Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
JEHOVAH’S GOOD PLEASURE SHALL PROSPER
"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."
Our text pictures our dear Redeemer as the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief, who poured out His soul, His being, unto death—who made His soul an offering for sin, for the redemption of Adam’s soul, which was forfeited because of sin, and incidentally for the redemption of Adam’s race, involved in sin and its death penalty through him. The Apostle reminds us that it was through one man’s disobedience that sin entered into the world and death as a result of sin. (
.) He thus assures us that there would have been no such thing as death in the world aside from sin; and that thus sin and death constituted the curse which has blighted and blemished everything of an earthly kind.
Our Lord tells us that the whole world was thus lost through Adam under Divine sentence of death, and that He came to seek and to recover that which was lost—to restore it to its former condition. All will concede that our dear Redeemer was moved by a most noble impulse when He responded to the Father’s gracious Plan of Salvation and gave Himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (
.) None will deny that it was a great humbling of self for the "chiefest among ten thousand" to humble Himself to a lower nature, the human nature, and take our form and be born in the fashion of men, that He might redeem mankind. But the proper enough question arises, Has the great Sacrifice realized a proper return? Do the results justify so great a cost? What has been accomplished by His death?
In our context the Lord through the Prophet foretold this offering of our Lord’s soul as the Corresponding-price, the Ransom, for Adam’s soul, being, life, existence, as the payment of the penalty for original sin. It foretells the results of this Sacrifice with equal clearness, stating that, "He shall see His seed, shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand." In considering this matter we must remember that the Church of this Gospel Age is nowhere spoken of as the "seed of Christ," the children of Christ, but on the contrary are styled His "brethren," or His "espoused."
The Apostle Peter notes our relationship to the Lord when he says, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten you." (
.) Hence we who are thus begotten of God are directly the children of the Father, and not the children of our Lord Jesus. He is our Elder Brother. This agrees well, too, with His own declaration on the subject, saying to Mary after His resurrection, "I ascend to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God."
But that our Lord is to be a Father is distinctly prophesied. One of His titles, whose meaning will be most explicitly seen by and by in the Millennial Age, is the "Everlasting Father," who bestows upon His children everlasting life. We see the Scriptural picture then, that the sins of the world, atoned for by the Lord Jesus, will in due time all be canceled, and every sinner in due time be brought to a full knowledge of the Lord, that he may avail himself of the blessing of forgiveness and restoration to Divine favor provided in the "only name given under Heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved."—
This blessing comes in advance to consecrated believers of this Gospel Age, who are justified by faith and granted the privilege of being begotten again by the Holy Spirit to a new nature and to joint-heirship with Jesus in His Kingdom and its glorious work. But for the world
in general, the time for God’s blessing to reach them will be by and by, when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth, and they that hear (obey) shall live—shall be gradually brought up out of sin-and-death conditions to the full perfection of life and human nature. That class, the world, dealt with during the Millennial Age under the terms of the Kingdom, will not be begotten of the Spirit to a new nature as are we of the Gospel Church, but attain instead, by obedience, restitution to the perfection of human nature.
Because Jesus gave His life, His soul, in exchange for Adam’s life or soul, thus purchasing the race from the control of sin and death, therefore the restoration to be effected during the Millennium for the world is indicated as being the direct work of our Lord Jesus Himself and not the Father’s work, although the Father was the Author of the entire Plan of Salvation. It is because the life that will be restored to mankind was the direct purchase of our Lord Jesus at the cost of His own life or soul, that the giving of this life to the world during the Millennium by the resurrection and restitution processes is accredited to our Lord Jesus as His own work; and that He, therefore, is styled the Father of the world, the second Adam, who will take the place of the first Adam, having purchased him and his posterity by His own blood, His own sacrifice, by making His own soul an offering for their sin. As the second Adam He is to be the world’s Father, the Giver of everlasting life to all those who will obey Him. He is not the Church’s Father; for the Church does not receive back the forfeited human life, but instead is begotten to the spiritual higher nature by the Holy Spirit, as already shown.
GOD’S PLEASURE TO PROSPER IN HIS HAND
This feature of our text has not yet been fulfilled. Who will say that the pleasure of Jehovah is now being fulfilled in the world? Who will say that the present reign of Sin and Death is the good pleasure of the God of love
and mercy, who declares that He has no pleasure in our dying? Only in a very limited sense could it be said that any part of Jehovah’s pleasure has been accomplished by our Redeemer. It pleased the Father to put the Son to grief, to permit the dire troubles and calamities which came upon Him in connection with our redemption.
This does not signify that the Lord took pleasure in the sufferings of the Redeemer, but that it was the Lord’s plan that our dear Redeemer should be tried, tested and proven worthy, and thus prepared for the glorious honors of His exaltation and for the great work which He is yet to accomplish for the uplift of mankind. It was the Father’s Plan rather than the Father’s pleasure that our Lord fulfilled in His obedience even unto death, even the death of the cross.—
Similarly we may say that the Father’s pleasure, in the sense of plan, is being fulfilled throughout this Gospel Age in the sufferings of the Church, which is the Body of Christ—in the trials and afflictions which came upon the Apostles and upon all the faithful in Christ Jesus from their day to the present time, to the end of the Age. The Scriptures assure us that the Lord counts the sufferings of the faithful ones—endured for the sake of righteousness and their loyalty to God, His people and His Word—as very precious, as a sweet odor, as an evidence of their love, their devotion and their faith in Him and His promises.
In this sense God’s good pleasure, His good Plan, is outworking gloriously, and from this standpoint all who are the Lord’s people may with the Apostle declare that they glory in their tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience and helps to develop the various fruits and graces of the Spirit in heart and in life. From this standpoint all these may rejoice in tribulation, and count it all joy when their names are cast out as evil, realizing that they are partakers of the sufferings of Christ, that by and by they may with Him also share His exceeding glory.—
From this standpoint, the Church, which is the Body of Christ, under Jesus its Head and Redeemer, is a sharer with Him in His entire work present and future, as the Apostle declares. If we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him; if we be dead with Him we shall also live with Him. (
.) From this standpoint, the brethren of Christ, His members, His Body, the Church, are filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of The Christ. (
.) From this standpoint the entire Church is pouring out its soul unto death in harmony with the Apostle’s exhortation, "I beseech you, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices to God, which is your reasonable service."
.) Hence, aside from the redemptive work, the value of which proceeded from our Lord alone, and was necessary to every member of the human family—aside from this, the Church of Christ, as His Bride, is a sharer in all of His sufferings and will be a participator in all of His joys and blessings.
JOINT-SACRIFICERS AND JOINT-HEIRS
Thus, as our text declares, it will be true of all those who lay down their lives in harmony with the call to sacrifice, that they shall all, nevertheless, prolong their days—gain through the sacrifice immortality, and in them all the Father’s glorious Plan shall prosper. It prospers in their present sacrificing and in their present development of character; and by and by it will prosper in the entry of the great King, when He shall take to Himself His great power and reign. When He shall sit upon the Throne of His glory during the Millennial Age, then we shall sit with Him in His Throne as His Bride; and before that Throne for a thousand years all people shall be gathered to be guided, to be assisted, and by all these experiences to be judged and to enter into the everlasting conditions beyond the Millennium—all others as goats, as adversaries, being destroyed in the Second Death, the punishment which God has already declared must come
to all who will ultimately, wilfully, intelligently, refuse His offer of eternal life upon His terms of obedience to righteousness. Then "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied."
So far as the world is concerned the pleasure of Jehovah God has not in any sense of the word been accomplished in them. The Apostle reminds us that "the whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain together" —"waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." (
.) This surely is not the pleasure of God—the sufferings of His creatures; for although He may be pleased that His consecrated, spirit-begotten ones should suffer for a time, this is because the sufferings in their case are working out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (
.) But in respect to the world this is different. The weight of sin, degradation and sorrow is upon the world, and Divine displeasure is still their portion. They have not yet heard of the only name given under Heaven and amongst men whereby they must be saved. As the Apostle declares, the whole world lieth in the Wicked One. God’s pleasure respecting them has not been accomplished.
As to what the Divine Plan or purpose or pleasure is on the world’s behalf we must note the prophetic declaration of the oath-bound promise made to Abraham, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
The blessing of all the families of the earth is still future; for the development of the Seed of Abraham is not yet completed—the last members of the Body of Christ have not yet suffered with Him; the afflictions of Christ have not yet been made full. Hearken to the Apostle, "If ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s Seed, and heirs according to the promise." (
.) We see, then, that the spirit-begotten Seed of Abraham must first be developed through trials, disciplines, testings, sacrifices, before it can be used as God’s agency in dispensing His blessings to all the families of the earth.
"TO BE TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME"
There is a due time connected with every feature of the Divine arrangement. "In due time God sent forth His Son," "in due time Christ died for the ungodly," in due time this favor of God shall be testified to all mankind.
That due time has not yet arrived. Hence the testimony thus far has been only to those who have the ears to hear and who have been called according to the Divine purpose to be of the elect Seed class. But so surely as one part of the Divine purpose has been accomplished we may be confident that the other features will be. The Divine Word is sure, "the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand." With the close of this Age, with the completion of the Body of Christ, which is the Church, the great Redeemer will take unto Himself His great power and reign—to subdue everything evil, including the binding of Satan, and to liberate and scatter abroad everything favorable to truth and righteousness, so that the darkness of sin and degradation may all be scattered by the glorious sunlight of Divine grace, truth and power.
Referring to that time when Jehovah’s pleasure shall prosper in the hands of The Messiah, The Christ, the Apostle tells us that He must reign until He shall have put all enemies under His feet. He also explains to us that all the power and authority of that Reign will be granted to The Christ by the Heavenly Father, and that at the close of that Millennial Reign The Christ shall deliver up the Kingdom of God, even the Father, that He may be all in all—to Him who did put all things under Christ, whose was the Plan, whose was the Power, and to whom shall be glory forever.
Accustomed to the reign of Sin and Death and to the non-interference with these on the part of the Lord, many are unable to conceive how the Millennial Age could be so different from the present one—so much more favorable to truth and righteousness. What we need to do is to
take the Lord’s Word for it. Most explicitly has He shown that the trouble in the present time is ignorance; that this ignorance is largely the work of the Adversary—"the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not," that mankind are more or less willingly ignorant and have had much to do with the blindness that has come upon themselves; that they were not so created in the beginning, but that their degradation has come as a result of their failure to appreciate the Lord and respect His Word. The assurance is that the remedy for all these ills will come with the Kingdom for which, we pray, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven." With the establishment of that autocratic Kingdom under the direct supervision of the Lord and His glorified Church, the "Little Flock," to whom it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom (
), will come the greatest reformation the world has ever known—from the reign of Sin and Death mankind will be transferred to the Reign of Righteousness, with its reward of life eternal to all those who will obey the laws of that righteous Government.
What a glorious prospect this holds out! This indeed will be the pleasure of the Lord as ultimately accomplished in the world. Then, as our Lord declared through the Prophet, none shall need to say to his neighbor, Know the Lord, for all shall know Him from the least even unto the greatest; then there shall be no more curse, no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, because all the former things shall have passed away. (
.) Then every creature in Heaven and in earth shall be heard acclaiming praise to Him that sitteth on the Throne and to the Lamb. (
.) Oh, how different it will be when the Lord’s good pleasure shall have prospered at the hand of His Anointed One, The Messiah!
Our Lord states the matter moderately. We may know assuredly that the grand results of the great Divine Plan of redemption and restitution will much more than
merely satisfy the Redeemer—will much more than merely compensate Him for the travail of His soul, for His humiliation, His suffering, His death. Ah, yes! Our Lord Himself declared that He would be thoroughly satisfied if, after He had served the Father according to the Divine Plan faithfully, even unto death—if then He should be received back where He was before. His prayer was, "Glorify thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." (
.) He asked no more. But God, who is rich in mercy and rich in His rewards to all those who diligently seek and serve Him, would not be content to give back to the Redeemer merely the blessings He had previously enjoyed and laid aside to be our Savior. No! We are dealing with a King whose are the riches of grace and loving kindness.
The Apostle assures us that our Lord Jesus was personally exalted very highly in His resurrection, far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named. (
.) He has already received personally much more than a requital for His sacrifice. And He will be privileged to awake the sleeping thousands of millions of Adam’s race—whom He purchased with His precious blood, and who have been preserved in Sheol, Hades, the tomb, in the sleep of death—to bring these to a knowledge of the Truth after their awakening, and to grant them then of the opportunity for reformation and harmony with God and the attainment of eternal life.
Oh, how great a reward all this will be for Him who loved us and bought us! Surely He will be more than satisfied with the Heavenly Father’s bountiful provision for His personal glory and exaltation, and for the honorable work which He will do for Adam and his race.
And let us still remember that what is true of the Lord is also true of the Anointed Body, His Church. Let us remember that He calls us His Royal Priesthood, and that He has declared through the Apostle that our resurrection change shall also bring us to glory, honor and immortality
and make us His joint-heirs in the Kingdom and sharers with Him in all the glorious future work. We hear the testimony again, through the Apostle John, that we cannot now know what great things we have been called to, but that we have the assurance that in our glorious change we shall be made like Him and see Him as He is. Shall not, therefore, we also as His faithful followers, be satisfied—more than satisfied with God’s gracious arrangements and provisions as they shall thus be worked out on our behalf and through us on behalf of the world?
The Apostle’s words recur to us again, "What manner of persons ought we to be?" How can we be thankful enough for the great things God has done for us? How can we appreciate highly enough the wonderful privileges we now have of laying down our lives for the brethren, and realizing according to the Lord’s Word that this is accepted as though it were a sacrifice on our part and constitutes us joint-sacrificers with our dear Redeemer, under whose robe and merit we have forgiveness of sins and the Divine blessing and favor!
Let us remember that the time is short. If we have not yet made our full consecration to the Lord it is time we are doing it, as the door to this high calling will soon be closed, and the door then be opened by which the world of mankind will attain restitution blessings, honors and privileges. Let us be prompt to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and to do with our might what our hands find to do and what His providences may open for us. Our present experiences are likened to a schooling.
If we are already in the School of Christ, how prompt and earnest we should be in learning the lessons that we may be ready for the graduating day! The trials and testings cannot last long in any event. A little while and they will all be over; a little while and we shall see Him and shall triumph in His grace!