A consideration of the estates and offices of Christ forms the natural transition between the doctrine of His Person and that of His finished work - commonly known as the Atonement. The estates of Christ are two - the State of Humiliation and the State of Exaltation. Theologically they represent varying emphases upon the two natures of the God-man. The doctrine of the two estates was formulated in the fourth century and was an outgrowth of the Apollinarian controversy. As to the limits of the humiliation, different positions are held. The Reformed Church holds that it extends from the miraculous conception to the close of the descent into Hades, while the Lutheran Church makes the descensus the first stage in the exaltation. The Arminian theologians have generally accepted the Lutheran position. The offices of Christ are three - that of prophet, priest and king. This threefold classification was worked out carefully by Eusebius at an early date, and was followed by both
[There is no method of studying the theology of redemption at once so interesting and so effectual as that which connects it with the successive stages of our Lord's history. This does not, however, demand the presentation of what is commonly called The Life of Jesus....Yet there is an historical review of the Savior's career which may be made the basis of the entire system of evangelical theology. The life of our Lord was the manifestation of His Person and of His work, as begun below and continued above; and, remembering that the Acts and the Epistles and the Apocalypse supplement the Gospels, even as the Old Testament is their preface, we shall pursue our study of the Mediatorial Ministry in strict connection with the stages and processes of our Lord's history on earth and in heaven, before and at and after the fullness of time. - Pope, Chr. Th., II, p. 140.
The work of Christ forms in itself one whole, completed as to its principle, when He left the earth (John 17:4). But that which for His consciousness was inseparable, must be divided in our presentation of it, on account of the extent and dignity of the subject. A sharp line of separation between the different parts would lead to one-sidedness; but correctness of distinction is here one of the requirements. Thus the old dogmatic mode of speaking of a twofold state (duplex status), in which the Lord accomplished His redeeming work, is to be approved in principle; and we cannot be surprised that traces of it present themselves even in the earliest fathers. - Van Oosterzee, Chr. Dogm., II, p. 540.]
Calvin and Luther. In more modern times it has been the principle of distribution by Schleiermacher, Dorner, Martensen, Hodge, Pope and Strong. We shall, then, in this chapter, consider the following subjects: (I) The State of Humiliation; (II) The State of Exaltation; and (III) The Offices of Christ.
The Scriptures present Christ in strikingly contrasted conditions. The prophets foresaw Him as subjected to the greatest indignities, and as seated on the most exalted of thrones. Unable to reconcile these contrasts, the Jewish exegetes sometimes affirmed the necessity of two Messiahs. Much of the opposition to Jesus during His earthly life, was based on His humble condition, and the reasons given by His opposers are in exact correspondence with the nature of the humiliation which the prophets had foretold concerning Him. If in the light of modern exegetical studies, we inquire as to the nature of the humiliation, we shall find that it pertains generally, though not exclusively to the limitations of His human nature, and its relation to the penalty of sin. The portion of scripture which has furnished the basis for numerous and widely divergent Christological theories is found in St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the
[Perhaps the best rendering of Phil. 2:6-8 is as follows: "Who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, the death of the cross." The Emphatic Diaglot has the following translation: "Who, though being in God's Form, yet did not meditate a Usurpation to be like God, but divested Himself, taking a Bondman's form, having been made in the Likeness of Men; and being in condition as a Man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto Death, even the Death of the Cross." Rotheram in his "Emphasized New Testament" gives the text in the form of a transliteration, "Who in the form of God subsisting, not a thing to be seized accounted the being equal with God, but himself emptied taking a servant's form coming to be in men's likeness; and in fashion being found as a man humbled himself, becoming obedient as far as death, yea, death upon a cross."]
likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). A sound exegesis reveals, in this text, two stages in the humiliation, first, from the divine to the human; second, from the glory of created manhood, to the ignominy of the cross. Each stage is marked by parallel steps in the decline. Subsisting in the form of God, there was (1) a self-renunciation, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God, or as frequently translated, not a thing to be grasped and held on to; (2) a self-emptying or kenosis, He made himself of no reputation, that is, He emptied Himself; and (3) He took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. Subsisting in the form of man, there are likewise three well-defined steps in the humiliation set in parallel to the preceding, (1) a self-renunciation, He humbled himself; (2) a subordination, and became obedient unto death, and (3) a perfection of His humiliation as the Representative of sinners, even the death of the cross.
[There is a sense in which the Person of the Incarnate, as such, was incapable of abasement. His assumption of a pure human nature, by which the center of His being, that is, His personality, was not changed, was an act of infinite condescension, but not of humiliation strictly so called. The self-determining or self-limiting act of the Godhead in creating all things cannot be regarded as a derogation; nor was it such in the specific union of Deity with manhood. But, as we shall hereafter see that the descent into Hades was the moment which united the deepest abasement and the loftiest dignity of the Christ, so the moment of the Incarnation in the womb of the virgin united the most glorious condescension of the second Person with His most profound abjection. His work began as a suffering Redeemer, with the submission to conception and birth. Hence the Person and the work cannot be separated. And the humiliation which the Redeemer underwent must be regarded as the humiliation of the God-man. He assumed it, even as He assumed the nature that rendered it possible. - Pope, Chr. Th., II, p. 164.
The whole activity of the Son of God before His Incarnation bears an exalted and beneficent character, but not yet actually a redeeming one. It is for this reason here mentioned simply as the basis and starting point for that which He, after His appearing as the Redeemer of the world, both in the state of humiliation and in that of exaltation, has done, is doing, and will yet further do. As such, however, it must not be overlooked, since His activity after His incarnation becomes, to a certain extent, more intelligible to us, even on account of His previous activity. Yet, the incarnation of the Word, the true beginning of His work of redemption properly so-called, is, on the other hand, simply the continuation of that which the Logos had already earlier effected in order to bring in light and life. - Van Oosterzee, Chr. Dogm., II, p. 342.]
The Stages of Christ's Humiliation. From the scripture just cited it is evident that the two states of Christ's being - as pre-existent Logos, and as the Word made flesh, necessitated a twofold renunciation, from the divine to the human, and from the manger to the cross. The Reformed Christology generally applies the term exinanition to the first stage, and limits the humiliation to the second or earthly life of Jesus. If now we place the total process in its historical relations, we shall observe the following consecutive stages in the humiliation of the Redemptive Person: (1) The Exinanition, or self-renunciation on the part of the pre-existent Logos, who existing in the form of God, thought this not a thing to be grasped and maintained. It is not the divinity, however, that is relinquished, but the form under which the divine nature was to be manifested. Hence it must refer to what is termed in the high priestly prayer, "the glory"; by which is meant the free and independent exercise of His divine powers (John 17:5). (2) The Incarnation or submission to the laws of natural birth, thereby taking His human nature from the substance of the virgin. Being conceived by the Holy Ghost, His nature was sinless, yet He took it in such a manner that He bore the consequences of man's sin. (3) The self-limitation of human finiteness, by which He subjected Himself to the laws of natural growth and development, as a preparation for His office as Mediator. (4) The subordination, or the exercise of His divine powers in submission to the mediatorial will of the Father, and under the control of the Holy Spirit. (5) The humiliation, which began officially at His baptism when He became the Representative of sinners; and was followed through
[The voluntary Incarnation of the Son of God must be regarded as the first step in the path of His humiliation. Apart from all the privations and sufferings which, as became later apparent, were for Him, from the beginning to the end, connected with being man among men, even the incarnation itself was for the Lord a self-denial in the natural and moral aspect. And indeed, it was not His fate only, but His own act, that He appeared as man upon earth, an act of grace (II Cor. 8:9) explicable only from the inexhaustible riches of His obedience and love (John 6:38; Heb. 10:5) in consequence of which He, who was God in God, placed Himself, as the Ambassador of the Father, to the Father in the lowly relation of a servant. - Van Oosterzee, Chr. Dogm., II, p. 543.]
all the downward steps of temptation and suffering to its perfection - the death on the cross.
Following the Reformation, the Lutheran and Reformed Churches took widely different positions concerning the nature of the humiliation. We may summarize these briefly under four heads: (1) The Communicatio Idiomatum; (2) The Earlier Depotentiation Theories; (3) The Later Kenotic Theories; and (4) The Mystical Theories.
The Communicatio Idiomatum. This was peculiarly a Lutheran development, and signified the communication of the Idiomata, or attributes of the two natures of Christ to the one Person, and through that Person from one nature to the other. It does not involve the merging of one nature into the other, but it does hold that all the attributes, whether of the divine or human natures, are to be regarded as attributes of the one Person. The acts of Christ, therefore, are acts of the one Person and not of either nature independently of that one Person. This doctrine presupposes the Communio Naturam or Communion of Natures in such a manner that there is a communication of the attributes and powers of the divine to the human nature. This, however, is not reciprocal, for the human nature cannot communicate anything to the divine which is unchangeable and perfect. The divine nature is the higher and active, while the human is the lower and passive. Here, again, no confusion of the natures is allowed, but a permeation of the human by the divine on the basis of a perichoresis; this permeation taking place through the person which is the bond of union between the two natures. Thus
[The Lutheran theologians further developed the Commanicatio Idiomatum under three genera: (1) the Genas Idiomaticum, in which the peculiarities of either or both natures are predicated of the one Person. Thus "they crucified the Lord of glory," or "ye killed the Prince of life" (Cf. I Cor. 2:8; Acts 3:15; John 3:13; Rom. 9:15). (2) The Genus Majesticum by which the Son of God communicates His divine majesty to the human nature which He assumed. The Lutherans interpreted this to mean that Christ possessed according to His human nature, such relative attributes as omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence (cf. Matt. 11:27; 28:20). (3) The Genus Apoteiesmaticum signifies that the mediatorial acts of Christ proceeded from the whole Godhead, and not from either the one or the other nature (cf. Luke 19:10; I John 1:7).]
through the Person, the resources of the divine nature are placed at the disposal of the human. This position was denied by the Reformed Church. To the Lutheran maxim, "Humana natura in Christo est capax divino," or human nature in Christ is capable of the divine, they opposed the formula, "Finitum non est capax infiniti," or the finite cannot become the infinite.
The Earlier Depotentiation Theories. The development of the Communicatio Idiomatum led finally to a controversy within the Lutheran Church. Early in the seventeenth century two schools arose - the Giessen and the Tubingen, which took widely different positions as to the nature of the humiliation. Starting from the communicatio as a common basis, both schools held that from the moment of His conception Christ possessed the attributes of omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. But they interpreted the humiliation in different ways. The Giessen theologians held that there was a kenosis or emptying of the divine attributes during the earthly life of Christ, and hence were known as kenotists; while the Tubingen school maintained that the attributes were only concealed, and hence were known as kryptists. The kenotists, however, made a distinction between the possession of the attributes (kthsiV ) and the use of the attributes (crhsiV ), the kenosis applying only to the latter. Hence the kryptists regarded the glorification as the first display of the divine attributes in the life of Christ, while the kenotists viewed it as a resumption of them. The depotentiation theories took various forms but there was a common element in them all - they believed that there was a literal merging of the Deity of Christ into the Spirit of the Man Christ Jesus.
[The general bearing of the question is well seen in the following words of Gerhard: "Not a part to a part, but the entire Logos was united to the entire flesh, and the entire flesh was united to the entire Logos; therefore, on account of the hypostatic union and intercommunion of the two natures, the Logos is so present to the flesh and the flesh so present to the Logos that neither is the Logos extra carnem, nor the flesh extra Logos; but wherever the Logos is, there it has the flesh most present, as having been assumed into the unity of the person." The controversy led to no definite results: indeed, to us who look at the question from the outside, there is but little difference between them. - Pope, Chr. Th., II, p. 193.]
The Later Kenotic Theories. During the earlier part of the nineteenth century an attempt was made to unite the two great branches of German Protestantism - the Lutheran and Reformed churches, on the basis of the kenotic Christology. The substance of this new position was to the effect that Christ in becoming incarnate "emptied" Himself, and thereby brought the eternally pre-existent Logos within the limitations of finite personality. The form and degree of this kenosis or "self-emptying" was a matter of Dispute. Four more or less distinct types of kenotic theory appear in the Christological literature of the period - that of Thomasius, Gess, Ebrard and Martensen.
1. Thomasius (1802-1875), a Bavarian Lutheran was the earliest advocate of modern kenoticism. He held that the Lutheran conception of the two natures demanded, either that the infinite be brought down to the finite, or the finite raised to the infinite. Since the acceptance of the latter position had led to insuperable difficulties in Lutheran theology, he held that the majestas should be abandoned for the kenosis. According to Thomasius, the Son of God entered into the existence form of creaturely personality, and made Himself the ego of a human individual. His consciousness, therefore, had the same conditions and content as that which belonged to finite persons. The difference lay in this, that in Him the ego was not born out of human nature, but instead was born into it, that He might work His way through it to a complete divine-human being. We may say then, that the distinctive characteristic of the kenosis as held by Thomasius, was that the Logos emptied Himself of the
[Bruce in his "Humiliation of Christ" arranges the modern kenotic theories in four groups as follows: (1) the absolute dualistic type represented by Thomasius; (2) the absolute metamorphic type represented by Gess; (3) the absolute semi-metamorphic type represented by Ebrard; and (4) the real but relative type represented by Martensen.
The link between the earlier kenoticism of the Giessen-Tübingen schools, and that of the modern schools, is generally found in the pietistic Christology of Zinzendorf (1702-1760). To him, Jesus was on the one hand the natural Son of God, of divine essence; and on the other, mere natural man. "These can be reconciled," says Dorner, "only if we assume Zinzendorf's idea to have been that the self-conversion into a human germ, which then appropriated to itself material elements from Mary, so that the Son of God woke up to life in Mary a man."]
relative attributes of omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence, while still retaining the immanent or essential attributes of Deity.
Gess (1819-1891), a Swabian theologian, was brought up under the influence of Bengel, Oetinger and Beck. Starting, therefore, from a background of theosophic biblical realism, he carries the kenotic theory still farther than Thomasius. He affirmed that the Logos not only emptied Himself of the relative attributes, but divested Himself also of the essential attributes. There was, therefore, an actual transformation of the Logos into a human soul. This theory holds still further, that while Christ assumed His flesh from the body of the Virgin, His soul was not so derived, but was the result of a voluntary kenosis.
Ebrard (1818-1888) was a Reformed theologian who first advanced his doctrine in connection with the Holy Supper. He agreed with Gess in regarding the incarnate Logos as taking the place of the human soul, but differs from him, in that he does not hold this to be a depotentiation. He held that the attributes of omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence remained, and therefore the humiliation was a disguising of His divinity. The position very closely approaches the older orthodoxy of the Reformed Church.
Martensen (1808-1884), a Danish bishop and theologian, advanced the theory of "'a real but relative" kenosis. By this he means that the depotentiation though real, applied only to the earthly life of Christ in the flesh, and not to His divine nature or attributes. "The manifestation of the Son of God in the fullness of the times points back to His pre-existence; by pre-existence understanding, not merely that He had been originally in the Father, but also that He had been originally in the world. As the mediator between the Father and the world, it appertains to the essence of the Son not only to have His life in the Father, but to live also in the world. As 'the heart of the Father,' He is at the same time the "eternal heart of the world.' As the Logos of the Father, He is at the same time the eternal Logos of the world, through whom the divine light shines into creation (John:4). He is the ground and source of all reason in creation.... the principle of the law and the promises under the Old Testament, the eternal light which shines in the darkness of heathenism; and all the holy grains of truth which are found in heathenism were sowed by the Son of God in the souls of men" (Martensen, Chr. Dogm., p. 237). Bishop Martensen makes a distinction between the Logos revelation and the Christ-revelation, and confines the kenosis to the latter. The Logos while continuing as God in His general revelation to the world, enters at the same time into the bosom of humanity as a holy seed, that He may rise within the human race as a Mediator and Redeemer. As the Logos, He works in an all-pervading activity through the kingdom of nature; as Christ, He works in the kingdom of grace; and He indicates His consciousness of personal identity in the two spheres by referring to His pre-existence.
If now we add to these, the earlier kenotic and kryptic theories, we shall have at least a practical survey of the various kenotic theories in their relation to the humiliation of Christ. Julius Mueller (d. 1879) is a modern representative of the earlier kenoticism - holding that the Incarnation implied not only a renunciation of the use but of the possession of the divine attributes and powers. Kahnis (1814-1888) and Lange (1802-1884) returned more nearly to the older orthodox position, maintaining that the kenosis must be limited solely to the abandonment of the use of the divine attributes. Dorner criticizes the kenotic theories, and in their place sub-
[The new feature in the revelation of Christ is not that union of the divine and human nature, which is involved in the idea of man as created in the image of God. The new feature is such a union of the two natures, that a man on earth appears as the self-revelation of the divine Logos. Although the word "God-man" is not found in the New Testament, the thought expressed by it lies at the basis of its Christological representations. Christ describes Himself as both the Son of God and son of man. In styling Himself the Son of man, He sets Himself forth as the personal embodiment of human nature in its pure archetypal form (as the second Adam according to the explanation of the Apostle). And in styling Himself the Son of God, He assumes the position of the Only Begotten of the Father. (He is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person" (Heb. 1:3). - Martensen, Chr. Dogm., p. 240.]
stitutes the idea of a progressive union consummated by an enlarging impartation from the Logos to the growing receptivity in the human nature. This theory applies the kenosis to the whole range of the earthly life of Jesus instead of limiting it to a single event. It follows also the pattern of the earlier kenoticism, in that there is no depotentiation of the Logos, which remains unchanged in being and reality; but finds the limitation in the human nature, to which according to a growing capacity, there is a self-communication of the Logos.
The Mystical Theories. As previously indicated, the teaching of Zinzendorf was in some sense, the germ from which the later kenotic theories developed. It also marked a stage in the development of the modern mystical theories. In its bearing upon Christology, mysticism was developed by Weigel, Arndt, and Boehme into what amounted to a Protestant philosophy in theosophical form. The Christology of the Confessions did not satisfy the friends of mysticism. They felt the need of a stronger emphasis upon the essential affinity of man with God, and also upon the notion of a mystic vision. The eye by which earthy knowledge becomes real, they held to be man himself. In the matter of supernatural knowledge, the eye is not man but God, who is both the light and the eye in us. This inner light, Weigel identified with Christ. Later there developed the doctrine of a preexistent humanity or pretemporal Incarnation, in which the Word and this ideal humanity were conjoined from eternity. It was not, therefore, the Son of God who directly became flesh, but the Son of God already in the heavenly nature of mankind. There are three representative types of this mysticism in modern times.
1. Barclay, the theologian of the Quakers, taught that the flesh of which St. John speaks under the symbol of "the bread of life which came down from heaven" (John 6:51) is a spiritual body, and therefore the pretemporal humanity of Jesus. In order to maintain a belief in the historical Redeemer, Barclay was driven to
[Lange points out the curious fact that the Labadism of the Reformed Church is on the one side connected with the Roman Catholic Jansenism, and on the other with Lutheran Spenerism.]
posit two bodies of Christ - one heavenly, the other earthly. The peculiar tenet of Barclay, however, was his inclination to the view that the Word of God revealed Himself to men in all ages by means of the same body. The Old Testament theophanies were, then, manifestations of this body previous to the Incarnation. For this reason all men could become partakers of the life which is in Christ; and this is possible to faith, even apart from the Eucharist.
2. Zinzendorf was the founder of Herrnhut and the head of the Moravian Brethren. John Wesley was profoundly influenced by the spiritual experience of the Brethren, but reacted sharply against their peculiar doctrines. Zinzendorf shows in a marked manner the influence of the earlier mysticism as found in Weigel (1533-1588) and Boehme (1575-1624). He maintains that the human soul of Jesus was inbreathed as a glorious, holy, chaste, divine substance, by the Son himself. It took place, however, in such manner that His humanity was made subject to His divinity, His soul being a part of the divine essence. Jesus is, therefore, the natural Son of God. This family idea of Zinzendorf is applied to the Trinity and to the Church.
3. Oetinger interpreted the text ""he came unto his own" (John 1:11), as indicating that man was fashioned after the pattern of the humanity of the pretemporal Christ, and, therefore, the Incarnation was a literal coming to His own in a physical sense. Hence he says, "Because Wisdom, before the Incarnation, was the visible image of the invisible God, therefore the Son, in comparison with the Being of all beings, is something relatively incorporeal although He, too, is pure spirit. The heavenly humanity which He had as the Lord from
[The one fundamental principle in these sporadic speculations - they have never been formulated in any Confessions - is that the pure humanity of our Lord was as independent of the race of man as that of Adam was when he came from the hand and breath of his Maker. Denying, with the Scripture, that Jesus owed anything to a human father, they deny, without or in opposition to Scripture, that He derived anything from a human mother. The Virgin was no more than the instrument or channel through which a divine humanity, existing before the foundation of the world or from eternity, was introduced by the Holy Ghost into human history. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th.. II, p. 194.]
heaven was invisibly present even with the Israelites. They drank out of the rock." It is thus the heavenly humanity of Jesus which takes on or assumes to itself an earthly body.
Summary and Critical Statement. The theories under discussion will be best understood by considering them in their relation to the development of modern thought. The older Lutheranism with its extreme emphasis upon the deity of Christ, had practically ignored His humanity. It had, as Dr. Schaff says, arrived at the brink of Docetism. The rationalism which arose at the close of the eighteenth century was a reaction against this scholastic and confessional Christology, and brought a renewed emphasis upon the humanity of Christ. However it went to the opposite extreme; it ignored the divine nature, and soon fell back upon a purely human or Ebionitic Christ. With the arrival of the evangelical faith in Germany, the divine element was again emphasized, followed by original modifications and reconstructions of the orthodox Christology. Two tendencies may be noted - the humanistic and the pantheistic; the former having its origin in the theology of Schleiermacher, the latter in the philosophy of Hegel and Schelling. The humanistic tendency includes, in addition to the Christology of Schleiermacher, those also of Channing, Bushnell and other unitarian developments. The pantheistic tendency is best represented by Daub, Marheineke and Goeschel.
It is evident from our discussion of the kenotic theories that some of them must be classed with the humanistic theories, and others with the pantheistic. We have seen that the earlier depotentiation theories limited the kenosis merely to the use, or the manifested use of the divine predicates. The later theories, however, applied the kenosis directly to the Logos, holding to such a depotentiation as in some instances reduced the divine Logos to a mere finite human being. Here must be mentioned the theories of Thomasius, Gess and Julius Mueller. These are unitarian, or at least humanitarian theories and cannot be held consistently with orthodox trinitarianism. Their error lies in this - that they carry the humiliation and self-limitation to the extent of a metaphysical impossibility, and consequently contradict the essential unchangeableness of God. The pantheistic tendency led to another type of Christology. Starting from the idea of an essential unity between the divine and the human, it held to a continuous incarnation of God in the human race as a whole. The peculiar position of Christ according to this theory, is that He was the first to awake to a consciousness of this unity, and represents it in its pur
[Schielermacher's Christology may be said to mark the beginning of the nineteenth development in Unitarian thought. while holding to the divine element in Christ, and emphatically asserting His sinlessness and absolute perfection, Schleiermacher nevertheless emphasizes Christ's humanity to the disparagement of His deity. He holds Christ to be a perfect man, in whom, and in whom alone, the ideal of humanity has been realized. He admits that Christ was a "moral miracle," and that there was in Him a peculiar and abiding indwelling of the Godhead, which marked Him as different from all other men. "He was willing," says Dr. Philip Schaff, "to surrender almost every miracle of action, to save the miracle of the person of Him whom he loved and adored, from his Moravian childhood to his deathbed, as his Lord and Savior. He adopts the Sabellian view of the Trinity as a threefold manifestation of God in creation (in the world), redemption (in Christ), and sanctification (in the Church). Christ is God as Redeemer and originated an incessant flow of a new spiritual life, with all its pure and holy emotions and aspirations which must be traced to that source. Sabellian as he was, Schielermacher did not hold an eternal pre-existence of the Logos which would correspond to the historical indwelling of God in Christ." - Schaff Herzog Encylop., Art., Christology.
Richard Rothe was greatly influenced by Schleiermacher and Hegel. Next to Schleiermacher, he is generally considered the greatest speculative theologian of the nineteenth century. He held to the divine-human character of Christ, but abandoned the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. God by a creative act called the last Adam into existence in the midst of the old natural humanity. Christ was born of Mary yet not begotten of man, but created by God as to His humanity, and hence free of all sinful bias as well as actual sin. He stood every moment of conscious life in personal Union with God, but the absolute union took place only at the completion of His personal development. This took place at the time of His Perfect self-sacrifice in death. The death of Christ on earth was at the same time His ascension to heaven, and His elevation above the limitations of earthly existence.
The criticism urged against Bishop Martensen's twofold Logos revelation and Christ revelation, is that he fails to explain more clearly the unity of Christ's Person on this theory than does the orthodox creed with its two natures. As to the progressive idea of Dorner, if it be understood to make Christ more and more a theanthropic Person, we must reject it. Christ must be regarded as a theanthropic Person from His conception and birth; and His normal development, as we have previously pointed out, must be the law of natural development under which he assumes true human nature.]
est and strongest form. But the idea of a racial Incarnation soon developed into a denial of the specific dignity of Christ as the only true God-man, and consequently the theory found its logical issue in rationalistic criticism and religious skepticism. The mediating theologians, Martensen and Dorner, attempted by their kenotic theories to harmonize orthodox Christology with this idealistic philosophy, but with doubtful success. As to the mystical theories, their tendency was toward Arianism as is shown in the position of Isaac Watts, and as actually affirmed in the case of Paul Maty.
If now we take into account the teaching of St. Paul that there was in the humiliation of Christ a kenosis or self-emptying (Phil. 2:7); and if we set over against this the idea of a divestment of His pre-existent glory, as indicated by our Lord in His high priestly prayer (John 17:5), we shall find some light on this perplexing problem. The mystery of the humiliation, however, must forever transcend human comprehension. Of this divestment, Dean Alford says, " "He emptied himself of the momfh Qeou, not the essential glory but the manifested possession. . . . the glory which He had with the Father before the world began and which was resumed at His glorification. He ceased while in the state of examination to reflect the glory which He had with the Father." Lightfoot takes practically the same position. "He divested Himself, not of His divine nature, for this was impossible, but of the glories, the prerogatives, of Deity" (Lightfoot, Comm. Phil., p. 110). We may then, with safety interpret this divestment of the glory to mean the giving up of the independent exercise of His own divine attributes during the period of His earthly life. We may also confidently believe: (1) That the pre-existent Logos gave up the glory which He had before the foundation of the world, in order to take upon Himself the form of a servant. (2) That during His earthly life He was subordinate to the mediatorial will of the Father in all things; yet knowing the will of the Father, He voluntarily offered Himself in obedience to this will. (3) That His ministry during this period was under the immediate control of the Holy Spirit, who prepared for Him a body, who instructed Him during the period of development, who anointed Him for His mission, and who enabled Him at last to offer Himself without spot to God.
The Exaltation is that state of Christ in which He laid aside the infirmities of the flesh according to His human nature, and again assumed His majesty. As in the humiliation there were stages of descent, so also in the exaltation there are stages of ascent. These stages are as follows: (1) The Descensus, or descent into Hades; (2) The Resurrection; (3) The Ascension; and (4) The Session.
The Descent into Hades. The brief interval in redemptive history, between the death of Christ and the resurrection, is known as the Descensus ad inferos, or the Descent into Hades. The term is not found in the Scriptures but in the creeds, and as found there is expressed in the words, "He descended into hell." The doctrine of the descensus however, is based upon such scriptures as Psalms 16:10 quoted by the Apostle Peter in His sermon at Pentecost. Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.... He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption (Acts 2:27, 31). Closely con-
[Various views have been held concerning the Descensus. It has been held (1) that Christ in His own person preached to the good in the spirit world. This view is attributed to Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria Tertullian, Origen and Gregory the Great. It was advocated also by Anseim, Alburtus and Thomas Aquinas. Zwingli held that Christ preached the gospel of redemption to the "spirits in prison," that is, to the Old Testament saints, who could not be admitted into heaven proper prior to the actual death of Christ. This is substantially the view of the Roman Catholic Church. (2) Christ preached to both the good and bad. This view was maintained by Athanasius, Ambrose, Erasmus and Calvin. (3) Christ preached to the wicked only, announcing their final condemnation. This was held by many of the Lutheran divines. (4) Christ in the person of the apostles preached to the spirits in prison that is, to those yet in the prison of the body or flesh. This was the view of the celebrated Grotius, and also of Socinius. (5) Christ preached in the person of ancient Noah, to those who were alive on earth in his day. This view has been held by a number of eminent expositors, ancient and modern.]
nected with these texts is another by the same apostle, which states that he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (I Peter 3:19, 20). The Greek word Hades ("AidhV ) and its Hebrew complement, Sheol, signifies the hidden or unseen state, that is, the realm of the dead. It has no reference to punishment endured while in this hidden state. It was into this realm of the dead that our Lord entered, while His body was concealed in the sepulcher, or "visible representative of the invisible Hades into which He entered as to His soul."
We must regard the descensus as the first stage in the exaltation. The Reformed Churches generally regard it as the last stage in the humiliation, although it is not made an Article of Faith. Calvin and the Heidelberg Catechism regarded the creedal expression "he descended into hell" as referring to the intensity of Christ's sufferings on the cross, where he may be said to have tasted the pains of hell for sinners. The Westminster divines held that the expression meant merely that Christ continued
[Cremer says that "qanatoV , is not an isolated occurrence or fact merely, it is also a state, just as life is a state: it is the state of man as liable to judgment. It is the antithesis of that eternal life which God has purposed for man, and which man may yet obtain through Christ....We find that, according to the context, the reference of qanatoV , is either to death as the objective sentence and punishment accounted for man, or to death as the state in which man is as condemned through sin (Cf. Rom. 6:23; I John 3:14-16). - Cremer, Lexicon of New Testament Greek.
Christ's humiliation after His death consisted in His being buried and continuing in the state of the dead and under the power of death until the third day, which hath been otherwise expressed in these words, He descended into hell. - Larger Westminster Catechism, Question 50.
We simply believe that the whole person of Christ, including both His divine and human natures, after His burial, descended into hell (ad inferos), conquered Satan, overturned the power of hell, and broke down all the strength and power of the devil. But in what manner Christ did this, it is not possible that we should ascertain, whether by argumentation or by sublime imaginings. - Formula of Concord, Art. ix. 2.
The Roman Catholic Church holds that Christ descended into an intermediate state known as the "Limbus Petrum"; His purpose being to deliver the righteous dead whom He led on high as captives when He ascended after the resurrection. This assumes that the ordinances of salvation in the Old Testament were not efficacious, and that no Old Testament saint could be admitted into heaven proper on the basis of a Christ not yet historically come.]
dead as far as this world is concerned, for the period of three days. The Lutheran Church, on the other hand, held that the descensus belongs to the exaltation of Christ and is a constituent element in His redemptive work. This is the teaching of the Formula of Concord (Art. ix., 2). The older theologians based their doctrine chiefly upon the words of St. Peter (1 Peter 3:18, 19) and like wise regarded it as the first stage in the exaltation. It took place, according to their belief, immediately after the quickening in the tomb and just preceding the visible resurrection. We may safely believe, then, that when our Lord uttered the cry, "It is finished!" the humiliation ended and in the same instant His exaltation began. His death was His triumph over death, consequently death had no more power over Him (Rom. 6:8, 9). When, therefore, He entered into the realm of the dead it was a Conqueror. Descending into the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:8, 9), He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. "Quickened by the Spirit," He went and preached to the spirits in prison (I Peter 3:18, 19), a scripture which "Indicates, and will allow no other interpretation, that in the interval the Redeemer asserted His authority and Lordship in the vast region where the congregation of the dead is the great aggregate of man-
[The word Hades is derived from a meaning not; and aidhV to see and therefore means etymologically the "not seen." It occurs ten times in the New Testament, Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15 16:23 Acts 2:27-31; Rev. 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14.
Calvin maintained that "If Christ had merely died a corporeal death no end would have been accomplished by it; it was requisite also that' He should feel the severity of the divine vengeance, in order to appease the wrath of God, and satisfy His justice. Hence it was necessary for Him to contend with the powers of hell and the horror of eternal death" (Cf. Calvin, Institutes, II, xvi, 10). This makes the descensus a part of the humiliation, against which Arminian theologians generally have protested.
Godet in his comment on Rom. 14:9 has the following "With the view of securing the possession of His own, whether as living or dead Jesus began by resolving in His own person the contrast between life and death. He did so by dying and reviving. For what is one raised again except a dead man living? Thus it is that He reigns simultaneously over the two domains of being through which His own are called to pass and that He can fulfill His promise to them, John 10:28, 'None shall p' luck them out of my hand.'"
Bengel remarks (Rev. 1:18, He might have said, apeqanon, "I died," but with singular elegance it is egenomhn nekpoV , "I became dead," to denote the difference of times, and of the events in them.]
kind, the great assembly to which also we may apply the words In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee" (cf. Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, pp. 168, 169). We must believe also, that Christ's body was preserved inviolate, and consequently saw no corruption (Acts 13:37). As through the Incarnation, the Son of God took upon Him flesh and blood and thereby entered into the state of human life, so in the descensus He entered triumphantly the hitherto unknown state of the dead.
The Resurrection. The second stage in the exaltation of Christ is the resurrection, or that act by which our Lord came forth alive from the tomb. As previously indicated, St. Luke in his introduction to the Acts, makes the span of Christ's earthly life to end, not at His death but at His ascension, the time when he was taken up (Acts 1:2). The ascension marked the transition from His earthly to His heavenly state. The resurrection therefore, was the last and crowning event of our Lord's earthly mission. Two phases of this truth must be given brief consideration; first, the historical fact of the resurrection; and second, the dogmatic significance, or meaning of the resurrection.
First, the fact of the resurrection was attested by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). The testimony of the apostles and first disciples is of great value, and the historical significance of the resurrection must not therefore, be undervalued. Jesus having been crucified, dead and buried, His body on the third day disappeared from the tomb; and this despite the fact that the tomb was sealed and a Roman guard set before it. To the women who early visited the tomb an angel declared that He had risen and gone before them into Galilee (Matt. 28:1-7). Our Lord's clothes were found in the tomb, in positions
[In His one Person He kept inviolate His human body, which did not undergo the material dissolution of its elements: not because, as is sometimes said, He was delivered from the grave before corruption had time to affect His sacred flesh; but because the work of death was arrested in the very instant of the severance of soul and body. As His spirit dieth no more, so His body saw no corruption. The unviolated flesh of our Lord was still the moment He was quickened a silent declaration of perfect victory: His divinity never left His body, any more than it forsook His spirit in its passage into the world of spirits. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II. p. 168.]
which suggested that the body was exhaled in a manner which left them undisturbed, except causing them to collapse. He appeared alive to His disciples in tangible "flesh and bones" by which they recognized His body as that in which He had been crucified. Added to this, they recognized that he had acquired new and mysterious powers, which transcended those manifested during His earthly life in the flesh. During the forty days, the following appearances are recorded: to Mary in the garden (John 20:15, 16); to Peter (Luke 24:34); to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13ff); to the ten gathered together, Thomas being absent (John 20:19); to the eleven (John 20:24-29); to the disciples as they were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1ff); to above five hundred brethren at once (1 Cor. 15:6); to James (1 Cor. 15:7); at the ascension (Luke 24:50, 51); and last of all. to the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:8). One of the strongest evidences of the resurrection, therefore, was the complete and instantaneous change which took place in the minds of the disciples. From discouragement and unbelief, they were suddenly transformed into joyous believers. The supreme evidence of the resurrection, however, must ever be the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, making of them flaming evangels of the gospel, and giving them power in the preaching of the Word (cf. Acts 4:33; 5:32; 10:44 and Heb. 2:4).
Second, the resurrection must also be considered in its dogmatic relations. Here may be mentioned, (1) the self-verification of Jesus, or the evidential power of the resurrection; (2) the new humanity as the basis and consummation of the atoning sacrifice; (3) The resurrection as the ground of our justification; (4) The glorified humanity in Christ as the basis of a new spiritual fellow-
[The denial of the miracle of the resurrection is not, therefore, the bare denial of a single historical fact, it is the denial of the entire prophetic aspect of the world which Christianity presents; which finds in the resurrection its beginning in fact. A view of the world which makes the present order of things perpetual, and which considers the eternal to be only a continual present, naturally allows no room for the resurrection of Christ, which is an interruption of the order of this world by the higher order of creation still future; and which is a witness to the reality of a future life. - Martensen, Chr. Dogm., p. 319.]
ship; and (5) The resurrection of Christ as the guaranty of our future resurrection.
1. The resurrection of Christ was the self-verification of the claims of Jesus. He was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead. The resurrection, therefore, was an event of supreme evidential value, and afforded the apostles a new significance of the Person and work of Christ. In turn, it made possible the fuller revelation of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:45, John 20:22, 23). We must regard it, therefore, as the divine attestation of Christ's prophetic ministry, by which not only His claims were vindicated, but by which His mission was interpreted to the apostles and evangelists.
2. The new humanity of Jesus being sinless, furnished the ground of the atoning sacrifice. In the Incarnation our Lord assumed flesh and blood that He might taste death for every man; in the resurrection He achieved victory over death. It is for this reason that the resurrection is called a birth (Col. 1:18, Rev. 1:5). It was in reality a birth out of death, and therefore the death of death. By taking our nature and dying in it, then reviving or quickening it, this new and glorified humanity becomes the ground of an eternal priesthood, His death and resurrection being the consecrating basis. It is therefore an event of progress, in which the Redeemer passes from a lower to a higher plane in the new creation. The resurrection was not merely a return from the grave to the natural status of human life. It was a
[All the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection seem to introduce two contrasted representations concerning the nature of the resurrection body of the Lord. The risen One seems to live a natural human life, in a body such as He had before His death. He has flesh and bones, He eats and drinks: again, on the contrary, He seems to have a body of a spiritual transcendental kind, which is independent of the limitations of time and space; He enters through closed doors, He stands suddenly in the midst of the disciples, and as suddenly becomes invisible to them. This contradiction, which occurs in the appearances of the risen Savior during the forty days may be explained upon the supposition, that during this interval His body was in a state of transition and of change, upon the boundary of both worlds, and possessed the impress or character of both this world and the next. Not until the moment of the ascension can we suppose that His body was fully glorified and freed from all earthly limitations and wants, like the spiritual body of which Paul speaks (1 Cor. 15:44) . - Martensen, Chr. Dogm., p. 321.]
transcendent event. For this reason two classes of phenomena appear - natural and supernatural. The natural phenomena served to identify Him, such as the nail prints, the wound in His side (John 20:26-29), and the fact that He ate with them (Luke 24:39-43). With these were connected such supernatural phenomena as suddenly standing before the disciples, the door being shut, and as mysteriously appearing from time to time. Our Lord plainly distinguished His resurrected state from His previous mode of existence, when in speaking to His disciples He said, while I was yet with you I spake of the things which must needs be fulfilled (Luke 24:44). The resurrection as it pertains to the mode of existence during the forty days, must therefore, be regarded as an intermediate stage in the history of the exaltation, looking forward to the ascension and His final and perfect glorification.
3. The resurrection furnished the ground for our justification. Christ was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification (Rom. 4:25). It becomes, therefore, a vindication, not only of His prophetic work, but also of His priesthood; and this both as to the character of the offering and the efficiency of the offerer. His birth or emergence out of death, established a new and unchangeable priesthood. For this cause He is the mediator of a better covenant (Heb. 9:11-15). He died for the transgressions that were under the first testament; He arose to become the executor of the new covenant - by the which will, or covenant, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb. 10:9, 10). The resurrection, therefore, furnishes a new and vital principle - a power for righteousness, which is the abiding source of justifying and sanctifying grace. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us (Heb. 10:14, 15). Here the resurrection is directly related to the ascension and session, as it pertains both to His Person and to His work.
4. The glorified humanity of Christ formed the basis of a new spiritual fellowship. He was the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature....And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell (Col. 1:15, 18, 19). This new humanity in Christ, which made Him the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29), furnishes the bond between Him and those who are adopted as children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:5). This new humanity is ethical and spiritual (Eph. 4:22-24, Col. 3:9, 10), and as the basis of a new and holy fellowship becomes the Church, or the body of Christ.
5. The resurrection of Christ is the guaranty of our future resurrection. Christ was the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead....But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (I Cor. 15:20-23). It is a vital part of the redemptive purpose of God in Christ, that man should not only be delivered from sin spiritually, but that he should be made free from the consequences of sin physically.
The Ascension. The Ascension is the third stage in our Lord's exaltation, and marks the close of His life on
[In the resurrection is anticipated the perfecting of the world. That regeneration, including renewal and glorification, which mankind and all creation look forward to as the consummation of the world's development, in which spirit and body, nature and history, are perfectly reconciled - human nature being glorified into a temple for the Holy Ghost, and material nature being brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God - that regeneration which necessarily involves and demands the belief, that the contradiction between the physical and the ethical, between the kingdom of nature and that of grace shall not continue as if eternal and indissoluble - is revealed ideally in the resurrection of the Lord. The resurrection of the Lord is not the mere sign of that regeneration, it is itself the actual beginning of it. It is the sacred point where death has been overcome in God's creation; and from this point the spiritual as well as the bodily resurrection . . . . proceeds. Now, for the first time, as a risen Savior can Christ become the real Lord and Head of His Church. Now that the perfecting of the world is in His person ideally accomplished, he becomes the actual Perfecter of the world, and can replenish this present world with the energies of the future. - Martensen, Chr. Dogm., p. 318.
Cf. also Rom. 8:18-23; I Cor. 15:24-28, 49-57; Eph. 1:9, 10; Col. 1:16-20.]
earth. It is noticeable that St. Luke alone records the event in its historical order (Luke 24:50, 51; Acts 1:9-11), although St. Mark mentions it as a fact in the concluding verses of his Gospel (Mark 16:19). Christ's removal from earth to heaven must not be understood to mean merely a transference of His presence from one portion of the physical universe to another, but a local withdrawal into what is known as the Presence of God. The ascension was the passing into a new sphere of mediatonal action, the taking possession of the Presence of God for us and is, therefore, immediately associated with His High Priestly intercession. It signifies our Lord's entrance into the holy place, there to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24). Here He offers His living manhood, perfected through sufferings (Heb. 5:610), as the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2). Here also He has consecrated a new and living way for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; His glorified body becoming the way of access through which His people have liberty or boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:19, 20). Lastly, the ascension signifies the withdrawal of Christ in the flesh in order to establish conditions under which the Holy Spirit could be received as a gift to the Church. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you (John 16:7).
[The pentecostal gift of the Holy Ghost was at once the immediate proof of the verity of the ascension, and demonstration of the authority to which it led. The prediction of the psalmist, "Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them, was interpreted by both our Lord and by St. Paul of the supreme gift of the Holy Spirit (Psalms 68:18). I will send him unto you (John 16:7) was the promise before the Savior's departure; it was confirmed after His resurrection and it was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost once for all and for ever....The Gift itself was the demonstration of the Session of Christ at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33; Eph. 4:8, 12). But the great prophecy in the Psalms (Psalms 68:18), that the Lord God might dwell among them, had its plenary fulfillment when the Holy Ghost came down as the Shekinah, the symbol of God manifest in the flesh, resting upon the Church and abiding within it as the indwelling presence of the Holy Trinity. Thus the glory within the veil, and the candlestick outside, symbols of the Son and the Spirit, were blended when the veil was removed, into one and the same fullness of God. - Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p. 182.]
The Session. The fourth and last stage of the exaltation is known as the Session. It is closely connected with the ascension, and signifies, primarily, the place of Christ at the right hand of God as an intercessory presence. St. Mark connects the ascension and the session when he says of Christ that he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God (Mark 16:19). Our Lord referred indirectly to the session when He quoted the prophecy of David, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool (Matt. 22:44); and later directly in the words, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power (Matt. 26:64). Both St. Peter and St. Paul speak of Christ as being at the right hand of God (I Peter 3:22; Eph. 1:20-23). As the prophetical office of Christ was merged into His priestly work by His death and resurrection, so His priestly office is merged into His Kingship by the ascension and session. And as the resurrection was the divine attestation of His prophetical office, so the gift of the Holy Spirit is the divine attestation of both the ascension and the session. As prophet, our Lord foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter (John 15:26; 16:7, 13); as priest, He received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost; and as King he shed forth this, which ye now see and hear (Acts 2:33). Christ's presence on the throne is the beginning of a supreme authority which shall end only when He hath put all enemies under his feet (I Cor. 15:25). He is not only the Head of the Church, but the Head over all things to the Church (Eph. 1:20-23). From the session our Lord will return to the earth a second time, without sin unto salvation (Heb. 9:28); and the ascension is the pattern of this return (Acts 1:11).
The mediatorial process which began historically with the incarnation, and was continued through the humiliation and exaltation, reached its full perfection in the session at the right hand of God. The estates and offices therefore, form the transition from a consideration of the complex Person of Christ, to that of His finished work in the Atonement - the former relating the mediatorial work more directly to His Person, the latter more immediately to the Finished Work. As Mediator, the work of Christ is resolved into the threefold office of Prophet, Priest and King. Into these offices He was inducted at His baptism, and by a specific anointing with the Holy Spirit became officially the Mediator between God and man. But before directly considering the prophetical, priestly and regal offices of Christ, it will be necessary to consider some of the more general characteristics of Christ as Mediator. This will serve to prevent any misconception as to the nature of the mediatorial work as a whole.
1. Christ as mediator between God and men cannot be God only, or man only, for a mediator supposes two parties between whom he intervenes. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one (Gal. 3:20). For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5). The man to which the apostle refers is Christ Jesus, and therefore the theanthropic or God-man. The Logos was not actually and historically the Mediator until He assumed human nature. In the Old Testament Christ was Mediator by anticipation, and men were saved through His mediatorial work in view of His future Advent. In the New Testament the types and shadows through which the Word manifested Himself are done away, being superseded by the fuller revelation of the incarnate Word.
2. The Mediatorship of Christ is an assumed office. We must regard Creatorship as a primary function of Deity. The Son never assumed it and He will never lay it down. But the mediatorship as an office is not inherent in Deity, although we may say that it is inherent in His nature as sacrificial love (Eph. 1:4; I Peter 1:19, 20; Rev. 13:8). The Son voluntarily assumed the office of Mediator, being sent of the Father; and being found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself and became obedient even to the death of the cross (Phil. 2:5-11). Because the office was voluntary and involved the carrying out of
a commission, His condescension and humiliation are deserving of reward. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11). Furthermore, the office of Mediator because it was assumed will also end - in this sense, that there will be a time when the work of redemption will cease. And while the God-man will forever exist, and the relations of His people to the Father will be eternally mediated through Him, the work of redeeming sinners will be superseded by the judgment of all things. As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin (that is, without a sin-offering) unto salvation (Heb. 9:27, 28).
3. Christ is represented as the Mediator of a Covenant. In a strict sense, there can be but two forms of a covenant - the legal and evangelical. The first is based upon justice, the second upon mercy. Man having sinned in the fall, the first became inoperative; consequently the evangelical covenant alone could be established. This is sometimes known as the covenant of redemption, and sometimes as the covenant of grace. The evangelical covenant existed first under the Old Dispensation, and as such was known as the "first covenant" (Heb. 8:6-13). It exists now in a second form under the New Testament, and is known as the "new" or "better covenant" (Cf. also Heb. 8:6-8). The first was more external, and was administered through animal sacrifices and visible types and symbols. It was therefore ceremonial and national. The second is an internal covenant of life, and therefore spiritual and universal. In the first covenant the words were spoken to the people in the form of external law; in the new covenant the law is written within, upon the hearts and minds of the people (Heb. 8:8-13; 10:16-18).
4. Christ, as the Mediator of the New Covenant, discharges three offices, that of prophet, priest, and king. Under the Old Testament, Samuel was a prophet and a priest; David a prophet and a king; and Melchisedec, a priest and a king; Christ alone, unites in Himself the threefold office. His prophetical office is mentioned in Deut. 18:15, 18, For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you (Acts 3:22). His priestly office is foretold in Psalm 110:4, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec (Heb. 5:6, 4:14, 15). Since Melchisedec was a king-priest, Christ's priesthood involved also His kingship. This is directly stated in Isaiah 9:6, 7, where He is called the Prince of Peace; and again in the Psalms, I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion (Psalms 2:6).
The Prophetic Office. Christ as a prophet is the perfect revealer of divine truth. As the Logos, He was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). In the Old Testament He spoke through angels, through theophanies, through types, and by means of the prophets, to whom He communicated His Holy Spirit. As the Incarnate Word He faithfully and fully revealed to men the saving will of God. He spoke with inherent authority (Matt. 7 28, 29) and was recognized as a teacher come from God (John 3:2). After His ascension He continued His work through the Holy Spirit, who now dwells in the Church as the Spirit of truth. In the world to come His prophetic work will be continued, for we are told that the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof (Rev. 21:23). It will be through His glorified manhood that we shall see and enjoy the vision of God to all eternity.
The Priestly Office. The priestly office of Christ is concerned with objective mediation, and includes both sacrifice and intercession. He offered up himself (Heb. 7:27). He was at once the offering and the Offerer, the one corresponding to His death, the other to His resurrection and ascension, and together issuing in the Atonement. Based upon His sacrificial work in His office of Intercession and Benediction, which are together connected with the Administration of Redemption. It was on the eve of the crucifixion that our Lord formally assumed His sacrificial function - first by the institution of the Lord's Supper, and following this by His high priestly prayer of consecration (John 17:1-26). After Pentecost the priestly office became more prominent. Consequently the cross becomes the center of the apostolic gospel (1 Cor. 1:23; 5:7); His death is the establishment of a new covenant (1 Cor. 10:16; 11:24-26); and His sacrifice is regarded as a voluntary act of atonement and reconciliation (Eph. 5:2,1 Peter 2:24, Rom. 5:10, Col. 1:20). After Pentecost the priestly work of Christ is continued through the Holy Spirit as a gift of the risen and exalted Savior; and in the world to come our approach to God must be ever through Him as the abiding source of our life and glory.
The Kingly Office. The kingly, or regal office of Christ is that activity of our ascended Lord which He exercises at the right hand of God, ruling over all things in heaven and in earth for the extension of His kingdom. It is based upon the sacrificial death, and therefore finds its highest exercise in the bestowment of the blessings secured for mankind by His atoning work. As our Lord formally assumed His priestly work on the eve of the crucifixion, so He formally assumed His kingly office at the time of the ascension. We must not overlook the fact, however, that by anticipation Christ assumed to Himself the office of king during His earthly life, particularly at the time just preceding His death. But at the ascension, He said, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matt. 28:18-20). Having already proclaimed His rule over the dead in the descensus: and having declared it to His brethren on earth, He ascended to the throne, there to exercise His mediatorial power until the time of the judgment, when the mediatorial economy shall end. God's efforts to save men then have been exhausted, and the fate of all men, whether good or evil, will be fixed forever. This is the meaning of St. Paul, when he says, Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet (I Cor. 15:24, 25). It is obvious that the kingly office as exercised for the redemption of mankind applies only to that era of extending and perfecting the kingdom; and the regal office in this sense will end when that era is completed. Nor does this mean that the Son shall not continue to reign as the Second Person in the Trinity; nor that His theanthropic Person shall cease. He shall forever reign as the God-man, and shall forever exercise His power for the benefit of the redeemed and the glory of His kingdom.
[In our discussion of "The Divine Names and Predicates" we pointed out the practical value of a study of the names through which God had revealed Himself, and also the misuse which had been made of this subject by the so-called "Higher Criticism" of modern times. There is likewise a practical value in the study of "The Names and Titles of Our Lord." "It is the divine method of teaching us the doctrines of the economy of redemption; he who understands the derivation, uses and bearings of the rich cluster of terms, in their Hebrew and Greek symbols especially....will have no mean knowledge of this branch of theology and of theology in general. For this study will also tend to give precision to the language of the theologian, especially the preacher, who will observe with what exquisite propriety every epithet is used by evangelists and apostles in relation to the person and work and relations of the Redeemer. There can be no better theological exercise than the study of evangelical doctrine as based upon the titles of Jesus. No study more surely tends to exalt our Lord. we cannot range in thought over the boundless names given by inspiration to our adorable Master without feeling that there is no place worthy of Him below the highest, that He cannot be less than God to our faith and reverence, and devotion and love" (Pope, Compend. Chr. Th., II, p. 261 ff). Dr. Pope classifies the names and titles under the following six general heads: (1) Names of the supra-human Being who became man; (II) Names that express the union of the divine and human; (III) Names that express the official aspects of Christ; (IV) Names which designate the specific offices of the Redeemer; (V) Names resulting from the changes and combinations of the titles of the Redeemer; and (VI) Names which refer to our Lord's relations with His people.
The various helps to the study of the Bible generally give lists of the Names, Titles and Offices of Christ. (Those found I'm the Oxford Bibles are excellent.) The following list is not intended to be exhaustive, but merely to furnish the student with a classification and guide to the direct study of the Scriptures.
Adam, the last, 1 Cor. 15:45, 47; Advocate, I John 2:11; Alpha and Omega, Rev. 1:8; 22:13; Amen, Rev. 3:14; Author and Finisher (or Perfecter) of our faith, Heb. 12:2; Beginning of the creation of God, Rev. 3:14; Blessed and only Potentate, 1 Tim. 6:15; Branch, Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Bread of God, John 6:33; Bread of Life, John 6:35; Captain of our Salvation, Heb. 2:10; Child, Holy, Acts 4:27; Child, little, Isa. 11:6; Christ, Matt. 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20; John 6:69; Cornerstone, Eph. 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6; Counsellor, Isa. 9:6; David, Jer. 30:9; Dayspring, Luke 1:78; Deliverer, Rom. 11:26; Desire of all nations, Hag. 2:7; Emmanuel, Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Everlasting Father, Isa. 9:6; Faithful witness, Rev. 1:5; 3:14; First and Last, Rev. 1:17; First begotten (Firstborn) of the dead, Rev. 1:5; God, Isa. 40:9; 1 John 5:20; God blessed forever, Rom. 9:5; Good Shepherd, John 10:11; Governor, Matt. 2:6; Great High Priest, Heb. 4:14; High Priest, Heb. 5:10; Holy Child Jesus, Acts 4:27; Holy One, Luke 4:34; Holy Thing, Luke 1:35; Horn of Salvation, Luke 1:69; I AM, Exod. 3:14; image of God, 11 Cor. 4:4; Jehovah, Isa. 26:4; Jesus, Matt. 1:21; 1 Thess. 1:10; Just One, Acts 3:14; King of Israel, John 1:49; King of the Jews, Matt. 2:2; King of kings, 1 Tim. 6:15; Lamb of God, John 1:29, 36; Law-giver, Isa. 33:22; Life, the, John 14:6; Light of the world, John 8:12; Light, the true, John 1:9; Lion of the tribe of Judah, Rev. 5:5; Living stone, 1 Pet. 2:4; Lord, Matt. 3:3; Lord God, Almighty, Rev. 15:3; Lord of all, Acts 10:36; Lord of Glory, 1 Cor. 2:8; Lord of lords, 1 Tim. 6:15; Lord our righteousness, Jer. 23:6; Mediator, 1 Tim. 2:5; Messiah, Dan. 9:25; John 1:41; Mighty God, Isa. 9:6; Mighty One of Jacob, Isa. 60:16; Nazarene, Matt. 2:23; Passover, 1 Cor. 5:7; Priest forever, Heb. 5:6; Prince, Acts 5:31; Prince of Peace, Isa. 9:6; Prince of the kings of the earth, Rev. 1:5; Prophet, Deut. 18:15; Luke 24:19; Redeemer, Job 19:25; Righteous, the, 1 John 2:1; Root and offspring of David, Rev. 22:16; Root of David, Rev. 5:5; Ruler in Israel, Mic. 5:2; Same yesterday, today, and forever, Heb. 13:8; Savior, Luke 2:11; Acts 5:31; Shepherd and Bishop of souls, 1 Pet. 2:25; Shepherd of the sheep, Great, Heb. 13:20; Shiloh, Gen. 49:10; Son, a, Heb. 3:6; Son, the, Psalms 2:12; Son, my beloved, Matt. 3:17; Son, only-begotten, John 3:16, Son of David; Son of God, Matt. 8:29; Luke 1:35; Son of man, Matt. 8:20; John 1:51; Son of the Highest, Luke 1:32; Star, Bright and Morning, Rev. 22:16; Star and sceptre, Num. 24:17; Truth, the, John 14:6; vine, the true, John 15:1, 5; way, the, John 14:6; Witness, Rev. 3:14; Wonderful, Isa. 9:6; word, John 1:1; Word of God, Rev. 19:13.]