For verily he took not on him the nature of angels - Ου γαρ δηπου αγγελων επιλαμβανεται, αλλα σπερματος Αβρααμ επιλαμβανεται· Moreover, he doth not at all take hold of angels; but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold. This is the marginal reading, and is greatly to be preferred to that in the text Jesus Christ, intending not to redeem angels, but to redeem man, did not assume the angelic nature, but was made man, coming directly by the seed or posterity of Abraham, with whom the original covenant was made, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed; and it is on this account that the apostle mentioned the seed of Abraham, and not the seed of Adam; and it is strange that to many commentators should have missed so obvious a sense. The word itself signifies not only to take hold of, but to help, succor, save from sinking, etc. The rebel angels, who sinned and fell from God, were permitted to fall down, alle downe, as one of our old writers expresses it, till they fell into perdition: man sinned and fell, and was falling downe, alle downe, but Jesus laid hold on him and prevented him from falling into endless perdition. Thus he seized on the falling human creature, and prevented him from falling into the bottomless pit; but he did not seize on the falling angels, and they fell down into outer darkness. By assuming the nature of man, he prevented this final and irrecoverable fall of man; and by making an atonement in human nature, he made a provision for its restoration to its forfeited blessedness. This is a fine thought of the apostle, and is beautifully expressed. Man was falling from heaven, and Jesus caught hold of the falling creature, and prevented its endless ruin. In this respect he prefers men to angels, and probably for this simple reason, that the human nature was more excellent than the angelic; and it is suitable to the wisdom of the Divine Being to regard all the works of his hands in proportion to the dignity or excellence with which he has endowed them.
For verily - Truly.
He took not on him the nature of angels - Margin, “He taketh not hold of angels, but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold.” The word used here - ἐπιλαμβάνεται epilambanetai- means, to take hold upon; to seize; to surprise; to take hold with a view to detain for oneself. Robinson. Then it means to take hold of one as by the hand - with a view to aid, conduct, or succour; Mark 8:23; Acts 23:19. It is rendered “took,” Mark 8:23; Luke 9:47; Luke 14:4; Acts 9:27; Acts 17:19; Acts 18:17; Acts 21:30, Acts 21:33; Acts 23:19; Hebrews 8:9; “caught,” Matthew 14:31; Acts 16:19; “take hold,” Luke 20:20, Luke 20:26; “lay hold,” and “laid hold,” Luke 23:26; 1 Timothy 6:12. The general idea is that of seizing upon, or laying hold of anyone - no matter what the object is - whether to aid, or to drag to punishment, or simply to conduct. Here it means to lay hold with reference to “aid,” or “help;” and the meaning is, that he did not seize the nature of angels, or take it to himself with reference to rendering “them” aid, but he assumed the nature of man - in order to aid “him.” He undertook the work of human redemption, and consequently it was necessary for him to be man. But he took on him the seed of Abraham - He came to help the descendants of Abraham, and consequently, since they were men, he became a man. Writing to Jews, it was not unnatural for the apostle to refer particularly to them as the descendants of Abraham, though this does not exclude the idea that he died for the whole human race. It was true that he came to render aid to the descendants of Abraham, but it was also true that he died for all. The fact that I love one of my children, and that I make provision for his education, and tell him so, does not exclude the idea that I love the others also - and that I may make to them a similar appeal when it shall be proper.
But he took on him the seed of Abraham - He came to help the descendants of Abraham, and consequently, since they were men, he became a man. Writing to Jews, it was not unnatural for the apostle to refer particularly to them as the descendants of Abraham, though this does not exclude the idea that he died for the whole human race. It was true that he came to render aid to the descendants of Abraham, but it was also true that he died for all. The fact that I love one of my children, and that I make provision for his education, and tell him so, does not exclude the idea that I love the others also - and that I may make to them a similar appeal when it shall be proper.
Veiled Glory of Christ—Had Christ come in His divine form, humanity could not have endured the sight. The contrast would have been too painful, the glory too overwhelming. Humanity could not have endured the presence of one of the pure, bright angels from glory; therefore Christ took not on Him the nature of angels; He came in the likeness of men. 5BC 1131.1
But thirty years was all that the world could endure of its Redeemer. For thirty years He dwelt in a world all seared and marred with sin, doing the work that no other one ever had done or ever could do (The Signs of the Times, February 15, 1899). 5BC 1131.2
(Genesis 3:15; Matthew 8:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:19.) Perfect Sinlessness of Christ's Human Nature—In taking upon Himself man's nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He “knew no sin.” He was the lamb “without blemish and without spot.” Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour's head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope. 5BC 1131.3
We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ. Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice (The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898). 5BC 1131.4
18. Manifestation of the Father—What speech is to thought, so is Christ to the invisible Father. He is the manifestation of the Father, and is called the Word of God. God sent His Son into the world, His divinity clothed with humanity, that man might bear the image of the invisible God. He made known in His words, His character, His power and majesty, the nature and attributes of God. Divinity flashed through humanity in softening, subduing light. He was the embodiment of the law of God, which is the transcript of His character (Manuscript 77, 1899). 5BC 1131.6
29 (Leviticus 14:4-8; Revelation 7:14; see EGW on John 12:32). Washing and Ironing Time—Remember that just as you are in your family, so will you be in the church. Just as you treat your children, so will you treat Christ. If you cherish an un-Christlike spirit, you are dishonoring God.... Position does not make the man. It is Christ formed within that makes a man worthy of receiving the crown of life, that fadeth not away.... 5BC 1131.9
This is our washing and ironing time—the time when we are to cleanse our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. John says, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” ... Shall we not let Him take them away? Shall we not let our sins go (The General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903, p. 89)? 5BC 1131.10Read in context »
Our Redeemer, laying aside his glory and majesty, to take human nature, and to die man's sacrifice, was a miracle of God. It was God's wise arrangement to save fallen man. God requires his people to be laborers together with him. He requires them to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul, and present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is the only service he will accept from reasonable mortals. Jesus has stooped very low in order to reach man in his low estate. And God requires of man to make earnest efforts, and deny self, that he may preserve his vigor of mind, and elevate himself, and imitate the example of him in whom was no guile. Then will he be benefited with the atonement of Christ. As the Lord bade faithful Noah before the flood, Come thou, and all thy house, into the ark, he will, previous to the time of trouble, say to his faithful saints, who have been preparing for translation, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee. Hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth, also, shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” 4aSG 149.1
Christ took not on him the nature of angels, but the nature of man, that he might acquaint himself with the temptations with which he was beset, and help man in his fallen state, and by his own humiliation and death elevate men to become heirs with him to his Father's kingdom. Christ endured the strongest temptations of Satan, that he might experience in himself the severest conflict which the children of men would have with the fallen foe, and that he might sustain those who should come to him for strength in their temptations. 4aSG 149.2Read in context »
In the instruction given by our Saviour to His disciples are words of admonition especially applicable to us: “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Watch, pray, work—this is the true life of faith. “Pray always;” that is, be ever in the spirit of prayer, and then you will be in readiness for your Lord's coming. 5T 235.1
The watchmen are responsible for the condition of the people. While you open the door to pride, envy, doubt, and other sins, there will be strife, hatred, and every evil work. Jesus, the meek and lowly One, asks an entrance as your guest; but you are afraid to bid Him enter. He has spoken to us in both the Old and the New Testament; He is speaking to us still by His Spirit and His providences. His instructions are designed to make men true to God and true to themselves. 5T 235.2
Jesus took upon Himself man's nature, that He might leave a pattern for humanity, complete, perfect. He proposes to make us like Himself, true in every purpose, feeling, and thought—true in heart, soul, and life. This is Christianity. Our fallen nature must be purified, ennobled, consecrated by obedience to the truth. Christian faith will never harmonize with worldly principles; Christian integrity is opposed to all deception and pretense. The man who cherishes the most of Christ's love in the soul, who reflects the Saviour's image most perfectly, is in the sight of God the truest, most noble, most honorable man upon the earth. 5T 235.3Read in context »
By His life and death Christ taught that only in obedience to God's commandments can man find safety and true greatness. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7. God's law is a transcript of His character. It was given to man in the beginning as the standard of obedience. In succeeding ages this law was lost sight of. Hundreds of years after the Flood Abraham was called, and to him was given the promise that his descendants should exalt God's law. In course of time the Israelites went into Egypt, where for many years they suffered grievous oppression at the hands of the Egyptians. After they had been in slavery for nearly four hundred years, God delivered them by a wonderful manifestation of His power. He revealed Himself to the Egyptians as the Ruler of the universe, One greater than all heathen deities. 8T 207.1
At Sinai the law was given a second time. In awful grandeur the Lord spoke His precepts and with His own finger engraved the Decalogue upon tables of stone. 8T 207.2
Passing down through the centuries, we find that there came a time when God's law must once more be unmistakably revealed as the standard of obedience. Christ came to vindicate the sacred claims of the law. He came to live a life of obedience to its requirements and thus prove the falsity of the charge made by Satan that it is impossible for man to keep the law of God. As a man He met temptation and overcame in the strength given Him from God. As He went about doing good, healing all who were afflicted by Satan, He made plain to men the character of God's law and the nature of His service. His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God. 8T 207.3Read in context »