For God so loved the world . . .
Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in his wings.” Malachi 4:2, KJV.
The Plan Revealed
The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of “the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.” Romans 16:25, RV.* It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16, KJV.
Lucifer had said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . ; I will be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:13, 14, KJV. But Christ, “being in the form of God, counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:6, 7, RV, margin.
This was a voluntary sacrifice. Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing.
The Incarnate God
Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice of mysterious import was heard in heaven, from the throne of God, “Lo, I come.” “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. . . . Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” Hebrews 10:5-7, KJV. In these words is announced the fulfillment of the purpose that had been hidden from eternal ages. Christ was about to visit our world, and to become incarnate. He says, “A body hast thou prepared me.” Had He appeared with the glory that was His with the Father before the world was, we could not have endured the light of His presence. That we might behold it and not be destroyed, the manifestation of His glory was shrouded. His divinity was veiled with humanity—the invisible glory in the visible human form. . . .
So Christ was to come in “the body of our humiliation” (Philippians 3:21, RV), “in the likeness of men.” In the eyes of the world He possessed no beauty that they should desire Him; yet He was the incarnate God, the light of heaven and earth. His glory was veiled, His greatness and majesty were hidden, that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men.
* Texts credited to RV are from The Holy Bible, Revised Version, Oxford University Press, 1911.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that
Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. These excerpts were taken from her book The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), pp. 22, 23.