Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a


Chapter 38—The Messiah

Before Christ left Heaven, and came into the world to die, he was taller than any of the angels. He was majestic and lovely. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” He took upon himself man's nature. When his ministry commenced, he was but little taller than the common size of men then living upon the earth. Had he come among men with his noble, heavenly form, his outward appearance would have attracted the minds of the people to himself, and he would have been received without the exercise of faith. 4aSG 115.1

About that period Messiah was expected. By many he was looked for to come as a mighty monarch. The Jews had boasted to the Gentiles of his coming, and had dwelt largely upon the great deliverance which he would bring them, that he would reign as king, and put down all authority. Every kingdom and nation would bow to him, and the Jewish nation would reign over them. They had the events of the first and second comings of Christ confounded together. 4aSG 115.2

It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon himself the form and nature of fallen man, that he might be made perfect through suffering, and endure himself the strength of Satan's temptations, that he might the better know how to succor those who should be tempted. The faith of men in Christ as the Messiah was not to rest in the evidences of sight, and they believe on him because of his personal attractions, but because of the excellence of character found in him, which had never been, neither could be found in another. All who loved virtue, purity, and holiness, would be drawn to Christ, and would see sufficient evidence of his being the Messiah, foretold by prophecy, that should come. Those who thus trusted in the word of God, would receive the benefits of the teachings of Christ, and finally of his atonement. 4aSG 115.3

Christ came to call the attention of all men to his Father, teaching them repentance toward God. His work was to reconcile man to God. Although Christ did not come as he was expected, yet he came just as prophecy had marked out that he would come. Those who wished to believe, had sufficient foundation for their faith by referring to prophecy, which predicted the coming of the Just One, and described the manner of his coming. 4aSG 116.1

The ancient Jewish church were the highly-favored people of God, brought out of Egypt and acknowledged as his own peculiar treasure. The many and exceeding great and precious promises to them as a people, were the hope and confidence of the Jewish church. Herein they trusted, and believed their salvation sure. No other people professed to be governed by the commandments of God. Our Saviour came first to his own people, but they received him not. 4aSG 116.2

The self-righteous, proud, unbelieving Jews expected their Saviour and King would come into the world clothed with majesty and power, compelling all Gentiles to yield obedience to him. They did not expect any humiliation and suffering would be manifested in him. They would not receive the meek and lowly Jesus, and acknowledge him to be the Saviour of the world. Had he appeared in splendor, and assumed the authority of the world's great men, instead of taking the form of a servant, they would have received and worshiped him. But they rejected Christ as their Saviour, and after they had set their hearts in rebellion against him, it was not so easy for them to change their course. Notwithstanding all the mighty works they saw him do, they were too proud and self-exalted to yield their rebellious feelings. Every token and manifestation of his divine character increased the hatred and jealousy of the Jews. They were not content to turn from him themselves, but they sought to hinder all they could from listening to his teachings, or witnessing his miracles. The majority rejected him. They despised his humble appearance. They denied his testimony. They loved the praise of men, and the grandeur of the world. In their estimation of these things, they thought their judgment perfect, even as the judgment of God. 4aSG 116.3

The whole life and teachings of Christ were continual lessons of humility, benevolence, virtue, and self-denial. This was a continual reproof to the self-righteous, exacting spirit manifested by the Jews. Satan led them on until they seemed to possess a frenzy at the mere mention of the wonderful works of Christ, which were drawing the attention of the people from them. They at length made themselves believe that he was an impostor, and any means they could devise to get rid of him would be a virtue in them. They could not point to one act in his life which they could condemn, yet his very goodness made him a subject of their jealousy and hate, and in their blind rage they cried out, Crucify him! crucify him! The rejection of light leaves men captives of Satan, subject to his temptations. When he controls the mind, light will become darkness to that mind, good evil, and evil good. 4aSG 117.1

At the first advent of Christ, Satan knew that he had come to limit his power, and set free captives which he had bound, and his skill was especially exercised to lead the Jewish nation to believe Christ an impostor. The prophecies furnished sufficient evidence to unprejudiced minds that Christ was indeed the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. But the unbelieving Jews chose their own standard of virtue, and purity of life. They would not be taught by the Just One, and continued to perform their useless sacrifices and offerings, looking forward for a Messiah which had already come. 4aSG 117.2

Our heavenly Father designed to prove and test the professed faith and obedience of his people. The sacrifices which they performed under the law were typical of the Lamb of God, and illustrated his great atonement. Yet the Jewish nation were so blinded and deceived by Satan that when Christ came, whom their sacrifices and offerings had been prefiguring, they would not receive him. They led him as a lamb to the slaughter. 4aSG 118.1

The same rebellion and hatred against Christ will be in the hearts of men at his second advent. If Christ's second coming should be in the same humble manner as at his first advent, reproving sin, and commending virtue and holiness, where there was then one voice raised, crying, Crucify him! crucify him! there would be thousands in this apostate age. Infidelity in regard to Christ's being the true Messiah, the Saviour of the world, will increase and spread to an alarming degree previous to his second coming. Satan has lost none of his skill and power which he has been exercising in past time. He can better deceive man now than at Christ's first advent. 4aSG 118.2

The Son of God in this age will be as virtually despised and insulted by corrupt men who pretend to be good men, as at his first advent. Satan is now transforming himself into an angel of light, to hide the deformity of his character, and thereby he and his evil angels receive that worship from a blinded, deluded people, which belongs alone to God. Christ is trampled under foot. Virtue and holiness are despised. Evil angels whisper their low, corrupt teachings in the ears of men, and they are pleased. Their carnal minds are gratified. That which comes from Satan and hell they make themselves believe comes from the spirits of the dead. Their consciences are seared as with a hot iron. When the Son of God came into the world to die, man's sacrifice, he laid aside his glory and exalted stature. His height was but a little above the general size of men. His personal appearance bore no special marks of his divine character, which would of itself inspire faith. Yet his perfect form, and dignified bearing, his countenance expressing benevolence, love and holiness, were unequaled by any then living upon the earth. 4aSG 118.3

When the Life-giver rose from the dead a triumphant conqueror, and made himself known unto his disciples, he was of the same size as before his crucifixion. There were no special marks which would at once cause the men of Emmaus to know that he was the Son of God. They did not know him until he told them who he was. 4aSG 119.1

But when he ascended up on high, and led a multitude of captives, escorted by the heavenly host, and was received in through the gates of the city, with angelic songs of triumph and rejoicing, I beheld with admiration and wonder, that he possessed the same exalted stature that he had before he came into the world to die for man. Said the angel, God, who wrought so great a miracle as to make Christ flesh to dwell among men, and will with his almighty power lift up fallen, degenerate, and dwarfed man, and after they are redeemed from the earth, make them “grow up as calves of the stall,” could in his infinite power return to his dear Son his own exalted stature, which was his before he left Heaven, and humbled himself as a man, and submitted to the death of the cross. 4aSG 119.2

It is no marvel with the angelic host that their loved Commander, after he had carried out the plan of salvation, and ascended up to Heaven, should take his own exalted stature, and be clothed with majesty and glory, which was his before he left Heaven. But it was a marvel with all heaven, that the Father suffered the Son of his bosom to lay aside his glory, and come down to earth, and submit to humiliation, and the agonizing death of the cross to save fallen man. 4aSG 119.3