No sooner did our Lord leave this earth for heaven, than a message was sent to the disciples as they still gazed upward where they had seen Him disappear. This was a message of His coming back again. “Two men,” evidently angelic messengers, stood by the disciples, as they wonderingly gazed toward heaven; this is what these messengers said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
“This same Jesus”
Angels usually call Him Lord. Now when He was ascended in glory the angels say, “This same Jesus.”
Now that our Lord has gone to heaven, clothed with all the majesty that rightly belongs to Him, our God does not want us to think that He is not still the same as when He trod the roads of Judea and Galilee dispensing mercy and healing everywhere. Though shining with a glory above the brightness of the sun, He is just the very same Savior as when He sat on Sychar’s well.
John who leaned on Jesus’ bosom has not lost the Friend with a tender heart. Thomas who said, “My Lord, and my God,” could still look for Him who said, “Reach hither thy finger and behold My hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into My side, and be not faithless but believing” (John 20:27).
Peter who held Him by the feet; and Peter who said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68); will see that same blessed Savior unchanged in the glory.
Lazarus who sat at the table with Him; and Zacchaeus of the sycomore tree, can look for the very same Jesus to come back again.
The words of the angels would impress the hearts of each of the disciples with the precious fact that the one they had known would be eternally the same. None of them had lost the Savior who spoke peace to their hearts, Not one had lost the Friend who so tenderly cared for him. It would have been so natural for all the disciples to feel that their exalted Lord, so marvellously transported to Heaven, would not be the same as when He fed them with loaves and fishes in the wilderness.
The One whom Magdalene called “Rabboni” (John 20:16), was coming again, her unchanged and gracious Lord.
He whose voice had so often stilled the fears of His troubled disciples, as He spoke peace or pardon to their hearts, was coming back again. There was unmeasured consolation to the wondering “men of Galilee,” when the angels assured them that He who was in heaven, and He who was returning for them again, was the same Jesus. How marvellous that the Christ of the Glory is the Christ of the carpenter shop! How transcendantly precious that the Christ of Bethesda, and of Sychar’s well, is still the very same. He has the same love, the same longsuffering, the same goodness, though now He sits upon the throne of God. The One who cheered us on our pathway, the One who cared for us as a Shepherd for His sheep, is coming back again.
“In like manner”
Our Lord went away, “while they beheld”; when He returns “we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). With their own eyes they gazed intently upon Him as He went up; with our own eyes we shall see Him without a veil between, when He comes again. “A cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). It will be a cloud that will give Him back to us: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). “And when He had spoken these things” (Acts 1:9). He talked with them as He left them, He will talk with us when He comes back again.
“Oh the blessed joy of meeting, all the desert past!
Oh the wondrous words of greeting, He shall speak at last!
He and I in that bright glory, one deep joy shall share,
Mine to be forever with Him, His that I am there.”
The most thrilling joy of the present moment for the people of God, is, “The coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:8). Any one of these cloudy days we may see Him. The tokens of “the promise of His coming” are multiplied. The Spirit of God is witnessing that our “redemption draweth nigh”; may we be watching for Him.
The Star of David
There is not a more striking sign of the nearness of the coming of our Lord, than that of the reviving of the star of David by the Jews everywhere, even by the Nation of Israel in their Land. The star of David has been chiseled by the Jews over hundreds of their synagogues; it has been printed on millions of their magazines and other publications; and it now appears as the outstanding symbol on the flag of the new nation of Israel. A regiment of Jews under General Allenby carried this six-pointed star at their head as they marched as victors into the city of Jerusalem in 1917, when the Turks surrendered that sacred city to its liberators.
This so-called “Star of David” is the symbol on the sceptre of Judah, and is the ensignia of the coming King. It is the star of Shiloh. The hidden wonders of that star are so remarkable that it evidently had its origin with God. As the plan of the tabernacle was given to Moses, and as the plan of the temple was given to David, so the form of this star of Shiloh was doubtless given to Jacob.
Like the ark of the covenant in the tabernacle, this six-pointed star of David is a perfect witness to the person of Christ. A more complete and striking symbol of Christ in such a simple form as this hexagram could not be conceived and put on paper or on stone. The figure is so plain and simple that it is easily understood. Undoubtedly the Lord intended this star to be a prophecy of Christ as He is revealed in the Scripture, and this it is in a remarkable way.
The star of David is formed by combining two equilateral triangles. These triangles are not laid one upon the other, but so combined that they could not be separated. If you will examine the lines of these triangles you will notice that when the line of the first triangle passes over the line of the second triangle in this place, it passes under it in the next. Thus, although the two triangles maintain their individual completeness, they are so interwoven that they form one complete unity, and that unity is a star. In every representation of this star the complete lines of the two triangles are kept.
This hexagram, formed of two equilateral triangles, is a two-fold trinity in unity. Perfect trinity in unity could not be more clearly expressed than by an equilateral triangle. The three sides and the three angles of this triangle are equal, and the figure is one. With two of these triangles combined in such a way that they could not be separated, you have the idea of a two-fold trinity in one perfect union.
Solomon’s Seal: the Star of Shiloh; the modern so-called Star of David
This six-pointed star is “Solomon’s Seal.” It was adopted as the superstitious hexagram of the Greeks. It was presumably the ensignia on the scepter of Judah.
The Scriptures of the Old Testament and the Gospels of the New Testament writers unite their testimony in revealing that the Messiah of Israel, the man Christ Jesus, was true God and also very man. In the name of Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 you have the fullness of Deity in three persons ascribed to a Man. “And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” This is the name of Him who was a “child born” and a “son given.” This is the name of “the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” It is the one name of the Trinity in unity. It is the name of the Man Christ Jesus. Thomas called Him, “my Lord and my God.” Nathaneal said to Him, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” The Scriptures reveal that, although the Deity exists in three persons, the fullness of Godhead belongs to each. This is a deep and exalted mystery, too eternally infinite for our limited comprehension. We worship at the footstool of His greatness as we lean upon the love of His heart.
I could not conceive of so simple a figure to convey the truth of this trinity in unity in the Godhead of Christ as the equilateral triangle. Three straight lines are the least that can enclose a space, and they form the strongest geometric figure. The absolute Godhead of Christ not only encloses all that is to be held for God in heaven and in earth, but it is this infinite power and majesty that encircles and holds forever a poor trembling sinner like me.
The true and perfect manhood of Christ is also a trinity in unity. Even in death this was seen. Christ our Lord bore our sins “in His own body on the tree.” At Calvary He “poured out His soul unto death.” His last words on the cross were, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” Our Lord had “spirit, soul, and body.” That perfect body, that holy soul, that constant spirit; how could they be better expressed than by three equal and straight lines? These three joined lines form the other equilateral triangle. When you consider these two facts of our Lord’s exalted person, His perfect Deity and His holy humanity, united forever in the Man Christ Jesus, what a striking suggestion of these revelations you have in the union of two equilateral triangles!
Then, when these united triangles form a star, what a suggestion of the truth of God that this One is the only hope of Israel or of the church! Some years ago the president of Czechoslovakia said in Cleveland, “I cannot see a single star of hope on the international horizon.” He did not look high enough. Had Mr. Benes listened he might have heard One say, “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and Morning Star.” There is no other star of hope but Christ. He is the bright, and only hope of the future. If there is to be blessing in earth or heaven it must come from Him.
How tragic to see Israel covering their writings and their buildings with the Star of Shiloh, while hating still the One whom that star so clearly represents! Israel is now a nation in its own land. They proudly carry their flag with the Star of Shiloh prominent upon it, but like Joseph’s brethren they know not the glory of the One they hated long ago. They do not know that the One they rejected is their only hope in the famine and the crisis that is coming. Blindly the guilty nation confesses that Shiloh is their only hope for the future, but they reject the fact of His Deity, to which the star bears witness. They will never know peace till they worship at His feet.
The last “I am’s” of our Lord in the book of Revelation show that He is indeed the One to whom the star bears tribute. He said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Our Lord was the Alpha of God’s revelation; He was the Beginning of God’s creation; and before all this He was the First. This is the one trinity of the past. He is the Omega of God’s words —the end of all God has to say; He is the End of God’s creation—the doer of the last of God’s great works; and after all this He shall be the Last. These form a twofold trinity in unity. These six supreme attributes and characteristics belong to Him. He is the fullness of revelation in the past and in the future. He is the Mighty God of all creation. He is the eternally existing One, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is Jehovah, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
This is the One who says in verse 16 of the last chapter of the Bible, “I Jesus… I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” The living root in the ground is the hope of all that grows on the earth. The Morning Star heralds the coming day when the darkness shall be past and the true light shine forever. The hope of the future is this bright Star of the Heavens who was once without form and comeliness as a root out of dry ground. May our hearts say with devoted John, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
“For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). This is the first intimation of John 3:16. It was God’s grace that sent Christ, but it was God’s love that gave Him. He was not only a Savior sent; He was a Son given.
And His Name! What a Name! “Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” This is His Name upon Whose shoulder the government rests. This is the Name of the Prince of Peace. When the great plans of God’s glorious working were made, He was the Counsellor; when the stupendous acts of creation, redemption, and resurrection were to be performed, He was The Mighty God Who wrought it all; the ages and their revelations are begotten of Him, for He is the Father of Eternity. This is the inconceivable glory of Him who came from heaven to earth. It is the fullest possible expression of Deity. This is God in all the effulgence of His glory. The Prince of Peace is He who hides in His person all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, for He is God!
This threefold declaration of the name of the Prince of Peace—Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, is not all of this Name. There is still the name “Wonderful” preceding this threefold revelation of Himself. This word “Wonderful” is elsewhere translated “secret” (Judges 13:18). This suggests that after all that is known of His Name by His works of creation or redemption, there are heights and depths of knowledge of this One that can never be revealed; His Name is Secret. The only reason His name is Secret is because it is Wonderful. God has held nothing back from us. In Christ God has told us all. “The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him” (John 1:18). His Name is secret only because of our limitations. The ages of the ages will forever be unfolding God. How marvelous that One so infinitely glorious should be for sinners the Prince of Peace!
Why is He called the Prince of Peace? Because in His reign there will be abundance of peace as long as the moon endureth (Psalm 72:7): because He at last will speak peace to the heathen (Zech. 9:10): because He broke down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, so making peace (Eph. 2:14, 15): because He made peace by the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20), when the chastisement was upon Him (Isa. 53:5). His own feet were beautiful, bringing the Gospel of peace to men, and He sent His servants to preach peace in His Name. The fruit of His Spirit is peace. When He came in resurrection to His disciples, His first word was “peace.” When He left them with the priestly benediction, as His hands were uplifted at Bethany, His last word was “peace.” “The Lord bless thee and keep thee: the Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace” (Num. 6:24, 25).
In that coming blissful jubilee the Name of Israel’s king will be “Prince of Peace.” No prince or king has ever yet deserved that title. It does not belong to the warriors of the earth. They usually lead nations that delight in war. But Christ is and shall be Prince of Peace. He stands alone, exalted and supreme, the object of reverence and worship from angels and from men. He is not next to God, but He is God Himself. There is nothing of God that is not comprehended in this marvelous name given to the child born and to the Son given.
And He is given “unto us.” The grace is as mighty as the Person Himself. Had this majestic fact of incarnation been only for our knowledge and observation it would have been wonderful indeed. But it was “unto us” wholly. It was for our redemption and eternal blessing that this One with His great name came down to be born and to be the Prince of Peace. He was born for us. He was given for us. He is what He is for us. He is God for us, to be a mighty Savior. He is man for us, to have a heart of loving sympathy.
There is a tenderness from the heart of God, as well as power from the throne of God, in the message of Isaiah 9:6. Thank God it was “unto us” the child was born, and “unto us” the Son was given. Thank God the angels’ message at Bethlehem was “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Thank God that “unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time.”