"For the Son of Man is come to seek and save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
The Bible records many great movements that are age.old and world.wide. These include the mystery of iniquity and the mystery of piety, the cities of men and the City of God, the scattering of nations and the gathering Name, the kingdoms of men and the Kingdom of God, the universality of sin and the uniqueness of salvation, the ravages of rebellion and the reconciling of redemption, the bondage of death and the liberty of life, together with the perpetual conflict between Jew and Arab, Babylon and Jerusalem and such like. No other volume supplies for man a history of the ages.
In addition to these familiar and formidable features the Bible is also richer in romance than any other literary volume. The book of Genesis records the foremost primal union, namely, the first.born love of man for woman, the faithful Abraham for Sarah through a long life of venture and adventure, the fervent love of Isaac for Rebekah amid the devotedness of their dedication, the fragrant love of Jacob for Rachel in all its depth and degree that caused him to render a second period of seven years in service to gain her. “And they seemed unto him but a few days for the love he had to her.” These in turn were followed by the fruitful love of Joseph for Asenath who shared his stately authority and supreme sovereignty in the court of Egypt.
In fact, the whole course of sacred history is colored by the most captivating romances, which in themselves are but microcosms reflecting the one supreme romance of the ages that is yet to be consummated in a bond of eternal union between Christ and His bride. The celebrations of this immortal covenant are to be solemnized at the marriage supper of the Lamb with myriads of angels in attendance. (Rev. ch. 21)
The everlasting Father purposed a romance for His only begotten Son before the world began, with the predetermined aim of establishing a perfect and permanent society. The gracious object of the Father's will was to glorify the First.born of all creation. Therefore, by means of the medium of revelation He made known to us the mystery of His will, how that in the new order of the fullness of times He would gather together in one all things in Christ. (Eph. 1:9, 10) The Father wills that all should honor the Son. (John 5:23) For the Son of God is inconceivably blessed and incomparably holy in all His beneficent attributes. He is inestimably beyond the need of having honor conferred upon Him by humanity. The seraphic ministers wait on Him with unswerving fidelity, the cherubic messengers willingly serve Him with unflinching loyalty and the angelic multitudes worship Him with undefeated sincerity. His lofty throne is higher than the heavens in preeminence and prominence. He appears first on the stage of revealed activity as the Creator of all things, replete in might, resolute in strength and resourceful in ability.
He commanded the effulgence of light to shine forth, and light emerged in the perfect blending of co-mingled color. He bade the mountains lift up their massive heads until their towering summits pierced the clouds. He bridled the ocean main and set bounds with coastlines, staying the proud waves with His decree. He brought forth the birds of the air in all their graceful form and delightful plumage. He peopled the rolling seas with the great denizens of the deep. At His behest the forests were draped with verdure, the valleys channeled with streams and the shrubs bedecked with dew. By virtue of His vital word the flowers flourished, furnishing the landscape with every variety of form and beauty, and filling the air with richest fragrance. Fruit trees budded and bloomed and bore their luscious crops, while the vine gave forth her vintage. By the alchemy of creative wisdom He changed common clay to sapphires, graphite to diamonds, the finest filtered grains of sand to magnificent opals, and caused the grit and germs in oyster shells to become pearls of purity. He made the precious metals that were immune from moth and rust, and studded the stellar spaces with hundreds of millions of scintillating stars of incalculable magnitude.
To what end may we ask were such massive things prepared, and these manifold varieties of exquisite beauty and gorgeous sublimity created? Was it not to provide a vantage ground in readiness for a redemptive romance that would involve Heaven and earth, and issue in the great bridal feast of bliss above, where the choicest of everything created is to contribute to the complete satisfaction and sanctification of the bride.elect?
The Word of God which is eternally copyrighted in Heaven (Psa. 119:89) plainly reveals concerning this great Lover that His ageless ability never alters, His faultless fidelity never wavers, His limitless legacy never dwindles, and His priceless trophies never tarnish. Our Lord's unvarying virtues cannot be equaled anywhere nor can they be estimated by anyone but the Father. (Matt. 11:27) During His matchless ministry on earth He faced the hardest struggle, He bore the heaviest burden, He lived the holiest life, He met the highest standards, He displayed the heartiest zeal, He wrought the humblest task, and witnessed the happiest results, "that in all things He might have the preeminence." (Col. 1:18) The context of this passage also includes preeminence in the domain of death.
Throughout world history a perpetual fascination centers in records of romance among all peoples of the earth. Yet there is no record outside of the Bible which tells of a wooer who won his bride by way of a brutal cross and woeful death. Never before in the annals of any kingdom has an account been written of a union in marriage which was contracted to perpetuity, which would never be dissolved by disagreement, divorce or death. In our civilization, when the bond of matrimony is entered upon, the words generally used are, "until death us do part."
In the case of Christ and His bride, the glory of everlastingness gilds the sacred ceremony. The union is to abide forever in a deathless society. The unutterable grandeur and spacious splendor of an eternal kingdom, a celestial estate and an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that fadeth not away, are guaranteed by the plighted word of the Heavenly Bridegroom.
He decided in His heart in accordance with an eternal purpose to offer the costliest sacrifice for atonement, to confer the comeliest raiment for adornment, to bestow the rarest spiritual gifts for endowment, to bequeath the greatest legacy of truth for enlightenment, to impart the choicest treasures of virtue for ennoblement, to provide the richest facilities of resource for enrichment, to supply the holiest experience of pleasure for enjoyment, and to give the finest dowry of celestial blessings for endearment that infinite glory and imperial generosity could create and confer.
Yet withal the sum total of these intrinsic benefits is in itself wholly insignificant when compared with His own personal love in giving Himself. Although this Bridegroom is God over all, blessed forever, combining in His wondrous personality the fullest expression of infinite glory, beauty and majesty, yet He gave Himself wholly and absolutely to His bride.
The Scriptures reveal the eternal counsels that preceded creation in relation to the great purpose of union, the character of the courtship He came to enter, the course of correspondence that followed through the years, the constancy and courtesy of the Suitor's conduct, the conspicuous majesty and the competent ministration of the divine Lover under every circumstance and condition, and also unveil the final consummation of the contract to be celebrated at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Nothing of unchastity, folly or vulgarity marred His virtuous deportment at any time. As a suitor and claimant He was above suspicion, wholly superior in His attractive qualities, supreme in resourceful abilities and sublime in His personal graces. Even the endearing remarks He made of admiring appreciation concerning His companion such as, "Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in Thee," are engraven in eternal records which can never be defaced or erased.
The inner light of His inherent dignity and regal nature shone out most radiantly in the luster of His love and the light of His countenance. His greatness of soul was reflected in the decrees He uttered, the decisions He made, the deeds He wrought and the disposition He expressed. His beauty of spirit, charming personality, high courtesy and lavish generosity, combined with a captivating eloquence, surpassed the qualities of all other characters in history.
No record is more fascinating than the revealed account of the Bridegroom's attributes. These are reflected in His multiform titles, His matchless virtues and munificent resources. He is "Heir of all things," "the Desire of all Nations, ""The Hope of Israel," " The Star of Jacob," "The Fountain of Life," "The Plant of Renown," "The Root of David," "The Good Shepherd," "The Savior of the World," "The Lord of Glory," "The Sun of Righteousness," "The Bright and Morning Star," "The First.born of all Creation," "The Visible Image of the Invisible God," "The King of Kings and Lord of Lords," "The Blessed and only Potentate," "The Alpha and Omega," "The First and the Last," "The Prince of the kings of the earth," "The Fullness of Him that filleth all in all," and "God over all blessed for evermore.” These comprise but a score from hundreds of His well.known designations.
The grandeur of His high bearing is unassumed; the guilelessness of His holy motive is unblameable and the genuineness of His heavenly conduct is unblemished. The courtship He entered upon, which is outlined in the Prophets in such fascinating detail, involved four momentous undertakings: He was required to substantiate His right, vindicate the law, liquidate the debt and consummate an eternal union in order to secure, beautify and glorify His Bride. This fourfold responsibility should be carefully considered, for the entire range of Scripture deals with them and the whole romance of redemption rests on their being faithfully discharged.
He Who originates creation and overcomes death, also overrules in dominion and oversees destiny, besides ordaining an everlasting society. We may definitely say of Him that His fame spans the centuries. His name survives the ages and His claim exceeds that of the host of conquerors through all time. His unlimited power, His unqualified prerogative, His unvariable purpose and His unchallengeable preeminence are crowned with a supernatural splendor and celestial grandeur which never fade away.
In one of the final features of His personal unveiling He is seen mounted in majestic attire on a white horse, the symbol of strength and speed, crowned with many diadems. (Rev. 19:11) He eternally merits and is wholly worthy of every scepter of sovereignty, every miter of majesty, every crown of conquest, every diadem of dominion, every decoration of distinction, every trophy of triumph, every regalia of royalty, every coronet of claim, every star of stateliness, every regency of righteousness, every wreath of worthiness and every garland of glory, for He is the Prince of kings and Lord of leaders. This is the One Who pledged to go and prepare a place for us, adding those immortal words, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Christ's right of relationship to all mankind is clearly substantiated in Matthew's gospel where our Lord demonstrates His adequate ability and able authority in every sphere including the material, physical, natural, ethical, moral, spiritual and judicial. In addition this same supremacy pertains in every realm, inclusive of the terrestrial, celestial, infernal, governmental, racial, national and supernatural. All of these are summed up in His final declaration, "All authority is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." (Matt. 28:18) This means He wields authority of every kind of which the three main expressions are indicated by the words, exousia, cratos and dunamis. No sphere exists, nor place, nor realm outside the range and sway of HIS sovereign scepter. The descriptive details of these powers in exercise are displayed in the final unveiling in Rev. chs. 1.3. "The seven stars in His right hand," Rev. 1:16, signify His sovereign authority by right of which He administers in every sphere of jurisdiction, totally and finally.
Christ's claim to the regalia of royalty is plainly vindicated in Mark's message where He contests the usurper's domination of the estate, for the Devil has but a squatter's tenure in this universe. Christ's triumph over every phase of tyranny testifies to His regal title, and supplies the reason why He should receive the regalia, which implies the rents of the property belonging to the Crown. (See Mark 12:6, 7.) The true title of His claim in evidence is disclosed in the unveiling in Rev. chs. 4.7. The seven sealed book could be handled by no other heir than He. He Who was Creator of all and for whom all things are and were created, ch. 4:11, became the Redeemer also in ch. 5 so that the entire universe is now legally His. The forces He released in the breaking of the first four seals result in all mankind being subdued before Him, the host of the ransomed, Rev. 7:9, 10, and the host of the rebellious, Rev. 6:15, 16.
The merit entitling Christ to the miter of mercy is fully furnished in Luke's Messianic message, where as Master in the realm of ministry He prevails as priest and fulfils every function needful for ransom and reconciliation to the intent that repentance and remission of sins might be preached to all nations in His name. His character and credentials certify that He possesses the capability of liquidating the debt on humanity's behalf and reinstating the alienated and disinherited to true Kingdom status. Likewise, the princely Priest of Rev. chs. 8.13 ordains the seven trumpet blasts which lead up to the world.wide announcement that the kingdoms of this world have become His own, and He takes to Himself His great power and reigns. In doing so He immediately bestows His rewards for every phase of service rendered, Rev. 11:15.17.
The nature which marks Christ as worthy of the insignia of identity with the Father is wholly warranted in John's mediatorial message, John 6:27, in which gospel also He declares Himself as one with the Father, ch. 10:30, and claims the right to open Heaven, ch. 1:51. In His omnipresence He is the Way, "I am the way," ch. 14:6, in His omniscience He is the Wisdom, and knows what is in the heart of men, ch. 2:25; and in His omnipotence He is the will of the Eternal, I came “not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me, ”ch. 6:38. In His capacity as the Word, and in His identity as the Son He holds the power to regenerate and the prerogative to adjudicate, for all judgment is committed to the Son, ch. 5:22. Likewise, the just Judge in Rev. chs. 4.20 holds the sharp sickle in His hand and proceeds to reap the harvest of the earth, Rev. 14:14.16. He orders the seven bowls of wrath to be outpoured, gathers the dead small and great to the great white throne, and issues His final verdict upon all involved, Rev. 20:13. John also declares in His Gospel that this same One Who is progenitor and adjudicator is also the Bridegroom, John 3:29, and it was He Who said to those to whom He had given authority to become sons of God, "In my Father's house are many mansions ... I go to prepare a place for you," John 14:2. These same consummative realities are enlarged upon in Rev. chs. 21.22 where the bride is presented in readiness for the marriage supper, reflecting the glory of God.
Only One Who has the scepter of sovereignty, the regalia of royalty, the miter of mercy and the insignia of identity is qualified to counsel, carry out and consummate such a purpose. No mere human could have lifted man from his earthly rank and have bestowed on him an heirship to entitle him to this high and holy heritage with equality of nature and an equity in a Heavenly home. Christ alone can purpose and perform such marvels.