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CHRIST POSSESSES DIVINE AUTHORITY.
CHRIST, in union of operation with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created the world; and held authority in common with them. Had creatures preserved order, and yielded obedience to their Creator, it is probable that the distinctions in the divine nature, which are manifested by the titles and characters of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, would have lain forever concealed from the view of created intelligences. Revelation has proved that it was the divine purpose to repair the ruins of the fall, and subdue all enemies. To effectuate this purpose it was necessary that different offices should be established, and different works be assigned to each of the sacred Trinity. This method is said to be necessary, because this method was chosen; is revealed; and is in actual operation. Authority, by reciprocal consent, was given to each to act in his respective office. This giving and receiving of authority implies no superiority of nature in one; nor does it imply any essential loss or acquisition of power in the other. Christ's official, or mediatorial authority commenced immediately after the apostasy. No communications have been made from heaven to this fallen world, excepting by him.
The Son of God did not exercise mediatorial authority to the greatest extent till after his resurrection. The union of human and divine nature was essential to the complete filling of this office. Though there was no alteration in Christ's divinity in the different
stages of the work of redemption; yet there was alteration in his humanity. He was made perfect through suffering, (Heb. 2:10.) When he had suffered the pains of death and had risen to life, he was fully capacitated; and he received authority for every part of the work of the mediatorial office. It was then he said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." This text ought to have been translated, All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth. His divine power always was and always will be the same. But his mediatorial authority had its beginning its progress; and it will have its consummation. When he shall have raised the dead; when he shall have "gathered together in one the children of God;" when all things are put under his feet, then will he give up his kingdom, his mediatorial kingdom to God, even the Father. Having accomplished his mediatorial work, having given up those, whom the Father had given him, he will relinquish all that rule and authority, which he received. "When all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him, that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." Christ may be said to be subject to him, who put all things under him in a comparative view. In comparison with that mediatorial authority, which he once had, but which he relinquishes at the judg ment day, he may be said to be subject; or subjects himself to that state, which he before occupied. When the work of redemption is completed; when that kingdom, which was purchased with the price of blood is given up, there will be no need of the intervention of a Mediator; those offices, which are peculiar to the work of redemption will cease; and God in plurality (D) who created the world will hold the reins of government. The kingdom of saints will be an everlasting kingdom; and the dominion over it, like the work of creation, may, with strict propriety be ascribed to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit.
Thus God will be all in all as he was before the apostasy.
When it is said that all authority is given unto Christ, it is not designed to convey an idea that the Father and the Holy Spirit did not retain any authority. The import of the text is, Christ received all authority, which was necessary to effectuate the work of redemption; that work, for which he came into the world. The word all is frequently used in the scriptures in a restricted sense.
It is necessary to take a more particular view of Christ's authority, as it is exercised in the various departments of the mediatorial office. He exercises authority over holy and fallen angels. As they both affect his kingdom, it is pertinent to view his dominion in relation to them. "All authority is given unto me in heaven." If this text does not extend Christ's authority to fallen spirits, other passages assign him this extent of authority. It was early predicted that Christ should bruise the serpent's head. At a time the devil, under advantageous circumstances, tempted Christ. But with authority he repelled him and prevailed against him. At various times he cast out evil spirits, and sent them whither he pleased. At a time they called upon his name, that he would not torment them; and they inquired of him whether he had come to torment them before the time; which implied that there would be a time, in which he would have authority to torment them. When the seventy returned from their mission, they said unto Christ, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name." Christ took upon himself flesh and blood and suffered death, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
Christ has also authority over the holy angels. God set his Son "far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." When Christ was upon earth angels minis
tered unto him. When he shall come to raise the dead and judge the world, angels will attend him; and he will send them to gather the elect from the four winds. The apostle Paul speaking of Christ says, "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. God hath highly exalted him and given him a name, which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." The holy angels are concerned with the work of redemption. They desire to look into it. They are ministering spirits, "sent forth to minister for them, who shall be heirs of salvation." They are employed by the great Head of the Church as instruments in his work.
Christ's authority in heaven extends to the sending of the Holy Spirit into this world to aid the work of redemption. John the Baptist foretold that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost. Christ himself promised, that after his departure from the world, he would send the Holy Spirit. "When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." After Christ's ascension, and agreeably to his declaration, he sent the Holy Spirit. At a time, when Peter was preaching Christ, "the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word." On the day of Pentecost, when the apostles were together, "there appeared unto them cloven tongues, as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." These texts prove that Christ has authority to send the Holy Spirit into the hearts of sinners for their conversion; and into the hearts of saints for their comfort.
All the prophets and apostles, which have taught mankind the will of heaven, were sent by Christ, and were under his authority. It was Christ, who appeared unto Moses, and sent him to lead Israel out of Egypt. It was Christ, who sent the Spirit of prophecy to the prophets, by which they taught the people, and foretold events. After Christ appeared in the world, in human flesh, he selected men, qualified them and commissioned them to preach the gospel. When Christ was teaching the multitude and his disciples, he said, "Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ." Here the Savior claims an authority over men, which he did not allow to men. He called his twelve disciples unto him; gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast
them out, and to heal all manner of sickness. He sent them forth; he directed them where to go; what to preach, and he foretold what would befal them. He declares himself to be the Door, through which his shepherds shall go in unto the sheep. This denotes that they derive all their authority from him. The apostle Paul acknowledged that he received his commission from the Lord Jesus. "That I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus." The apostle Paul expresses entire dependence on Christ, for spiritual strength. He says, "I can do all things;" but he adds, "through Christ strengthening me." When he besought the Lord that the messenger of Satan might depart from him, the Lord answered, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." The apostle adds, "most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." He acknowledges himself and the other apostles to be ambassadors for Christ. Paul and the other apostles, in their salutations to the churches to which they wrote, style themselves the servants or apostles of Jesus Christ.