4 The Eternal Sacrifices of the Godhead

Document Sample
4 The Eternal Sacrifices of the Godhead Powered By Docstoc
					                                 The Eternal Sacrifices of the Godhead
                       Focus on the Sacrifice of the Father: HE IS GOD ALONE

“When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the
infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition.”
{SC 35.4}

“He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His.” {DA 25.2}

“We must seek to understand the infinite sacrifice He made in order to save the race from eternal death.
He laid aside His robes of royalty, His high command, His riches, and for our sake became poor, that we
might come into possession of an immortal inheritance.” {RH, July 9, 1901 par. 3}

“What speech is to thought, so is Christ to the invisible Father…” (MS 77, 1899) {5BC 1131.6}

What are the Eternal, everlasting sacrifices each member of the Godhead
made? What eternal sacrifice did the Father make equal to that of Christ?

“Satan had accused God of requiring self-denial of the angels, when He knew nothing of
what it meant Himself, and when He would not Himself make any self-sacrifice for others.
This was the accusation that Satan made against God in heaven; and after the evil one was expelled
           he continually charged the Lord with exacting service which He would not
from heaven,

render Himself . Christ came to the world to meet these false accusations, and to reveal the Father.”
{1SM 406.2}

The character of God the Father vindicated by His infinite sacrifice

As speech is to thought, so do the manifestations of Jesus reveal to us The Father. The Father and Jesus
are one; “They are one in purpose, in mind, in character.” Therefore as we have discussed Jesus making
an eternal, infinite sacrifice it is manifest that each Person of the Godhead has also made an Eternal
Sacrifice for our redemption. We would do well to consider that God makes sacrifices, then we shall
understand that we also must heed the injunction to“be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children”
(Eph. 5:1) and make unselfish sacrifices for Love.

Satan made accusation against God that God requires His subjects to obey and do this and that, while
He Himself makes no sacrifices… EGW stated it this way:
“Satan has represented God as selfish and oppressive, as claiming all, and giving nothing, as requiring
the service of His creatures for His own glory, and making no sacrifice for their good. But the gift of
Christ reveals the Father's heart. It testifies that the thoughts of God toward us are "thoughts of peace,
and not of evil." Jer. 29:11. It declares that while God's hatred of sin is as strong as death, His love for
the sinner is stronger than death. Having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however
dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work.” {DA 57.1}

We must learn more about the sacrifices the Godhead made to save us and to win our hearts forever

We must continue to grow in intelligently understanding what sacrifices the Godhead has made to
secure our redemption. Then having our hearts melted and broken in view of the Love demonstrated to
us, we choose to serve God with our whole hearts and pray to Him to take away all remaining vestiges of
sin and evil tendencies. It is “when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice” made in our
behalf and meditate upon these things, that we will experience more advanced progress in making the
choices and sacrifices that are necessary on our part to receive more and more of the Latter Rain of
God’s Spirit as it is even now being poured out - until we will be filled to the full measure by the full
revelation of grace of Jesus Christ.

With these purposes in mind, let us contemplate more of what we can know about the eternal sacrifices
of each Person of the Godhead.

The Eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

Though He is still God Almighty, Jesus is eternally a human man; and as a man, He will forever be subject
to and dependent upon God the Father – whereas in the beginning He was equal to God the Father in
every way and was not subject to law or dependent upon the Father for life.

From eternity past Christ was God “in the Highest Sense”

“Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all,
blessed forevermore. The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct
person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven.” {1SM 247.3}

Christ was God “in the Highest sense”; before His incarnation as a man, He was in “the form of God”

“Christ was under no obligation to become man's sacrifice. He was above law. But he took upon him the
form of a servant, and went without the camp, bearing our reproach.” {ST, July 15, 1880 par. 12}

“The Son of God came voluntarily to accomplish the work of atonement. There was no obligatory yoke
upon Him, for He was independent and above all law. The angels, as God's intelligent messengers,
were under the yoke of obligation; no personal sacrifice of theirs could atone for the guilt of fallen man.
Christ alone was free from the claims of the law to undertake the redemption of the sinful race. He
had power to lay down His life and to take it up again. "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not
robbery to be equal with God."
   Yet this glorious Being loved the poor sinner and took upon Himself the form of a servant, that He
might suffer and die in man's behalf. Jesus might have remained at His Father's right hand, wearing His
kingly crown and royal robes. But He chose to exchange all the riches, honor, and glory of heaven for the
poverty of humanity, and His station of high command for the horrors of Gethsemane and the
humiliation and agony of Calvary. He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that by His
baptism of suffering and blood He might purify and redeem a guilty world. "Lo, I come," was the joyful
assent, "to do Thy will, O My God." {4T 120.3, 121.1}

Christ consented to make Himself subject to God forever

Christ was independent (not dependent) and not a subject, whose responsibility it is to obey.
But now, since His incarnation, death and resurrection, behold what the Bible says about His estate
1 Corinthians 15:24-28 “Then cometh the end, when (Christ) shall have delivered up the kingdom to
God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
 For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
 For “He hath put all things under His feet”. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest
that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the          Son also Himself be subject
unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”

Can we ever truly comprehend the eternal wonder that Jesus, Who “was God essentially and in the
Highest sense” would become a man forever to win our hearts, so none could ever say, that God
required “the service of His creatures for His own glory” but made “no sacrifice for their good”?

Jesus voluntarily became one with a race of created beings whose whole duty it is to reverence and
obey God... “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments:
for this is the whole duty of man. “ (Eccl. 12:13)

How wonderfully blessed we are to be human, with Christ standing as “the Head of Humanity”

And verily it must truly be wonderful to be a human if God should consent to be one of us forever…
Remember, He knew all of this when He made us; Jesus knew He would join us!

“God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God and is capable of partaking
of the divine nature, of co-operating with his Creator and executing His plans…” {5T 311.4}
“No other creature that God has made is capable of such improvement, such refinement, such nobility
as man.” {AG 278.4}

“The works of His creation upon each successive day were called good; but man, formed in the image of
his Creator, was pronounced "very good." No other creature that God has made has called forth such
exhibitions of His love. And when all was lost by sin, God gave His dear Son to redeem the fallen race. It
was His will that they should not perish in their sins, but live to use their powers in blessing the world
and honoring their Creator.” {4T 562.4}

And Christ has given Himself to the Human race, to stand as “the Head of humanity” to be “our example
in all things”; including how to Love serve and honor our Creator.

The Eternal sacrifice of the Holy Ghost:

The Holy Spirit existed for all eternity. In the Holy Scriptures He is called “the Eternal Spirit”. Yet, He is
identified as “The Holy Spirit of Christ” and was not separate and independent from Christ until the
Incarnation, when Jesus “emptied Himself”.

Before Jesus came to earth, the scriptures tell us that Jesus existed “In the form of God”. In the
incarnation we are further told that when Jesus “emptied Himself” He took upon Him “the form of a
servant”, which means “He clothed His divinity with humanity”. It was at that point that the Spirit of
Prophecy tells us that the Holy Spirit “divested” Himself of the “form” Jesus assumed in the incarnation:

“Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for
their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor
on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and
independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the
Omnipresent.” {14MR 23.3}

The Holy Ghost divested Himself of “form”: an eternal sacrifice

This is very important revelation, because it shows us the Eternal sacrifice of the Person of the Holy
Spirit. When Jesus became “cumbered with humanity”, then the Holy Spirit “divested” (or removed)
Himself of “the form of a servant”, which is humanity. This clearly shows that at this point the Holy Spirit
became separated from the form Jesus was in and thereby became independent.

Did the Holy Spirit at that time then take upon Him “the form of God” once again? No; we see in the
New Testament He is also known as the “Holy Ghost”. Though He is a distinct Person, the Holy Spirit has
no “form” seeing that He is divested of the personality of humanity and is now independent from Jesus
as a separate Person.
The Holy Ghost brought to us under angelic ministrations

The Holy Spirit dwells in us and is brought near by God’s ministers. First, the angels are foremost
charged with this work:
“The angelic agencies are messengers from heaven, actually ascending and descending, keeping earth in
constant connection with the heaven above. These angel messengers are observing all our course of
action… And whenever souls yield to the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God under these
angel ministrations, there is joy in heaven; the Lord Himself rejoices with singing.” {1SM 96.2}

The Holy Golden Oil conveyed into our hearts, so that we can in turn impart to others

Then, as we receive the Holy Spirit from God’s heavenly angelic ministers, we then are to impart the
light and grace of “Christ’s Spirit” and “the church becomes a light bearer in the world”; “from the
holy ones that stand in God's presence, His Spirit is imparted to human
instrumentalities that are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to
communicate light and power to God's people. It is to receive blessing for us that they stand in God's
presence. As the olive trees empty themselves into the golden pipes, so the heavenly messengers seek
to communicate all that they receive from God. The whole heavenly treasure awaits our demand and
reception; and as we receive the blessing, we in our turn are to impart it.” {TM 510.1}

He embraces His family through us

The eternal sacrifice of the Person of the Holy Spirit is that He eternally embraces His family, not in His
own form, but as dwelling in the other members of God’s family: In the Father and in the Son, through
the heavenly angels and in us.
“The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it
to them…” {AA 52.1} We can never understand how the Holy Ghost is Jesus’ own Spirit, the Soul of His
Life and is yet the separate, third Person of the Godhead. While we cannot understand the nature of His
Divine Being, we know that He made an everlasting sacrifice, equal to that of Jesus and the Father. We
can understand more of the sacrifice which must be endured, to not be of the same nature as those
Who He loves when we study what is revealed about the ETERNAL sacrifice of the Father.

The Eternal sacrifice of God the Father:

"And the counsel of peace shall be between them both." The love of the Father, no less than of the Son,
is the fountain of salvation for the lost race. Said Jesus to his disciples, before he went away, "I say not
unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you." [JOHN 16:26, 27.] God
was "in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." [2 COR. 5:19.] And in the ministration in the
sanctuary above, "the counsel of peace shall be between them both." "God so loved the world, that he
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
life." [JOHN 3:16.] {GC88 416.4}

We understand clearly that the sacrifice the Father made in giving Jesus to the human race, to die in our
place, was an equally “painful process” for Him even as it was for Jesus. Did this pain, this sacrifice of
giving “His only begotten Son” consist alone with Christ’s shameful death upon the cross? It cannot be,
because Christ was resurrected and received again into the presence of the Father with exceeding joy.

The Father’s sacrifice did not end at the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Son

“Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ's agony;
but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to
our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.” {Ed 263.1}

To understand more of the eternal sacrifice the Father made, and is yet enduring, in that He GAVE Jesus
to us (“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” Isa. 9:6) we must look at what has been
revealed concerning another one of God’s sons… Adam.

What we can learn from the experience of Adam about the sacrifice of the Father

When Adam was created He was perfect in every way, He was made in the image of God. The most
important aspect of being made in the image of God was that He was partaker of the Divine Nature: He
had the Mind of God and of Christ.

This was manifest when God caused all of the animals to present before Adam so that He might name
them. It was then that the Lord God “brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and
whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

Adam’s mind was so in tune with the Divine mind, that whatever name Adam called every living
creature, that was the name God had already intended it should have. But God had another purpose in
mind in causing all of the living creatures to pass before Adam. As this happened Adam intently
observed something. After “every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw
that to each had been given a companion, but among them "there was not found an help meet for
him." Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man.” {PP

How was it that Adam was “alone”?

When God saw that Adam looked for and desired one such as himself and found none, a loving God said,
"It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." God declared that
even in the perfection and glorious bliss of Eden, man could not be completely satisfied, being alone.
But was Adam alone in the normal sense we think of as being alone; did he have no creature to talk to
but the beasts of the earth, who could not respond in his manner of communication?

No! Adam held communion with Jesus and with angels from heaven! “The holy pair [Adam and Eve]
were not only children under the fatherly care of God, but students receiving instruction from the all-
wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no
obscuring veil between.” {CE 207.1}
 Adam had fellowship with angels and God Himself. They could talk to each other and freely
communicate, yet God said “It is not good that the man should be alone…” What is the principle God is
referring to here? And as we understand this, we shall begin to understand more of the infinite sacrifice
made by the Father in giving us Jesus, for Adam in his perfection had the mind of God.

A social being desires one of “the same nature” to experience satisfying companionship

Consider this revelation from the Spirit of Prophecy:
“Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship the
beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even
communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There
was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.” {PP 46.1}

Here it is revealed that God understood that only when holding communion with one “of the same
nature” is a “social being” satisfied in his “desire for sympathy and companionship”.

Jesus, our Companion

Immediately following the quote above, EGW uses these words: “God Himself gave Adam a
companion.” We belief that here EGW clearly uses a literary allusion to the prophetic words Abraham
spoke to Isaac concerning what God would do, saying, “God will provide Himself a Lamb for a burnt
offering”. God Himself did give Adam a companion in Eve, who became Adam’s wife. Most importantly
though, God gave Jesus to be our Companion and Example in all things.

“This is our work; it is to keep the eye fixed upon the glory of God, and be constantly seeking to yoke up
with Christ as our companion and friend.” {RH, July 12, 1887 par. 2}

“And yet this is the way we treat Jesus. We forget that He is our companion.” {ST, January 9, 1893 par.

God gave us a Companion in the unspeakable gift of Jesus Christ; One Who shares our nature and Who
can sympathize with us and understand all of our feelings. In giving Jesus to us to share our nature, God
consented that Christ should empty Himself of His first estate - “the form of God”… Jesus laid aside the
nature or “form” He possessed which was the same as the Father.
God the Father: “the only true God”, He is GOD ALONE

Verily, verily Jesus will be eternally capable of completely satisfying God the Father’s desire for
sympathy and companionship. Yet, can we consider the Father’s sacrifice in giving Jesus to us…in that
now it remaineth none completely like Himself? We can never truly understand the eternal sacrifice
involved in this demonstration of love. This would not be the sacrifice which it is if it had not been that
from eternity Christ had been with the Father in a wonderfully incomprehensible communion of Love.

“In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that
there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God.” {ST, August 29, 1900
par. 15}
We can never fully appreciate the sacrifice of the Father in giving us Jesus, but we can love and
appreciate Him more as we see more and more of His selfless love for us. God has given us the
institution of marriage and the human relation of bearing children so that we can begin to understand
the unity which existed and yet exists between God the Father and Christ. How must God feel, that
because of sin, and to have His universe secure from future apostasy, He suffered Jesus, Whom God
called “the man that is My fellow” (Zech13:7), Who was “God essentially and in the highest sense” and
of His same nature (“being in the form of God”) to make an infinite sacrifice so that now God reveals
Him as “My righteous Servant” (Isa. 53:11)? Because of sin, God the Father from henceforth, must be
God Alone.

Said our Lord Jesus, “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and
Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” John 17:3

The eternal sacrifices of the Godhead demonstrate the Divine attributes of Justice and Mercy

The eternal sacrifices of each of the three Persons of the Godhead are called forth by the character of
the Living God. The great Mercy shown to us in the gift of Christ and the sacrifice endured by the
Persons of the Godhead demonstrates before all the universe that God is Love. Yet, Mercy could not
have been exercised in our behalf unless the full claims of Justice had been satisfied. God is Love, but His
character of Love is revealed no less in the majesty of His Justice than in His great Mercy – He is
honoring the precepts of His Holy Law – demonstrating His perfect character, which are a perpetual
safeguard to the inhabitants of His everlasting Kingdom which shall have no end. In the sacrifices of
Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Ghost we see revealed, “Mercy and truth are met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
This is “the combined power of Mercy and Justice” {RH, Dec. 13, 1892 par. 7}:

“In His incarnation He had reached the prescribed limit as a sacrifice, but not as a Redeemer.”

“Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed
humanity.” {7BC 915.3}
“The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is "the Lamb slain from
the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8); yet it was a struggle, even with the King of the universe,
to yield up His Son to die for the guilty race. But "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
Oh, the mystery of redemption! the love of God for a world that did not love Him! Who can know the
depths of that love which "passeth knowledge"? Through endless ages immortal minds, seeking to
comprehend the mystery of that incomprehensible love, will wonder and adore.” {PP 63.3}

Additional information and Bible studies under this topic:
   - Essential EGW quotes on the pain and sacrifice of God
   - The Holy Spirit “in a bodily shape like a dove” and the ministration of angels
   - More about Angel ministrations: Greater appreciation for their work will prove helpful as we will
        co-labor with all of heaven in the finishing work on earth.