Christian Churches of God

No. 160

 

 

 

The Purpose of the Creation and the Sacrifice of Christ

(Edition 3.0 19960505-19991217-20110106-20110813)

 

This paper deals with a misconception of the nature of Christ. Some believe that if Christ were not both God and an eternally existing uncreated being then his sacrifice would be inadequate to reconcile mankind to God. The root of this belief is shown to lie in the inadequacy of Greek philosophy and the misapprehension of the nature of the Bible system and the purpose of the creation. The explanation is in two parts. One part is that dealing with the purpose of the creation, the other part is that dealing with the Bible system. The inadequacies of Greek philosophy are exposed by comparison with biblical text.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

 

(Copyright © 1996, 1999, 2011 Wade Cox)

 

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher’s name and address and the copyright notice must be included.  No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies.  Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

 

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The Purpose of the Creation and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

 


Note: This paper should be read in conjunction with the audio.

 

The significance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is central to the Faith. It is the central issue of the New Testament and is the culmination of the sacrificial system and all that it represented.

 

One extraordinary myth that has developed from the doctrinal issues surrounding the Godhead and the place of Christ within that structure is that if Christ were not God and an eternally existing, uncreated being, then his sacrifice would be inadequate to reconcile mankind to God. One is then led to the question: “By what scriptural authority is such a claim made?” No Scripture supports this claim and indeed it will be shown that the opposite is true. How then is such a claim made or advanced? The answer lies in the inadequacy of Greek philosophy and the misapprehension of the nature of the Bible system and the purpose of the creation.

 

This whole question then must be answered in two parts. One part is that dealing with the purpose of the creation, the other part is that dealing with the Bible system. In that issue the inadequacies of Greek philosophy must be exposed by comparison with biblical texts.

 

Part 1: The Creation

 

The Creation is first explained in Genesis chapter 1. It is assumed by most people, from this text, that this is the explanation of the beginning of the creation. That assumption is very sweeping. It shows a failure to comprehend the message of the Generations of the Heavens and of the Earth that are mentioned in Genesis 2:4. The Book of Genesis shows the divisions of the structure.

 

So the creation was in generations. There were sequences of the creation, and verses 1-3 in Genesis chapter 2 deal with the generations of the Heavens and the Earth.

 

Generation 1

The first generation is divided into two structures: the beginning and the pre-beginning.

 

The pre-beginning is that period before God commenced to create. In that period there was One True God (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20) who alone is immortal (1Tim. 6:16). Nothing else existed. He was alone and eternal. He was omniscient in that He knew all true propositions and He was omnipotent in that He was able to do all that it is logically possible to do. His intrinsic immortality meant He could not die. He was perfectly good (Mk. 10:18). He was the Alpha and He is the Omega (Rev. 1:8).

 

Revelation 1:8  "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (RSV)

 

The KJV renders the text

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (KJV)

 

The words ho theos or The God are deliberately omitted from the English text (see Marshall’s Greek-English Interlinear). This is in order to attempt to confuse God with Christ or to convey the impression that it is Christ speaking which it plainly is not from the text of Revelation 1:1. That text plainly says that the Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to him.

 

Only God is the Alpha and the Omega. This sense is that He alone was the first as an immortal being, thus He is Alpha. He is in continuous activity, thus He is and He is to become and he is the Almighty. Thus the Omega, or end result itself, is this Being. The creation is thus centred on this Being and is, in itself, the end object of its activity. Thus, God is creating Himself in an extended sense. We see this from Exodus 3:14.

Exodus 3:14  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (KJV)

 

The text here is ehyehasherehyeh. The meaning, according to The Companion Bible, is I will be what I will be (or become). God thus stated His activity and intention. There are two actions here. Exodus 3:12 shows that the Being speaking to Moses states the intended worship of The God Himself (eth ha ‘Elohim) on the mountain. This Being was part of the activity of God under direction.

 

The God was Eloah, which is in the singular and admits of no plurality and as such is the object of worship of all subsequent activity (Deut. 5:6-7; 6:4 (elohenu); Ezra 4:24 to 7:28). The first activity of Eloah was to generate the elohim (Gen. 1:1). These are the sons of God, the God Most High (Deut. 32:8 (RSV); Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7). The elohim were the beginning of the activities of the will of The Most High God Eloah or Elaha (in the Chaldean) (Dan. 4:2).

 

Revelation 4:9-11 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, 11  "Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created." (RSV)

 

The elohim constitute the Council of the Elders, whose composition is noted in Revelation chapters 4 and 5. Christ is one of these Beings (Rev. 5:6). They are mentioned in the Psalms repeatedly (Ps. 82:1; 82:6; 86:8; 95:3; 96:4; 97:7; 97:9; 135:5; 136:2; 138:1). They are the means of the activities of the will of God. Christ was anointed above his partners by his Elohim, or God (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9), but this was a subsequent event, as we will see. God existed alone as Eloah before He extended into a plurality by creating, or generating, the elohim as Sons of God.

 

The spiritual creation is logically prior to the physical creation.

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. (RSV)

 

The text reads that the ages were adjusted by a word (remati) of God. The ages were adjusted so that the thing that became or was created emerged from that which was not seen or not physical. If the physical creation emerged from the spiritual does this mean that God as Spirit is in all matter? No, it does not mean that. Such an assertion is animism. The created spiritual is the basis of the created physical. Spirit is not necessarily an extension of God unless conferred by the Holy Spirit as the power of God.

 

The beginning referred to in the Bible is thus an activity of the creation of God, which is adjusted from His prior spiritual activity and creation. That activity involved the creation of the elohim, which was His first act or reproduction. The spiritual creation thus commenced and from that activity of God as Eloah, the elohim (a plural word derived from Eloah) then began the physical creation. We understand that Christ was one of these elohim and was instrumental in this activity of creation.

 

John 1:1 is often quoted by Trinitarians and Binitarians to defend the eternity of Christ because they have no answer for the multiplicity of texts that show that there is only One True God (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20) who alone is immortal (1Tim. 6:16) and who gave Christ to have life in himself (Jn. 5:26).

John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (RSV)

 

The simple matter of this text is that it is mistranslated by Trinitarians, as the Jehovah Witnesses (JWs) have consistently pointed out. However, the order of the JW translation is an attempt to follow the KJV rather than the literal text. The text reads:

 

En        arche         en   ho  logos,

In (the) beginning was the word

 

kai  ho  logos en   pros   ton    theon,

and the word was with   [the]  God

 

kai       theos en   ho  logos

and [a] god   was the word

 

[en pros ton theon should read “was towards (the) God” meaning with in the sense of service].

 

It should be noted that the term ton theon or the accusative case identification of God is used only of the Father as in John 1:18. The Father is thus The God. Christ as logos is here referred to in the nominative case. There is no indefinite article in the Greek. It must be inferred from the sense of the passage (see Marshall’s Interlinear, Intro., p. ix). Here there is a clear distinction between The God and that god which was the logos. This is a reflection of Psalm 45:6-7 and Hebrews 1:8-9.

 

Thus the JW text should perhaps read and a god was the word not and the word was a god, but that is hardly a serious problem. The sense is that only The God existed before the beginning of time in abiding perpetuity. Only He is immortal (1Tim. 6:16). Christ is here stated to be in the beginning with God. Hence, he was the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14). John explains the sense of John 1:1 in John 1:14-18; 1John 5 (esp. v. 20); and Revelation 3:14.

 

The beginning is divided into phases we understand to be concerned with the creation of the heaven and the earth.

 

Genesis 1:1 to 2:7

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

 

Elohim (Heb. accent athnach emphasising God; see The Companion Bible, fn. to v. 1) is here creating in accordance with the will of Eloah as the Alpha, the singularity. This is The Elohim or God as Creator acting in unison as the head of an order of beings (Gen. 1:1 to 2:3). This is the beginning of the material creation. We can only infer attributes of the sub-structure of matter, as it cannot at present be measured. We know much about causal theory and also of the directionality of time. These are complicated philosophical and scientific issues. They are the subjects of a separate work. It is simply enough to say here that causation is singularist and that singularity is Eloah and time is directional as was demonstrated in the paper Creation: From Anthropomorphic Theology to Theomorphic Anthropology (No. B5). In that work it was demonstrated that it is impossible for there to be absolute creation. In that, if God did not possess His attributes originally it would be impossible for Him to have created them. Thus, He must provide those attributes to those beings that appear in the order of His creation. Hence, God must confer attributes on Christ and the other sons or heirs, such as immortality, omniscience, omnipotence, perfect goodness, and perfect love. This must be done by a mechanism which confers His nature and power. This can only be the Holy Spirit. This seems to be the case from Romans 1:4, but we will examine that matter later.

 

The creation of the physical structure is in two parts. Peter explains this by his reference to the world that then was (2Pet. 3:5-6); and to the Heavens and the Earth that are now (2Pet. 3:7). It might be argued that Peter was referring only to the pre- and post-Flood periods, but this is an assumption. Nor does such an assumption imply that the Heavens that then were, were not further divided by catastrophe. Indeed, it might be assumed that such a notion was implicit in the argument of the division of the ages. It is certain that the world is ancient and contained great diversity of beings in stages which were wiped out by catastrophe.

 

The world that then was had purpose and intent but was destroyed. The purpose of the creation can only be inferred from the Bible notations and what we know of science. Archaeology tells us that there was an extensive creation, which was essentially non-mammalian and contained no humans or humanoids. This creation was abruptly discontinuous. The humanoid structure appears in the Earth’s history recently. Approximately 100,000 years ago a humanoid form appeared on the planet and gave way to another unrelated species, which appeared some 40,000 years ago. Modern science now holds that man had a common DNA ancestry from a source somewhere in the Africa/Middle East system and that they have been in error as to the age and diversity of humanoids in previous theories. They acknowledge a common ancestral stock and attribute that commonality to the humanoids over that 100,000-year period. This will later be seen to be in error. It will come to be seen that the humanoids that preceded the adamic structure were not related and of another purpose. This purpose can be reconstructed from the Bible. However, the creation of these humanoids must have been of such a purpose that the DNA interaction of these species was made possible. This is dealt with in the paper The Nephilim (No. 154) and also Creation, ibid.

 

The end of the Heavens that then were

The first creation appears to have been ruined from causes that we can only try to reconstruct. The second destruction in the Flood is the only record we possess. The first must be deduced.

Genesis 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

 

One concept here is that the creation came to be without form and void or tohu and bohu. The terms tohu and bohu do not require that there be no life, as the terms are again used in Jeremiah 4:23, but the Lord clearly states He will not make a full end in verse 27. This is the recreation theory that assumes a recent re-creation.

 

It might also be argued that the waters were the primordial waters of the Near Eastern myths, or, it might be argued that the waters were the equivalent of the big bang creation of matter and the expanding Universe from a specific point and no other, from time space volume selection of 10 to the 10th to the 123rd power (see R. Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind). This specific point can be held to be the point of creation from the non-physical to the physical. From relativity theory we can infer that energy, mass etc., are equivalent expressions of a single fundamental essence. We would call this substance Spirit. Spirit cannot be seen. Thus, the Bible is understood when it says that the things that are seen are made from the things that are not seen.

 

The distinction in matter probably arises from the arrangement of spiritual energy in groupings and rotations at varying speeds, which determine the combination and structure of the sub-atomic and the atomic particles. Splitting the atomic structure releases energy, which is an expression of the Spirit. Spirit can also enter matter by interacting with its particles.

 

From the texts, within this theory, we can see that the destruction has to take place in the order of the explanation of the subsequent activity of Genesis. It seems that discontinuity or a break in the activity of the creation can be inferred here in the text more readily than elsewhere. There is no doubt, however, that discontinuity or ruin in the physical creation is a biblical position and cannot be denied from the point of view of faith. The creation narrative here seems to be concerned with the earth system rather than generally in the Universe, but it may be from the general to the particular; in other words from the Universe to the planetary system.

 

The Heavens and the Earth which now are: The Six Day Creation

Genesis 1:3-5  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

 

The term used in verse 3 is not the verb to be and thus it is let it become light (see fn. to v. 3 in The Companion Bible). Thus we are setting the precondition for the creation of systems of the fourth day.

 

Genesis 1:6-31 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day. 14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. 20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

 

Genesis 2:1-7 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (KJV)

 

It is not critical whether this is a re-creation story or a generalised occurrence. This process is a good explanation from what we know of modern science of the process of creation from the general distribution of the Universe and the formulation of matter. Man was thus created at the end of the sequence and appears to be the object of the physical creation. Indeed, modern science seems to be moving to the conclusion that intelligent man is only possible within the short space of a few million years of the life of the main star systems. Thus, the planet has a finite purpose and the physical creation is not the object of the creation in itself.

 

The spiritual creation was set in order by the elohim, and Christ was the central spiritual entity in this process.

 

Colossians 1:15-16  He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; 16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. (RSV)

 

Christ was thus made an image of the invisible God. He was the prototokos or first-begotten of every creature (KJV).

 

Colossians 1:15-16 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (KJV)

 

Note here that Christ as the first-begotten of every creature (ktiseos from ktisma) was the ektisthe or manufacturer or maker of the organisational structure. He made the thrones and the lordships, the dominions, principalities and authorities. These are not spiritual beings. They are administrations. He did not make the elohim. He structured their dominions and their order. He himself was faithful to He who made (SGD 4160 poeio) him (Heb. 3:2). Christ was appointed (SGD etheken from theoo to place (upright)) heir of all things (Heb. 1:2).

 

The word in Hebrews 3:2 is made and is only translated as appointed in this case to avoid the obvious implications for Trinitarians. The correct word for appointed is not used.

 

The question is then posed by Trinitarians or Binitarians: “Why would God make Christ and the other entities called elohim or the angelic Host (sons of God (Dan. 3:25); Chald. elahin, whose dwelling is not with men (Dan. 2:11; 4:8)), and then bother to make a human species?” What purpose is served by these two aspects of creation?

 

It can be observed that this form of reasoning raises the same issues for the concept of the angelic Host and then Christ as another, second, co-eternal deity for Binitarians. Binitarian is a polite term for a Ditheist in a Christian guise. However, they are not Monotheists and are no different philosophically from other Ditheists, except for the activity of the deities, such as in Zoroastrianism. In the case of Trinitarians, we are presented with an even more mysterious problem, which is contrary to reason and is defended by appeal to mystery. Trinitarians have also adopted the Mystery cults’ position in relation to the ascent to Heaven or descent to Hell on death rather than the physical resurrection of the Bible. This aspect of Gnosticism and the Mysteries was specifically condemned by Justin Martyr and the early Church. It was the way one discerned Christians from non-Christian imposters.

 

Binitarians (especially those adopting the views expressed by Herbert Armstrong in his last years as expressed in the Mystery of the Ages) have the view that the angels are merely minders of the system. Perhaps it is more appropriately termed the Great Garden Theory of the Universe, where it was messed up by rebellion, and God then created these humans to replace these rebellious angels. Christ was a second God, co-eternal with the Father but somehow willingly inferior. The human elect are going to become superior and of a different order and type to the angelic Host. The angels can never become elohim, which is a plural word, which applies to God as a family but only to two entities at present. This view simply ignores the entire structure of the Psalms and the various texts that deal with the elohim. It is seriously biblically incoherent and carries in it imputations against the omniscience and omnipotence of God.

 

Christ was Israel’s second God but he was not co-eternal. This point has been examined by Alan F. Segal, Two Powers in Heaven Early Rabbinic Reports About Christianity and Gnosticism, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1977, and also by M. Barker, THE GREAT ANGEL A Study of Israel’s Second God, SPCK, London, 1992. Larry Hurtado, in his work One God One Lord Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism, SCM Press, 1988, attempts to make a case for the Binitarian nature of the early Church. He says:

I submit that the forgoing devotional innovations support my contentions (a) that early Christian Devotion can be accurately described as binitarian in shape, with a prominent place being given to the risen Christ alongside God, and (b) that this binitarian shape is distinctive in the broad and diverse Jewish Monotheistic tradition that was the immediate background of the first Christians, among whom these devotional practices had their beginnings (p. 114).

 

Hurtado does develop the non-Trinitarian nature of the early Church but fails to correctly deal with the question of the Great Angel as Christ, which Barker attempts to explain within an orthodox framework and fails. However, all more or less show the point that the Great Angel was an elohim. None are so bold as to equate this elohim with The God. Hurtado shows that the Binitarianism is developed concerning the risen Christ and distinctive from and not concerned with his pre-existence in Judaism as the Great Angel.

 

The structure of the early Church at the very best can only be claimed to be Binitarian from delegation following on from the resurrection (Rom. 1:4) not from the eternal existence of Christ. Christ and the Host were all the product of God’s activity and will.

 

God is omniscient therefore He knew the outcome of the activities of the rebel Host when they were created. He ordained Christ as the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world, and wrote the names of the elect in the book of life, before the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. (RSV)

 

Thus it was not only known that Christ was to be slain before the world was laid down but also the names of the elect were all known and recorded in the Book of God before the world was formed. That is the extent of the omniscience of God. Christ clearly is not omniscient as there were things he did not know, such as the hour of his return (Mk. 13:32), and also the Revelation which was given to him by God.

 

Thus God knew that the heavenly Host would rebel and He also knew that Christ would not only have to be sacrificed but also that he would be obedient unto death and so introduce a new group into the category of elohim (Zech. 12:8) as he himself was an elohim at their head.

Philippians 2:5-11 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (RSV)

 

Christ thus was in the form or the morphe of God. He was an image of God as we are conformed to the image of God through the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). We do this, as Christ did, by partaking of the divine nature (2Pet. 1:3-4). We are thus co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:29; Tit. 3:7; Heb. 1:14; 6:17; 11:9; Jas. 2:5; 1Pet. 3:7). This purpose of God was unchangeable (Heb. 6:17). Christ did not try, as Satan tried (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:14-18), to grasp equality with God. He became a human and was obedient unto death even death on the cross. Christ is thus not co-equal with God and did not seek equality with Him.

 

We thus see that Christ obeyed God by becoming a human. His crucifixion was an order of the Father to achieve the purpose of the Father, which had been known from the beginning, before the foundation of the world.

 

The human Host are clearly stated to be the brethren of the angels (Rev. 12:10; 22:9) and the elect will become equal to, as an order of, angels on the resurrection (Lk. 20:36 isaggelos).

 

Thus the creation is to produce a cohesive whole and Revelation 5 shows that the elect are to become kings and priests over that structure. So then why did not God simply create us all at the same time with the same attributes? Why were there two structures, and what purpose did they serve? The answer is simple.

 

In a single creation structure there would still have been a rebellion. Satan would still have rebelled even though he was perfect from his creation. The sons of God in both the angelic and human Host had to have free choice or they are simply robots. Christ had to be able to have sinned or he is a robot and there is no judgment of Satan. In all points he was tempted as we are (Heb. 4:15).

 

The angelic Host had to be given family responsibility. That was done by stewardship of humans and the physical creation. A spiritual being does not have to exercise faith concerning the existence of God but a physical Host does. By interactive testing each element was taught and tried in their respective duties. Christ exercised faith by laying down a spiritual existence and becoming a human totally dependent upon the will and power of his God for life and resurrection to eternal life.

 

Christ did that for two reasons. The first reason was that he was obedient to his God. The second reason was that as the Angel of Jehovah (see the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24)) he was the spiritual leader of Israel and that people and the world were totally dependent upon the selfless devotion of another being to redeem them to God. He was the elohim and angel that redeemed Israel (Gen. 48:15-16).

Genesis 48:15-16 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. (KJV)

 

This elohim was an Angel. He redeemed Israel, both as man and nation. God chose him to do that job because he was to be their High Priest. To lead, we must be willing to lay down our lives for each other. Christ was willing to do that and thus he qualified to become a son of God in power from his resurrection from the dead through the operation of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:4).

 

We will now deal with the second issue so that the biblical position can be extracted on the purpose of what has come to be known as the Christ event or the Incarnation.

 

Part 2: The Incarnation and Sacrifice of Christ

 

Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. As we have observed in Part 1, the following text indicates that the names of the elect were written in the Book of Life of the Lamb before the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:8 … and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. (RSV)

 

Not only was it the necessity of the Lamb being slain that was determined from the foundation or laying down of the world, but also the names of the elect were written there in that Book.

 

This has a number of implications for the concepts of what is termed Determinism. The elect were foreknown even before they were born (see also Jer. 1:4-5). The foreknowledge belongs to God the Father only (1Pet. 1:2). The elect were foreknown by the Father and sanctified by the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.

1Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (KJV)

 

The omniscience of God the Father is perfect. He knows the elect and delivers them to Christ. This knowledge covers the span of time that we understand to be the creation. As mentioned, the elect were determined before the foundation of the world. God declares the end from the beginning.

Isaiah 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (KJV)

 

At the proper time, these elect were handed to Christ for the part they were to play in the Plan of God.

Romans 8:28-30 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (KJV)

 

Each of the elect was predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ who is the image of God. When it was the optimum time for their successful entry to judgment they were called and then justified and glorified.

 

God knew at each stage of the creation what would occur. This did not make those things occur nor did it interfere with the free choice of the individual, except in those circumstances where it worked to the purpose of God. In these cases, the good of the elect was the operative consideration.

 

The function of Christ in this process was according to the prescience of God. At Pentecost, the Apostle Peter was to pronounce the operation of the foreknowledge of God. Christ was slain and was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God and raised from the dead. God did not suffer his Holy One to see corruption (cf. Deut. 33:8; Ps. 16:10; 52:9).

 

Acts 2:22-28  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. (KJV)

 

Thus Christ was raised from the dead not from his own power or infallibility, but from the prescience or foreknowledge of God. He succeeded not because he could not sin but because he chose not to sin. He was sent because God knew from His absolute prescience or omniscience that he would not sin. His sacrifice was to atone for sin. As such he was the intent and purpose of the Law. Christ is the end of the Law (Rom. 10:4).

 

God thus knew that there would be a rebellion from the beginning. He created perfect beings with the power of free choice so that they could be His sons in all respects, with complete freedom, confined only by the nature of God and His perfect will.

 

There were two aspects of the creation with which God had to deal. The first aspect was the known sin of Satan, which would occur because of the temptations available to him from the power that he would exercise as the anointed Covering Cherub (Ezek. 28:14-16). Satan took a third of the stars of the Host with him in this rebellion (Rev. 12:4).

 

As part of the training process God created the human structure. He knew also from the imperfect exercise of responsibility of the Host that man would sin. Thus there were two elements that would be estranged from God and placed in a process that would result in the near extermination of the creation. This God declared from the beginning. Each of the Host had freedom of choice and so the angels, and ourselves, chose to ignore the instructions or the Laws of God and sinned. Thus the chain of events was set in motion that would result in the almost total destruction of the creation unless God intervened.

 

The primary aim in all of this was to teach each of His sons how to become perfect, as He is perfect. God is love (1Jn. 4:8). The perfect love of God is all encompassing and extends to all His children. The perfect expression of that love is found in the biblical text.

John 15:9-19 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another. 18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (KJV)

 

This sequence of love is the determining factor of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God sent Christ out of His love for the creation (Jn. 3:16). Christ had not sinned or rebelled, yet he was chosen to be the sacrifice. It is at this point that the argument is advanced that Christ could not sin and that he must have been God or his sacrifice could not be adequate to reconcile humanity to God. This is a satanic self-justification and a fraud.

 

The propositions are advanced from two aspects.

 

The first aspect is that Satan is attempting, from this false premise, to declare God unjust. If Christ could not sin, then how can Satan be judged correctly by comparison with a being who was incapable of sin.

 

The next argument is advanced from the proposition that Satan was made that way. This is the same argument we find in the justification of sin today. The argument is made that “I was born that way” or “It was my upbringing” etc. While it is true that responsibility can be diminished by conditioning that is not justification under the Law. The point is made by some Trinitarians that Satan was evil from his creation. We know that this is wrong because God tells us that he was perfect from his creation until iniquity was found in him (Ezek. 28:14-18).

 

Christ could sin because he was tempted as we are (Heb. 4:15). However, he did not sin.

 

The next argument is that Christ had to be equal with God as an eternal immortal God. Unless he was so his sacrifice could not reconcile us to God. This argument stems from Greek philosophy and is contrary to the entire thrust of Scripture. It is normally advanced by Trinitarians when they are unable to answer the argument from Scripture. It is normally the last phase of rhetoric before persecution.

 

The argument is advanced from the following premises.

 

In Greek philosophy, there was no concept of unconditional agape love. The Spartan story of the boy with the fox in his shirt is the end result of this intellectual process.

 

Agape is a Hebrew concept conveyed from ahab (SHD 157) or ahabah (SHD 160) in the Song of Songs. The word agape does not appear in the Greek language until the Septuagint (LXX) was translated in Egypt. The LXX uses Agape for Ahabah in Song of Songs 2:4,5,7; 3:5,10; 5:8; 7:6; 8:4,6,7. Thayer (quoting Zezschwitz Profangraec. u. bibl. Sprachgeist, p. 63), says of this that:

“It is noticeable that the word first makes its appearance as a current term in the song of Sol.; - certainly no undesigned evidence respecting the idea which the Alex. translators had of the love in this Song”

 

The word is not found in the New Testament in Acts, Mark or James. It occurs only in Matthew and Luke and twice in Hebrews and Revelation, but frequently in the writings of Paul, John, Peter and Jude (Thayer, p. 4).

 

The plural agapae was used of the Christian love feasts, which occurred at the Lord’s Supper when the food was provided for all at the expense of the wealthier brethren (Jude 12; 2Pet. 2:13) (Thayer, ibid.). The gathering together of the elect at the Passover was thus a feature of the early Church.

 

The Greeks did not have this concept in their philosophy until after the emergence of the Septuagint and then but rarely. The Greeks considered the two kinds of love being filial and erotic. The philosophy that emerged from this weakness in the understanding of the nature of God was that only like could know like and only like could love like. Thus the gods could fall in love with humans, but unnaturally. The entire process ends in the argument that for Christ to atone for the sins of men, he could only have been God. This is the concept being addressed in the New Testament comments of Paul where he says:

1Corinthians 1:17-25 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (KJV)

 

Why was Christ crucified a stumbling block unto the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks? The simple answer was that Messiah came in weakness to atone for the Jews and the Gentiles alike and died without conquering the Romans. The Greeks thought the notion was foolishness because the concept of a Messiah being so weak that he was crucified with no conquest or power and no evident status as God meant that he could not atone for humans towards God or have a relationship with God. This was based on the notion that only a god could atone for those in relationship with or be reconciled to another god. This argument has continued in the thinking of the Greek schools that produced the Trinity.

 

The argument is false from the following grounds. The entire sacrificial system was set up to point towards Christ and to atone for Israel on an ongoing basis. The sacrificial system is explained in the paper The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106b). Messiah was represented in this system and each of the sacrifices represented aspects of Messiah’s atonement.

 

Messiah was sent by God to atone for Israel, not because he was an immortal eternal being, as is erroneously put, but because God wanted a leader with those qualities – one who would demonstrate the love He was capable of generating from His nature.

 

The leader of Israel in the aspect of atoning priest was the High Priest. That priest could not approach God but once a year and only he could enter the Holy of Holies and only with the blood of the sacrifice. The altar was cleansed every day by the blood of a bullock (Ex. 29:36). There is no doubt that the sacrifice was accepted (Lev. 1:4). This was to atone for known and unwitting sin. The atonement was set aside by the Elders of Israel and the offenders, whether prince or commoner were forgiven (Lev. 4:13-18, 20, 22-35; 5:6-10), as with the priest (Lev. 6:7; 9:7). The offering was most holy and God gave it to bear the iniquity of the congregation to make atonement before the Lord (Lev. 10:17). Offerings could be for purposes of purification and the objects of sacrifice could vary from lambs to pigeons to doves (Lev. 12:6-8). It was the priest’s responsibility to make the offering (Lev. 14:12-32).

 

The High Priest (symbolised by Aaron) made the atonement offering behind the veil of the Temple or Tabernacle (Lev. 16:6-34). This atonement was for the cleansing of Israel through a blood sacrifice. The covenant made with Israel pointed towards a more perfect system, which was still God’s covenant with mankind through Israel (see the paper The Covenant of God (No. 152)). Jeremiah prophesied concerning the covenant and the blood sacrifice. The symbolism is seen from Hebrews 8:3-6.

Hebrews 8:3-6  For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (KJV)

 

This fact of the replication of the celestial system explains why there were specific numbers in the priesthood and why there were twenty-four divisional High Priests with a twenty-fifth general High Priest. There were twenty-four Elders in the Council of the Elohim under Jesus Christ as High Priest. These things were understood to be part of the celestial structure.

 

Christ, as High Priest, had to have a blood sacrifice. That could only be accomplished by his becoming human. The concept of Christ as the blood sacrifice and the body of salvation is seen from John 6:58. He was the bread, which came down from Heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died, but he who eats this bread will live forever. We saw that manna was the prototype and that the bread was from Heaven. Christ stated that the breaking and taking of this bread was as his body. The blood was the necessary blood sacrifice. The use of the symbolism of the bread and the wine conveyed many important illustrations to spiritual Israel.

 

The concept of Christ’s covenant being with blood means that the sacrifice can only be once, as spirit is not flesh and bone. Christ could only have sacrificed, or have been sacrificed, once and for all. He could only assume humanity once, even though he could assume the form and did so often. Also there could be no blood sacrifice in the spiritual realm. No spirit could achieve that, except in human form. Therefore, the rebellion in the Hosts – the entire rebellion – of necessity had to have one Being become flesh in order to die, and Satan was not prepared to lower his position or to sacrifice for his charges. The Being that was prepared to offer that sacrifice, from the physical model of the Temple, had to be, or be made, the High Priest. The High Priest was recognised as the Lamb and the Redeemer by the Council of the Elders in Revelation chapters 4 and 5. Christ was prepared to obey God and to make that sacrifice, and thus Christ was found worthy.

 

This typology was found in the Cain and Abel analogy where Abel’s sacrifice was more acceptable than Cain’s sacrifice. There was no self-sacrifice in the fallen Host. Our leadership is one of self-sacrifice, of laying down our lives for our brothers as Christ our leader did. We thus become elohim as he became elohim (Zech. 12:8) as a son of God in power through the Holy Spirit from his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).

 

Now, the argument that says that anyone less than God being sacrificed is not good enough strikes at the very power and omnipotence of God. Fear not you worm Jacob.

Isaiah 41:14 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. (KJV)

 

God can determine by what means He will accept humanity and only God can determine that fact. If God wanted mankind to be redeemed by anything, that object would be adequate.

 

The fact of the matter is that the Bible is specific that the redeemer of Israel is an angel.

Genesis 48:14-16  And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. (KJV)

 

Israel was redeemed by an elohim who was an angel. This passage is clear on that fact. Job also notes the redemption by one of the thousand.

Job 33:21-24   His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen; and his bones which were not seen stick out. 22 His soul draws near the Pit, and his life to those who bring death. 23  If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him; 24  and he is gracious to him, and says, `Deliver him from going down into the Pit, I have found a ransom; (RSV)

 

The ransom is thus payable by a mediator who is an angel, being one of the thousand. The notion that such a sacrifice is inadequate stems from outside of the Bible. It is contrary to the express word and intent of Scripture. The purposes served by the supposed elevation of Messiah to equality with God are not God’s or Messiah’s purposes. They are satanic. They seek to negate the adequacy of Christ’s activities and accuse God. They seek to negate the entire Old Testament Law and prophecy, as it points to Messiah.

 

Christ’s atonement was ordained by God (Lk. 2:30-31; Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:3-12,17-22; 2:4-10; Col. 1:19-20; 1Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). Hence, its adequacy is beyond question. It is a mystery (1Cor. 2:7) but within a context (1Pet. 1:8-12).

 

Christ’s sacrifice was to be made once only (Heb. 7:27; 9:24-28; 10:10,12,14; 1Pet. 3:18).

 

Christ was the redeemer spoken of by Israel. We see this redemption from a number of texts (Mat. 20:28; Acts 20:28; Gal. 3:13; 1Tim. 2:6; Heb. 9:12; Rev. 5:9).

 

The sacrifice is a direct typology (cf. Gen. 4:4 with Heb. 11:4; Gen. 22:2 with Heb. 11:17,19; Ex. 12:5,11,14 with 1Cor. 5:7; Ex. 24:8 with Heb. 9:20; Lev. 16:30,34 with Heb. 9:7,12,28; Lev. 17:11 with Heb. 9:22; see also Naves Topical Bible, ‘Atonement’, p. 85)

 

God spoke by the prophets and gave Scripture that must be fulfilled by Messiah. Indeed, it was Messiah himself who spoke God’s words to the prophets (Jn. 1:18).

 

The understanding of the sacrifice of Christ is a mystery of God given to the elect (Mk. 4:11).

 

No man can come to Christ except the Father draws him or gives him to Christ and Christ will raise them up on the last day (Jn. 6:44; see also vv. 37,65). They are taught by God and then go to Christ (Jn. 6:45).

 

Christ was not The God. He came to glorify The God and to finish the work that God gave him to do (Jn. 17:4). The sacrifice of Christ was according to a plan and within Scripture (Jn. 19:28). Paul shows that Christ was raised and empowered by God.

 

Romans 10:3-9 For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. 5 Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); 9 because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (RSV)

 

If we believe that God raised Christ from the dead we will be saved. If we say that Christ is God and we then begin to say that Christ did not die and was not resurrected by God and that the humanity of Christ is separated from his divinity by ascribing such state to him, then we have the doctrine of Antichrist. Socrates, the Historian, says (VII, 32, p. 381) that 1John 4:2-3 was altered by those [now Trinitarians], in the early centuries, who wished to separate the humanity and death of Christ from his divinity (see Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, fn. p. 443).

 

The correct text should read:

Hereby know ye the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ came in the flesh is of God; and every spirit which separates Jesus Christ is not of God but is of Antichrist.

 

John said that no man had seen God at any time. How then can the Son be the God who sent him, and which God has been seen by no man at any time?

1John 4:9-15  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only born Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (RSV)

 

God sent the Son to be the saviour of the world. His sacrifice is adequate because God sent him, not because Christ was God.

 

Whoever confesses that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. That concept is the core of the sacrifice. Christ’s sacrifice is adequate for us because God said it was adequate. Christ went to be sacrificed because he was obedient unto death (Phil. 2:6-8). Christ qualified by his obedience to become High Priest of all and to become a son of God in power, through the Holy Spirit, by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). He was advanced by what he suffered.

 

Hebrews 9:1-28 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Hence even the first covenant was not ratified without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you." 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (RSV)

 

The death of the testator here was Christ. He was the one who gave the law to Moses. To be a will there must be a death of the testator. Christ had to die because it was he that was the mediator who spoke the law. So he had to fulfil that law and ratify it. Unless the angel who gave the law at Sinai died the law couldn’t be fulfilled. The new covenant had to have the death of the testator in order to be ratified.

 

The Bible holds that the Law was not given to Moses by God Himself but was conveyed to Moses by His angels (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 21:2). Schürer (History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, Vol. II, pp. 350-351) notes that: It was part of the perfection of His revelation that it was recorded in seventy different languages on stones erected on Mount Ebal (Deut. 28:2ff.). The Mishnah also notes this matter (mSot. 7:5) with reference to Deuteronomy 27:8 (see Schürer, ibid., fn. 46). The seventy languages correspond to the seventy nations assumed from Genesis 10 (see Tg. Ps.-Jon. on Gen. 11:7-8; Deut. 32:8; cf. Schürer, ibid.). Schürer also notes that the appointment of the seventy angels in the Book of Enoch as ‘Shepherds’ of the world is based on the assumptions concerning the seventy Gentile nations. The seventy languages are also examined in mShek. 5:1 (Mordecai was also held to understand seventy languages) (Schürer, ibid.; see also the paper Commentary on Esther (No. 63) for Messianic nature of Mordecai). The same assumptions regarding the seventy nations and languages and their division among the Host are noted in Clementine Homilies 18:4; Clementine Recognitions ii 42; Epiphanius Heresies i 5; Augustine City of God xvi 9. The Law is thus assumed to stand for the Gentiles under their angelic Host and that assumption no doubt is the basis for the placement on Mount Ebal. The Great Angel who was elohim of Israel thus gave the Law to Moses. This being was Christ.

 

Messiah sits at the right hand of God and is King and Lord because God made him so. His sacrifice was the expression of the love that God demands of his leaders and sons. Only by laying down his power as a son of God and enduring a lesser and painful existence and death could he demonstrate the qualities that God wants of His elect.

 

 

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