“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
At the request of brother Caleb Thurston, of Ohio, we present such views as we have, for the consideration of those who may feel interested. We approach the subject with fear and much trembling, for we greatly distrust our ability to elucidate the subject to the edification of our readers. Although the general theme of the inspired prophet in this chapter is remarkably clear even to the feeblest of the saints, there are some figurative expressions in the text on which some of our most enlightened brethren have differed. The apostles have referred to this chapter, as in I Peter 2:24, and elsewhere; besides the preaching of the Evangelist Philip to the eunuch, which clearly demonstrates to us that the prophet spake these things of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is brought to view by this prophet in his Mediatorial character and work, as the “righteous servant” of God; for although “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:6-8. In his Mediatorial work it behooved him to suffer, and to rise from the dead, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name. The cause, the nature, necessity and object of his sufferings are unmistakably set forth in this chapter, and in the last three verses his complete success in the accomplishment of all that he had undertaken is emphatically declared. “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” What immediately follows the words above copied, are those on which we are requested to write, and they express the unequivocal pledge of the eternal God, that he shall realize all that joy which was set before him, for which he endured the cross, and despised the shame. Heb.12:2. The word therefore in this connection signifies, in consideration of the perfect work; the efficient offering and effectual sacrifice which he has made, he shall be duly rewarded. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has solemnly pledged his word, saying, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,” &c.
This form of expression often occurs in the Old Testament, in speaking of great warriors, and brilliant victories achieved by mighty conquerors. The triumphant party were accustomed to divide the spoils of victory. Those who were successful would receive such portion of what had been gained by the conflict, as would indicate the brilliancy of the conquest. When it was said that such warriors had a portion with the great, and that they divided the spoils with the strong, such declarations signified the greatness, or importance of their victory. No earthly warrior ever fought so important a battle as did our Savior. No spoils of conquest won on sanguinary fields of human strife can be compared with that in which the conquering Prince of glory, with his own right hand and holy arm got to him the victory, when he vanquished sin, death and hell, and destroyed him that had the power of death; when he led captivity captive, who he abolished death, and brought immortality to light, when his own arm brought salvation unto him, when emerging from the conflict, he came from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, glorious in his apparel, and traveling in the greatness of his strength, with names and titles of imperishable honor written upon his vesture and upon his thigh, King of kings, and Lord of lords. All principalities and powers, all thrones and dominions, are put completely in subjection to his Mediatorial exaltation, and he is invested with all power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life unto as many as the Father has given unto him.
Whether the words, “I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,” were intended to express only the magnitude of his victory, and certain pledge of the Father, that he shall certainly realize all the honor and glory of his achievement, in his exaltation to his Mediatorial throne and kingdom, and be invested with all the power of heaven and earth, and be glorified with God’s own self, with the glory that he had with the Father before the world was, according to John 17:4,5, and all the brightness of his Father’s glory, receive his coronation as the King Eternal, Immortal, invisible, the only wise God and Savior, or not, we are certain that these honors were and are secured to him, and are embraced in the joy that was set before him, for which he endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb.12:2. In the Mediatorial work of our great Redeemer, as set forth in the chapter of which our text is the conclusion, we are presented with a striking view of the conflict or warfare which he accomplished, as the sin-bearing, sin-atoning Redeemer of his people, who was delivered for their offences, and raised from the dead for their justification. In this terrible conflict he bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows, was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all; that is, all who like sheep had gone astray, all for whom he was bruised, all for whom his soul was poured out, and all who with his stripes are healed. He has himself told us for whom he suffered. He says, “I lay down my life for my sheep.” And to his Father he says of the sheep for whom he laid down his life, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” And to the Jews he said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” But he also said to them, “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. And again, at verse 39, of the same chapter, he says, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
All those, and indeed all other inspired scriptures corroborate the declaration, “He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied.” Can any thing less than what he asked the Father for satisfy him? “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24. This prayer is also according to the will of the Father, as we have shown that it is the Father’s will that Christ shall lose nothing of all that he has given him; but that he shall raise it up at the last day. Therefore, saith the eternal God, will I divide him a portion with the great. “For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” Deut. 32:9. This portion is divided unto him as the trophies or spoils rescued or taken in battle from the enemy. As he said in one of his parables, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory.” That is, when he should arise from the dead and come into his kingdom, or set up his kingdom and take his seat upon his Mediatorial throne, “then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” Our risen and exalted Savior verified this declaration when he came in all the power of his Father on the day of pentecost; for then he was revealed as having power over all flesh, that he might give eternal life to as many as the Father had given, or divided unto him. He had told his disciples before his crucifixion, that he would go and receive a kingdom and return. That kingdom he has received, and now presides over it, enthroned in majesty, and is in receit of his portion, as the north gives up, and the south resigns, and his subjects are gathered from the four winds of heaven, into his kingdom, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to go no more out forever. God has thus divided to him his portion with the great; and he shall divide the spoil with the strong. His portion includes all that the Father hath given him, all that he has redeemed, all that he has loved and given himself for. And having triumphed over death, hell and sin, and conquered the world, the flesh and the devil, and having full power over all beings and all worlds; he from the conquered and subjugated world calls out his portion from the mass, and divides to the strong hand of law and justice all who are not included in his own portion. Of his portion he says, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.” And of the residue he says, “Reprobate silver shall men call them, for I have rejected them.” This portion perfectly satisfies him. He prays not for the world, but for them only whom the Father hath given him. This recompense he receives because of his Mediatorial work; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and was numbered with the transgressors, and bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. In their salvation he poured out his soul. His soul was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death. It pleased the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief, and to make his soul an offering for sin. Though in his own immaculate person he was holy, harmless, and separate from sinners, in that he had done no violence, nor was there any guile found in his mouth, yet in the wondrous economy of grace, the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of all his people, and so he was numbered with the transgressors, and all their sins were found on him, and he bare the sins of many, he bore them in his own body on the tree, and put them all away by the sacrifice of himself; and by his one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified, or set apart to him as his portion. But through his death he has destroyed death, abolished death, and brought immortality to light; and rising from the dead has ascended up on high, and forever lives to make intercession for the transgressors.
The principle of relationship involved in the Mediatorial work of our Redeemer is clearly set forth in this connection. “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Christ is the good Shepherd whose own the sheep are; and all the trespasses of the sheep are chargeable to the Shepherd or owner of the flock. Although the sheep may be held in custody for the depredations they have committed, yet no suit in law can be brought against the sheep; the owner or shepherd is held responsible, and if he would re-possess them, he is required to prove property, pay expenses and then he may lawfully take them home. It is not expected that the sheep shall prove ownership, or that they can repair damages. The amount of damage is laid upon the Shepherd. Christ sustains this relation to his sheep. He is the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. The divine law in justice looks to Christ the Shepherd, and demands satisfaction from him. Hence the sword awakes against the man that is the fellow of the eternal God, and smites the Shepherd, and without a murmuring word, the good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep; and to him the porter openeth, and he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out; and when he putteth forth his own sheep he goeth before them, and they follow him. “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.” “I know my sheep, and am known of mine.” “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John, chapter 10.
“I’ll give him, saith the Lord,
A portion with the strong;
He shall possess a large reward,
And hold his honors long.”
February 1, 1870.
Elder Gilbert Beebe