The Sin Question and The Old & New Covenant
J. Wilfred Johnson
"It is not fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour's matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary's cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.
As the shepherd goes before his sheep, himself first encountering the perils of the way, so does Jesus with His people. `When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them.`` The way to heaven is consecrated by the Saviour`s footprints. The path may be steep and rugged, but Jesus has traveled that way; His feet have pressed down the cruel thorns, to make the pathway easier for us. Every burden that we called to bear He Himself has borne.
Though now He has ascended to the presence of God, and shares the throne of the universe, Jesus has lost none of His compassionate nature. Today the same tender, sympathizing heart is open to all the woes of humanity.” Desire of Ages, 480.
Page 89 PANORAMA OF TRUTH – Volume One
The Sin Question and The Old & New Covenant
“We will now continue to consider further aspects of the sin question and the plan of salvation. There are two covenants revealed in the Scriptures: the old and the new. The old covenant was revealed primarily in the Old Testament, and was delivered in literal form through Moses on Mount Sinai where he met with Christ literally, and received the law engraved on two tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
The participants of this covenant were the children of Israel and God—that is, Christ. God promised His people that if they would obey Him He would bless them, but if they disobeyed He would permit their enemies to overtake them and punish them; and the people promised to do all that the Lord commanded.
Under this covenant God dealt with the children of Israel as children. It was a very matter-of-fact arrangement and was quite mechanical in its function. Through the work or the workings of this covenant, God taught His people the importance of obedience. He laid down the law, as it were, to His children, and exercised a balance of discipline and mercy to encourage them to obey. But in the main, obedience was rendered on the basis of fear of consequences. When thoroughly frightened they turned to God and re-affirmed their intention to obey.
But also at the time that this great covenant was delivered, God instituted a vast system of ordinances, designed to teach His people the seriousness of sin and to foreshadow to them the essentials of the remarkable new covenant, to be more fully revealed in the New Testament. Israel learned that their sins could be forgiven; but they could only be forgiven through the shedding of the blood of an innocent substitute. When a man sinned he had to take an innocent animal, one without blemish, one to which perhaps he had become very closely attached and had learned to love as the most beautiful of his flock – he had to take this animal, and slay it. Its blood had to be shed. This animal had to bear the penalty of his transgression before he could be forgiven.
He learned that sin was not automatically destroyed, but that it had to be transferred to another where it stained the sanctuary of God; and that only through the shedding of blood could that sanctuary eventually be cleansed. The whole picture of the animal sacrificial system of the Old Testament was a gruesome and revolting
one. It portrayed the awfulness of sin and its terrible penalty; and that sinful man could live only through the substitutionary death of an Innocent One. Of course, we recognize that this animal was but a symbol or type of the real Lamb of God.
But this covenant was found faulty. It was not faulty because of any failure on the part of God to set it up correctly in the first place; but it was faulty because man was a participant in it, and man failed to keep his part of the bargain. Each Israelite learned that he did not have the power in himself to keep the law of God. He learned that he could not earth his own salvation.
Being found faulty, the covenant was ready to vanish away and be replaced by a new one. The old covenant has been discarded only in the sense that man was not able to keep his promise. The promise of God still holds.
But under the new covenant two changes have been made; First – man is no longer a participant but is a recipient. The covenant was an agreement between God the Son and God the Father, not between God and man; and in this covenant God promises to do something at the request of His Son. And the second difference – the punishment for transgression does not fall upon the sinner but upon Christ Himself. These are the two essential differences between the old covenant and the new.
Let us take a closer look at this. The Lord says, a new covenant will I make with them in those days. I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sins no more; I will put my laws within their hearts. [cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Heb 8:8-12].
This is essentially the message of the gospel. It is the promise of forgiven sins and the gift of a changed heart. The penalty of transgression has been removed from the man who confesses his sins, and is placed upon the Sin-bearer – Christ, the spotless Lamb of God.
Christ bears the penalty of eternal death and provides His eternal life for the benefit of the repentant sinner. And through this act of substitution, provision is made for man to be born into the family f God and thereby to inherit the righteousness, or rather the righteous character of Christ; and this character he receives through the sprinkling of the spiritual blood of inheritance. The character of Christ, which is inherited, is the character of self-denying love; and thereby he obtains the power to obey his Sovereign.
Under the new covenant, the law of God is expressed in a new commandment which Jesus gave to His disciples, namely: “That ye love one another; . . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart, . . . and your neighbor as yourself.” [John 15:12; Matt. 22:37]. The heart is the seat of the affections – the emotions. Wherein the new covenant promises the law to be placed in the heart, it means that the law of self-denying love will take possession of the man’s heart. It will become the overruling emotion, and henceforth his actions will be motivated by this principle. Let us again take a look at this a little more closely.
Under the old covenant, man usually attempted to obey God’s laws because he was afraid of the punishment he would receive if he disobeyed. But God did not desire to have his creatures serve Him from fear. If He had wanted this He could have avoided the painful plan of salvation, for He could have destroyed Lucifer in the very beginning, and all His remaining creatures would have served Him from fear of death. Service on this basis was not satisfactory as was shown through the experience of Israel.
All parents prefer to have their children obey them out of respect and out of love rather than out of fear of punishment. But in order to guarantee, without any question of doubt, that all God’s people will serve Him out of love and not through fear of consequences, God did the only thing which would certainly guarantee this; namely, He removed the penalty of transgression from man. The Son of God – the Lord Jesus Christ – took upon Himself the punishment for man’s transgressions, leaving man without condemnation. Man is now free from the penalty of the law under the provisions of the new covenant.
A Serious Error of Mainstream Protestantism
At precisely this point is where most of the popular Protestant churches of today make a serious error. They say that because the penalty of the law is removed from man when his sins are confessed, we need no longer keep the law of God, for sin is not imputed to us. In this fact itself they do not err, for our sins may be forgiven unto “seventy times seven” – that is, indefinitely. But the error lies in their failure to recognize a very important contingent truth, which truth is, I believe, practically exclusive or practically an exclusive possession of Seventh-day Adventists.
It is the truth about the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary service. For while man need no longer fear the penalty of the law, which is eternal death, and hence need no longer worry about keeping the commandments in order to earn his salvation, nevertheless, there is a very definite condition under which alone he can receive the forgiveness of his transgressions of that holy law. And that condition is that he permit the Son of God to accept the penalty of his transgression in his place.
Our Protestant brethren believe that Jesus accepted this penalty once, for all – for all mankind – on the cross; and we believe that too. But that places the penalty so far away from our present sins that somehow we do not see the importance of refusing to sin. Why should we worry about sin? If Christ has already suffered for our sins then a few more sins now will not change His suffering. He has completed His suffering; He has already died His eternal death – what need for us then to keep the law? That may be the way that we hazily reason.
The error lies in the recently contested issue of the atoning work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary. For while Jesus died on the cross once, for the sins of the world, and made complete provision for the atonement of every sinner, nevertheless the individual application of that atonement, the individual forgiveness of sins, and the individual victory over sin, is a work which is being accomplished through the ministry of the Son of God as High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. This is one of the most pertinent points which will be presented on these tapes! It must be grasped or no sinner will gain a complete victory over sin in this closing hour of the cleansing of the sanctuary.
The main reason we do not yet find among the people of God those who are without sin is our failure to emphasize this truth! And what is this truth? Listen while I state it in as simple and direct language of which I am capable:
When a man confesses his sins and asks Jesus to forgive him, those sins are accepted by Jesus – they do not just automatically vanish. The outcome of those sins, the penalty of those sins, becomes the heritage of Jesus. He accepts the sinner’s death and the sinner inherits His life; and the death of the sinner which Jesus accepts is an “everlasting death, from which there can be no hope of a resurrection” [Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, July 10th , 1896]. This is a statement founded on the direct testimony of the Spirit of Prophecy, which has not been fully absorbed.
As Parents Suffer When Their Children Sin – So Does Jesus Suffer When we Sin
Jesus has a work to do as Priest in the sanctuary in the bearing of the confessed sins of His people. He suffers for those sins just as verily as any parent suffers when his children continue to transgress his commandments. He bears the penalty of those sins just as truly as a parent accepts the consequences of the transgressions of his children and pays for the damage.
When one who has known the will of God deliberately transgresses that will, he can only receive pardon for that sin if he permits the Son of God to be crucified afresh. For as a parent accepts all the potential sins of his child when that child is born into his family – even so, does Christ. But the application of that provision for accepting the consequences of a child’s disobedience – I say, the application to the individual acts of sin, remains for a future time as the child grows and develops and commits those sins.
Again I say, let us look squarely at this thing. The motive for a man’s refusing to sin cannot be selfish under the new covenant, for under this gospel of grace he earns his salvation (his ticket to heaven) by simply believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Ruler of the universe, and as the Saviour of man. His salvation is a gift. He does not need to worry about transgressing the law, for he himself does not need to bear the penalty of that law; therefore his incentive to keep the commandments cannot, under any consideration, be selfish.
If a man ever decides to discontinue to sin, it can only be because he does not want the Son of God to have to suffer further for his sins. His refusal to sin is out of consideration for Christ as his Sin-bearer. This can only be a selfless motive – one of love and consideration for Christ. His allegiance to the commandments of God can only be based on selfless love, which is the law of life for earth and heaven and the essence of God’s character.
Again I repeat: this doctrine of the sanctuary service, and the work of Christ in accepting the confessed sins of His people, is the doctrine which will inspire the work of the cleansing of the soul temple from every defilement. It is the message for this hour!
The Privilege of Suffering – Path to Obedience
One more point here: What will make a man want to spare the Son of God further suffering? The Scripture says that a man will be made perfect after he has suffered awhile [1st Pet. 5:10]; and that Jesus Himself learned obedience trough His sufferings [Hebrews 5:8]. Only as a man partakes of the sufferings of Christ will he come to realize what it costs the Son of God to forgive his sins. Suffering is the path to obedience. The suffering is not administered as a penalty of transgression.
I repeat: The suffering is not administered as a penalty of transgression; rather it is permitted to grant the sinner the privilege of sharing in the sufferings of Christ for his own sins and for the sins of others, that he might learn to appreciate the meaning of Christ’s love in forgiving those sins. [cf. DA 225, last sentence].
Even as a wise parent will permit his children to gradually assume a share in the consequences of his own transgressions, that he might learn the value of obedience – even so, does Christ permit us to share in His sufferings, that we might learn the meaning of obedience. We will never appreciate Christ’s sacrifice for us until we are permitted to share in His sufferings. We ought to be happy when we are privileged to share in these, for we do thereby know that He is leading us on to the only road to perfection and sinlessness.
We are not released from suffering through obedience. Obedience does not inevitably earn release from suffering; nor is suffering inevitably a consequence of disobedience. In the final and ultimate consequence, the Sin-bearer stands ready to accept the penalty of eternal death for every confessed sin; but He permits the sharing of His sufferings until we learn the value of obedience in releasing Him from the inevitable consequence of our sins.
Not until His people have attained the victory over all their sins and besetments will it be possible for Christ to lay down His work in the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, for only then will His substitution be no longer necessary. His people will then be able to stand before their God and His unbreakable law without an Intercessor. Thus is a man saved by grace!
It is through the forgiveness of his sins that man is placed in a position where he can overcome those sins. Were the penalty always to be hanging over his head, he could not gain the victory; but when the pressure of the necessity to keep the law is removed from him, he
Can then voluntarily respond to the love of God and the love of his dear Saviour. It is the power of love that constrains a man to refuse to sin; “The love of Christ constraineth us” (2nd Cor. 5:14).
In the final analysis, sin is not magically removed from man, but man himself must make the decision to cease from sin. “The expulsion of sin from the life is an act of the soul itself.” [DA 466]. By a decision man created sin in his own life, and by a decision sin must be destroyed. Only by the paramount faith in this truth of the forgiveness of sins can a man be saved. We are saved by grace, through faith – there is no other way!
Again, I must acknowledge that there are areas in this recent presentation which require further treatment. It has been abbreviated here in order not to make this initial survey too unwieldy.
The Great Miracle of the Spiritual Rebirth
And now let us meditate for a few minutes on the great miracle of the spiritual rebirth. We have long believed that in order to see the kingdom of God we must be born again. The first time we were born of physical parents. Now, we must be born of God – born of the Spirit.
But the Scripture also says that God is a Spirit and that God is love. Therefore, God is the Spirit of love; and to be born of God means to be born of the Spirit of love. This brings us right back to the question of receiving a new heart as per the promise of the new covenant, for the heart is the seat of the emotions; and the most powerful of all emotions – the one which is the essence of God’s character – is the emotion of love.
This love of God is however, a special kind of love. It is not selfish love; it is not puppy love; it is not sensual love. Rather, it is pure, self-denying love – love which reaches out to others and sacrifices self. Self-sacrificing love is the great principle of life in earth and heaven according to the statement in Desire of Ages. [cf. DA 20].
Thus to be born again of the self-denying love of the Spirit of God, means to receive the gift of the principle of a new life – or should I say, a new life principle – namely, the eternal life principle of which we have spoken somewhat previously.
This ties in with the symbol of the “fruit of the tree of life.” The eating of the fruit of this tree brings with it the power of eternal
Fixation – the principle of eternal life. But we are informed that this new birth is brought through the agency of the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost. We have already expressed that the gift of the Holy Ghost to man is an outcome of the everlasting covenant between Christ and His Father, entered into before the Son of God gave up His life in the courts of the heavenly sanctuary, many years before His first advent.
And before Jesus ascended into the courts of heaven after His resurrection, He promised His disciples that He would pray the Father to send this Comforter, even the Holy Ghost, to give them power. Power for what? – why power to become the sons of God, for “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God,” (John 1:12). That is, He gave them power to become born again into the family of God.
But the Scripture says that he that is born of God cannot sin because he is born of God. This would seem quite obvious in the light of what we have discussed; for to be born of God means to be born of self-denying love, and when this love becomes the supreme motive in a man’s life, he cannot bring himself to transgress the law of God and heap further suffering on the beloved Son of God.
The emotion of love is the most powerful motivating force in the universe. A man will do something for one he truly loves which he would not think of doing for anyone else. In the final analysis, it is the emotion of self-denying love which is the primary fruit of the indwelling Spirit of God, that empowers the man to implement his decision to cease from sin; and it is the eternal life principle which empowers a man to expel the nature of sin from his life – to cleanse his body temple, or sanctuary.
It should be obvious that the agency of the rebirth is the Holy Ghost. This leads us once more to the consideration of the communion of the body and blood of Christ as portrayed in the communion service. At the last supper Jesus delivered to His disciples an emblem of the great Sacrifice which He had made in the courts of heaven, and which He was again making now as He faced the cross. For while Jesus on earth had the privilege of regaining His former heritage and reserving it for Himself alone (He could have given up lost man at any time and returned to His Father), He now manifested the greatest demonstration of His self-denying character of love by laying down this privilege and making it available to all who should believe in Him as the Son of God and the Saviour of sinners.
And He made it plain to His disciples that HE himself would not again partake of it until He partook of it anew with them in the kingdom. And as He cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” He experienced the everlasting death of the sinner – a separation from the gift of the eternal power and the eternal life of the Holy Ghost. His eternal Spirit returned to God who had given it at His baptism.
Jesus – The Link Between the Eternal Christ of the Past and the New Christ of the Future
When Jesus emerged from the tomb, His memory – that is, His past life – did not reach beyond the cradle. No longer did He share in the eternal heritage of His former life, for He had died the eternal death of the sinner from which there was no hope of a resurrection.
*Henceforth, He was the One who was alive and was dead, and behold He is alive forevermore (cf. Rev. 1:18) as the First-born of the new race, who gave His eternal spiritual body and blood to be eaten and absorbed, through the communion of the Holy Ghost, by His new body temple of saints.
*Note: [DA 25: “In taking our nature, The Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken.”]
Only through them would He ever again partake of this eternal heritage, for it is through the body structure and the circulation of the blood stream that the head of the body receives its life. Jesus is the Head of the new body temple of saints, and He has exposed Himself to a bodily communion with those saints, and functions through them to receive the knowledge of all former things, as any person receives his knowledge through the five senses of his physical body; and to execute His counsels through their body temples, as any person operates through the muscles of his own body.
This experience of the communion with His saints is related to the marriage of the Lamb which occurs before Jesus leaves the sanctuary. He receives His inheritance, but He receives it through His saints, for His inheritance is in His saints. The literal man Jesus was the link between the eternal Christ of the past and the new Christ of the future; for the former Christ died in the heavenly sanctuary to be regenerated by the gift of the Holy Ghost in the man Jesus. But on the cross, that Christ died the second death – from which there is no hope of a resurrection [cf. EW 218.6].
The resurrected Jesus is the Wonderful Counsellor, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, and the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6), and His saints are His new spiritual body temple through whom He functions. [Cf. 7 BC 931, Col. 2.1: “The Jewish tabernacle . . . is Christ’s body, and from north, south, east, and west He gathers those who shall help to compose it. . . . A holy tabernacle is built up of those who receive Christ as a personal Saviour.”] The great former Christ of the pre-advent days is gone as a unit. He is now absorbed in the communion of the saints, and it requires 144,000 human body temples to make up the new structure of the great spiritual body of Christ. Christ was alive, He died, and behold He is alive forevermore in His saints. [cf. Rev. 1:18]. And Jesus is the Head of that body, and in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. But when He speaks through His new body temple, His voice, which is the voice of God, will speak “like many waters” – for waters are people. [cf. ST 03-28-00].
Christ’s Immense Sacrifice – Gateway to Profound Mystery
But we have again slipped ahead of our story. This experience on the cross was a revelation to our dull senses of the pain which entered the heart of God at the inception of sin. [cf. Ed. 263]. It was also a revelation of the real death which Christ, the former Archangel and Son of God, had experienced in the courts of the heavenly sanctuary.
The Millerites of the pre-1844 movement made the error of considering this earth, this earthly experience rather, as the only and complete experience of the death of Christ; and thus [concluded] that this earth was the sanctuary where the Lamb was slain. But this earthly demonstration, while it embodies all that has been taught concerning it over the years, is yet but the symbol or gateway to a far deeper and more profound experience which occurred in the tabernacle of heaven.
I cannot, in this brief preview, portray the enormity of this great mystery – my speech is here inadequate! God has permitted me to catch a little glimpse of the tremendous sacrifice of Christ; and if this glimpse should ever expand into a brilliant image, I shall not be negligent in offering to share it with you.
The Eternal Life of Christ (His Blood) Was Shed for His Saints
But to get back to our main these again – the new or everlasting covenant provided for the delivery of the heritage of the
Great spiritual body and blood of the Son of God to the saints, through the Holy Ghost. And this new testament was in the blood of that former eternal body, for Jesus said “This . . . is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” [Luke 22:20]. The covenant was ratified by the shedding of that blood. The very life of Christ was in that blood, for the Scripture says that the blood is the life of the body. And the new testament in that blood was the promise of the eternal life of Christ to His saints.
But we have also known that the fruit of the tree of life is another symbol for the eternal life principle; and the eating of the fruit of the tree of life is but another way of expressing the communion of the body and blood of Christ. When Adam sinned he became separated from the attachment to this spiritual body, and he began to die. Not until man is restored to this eternal body and blood will he again receive the heritage of eternal life; and this he receives when he becomes born again of the Spirit of God’s love, for this love is the principle of everlasting life; for he that is born again hath everlasting life.
In the past few minutes we have covered quickly a generous number of ideas, and these ideas are subject to a large number of inter-relationships. And when these inter-relationships are seen in their true light, then an integrated concept will emerge, revealing a profound image of the great Christ, the eternal Son of God.
His enormous sacrifice will be seen in a new light; the gift of eternal life will be more highly appreciated; the awfulness of sin will be more thoroughly impressed and despised; and the love of God will be far more brilliantly displayed.
Again I am forced to confess that a superficial acquaintance with the relationships here implied so inadequately, will not yield a clear-cut and plausible picture. A more through and painstaking treatment would be required to bring into sharp focus the impressive panorama which they actually reveal. But I will pause now, that we may each have an opportunity to meditate upon these most solemn and profound truths. . . .
Anyone who review carefully the material which is recorded on these tapes, will come up with questions, for there are a number of new problems which have arisen and which remain unsolved. Certainly one of these questions would be regarding the eternal death of Christ.
How Could the Eternal Christ Die When He Had Eternal Life?
For instance, we may logically ask how could the eternal Son of God die when He was endowed with eternal life? The answer must lie in His autonomous power over all things; for if He had life in Himself, and at the same time had all power, it would conceivably be possible for Him to separate Himself from His eternal life – to lay it down. This is precisely what the Scripture teaches wherein it quotes Jesus as saying: “I have power to lay it down, and power to take it again.” [John 10:18].
It was in the courts of the heavenly sanctuary that He first relinquished His eternal life and lapsed into a sleep from which there would have been no resurrection, except through the action of God the Father in fulfilling His part of the everlasting covenant; to deliver by the Holy Ghost that eternal heritage of Christ, namely, the great spiritual body and blood of the eternal One; and to deliver it to the family of mankind. [DA 22.9 & 23].
It was in fulfillment of this covenant that the entire plan of salvation, as evidenced in the New Testament, evolved, including the miraculous birth of the boy Jesus. Even as sinners who die the everlasting death are raised from their first death of sleep to experience later, a second death from which there can be no hope of a resurrection – even so, Christ was raised from His first sleep into the boy Jesus, only to experience His second death on the cross of Calvary. But the resurrection of Christ into the man Jesus, which occurred at the anointing of the Holy Ghost (as was verified by the voice from heaven), was not a full and complete restoration of the enormous structure of the former Christ; for it is impossible to embody into one human being the vastness of that incomprehensible spiritual body of Christ.
We learn from the testimony of the Spirit of Prophecy that in the early morning hours of His prayer and devotions Jesus received His strength and His instructions for the day’s tasks. [DA 208]. He was not at any one moment endowed with the fullness of all power and all knowledge – no human body could contain this.
Divinity flashed through humanity but did not completely engulf it. [* read ST 04-18-92]. Nevertheless, Jesus had access to the potential powers of that former body; but He exercised it only through the ministry and obedience of the angel’s. At no time did He use His eternal prerogative for self-gratification.
Even His miracles were performed by the ministry and obedience of the angels [cf. 2 SOP 67]; and it was an angel who ministered to Him in the hour of His temptation in the wilderness. If He had needed protection, or rather if He had chosen to solicit protection against the soldiers in the garden of Gethsemane, He could have received it in the form of twelve legions of angels from His Father [cf. DA 143.2]. He said nothing about having power in Himself to save Himself from these enemies. There may be a little difficulty here in reconciling these thought, but they must be reconciled.
The Limitations of Jesus in His Human Tabernacle
It should seem clear that Jesus, as the resurrected Christ, was subject to certain limitations because of His having accepted a human tabernacle in which to live; and as we have already pointed out Jesus will not attain the fullness of His structure in the new body temple of Christ until He becomes married to the 144,000 saints; for the new body temple must be built up first. [cf. GC 120.5 . . ‘rising slowly through the “centuries,” and AA last chapter “. . .but the structure is not yet complete.” AA 599.2].
The Marriage of the Lamb to His 144,000 Saints
It must be raised to become an habitation of God through the eternal Spirit; and this body temple of saints must be endowed with the communion of the body and blood of the former heritage of Christ, which body was broken and divided for them to eat, and which blood was shed for them to drink. [John 6:53-58]. And then they must be married to Jesus, as the bride adorned in white linen to the Bridegroom. [Rev. 19:7-9]. Out of this union will emerge the fullness of the structure of the eternal Christ – the Son of God!
The original temple of God, in His Son Christ, had to be destroyed because of the eternal record of sin transferred to it by the eternal blood – that is, by virtue of the fact that this body had direct sensory experience with all evens transpiring in the universe, and also that its record of these events was everlasting and permanent. Hence, this record could only be destroyed by the death of the One who had that record in His own spiritual body.
The principle of eternal life was then applied to human temples, to regenerate in them only that which is righteous and true; and the first of these human temples to experience this was Jesus, the First-begotten. Thus through the death and regeneration is sin destroyed, and righteousness preserved.
I say again, the original body and blood of Christ was relinquished by Him, and HE died. In the human body of Jesus the principle of death, manifested through the ability to forget or erase the patterns of past sinfulness in His mental make-up, enabled Him by rejection of these patterns to destroy sin in the flesh. And then by His access to the principle of eternal life, delivered through the Holy Ghost, He could regenerate His righteous choices and cause them to become eternally fixed into His new nature. Thus He bore the sins of the world in His own body, and destroyed sin in the flesh through death, and at the same time proved that His character – the sum total of His choice habits – was righteous.
In this process, the restoration of the memory of His former Self was adequate to identify Him. But in His daily routine work He was not constantly and unavoidably conscious of all His eternally past experiences in heaven, any more than we are, at any one moment, conscious of all our past experiences. The great former Christ as a singular unit of eternal memory had passed out of existence. He had died an eternal death!
The New Habitation of God is Jesus & the 144,000
There could be no restoration of that identical structure into one single human body temple. If there had been, it could not be said that Christ had died a permanent death – the death of the sinner. It would merely have been a temporary death of sleep which is not the death of the sinner. This is one aspect of the permanent sacrifice of Christ and of God’s giving of His Son; for only as this original body and blood heritage of Christ was divided, and provided for His individual saints, would it be possible to build a comparable body temple structure. And while the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus, the fullness of the former body and blood of Christ in the Holy Ghost, dwells in His saints.
It is now a co-operative unit of 144,000 human body temples. This is the new habitation of God! He dwells with them; He dwells in them; He sups with them – it is the communion of the Holy Ghost. Henceforth, the telescopic decisions of Jesus, the Godhead, will be executed through His new body, the 144,000 saints who have eternal power. And henceforth, the telescopic sensory perceptions of Jesus, the Godhead, will be received through His new body structure – the 144,000 saints; for it is they whom the Holy Spirit will “guide into all truth.” The record of all truth will be restored in them, and through them transferred to the Head.
This puts Jesus in the humble position where He has place complete confidence in the voluntary co-operation of His saints. Should they choose to sin, they could become eternal sinners and heap eternal suffering on their Saviour.
Henceforth, there can never be any accusation made against the character of Christ, for it is placed on perpetual demonstration as the most humble of all. The character of Christ has been completely vindicated, and His worthiness of the position of supreme Law-giver, and Creator, and only-begotten Son of God cannot be challenged ever again. He is now the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counsellor – not the autocratic dictator.
Could There be a More wonderful Government?
Although He has vested all power in His saints, yet His saints serve Him from love alone. There can be no question about this now, for without their voluntarily co-operation He could not function as all-powerful and supreme Ruler; for one cannot function except through one’s body.
This then is the government of Heaven. It is a government of allegiance completely based on voluntary submission and co-operation, prompted by the deep and sincere, divine and self-denying love of the subjects for their Creator and their Ruler. Could there be a more wonderful government?
[To be continued]