My dear Brethren: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) Few babes in all Judea or in all the world were born in a more humble place than Jesus. Joseph and Mary had gone to their native city, Bethlehem, for tax registration, under the imperial edict. The little city was crowded with others on similar errand. And so it came that Jesus was born in a cattle stall, where Joseph and Mary had been compelled to lodge for the night. Ah! we cannot wonder that it is difficult for many to understand why our Heavenly Father sent forth His Son for our redemption under such ignominious conditions! The Message of the angels was surely an inspired one, fully in harmony with God’s promise to Abraham – only an enlarged statement of the same, the same sense, the same to “all people” to be blessed – and it was still good tidings and it still meant great joy; but now, two thousand years later, the Message pointed out the very individual through whom the good tidings would have fulfillment – the Babe of Bethlehem. “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice,” the angel of the Lord told Abraham. (Gen. 22:18) “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29)
FEAR NOT! – GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY
The angelic announcement, “Fear not,” is interesting. All human beings realize that they are sinners and naturally have forebodings. They find it difficult to believe that God is really gracious and loving. The gods of the heathen nations are ferocious, unloving and unlovable. But the God of all grace, the Father of mercies, is a God of love, who delights to use His Divine power for the blessing and uplifting of His erring children. There He was peculiar in sending the Message of “good tidings of great joy unto all people,” as well as in sending His Only Begotten Son at great cost to be man’s Redeemer – that He might be just and still be the justifier of those who believe. (Rom. 3:26)
There is a special force or meaning in this word Savior – it signifies life-giver. The Aramaic version is the language which was spoken by Jesus and others of Palestine at that time. And is there not a special fitness of appropriateness in this name life-giver? What had man lost, and what would he wish to have back? The Scriptures answer that Adam lost life and came under the penalty, “Dying, thou shalt die.” He did not lose heaven for he never possessed it. He lost earthly life, an Eden home, human perfection. And Jesus declared that He “came to seek and to recover that which was lost.” (Matt. 18:11; Luke 19:10)
Hence, as we have seen, He was provided with a perfect human life, that “he by the grace of God might taste death for every man,” and that by thus suffering, the just for the unjust, the penalty of the sinner, He might become the purchaser or the Redeemer of Adam and all his race, with a full right to restore to perfect life and all that was lost as many as would receive it at His hand – thankfully. Throughout His entire Messianic reign of a thousand years He will be the world’s Life-Giver, raising the willing and obedient up out of sin and death conditions to perfection and everlasting life and earthly, human blessings.
THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS
In Luke 2:14 we have a kind of Hallelujah chorus or angelic response to the Message of the angel already given. A heavenly host sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” How grand! How inspiring! But we see not yet this glorious condition achieved. The proper glory to God is not yet rendered on earth as it is in heaven. Nor does peace yet wave her banner – not even in so-called Christian nations. The glorious reign has not yet begun as is witnessed by all. It won’t be until the “fire” of this “Time of Trouble” has consumed this present “evil world.” “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens [the present ecclesiastical powers] being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements [the social order of which we are composed] shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we according to His promise, look for new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Pet. 3:11‑13)
LIFE A GREAT BOON EVEN NOW
The question has been asked: How is the love of God to be seen from the standpoint of a deliberate arrangement beforehand which, in its outworking, has involved so vast an amount of sin, suffering and death? In thinking of this question, one should first rid himself wholly of the erroneous thought that sin, suffering and dying are only preludes to an eternity of woe. Then we are to remember that God is not in any way our debtor. We are His debtors, even for our existence; He owes the race nothing.
Suppose that we could disabuse all minds of the idea of eternal torture or of a purgatory of suffering after death, and should then say to them, Consider, now: Would you prefer to live on for a few years more, or would you rather die at once? Or, suppose we put it this way: Are you glad that you have an existence, or would you rather that you had never been born? We believe that the great majority would reply that they desire to live, that they prefer to live as long as possible. They do not wish to die, either today or tomorrow or next year; indeed they would never die if they could help it!
Those who feel that they would be glad to die, or who wish that they had never been born, are those who have had more than ordinarily evil and unhappy experiences; or else they are unbalanced in mind. Many have not so much money as they would like, not so pleasant surroundings and conditions as some have and as they would wish to have. Still life is sweet; and they hold on to it with as firm a grip as possible. Love of life is inherent in man, and has survived even the sorrowful experiences consequent to the fall.
WHY GOD PERMITS THE PRESENT REIGN OF SIN
But why does God permit things to be as they are? This has ever been one of the perplexing problems to the minds of those who have still sufficient faith to believe in the existence of a Supreme Creator. We do not know that we can make it clearer than in our tract, “The Permission of Evil” (free upon request), but we enumerate a few points here. Putting ourselves in God’s place, we are able to see that He must create man either without moral faculties, like the lower animals, or else with mental and moral faculties capable of appreciating the standards of right and wrong, of appreciating his Creator, with power to reason and to choose between good and evil – between obedience and disobedience to that Creator.
Having previously brought into existence the brute creation, God wished to create a nobler order of beings, creatures in His own image and likeness (Gen.1:26), on the earthly plane of life. He purposed to have a race of beings who were perfect like the angels, able to appreciate the same moral standards, the same principles of righteousness. The question might be asked: How could God so create these beings that they would not be in danger of sometime falling into sin? Evidently, it was not God’s purpose so to create them. He desired that they should posses the quality of free moral agency, the power to exercise their own wills for either righteousness or unrighteousness.
At the time of the creation of man, Lucifer, Son of the Morning, began to cherish ambitious designs, disloyal to his Maker. He realized that a race on a lower plane of existence than himself might be induced to choose a course at variance with the expressed will of God – their Creator. Before man’s creation God had foreseen that Lucifer would deflect from the path of obedience, would become a rebel against His righteous government, and that as the result evil would break forth later in His empire. He foresaw that through the influence of the rebellious Lucifer (thenceforth Satan – adversary, accuser, hater) man would become disobedient and fall from the condition of perfection.
Knowing this, and doing man no injustice, but creating him with full ability to resist temptation, God so arranged and timed the creation of man that he would be an object of attack by Satan, who would take advantage of the inexperience of father Adam and mother Eve and seek to capture the entire race of man. In other words, God purposed to permit this test to come to man, and knowing that Adam would fail in the testing and thus incur the penalty of death, He designed to make the experience of the race an object lesson to all His created intelligences, and at the same time to so overrule the matter that the human family would themselves eventually be delivered from the evil results of the fall and be greatly blessed, if they would profit by the lessons learned in their bitter experiences with sin, and would come back into harmony with righteousness.
TIME AN IMPORTANT FEATURE
God’s infinite wisdom could not approve any as worthy of everlasting life who would not prove themselves to be in full accord with His Divine law. The nature of sin is to propagate itself and to produce misery and degradation. With this knowledge God arranged in advance to let man have his own way. He foreknew that intelligent beings with liberty of choice and of will would eventually, if untaught and unrestricted, fall into sin, even though a penalty was attached to disobedience. He chose not to restrain Lucifer.
The plan of God is so comprehensive that it cannot be viewed and judged from the standpoint of a few years – not even of a thousand years or six thousand years. It must be viewed from the standpoint of eternity. It was arranged, not for the well-being of creatures who would live for a few years or a few centuries, but for those who would live throughout eternal ages. His plan must, therefore, be laid so broadly as to include all time and all beings created in His likeness, for His glory and their own eternal good.
Our Creator is a God of infinite love and sympathy; but from the beginning He knew that man would fall, and that He Himself could overrule the entire matter for the ultimate blessing and instruction of men and angels – all His created intelligences; and He purposed so to do. We ourselves know that sin and death with all their direful effects have prevailed in the world for six thousand years. We also know that our God is at the helm, and that all things will be made to work out for good in the end (Rom. 8:28). We think of the flood as a terrible overthrow, because so many lives were lost. Yet the calamity would have been far greater if one half had been left to mourn for the others. It is claimed that men do not suffer very much when drowning – that death by this means is comparatively easy.
Six thousand years of sin, sorrow and death seem a long while for humanity to suffer. Yet the majority of the race have not lived beyond the age of twenty years. Perhaps one-half have not lived to the age of five. Very few have reached the age of one hundred years. We all have seasons of comparative comfort, blessing and enjoyment; even under present conditions, God has been very merciful. And from the viewpoint of the glorious future, with its marvelous opportunities of blessing, its hope of eternal life for man, and its great lessons learned for all eternity by all of God’s intelligent creatures, the reign of sin and death presents an altogether different aspect from what could otherwise be had.
In permitting the long reign of sin and its train of evils, God has been showing forth the principles of His government, that all may clearly discern in time what are the inevitable results of disobedience to their great Creator. We are sure that Adam and Eve were glad that God did not instantly carry out the sentence of death pronounced against them – although they were not permitted to live beyond the “day,” as God told them: “For in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Pet. 3:8) We are sure that they were glad to be permitted to continue their existence for many years, even after they had been driven out of the Garden of Eden; and we believe that they had many experiences of more or less happiness, in spite of the tears, the pain and sorrows that fell to their lot. Gen. 3:15 is an intimation of the ultimate recovery of mankind from the power of Satan: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
So when we view the entire history of the race of Adam, and perceive that all the experiences with sin, suffering and death are to be caused to outwork God’s glorious purposes for the world, and are designed to prove a lasting lesson to all His intelligent creatures who now exist or ever will exist, we can see why He has permitted the reign of evil which to man has seemed so long. When we see, too, that God is now choosing a very select class, of very humble and obedient ones, to be used as agencies under His only begotten Son to recover and uplift to perfection and life everlasting all the human race who will accept the gracious provisions, we can understand why He has been pleased to call this class through the “foolishness of preaching,” by very imperfect instruments. Thus He has manifested the humble ones, who will receive His message by any means which He is pleased to use, and who are glad to forsake sin and serve Him.
A SAVIOR AND A GREAT ONE
God might have said, “I will lift my curse from mankind and let them have another trial for life – an individual trial.” But even if this had been in harmony with God’s Justice, it would not have sufficed alone. Mankind has long been floundering in the mire of sin. They were powerless to profit from any new trial granted them that would not include a Redeemer, a Savior, who was strong, not only to bring about the abrogation of the death sentence by a payment of their penalty, but also to deliver them from all the bonds of sin and death in their members. He must be a savior having power to bind the great adversary who has so long held the race of man in slavery and blindness. He must heal their wounds, open their blinded eyes and their deafened ears, and lift them up, up, into the light and liberty of the sons of God. Truly, man needs a mighty savior; and such, praise God, has been provided in His beloved Son! (See Isaiah, Chapter 35 and Rev. 20:1‑3)
As we trace the various steps of the marvelous Plan of the Ages, we perceive that to all who shall gain eternal life, on whatever plane of being, the path of humility is the path to glory. “He that exalteth himself shall be abased; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14:11; 18:14) None will be granted the inestimable blessing of life everlasting who are not thoroughly proven and found worthy under testing, who do not cheerfully humble themselves under the Mighty Hand (Jesus) of God. This principle applies to both human and spirit beings. Only those who gladly obey God, out of love for Him and for His righteous laws, will be permitted to live beyond the harvest time of the Millennial Age. All others shall utterly perish. Our Lord tells us that the first of all the commandments is, “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like it, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none commandments greater than these.” (Mark 12:29‑31)
“THE TRUE LIGHT WHICH LIGHTETH EVERY MAN”
Christmas-tide always brings some lesson associated with our Savior and the great salvation, the gift of God, provided through Him. “Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) Isaiah 9:2-7 is prophetic of this great event. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light shined.” (v. 2) Appropriately, the first verse of the chapter is omitted: in Leeser’s Translation it constitutes the last verse of chapter 8.
Our lesson had no local and immediate application at the time of its delivery: it is strictly prophetical, as are indeed the preceding fifteen verses. We cannot even apply the lesson to the people and time of the First Advent; its scope is far beyond the Jewish nation, and can only be applied to the worldwide blessings which follow the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His glorious Kingdom in power and great glory. Nevertheless, there is just a bare connection with the past in the expression, “Unto us a child is born” – thus indicating the humble beginning and earliest manifestation of the great light, the Sun of Righteousness, which has not yet arisen, but whose day-star is now shining in the hearts of the faithful. (2 Pet. 1:19)
The two divisions of the first verse of the lesson in poetic form merely repeat the same thought with variations. The people that walk in darkness, who are to see the great light are practically all mankind, for “gross darkness covers the people” (Isa. 60:2) – the exception, the very small minority, the Church, as our Lord declared, is “not of the world.” (John 17:16) This broad thought is emphasized by the next statement, for the whole world surely is “the land of the shadow of death”: “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together” (Rom. 8:22) under the curse, the sentence of death which, with its accompaniments of pain and sorrow, casts a deep shadow in every heart and in every household.
Surely, the whole world needs this great light – the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord – the very light which the Apostle declares the world cannot now discern, because the eyes of their understanding are darkened by the misrepresentations and deceptions perpetrated by the god of this world, the prince of darkness. (2 Cor. 4:4; Rev. 20:3)
The fact that this is expressed in the past tense does not signify that this light has already shined, even as the statement, “Unto us a child is born,” did not signify the birth of Christ at a time prior to Isaiah’s prophecy. It is merely a usual form of prophetic statement: the standpoint is taken away off in the future, and from that future standpoint the thing to be accomplished is stated as though already done. “God calleth those things which be not as though they were.” (Rom. 4:17)
Here, then, we have a prophetic assurance of the great light of the knowledge of God coming to all mankind: and this, be it noted, is in fullest agreement with the testimony of John 1:9, that Christ “is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” The fact that every man born into the world has not yet been enlightened by this great light, so far from disparaging the statement, gives us assurance that the time is coming when to Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess (Phil. 2:8-11), and all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, and knowing Him have full responsibility or trial for everlasting life or everlasting death. (Rom. 14:11; Jer. 31:31‑34)
Isa. 9:3-5 intimates the process by which the great change shall come, and the world be prepared for the shining of the great light – the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His beams. Scholars are divided in their opinions respecting a proper translation of the first sentence of the third verse. The majority seem to favor the translation given by the Revised Version, “Thou hast increased the nation, thou hast increased her joy.” Leeser’s Translation renders it, “Thou hast multiplied the nation, made great her joy.” In harmony with the context we must interpret this nation to be the world of mankind under the new administration of the Millennial Kingdom; for the kingdoms of this world will then become the kingdoms of our Lord, God’s Anointed, and many nations shall go and say “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” (Rev. 11:15; Isa. 2:3)
Thus, instead of the Lord’s empire being a typical one over a little nation of Israelites, as in the day of Isaiah’s prophecy, it will be the antitypical one in which Immanuel shall be King over all the earth, and His name great to the ends of the earth.
It is the joy of this great people that is described: it will not merely be a quiet joy of satisfaction, but an hilarious joy, as of men who are in the midst of plenty, in a harvest season; and as men rejoicing when dividing the fruits of victory. But what will be the cause of the rejoicing? The answer is given, Because from off their shoulder the great burden has been removed: the burden of sin and its curse will have been removed, and the rod of the oppressor, Satan, will be broken, and he himself then will be a captive, no longer permitted to oppress and deceive and blind mankind (Rev. 20:2).
An illustration of the process of the deliverance is given: “As in the days of Midian.” (Isa. 9:4) The suggestion obviously is that as Israel was delivered in the day of Midian by Gideon and his little band, armed with trumpets and pitchers with lights in them – by the blowing of the trumpets, the breaking of the pitchers, and the shining out of the lights – discomfiting the Midianites, so that they slew one another with great slaughter, so likewise will be the deliverance by which the Lord will bring in the new dispensation (Judges 7:19-25). Our Lord is the antitypical Gideon, and His “Little Flock” the Church of this Gospel Age, the “elect,” are the antitype of Gideon’s little army. And it will be through the intervening of these (on the other side of the veil) that the hosts of sin and the present energy of evil will be utterly discomfited and work its self-destruction through anarchy, etc., in the great Time of Trouble.
The great Time of Trouble is briefly yet graphically described in Isa. 9:5 as being more severe, more intense, than all preceding troubles, for it is declared that all such victories are expected to be with tumult and bloody garments, but this shall be with a more furious destruction, best likened to a consuming of fuel in the fire. And it will be noticed that the fury of the final conflict of this Age, which shall transfer the rule to our Prince Immanuel, is everywhere likened to a fire – throughout the prophecies and in our Lord’s parables – evidently because of the intensity of the trouble and its destructiveness.
Then comes (vs. 6 and 7) the explanation from the Lord’s side of how all these things are of His provision and supervision – beginning with the birth of our Lord as the babe born in Bethlehem; next presenting Him as God’s Son, given on our behalf, His sacrifice beginning at Jordan and culminating at Calvary. “Wherefore,” as the Apostle says, because of His obedience unto death, “him hath God highly exalted and given him a name above every [other] name” (Phil. 2:9-11) – honor, dominion and power above all others, next to His own.
The change of dispensation will be ushered in because the Father’s “times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:19-21) will have come – the time for Christ to receive honor, glory and dominion promised Him, with which He shall fulfill all the gracious things predicted by God through the prophets: hence the declaration is that then “the government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isa. 9:6) – the mantle of authority shall rest upon Him. And when He shall thus assume the control of earth’s affairs, His character of love and justice, His wisdom, and the all-power in heaven and in earth given unto Him, insure all the faithful that His reign will be a time of blessing, of peace and of joy to all who love righteousness and truth; and equally a time of burning destruction against all who shall sin willfully after having been brought to an accurate knowledge of truth. (Heb. 12:26; 1 Tim. 2:4, Dia.)
His names, His titles, representing the gracious things of which He is the representative, are brought to our attention; to all the world of mankind He will then be (and the Church, His Body, with Him) “Wonderful” – Great – beyond the power of human comprehension, as He is indeed the express image of the Father’s person. He will be the “Counselor,” whose instructions in righteousness will be satisfactory and respected by all the world of mankind seeking a return to Divine favor and full restitution. And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hear that Teacher, that Counselor, shall be cut off from among the people (Acts 3:23). He shall be called “Mighty God,” or Mighty Mighty One, for indeed in Him shall rest all the power and authority of the All-mighty One, Jehovah. He shall be called the “Father Everlasting,” because in truth He shall be a Father unto the race, a Life-Giver to all who will accept life under the terms of the New Covenant, sealed with His own precious blood. Adam, the original father of humanity, through his sin and under its sentence, failed to give lasting life to his race, and death destroyed all his offspring; but the restitution life which our Lord will give, to as many as will receive it upon His terms, will be an everlasting life, and hence He, as the giver of this life to all, will be an Everlasting Father. He shall be called the “Prince of Peace,” for although His empire will be established by a smiting of the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:27), and breaking them to pieces as a potter’s vessel, in the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known, nevertheless, every blow will be struck in the interest of peace, and His entire reign will further the ends of righteousness and peace, even though to the very end thereof there shall from time to time be destruction of the incorrigible – the wicked. (Isa. 65:20; Rev. 20:9,14,15)
Leeser’s Translation reads thus: “The Prince of Peace for promoting the increase of the government and for peace without end upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to establish it and to support it thru justice and righteousness from henceforth and unto eternity: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” In Isa. 9:7 the Millennial Kingdom is associated with the typical kingdom of David. We are to remember, however, the statement that David sat upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord – he and his kingdom were typical. The name David signifies beloved, and our Lord Jesus Himself was proclaimed as the real David – “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God hath appointed Him heir of all things, and he is David’s Lord, as David himself testified. (Heb. 1:2; Matt. 22:41-45)
We fear that there are many Christians who have lost faith, not only in the prophetic promises, but in our Lord’s and the Apostles’ exposition of them, and that such frequently pray merely with a lip service, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” But so much the more as we discern such blindness on every hand, such lack of faith, let us, the eyes of whose understandings have been opened by the Lord’s mercy, be the more faithful, the more circumspect, and the more confident, remembering that an abundant fulfilment is assured, for “The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform all this.” (Isa. 9:7)
OUR SAVIOR’S BIRTH
Not until some time after Pentecost was the “middle wall of partition” (Eph. 2:14) between Jews and Gentiles broken down, as St. Paul explains. For more than eighteen centuries previously all of God’s favor and promises were made to the Jews exclusively and only thru their prophets did He speak, and only to them. Only their kings and priests were in any sense recognized by the Lord. This was not because there were not noble minds amongst other peoples, but because, in the working out of the great Divine program the seed of Abraham was specially selected – although declared by the Lord to be a crooked and perverse people. Because they had no special revelation from God, the nobler minds amongst the other nations gave special study to the starry heavens along the lines of astronomy or astrology. The stars were charted and certain lessons were said to be learned therefrom bearing upon humanity’s welfare.
At the time of the birth of the Savior, God made some astrological sign of the momentous event, which the wise men of the East, described in our study, understood. Reverentially they followed the guiding star from their home in the East, possibly Persia. How the star led we are not informed, but apparently its leading discontinued when they reached Judea, and naturally they went to the palace of King Herod inquiring for “him that is born King of the Jews.” The mistake was quite reasonable. It required some time for us to learn that Divine favors and blessings are not always to the rich and the great, but oftenest for “the poor of this world, rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom.” (James 2:5) The filled, the rich, the satisfied, are frequently less interested in the Savior than are the poor, because they do not realize so great need for Him and for the Millennial Kingdom of righteousness and blessing which He is to establish. For that matter, however, only the comparatively few were interested at our Lord’s First Advent, as the Scriptures intimate that comparatively few will be longing for His Second Advent and the establishment of His Kingdom.
Herod affected an interest with the wise men in their search, but merely that he might thwart the Divine purpose by destroying the Child, and thus the kingdom of Israel might be preserved to his own family, as it was through his six successors who bore his name, Herod. As the announcement of Jesus the Babe troubled the great at that day, similarly, we may be sure, any announcement of Jesus as the King of Glory to take over the dominion of the world, if corroborated, would cause consternation amongst the rulers of earth today – financial, political, etc. All have unfinished plans more or less selfish, and all instinctively realize that the inauguration of a reign of absolute righteousness would interfere with their business, schemes and trusts and concerns, grafting and trickery, which are getting such a hold upon the highest civilization of our day.
The prophecies were searched and it was learned that the humble city of Bethlehem would be the honored place of our Savior’s birth. The crafty Herod feigned reverence and desire to worship the Heaven-appointed King, but only that he might subsequently destroy Him – as a little later he attempted to do in causing the slaughter of the innocents from two years old and under. (Matt. 2:16-18) But how foolish was his endeavor to thwart the Almighty!
The wise men who sought the Babe of Bethlehem with worship and gifts, symbolized, perhaps, the great fact that those are truly wise who ever since have sought the Divinely appointed King and who bring Him the incense of their devotion, and as gifts all their talents and powers. Such lay their very lives at the Savior’s feet, as St. Paul explains: “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God.” (Rom. 12:1)
The name Jesus is the Greek form for Joshua, signifying Savior; and in the Aramaic, Savior signifies life-giver. Therefore, the Babe that was born to be King of the Jews was to be the Savior, the Life-Giver of the world. He has not become the Life-Giver yet, nor the King. His great work is still future. It will be at His Second Coming that He will appear in His glory and become the King of Israel – on the spirit plane. Then, too, as the out-working of that glorious Empire which He will establish, He will be the world’s Life-Giver, its great physician, and all mankind will be blessed with the glorious opportunity of becoming “Israelites indeed.” The Empire of Sin will be overthrown and the darkness, ignorance and superstition connected therewith will be dissolved in the glorious light of truth and grace which then will overspread the world.
GOD’S GLORIOUS CHARACTER REVEALED
Then the holy in every sphere of life, in every part of the mighty universe of God, shall ascribe glory, honor and praise to His glorious Son throughout the Ages of Eternity. All will then see and acknowledge how marvelous was Jehovah’s plan of redemption, how far beyond the power of fallen man to fathom. The majesty and glory of the Divine character will stand revealed – His unswerving justice combined with infinite compassion, His glorious wisdom, His marvelous love, His mighty power. Then all will bow before him and will adore!
“When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
“Transported with the view, I’m lost
In wonder, love and praise!”
May all our readers have a blessed Holiday Season. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Cor. 9:15)
Sincerely your brother, John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
(Reprint No. 270, December 1977)