“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
This argument is used by the inspired apostle in proof of the doctrine of the final resurrection of the saints. Until the resurrection of the saints, death holds dominion over their mortal bodies. Death reigned from Adam to Moses and continues to reign, and is the last enemy that shall be destroyed. When Adam followed his wife into the transgression, by his offence sin entered into the world and death by sin. And death passed, at that early period, upon all men, for all had sinned, as all were in Adam, and all were Adam, for the Lord God called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (Gen. 5:2) Before Adam was multiplied, before Eve was revealed from his side, before son or daughter was born, in the day of creation God called their name Adam; and their name, so far as their earthly existence is concerned, is still Adam. Therefore death still reigns by one Adam, and all things cannot be put under Christ, in the sense of this text, until death is destroyed, subdued, and put under him by the resurrection.
Hence Christ, by his spirit which inspired the prophets, said of his people, “I will ransom them from death: O death, I will be thy plague, O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” (Hos. 13:14) Again it is testified of him by the same spirit, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces;” etc. (Isa. 25:8) And this Mediatorial triumph of the Son of God cannot be fully consummated while death holds dominion over the bodies of those whom he has ransomed from the power of the grave. And as his Mediatorial reign by the irrevocable decree of God, even the Father, is immutably extended, ‘Till he hath put all things under him;” so the final resurrection of all the saints is most conclusively demonstrated, and a denial of the resurrection of the bodies of the saints is regarded by the apostle as equivalent to a denial of the Mediatorial conquest and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has already ransomed them from the power of the grave, having paid the ransom price, and he holds that power in his own hands, as he said to John, “Fear not: I am the First and Last: I am he that liveth, and was dead: and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.” (Rev. 1:17,18) Having the keys of death and the grave he has the power to open, and none can shut; to shut, and none can open. Thus the apostle has shown that the resurrection of the saints at the last day is indispensable to the complete triumph of the Son of God, and that his triumph shall be consummated and his Mediatorial work finished when death, which is the last enemy, shall be subdued by the resurrection of the bodies of his saints. “For whom he did foreknow, them he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” He is the firstborn from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept; and God “hath begotten us [the saints] again, to a lively [or a vital] hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,” etc. (I Peter 1:3,4) “But if the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwelleth in you. (Rom. 8:11)
“Then cometh the end.” The end of what? The end which Jehovah declared from the beginning, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 66:10) The full and complete accomplishment of the Mediatorial work of our Redeemer cometh to an end; the design of God; for the word is used in scripture to signify God’s purpose or design. “Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord.” (James 5:11) The end also of all the trials, tribulations and tears of the saints. The end of their sighing, sorrowing, and sinning; the end of all their association with corruption, depravity and earth. But above all, in the immediate sense of this subject, the finishing stroke of his Mediatorial work which was given him to do. He has himself declared, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37,44) Then the resurrection of that the Father gave him - that the Father hath drawn to him - shall be the consummation of his Mediatorial work.
“When he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father.” His mediatorial commission embraced the redemption of his people out of all the families of the earth unto God, and he has redeemed them unto God with his blood; but he was also commissioned to bring him “many sons unto glory.” (Heb. 2:10) To wash, cleanse, sanctify and purify them, and raise them up and present them in his own image before God, without spot or blemish, “according as God has chosen them in him before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before him in love.” As a kingdom that is fully organized; the King of Righteousness upon the throne, reigning in righteousness, sitting upon his holy hill Zion, with all his subjects, regenerated, initiated and recognized as his subjects; his law written in their hearts, his image indelibly enstamped on them, his spirit within them, and his glory bestowed upon them. In all the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ shall he deliver them up to God, even the Father.
“When he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” As Daniel described this kingdom, which the God of heaven has set up, as breaking in pieces all other kingdoms, and that it should survive them all and stand forever, so all other governments must terminate with the elements of nature, all things must be subdued to him, and even the rule of sin and reign of death, as well as all humanly organized governments must be abolished, and pass, before the kingdom shall be delivered to the Father. Even, ‘The last enemy shall be destroyed, which is death.” How perfect and complete will be his victory; not a single enemy left living in the field, not a single fort or piece of artillery remaining to be used against the King or his subjects; all things subdued and put under his feet! This is virtually done already. “For he hath put all things under his feet.” The word has gone from the mouth of God in righteousness, and shall not return void of that whereunto he hath sent it. All things, whether they be principalities or powers, thrones or dominions, things visible or invisible, all, all are put under him. Hell is subdued, death abolished, sin from all the saints annihilated, and Christ is triumphant over all things, with all the trophies of his deathless victory, in full command of earth and heaven, shall ascend and bear all his redeemed sons to the mansions of his Father’s house prepared for them from the foundation of the world. And with divine authority shall he command the avenues of immortal glory. “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors: and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.”(Psa. 24:7-10)
“Ye everlasting doors open wide,
Lift up, ye gates, receive my bride;
While heavenly harps proclaim aloud,
Here comes the purchase of my blood.”
We now approach, with much fear and trembling, that part of our subject on which sister Brown more especially desires to be enlightened; which she supposes may be very plain and simple to us, but dark to her. On this very subject great and wise men have differed widely; and we presume there is not a subject in the wide range of divine revelation on which theologians have been so sensitive. In their discussions more angry passions have been stirred up than on any other point; and rivers of blood have been shed in the abominable controversies, and all without producing one spark of light, or making the least approximation toward a settlement of the points in dispute.
We will not attempt to settle or review the positions occupied by Trinitarians, Unitarians, Arians, Socinians and Seballians, or others who have distinguished themselves by their masterly efforts to secure the mastery; but simply give sister Brown and our readers generally the limited views which we have, making no pretension to infallibility, or even desiring that our views shall be regarded with the least favor, any farther than they shall be found clearly sustained by the infallible record which God has given of his Son.
We view the subject thus - First: That all the fulness of the Godhead is embodied in our Lord Jesus Christ. That there is not an attribute or perfection belonging to the Father, or to the Holy Ghost that does not belong to Christ. That in the absence of one such attribute or perfection, all the fulness of the Godhead would not so dwell in Christ. If he were not absolutely and to the fullest extent of the word God, we could not scripturally rely on him as our Saviour; for he has said, I am God, and beside me there is no Saviour. Nor could we worship him without involving the sin of idolatry; for he has said that he will have no other God before him, and has forbidden us to worship any other God. We therefore believe he is the true God and eternal Life; the only wise God our Saviour.
We believe that he is not only God in the most absolute sense of the word, but he also is the Man whose name is THE BRANCH, who shall be a priest upon his throne, etc., according to Zechariah 6:12,13; that he is the Man of God’s right hand and the Son of Man, whose God has made strong for himself, according to Psalms 80:17.
And we also firmly believe that he is “The Mediator between God and men; the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time,” according to I Timothy 2:5,6.
As God, he is one and identical with the Father, and embodies all the fulness of eternal Godhead. As the Man of God’s right hand, and as he is called the Man Christ Jesus, and the Man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; he existed in this manhood with his Father from everlasting; not in a fleshly nature, until he came in the flesh, but in the perfect and complete manhood indicated in the declarations of scripture referred to; and which we clearly infer from the divine testimony that Man was created in his image and likeness, and that Adam is the figure of him that was to come. As the Man Christ Jesus, he embodied, and from everlasting did embody, his church, which is his body and the fulness of him that filleth all in all, according to Eph. 1:23. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.” (I Cor. 12:12) “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourished and cherished it, even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones.” “This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:29,30,32) ‘There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are all called in one hope of your calling.” “And he gave some apostles,” etc. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the BODY OF CHRIST. Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:4,11,12,13) This one body, this perfect man, this full stature of the measure of Christ, refers to what we call the mystical stature, man or body, and in its full measurement presents Christ as the Head, and the church as his body, flesh and bones, and all the saints as members of this body, in this Christ, in this perfect Man, in this measured stature of the fulness of Christ, as we have seen that the church is his body, and the fulness of him that filleth all in all; that is, the church is the fulness of the stature, of the members, to set forth a perfect man.
That all these members which make up the fulness of the stature of Christ were in him before the foundation of the world is proved in Eph. 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” And that they were and are in him as the fullness of his body and members is equally clear from the whole tenor of Paul’s arguments throughout his epistle to the Ephesians. This is what we call eternal vital union of Christ and the church; and upon this union rests the eternal salvation of all who are or ever can be saved.
Now as we have proved from I Tim. 2:5, Christ is not only God and Man, but he is also the one and only Mediator between God and men. We do not controvert the testimony that Christ has come in the flesh; but we contend that he was Christ, or the Anointed One before he came in the flesh. That he was made of a woman, made flesh, and dwelt among us is clearly true, and that the fleshly body in which he came was made of the seed of David after the flesh, is equally true. In his flesh he took part of the same flesh that his members are partakers of is admitted; but that he was the Man Christ Jesus before he came in the flesh is what we contend earnestly for.
But as the one Mediator we are now to consider him. “Now a mediator is not the mediator of one, but God is one.” (Gal. 3:20) Where then is the other party? God is One, and the church is one. And Christ is the one and only Mediator between them, equally representing both parties; identified alike with both. He is one with the Father, in the Godhead, and one with the church as his body, and fulness of him. The fulness of the Godhead is in Christ, and Christ in all his eternal fulness is in the church. He is one with his body, the church, even as he and his Father are one. The head of the church is Christ, as the Head of Christ is God. Therefore as a Daysman he can lay his hands on both, and is every part perfectly qualified to mediate between the parties. As one in identity with the church, he could come in the flesh and be recognized by law and justice as the responsible head over all things to his church, and in the body of his flesh which he took on him for the suffering of death, could bear their sins in his own body on the cross. For them he could fulfill the law, perfectly obey all its precepts, bear its weighty penalty, put away effectually and for ever all the sins of that body, wash and cleanse and purify it in the fountain of his blood, and make peace by the blood of his cross, and thereby reconcile us unto God. While in his identity with his Father he could sustain all the honors of the eternal throne, and had power to lay down his life and to take it up again. His official titles as Prophet, Priest, and King, all belong to his Mediatorial relation to God and to the church.
Having thus defined our views of Christ as God, Man, and Mediator between God and men, we are better prepared to tell what is our understanding of the Son’s becoming subject to the Father. ‘Then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” The Son in this place means the Mediator - the Head of the church, the body; and when all the saints shall be conformed to the image of this Son, he will be still identified with them, as the First Born among many brethren; but will no longer be required to mediate between them and God. No man can come unto God but by him; but when he shall have delivered up the kingdom unto God, even the Father, the whole body or church of the First Born will be prepared to see without a glass between the full-orbed glory of the eternal Deity. The eternal deity of Christ will not be eclipsed, restricted, or abridged; for God will be all in all, while Christ as the First Born will bring all his members to his own standard of glory; for the glory which God has given him, he has given to them, and in his Godhead he will be glorified with the Father’s own self, with the glory of uncreated and eternal deity, and all that Christ has assumed in his espousal of his church will continue to be identified with that church, to beautify and glorify her forevermore. The glorified humanity of the Son of God, though transcendently radiant, will be clearly distinguished from his own eternal Godhead. Now we approach and draw nigh unto God by the new and living way which he has consecrated through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; but the veil will then no longer intervene. With Job, we shall then see God, and our eyes shall behold him in his supreme excellency, while the Son, that is, in his members, his body, shall be subject to Him who has exalted them, and God will be all in all.
To imagine for a moment that the eternal deity of Christ, abstractly considered, could be placed in subordination to any higher power would be to doubt his absolute deity, or at least his equality with that higher power. But we know that Christ, in his Mediatorial identity, came into the world, not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him. This subordination to the Godhead is only apparent in his form of a servant which he took on him. But having accomplished the work which his Father gave him to do, he has sat down with his Father on the eternal throne. That same glory he had with the Father before the world began, and that glory he shall still have with the Father when the world shallbe no more. We cannot divide the glory of Christ and the glory of the Father. They are one in the Godhead, and it is one undivided glory beaming forever from that one God who is all in all. But we feel our utter incompetency to dwell upon a subject so sublime and infinite, and better prepared to unite with the humbled poet and confess,
“With feeble light, and half obscure,
We mortals thy arrangements view;
Not knowing that the least are sure,
And the mysterious just and true.
My favored soul shall meekly learn
To lay her reason at thy throne;
Too weak thy secrets to discern -
I’ll trust thee for my guide alone.”
May 1, 1862.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 179 - 188