Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 1:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And declared to be the Son of God - See the note on Acts 13:33, where this subject is considered at large. The word ορισθεντος, which we render declared, comes from οριζω, to bound, define, determine, or limit, and hence our word horizon, the line that determines the farthest visible part of the earth, in reference to the heavens. In this place the word signifies such a manifest and complete exhibition of the subject as to render it indubitable. The resurrection of Christ from the dead was such a manifest proof of our Lord's innocence, the truth of his doctrine, and the fulfillment of all that the prophets had spoken, as to leave no doubt on any considerate and candid mind.

With power - εν δυναμει, With a miraculous display of Divine energy; for, how could his body be raised again, but by the miraculous energy of God? Some apply the word here to the proof of Christ's sonship; as if it were said that he was most manifestly declared to be the Son of God, with such powerful evidence and argument as to render the truth irresistible.

According to the spirit of holiness - There are many differences of sentiment relative to the meaning of this phrase in this place; some supposing that the spirit of holiness implies the Divine nature of Jesus Christ; others, his immaculate sanctity, etc. To me it seems that the apostle simply means that the person called Jesus, lately crucified at Jerusalem, and in whose name salvation was preached to the world, was the Son of God, the very Messiah promised before in the holy Scriptures; and that he was this Messiah was amply demonstrated.

    1st, By his resurrection from the dead, the irrefragable proof of his purity, innocence, and the Divine approbation; for, had he been a malefactor, as the Jews pretended, the miraculous power of God would not have been exerted in raising his body from the dead.

2nd, He was proved to be the Son of God, the promised Messiah, by the Holy Spirit, (called here the spirit of holiness), which he sent down upon his apostles, and not on them only, but on all that believed on his name; by whose influence multitudes were convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and multitudes sanctified unto God; and it was by the peculiar unction of this spirit of holiness, that the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, Acts 4:33.

Thus, then, Christ was proved to be the true Messiah, the son of David according to the flesh, having the sole right to the throne of Israel; and God recognized this character, and this right, by his resurrection from the dead, and sending forth the various gifts and graces of the Spirit of holiness in his name.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And declared - In the margin, “determined.” Τοῦ ὁρισθέντος Tou horisthentosThe ancient Syriac has, “And he was known to be the Son of God by might and by the Holy Spirit, who rose from the house of the dead.” The Latin Vulgate, “Who was “predestinated” the Son of God,” etc. The Arabic, “The Son of God destined by power special to the Holy Spirit,” etc. The word translated “declared to be” means properly “to bound, to fix limits to,” as to a field, to determine its proper limits or boundaries, to “define,” etc. Acts 17:26, “and hath determined the bounds of their habitation.” Hence, it means to determine, constitute; ordain, decree; i, e. to fix or designate the proper boundaries of a truth, or a doctrine; to distinguish its lines and marks from error; or to show, or declare a thing to be so by any action. Luke 22:22, “the Son of man goeth as it was determined, as it was fixed; purposed, defined, in the purpose of God, and declared in the prophets. Acts 2:23, “him being delivered by the determinate counsel, the definite. constituted will, or design, of God. Acts 11:29; Hebrews 4:7, “he limiteth a certain day,” fixes it, defines it. In this sense it is clearly used in this place. The act of raising him from the dead designated him, or constituted him the Son of God. It was such an act as in the circumstances of the case showed that he was the Son of God in regard to a nature which was not “according to the flesh.” The ordinary resurrection of a man, like that of Lazarus, would not show that he was the Son of God; but in the circumstances of Jesus Christ it did; for he had claimed to be so; he had taught it; and God now attested the truth of his teaching by raising him from the dead.

The Son of God - The word “son” is used in a great variety of senses, denoting literally a son, then a descendant, posterity near or remote, a disciple or ward, an adopted son, or one that imitates or resembles another; see the note at Matthew 1:1. The expression “sons of God,” or “son of God,” is used in an almost equal latitude of signification. It is:

(1) Applied to Adam, as being immediately created by God without an earthly father; Luke 3:38.

(2) it is applied to saints or Christians, as being adopted into his family, and sustaining to him the relation of children; John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:1-2, etc. This name is given to them because they resemble him in their moral character; Matthew 5:45.

(3) it is given to strong men as resembling God in strength; Genesis 6:2, “The sons of God saw the daughters of men,” etc. Here these men of violence and strength are called sons of God, just as the high hills are called hills of God, the lofty trees of Lebanon are called cedars of God, etc.

(4) kings are sometimes called his sons, as resembling him in dominion and power, Psalm 82:6.

(5) the name is given to angels because they resemble God; because he is their Creator and Father, etc., Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Daniel 3:25.

But the name the “Son of God” is in the New Testament given by way of eminence to the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the common and favorite name by which the apostles designated him. The expression “Son of God” is applied to him no less than 27 times in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and 15 times in the Epistles and the Revelation The expression my Son, and his Son, thy Son, etc. is applied to him in his special relation to God, times almost without number. The other most common appellation which is given to him is “Son of man.” By this name he commonly designated himself. There can be no doubt that that was assumed to denote that he was a man, that he sustained a special relation to man, and that he chose to speak of himself as a man. The first, the most obvious, impression on the use of the name “Son of man” is that he was truly a man, and was used doubtless to guard against the impression that one who manifested so many other qualities, and did so many things like a celestial being, was not truly human being.

The phrase “Son of God” stands in contrast with the title “Son of man,” and as the natural and obvious import of that is that he was a man, so the natural and obvious import of the title “Son of God” is that he was divine; or that he sustained relations to God designated by the name Son of God, corresponding to the relations which he sustained to man designated by the name Son of Man. The natural idea of the phrase, “Son of God,” therefore is, that he sustained a relation to God in his nature which implied more than was human or angelic; which implied equality with God. Accordingly, this idea was naturally suggested to the Jews by his calling God his Father; John 5:18, “But said also that God was his Father, “making himself equal with God.” This idea Jesus immediately proceeded to confirm; see the note at John 5:19-30. The same idea is also suggested in John 10:29-31, John 10:33, John 10:36, “Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest: “because I said I am the Son of God?” There is in these places the fullest proof that the title suggested naturally the idea of equality with God; or the idea of his sustaining a relation to God corresponding to the relation of equality to man suggested by the title Son of man.

This view is still further sustained in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Romans 1:1-2, “God hath spoken unto us by His Son.” He is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, Romans 1:3. He is higher than the angels, and they are required to worship him, Romans 1:4-6. He is called “God,” and his throne is forever and ever, Romans 1:8. He is “the Creator of the heavens and the earth,” and is immutably the same, Romans 1:10-12. Thus, the rank or title of the “Son of God” suggests the ideas and attributes of the Divinity. This idea is sustained throughout the New Testament. See John 14:9, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” Romans 1:23, “That all men shall honor the Son even as they honor the Father;” Colossians 1:19, “It hath pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;” Colossians 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily:” Philemon 2:2-11; Revelation 5:13-14; Revelation 2:23. It is not affirmed that this title was given to the second person of the Trinity before he became incarnate; or to suggest the idea of any derivation or extraction before he was made flesh. There is no instance in which the appellation is not conferred to express his relation after he assumed human flesh. Of any derivation from God, or emanation from him in eternity, the Scriptures are silent. The title is conferred on him, it is supposed, with reference to his condition in this world, as the Messiah. And it is conferred, it is believed, for the following reasons, or to denote the following things, namely.

(1) to designate his unique relation to God, as equal with him, John 1:14, John 1:18; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; Luke 3:22; 2 Peter 1:17, or as sustaining a most intimate and close connection with him, such as neither man nor angels could do, an acquaintance with his nature Matthew 11:27, plans, and counsels, such as no being but one who was equal with God could possess. In this sense, I regard it as conferred on him in the passage under consideration.

(2) it designates him as the anointed king, or the Messiah. In this sense it accords with the use of the word in Psalm 82:6. See Matthew 16:16, “Thou art “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 26:63, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether “thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” Mark 14:61; Luke 22:70; John 1:34; Acts 9:20, “he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”

(3) it was conferred on him to denote his miraculous conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Luke 1:35, “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, therefore διό dioalso that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the “Son of God.”

(It is readily admitted, that on the subject of the “eternal Sonship” very much has been said of an unintelligible kind. Terms applicable only to the relation as it exists among people have been freely applied to this mystery. But whatever may be thought of such language as “the eternal generation,” “the eternal procession,” and “the subordination” of the Son; the doctrine itself, which this mode of speaking was invented to illustrate, and has perhaps served to obscure, is in no way affected. The question is not, Have the friends of the doctrine at all times employed judicious illustration? but, What is the “Scripture evidence” on the point? If the eternal Sonship is to be discarded on such grounds, we fear the doctrine of the Trinity must share a similar fate. Yet, those who maintain the divinity of Christ, and notwithstanding deny the eternal Sonship, seem generally to found their objections on these incomprehensible illustrations, and from thence leap to the conclusion that the doctrine itself is false.

That the title Son of God, when applied to Jesus, denotes a natural and not merely an official Sonship, a real and not a figurative relation; in other words, that it takes origin from the divine nature, is the view which the Catholic Church has all along maintained on this subject: no explanation which falls short of divinity will exhaust the meaning of the title. Christ is indeed called the Son of God on account of his miraculous conception; “That holy thing,” said the angel to the Virgin, “which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of the Highest.” But the creation of Adam, by the immediate power of God, without father or mother, would constitute him the Son of God, in a sense equally or even more exalted than that in which the title is applied to Jesus, if the miraculous conception were allowed to exhaust its meaning. Nor will an appeal to the resurrection of Christ serve the purpose of those who deny the divine origin of the title, since that is assigned as the evidence only, and not the ground of it.

The Redeemer was not constituted, but declared or evidenced to be, “the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead.” In the search for a solution short of divine Sonship, recourse is next had to the office of Christ as Mediator. Yet though the appellation in question be frequently given in connection with the official character of Jesus, a careful examination of some of these passages will lead to the conclusion, that “though the Son of God hold the office, yet the office does not furnish the reason or ground of the title.” The name is given to distinguish Jesus from all others who have held office, and “in such a way as to convince us that the office is rendered “honorable” by the exalted personage discharging its duties, and not that the person merits the designation in virtue of the office.” “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,” etc. “God so loved the world that he gave his “only begotten Son,” etc. Now the glory of the mission in the first of these passages, and the greatness of the gift in the second, is founded on the original dignity of the person sent and given. But if the person derive his title from the office only, there would seem to be comparatively little grandeur in the mission, and small favor in the gift. The passages quoted would more readily prove that God had bestowed favor on Jesus, by giving him an office from which he derived so much “personal dignity!”

The following are some of the passages in which the appellation “Son of God” is found connected with the office of Christ. “These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, (an official term signifying “anointed Saviour”), the Son of God;” “He answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ (the official designation) is the Son of God;” “Whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” Now it is reasonable to suppose, that these declarations and confessions concerning the person of Christ, contain not only an acknowledgment of his official character, but also of his personal dignity. “Thou art Jesus the Christ,” is the acknowledgment of his office, and “thou art the Son of God,” is an acknowledgment of his natural dignity. The confession of the Ethiopian eunuch, and of Peter, would be incomplete on any other supposition. It should be borne in mind also, that the question of Christ to Peter was not, What office do ye suppose I hold? but, “Whom say ye that I am?” See Haldane on Romans 1:4.

If, then, the miraculous conception, the resurrection, and the office of Christ, do not all of them together exhaust the meaning of the appellation, we must seek for its origin higher still - we must ascend to the divine nature. We may indeed take one step more upward before we reach the divine nature, and suppose, with Professor Stuart and others, that the name denotes “the complex person of the Saviour,” as God and man, or in one word, “Mediator.” Comment on Heb. Exe. 2. But this is just the old resolution of it into official character, and is therefore liable to all the objections stated above. For while it is admitted by those who hold this view, that Christ is divine, it is distinctly implied, that the title Son of God would not have been his but for his office.

In the end therefore we must resolve the name into the divine nature. That it implies equality with God is clearly proved in this commentary. So the Jews understood it, and the Saviour tacitly admitted that their construction was right. And as there is no equality with God without divinity, the title clearly points to such a distinction in the Godhead as is implied in the relative terms, Father and Son. Indeed it is not easy to understand how the doctrine of the Trinity can be maintained apart from that of the eternal Sonship. If there be in the Godhead a distinction of persons, does not that distinction belong to the nature of the Godhead, independent of any official relations. Or will it be maintained, that the distinction of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, arises entirely from the scheme of redemption, and did not exist from eternity? We may find fault with Dr Owen, and others, who speak of a “hypostatical subordination of persons in the Godhead.” Prof. Stuart, Com. Heb. Exe. 1. Yet, the distinction itself, through we cannot explain it, “must” be allowed to exist.

The remaining evidence of the eternal Sonship may be thus stated.

1. Christ is called God‘s “own Son,” his “beloved,” and “well beloved,” and “only begotten Son.‘ So strong and special adjuncts seem intended to prevent any such idea as that of figurative Sonship. If these do not express the natural relationship, it is beyond the power of language to do it. Moreover, correct criticism binds us to adopt the natural and ordinary signification of words, unless in such cases as plainly refuse it,

2. In a passage already quoted, God is said “to have sent forth His Son to redeem us,” etc. And there are many passages to the same effect, in which is revealed, not only the pre-existence of Christ, but the capacity in which he originally moved, and the rank which he held in heaven. “God sent forth his Son,” implies that he held that title prior to his mission. This at least is the most obvious sense of the passage, and the sense which an ordinary reader would doubtless affix to it. The following objection, however, has been supposed fatal to this argument: “The name Son of God is indeed used, when speaking of him previous to his having assumed human nature, but so are the names of Jesus and the Christ, which yet we know properly to belong to him, only as united to humanity.” It is readily allowed that the simple fact of the name being given prior to the incarnation proves nothing of itself. But the case is altered when this fact is viewed in connection with the difficulty or impossibility of resolving the Sonship into an official relation. No such difficulty exists in regard to the terms “Jesus” and “Christ,” for they are plainly official names, signifying “anointed Saviour.”

3. Romans 1:3-4. If in this passage we understand the apostle to declare, that Christ was of the seed of David, according to his human nature, the rule of antithesis demands, that we understand him next to assert what he was according to his divine nature, namely, the Son of God.

The views given in this Note are those adopted by the most eminent orthodox divines. The language of the Westminster divines is well known; “The only Redeemer of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God, of one substance etc.” “Larger Catechism.” Mr. Scott “is decidedly of opinion, that Christ is called the only Son of God in respect of his divine nature.” Commentary, Hebrews 1:3-4.” The late Principal Hill, in his Theological System, having exposed what he deemed erroneous views on this subject, adds, “there is a more ancient and a more exalted title to this name (Son of God), which is inseparable from the nature” of Christ. “3rd edition, vol. i., page 363.)”

With power - ἐν δυνάμει en dunameiBy some this expression has been supposed to mean in power or authority, after his resurrection from the dead. It is said, that he was before a man of sorrows; now he was clothed with power and authority. But I have seen no instance in which the expression in power denotes office, or authority. It denotes physical energy and might, and this was bestowed on Jesus before his resurrection as well as after; Acts 10:38, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit, and with power; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 15:43. With such power Jesus will come to judgment: Matthew 24:30. If there is any passage in which the word “power” means authority, office, etc., it is Matthew 28:18, “All power in heaven and earth is given unto me.” But this is not a power which was given unto him after his resurrection, or which he did not possess before. The same authority to commission his disciples he had exercised before this on the same ground, Matthew 10:7-8. I am inclined to believe, therefore, that the expression means “powerfully, efficiently;” he was with great power, or conclusiveness, shown to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. Thus, the phrase “in power” is used to qualify a verb in Colossians 1:29, “Which worketh in me mightily,” “Greek,” in power, that is, operating in me effectually, or powerfully. The ancient versions seem to have understood it in the same way. “Syriac,” “He was known to be the Son of God by power, and by the Holy Spirit.” “AEthiopic,” “Whom he declared to be the Son of God by his own power, and by his Holy Spirit,” etc. “Arabic,” “Designated the Son of God by power appropriate to the Holy Spirit.”

According to the spirit of holiness - κατά πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης kata pneuma hagiōsunēsThis expression has been variously understood. We may arrive at its meaning by the following considerations.

(1) it is not the third person in the Trinity that is referred to here. The designation of that person is always in a different form. It is “the Holy Spirit,” the Holy Ghost, πνεῦμα ἅγιον pneuma hagionor τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον to pneuma to hagionnever “the spirit of holiness.”

(2) it stands in contrast with the flesh; Romans 1:3, “According to the flesh, the seed of David: according to the spirit of holiness, the Son of God.” As the former refers doubtless to his human nature, so this must refer to the nature designated by the title Son of God, that is, to his superior or divine nature.

(3) the expression is altogether unique to the Lord Jesus Christ. No where in the Scriptures, or in any other writings, is there an affirmation like this. What would be meant by it if affirmed of a mere man?

(4) it cannot mean that the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, showed that Jesus was the Son of God by raising him from the dead because that act is no where attributed to him. It is uniformly ascribed either to God, as God Acts 2:24, Acts 2:32; Acts 3:15, Acts 3:26; Acts 4:10; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:40; Acts 13:30, Acts 13:33-34; Acts 17:31; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 1:20, or to the Father Romans 6:4, or to Jesus himself John 10:18. In no instance is this act ascribed to the Holy Spirit.

(5) it indicates a state far more elevate than any human dignity, or honor In regard to his earthly descent, he was of a royal race; in regard to the Spirit of holiness, much more than that, he was the Son of God.

(6) the word “Spirit” is used often to designate God, the holy God, as distinguished from all the material forms of idol worship, John 4:24.

(7) the word “Spirit” is applied to the Messiah, in his more elevated or divine nature. 1 Corinthians 15:45, “the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17, “now the Lord (Jesus) is that Spirit.” Hebrews 9:14, Christ is said to have offered himself through the eternal Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18, he is said to have been “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” 1 Timothy 3:16, he is said to have been “justified in the Spirit.” In most of these passages there is the same contrast noticed between his flesh, his human nature, and his other state, which occurs in Romans 1:3-4. In all these instances, the design is, doubtless, to speak of him as a man, and as something more than a man: he was one thing as a man; he was another thing in his other nature. In the one, he was of David; was put to death, etc. In the other, he was of God, he was manifested to be such, he was restored to the elevation which he had sustained before his incarnation and death, John 17:1-5; Philemon 2:2-11. The expression, “according to the Spirit of holiness,” does not indeed of itself imply divinity. It denotes that holy and more exalted nature which he possessed as distinguished from the human. What that is, is to be learned from other declarations. “This expression implies simply that it was such as to make proper the appellation, the Son of God.” Other places, as we have seen, show that that designation naturally implied divinity. And that this was the true idea couched under the expression, according to the Spirit of holiness, appears from those numerous texts of scripture which explicitly assert his divinity; see John 1:1, etc., and the note on that place.

By the resurrection from the dead - This has been also variously understood. Some have maintained that the word “by,” ἐξ exdenotes after. He was declared to be the Son of God in power after he rose from the dead; that is, he was solemnly invested with the dignity that became the Son of God after he had been so long in a state of voluntary humiliation. But to this view there are some insuperable objections.

(1) it is not the natural and usual meaning of the word “by.”

(2) it is not the object of the apostle to state the time when the thing was done, or the order, but evidently to declare the fact, and the evidence of the fact. If such had been his design, he would have said that previous to his death he was shown to be of the seed of David, but afterward that he was invested with power.

(3) though it must be admitted that the preposition “by, ἐξ exsometimes means after (Matthew 19:20; Luke 8:27; xxiii. 8, etc.), yet its proper and usual meaning is to denote the efficient cause, or the agent, or origin of a thing, Matthew 1:3, Matthew 1:18; Matthew 21:25; John 3:5; Romans 5:16; Romans 11:36, “OF him are all things.” 1 Corinthians 8:6, “one God, the Father, of whom are all things,” etc. In this sense, I suppose it is used here; and that the apostle means to affirm that he was clearly or decisively shown to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.

But here will it be asked, how did his resurrection show this? Was not Lazarus raised from the dead? And did not many saints rise also after Jesus? And were not the dead raised by the apostles; by Elijah, by the bones of Elisha, and by Christ himself? And did their being raised prove that they were the sons of God? I answer that the mere fact of the resurrection of the body proves nothing in itself about the character and rank of the being that is raised. But in the circumstances in which Jesus was placed it might show it conclusively. When Lazarus was raised, it was not in attestation of anything which he had taught or done. It was a mere display of the power and benevolence of Christ. But in regard to the resurrection of Jesus, let the following circumstances be taken into the account.

(1) he came as the Messiah.

(2) he uniformly taught that he was the Son of God.

(3) he maintained that God was his Father in such a sense as to imply equality with him, John 5:17-30; John 10:36.

(4) he claimed authority to abolish the laws of the Jews, to change their customs, and to be himself absolved from the observance of those laws, even as his Father was, Mark 2:28.

(5) when God raised him up therefore, it was not an ordinary event. It was “a public attestation, in the face of the universe, of the truth of his claims to be the Son of God.” God would not sanction the doings and doctrines of an impostor. And when, therefore he raised up Jesus, he, by this act, showed the truth of his claims, that he was the Son of God.

Further, in the view of the apostles, the resurrection was intimately connected with the ascension and exaltation of Jesus. The one made the other certain. And it is not improbable that when they spoke of his resurrection, they meant to include, not merely that single act, but the entire series of doings of which that was the first, and which was the pledge of the elevation and majesty of the Son of God. Hence, when they had proved his resurrection, they assumed that all the others would follow. That involved and supposed all. And the series, of which that was the first, proved that he was the Son of God; see Acts 17:31, “He will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance to all people, “in that he hath raised him from the dead.” The one involves the other; see Acts 1:6. Thus, Peter Acts 2:22-32 having proved that Jesus was raised up, adds, Acts 2:33, “therefore, being by the right hand exalted, he hath shed forth this,” etc.; and Acts 2:36, “therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

This verse is a remarkable instance of the “apostle” Paul‘s manner of writing. Having mentioned a subject, his mind seems to catch fire; he presents it in new forms, and amplifies it, until he seems to forget for a time the subject on which he was writing. It is from this cause that his writings abound so with parentheses, and that there is so much difficulty in following and understanding him.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The doctrine of which the apostle Paul wrote, set forth the fulfilment of the promises by the prophets. It spoke of the Son of God, even Jesus the Saviour, the promised Messiah, who came from David as to his human nature, but was also declared to be the Son of God, by the Divine power which raised him from the dead. The Christian profession does not consist in a notional knowledge or a bare assent, much less in perverse disputings, but in obedience. And all those, and those only, are brought to obedience of the faith, who are effectually called of Jesus Christ. Here is, 1. The privilege of Christians; they are beloved of God, and are members of that body which is beloved. 2. The duty of Christians; to be holy, hereunto are they called, called to be saints. These the apostle saluted, by wishing them grace to sanctify their souls, and peace to comfort their hearts, as springing from the free mercy of God, the reconciled Father of all believers, and coming to them through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 600

“To them which stumble at the word, being disobedient,” Christ is a rock of offense. But “the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.” Like the rejected stone, Christ in His earthly mission had borne neglect and abuse. He was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: ... He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” Isaiah 53:3. But the time was near when He would be glorified. By the resurrection from the dead He would be declared “the Son of God with power.” Romans 1:4. At His second coming He would be revealed as Lord of heaven and earth. Those who were now about to crucify Him would recognize His greatness. Before the universe the rejected stone would become the head of the corner. DA 600.1

And on “whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” The people who rejected Christ were soon to see their city and their nation destroyed. Their glory would be broken, and scattered as the dust before the wind. And what was it that destroyed the Jews? It was the rock which, had they built upon it, would have been their security. It was the goodness of God despised, the righteousness spurned, the mercy slighted. Men set themselves in opposition to God, and all that would have been their salvation was turned to their destruction. All that God ordained unto life they found to be unto death. In the Jews’ crucifixion of Christ was involved the destruction of Jerusalem. The blood shed upon Calvary was the weight that sank them to ruin for this world and for the world to come. So it will be in the great final day, when judgment shall fall upon the rejecters of God's grace. Christ, their rock of offense, will then appear to them as an avenging mountain. The glory of His countenance, which to the righteous is life, will be to the wicked a consuming fire. Because of love rejected, grace despised, the sinner will be destroyed. DA 600.2

By many illustrations and repeated warnings, Jesus showed what would be the result to the Jews of rejecting the Son of God. In these words He was addressing all in every age who refuse to receive Him as their Redeemer. Every warning is for them. The desecrated temple, the disobedient son, the false husbandmen, the contemptuous builders, have their counterpart in the experience of every sinner. Unless he repent, the doom which they foreshadowed will be his. DA 600.3

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