Brother William Hamner makes the following request:
“As I have never asked your views, I think I can ask them now without being thought troublesome. Please give your views on Isaiah liii. 12, especially on the clause, “And he shall divide the spoil with the strong.”
INQUIRER AFTER TRUTH.
REPLY. – None, we presume, will dispute that our Lord Jesus Christ is the person of whom this prediction was made, and to whom the promise in the prediction relates, as the description of him and of his Mediatorial work is so clearly given in the chapter. He who at his coming in the flesh “was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” “He who hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Who “was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities;” and on whom was laid the chastisement of our peace, and with whose stripes we are healed. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter: and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief. 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.” “Therefore,” (for and in consideration of all this,) “will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.”
These positive promises are made by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to him who in the eternal Godhead is one and identical with the Father, and in his to begotten Sonship is the Mediatorial Head and Redeemer of his body, the church, and holding the relation of Son and Righteous Servant of the Father.
The “portion” divided unto him out of the whole mass of mankind comprises all them that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. – Acts ii. 39. For when the Most High divided the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. “For the Lord’s portion” (in this division of the sons of Adam) “is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” – Deut. xxxii. 8, 9. Of this portion divided to the Son of God, Jesus says to his Father, in John xvii., “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest to me out of the world; thine they were, and of gavest them me.” “I pray for them whom thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them” “They are not of the world, even as im not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Of this portion which is Father has divided to him, he says, John x. 29, 30, “My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
“And he shall divide the spoil with the strong.” Spoil, in a scriptural sense of the word, means the trophies of victory; and in the dividing of the spoil we are to consider what they are, what powers were overcome, and what were the trophies of our Redeemer’s victory when he poured out his soul unto death, and rose in triumph from the dead, and how and with whom the spoil was divided. We are told that our Savior “spoiled principalities and powers, and made a shall of them openly.” – Col. ii. 15. In the same chapter, and in connection with the last text referred to, we are told that he spoiled the principality of the ceremonial law of its hand-writing of ordinances, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. The spoil he divided with his redeemed members, who henceforth are made free from the law by the body of Christ, and subject no longer to be judged in meats, drinks, new moons are sabbath days, but are admonished two “stand fast and the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free;” for our triumphant Redeemer, who in the day of his flesh was himself subject to the law, is now in his resurrection glory manifestly the Head of all principality and power. Sin also, which hath reigned unto death, the strength of which is the law, is spoiled of this dominion over the redeemed vessels of mercy. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” – Rom. vi. 14. The death is also a principality and power, as it has reigned. That through death Jesus has destroyed death, and him that had the power of death, and verified the prophecy, “O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” – Hosea xiii. 14. Death is despoiled of its sting, and the grave of the two victory. Sin and death are spoiled of their prisoners, over whom they held dominion. The prey is taken from the mighty, and the lawful captives are delivered, in the redemption which Christ accomplished, and the triumph which he has achieved. “Jehovah has triumphed, his people are free.” And he has obtained eternal redemption for that portion of the sons of Adam which the Father has divided unto him.
“And he shall divide the spoil with the strong.” Not with the vanquished principalities which he has led captive; for strong as they were to hold his people captive, despite having the power they had in themselves, they could not vie with him whom God had made strong for himself. Brother Boydston will pardon us for differing with him, in supposing that the spoils of Christ’s victory in bearing the sins of many and making intercession for the transgressors, was divided with Satan. While it is true that Jesus shall separate the nations as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats, and that the work is now being accomplished, according to the parable in Matthew xxv., as our brother has said in his excellent communication in the first number of the present volume of the SIGNS, we can not think that any of the spoils of our Redeemer’s deathless victory shall ever be consigned to the place prepared for the devil and his angels. Great victories were often expressed in the Old Testament by the dividing of the spoil with illustrious characters; and the expression is not inappropriately applied to the triumph of our Redeemer. He has divided the spoil with the divine law, under which he suffered, in that he has magnified it and made it honorable. The strength of the law of god may be inferred from the fact that heaven and earth shall pass away, but no jot or tittle of it shall fail and to all was fulfilled. The honor of the law was sustained as a trophy of his victory. All the perfections of Deity shared in the spoil which he divided with the strong. The truth of God was verified, and his justice was sustained. His wisdom, power, grace, mercy and love, and his immutability, all were honored, and the glory of God was magnified, when Jesus poured out his soul unto death, and rose in triumph from the grave. Because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and bore the sins of many, and made intercessions for the transgressors.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Middletown, N. Y.
Signs of the Times
Volume 49, No. 2.
January 15, 1881