Jumamosi, 7 Januari 2017

Christ Before Coming to Earth

“Christ Before Coming to Earth

From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was One with the Father; He was the image of God, the expression of His glory. To show this glory, to reveal the light of God’s love, Jesus came to our sin-darkened earth. Isaiah prophesied of Him, “They shall call His name Immanuel, ... God with us.” Matthew 1:23; cf. Isaiah 7:14.

Jesus was “the Word of God”—God’s thought made audible. God gave this revelation not just for His earthborn children. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find their true knowledge and their joy in the cross of Christ. They will see that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. They will see that for earth and heaven, the law of life is the law of selfrenouncing love. The love that “does not seek its own” has its source in the heart of God and is shown in Jesus, the meek and lowly One.

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 Psalm 65:6; 95:5. He wrote the message of the Father’s love on everything.

Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Except for the selfish human heart, nothing lives just for itself. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth oxygen, without which neither people nor animals could live; and people and animals, in turn, support the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The ocean receives streams from every land, but it takes only to give back. The mists rising from it fall in showers to water the earth, so that plants may grow and bud. The angels of glory find their joy in giving. They bring light from above, moving upon the human spirit to bring the lost into fellowship with Christ.

But turning from all lesser examples, we see God in Jesus. We find that it is the glory of God to give. “I do not seek My own glory,” said Christ, but the glory of Him who 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. In this way, through Christ the circle of blessing is complete.

In Heaven This Law Was Broken!
Sin began in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, wanted to be first [8] in heaven. He tried to draw heavenly beings away from their Creator and win honor to himself. Putting his own evil characteristics on the Creator, he led angels to doubt the word of God and distrust His goodness. Satan led them to look on Him as severe and unforgiving. In this way, he deceived angels. In the same way, he deceived the human race, and the night of misery settled down on the world.

The earth was dark through misunderstanding of God. To bring the world back to God, Satan’s deceptive power must be broken. God could not do this by force. He wants only the service of love, and love cannot be won by force or authority. Only love awakens love. To know God is to love Him. We must see His character in contrast to Satan’s. Only one Being could do this work. Only He who knew the height and depth of God’s love could make it known.

The plan for our redemption was not formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of “the mystery that was kept secret for long ages.” Romans 16:25, NRSV. It was an unfolding of the principles that have been the foundation of God’s throne from eternity. God foresaw sin’s existence and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. He pledged to give His only-begotten Son, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Lucifer had said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; ... I will be like the Most High.” But Christ, “though he was in the form of God, ... emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.” Isaiah 14:13, 14; Philippians 2:6, 7, NRSV.

A Voluntary Sacrifice
Jesus could have kept the glory of heaven. But He chose to step down from the throne of the universe in order to bring life to the dying.

Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice was heard in heaven,

“A body You have prepared for Me. ...
‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”
Hebrews 10:5-7
Christ was about to visit our world, to become flesh and blood. If He had appeared with the glory that was His before the world was created, we could not have endured the light of His presence. In order that we could behold it and not be destroyed, He shrouded His glory and veiled His divinity with humanity.

Types and symbols had foreshadowed this great purpose. The burning bush, in which Christ appeared to Moses, revealed God. This lowly shrub, that seemed to have no attractions, enshrined the Infinite. God shrouded His glory so that Moses could look on it and live. Similarly, in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God’s glory was veiled so that finite human beings could look at it. So Christ was to come “in the likeness of men.” He was the incarnate God, but His glory was veiled so that He could draw near to sorrowful, tempted men and women. [9]

Through Israel’s long wandering in the desert, the sanctuary was with them as the symbol of God’s presence. See Exodus 25:8. Likewise, Christ pitched His tent by the side of our tents so that He could make us familiar with His divine character and life. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.

Since Jesus came to live with us, every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the Friend of sinners. In every divine attraction in the Savior’s life on earth, we see “God with us.”

Satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its requirements. He blames the Creator for the fall of our first parents, leading people to look upon God as the author of sin, suffering, and death. Jesus was to unmask 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 He had to be made like His brethren.” Hebrews 2:17. If we had to bear anything that Jesus did not endure, then on this point Satan would claim that the power of God was not enough for us. Therefore, Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are.” Hebrews 4:15. He endured every trial that we may face. And He exercised no power in His own behalf that is not freely offered to us. As a human being, He met temptation and overcame it in the strength that God gave Him. 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.

By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He takes hold of 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 authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18. “God with us” is the guarantee of our deliverance from sin, the assurance of power to obey the law of heaven.

Christ revealed a character that is the opposite of Satan’s. “Being found in human form, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8, NRSV. Christ took the form of a servant and offered the sacrifice, with Himself as the Priest and Himself as the Victim. “He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him.” Isaiah 53:5.

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 that was ours, that we might receive the life that was His. “By His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

Satan determined to bring eternal separation between God and man; but in taking our nature, the Savior united Himself to humanity by a tie that will never be broken. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him, not [10] only to die as our Sacrifice; He gave Him to become one of the human family, to keep His human nature forever.

“Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will 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, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6), italics added. He who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. Hebrews 7:26; 2:11. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enclosed in the embrace of Infinite Love.

God’s lifting up of His redeemed people will be an eternal testimony to His mercy. “In the ages to come,” He will “show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” in order that “the manifold wisdom of God” may be made known to “the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 2:7; 3:10.

Through Christ’s work, the government of God stands justified. The All-powerful One is revealed as the God of love. Christ has refuted Satan’s charges and unmasked his character. Sin can never again enter the universe. Through eternal ages all are secure from apostasy. By love’s selfsacrifice, Jesus has linked earth and heaven to the Creator in an unbreakable union.

Where sin increased, God’s grace increased much more. 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 dwelling place of God will be with humanity, and “God Himself will 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.” [11]”

All excerpts from

Humble Hero
by Ellen G. White
http://sharinghope.com/?shared=111


Jumanne, 3 Januari 2017

Bible Commentary matthew 2

Bible Commentary Matthew 2
2. Attention Focused on Birth of Jesus—The Lord moved upon the wise men to go in search of Jesus, and He directed their course by a star. This star, leaving them when near Jerusalem, led them to make inquiries in Judah; for they thought it was not possible for the chief priests and scribes to be ignorant of this great event. The coming of the wise men made the whole nation acquainted with the object of their journey, and directed their attention to the important events which were transpiring (The Spirit of Prophecy 2:26). – {5BC 1077.1}

16-18. Faithfulness Would Have Rendered Wrath Harmless—All this terrible calamity was suffered of God, to humble the pride of the Jewish nation. Their crimes and wickedness had been so great that the Lord permitted the wicked Herod to thus punish them. Had they been less boastful and ambitious, their lives pure, their habits simple and sincere, God would have preserved them from being thus humiliated and afflicted by their enemies. God would, in a signal manner, have made the wrath of the king harmless to His people, had they been faithful and perfect before Him. But He could not especially work for them, for their works were abhorred by Him (The Spirit of Prophecy 2:28). – {5BC 1077.2}


Jumapili, 25 Desemba 2016

Daniel 6:10

Daniel 6:10
Thus the prophet boldly yet quietly and humbly declared that no earthly power has a right to interpose between the soul and God. Surrounded by idolaters, he was a faithful witness to this truth. His dauntless adherence to right was a bright light in the moral darkness of that heathen court. Daniel stands before the world today a worthy example of Christian fearlessness and fidelity. {PK 542}


Ijumaa, 16 Desemba 2016

The Gift of Joy

“ 

The Gift of Joy
“His name shall be called Immanuel, . . . God with us.” 

By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God,–God’s thought made audible. In His prayer for His disciples He says, “I have declared unto them Thy name,”–”merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”-”that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” But not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which “angels desire to look,” and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfilled beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which “seeketh not her own” has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto. 

In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field. “Who established the mountains by His strength.” “The sea is His, for He made it.” (Psalm 65:6; 95:5). It was He that filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song. And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky, He wrote the message of the Father’s love. 

Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. 

Joy in Giving 
But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give. “I do nothing of Myself,” said Christ; “the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father”. “I do not seek My own glory,” but the glory of Him that sent Me. (John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18). In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life. 

In heaven itself this law was broken. Sin originated in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven. He sought to gain control of heavenly beings, to draw them away from their Creator, and to win their homage to himself. Therefore he misrepresented God, attributing to Him the desire for self-exaltation. With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men. He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness. Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he drew men to join him in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled down upon the world. 

The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it 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 the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in His wings.” (Malachi 4:2). 

The Greatest of All Gifts 
The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of “the mystery kept secret since the world began.” (Romans 16:25). It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). 

This was a voluntary sacrifice. Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing. 

By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Savior has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” (John 3:16). 

The work of redemption will be complete. In the place where sin abounded, God’s grace much more abounds. The earth itself, the very field that Satan claims as his, is to be not only ransomed but exalted. Our little world, under the curse of sin the one dark blot in His glorious creation, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe of God. Here, where the Son of God tabernacled in humanity; where the King of glory lived and suffered and died,–here, when He shall make all things new, the tabernacle of God shall be with men, “and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” And through endless ages as the redeemed walk in the light of the Lord, they will praise Him for His unspeakable Gift,– Immanuel, “God with us.”



_______________
Content taken from The Desire of Ages by Ellen G. White.

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

Cover image: ©www.iStockphoto.com.”

All excerpts from

The Gift of Joy
by GLOW
http://sharinghope.com/?shared=102