“He that Should Come”

The man with a history before he was born

 
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto
you, Before Abraham was, I am.”   JOHN 8:58
 
     The proportions of the work of Christ in the times which preceded Him more striking than all the divine proportions of His life and His after-life. For when a man lives, He is a power; He has an action; it is possible to conceive that certain circumstances may have favored a man of rare genius, and have given him great ascendancy over his contemporaries. But what are we able to do upon that which precedes us, upon the past? Who among us, however eminent he may be, is able to make an ancestor for himself? Who among us, desiring to found a doctrine, is able to create for himself an avant-garde of generations already faithful to a teaching which had not been heard? Who among us will present his doctrinal ancestry to the world, if he be not truly the son of a doctrine anterior to himself/ Ah! The past is a land closed against us; the past is not even a place wherein God can act, unless He act there beforehand, and by way of preparation. Had Jesus Christ been like one of us, fallen without a providential pre-existence between the past and the future, He would in vain have demanded from history accomplished and closed a pedestal which would bear Him back twenty centuries beyond His cradle. Instead of this, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, a whole people, the human race itself, came to meet and salute Him in the arms of the aged Simeon, exclaiming in the name of all the past, of which he is the last representative: “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”              Lacordaire 

     Supposing one single man to have left a book of predictions concerning Jesus Christ as to the time and manner of His coming, and supposing Him to have come agreeably to these predictions, the argument would be of almost infinite force; yet here the evidence is stronger beyond all comparison; a succession of men for the space of four thousand years follow one another, without interruption or variation, in foretelling the same great event. A whole people are the harbingers of the Messias, and such a people as subsisted four thousand years to testify in a general body their assured hope and expectation, from which no severity of threats or persecutions could oblige them to depart. This is a case which challengeth in a far more transcendent degree our assent and wonder.          Pascal 

     The utterances about pre-existence we can deal with apart from the metaphysical explanations and the doctrine of the Logos. What remains is the response to the challenge of His enemies. “Before Abraham was, I am.” The contrast here between ¡enesqai and eimi indicates a timeless existence. The term pre-existence is contradictory, as expressing such timeless existence, since it suggests priority in time, and to speak of a continuity of consciousness between that timeless existence and the whole of the life in time is to make a development under human conditions and limitations altogether inconceivable. The only intelligible explanation of such a saying, accepting its authenticity, is this, that the more Jesus' claim was challenged the more certain He became of His relation to God as Son to the Father, and that this certainty included a distinct intuition that this relation had not and could not have begun in time, but was eternal as God Himself.   A. E. Garvie 

Comment: 
     Jesus is the eternally existent One, all the prophecies point to Him whether they point ahead to Him or back to Him. Only He, is spoken of as always existing. Only He had a history before He was born. He is the second person of the Godhead, the creator of the universe and all things therein. 
     We started this treatise with a quote from Jesus found in John 8:58 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” This statement the ancient Jew understood, and understood right well. Jesus just told them He was God, THE I am! That is the same statement found in Ex. 3:14, when Moses spoke to the burning bush, the voice said “I AM THAT I AM”. That was the pre incarnate Christ! 

Thought: 
     When He speaks of Himself with reference to His creatures, He saith, “I am.” He sets, as it were, His hand to a blank, that His people may write under it what they please that is good for them. As if He should say, “Are they weak? - I am strength. Are they poor? - I am riches. Are they in trouble? - I am comfort. Are they sick? - I am health. Are they dying? - I am life. Have they nothing? - I am all things. I am wisdom and power, I am justice and mercy, I am grace and goodness, I am glory, beauty, holiness, eminency, super eminency, perfection, all-sufficency, eternity, Jehovah, I am.”   Bishop Beveridge 

     Repose is the especial and separating characteristic of the eternal mind and power. It is the “I AM” of the Creator, opposed to the “I become” of the creature. It is the sign alike of the supreme power which is incapable of labour, the supreme volition which is incapable of change.  Ruskin 
Poem:

Our God, our Help in ages past,
Our Hope for years to come,
Our Shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal Home:
Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.
Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.
A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the
night Before the rising sun.
The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downward by Thy flood,
And lost in following years
Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten, as a dream
a dream dies at the opening day.
Our God, our Help in ages past,
Our Hop for years to come;
Be Thou our Guard while troubles last,
And our eternal Home.
                                        Isaac Watts, 1719


Great God, how infinite art Thou!
How poor and weak are we!
Let the whole race of creatures bow,
And pay their praise to Thee.
Thy throne eternal ages stood,
Ere seas or stars were make:
Thou art the ever-lasting God,
Were all the nations dead.
Eternity, with all its years,
Stands present in Thy view;
To Thee there’s nothing old appears;
Great God, there’s nothing new.
Our lives through various scenes are drawn,
And vexed with trifling cares;
While Thine eternal thought moves on
Thine undisturbed affairs.
Great God, how infinite art Thou!
How poor and weak are we!
Let the whole race of creatures bow,
And pay their praise to Thee.
                            Isaac Watts, 1707;
                            Vs. 1, line 2; Vs. 5, line 2 alt.


 
The God of Abraham praise, Who reigns enthroned above;
Ancient of everlasting days, And God of love:
Jehovah! Great I Am! By earth and heaven confessed;
I bow and bless the sacred Name, For ever Blest.
The God of Abraham praise, At whose supreme command
From earth I rise, and seek the joys at His right hand:
I all on earth forsake, Its wisdom, fame, and power;
And Him my only portion make, My Shield and Tower.
He by Himself hath sworn, I on His oath depend;
I shall, on eagle’s wings upborne, to heaven ascend:
I shall behold His face, I shall His power adore,
And sing the wonders of His grace for evermore.
The whole triumphant host give thanks to God on high;
“Hail, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!” They ever cry:
Hail, Abraham’s God and mine! I join the heavenly lays;
All might and majesty are Thine, and endless praise.
                                                              Thomas Olivers, 1770



     Next time we will look and ‘The Advent’. 

     We believers are never told to remember the birth of Jesus, only His death. And then for some unknown reason when we do chose to worship it, we remember it on the worlds day, December 25th. It is not possible that Christ was born on this day but alas all to often the world dictates to us when and how certain things should be done. 
     Aside from what the Bible tells us about lineage's and “courses” and who did what in the Temple when. Let common sense work for just a moment and you will see He could not possibly have been born on that day. The shepherds would not have had their sheep out at night in late December, simple as that! 
     So why am I going to look at the Advent now? Well, it is Bible truth. Sure I could wait till late September or early October when He was probably really born. But to many things are relegated to certain times of the year and never breached otherwise. 
     This is Bible truth, as I said and we will look at it as such as doctrine to be learned. Not just an event in history. To many of our children are beginning to think of the God who gave Himself for us only as a divine santa clause. Well I’ve spent to much time here introducing the next devotional, I just trust it will warm your heart to the old truth. 
                                                                                          God Bless You