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Scripture references are to either the NIV-UK or the KJV, unless otherwise noted.
When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
– Galatians 4: 4 –
IT IS IMPORTANT to keep in mind that circumstances never dictate God’s course of action at any time. In all matters He is sovereign and all-knowing, His plans and purposes unhindered by external pressures. The Almighty is never caught by surprise.
Chapter 2 of the epistle to the Hebrews (KJV) offers answers to the questions posed in Part 1 of this title: Why was Jesus born of a woman? Why did Jehovah adopt this method to introduce His Son into the world?
9 [W]e see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham [Jews and all who would, by faith, become ‘of Abraham’; human nature].
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
In v. 9 Jesus is compared to the first man, Adam, created ‘a little lower than the angels’, morally and physically perfect, ‘crowned with glory and honour’, holding dominion over the earth, enjoying the prospect of everlasting life. All this was lost to him and succeeding generations due to his sin of disobedience. Jesus was the ‘anti-type’ of Adam, possessing the equivalent attributes that Adam enjoyed. And as Adam was (created) unequivocally human, so Jesus, as the putative Ransomer of the now-fallen race, was (born) unequivocally human.
Vs. 10 to 13 assert what Jesus himself would later reveal in his ministry, that he would select his church (‘his brethren’, ‘his children’) out from Israel (and, later, the Gentiles), inviting them to share his future heavenly glory, through a pathway of faith and sufferings.
V. 14 and 15 are decisive on the matter: ‘Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same [things, ESV]’, for the stated purpose of destroying Satan’s grip over humanity’s fate under the death sentence. These statements show unambiguously that Jesus was born of the same nature as those he was commissioned to redeem and that, in addition, he was mortal (die-able). Yes, he would die, but not the Adamic death.
V. 16 contrasts the spirit nature of the angels with the human nature of those descended from Abraham – the Jews; that Jesus was born a Jew, of a Jewish woman, that he would save also those under the Law from its particular condemnation.
Vs. 17 and 18 relate to the type of the high priest and the institution of the tabernacle and the temple. Jesus is here cast in the role of the priest who would make a ransom sacrifice of himself in atonement for the sins of not only his elect but, in the fullness of time, for all people (1 John 2: 2, NIV-UK, KJV). To this end he was born a man, to suffer and die and rise to glory, to sit at the right hand of the Most High.
The Father set forth Christ, His only-begotten Son, as a suffering servant (Isa. 53), a spectacle to men and angels, that His willingness to reconcile the fallen race to Himself be made unambiguously clear (John 3: 16).
25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished 26 – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
To be continued
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