The Anointed One

Proverbs 8:22‑31  •  22 min. read  •  grade level: 8
RO 8:22-8:31{The Divine Counsels were all laid in Christ, before the foundation of the world. The Son of the bosom was brought out in counsel then; and all the purposes of God had their foundation in Him, in the person He was preordained to be, and the place He was pre-appointed to fill.
We read this in Proverbs 8.
" The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, was I brought forth, while as yet He had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens I was there, when He set a compass upon the face of the depth, when he established the clouds above, when He strengthened the fountains of the deep, when He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment, when He appointed the foundations of the earth, then I was by Him (as) One brought up (with Him), and I was daily (His) delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth, and My delights were with the sons of men.
What a message does this Scripture bring to us from the eternal ages! It tells us of those infinite ages which were before creation, in ways most wondrous and excellent. How exact and special is Wisdom's account of herself in that passage! The chief part of the dust of the world was not then made, when all was planned and settled in Christ. No work of His hand had God to survey then. No evening or morning had then given Him succeeding periods for delight and refreshment, as the good and holy work advanced to its perfection. But He had Christ in counsel before him, His first thought, and the foundation of all His thoughts. The things of creation and redemption, the things of Providence and grace, heavenly purposes and earthly purposes, things nearer at hand or further off, all had respect to Him. " The Lord possessed me," says Wisdom, " in the beginning of His way."
But in this beautiful mysterious passage, there are two things which specially engage my mind at this time-that Christ was, "by Him, as One brought up with Him," and again, that He was also "His delight." That is, He was ever at hand, so to speak, and ever a joy. He was God's resource and God's object.
These two things are strongly marked here; and as we pass down the current of Scripture, we find this to be so. Let what may arise, Christ is ever by God, ready to be used by Him at once, and then used by Him with delight. In Eden or at creation, among the Patriarchs, under the law, in the days of the kings, and by the voices of the prophets, as well as after His manifestation in flesh, and then in the light of the Holy Ghost through the Apostles, that is, from the opening to the close of the volume, this is seen. Let man be in innocency or sold under sin, whether the elect be in simple family order, or in the organized system of a nation, or in the unity of a mystic body, whether they be ruled or instructed, under government or under revelation, Christ is God's great ordinance. It may be, that we, through unbelief and blindness of heart, get but a dim sight of Him at times, God sees Him clearly and at all times, under all changes and conditions. And this is what 1 would now contemplate for a little while, in some of the leading instances of it.
We know that, at the Creation, without Him was not anything made that was made.
As soon as sin enters, He comes forth at once. He is the burden of the first promise which was made immediately upon the entrance and conviction of sin. He is, as we know, the bruised, victorious seed of the woman. The Lord God brings him forth at once, as One already provided in counsel, or, as our Scripture speaks, "As One brought up with him.," as One that was "by Him." Sin, the great occasion for the manifestation of God and His grace, and His secrets, had come in, and Christ at once comes forth. Faith in Adam receives Him-with what measure of light we may not be able to say,-but as soon as believing Adam comes out from his guilty covert at the bidding of the seed of the woman now revealed to him, the Lord God uses Christ for him with delight. The action of clothing him with the coat of skins tell us this. There was freedom and fervency in that action. -It was done without reserve, and by the Lord's own hand. The coat of skins was first made by Him, and then by Him put on the naked Adam-all this bespeaking His delight in Christ, using Him, and using Him with readiness of heart, for " the sons of men"—as our Scripture speaks. The Lord God wrought in a ruined world now, as He had lately wrought for six days in an unstained creation. And, if the eternal purpose respecting Christ, the counsel of grace laid in Him ere worlds began, had been the delight of God, so also was the manifestation of this purpose now-this earliest use and application of it. This delight fed itself in action and service, when the need arose, as surely as it had fed itself in thought and counsel in eternity.
So again, shortly after this first case of Adam, Abel's altar and lamb speak the same truth. The sacrifice was to God a witness of Christ, and God had immediate respect to it. He answered that sacrifice at once, and evidently with delight. He had respect to Abel and to his offering. He pleads with Cain on the warrant and value of it, and would fain have had him, another sinner like Abel, serve at the same altar-all this still telling of the same purpose and joy, that His anointed was " by Him, as One brought up with Him," and "daily His delight," His equal and full delight one day as well as another, in the behalf of one sinner as well as of another, for Abel as well as for Adam.
Noah's ark was just the same. Another ruin had broken forth. The end of all flesh was again before God. It was the wreck of a world a second time. But Christ was " by Him" still. " Make thee an ark of gopher-wood," said the Lord to Noah, and that ark was Christ. And when Noah pleaded Christ, in other words prepared an ark to the saving of his house, " The Lord God shut him in," and then " the ark went upon the face of the waters." His own hand, which before had made the coat for Adam, now sheltered " the sons of men" in that sanctuary which grace had provided-and this action, this shutting of all the ransomed in that sure place by the hand of God Himself, again tells of the "delight" with which He used His Anointed for us, which He tasted when His Christ was thus trusted and pleaded by sinners.
And Noah's altar afterward was just what his ark had, thus, already been. That altar and the victim upon it was Christ. Noah took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. I say not how far he discovered the Christ of God in all this. In his measure I surely believe he did. The woman's seed promised to Adam, bruised yet victorious, was, I judge, before him, and so was Abel's lamb. But be this so, whether dimly or brightly as to Noah, as to the Lord God Himself, the One whom "He had possessed in the beginning of His way, before His works of old," was assuredly before Him; and in the virtue of His name, and of the preciousness of His blood, He said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake." The Lord God "said in His heart." What words! What a witness of the profound and perfect satisfaction God was taking in Christ, the counseled, covenanted foundation of all His purposes about " the sons of men," the treasury of all His riches and secrets of eternal saving mercies!
And the Bow in the Cloud speaks the same language. In the fine glowing style of that beautiful token, God seems, as with His whole heart and His whole soul, to pledge security to the creation. But this was all in His anointed, for it was the blood of Noah's altar which prevailed thus to keep the token of the covenant, the pledge of the earth's security, ever under the eye of the Lord. That precious blood had drawn forth the deep delighted utterance of His heart, as we saw, and now this token shall draw His eye in its own direction continually. The cloud big with judgment may come, but the bow shall ride upon it, and control it, and give it an appointed measure-" here shall thy proud waves be stayed." The eye of Him who sits above all water-floods shall look upon the bow—and another witness is given, that time makes no change, successive seed times and harvests shall go on while the earth remains, for Christ is still. " by Him," and always " His delight," His predestined salvation and gift of grace, in behalf of " the sons of men."
But as we still pursue our way through Scripture, or along the path of God, we still find the same mystery; we still find Christ "by Him" and also "His delight."
In the day of the call of Abram, the world was in the darkness and abomination of idols. The family of Terah served them (Josh. 24:22And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. (Joshua 24:2)). Another mighty moral, ruin was spreading itself every where. As disobedience had defiled the garden of Eden, and self-will and violence had corrupted all in the world before the Flood, so now, these idol abominations marked the apostasy of even the family of Shem -for Terah was of that line. But Abram is separated. Like Noah, he found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He was a chosen one, a vessel of mercy. Great promises are made to him; but of them all, Christ is the ground and title. "In thee," says the God of glory to him, when He called him out, "in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed"—and his blessing, as we know from the divine teaching of Gal. 3, is through faith in Christ Jesus. In that word to Abram, the Gospel was preached to Abram, the Gospel of Christ, in whom is all our blessing.
How simple this is! Christ and Christ only is still before God, at His hand or "by Him" for use in the behalf of "the sons of men," produced without delay or effort, and given to their rising and recurring necessities. And the Lord God calling out Abram to look on the stars and see if he could number them, when Christ was about to be revealed to him, was an action which bespoke the delight which God took in using His Anointed for him. There was fervency in the action—a style about it that tells of secret joy, well marking or accompanying that moment when God was revealing Christ to the faith of His elect.
And thus, in this other and later day, this same mystery re-appears. In the day of the fall of Adam, in the apostasy and doom of the antediluvian world, and now in the hour of the call of Abram from amid the overspreading of abominations, Christ known in eternal counsels, is brought forth, and that with delight for the sons of men.
But as we go on with the Book of God, we find the Christ still. See this in the day of the Exodus. It was a time of judgment, as the time of Noah had been. But another Ark is prepared, and that Ark, like the former, in the day of the Flood, is Christ. "They shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side-posts and on the upper door-posts of the houses wherein they shall eat it, for I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the Lord; and the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses wherein ye are, and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." The blood was upon the Jewish lintel; and that blood was Christ sheltering the house in the day of judgment and death.
His Anointed, after this manner, was again "by Him," for the use of "the sons of men" in the day of their necessity. And, as a people thus redeemed by Christ, and standing before God in the value of Christ, God takes them up as with His whole heart and His whole soul. In the cloud of His Presence He joins them on the road, as soon as they are freed from the place of judgment; He takes counsel with Himself about them; then He acts for them; He raises a wall of partition between them and their pursuers; feeds them with bread from heaven and with water from the Rock; and conducts them in strength and triumph, till He sets them in the place of glory at his own holy hill—and all this (with the song which He put into their lips on' the banks of the Red Sea) tells us of the full " delight" with which He had brought forth His anointed for them (Ex. 12-18).
This is surely a great and magnificent scene, and all is unchanged. The Christ of God "set up" from everlasting, is still with God for us, though our need arise again and again. He is at hand as One prepared and provided for "the sons of men," and brought forth in their behalf with "the delight" of God, according to this beautiful word in Prov. 8.
And I may here pause to say, prophets and oracles have also told this, and His own lips have uttered it. " Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth," says Jehovah of His Anointed by Isaiah: " This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," was heard over Him again and again in the days of His flesh here. " Therefore doth my Father love me," says Jesus Himself, " because I lay down ray life that I might take it again;" such words and like words telling, like the whole current of divine history, the joy which is known in our God over the manifestation and work of His Anointed in the behalf of us sinners.
But now, in still following that current of divine or scriptural history, we reach Ex. 19, and there we see God in a character in which we had not seen Him since the day of Gen. 2. He is now a lawgiver a second time. He who had been in a burning bush, has now taken His seat on a burning mount. The God of the Fathers, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of Grace, now appears as the God of destructive righteousness and judgment. Through the self-confidence of Israel, their God is now rather a Lawgiver than a Redeemer; a character, again we say, in which He had not appeared since the time of Adam, and the Garden of Eden. (See Rom. 5:13,1413(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (Romans 5:13‑14)).
This was a change indeed. The people had procured it for themselves; and however ruinous it may prove, they have to accept it all at their own hands.
But then, we read—" the covenant confirmed before of God in Christ, the law which was four hundred and thirty years after, could not disannul." And so, the eternal purpose, which had been taken ere the world was, and not merely four hundred and thirty years before, Could not be disturbed by all this. No, indeed! The Anointed One, " brought forth" and " set up," possessed of God " in the beginning of His ways, before His 'works of old," no after-works could displace. This we have already seen, at different successive seasons from the beginning; and now again we are to see the same in this day of man's self-confidence, leading the God of—grace to the hill of judgment. Quickly again is Christ " by Him, as one brought up with Him," ready at hand to be used, and used with " delight," for " the sons of Men"-all this changing, shifting scenery, which sin, and judgment, and law, and human assumption induce; only sealing and verifying, and settling forever, the unchanging purpose of God, and his grace in the person, and work, and value of His Anointed.
This new condition into which Israel had now brought themselves, would work ruin as surely as sin had wrought it in Eden. Fallen man can no more answer law, than innocent man had resented temptation. But God's Anointed is still "by Him." We see this now in Ex. 25 as we saw it then in Gen. 3. The shadows of good things to come, now shown to Moses tell us this now, as the promise to Adam had told it then. Moses is called up to a region above and beyond that of darkness and thunder and tempest; and there, in figure, Christ is shown to him—Christ in the sanctuary of peace. The people had not yet broken the law; when this is done at least they had not been convicted. The national or conditional covenant is sealed in chap. 24, and this exhibition of the Anointed One is made to Hoses in chaps. 25-30, that is, immediately afterward. No delay takes place, for Christ was " by Him." The thing is done suddenly. No counsel or preparation was needed—for counsel had been taken "in the beginning, before His works of old." Just as in the day when sin entered, God's resource was in Him that had been " set up from everlasting," and thus was at hand for immediate use; so that He now left the fiery mount, the place of judgment for the higher regions, the place of grace and of His Anointed One, not to say with all convenient, but with all immediate speed.
And " delight" again waits on this, action, as it had done in earlier days, as we have already seen. For when the congregation, in the obedience of faith, prepare the Tabernacle, and all is finished, the glory enters and takes its place there, and takes it with most evident and full joy. It will have the whole of it to itself, so that even Moses could not follow (Ex. 40)—all this again bespeaking the delight of the Lord God in seating Himself where Christ was seen. It was not after this manner He had taken His place on Mount Sinai. He had gone there with evident reserve. See this in chap.. xix. But now, it is not with reserve He fills the sanctuary, but with readiness and fervency, and manifest enjoyment, occupying the whole of it, courts and holy places and all. As we sing betimes-
" His wakened wrath doth slowly move,
His willing mercy flies apace."
And all this was but the expression of that "delight" which our Scripture (Prov. 8) tells us was known in counsel before the world was. For this delight is a "daily" delight—as fresh after ages as at the beginning -in action repeated again and again, as it was, in counsel, ere the world was.
There might be other witnesses to prove, that Christ, the Anointed One, is God's resource in the. day of the need of " the sons of men," and is still called forth for them. But I would pass on only to one other illustration of this.
The nation of Israel are set in the land, and there they are proved again, as they had been under the law in the wilderness. But they violate the very first article of their commission, as they bad broken already the very first, commandment of their law. They strike confederacy with the peoples of the land, the nations of Canaan, whose destruction had been enjoined upon them, and the angel of the covenant weeps at Bochim over the insulted covenant (Judg. 1).
All, therefore, is wreck and ruin again. Adam in the Garden, man under law, Israel with their covenant in the land, alike witness this wreck and ruin. And as it thus began, so it goes on, with the nation set in their inheritance. This unfaithfulness, beginning in Judg. 1 with the tribes, is found again in their own King Saul, the son of Cis, in 1 Samuel. Like people, like prince, as Judg. 1 and 1 Sam. 15 tell us. But God is the same in grace, if man be the same in unfaithfulness and apostasy. For upon all this we quickly read, " How long wilt thou mourn for Saul?" (says the Lord to Samuel, who was weeping over the fall of the king, as the angel had wept over the fall of the nation at Bochim) " how long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel; fill thine horn with oil and go, I will send thee to Jesse, the Bethlehemite, for I have provided me a king among his sons." (1 Sam. 16). This son of Jesse was unknown to men, but in secret God had provided him for Himself. David, the beloved, was known to God in counsel now, and David, the beloved, was the witness or the type of the Anointed One. Bethlehem carried the witness now, as it did, in due time, the Christ Himself. In the ear of faith, " good tidings of great joy" were now, in their measure, heard rim the fields of that town of Judah. " Out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel," began to be said to her now. David was an arrow in the Lord's quiver, and he was the arrow of the Lord for deliverance to Israel, in this terrible day of Israel's calamity. He was the Bethlehemite, the anointed, the beloved, the pledge of Him who has since appeared for redemption and salvation the type of Him who in purpose was the Anointed One ere worlds began.
Thus, in these various but consistent forms, was this mystery again and again told out, that Christ was provided for "the sons of men" in their time of need. On the entrance of sin—in the day of the doom of the world, before the flood—in the call of Abraham forth from the overspreading of abominations—in the hour of the judgment of Egypt- in the ruin of Israel under the law—and again, in the day of their ruin under their own national covenant, Christ is at hand, " set up" and " brought forth" for sinners—the One whom God has " by Him" for immediate use, and that, too, at all times, and with " delight" for " the sons of men."
I might, of course, have gone further down, even to the end of the volume, with this story of God's grace in His Anointed One—nay, with a more vivid witness of it, as we got to the New Testament. But I stop here. The promise, the first promise, that of the seed of the woman, began to tell this story; and, after many other witnesses to it, as we have now seen, David, the shepherd-boy of Bethlehem, of the stem of Jesse, repeats it in our hearing, after so long a time-
" Jesus Christ I the same yesterday, to-day, and forever."
Ere God had built the mountains,
Or raised the fruitful hills;
Before He fill'd the fountains,
That feed the running rills;
In Thee, from everlasting,
The wonderful I AM
Found pleasures never wasting,
And Wisdom is Thy name.
When, like a tent to dwell in,
He spread the skies abroad,
And swathed about the swelling
Of ocean's mighty flood:
He wrought by weight and measure;
And Thou west with Him then:
Thyself the Father's pleasure,
And Thine, the sons of men.
Thus Wisdom's words discover
Thy glory and Thy grace,
Thou everlasting Lover
Of our unworthy race!
Thy gracious eye survey'd us
Ere stars were seen above;
In wisdom Thou halt made us,
And died for us in love.
And could'st Thou be delighted
With creatures such as we,
Who, when we saw Thee, slighted
And nail'd Thee to a tree!
Unfathomable wonder!
And mystery divine
The voice that speaks in thunder
Says, "Sinner, I am thine!"