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LOOKING UNTO JESUS
There are two principles involved in the word look, two mediums by which we are enabled to discern objects, light and the eye. Without these mediums there may be ever so many or interesting objects to be seen, but they will not be seen; there must be both light and the instrument of seeing (the eye). These are the requisites in nature; these are the necessary things for material sight, and the basis of our understanding of spiritual things, the things of God. Light in nature is the means of knowing (or seeing) natural things; so in spiritual things means of knowing are called light—”By using such lights as we have we arrive at probability, if not certainty.”
Explanation and illustration are other means of knowing or understanding and are also called light: “one part of scripture throws light on another part.” Point of view—situation to be seen, is called light—this is a use of the word taken from painting; “let every thought be presented in the strongest light.” Looking in the natural is to direct the eye—in the spiritual to direct the mind of the understanding; “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.”
With these terms in mind let us consider the subject before us, “Looking unto Jesus.” Let us bring in the lights and turn the eyes of our understanding toward the desire of all nations,” the hope of the world. How, “we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death“—Heb. 2:9. O earth! bow down, hide thy face in the dust, the Lord of life dies for thee. The mystery of God is among men. Did we see rightly? How was he made? A little lower than the angels? Let us look closely. Does Paul mean just that? Yes, it seems so. But man is a great deal lower than the angels. Did he not take upon him the nature of man? Yes, he took the “seed of Abraham.” Heb. 2:16: Well, if he took on him the seed of Abraham did he not take a nature much lower than angels, even the fallen nature, and work his way up to this position a little lower than the angels? We think not—let us see. Hold the light this way a little, brother; there, now. What said the scriptures? ABRAHAM believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. … How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision but in uncircumcision … for the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Romans 4:10-13. If then, Abraham was justified by faith—reckoned in God’s sight a perfect and righteous man, who will say that Jesus must have taken the fallen nature—imperfect, because it says: He partook of the “seed of Abraham.” But was he not made of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh? Well, yes; he was “made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Rom. 1:3. “When the fullness of the time was come God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Gal. 4:4-5. But he was “made not after (down towards) the law of a carnal (fleshly) commandment but after the power of an endless life, for there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; for the law made nothing perfect but the bringing in of a better hope did, (viz: Jesus, the perfect one, in whom was no sin,) by the which, we draw nigh to God. Heb. 7:16,18-19. But was he not made in all things like unto his brethren? And does not this plainly show that he took the fallen nature of man, the lowest step that could be taken? “In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Heb. 2:17. But was he not made like other men, was he not in his fleshly nature just as low in the scale of being as any other man, only that he did not actually sin? No; if he had been, he could not have resisted actual sin; the fallen human nature is “prone to sin as the sparks to fly upward,” and as long as we are of the fallen human nature we cannot avoid sin. Of such “there is none righteous; no, not one.” [It is only when justified, new creatures, that we can realize ourselves as no longer sinners and enemies, but sons of God.]
Again, if on the depraved plane of being he could not be said to have been “made a little lower.” He as a perfect one was to mediate and bring about a reconciliation between God and his fallen carnal creatures who by sin had become His “enemies;” hence Jesus was made a little lower than the angels, “for the suffering of death,” that he might raise us up to a point but a little lower than the angels, (as perfect beings—justified or reckoned perfect,) thus becoming our mediator “for if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life.” Rom. 5:10. But in what sense was he higher or superior to Adam? In this, that Adam was created of God, but Christ was begotten of God; now do we see how he was made like unto his brethren? Not like unto fallen man, they are not begotten of the spirit Christ and his brethren are. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, (and Jesus) are children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? “Cast out the bond woman and her son: for the son of the bond woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.” So then, brethren, we (nor Christ) are not children of the bond woman, but of the free. Gal. 4:28-31. But was he not for our sakes made poor that we through his poverty might be
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made rich? Yes, he became poor for our sakes; when he died upon the cross he consummated his poverty, giving up all, even life itself, and thus reconciled us to God; for, as by Adam’s death in or because of sin all die, so by Christ’s death in or because of righteousness all are made alive; but we who are reckoned in the Adamic nature by the death of
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Christ are much more” … “saved by his life;” we begin to be new creatures in Christ Jesus, and so we are not (reckoned) in the fallen condition, as the world, but in that which he recognizes as brethren. “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Heb. 2:11. He came low enough to reach us and taste death for every man, but a little lower than the angels was low enough for that, for from that intermediate position God can reach us through Christ and “raise us (from our fallen condition where we were with the world) up together and make us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:6-7. Now, if we can see clearly that his being made a little lower than the angels was for no other reason than that he might suffer death (to which he was not legally subject) and destroy him who had the power of death for us, do we not see that there is no reason for his being made a little lower, or even as low as the angels again for us whom (in our brotherhood condition) he was made like unto? He was as we are (reckoned) and we shall be as he is now.
Beloved, now are we (reckoned) the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3.
Now let us look close, (hold the light steady and keep an humble position,) there, now, if it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, if we can get a good view of him we can get a good idea of what his brethren are, for they will be somewhat as he was, “wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to him that appointed him.” He was “appointed heir of all things.” “And ye are complete in him” “In whom ye are builded together for an habitation of God through the spirit.” Now, dear brethren, is it not clearly God’s design to glorify his Son and his church (bride) by what he shall accomplish through them? Think you they are to be exalted and honored merely for the honor? Ah, no! Honor and glory and happiness are in store for those “who are the called according to his purpose,” and that purpose is the bringing of “many sons unto glory,” and to accomplish that purpose it was necessary that the captain of our salvation should pass through suffering, “leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.” Dear brethren, are we willing to do that? Is the lesson so often set before us in the “Watch Tower” (drawn from the word) forgotten and overlooked in our eager gaze at the coming glory? Wherefore let us suffer “according to the will of God and commit the keeping of our souls to him in well-doing as unto a faithful Creator.
— March, 1881 —