem, and saying "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and ye would not."
These were not the words of the man who spoke them, who had never sought to "gather" the nation of Israel, but on the contrary had shrunk from the opportunities afforded him in that direction. (Jno.6:15. Luke 12:14.) They were the words of the God of Israel, who, through many messengers, over a long series of generations, had offered national consolidation and protection on condition of obedience. yet, observe, Jesus did not preface the words, by "thus saith the Lord," because he himself was that Lord in manifestation.
In this we see a difference between him and the prophets. "The Father dwelleth in me," saith Jesus. This could not the prophets say. He also said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;" this could not the prophets say. It is never said of the prophets that they were Immanuel, or that they were the "word made flesh," because they were only the instruments made use of by the Spirit outside themselves, whereas Jesus was our nature taken hold
of by the Spirit as it were, and used as the antitypical mercy-seat, though, as over which, the Spirit communed with men. But there did come a time, when that Spirit that had begot him, by means of which he was one with the Eternal Father, was withdrawn, and when he hung a helpless human being on the cross. This was the Son who 'died for us." The Father did not die, for that is an impossibility; Christ died, and in this was the love of God manifested (Rom. 5:8).
The Christadelphian, May 1870. p143-151 - The Operations of the Deity
This is a subject which has recently attracted much attention on account of the agitation of the view that Christ was a mere man. At first sight, it seemed a misfortune that such a view should be ventilated, but the result has been good. It has stimulated to closer study, and led to more distinct and scriptural views on the subject.
The doctrine is now more distinctly realised that
"God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself;"
that Jesus was "God manifested in the flesh;" "the word made flesh;"
the tabernacle in which the Father dwelt, behind the veil of the flesh, looking upon whom
"we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus anointed;"
facts which explain those enigmatical sayings which stumbled the Jews, and led many of his disciples to walk no more with him, viz., "that he came down from heaven:" that he was from above; that before Abraham he was; that he proceeded forth, and came from God.
The Christadelphian, Sept 1871
Taught of God
...not by direct spirit-afflation, according to the Old Man's theology, but by the direct operation of the heavenly ideas of God upon his brain-flesh.
These ideas are the living spirit, the divine agent in conversion, which, when understood and believed, inscribe upon the tablet of ... intellect and affections
"the Law of the Spirit of the life in the Anointed Jesus,"
which "Spirit," as he himself hath said, "it is that makes alive," and
"the words which I discourse to you is spirit and is life"
That is, spirit is the words, and life is the words discoursed. The spirit or power of the words is in the ideas they represent; and those ideas generate intellectual and moral, that is, spiritual life; which life having been fully developed in a character approved of Him from whom the ideas originate, is permanently manifested in
"the crown of life,"
the reward of righteousness, which is received by the resurrected and transformed made incorruptible and immortal, or deathless, by
"the Lord the Spirit."
Here, then, is a New Man created by the Spirit, who is the rival and deadly enemy of the Old Man, generated of blood, of the will of the flesh, and of the will of man. The germ of the New Man is the ideas of God. These ideas are aggregated in what Peter terms
"the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
Phanerosis - The purpose of divine revelation
The people of God are ever anxious to LEARN. They have no time for or patience with foolishness. They do not want to be amused, or excited, or entertained -- they want to be TAUGHT. They are ever eager to learn more about God and His Word -- what He has said, and what He has done -- the marvelous and beautiful kaleidoscope of divine and human events from Adam in Eden to John in Patmos.
They never have time hanging on their hands. They never have "nothing to do" -- the pitiful bane of empty, infantile minds. All the spare time in their busy, active lives is given to study and meditation on the wonders of the Word. They begrudge time spent -- even necessarily -- on present, passing things: though, in love and faith, and stumbling, slow-learning patience, they realize that these things too, if necessary, can equally be a service to, and communion with, their loving Father
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Since Jesus then is pre-eminently the Just One, those whom He delivers from the power of sin and death are His immortal Sons. These immortal " Sons of the Just One " may also be appropriately styled Sons of Zadok if it can be shown that they are to exercise functions like unto those described in Ezekiel. First, respecting the Head of this community we are told that :—
There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1st Tim. 11. 5.)
Secondly, just as the term "The Throne of David" comprehends in its scope more than a single ruler when that throne is established in its fulness, so also the statement,
" He shall be a priest upon His throne " (Zech. vi. 13)
involves more than one individual in the mediatorial functions of the age to come. Just as there are to be twelve tribal thrones and many other judgment seats in the Royal House of David, so the " priest upon His throne" requires " many ministers" for his service.
While, on the one hand, there cannot be a repetition of the one sacrifice for the salvation of the world (Heb.x. 12), on the other hand, many agents may be employed in the exercise of compassion and mercy for all the inhabitants of the earth. Thus it is written :
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles ; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name and a pure offering : for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of Hosts. (Mal. 1. 11.)
The members of this Regal Priesthood are described as priests unto God thus :
These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple : and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. (Rev. 7. 14, 15.)
Their functions are further described thus :
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof : for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation : And hast made us unto our God kings and priests ; and we shall reign on the earth. (Rev. v. 9, 10.)
In these testimonies the redeemed brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ are said to serve in God's Temple and to be priests unto Him, just as the Sons of Zadok in the prophecy of Ezekiel. These Sons of Zadok hold a similar relation to their Chief as did the sons of Aaron to the High Priest. Zadok, i.e., Jesus, or " the Just One," is the high priest of the order (Heb. iv. 14-15). He is also styled a high priest after the order of Melchisedec (Heb. 7. 16-24.)
The Temple of Ezekiel's prophecy 5.2.3.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
True it is that no man can come to Christ except it is given him of the Father; but let us see where the "giving" begins, and what is the method of "drawing."
The first condition necessary to constitute a believer, is the possession of "good soil" or
"an honest and good heart."-(Matt. 13:23.)
If a man have the brain of an idiot, he cannot be acted on by the truth. If he have the honest and good heart that comes from a good phrenal organization, he may, and this is "given" him, for truly no man makes himself. But there must be more than this before he will "come" to Christ. His "good ground" will bring forth no fruit without seed, and the seed is
"the word of the kingdom."-(Matt. 13:19.)
If he never hear this, he will remain as far from Christ as a Hottentot; but let him hear this, and then the words of Christ apply:
"He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word and understandeth it, which also beareth fruit," &c.
Now, the hearing of the truth is ultimately to be traced to the testimony of God by the prophets and apostles, for
"faith cometh by hearing, and hearing (for if any man speak the truth, it is because he has learnt it) by the word of God."-(Rom. 10:17.)
A man with a good and honest heart, hearing the truth, is drawn by it to come to Christ, and as God speaks in the truth and has fashioned the heart of man, it is God that draws. This is the explanation Jesus himself gives: for he adds,
"Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."-(John 6:45.)
If the drawing were a sort of mesmeric attracting, no fault could be found with those who, not being so acted on, did not come.
The Christadelphian, April 1870
They need not be troubled. No part of the Word can contradict any other part. Some imagine that they must become the subject of an invisible, irresistible, miraculous "drawing" that will impel them independently of their wills and independently of their understanding. This would be to set the Word against experience and against the Word itself.
No man ever comes to Christ as the result of "taking into his head," as we might say, through an occult and divine influence operating there. No man ever yet submitted to the requirements of the gospel without hearing the gospel and learning in a natural way what those requirements are, and if any man will reasonably consider the connection of Christ's words, when he speaks of the Father "drawing" those who come to Him, he must come to the conclusion that this is the process that Jesus had before his mind when he so spoke, for what does he say immediately:
"Every man, therefore, that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me."
How do men hear and learn of the Father? Is it not by the word spoken? Is it not written:
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God?"
And is this not in completest harmony with the whole apostolic work of preaching the gospel as "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth?" Is it not in harmony with Christ's own words
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved?"
It may be asked, Why should Jesus speak of this process of hearing and believing the gospel as a drawing? Brethren and sisters, because it is a drawing. Have we not felt its power? Have we not been drawn to Christ? Have we not been attracted to him? What has done it? Is it not the Word heard, understood, and believed? It is even so.
We must recognise the facts of the case. As rational beings, we are influenced by reason. Men drawn by knowledge are drawn much more thoroughly and permanently than men that are influenced by a feeling of which they can give no account.
Seasons 2. 63
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
He that believeth
Men are prone to be loose, indifferent, careless. They easily think either that "it does not matter what we believe," or that if we are right on one or two points, it is sufficient. Both these positions are positions that will not be taken by such as have attained to a right understanding of the ways of God.
Nothing is more certain in the teaching of the Scriptures than that belief of the truth is the very first condition of acceptance with God. We are all agreed on this, and therefore I need not argue it. It is sufficient at present to say that it is in the highest degree reasonable, and in accordance with our experience of the relations of rational being. How could even men be in friendship and harmony that did not know and believe in one another? How could men be acceptable with God who were ignorant or unbelieving with reference to Himself and His plans and requirements?
But many agree to this who say it is enough that we know a little. Enlightenment will dispel this impression. The truth is made up of a number of things necessary to its completeness, as light is made up of a number of different coloured rays. Consider how inevitable it is that all have their place.
A first element of the truth is the knowledge of God's existence and character; but would anyone maintain that it is enough that we "believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him?" Would they say that it is unnecessary for us to "know Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent?" Surely not. The knowledge of the Father would be insufficient without the knowledge of the Son; for the Son is the way to the Father.
And now consider the knowledge of the Son This is made up of a number of items or details, all of which are necessary in their place. This will quickly appear if we suppose anyone contending that it was sufficient to know that there was, or had been, such a being. Would it not be necessary to know that he died as well as that he lived? Would a belief in the birth and life of Jesus be sufficient without a knowledge of his crucifixion and the divine object of that tragedy? Very little thought is needed to answer this question decisively in the negative.
Very well. We advance. Would a knowledge of his birth and death be sufficient without a knowledge of his resurrection? On this Paul expressly says that if Christ be not raised, our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14), and that we must believe with the heart that God hath raised him from the dead (Rom. 10:9). And thus we may go on through the whole list of the things that constitute
"the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ."
The ascension of Christ, the priesthood of Christ, the coming again of Christ, the judgeship of Christ, the kingship of Christ, and, therefore, the kingdom of Christ, on the basis of the covenant made with David and with Abraham:—all these things are vital constituents of "the whole counsel of God," and will be insisted on by faithful men in the basis of fellowship to be accepted and upheld among believers: and there will be a similar insistence on the part of such, on the rejection of all opinions and dogmas that have the tendency to make any of them void.
Why should there be such objection on the part of many to this enlightened and consistent attitude? It is to be suspected that the root lies in the aversion to another truth which lies most plainly on the face of all Bible teachings, but which is most uncongenial to the natural and unenlightened mind, and that is that man is naturally in a state of alienation from God, and incapable by any course of conduct he may pursue of working out a hope for himself.
So long as men have a secret sentiment that salvation is an affair of natural quality, such as being kindly, honest, harmless, &c., they naturally rebel against what necessarily seems to them strait-laced views of salvation and duty. They take pleasure in the thought that it does not matter what you believe, and that all that a man need care for is such a degree of moral excellence as will pass creditable muster with his neighbour.
As for questions of "doctrine," they scout them as indeterminable and immaterial, and that they are best held in utter abeyance. Well, such a view of matters would be more convenient and pleasing to all men naturally. If it is a true view, no one could wish to do otherwise than act upon it. But is it a true view? That is the question. The answer of God alone can determine this: and in the Bible alone in our age can we have it. The answer is without uncertainty or reserve.
It is that condemnation hath passed upon all men (Rom. 5:18); that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23); that in his sight no man living can be justified (Psa. 143:2); that in our natural position we have no hope and are without God (Eph. 2:12).
The Christadelphian, Nov 1888
Time in them will be like time now - viz., one day at a time.
The difference will be that time will always go on in a sunshine of existence that will never dim. Nobody would want time to end under such conditions. The endlessness will be no oppression, but rather a constant delight. Such a project is on all hands considered Utopian.
...Has God promised it? If He has, there's an end of it. If God who has made sun, moon, and stars has promised to bring a morning without clouds on the earth, and a day without end, it is not the attitude of reason to say either that the thing promised is too good to be true, or that He will fail in bringing it to pass.
It is only a cloudy state of intellect that doubts and hesitates and maunders in this matter; and can we wonder that such a mood of mind should be offensive to Him who has condescended to utter His voice in kindness upon the earth!
Need we marvel if it is written that "without faith, it is impossible to please God?" But it is ours to obey the exhortation which says to us,
"hold fast your profession... cast not away your confidence which hath great recompense of reward."
For only a very few years shall we behold the vanity that is now under the sun. Death will shortly blot the scene from our view if the Lord's return should not end it before then; and in one moment shall we seem to pass from the present night to the long-promised day.
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
"It is an intellectual eating and drinking of the Spirit and life words, or teaching that came down from heaven, concerning the Christ and him crucified" (Phanerosis, p.43).
This eating of the Spirit and life word, in feeding upon the truth in the present life, is an essential preparation for the receiving of that life-manna, which is now concealed. Which
is being kept laid up within the glorious Ark of the testimony, and which the Lord has promised to give to them that overcome.
The overcoming will be fully manifested at the judgment-seat of the Anointed. Then, eating of the "hidden manna" comes to signify incorruptibility of body. "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear" - He will "fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory" (Phil. 3:21).
Yahweh Elohim Ch 4.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Nobody, perhaps, who admits that Jesus Christ has come, denies that he has come in flesh, but it is a very old disputed point as to what "kind of flesh" he possessed. The great majority of disputants hold that it was not the same sort of flesh as that in which our blood courses from head to foot. And still they allow that it was flesh containing blood, and make no small to do about the shedding of that blood upon the cross.
Paul observes that there are divers kinds of flesh-flesh of beasts, flesh of birds, and flesh of fishes; all flesh is not the same. Nevertheless, there is one particular in which all the various kinds agree, and that is, they are all corruptible; the blood of every one is the life thereof. That is the divine teaching concerning all flesh under the heavens.-(Lev. 17:14.)
The term generally used to point out the nature of Jesus' flesh, is "immaculate." The meaning of this is "spotless, pure, undefiled." If this were the kind of flesh Jesus had, of course it was not corruptible, for all corruptible flesh of man is defiled by sin in its members, working death.
Neither was the blood the life thereof. Now, if the blood of Jesus was not the vitalizing principle, of what use was it to the flesh? Those who contend that Jesus was immaculate, will, perhaps, meet this question with the reply that his blood was immaculate also.
In that case, his flesh and blood would, of course, be sinless. This would be the flesh of angels, who are immortal, and, consequently, cannot die any more. The testimony of Jesus and of Paul goes to show that blood is not present in an undefiled body. In Jesus' conversation with the rich young man, "the kingdom of God" and "eternal life" are used interchangeably.-(Matt. 19:16, 23.) So that to have eternal life is to go into the kingdom of heaven. And Paul, in 1 Cor. 15:50, writes
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;"
in other words, they cannot inherit eternal life. How then can flesh and blood be undefiled?
...If the fleshly mind had misconstrued the word of the Eternal as a "word," it is no wonder that it should not have comprehended the same when it was "made flesh." In its desire for mystery, Jesus was transformed into something as absurd and contradictory as its own reasonings.
There was no difficulty in seeing that the burden of the old book required a faultless man in some sense, but it pleases the flesh to conceive a man faultless altogether, "both in his flesh and in his spirit."
It must have his body perfect as well as his mind.
This surely was not "the same Christ Jesus" of whom Paul speaks, but "another Jesus" evolved from "another spirit."-(2 Cor. ii. 14.)
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Dec 1868
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
All men are sinners, by nature and action (Rom. iii. 23; Eph. ii. 3); and "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. vi. 23). Consequently, men of themselves, are wholly under the dominion of death. But "since by man came death, by man (Christ) came also the resurrection of the dead" (1 Cor. xv. 21). In what way resurrection came by man is to be read only in the life of Christ: "By the obedience of one" (Rom. v. 19). "He was obedient unto death" (Phil. ii. 8). He laid down his life. No man took it from him; it was a matter of the Father's arrangement and requirement (Jno. x. 18).
In the wisdom of God, the ceremonial condemnation of sin in the person of a sinless possessor of the nature under its power, was a necessity in the opening of a way for the pardon and return of sinners to life everlasting. It was a necessary declaration of God's righteousness, that God might be just, while justifying the sinner who might believe in this arrangement of God's mercy (Rom. iii. 25-26). In this condemnation of sin in the flesh, the sinning nature had to be representatively nailed up to death in the eyes of all the world, in one who, without sin himself, was a partaker of the nature that had come under death by its power (Rom. viii. 3; Heb. ii. 14).
Had he been a sinner, he would have been as other sinners, and resurrection could not have come by him: for sin would have held him in death as all others. But Jesus was without sin. Had he possessed any other than the very nature of condemned man, he would not have been a suitable sacrifice for man. And his blood would have been like the blood of the animals shed under the Mosaic system of things, "which could not take away sin" (Heb. x. 4). Hence, the emphasis with which John insists on the importance of receiving the fact that he "came in the flesh" (1 Jno. iv. 3; 2 Jno. 7), and Paul, that "in all things he was made like unto his brethren": and "in all points tempted like them, yet without sin" (Heb. ii. 17; iv. 15)
He was specially prepared for the work. In crucifixion, he gave his flesh for the life of the world, and poured out his blood for their sins -- that is, for those who should believe in him, and have faith in his blood as the Passover sacrified for them. Those who learn of him as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, and who believe in him as the righteousness of God, and come unto God in faith and submission through him, figuratively eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man in thus receiving the truth concerning these things. Unless a man do so, he has no relation to eternal life at all.
This is what Christ says: and no man can get past his word. It is only "those who believe" who are justified (Acts xiii. 39). "Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins" (Acts xiii. 38). "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (Jno. viii. 24). Except we eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, we have no life in us: we have no hope. If we do so eat and drink, we have life; that is, we acquire the right to it, and the hope of it -- not the possession of it.
It is a matter of heirship. Our heirship is a present experience: but actual possession is in the future, as shown in the words Christ uses: "I will raise him up at the last day" (Jno. vi. 54) -- a conclusion involved in the whole scheme of divine truth as to the nature of man and the purpose of God with him.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 35
60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
... there is no room for the contention of those who are fain to think that Christ's case is no standard for us to go by. Christ's case is the standard and the only standard: and those who speak of it as too high, are speaking against the word.
...It is not wonderful, if in our deserted day, there should be a similar resistance to the claims of the Eternal Spirit, speaking in the holy oracles. It will be found at last a terrible thing to fight against God.
The only course of sane men is to receive and follow Christ without the least reservation, regardless of disadvantage to themselves or misconception on the part of others, knowing that it is written,
"Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls unto Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator."
They cannot do more than lose their life for Christ; and thousands have done this before them, concerning whom Christ says, they shall be saved in the day of his power when all merely human hopes and schemes and honours will be wrecked for evermore.
Bro Roberts - The other side of God's character
62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
His ascension to heaven afterwards shews us what he meant. The body that was literally broken was literally taken up into heaven, and this was the crowning proof of the divine nature of his work to all who had eyes to see and ears to hear. He had said he came down from heaven which they met by the question,
"Is he not the son of Joseph?"
If he went back there again, the case would be open to no such question; it would be a final demonstration that he was of God; and this is what happened:
"God manifest in the flesh (crucified), justified (or made right again or raised), by the Spirit; seen of angels, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim. iii. 16). "He was received up and sat on the right hand of God" (Mark xvi. 19).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 35
The sense in which he had come from heaven is indicated in the explanation which he immediately condescends to make to his offended disciples.
"It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing;"
as much as to say
"My reference is to the spirit whose incarnation I am by the descent thereof upon Mary (Luke 1:32; John 1:14), and not to myself as a man born of the seed of David according to the flesh."
After his resurrection, Jesus was changed to a spirit, or "justified in spirit," to use Paul's expression (Tim. 3:16), becoming "the Lord the spirit," (2 Cor. 3:17), a quickening spirit (1 Cor. 15:45.)
Hence, in his ascension, the spirit ascended where he was before the descent at the two stages of conception and baptism, but taking with it, in the ascent, the character and experience of "the Man Christ Jesus" as an high priest touched with the feeling of our infirmities, who learnt obedience by the things which he suffered.—(Heb. 4:15; 5:8.)
The Christadelphian, April 1873
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The Father and the spirit are the same.
... the principle of a man's immortality is not physical or material, but doctrinal -- the truth revealed and believed. Faith such as Abraham had, gives a believer "a right" to eternal life; and in so doing makes him "an heir of life," and "joint heir with Christ of all things."
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
This was referring to what he had said earlier in the conversation, and giving to it an application which, though true and reasonable, was very distasteful to those concerned.
Men like to be appreciated as indispensable -- at least, as useful. Christ's words placed them in a different position from this. They had brandished their unbelief as a sort of threat. They had as much as said, "Do as we expect in the matter of loaves and fishes, and we will believe in you and help you, but take that foolish mystical line on which you seem bent, and we can have nothing to do with you, and the consequences will be bad for you."
Jesus in effect said "Ye understand not, ye believe not, because it is not within your capacity. All whom the Father giveth me as friends and adherents will understand and believe, and will come to me as the result of that understanding. Ye understand and believe not, because it has not been given to you of my Father so to do. Therefore ye cannot come to me. But neither can ye harm or hinder me. If ye oppose me, the loss is all your own."
Such an attitude on the part of Christ was bound to offend, and as a matter of fact, did offend and stumble the great body of his disciples at this early stage of his work: "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
Nazareth Revisited Ch 35
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
That justification unto life and glory in the kingdom of God,
is predicated upon three things:--
1. Upon believing the testimony concerning Jesus Christ;
2. Upon receiving the doctrine of the Eternal Spirit he delivered to the world; and
3. Upon one so believing, yielding an assured and affectionate obedience to the precepts he enjoins.
"Thou hast," said Peter to him, "the words of eternal life; and we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68).
In this Peter connects the words and the personality of Jesus as the subject-matter of faith. This is to "believe on Jesus" -- to accept him according to his claims; and to receive his words as reported by them whom he commissioned to preach them. And "this is the work (ordained) of God, that ye believe into him whom, (eis hon), He hath apostolized,"or sent forth.
"As my Father hath taught me," continues Jesus,"I speak these things"; and "If ye continue in my word ye are my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth which I have heard of God, and 'the truth' shall make you free" (John 8:28,31, 32, 40).
Hear also what he said on another occasion, in regard to this matter. "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me"; which is equivalent to saying he believes the doctrine I am sent to teach -- doctrine which originates not from me as Son of Mary; but from the Eternal Spirit who sent me, and, by His effluence, dwells in me, speaking through me, and working by me. Therefore, he said, "If any man hear my words, and believe not (those words), I (the son of Mary) judge him not."
Who shall judge him then? God, certainly; and because God's doctrine is not believed; for says Jesus, He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath that which judgeth him; ' word which I speak,that shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me. He gave me a commandment what I should make known and what I should treat of" (John 12:48-49).
Nothing can be plainer, more intelligible, or emphatic than this. We may confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, as did the demonized of ancient and, still do, of modern times, but this will give us no right to the things comprised in "the great salvation"; we must not only believe this, but we must also intelligently believe the doctrine which that Son was sent to teach the Jews. If we are ignorant or ashamed of this, we shall be condemned, though we may make the loudest professions of faith in, and of love and devotion to, Jesus.
What can be more to the point than these sayings of Christ--
"If a man love me, he will keep my words: he that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings; and the word ye hear, is not mine, but the Father's who sent me" (John 14:23-24). A man cannot keep the words of another if he be ignorant of those words, neither can he believe them : hence, no one scripturally loves Jesus who is ignorant or faithless of his teaching.
A man ignorant of the truth taught by Jesus, though ever so sincere in his belief of error, is in his sins, and under sentence of death; for it is only that truth believed and obeyed that frees from sin and its consequences. "Sanctify them through thy truth, O Father; thy word is truth" (John 17:17). This is the sanctifying element of Christianity: and that truth is the word of the kingdom hearkened to and understood by the honest and the good of heart (Matt. 12:19, 23; Luke 8:15).
Phanerosis - Belief The Basis of God-Manifestation
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
The Name of Jesus Christ
THE name of Jesus Christ comprehends all that is affirmable of him; and is therefore the summary of his character as a prophet, sacrifice, priest and king.
Hence, to understand his name we must know what is testified of him in the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms, and the Apostles.
From the " Old Testament " we may become acquainted with the Shiloh's name. This is absolutely necessary; for unless we understand what sort of a person Christ was to be, how can we, when we learn the name of Jesus as described by the Apostles, be able to say that the name of Christ as set forth in the Prophets and the name of Jesus are the name of
one and the same person? But by comparing the Apostolic history with the testimony of prophecy, we can intelligently confess that " Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ the Son of the living God " (John vi. 69).
Bro Thomas - reprinted in The Christadelphian Treasury.