THE STORY OF JESUS IN REVIEW
Golden Text:--"His name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace."--Isa. 9:6.
THE closing lesson of the year is a review of the quarter's study of the blessed Redeemer, and truly the Golden Text serves well to congregate and crystalize all of our previous studies of the wonderful character and work of the Prince of Life, the world's Redeemer, the Church's Advocate, and soon to be the world's Mediator.
Many are the names of the Son of man--the man Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was made flesh that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. The first name given in the list of the Prophet is called Wonderful, and is surely appropriate. His is the most wonderful career and the most wonderful character of which we have any knowledge. Who else than he left the glories of the heavenly state for human conditions? as he himself said, "No man hath ascended up to heaven save he which came down from heaven." (John 3:13.) He alone left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was; he alone exercised that wonderful faith in the Father which permitted him to sacrifice everything with joy, delighting to do the Father's will, with confidence that in due time the rewards of the Father's favor and love would more than compensate for every sacrifice.
Wonderful, too, was his life amongst men, the Light shining in the darkness, the darkness comprehending it not. More and more as we come into the light ourselves we are able to comprehend this Wonderful One. As the Apostle suggests, the eyes of our understanding being opened we are able to comprehend with all saints the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the love of God which passes all understanding, such love being manifested, exhibited, illustrated in this Wonderful One. Wonderful also was his resurrection, the "first that should rise from the dead," "the first-born amongst many brethren," "highly exalted, given a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow."--Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15,18; Phil. 2:9,10.
The second name on the list, "Counsellor," is also appropriate. Who else is such a Counsellor? Who else is [R3912 : page 398] able to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities? Who else is able always to guide us with his eye? Who else has assured us that all things shall work together for our good? Happy are they who have made the acquaintance of this Counsellor, whom God hath set forth to be the satisfaction for our sins and to be the Counsellor, the Leader, the Guide, the Instructor of his people, and to bring them out of darkness into his marvellous light, out of the chains of sin and bondage of death back to full liberty of the sons of God. Let us more and more heed the voice that speaketh from heaven, our Counsellor.
"The Mighty God," another of his names, is also appropriate. If the angels were called Elohim, gods, and if the angels appearing to men in the past were called Elohim, gods, because they were the representatives of divine power, surely much more appropriate is the name to him whom the Father specially sent as his special messenger to men. If elohim signifies a mighty one, surely he is above the other mighty ones, next to the Father himself, and may therefore most properly be termed the mighty Elohim--the Mighty God--the one mighty amongst the mighty. "Mighty to save" we sometimes sing; yea, says the Word of the Lord, "He is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto the Father through him." (Heb. 7:25) Such a mighty Savior we need, one not only able to sympathize with us and to instruct us, but able also to deliver us from the Evil One and from our own weaknesses as well as from the divine sentence against our race as sinners. Let us exult in this "Mighty One," whom the heavenly Father, Jehovah, has sent forth as the Arm of Jehovah for deliverance from sin and death.
The title "Everlasting Father" will in due time be appropriately his--but not yet. These words are a prophecy; some of them have been already fulfilled and others are yet to be fulfilled. When they were written Jesus had not yet left the heavenly glory. Jesus is not the everlasting Father to the Church. No; the Scriptures reveal him as our elder Brother, and again as our Bridegroom. The Apostle most explicitly tells us that Jehovah is our Father, saying, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us"--we are his children. The dear Redeemer himself taught us to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven"; and again after his resurrection he sent the message to Peter and others of his followers, "I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."--John 20:17.
In due time he will be the everlasting Father to the world--to those of the world who, during the Millennial age, will hearken to his voice and receive of his life--restitution blessings. Jesus purchased Adam and all of his children by the sacrifice of himself: they are his, to make out of them everything possible and to bring as many as possible back into harmony with the Father and to eternal life. They died under divine condemnation; what they now need is life, and the Father has arranged that Jesus may be their Life-Giver, and to this end he has already given his life, purchased them, that in due time, during his Millennial Kingdom, he may offer them the return of all that was lost in Adam, for it is written, "He came to seek and to save that which was lost."
Since that life which Jesus will give to the world during the Millennial age is the fruitage of his own sacrifice, therefore he is said to be the Father, the Life-Giver to the world. And since the life that he will give will not be merely a temporary one, but by obedience to him all those who receive of his life may be brought to perfection, and maintain that life eternally, therefore he is the Everlasting Father. He gives the everlasting life in contradistinction to Adam, who attempted to be the Father to the race, but through his disobedience brought forth his children to a dying condition. No so the everlasting life: the life which he gives to his children during the period of the Millennium, and which will accomplish the regeneration of the world, or of so many of the world as will accept his favor, will be unto life eternal.
Not yet is he the Prince of Peace and King of Glory, but very soon he will take unto himself his great power and reign. Far from peaceful will be its beginning. The Scriptural description is that the nations will be angry and divine wrath will come upon them, and that they shall be broken in pieces as a potter's vessel: that the Lord will speak to them in his sore displeasure, and that there will be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.--Psa. 2:5; Dan. 12:1.
But the Lord wounds to heal, he chastises to correct, and will not "keep his anger forever," but will ultimately prove that he is "plenteous in mercy." The result of his righteous indignation against sin and all unrighteousness and iniquity will be the establishment of justice upon a firm footing throughout the world. Then as a consequence peace will reign and the King of Glory will be known as the Prince of Peace, whose blessings will fill the earth for the refreshment of every creature and the bringing of so many as will into full harmony with God through the processes of restitution. [page 398]
As we long for the glorious day let us prepare our hearts that we may be approved of the King--that we may be accepted even as his Bride through his mercy and grace. Let us not forget that there are conditions expressed by the Apostle in the words, "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him," "If we be dead with him we shall also live with him"--"heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together." A little while and the trials shall be over; a little while and if faithful we shall have the crown and hear the blessed words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things."--Matt. 25:21,23.