THE DIVINE-HUMAN FAMILY – NO. 1
- W. PRESCOTT
GCB, Feb 4, 1895 pp.8-11
THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY
THE one object in all our Bible study should be, not to establish theories, but to feed upon the living word. And it seems especially desirable to call attention to this principle when a large number of us who are accustomed to teaching the word come together to make a special study of it. Hence the principle should not be to learn some theory which we can tell to others, but to obtain a life which may be lived before others; and this will be the purpose in our study of the word, – simply to feed upon the word which is Spirit and which is life. And this will be the case, no matter what special phase of truth we may study. Our whole purpose will be to break the bread of life so that we may together feed upon it.
The subject which we will consider together, for a time at least, during this Institute may perhaps be designated as the Divine-Human Family. In Eph.3:14,15 we read: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” The whole family in heaven and earth. And it will be our purpose to consider this idea of the family, but from this special stand-point, the Divine-Human family; and our topic for this hour will be to consider the Head of the family.
I would like to call attention, first, to the fact that the human family, considered as a human family, has one common Father. Acts 17:24-26. “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men.” This is our authorized version; the revised version leaves out the word “blood.” “And he made of one every nation of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Hath made of one all nations of the earth; that is, Adam was the father of the human family as a human family; and when God created Adam he created the whole human family. He created all nations that are upon the earth when he created Adam. That is, in creating Adam and conferring upon him the power to beget in his own image, he saw, as it were, a fountain of life in him; and when he created Adam, he saw in Adam every human being that has been or will be upon the face of the earth, and he created every human being upon the face of the earth in Adam.
You will see how this thought is suggested in the 25th chapter of Genesis, where the birth of Jacob and Esau is recorded. Verses 19 to 23 give the record. But I call special attention to the 23rd verse. When Rebecca inquired of the Lord, he answered her, “Two nations are in thy womb.” Two nations, – Jacob and Esau. In Jacob, God saw all the descendants of Jacob; in Esau, God saw all the descendants of Esau; and so, as he viewed it, there were two nations struggling together.
The same thought is further emphasized in Hebrews 7:9,10: “And as I may say so, Levi also, who received tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him.”
These scriptures are sufficient to bring out the principle, that in Adam were all the descendants of Adam, as he was the common father of the human family. but Adam the first failed in his work, and so there came Adam the second. 1Cor.15:45 and onward: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” And this second man, the Lord from heaven, sustains the same relation to his family that Adam sustained to his family. That is, he became the second father of the family.
In Col.3:9,10: “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Eph.4:22-24: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Dr. Young’s translation of this same text gives a little different wording, which is important. Instead of reading, “Which after God is created in righteousness,” he translates more literally, “Which according to God was created in righteousness.”
Now with these scriptures before us, we can see readily the teaching. Adam was the first man, and by yielding to sin, he received sin into human flesh, and his flesh became sinful flesh. Christ was the second man, the second father of the human family. He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. After humanity in Adam had admitted sin into the flesh, that became the old man, and the old man is humanity with sin working in it. That is to say, the old man is humanity under the control of the devil, and those who are in that condition are spoken of by the Saviour in John 8 as being of their father the devil. 42nd verse and onward: “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.”
The old man is humanity with sin working in it;the old man is humanity under the control and direction of the devil. The new man is humanity with divinity in it, and above all and first of all, the new man is Christ Jesus, “which according to God was created in righteousness and true holiness.” So we are instructed to put on the new man. Rom.13:14.
“Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,” the new man, “and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
Now how did Jesus Christ become the second father of the human family? and what does it mean to us that he did become the second father of the human family? This is told in Heb.2:14: “Forasmuch then as the children” [he is the father] are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Notice carefully; it is because the children were partakers of flesh and blood that he also himself likewise took part of the same flesh and blood. Why? In order that he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
This thought is suggested in 1st John 3:5.” And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins.” Notice what it says. “Ye know that he was manifested.” He WAS MANIFESTED to take away our sins. How was he manifested? He was manifested in the flesh; by becoming partaker of flesh and blood he was manifested. John says in the first chapter and second verse, “For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” And he was manifested to take away our sins; and he was manifested by taking part in flesh and blood, that he might be seen, capable of being looked upon. but he was manifested to take away our sins. For it was necessary, in order to take away our sins, that divinity should suffer. But how could divinity suffer simply and solely as divinity for the sins of humanity? So divinity was clothed with humanity, was manifested in humanity, that there might be a human side to divinity for the suffering; that it might be possible for divinity to present a human side for the suffering; that there might be, as it were, a vulnerable side to divinity, that divinity might receive the wound: because prophecy said that his heel should be bruised, and that must be in humanity. There must be a human side to divinity in order that divinity might suffer in humanity. But divinity must suffer to take away our sins, so divinity was manifested, put into humanity, clothed with a body; clothed with flesh, with our flesh, in order that divinity might present a side capable of receiving the wound; so, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” and he partook of the same flesh and blood in order “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver them who through fear of death [and death comes only through sin] were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
How did he take upon him that nature, that flesh and blood? he did it by birth, by being born of a woman, and the agency through which he was born of a woman was the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35: “And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” But he was also the Son of Man, and the head, the second head of the human family was a man, the new man, the divine-human man, the man Christ Jesus.
Now what does it mean to us that Jesus Christ became the second head of this human family? It means this: Just as, when Adam was created, all the members of the human family were created in him, so also when the second man was created “according to God in righteousness and true holiness,” all the members of that family were created in him.It means that, as God saw in Adam all the members of the human family, so he saw in Christ, the second father of the family, all the members of the divine human family; so he saw in him all his sons, all his daughters, all his descendants; all that belong to the family. No matter whether they were born into the family or not. Before Jacob and Esau were born, God saw two nations there. No matter whether born into the divine-human family or not, yet God created in Christ Jesus, the new man, all the members of the divine-human family that should afterward be born into that family.
Now the fact that Christ took our flesh, and that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, means a great deal more than that there was a good man who lived then, and set us a good example. He was the second father, he was the representative of humanity; and it was when Jesus Christ took our human nature and was born of a woman, that humanity and divinity were joined. It was then that Jesus Christ gave himself, not simply for the human family but to the human family. That is to say, Jesus Christ joined himself to humanity and gave himself to humanity, and identified himself with humanity and became humanity; and he became we, and we were there in him. It means that Jesus Christ in himself joined humanity and divinity to all eternity to take our human nature and retain it to all eternity, and is to-day our representative in heaven, still bearing our human nature, and there is a divine-human man in heaven to-day, – Jesus Christ.
Read it in Heb.10:11,12: “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down on the right hand of God.” There is a man sitting on the right hand of God, and we sit there in him. That is what this scripture in the seventh of Hebrews, to which we have referred, has illustrated, how it is that God saw in Adam all the human family, and how that when he created Adam he created all the human family. This Scripture means a great deal more than that. Read again Heb.7:9,10: “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him.” When Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedec, Levi paid tithes in him, for he was in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him. All that Abraham did, Levi did in him.
Read further in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, verses 21 and 22: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” You may stop a moment to think that they both came by a tree; death came by a tree, life came by a tree. Adam ate of the forbidden fruit of the tree, so death came upon the human family. Christ bore all our sins upon a tree, and by that means brought life to the human family. “By man came death; by man came also the resurrection of the dead, for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Adam is the man through whom death came; Christ is the man through whom comes the resurrection from the dead.
Read also Romans 5:12 and onward. As we read this scripture,bear these principles in mind, and this parallel between the first Adam and the second Adam, and what we gained through the first Adam and what we gained through the second Adam. From the first Adam, sin, transitory life, death; from the second Adam, righteousness, life, –eternal life. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Revised Version, “for that all sinned.” Just one act in a point of time wholly past. For that all sinned; for all did sin.
“For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure (or type) of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift; for if through the offense of one many be dead (Revised Version, many died) much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification,” or righteousness. So the contrast is between condemnation and justification, or righteousness. Death came by sin. “For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made [or ‘became,’ or Dr. Young’s translation, ‘many were constituted’] sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made [or constituted] righteous.”
Now see the contrast between the first Adam and the second Adam; the first father of the family and the second father of the family. From one, judgment to condemnation; the other, justification of life. Through the disobedience of one, many were constituted sinners; through the obedience of one, many were constituted sinners; through the obedience of one, many were constituted righteous in him.
And the idea further that Jesus Christ gave himself to us. Think of that for a moment. It is not that Jesus Christ, as some one apart from us, as it were entirely outside of our connection in any way, just simply came forward and said, “I will die for man.” No, he became man, and divinity was given to the human family in Jesus Christ. But divinity was joined to humanity by birth, and Jesus Christ became flesh and blood relation, – near of kin to every one of us.
Read the foreshadowing of that in Lev.55:47-49: “And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself upon the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger’s family, after that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him, either his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself.” Now that is where humanity is. Humanity is sold under sin. Now if humanity is able, it may redeem itself. Is it able? Is humanity able to redeem itself? No. Well, then, some one that is nigh of kin may redeem it. But who is nigh of kin that is able to redeem it?He who took part of our same flesh and blood. So that, as is expressed in Eph.5:30, “We are members of his body and of his flesh, and of his bones.” And he is nigh of kin.
Now read again in Heb.2:11, and see how this relation is recognized. “For both he that sanctifiethand they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren.” You remember in his last prayer, just at the close of his work (John 17:26), he says, “And I have declared unto them thy name.” “I will declare thy name unto my brethren.” And he did it; and one of his last words was, “I have declared unto them thy name.” They were his brethren. “I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.” Second father of the family. Behold the children.
Mark 3:31: “There came then his brethren and his mother [Now these were those that were actually related to him by the ties of the natural flesh], and standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them that sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” That is,whoever is born into this family of Godis as closely related to Jesus Christ, and that by flesh and blood, as is a mother to her own son.
Read in Luke 11:27,28, and it is a touching thought: “And it came to pass as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.” As this woman looked upon Jesus Christ and heard his teachings, there arose in that mother’s heart a feeling of what a wonderfully blessed thing it must be to be so closely united to that man as is a mother to her child. What did he reply? Oh, he said, “Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Because they are united every one of them to him just as is a mother to her own child. That is, by the very closest ties possible in this world is every son of God united to Jesus Christ, his Brother, his Father, his Saviour, his Redeemer.