The Word Became Flesh
The birth, life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is one of the best authenticated historical events the world knows. Yet when He came unto His own, His own received Him not. One of the enigmas of all time is the failure of Israel to recognize her Messiah when so many SigI1S or marks of identification have been given unto her by the Lord. I want in this article to present five of those signs whereby Israel was to recognize her Messiah. Note the rebuke of our Lord in Matt. 16:1-3: “The Pharisees also with the Sudducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for .the sky is red and lowering. 0 ye hyprocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” The leaders of Israel could recognize and read the signs in the sky and other natural phenomena, but they could not read the signs of the times and know that the Messiah had come.1. The first sign to which I call your attention is stated in Gen. 49:10: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” In this portion of the prophecy pronounced by Jacob upon his son Judah, the sign revealing the presence of the Messiah, who here is called Shiloh-Prince of Peace-is that when the sceptre had departed from Judah they would know that Shiloh, the Messiah, had come. The sceptre is emblematic of rulership, authority, governmental control, execution of justice. But even more than that, the most significant aspect of the sceptre is to be found in Gen. 9:6: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” This verse of Scripture gives us the very foundation and basis of all civil government. Capital punishment is here placed in the hands of man, that is, society. Instructions relative to the execution of capital punishment are given in detail in Numbers 35:30-34.
When Jacob said that the sceptre would not depart from Judah until Shiloh had come, the meaning was that the power to execute the murderer would not be taken from Judah until Shiloh had come. When the Lord Jesus Christ appeared on the earth at His first advent, the sceptre had departed from Judah. In John 18:31 we read: “Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” Here is knowledge of the fact that the Sanhedrin, composed of the leaders of the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, the leaders of the children of Israel, knew, realized and appreciated the fact that they no longer could execute the sentence of death upon one on whom they had passed sentence. For that reason they took Jesus to Pilate that he might execute the death sentence. Every single one of that group of Jews familiar with their writings should have believed the Word of God spoken through Jacob to Judah and known that since the sceptre had departed from Judah, Shiloh the Messiah had come. Yet they recognized Him not.
2. Second, we have what we might call the Celestial Sign. Num. 24:17: “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” In this prophecy of Balaam concerning the coming Messiah, he calls Him a Star out of Jacob. In the New Testament Scripture the Lord Jesus Christ is called the Bright and Morning Star; and that is one of His many Names. But there appears to be a veiled prophecy of another star that was to appear-a real star in the heavens, an unusual star, a supernatural star that would announce the birth of the Star of Jacob, the Bright and Morning Star. It is a matter of historical record that at about the time of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ there appeared in the heavens such a star. The star has been described variously, and sundry accounts of its appearance have been given by the astronomers. But we learn from the second chapter of Matthew that this star first made its appearance in the East (east of Jerusalem) at the time of the birth of the Lord Jesus. The appearance of this star in the East was an announcement manifestly prearranged by the Lord God whereby the wise men would know that the King of the Jews had been born. Knowing of His birth and desirous of worshiping Him, they soon made their journey to Jerusalem, the logical place for the birth of the King of the Jews.
This star did not lead them to Jerusalem. It seems to have appeared as an announcement and then disappeared. They saw the star no more until they had arrived at Jerusalem and were prepar,ing to leave for Bethlehem. When they arrived in Jerusalem they inquired concerning the whereabouts of the King of the Jews, with the simple announcement that they had seen His star in the East and had come to worship Him. When Herod had heard from the chief priests and scribes that He was to be born in Bethlehem, he informed the wise men. “When they had heard the king, they departed; and, 10, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was” (Matt. 2:9). As they were leaving the palace, the star which they had seen in the East appeared again, giving them great joy by its appearance for they knew that their journey was being prospered by the Lord.
That this star was unique and exceptional, not belonging to the galaxy of stars, was manifested by the fact that it led the wise men from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and came to rest over the house in which the child Jesus was. All of Jewry knew of this star and should have considered it in the light of Balaam’s prophecy and known that the Star of Jacob had appeared.
3. Third, we have the Chronological Sign in DanieI9:25a: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven sevens, and threescore and two sevens. . .” This prophecy is a positive statement that from the time the decree to rebuild Jerusalem is issued until the Messiah appears will be sixty-nine sevens. The context requires that these sevens be years-making the sixty-nine sevens to be four hundred eighty-three years. Theologians have argued much as to which of three decrees which were issued was here mentioned. In one sense of the word, that is immaterial since the three decrees were close enough together that any would have approximated the date specified.
Here’s what we have specifically. From the issuing of the decree by Cyrus unto the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was exactly four hundred eighty-three years. (See Martin Anstey’s “Chronological Studies “; if not available, then David L. Cooper’s.) Any of the leaders of Israel could have known of a certainty that the four hundred eighty-three years had passed and that the time of the Messiah’s appearance was at hand.
4. In the fourth place, in Micah 5:2 we read: “But thou, Bethelehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Here we learn that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem. When the wise men from the East came unto Jerusalem seeking to locate the King of the Jews, Herod, calling the chief priests and scribes together, asked of them where Christ should be born. What a revelation! Even Herod, the unbelieving pagan king, knew that the King of the Jews was to be the Christ. The wise men did not ask for the Christ, the wise men did not identify Him; they simply asked, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” And Herod then asked where the Christ would be born. Herod, the unbelieving pagan, puts to shame innumerable Christians who do not know that the Christ is to be King of the Jews. Herod, the unbelieving pagan, puts to shame innumerable Jews who know not that their King is to be the Christ. All of these experiences, centering around the birth of this unusual child in Bethlehem, should have been enough for Israel to know her Messiah had been born.
5. In the fifth place, we learn from the prophet Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). This prophecy is in keeping with that of Gen. 3:15 which tells us that the ultimate victor over Satan is to be “the seed of the woman.” This is a peculiar expression describing the virgin birth of that individual. The Messiah is to be the Son of God, born of a virgin. Matt. 1:20-23: “. . . behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary they wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Jesus the Christ was born of a virgin.
To summarize-the sceptre had departed from Judah, the unique star had appeared, the four hundred eighty-three years had expired, an exceptional birth had taken place at Bethlehem and a virgin had given birth to a son. Despite these five phenomenal identifying marks, Israel did not recognize her Messiah. However, all of these things will be pre-eminently true of her Messiah; and when she sees Him upon His return to the earth the blindness will be lifted from her eyes and she will behold and accept Him.
THE NAMES OF JESUS
The significance of names in the Scripture is apparent when one begins to study the Word of God. In Gen. 32:28, the Lord says to Jacob, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” In John 1:42, He says to Simon Peter, “Thou art Simon the son of Jona; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”
Jacob, meaning supplanter, is changed to Israel, which means one who has power with God. Simon means fickle, shifting and vacillating; and it is changed to Cephas which means solid and stable as a rock. You will recall that Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, and Sarai’s to Sarah (Gen.17:5, 15).
These few examples should be enough to remind us that all names of Scripture are of importance because of their inherent meaning. With this in mind, we call attention to seven names of our Lord, and the meaning of each:
1. JESUS (Matt. 1:21): The word Jesus means specifically Jehovah our Saviour. He was not called Jesus until He received His body of flesh, blood and bones from Mary; so that we know this name applies to His earthly life and is the name of His humiliation, His suffering and His sorrow. This is the name by which He was crucified: “And set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matt. 27:37). The body which He received from Mary is to be His throughout eternity; and likewise, the nam-e of Jesus will be applicable to Him either alone or in association with some of His other names throughout eternity. The name Jesus is never used with adjectives. There are some groups who delight in using adjectives such as dear Jesus, precious Jesus, etc., but God Almighty never uses any of these because this is the name of His humiliation and suffering, and such adjectives are entirely out of place. In Acts 2:36, we learn that God has made this Jesus both Lord and Christ; and in Phil. 2:10, 11, we are told that it is at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Christ and Lord.
2. CHRIST: The word itself means anointed and has to do with dominion, ruling and reigning. In Luke 2:26-32, we read that Christ is the One who was appointed to carry out the covenants God made with Israel, and to be a light unto the Gentiles. The Christ of the New Testament is the Messiah of the Old Testament. He came to Israel but was unrecognized, unknown and unacknowledged. Isa. 53:1-3 tells us that He had no beauty that they should desire Him. He was rejected, crucified and ascended as the Christ. He has set aside His people Israel for awhile, but He has taken another people, Christians, and is spoken of as their Head, and they His body. They are also spoken of as being in Christ, quickened, and seated with Him; but Christians are never spoken of as being in Jesus. It was as the Christ, or as the Messiah, that God manifested Himself throughout the Old Testament from the Garden of Eden until the time of Malachi.
3. LORD: This word signifies one who owns, possesses, and has power and authority over all His own. All who are in Christ are under His Lordship whether they acknowledge it or not. Every realm of the daily walk of life is to be under His Lordship: (a) Marriage is to be in the Lord. I Cor. 7:39 not only means that both contracting parties are to be Christians but they are to have the assurance also that it is the Lord’s will for them to marry; (b) wives are to submit themselves to their own husbands as is fitting in the Lord (Col. 3:18); (c) husbands are to love their wives even as the Lord loved the church (Eph. 5:28, 29); (d) children are to obey their parents in the Lord (Eph. 6:1); (e) servants are to obey their masters in everything as unto the Lord (Col. 3:22, 23); (f) masters are to render justice and equity to servants in the Lord (Col. 4:1); (g) a believer’s relationship to Jesus Christ is to be in the Lord. The Lord’s Supper (I Cor. 11:26, 27-29) shows His death; and those who drink of the cup of the Lord could be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord; so that, to the believer, all things are of the Lord and unto the Lord; (h) no unbeliever can say that Jesus is Lord because this is done by the indwelling Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:3).
4. JESUS CHRIST: Here is the combination of two names. With the name Jesus appearing first, you will see the order is from the humiliated, suffering, sorrowing One, to Christ the anointed and exalted One. In Phil. 1:1, Paul speaks of the servants of Jesus Christ, and to all the saints in Christ Jesus. Those two combinations of names are different because of progression in the order. A servant believes in the name of Jesus who died for him in humiliation, and Who is yet to be the exalted One.
5. CHRIST JESUS: This combination shows the descent from the anointed One down to His humiliation and shame endured on the cross. All who believe are now spoken of as being in the One Who was exalted but humiliated Himself (Phil. 2:5-8). Whenever you see either of these two combinations of names, note the ascent or descent in the truth expressed-from glory to humiliation, or from humiliation to glory.
6. SON OF MAN: This is the name used to emphasize the human nature of the second person of the Godhead. As Son of man, He was the second Man and also the last Adam.
7. SON OF GOD: This expression denotes His divine nature and sets forth His relationship to God the Father.
There are two other names used to designate our Lord which have particular significance and should not be overlooked: 1) In Matt. 1:1, He is called the SON OF DAVID, which sets forth the truth that He is the Heir, as Son of David, to all the promises made to David as well as to all the covenants pertaining to the Throne of David. (See Luke 1:32; Acts 2:29, 30; II Sam. 7:12-17.) 2) SON OF ABRAHAM sets forth the truth that Jesus Christ inherits the promises covenanted to Abraham which pertain to the land (Gen. 13:14-18; 15:18). Note also in this connection, Luke 1:33.
With these brief comments about the names of our Lord you will want to watch for each of His names as they appear and see the particular meaning in the context, remembering especially Rom. 10:9.
COULD OUR LORD HAVE SINNED?
Since the time of our Lord’s temptation, theological schools have been divided into several camps about the teaching of the temptation of our Lord. There are those who contend that Satan is not a person, therefore the temptations were not from without-the temptation under these circumstances simply being a struggle within the bosom of our Lord between His desire to do right and His desire to do wrong. Another school of thought contends that if our Lord could not have sinned, then the temptation was not real and could serve no purpose at all. Another school contends that our Lord possessed two distinct personalities and that whereas He could not sin as the Son of God, He could have sinned as the Son of Man.
Still another school contends that, according to the Scripture, it was a spiritual, physical and psychological impossibility for Jesus to have sinned. I must concur with this last school of thought on the basis of the teaching of the Word of God. I want to dispose of the first three schools of thought and then consider the fourth.
First, Satan is real. That is to be noted in Gen. 3:14, 15; Job 1:6ff. If Satan is not a distinct personality, then personality cannot be predicated to anyone in the Scripture, including God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Satan is a real personality and the temptation of our Lord came from without. The temptation of Jesus could not have come from within because there was nothing within Him of a sinful nature to respond to the stimulus from without.
In James 1:14, 15: When an individual is tempted to sin he is drawn away of his own lust; then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. There was no lust within Jesus, neither of the world, the flesh or the devil. He had no capacity nor desire for self-indulgence in any of its many aspects, neither was there desire for the pride of life nor of the lust of the eyes. Satan in his three approaches in tempting Jesus appealed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Since man was conceived in iniquity and brought forth in sin, he has his own lust within him. Adam, being created by God, also had the possibility of sin within him, as did the angels. But Jesus, being begotten by God the Father, had within Him no lust nor tendency or possibility to sin.
In answer to the second school of thought-that if Jesus could not have sinned, then the temptations were not real-that is like saying that if a diamond is real it cannot be tested to prove its purity; that if money is not counterfeit neither can it be tested. Jewels, precious metals, currency can be tested to prove their genuineness. A close study of the temptations of Jesus reveals that they were testings or trials of His faith and God permitted these temptations at the hands of Satan to prove once and for all that Jesus was the eternal Son of God, absolutely incapable of sin; therefore He could be our Redeemer-if He chose. . . and we praise the Lord, Jesus chose to die for the sins of the world and is our Redeemer.
The third school of thought was established by Nestorius in the fifth century. He contended that Jesus and Christ were two distinct persons. The human person of Christ could act independently of the divine person and vice versa. That is to say the human person of Jesus Christ could sin but the divine person could not. The philosophy of this school of thought falls to the ground with the teaching of Scripture in Luke 1:35: “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” This verse of Scripture reveals that that which was conceived by the virgin Mary was a “holy thing.” It was not a person but a thing. So that Jesus Christ is not two persons with separate human and divine personalities. He is one person with two natures. He is God manifested in the flesh. He is the Godman, not man and God.
In I Cor. 15 we read that the fundamental content of the gospel is that Christ died for our sins. Christ the divine nature, as well as Jesus the human nature, died for our sins. Jesus Christ is one Person and one Person alone. The Spirit of the Lord has expressed it as plainly as can be through the Apostle Paul in I Tim. 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Christ Jesus is one man, one person, not two.
Now considering the fourth school of thought-the absolute impossibility of Jesus Christ’s sinning- I want to call your attention first of all to the fact that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever (Heb. 13:8). If Jesus Christ could have sinned when tempted of Satan, He could have sinned in the eternal council chambers of God before the universe came into existence, because He has always been. John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Col. 1:17; 2:9). “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” If Jesus Christ could have sinned when tempted of Satan, He can still sin (Heb. 13:8). He is “the same yesterday, today and for ever.” Heb. 4:15 reveals unto us that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are except that He was not tempted to sin (preferred translation). Jesus was not tempted to sin because He was very God of very God, and though He had a human nature it was impossible for God to be tempted with evil to sin (James 1:13).
Here is the tragedy of all of the teaching that Jesus could have sinned. Were it possible for Him at any time of His existence from eternity to eternity to have sinned, then it is still possible for Him to sin, and the whole scheme of redemption still hangs in the balance and will continue to do so throughout eternity because of the possibility of Jesus’ sinning and rendering null and void His sacrificial death on Calvary’s cross. If Jesus Christ could have sinned at any time in His entire career from eternity to eternity, then He is not the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world; neither is He God’s eternal sacrifice for sin and we have no redeemer, but are putting our trust in one with a sinful nature who Himself needs a redeemer.
But thanks be to God, the Lord Jesus Christ could not have sinned and it was demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt when Satan tempted the Lord Jesus Christ and He could not be reached with any of the temptations, because there was no lust within Him to respond to the outside stimuli.
THE IMPECCABLE JESUS
I still receive correspondence and other forms of inquiry regarding the possibility of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ sinning. Perhaps these Scriptures will help those who are still in doubt concerning the fact that it was absolutely impossible for Jesus to have sinned. I John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” This verse brings out in no uncertain terms that whosoever is born of God cannot sin. Luke 1:35, “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Matt. 1:20b, “‘. . . for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” John 3:16a, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. . .”
These Scriptures show beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jesus was begotten by God of the virgin Mary. Now what is the conclusion of these Scriptures above quoted? Jesus was begotten of God, and since that which is born of God cannot sin, Jesus was absolutely, unconditionally and irrevocably impeccable. That is, He could not have sinned. Do not try to draw an analogy between Adam and Jesus in this realm, because Adam was a created being but Jesus was begotten by God the Father and no analogy can be drawn between their two natures.
DOES JESUS KNOW?
As I have been privileged to travel over the country and give messages on prophecy, especially on THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES, there have always been some who would come to me after the service and comment on the foolishness of such preaching since the BIBLE says that even Jesus does not know when He is to return. Of course, they are referring to a verse found in Mark 13:32, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Some teach that in the incarnation Christ divested Himself of His deity and was human only; others teach that He could turn on and off His deity as you and I would a water faucet.
God the Father being God could never cease for one moment to be God. God the Son being God could never for one moment cease to be God. God the Holy Spirit being God could never for one moment cease to be God. Omnipotence (all power), omniscience (all knowledge) and omnipresence (present everywhere at once) belong to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Many seem to be disturbed about God being omnipresent and still being seated on a literal throne. God the Holy Spirit is the omnipresent manifestation of the Godhead. Since Jesus Christ is God and OMNISCIENT, what does Mark 13:32 mean? The late Archbishop Trench, one of the greatest authorities on words, when lecturing to a London college, called attention to the fact that in the last part of this verse (“but the Father”), the two Greek words “ei me,” translated “but” really mean “if not.” Thus the Greek word “ei” equals “if” and the Greek word “me” equals “not.” He called attention to the fact that any good Greek concordance would reveal the same. Archbishop Trench understood this verse to mean, “If I were Not God as well as Man, even I would not know the day nor the hour.”
Mark 13:32 corrected will read thus: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son if not the Father.” In other words, Jesus says that if He were not the Father He would not know. We have the same truth in John 9:33 with the same two Greek words “ei me” translated “if not”-“IF this man were NOT of God, He could do nothing.”
Does Jesus know when He is to return? Of course He does, and He has always known.
HE IS WHITE
I receive a number of inquiries concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and what He is like. One speaking recently in Africa told the natives that Jesus was black. One speaking before a Polynesian group told them that He was neither white nor black but a mixture. There have been some w.orkers among the Indians who told the children that Jesus was red. Some among the yellow children have told them that Jesus was yellow. The same is true of the black children. Too many people today seem to think that Jesus Christ is a figment of the imagination and whatever they imagine Him to be, that is what He is.
An incident took place in a northern store during the week before Christmas which I thought was very revealing. The management of the store, in a desire to please all people, employed a colored Santa Claus. When the colored children were directed to him they burst into tears and ran out. To them Santa Claus was white and not black.
Does the Bible tell us anything about Jesus? In the Song of Solomon, chapter 5, vv. 9-16, we have a twelvefold description of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ-the Fairest of Ten Thousand, the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley. Twelve is the number of completion or perfection pertaining to the rule of government; and since Jesus Christ is to reign as the King of kings and Lord of lords, His description is given in a twelvefold manner.
1. HE IS WHITE-showing the sinlessness of His deity-exemplifying His spotless character-He is in the world but not of it-He is impeccable-it was an absolute impossibility for Him to sin because He was and is God Almighty.
Whiteness among the races is the color which best accords the dignity of man-pure, delicate whiteness is a mark of high rank and hereditary nobility. Lam. 4:7, which records the appearance of the nobles in the streets of Jerusalem, likens their whiteness to that of the snow and of milk, and their redness to the coral. Sin is symbolized by blackness-purity and cleanliness by white. The Hebrew word translated white means illuminated by the sun. Every ray of light is white. Jesus is light-Jesus is white.
2. HE IS RUDDY -a redness with white-the oldest and most impressive emblem of the humanity which our Lord took upon Himself when He became man was the redness or ruddiness which was a likeness of Him the last Adam to the first Adam whose name meant “of the earth.” Jesus IChrist is very Man of very Man and very God of very God, symbolized by His white skin over His red flesh.
3. HE IS THE CHIEFEST AMONG TEN THOUSAND-He is the Stan dard Bearer-He is the One who goes before-He is the Commander-He is the Leader-He is the Head of the church-He is the Head of the human race. “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.”
4. HIS HEAD IS PRECIOUS, FINE GOLD-that is refined gold-pure gold freed from all inferior metals-gold symbolizes His deity and His sovereignty as the Lord God Almighty. He was and is coexistent with God” the Father and God the Holy Spirit from eternity unto eternity.
5. HIS LOCKS ARE BUSHY, AND BLACK AS A RAVEN-bushy or curled hair indicates the headship of the individual and on the Son of Man indicates His headship over His entire creation-His bushy locks signify His youth and the prime of His young manhood-approximately thirty-three years old when He proclaimed His work on Calvary FINISHED.
BLACK-as a raven, which was an unclean bird, showing forth the solemn truth that He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that He who had no sin took our sins upon Himself that we might have life-black speaks of the darkness of the night-the blackness of the three hours He hung on the cross and cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
6. HIS EYES LIKE DOVES ‘-pure, chaste and loving-it is said that the eyes of a dove dilate at the sight of its mate-the eyes symbolize the office of the Overseer-the One who has oversight of the work. The eyes signify omniscience. He guides with His eyes-Israel is the apple of His eye-His eyes are as rivers of waters-fountain of tears-Jesus wept. His eyes were washed with milk, symbolizing that He is for the youngest believer. He is described as being set by full streams, symbolizing He is also for the mature believer.
7. HIS CHEEKS ARE AS A BED OF SPICES-beautiful-fragrant– anointing oil ran down the hair of His head onto the beard and face. To smite a person on the cheek was the greatest indignity. . . they spat on His cheeks-they struck Him on the cheeks-they plucked the beard off of His cheeks. All this shame and suffering was for us.
8. HIS LIPS LIKE LILIES-pure and undefiled-gentle-the dripping of the sweet smelling myrrh typifies His suffering consummated by His death for us. Nothing but the purest words passed from His lips-His words were wholesome and fragrant-never spake man like this. He said, “Be thou cleansed-Be thou healed-Receive thy sight-Rise up and walk.”
9. HIS HANDS ARE AS GOLD RINGS SET WITH BERYL-the gold ring is a symbol of Sonship . . . note the ring the prodigal son received. The gold ring is a symbol of authority-note the ring Pharaoh gave Joseph, symbolizing his authority over all Egypt. Jesus said, “All power in heaven and in earth is given unto Me”-He was and is Omnipotent. Once again I call your attention to the fact that the gold symbolizes His deity and His sovereignty-He is the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
10. HIS BELLY AS BRIGHT IVORY OVERLAID WITH SAPPHIRES-the whiteness of the ivory suggests the spotlessness of His humanity-His impeccability. God cannot be tempted to do evil, neither does He tempt anyone to sin and thus do evil. He said, “Which of you convicteth Me of sin?-What wrong have I done?” These are questions Jesus Christ, the everlasting God, could ask without fear.
OVERLAID WITH SAPPHIRES-the blue of heaven symbolized by the blue sapphire brought out the whiteness or the purity and sinlessness of His whole being. As a little bluing in the wash brings out the white of the garments, so does the blue of the sapphire symbolize the heavenly whiteness of His purity.
11. HIS LEGS ARE LIKE PILLARS OF MARBLE-legs speak of His walk-marble symbolizes durability-“legs like marble” reveals the eternal and durable walk or life of Him who stepped out of eternity into space and time. His strength failed not and He turned to neither side as He went to the cross. In Him are to be found a durable and eternal peace and safety forever.
HIS COUNTENANCE IS AS LEBANON, EXCELLENT AS THE CEDARS-the majesty-dignity-excellence-fragrance-fruitfulness of the majestic pines with their tops lifted toward heaven revealed the same characteristics of Him of whom it is said, “. . . of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
12. HIS MOUTH IS MOST SWEET-the fragrance of His breath reveals the sweetness of His innermost being-His joy imparted to us is unspeakable and full of glory.
YEA, HE IS ALTOGETHER LOVELY-beautiful in character-beautiful in life-saving the lost-healing the sick-raising the dead-comforting the sorrowing-teaching His disciples-blessing the little children. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him, and He is ours.
Surely the above description of our Lord is but an exposition of Exodus 15:11: “Who is like unto thee, 0 Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”
What is Jesus like? The above from the Song of Solomon is a wonderful description of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.