The way in which the elder comforts John is particularly important. First he comforts him by saying that he shouldn't weep. Then the elder announces what the many prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus mean.
Genesis 49:9, 10 You are a lion's cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness--who dares to rouse him. 10The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
Numbers 24:9 Like a lion they crouch and lie down, like a lioness--who dares to rouse them? "May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!"
Isaiah 11:1, 10 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 10In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
Jeremiah 23:5, 6 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.
Jeremiah 31:16 This is what the LORD says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the LORD. "They will return from the land of the enemy."
Paul also recognized the connection between the prophecies and Jesus.
Romans 15:12 And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him."
These prophecies baffled many ancient scholars to the extent where they were teaching the Jews to expect a king who would reign in the model of Saul or David himself. So were they blinded that when the One, about whom these prophets prophesied, appeared, fitting the prophecies perfectly, they refused to recognize him.
From what the elder says, one cannot blame John if he expected to see a lion come and open the scroll, but instead he is shown a lamb. The title 'Lamb' for Jesus is used some thirty times in the book of Revelation, not to pity him but to see him in victory: from a Lamb to a Lion. As Jesus stood silent before his accusers, like a lamb before the shearers, so he will be stepping forward in triumph now as the Lion upon whom Israel has hoped for their salvation.
When Israel bestowed a final blessing on his sons, he compared Judah with a lion and foresaw a perpetual royal dynasty from Judah's line. God's selection of David as king in place of Saul set the fulfillment of Israel's prophecy in motion, to which we are witnesses through the revelation of John.
Though it may appear that David's dynasty had been cut off, like a tree sawn down, leaving only root and stump, Isaiah foresaw a fresh shoot from the stump of David's father Jesse, a fruitful branch springing from a root that seemed lifeless and hopeless.
These promises were finally to reach fulfillment in Jesus, the anointed King, son of David, son of Abraham as we see in Matthew 1:1. In view of David's well-known prowess as the warrior-champion of God's people, the elder's announcement that this Lion-King has overcome, comes as no surprise. Presented as a Lamb, but when seen in the perspective of the prophecies, the victorious King.
Seeing Scripture in its proper context is crucial in understanding the mysteries surrounding God's kingdom, because there are many who discount the value of the Old Testament and see, among their many errors, Jesus as a meek, mild, always loving, friend. They have succeeded in making for themselves an idol of Christ the Lord, with features and characteristics that suit their will; and an idol that is a product of their imagination. They miss the fact that He is a fierce warrior, a victorious King who alone is able to open the scrolls of his Father's will; but a Lamb when it became time to lay down his life for his brothers and sisters, his body.
Then John sees Jesus, a Lamb … standing. He is alive and standing, yet as if slain: the living Christ! In John's first vision of Jesus he heard a trumpet-like voice and when he turned to see the one whose voice he heard, he saw one like a son of man walking among the seven lampstands. Here again the revelation of Jesus' identity begins with what is heard, that is, what the elder says to John and then Jesus is revealed as the Lion.
What a striking paradox: the conquering lion, warrior-king of Judah's tribe and David's line, champion of God's people, appears before John's eyes as a lamb slaughtered yet standing. Although the word 'lamb' used in Revelation (arnion) differs from that in John's gospel, (amnos), in the Greek Old Testament both words describe lambs as sacrificial victims.
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Isaiah and others compare the suffering Servant with 'a lamb (amnos) that is led to slaughter.'
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Acts 8:32 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth."
I Peter 1:18, 19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Jeremiah offers a parallel using arnion in
Jeremiah 11:19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, "Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more."
It is interesting to note that reference to the Lion is made from the stump of Jesse, and not from David. It indicates not only Jesus' origin but also his destination. He descends from David as fulfillment of the promises, but he also descends from the root from which David came forth, which is the origin of all that would be fulfilled in the posterity of David.
Matthew 22:41 - 45 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42"What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?"
"The son of David," they replied. 43He said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, 44'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet." 45If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?"
When we consider Jesus' new, glorified body, and that our glorified bodies would be like his, we cannot help but to notice that there would, nevertheless, be a difference between Christ's body and ours. Although our bodies would be without blemish and glorified, Jesus' body has the marks of cross on him.
John 20:27 - 29 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
These marks set Him apart from his body, his congregation, who would be without blemish, and are the insignia by which He would be recognized as the One who paid the price: looking as if it had been slain. Nobody, ever, can wear these marks just as nobody can, ever, snatch those who are his out of the Father's hand.
John sees Jesus standing in the center of the throne encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. This indicates the intimate relationship Jesus has with his congregation and that he not only proclaimed his love for her, but proved it by carrying the marks of slaughter.
The Lamb is not an object of pity; He bears the marks of omnipotence (seven horns) and omniscience (seven eyes).
Seven is the number of completeness, wholeness. It indicates Jesus' complete power and authority over all of creation.
Matthew 11:27 "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
Horns are signs of power and authority.
Revelation 17:12 "The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast."
I Samuel 2:10 Those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. "He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed."
Psalm 75:10 I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.
In biblical imagery and the symbolism of the Bible's apocalyptic literature, horns represent powerful kings or nations.
Daniel 7:24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.
Zechariah 1:18 - 21 Then I looked up--and there before me were four horns. 19I asked the angel who was speaking to me, "What are these?" He answered me, "These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem." 20Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. 21I asked, "What are these coming to do?" He answered, "These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise his head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people."
The Lamb's seven horns show his supreme worthiness to receive the praises that greet his appearance, but they primarily portray his supreme power.
Revelation 5:9, 12, 13 And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." 12In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" 13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"
These horns are the visual equivalent of the title Almighty, as ascribed to the Lord God.
Revelation 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
Revelation 4:8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."
The Lamb's seven eyes show his omniscience as well as the mode of his presence with his embattled churches, for these eyes, like the seven lamps before God's throne, symbolize the seven spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
The prophet Zechariah saw a lampstand with seven lamps, like that in the tabernacle. These seven lamps were also interpreted as "the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth.
Exodus 25:37 "Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it."
Zechariah 3:9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.'
Zechariah 4:2, 10 He asked me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights." 10"Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel." (These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range throughout the earth.)
The Lamb has all power and all knowledge, extending to the earth's farthest corner. In omniscience he can say to each church, "I know." In omnipotence he can make a sevenfold guarantee of reward to the overcomer. Such is the majesty of the church's champion, who now approaches the enthroned One and receives the vital scroll from his right hand.
The seven spirits indicate the wholeness of God's presence. The Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of the Father, or the only the Spirit of the Son, but He is the Spirit of the Godhead. Pay particular attention in the following passages how Scripture uses the Holy Spirit interchangeably.
Acts 16:7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
Romans 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
John 3:34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.
Romans 8:2 Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
I Corinthians 3:16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you.
I Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.
Galatians 4:6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, <"Abba>, Father."
Ephesians 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
Philippians 1:19 For I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
I Peter 1:11 Trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
When men want symbols of power they conjure up ferocious beasts and birds of prey (such as are used for nations and sports teams); but the kingdom of heaven represents itself in terms of humility, gentleness, and sacrificial love for the sake of the elect, but when the time came to step forward and open the scroll, it was a lion, a fierce warrior-king from the stump of Jesse. What a figure! A slain Lamb, who has the marks of omniscience and omnipotence, is a victorious King.
The coming judgment that we will study in chapter six is dictated and administrated by the Lamb who has already offered an escape from judgment by taking judgment upon Himself. The judgment comes upon a world that hates the Lamb and all He stands for, and rejects His offer of escape.
The Lamb came and took the scroll. The scroll was in the right hand of the Father, the Almighty and the Lamb had the authority to merely 'take' it from the hand of the Father. The Greek word used for 'took' is lambano, which means, among other, the following:
Take with the hand, to lay hold of.
To take upon one's self.
To take in order to carry away without the notion of violence.
To take what is one's own, to take to one's self, to make one's own.
To claim, procure, for one's self.
To seize, to lay hold of.
It is clear that the Lamb had the authority to 'take' the scroll, the will of the Father from His hand and make it his own, to take it upon himself, to lay hold of it, to seize it, with the consent of the Father, without violence. Which is in perfect harmony with the relationship between the Persons of the Godhead. They are, after all, One true God.
It is also in perfect harmony with all authority given to Christ as we have shown in Matthew 28:18.
At the exact moment that the Lamb took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before Him. The taking of the scroll indicates the authority of Jesus over all things and at that precise moment the representatives of all of creation bowed down before him, fulfilling prophecy that every knee shall bow before the name of Jesus.
Isaiah 45:23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.
Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
It is not a somber ceremony but a joyous one, as the musical accompaniment indicates. The harp and lyre were used to play joyous songs.
Psalm 43:4 Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.
Psalm 81:2 Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre.
Psalm 141:2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Psalm 150:3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre.
The supreme worthiness of the Lamb elicits from those who serve constantly in the presence of God expressions of awe, verbal and physical, as they prostrate themselves before this glorious victor.
Besides their harps, the living creatures and the elders hold golden bowls full of incense, which reflect the priestly duty of the Levites.
Leviticus 16:13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the LORD, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die.
These bowls of incense are the prayers of the saints and they will play a crucial role in the judgments that the Lamb will inflict on his enemies, for it is in answer to the martyr's appeals for justice and the suffering saints' laments from earth that he will send fiery vengeance on earth, sea, rivers, and sky.
The elders are not interceding for the saints and the martyrs, but they are carrying the prayers of the martyrs and suffering saints to the throne of Christ. It is important also to note that the elders do not even pray for the martyrs and the saints, which proves that the Roman Catholic theories are false which imagine that one can pray to saints and petition them to intercede for us. There is, after all, only one mediator between God and man, and that mediator is Jesus Christ.
I Timothy 2:5, 6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.
One other important element that is worthy of note is how God views these prayers of the saints and martyrs, namely, they are like sweet smelling incense set in precious golden bowls.
Psalm 72:11 - 14 All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him 12for he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. 13He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. 14He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Psalm 141:2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
This is the third praise of five praises that are sung to the glory of God. It is called a 'new' song because it is completely different in its character and content than the previous songs. It deals with the redemptive work of the Lamb already completed while the previous praises and doxologies still spoke about things to come.
This song not only indicates its importance by being the central praise of the five praises but also by its content. In the history of salvation new songs were composed to celebrate new events in which the Lord rescued his people. There were various songs celebrating victory, such as the song sung at the exodus, which was sung by Moses and the Israelites on the east bank of the Red Sea after the armies of Pharaoh were drowned.
Revelation 15 will link that ancient victory anthem with the song of the Lamb sung by those who overcome the beast through their loyalty to the Lamb. In Isaiah 42 God promised a future exodus for his imprisoned people assuring them that his past faithfulness to his word secures their future hope.
Isaiah 42:8 - 12 "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. 10Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. 11Let the desert and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops. 12Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands."
In verse 10 they respond with "Sing to the LORD a new song…" Psalm 96 indicates the same thing:
Psalm 96 1Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 4For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 5For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. 7Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 8Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. 9Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. 10Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. 11Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. 12Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy. 13They will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
The new song now sung by living creatures and elders celebrates an exodus that makes the previous rescues pale in comparison. It is a new thing that the Son of God should become man. It is a new thing to ascend into the heavens with a physical body. It is a new thing to give remission of sins to men. It is a new thing for men to be sealed with the Holy Spirit. It is a new thing to receive the priesthood of sacred observance, and to look for a kingdom of unbounded promise.
Roman Emperors were celebrated upon their arrival with the Latin expression vere dignus, which is translated You are Worthy; here the true Ruler of the world is honored with this new song.
It would be worth our while to pause at the concepts of "a slain Lamb" and "with your blood you purchased."
The suffering and death of Christ is also referred to as the passion of Christ. To better understand the doctrine of the passion of Christ, let's divide it up into six questions and answers.
1. What did Christ suffer? 2. Whether Christ suffered according to both natures? 3. What were the moving causes of his suffering? 4. What were the final causes and fruits of his suffering? 5. Why did Christ suffer under Pontius Pilate? and 6. Why was crucifixion necessary?
1. What did Christ suffer?
By the term 'suffering' or passion, we are to understand the whole humiliation of Christ, his obedience to the Father, all the miseries, infirmities, grief, torments and dishonor to which He was subjected for our sakes. It started at the moment of his birth and lasted until his ascension to the right-hand of the Father and was suffered both in body and soul as He endured the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind.
Although we ought never to lose sight of the entire humiliation of Christ, we can rightfully focus on the last act of his life, namely his crucifixion in which He suffered extreme torments both of body and soul.
Isaiah 53:3 - 5, 10 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 10 Yet it was the LORD'S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
Matthew 26:38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, <"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?">--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
a) The destitution of the highest felicity and joy together with all those good things that He might have enjoyed.
b) All the infirmities of our nature, except sin. He hungered, He thirsted, was fatigued, was afflicted with sadness and grief, and so on.
c) Extreme poverty and lack of basic goods.
Matthew 8:20 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
d) Infinite reproaches, injuries, slander, treachery, envying, blasphemy, rejections and contempt.
Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.
Isaiah 53:2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
e) The temptation of the devil.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.
f) The most reproachful and cursed death, the cross.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
g) The most bitter anguish of the soul, which is without a doubt a sense of the wrath of God against the whole human race. It was this that caused him to exclaim on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" as if He were to say, 'why are you not driving away such severe anguish and torment?'
We see, then, the how great Christ's suffering was for our sake.
How is it possible that Christ's human nature was so oppressed and weakened that it broke forth in such exclamations of anguish when his divine nature was with him all the time, especially when the martyrs were far more courageous and brave?
There is a difference between the punishment that Christ endured and that of the martyrs. While the martyrs suffered, they did not experience the dreadful wrath of God, either against their own or the sins of others. Christ suffered the punishment for the sins of the entire human race. The martyrs did not feel the anger of an offended God piercing and wounding them but felt God was reconciled and at peace with them. Neither did they experience the horrors of death and hell as Christ did, but they had great consolation because they suffered on account of confessing the gospel and was assured that their sins were already remitted.
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."
Hence, it is easy to say that the martyrs were more courageous and brave than Christ was because they suffered under the protection of the sacrifice of Christ, while Christ had to face the wrath of God alone. The human nature of Christ was made to sweat drops of blood in the garden and experience separation from God while He remained united with the Godhead.
Although Christ's human nature experienced separation from God, his two natures never separated from one another. His human nature was for a time forsaken by the Divinity, or one might say that the Word was quiet, so to speak, not aiding and delivering the afflicted humanity until the prescribed suffering had been endured and completed.
We will more fully look at the two natures of Christ during his suffering in the next point.
The satisfaction that Christ made differs from the torments of others in these three respects, namely,
In form. Christ felt and endured, both in body and soul the entire wrath of God, which no one else has ever experienced.
In the impelling cause. Christ suffered not for his own sins, but for the sins of others.
In the final cause. The passion of Christ is the ransom and only propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.
The sufferings of others do not partake of this character but are merely punishments or trials or attestations to the truth of the gospel.
But is it right that the innocent should suffer for the guilty? Justice demands the punishment of the offender. It is correct: the innocent should not suffer for the guilty,
a) Unless the innocent willingly offer himself for the guilty.
b) Unless he who voluntarily suffers is able to make a sufficient ransom.
c) Provided the innocent is able to fully recover himself from the punishment and not perish under them.
d) Provided he is able to bring it to pass that those, for whom he makes satisfaction, should in future not offend.
e) Provided that he is of the same nature of those for whom satisfaction is made.
If such a satisfier can be substituted for the offending, there is nothing in it that is contrary to the order of divine justice, for both he who suffers and those for whom it is endured, are saved.
Christ is such a satisfier, for He has accomplished all these things and is not only a man of the same nature with us, but we are also his members.
For anyone to make satisfaction for another, these things must be present and harmonize, it must be voluntary and satisfy him to whom it is due. All these conditions meet and concur in the satisfaction of Christ.
There must be a proper proportion between the suffering of the satisfier and the sins atoned for. How can one man provide satisfaction for the sins of an infinite number of people?
It can, for two reasons:
First, on account of the dignity of the satisfier and second on account of the greatness of the punishment that he endured for he suffered that which an infinite number of people were bound to suffer to all eternity. His passion, therefore, is equivalent to everlasting punishment and even exceeds it because that God should suffer is more than that all creation should perish.
God cannot suffer and die. Does this mean that the divinity of Christ is compromised?
No, not at all. God, the person who is only God, or the divine nature of Christ, cannot suffer. Christ is not only God but is also man and his sufferings were applicable only to that which was able to suffer: his human nature.
How are we, then, to understand when Scripture says that God purchased the church with his own blood if Christ suffered not according to his divine nature?
This is spoken in a figure of speech known as a synecdoche in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing from which it is made (as steel for sword). This figure of speech is true only in the concrete. God, that is, that person that is God and man, purchased the church with his blood, which he shed in respect to his humanity.
By this communication of properties, we attribute to the whole persons that which is particular to one nature and that in the concrete only, because the term concrete signifies the person in which both natures center and the property of that nature of which this is predicated.
Is the satisfaction of Christ sufficient for he suffered only temporal punishments but made satisfaction for sins eternally?
Yes, his satisfaction was sufficient. The temporal punishment of Christ exceeds in dignity and worth the eternal punishment that the whole world would have suffered for reasons already cited.
Was Christ's satisfaction perfect because all are not saved while He made satisfaction for all?
Christ satisfied for all as it respects the sufficiency of the satisfaction that He made but not as it respects the application thereof, for He fulfilled the law in two respects. First, by his own righteousness and second by making satisfaction for our sins, each of which is most perfect.
The satisfaction is made ours by an application, which is also two-fold: the former of which is made by God when He justifies us on account of the merit of his Son and brings it to pass that we stop sinning. We accomplish the latter through faith. We apply unto ourselves the merit of Christ when by a true faith we are fully persuaded that God, for the sake of the satisfaction of his Son, remits unto us our sins. Without this application, the satisfaction of Christ is of no benefit to us.
What about the conciliatory sacrifices under the law of Moses?
These were not properly atoning sacrifices,
Hebrews 10:4 Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
The only proper atoning sacrifice is the blood of Jesus.
I John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
I John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.