Deliverer and Deliverance

“Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” —Matthew 28:18

LUST FOR POWER has caused much sorrow and suffering in human experience. Bloody wars have been fought in an effort to exalt ambitious leaders to positions of power over their fellows; and selfish rulers holding positions of power have misused their advantages over others, which also has caused untold suffering. While from time to time throughout the ages there have been autocratic rulers who exercised their authority and power benevolently, there have also been many tyrants who were cruel in their dictatorships. In no other aspect of human experience has man’s inhumanity to man been so tyrannically manifested.

But the people will have nothing to fear from God’s new Ruler, yet never has a king, a potentate, or a dictator of the past had within his grasp such sweeping powers as have been entrusted to Jesus. According to his own testimony, he now possesses all power in heaven and in earth. This beloved Son of God who, while sacrificing his flesh for the life of the world, was given a crown of thorns, spat upon, beaten, and nailed to a cross until he died, is now raised from the dead and exalted to a position in which he is able to exercise unlimited authority and power throughout every part of the great universe of God.

The Apostle Paul explains it in this manner: “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 that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11) We know that this ‘all power’ will be exercised by Jesus in a manner which will serve the best eternal interests of all, and this is because he proved his genuine interest in those over whom he is now exalted to rule. He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.” He humbled himself, and “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:7,8) One who humbly dies as a servant of his subjects can be entrusted with power to rule over them.

Probably the disciples were a little bewildered when Jesus said to them, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” His crucifixion, and then his resurrection, of which they were gradually being convinced, posed many questions for which they did not have the answers. Why did Jesus allow himself to be put to death? And now that he had been raised from the dead why was he so different from what he had been before his crucifixion? Before he gave his flesh for the life of the world, he was with them almost constantly. Now they saw very little of him, and each time he did appear in their midst, he seemed strangely unlike the blessed Master with whom they had been so intimately associated. In fact, each time he appeared to them he did so in a form different from any previous appearance.

The two Marys, who were first at the tomb after the close of the Sabbath, were surprised to find that the stone had been “rolled back … from the door” of the tomb, and that an angel was sitting upon it. “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.” Normally, angels are invisible to human eyes, but the Old Testament records instances when they appeared as men, and now again this had occurred. This angel, without asking, knew why the women had come to the tomb—“I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay,” said the angel to them.—Matt. 28:1-6

“Go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead,” continued the angel, “and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.” (vs. 7) The Marys were filled with mixed feelings of fear and joy as “they did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”—vss. 8-10

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted.” (vss. 16,17) It was here, in a Galilean mountain, that Jesus announced to the eleven, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Already there had been the exercise of superhuman power. The fact that one who had been crucified, wrapped in grave clothes for burial, and sealed in a tomb with a heavy stone before the door, could now appear and speak to them on a mountain in Galilee denoted the exercise of power far beyond anything they could understand.

Not that Jesus raised himself from the dead! No, the Apostle Peter later made this plain. When speaking on the Day of Pentecost he said, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” (Acts 2:32) When Jesus died on the cross, he committed his life into the hands of his Heavenly Father. If he were to live again, it must be through the exercise of divine power, for in death he had no power of his own. The apostle speaks of the “exceeding greatness” of the Father’s power “which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.”—Eph. 1:19,20

But now that Jesus had been restored to life, this almighty power had been given to him, to be exercised when, where, and in the manner in which God directed. Among the first uses of this power are his several appearances to his disciples before he returned to his Father in heaven. One of his first appearances was to Mary. She “saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.”—John 20:14-16

When Jesus was crucified, his clothing was divided among the Roman soldiers on guard, and lots were cast for his seamless robe. He was wrapped in linen clothes for burial. Now he suddenly appeared to Mary dressed as a gardener. She did not recognize his features. Not until he spoke her name in the familiar manner to which she was accustomed did she realize that it was her Master. From whence came the clothing of a gardener? From whence could any clothes come? The only answer is that the ‘all power’ which Jesus now possessed included ability to create. It was this power which, as the Logos, he employed as the agent of his Father in the original work of Creation, and now he had used this power to create clothing; and, in fact, to assume a human body in which he could appear to, and converse with, Mary.

Then there was the experience of the two disciples who walked to Emmaus, and while on the way were joined by the resurrected Jesus. But they did not recognize him. Not until the evening, when he asked the blessing at the evening meal, did they realize who their journeying companion had been. Then he vanished from their sight. It was evidently his familiar way of asking the blessing upon the meal that revealed his identity to them. Here, then, was a still different-appearing body, and still different clothing. Here, also, was the ability to ‘vanish out of their sight’. When Jesus was with them in the flesh, they had seen him perform many miracles, but never had they seen anything like this. Surely he was different.—Luke 24:13-31

Thomas had heard of Jesus’ appearances to the other disciples, but he doubted. He said that he would not believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead unless he could see the nail prints in his hands and feet, and the spear wound in his side. Eight days later, while they were gathered in a room with the doors closed, Jesus suddenly appeared in their midst. He addressed Thomas, inviting him to examine his hands and his feet, and to thrust his hand into the wound in his side. Thomas was thereby convinced that Jesus had been raised from the dead. But how did Jesus know that Thomas doubted? He was nowhere in sight when he expressed his doubts. And where were the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and feet when Mary thought he was the gardener, and when the two journeying to Emmaus thought he was a ‘stranger in Israel’?

John explains this demonstration to Thomas, saying, “Many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples.” (John 20:30) It was a sign, a demonstration, designed to meet a need. This was not Jesus’ real body; for, as he explained in advance, he had given his flesh, his humanity, for the life of the world. This was not Jesus’ resurrected body any more than was the body of the gardener seen by Mary, or the stranger with whom the two disciples conversed on the way to Emmaus.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples with Thomas present, they thought they were seeing a ‘spirit’, but soon discovered that what they saw was not a spirit, but a genuine fleshly body. Jesus ate with them, even as did the three angels who materialized and visited Abraham many centuries earlier. Abraham did not see three spirits, but he saw three angels who had materialized in human form; and the disciples saw the resurrected Jesus, who had also materialized in a human body, as a sign to convince ‘doubting Thomas’.

There was also the time when Jesus appeared to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias, or Galilee. The disciples were in their boats, having been fishing all night, but with no success. We are told that “Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.” (John 21:4) It was only when, in keeping with Jesus’ suggestion, they lowered their nets on the other side of their boats and they were filled with fish, that they knew who it was on the shore.

This was another ‘sign’. Why? Because a similar miracle had occurred when Jesus first called them to be his followers. To have this experience repeated proved to them that it was Jesus who had made the suggestion. Apparently his appearance, on this occasion, was again different. They saw no nail prints, no gardener’s clothing and, from his features, he was not recognized as the one who had journeyed to Emmaus with two of them.

Born of the Spirit

During his earthly ministry Jesus had explained to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, that “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Here Jesus is referring to the position of rulership in the kingdom of God, not to those who will become subjects of that kingdom. Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (vs. 4) Jesus then explained that he referred to a birth of the Spirit, saying, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”—vs. 6

Jesus had been born into the world of flesh. It was in this manner that he was “made flesh for … the suffering of death.” (John 1:14; Heb. 2:9) But he was explaining another ‘birth’, a birth of the Spirit, and the great change that it would bring in one’s experience and abilities. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” Jesus explained. (vs. 8) The wind is both invisible and powerful. It moves about unseen by human eyes, its presence being recognized by various manifestations of its strength, such as the swaying trees, and the mountainous waves of the ocean.

By this illustration Jesus taught that one born of the Spirit would be invisible to human eyes, yet possess mighty power. In his resurrection Jesus was ‘born of the Spirit’. That is why he could be present with his disciples without their realizing he was in their midst. That is why he could create a different body each time he appeared to them. That is why he could vanish from their sight as he did after asking the blessing on the evening meal in Emmaus.

The wind is indeed powerful. Take a tornado, for example. It is claimed that the exploding of hydrogen bombs directly in the center of a tornado would not alter its course in the slightest. Here is a manifestation of sheer force—one of the most irresistible forces known to man, and Jesus used it to help us grasp, to a small degree at least, some of the characteristics of those born of the Spirit. Except as they materialize and appear in bodies of flesh, they are invisible to human eyes, and they are powerful. ‘All power’, Jesus said, had been given to him.

The Apostle Peter touches on this point, saying, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, … being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (I Pet. 3:18) The Revised Version reads, “in the Spirit.” He was put to death ‘in’ the flesh, and quickened, or made alive ‘in’ the Spirit, no longer a fleshly being, but ‘born of the Spirit’, and as the Scriptures reveal, to the very highest plane of Spirit life, the divine.

“A Quickening Spirit”

The Apostle Paul explains, “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: and the second man is the Lord from heaven.” (I Cor. 15:44-47) Here we have two fundamentally important thoughts brought to our attention. First is the contrast between the ‘first Adam’, and the ‘last Adam’. The first Adam was made a ‘living soul’. Had he remained obedient to divine law he would have continued to live—a wonderful boon. The ‘last Adam’, however, was made a ‘quickening spirit’. Not only was he raised from the dead a glorious spirit being, but the ‘all power’ given to him included the ability to impart life to others. He was made a ‘quickening’, or life-giving spirit being.

In this lesson Paul is discussing the subject of the resurrection. It was when Jesus was raised from the dead that he was made a life-giving spirit, not when he was born into the world as a human being, or ‘made flesh’. This was a necessary step in preparation for the giving of life to fallen humanity, for Jesus was made flesh for the ‘suffering of death’. But now that he had given his flesh for the life of the world, he had been made alive in the spirit, and was a powerful quickening spirit, enabled to give life, or restore life, to the first Adam and his children.

But this great program of restoring life was not due to begin at once. No, Paul explains that the second man, or the second Adam, is the Lord from heaven, thus indicating that not until Christ returns from heaven would he, as a quickening spirit, begin to quicken, or give life to the dead and dying children of the first Adam. The expression, second man, as applied to Christ, does not in any way indicate that in his resurrection he was still human. It is used here simply as a parallel in the sense, that as Adam gave life to his children, even though imperfect, so Jesus as a quickening spirit will give life. But it is not as a man that Jesus does this. No, it is as the Lord from heaven.


In Matthew 19:28 we are told of a time of “regeneration,” when the “Son of man,” the ‘second man’ mentioned by Paul, the ‘last Adam’, “shall sit in the throne of his glory.” This is during Jesus’ second presence, when, as the Lord from heaven, he is here to conduct the work of regenerating the fallen race, thus giving them life. The human race was originally generated by Adam, the progenitor of all mankind. But being under condemnation to death himself, and dying, Adam could give only imperfect life to his offspring. Even as the “stream could not rise above its fountain,” so the human race has continued to go into death. But the last Adam, the Lord from heaven, will regenerate the dead and dying race of the first Adam, thus delivering them from death.

This is brought clearly to our attention in Isaiah, chapter 53. In verse 10 of the preceding chapter Jesus is referred to as the “arm of the Lord,” and we are told that through him “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” Chapter 53 shows this arm of the Lord being led as a lamb to the slaughter. Verses 10 and 11 read, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”

‘Travail’ is associated with bringing forth children, and it is used in this prophecy of the suffering and death of Jesus as the Redeemer of the world, to reveal and emphasize that as a result of his sacrifice the fallen race of Adam is to be regenerated and become the children of the ‘second Adam’, the Lord from heaven. Therefore the prophecy further states that he shall see his seed. As a man, Jesus had no children, but as the Lord from heaven, all the willing and obedient of the entire human race will be regenerated by him and become his children, his seed. Jesus is referred to in Isaiah 9:6 as the Everlasting Father—he will give everlasting life to all his children.

Isaiah 53:10 also says concerning Jesus that he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. When explaining to his disciples why he was surrendering to his enemies to be put to death, Jesus said, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25) Jesus had just invited his disciples to follow him—into death, that is—and he explains that those who do this will save their lives. Jesus himself died, sacrificially. This is how he prolonged his days. His Father raised him from the dead, and exalted him to his own right hand, giving him all power in heaven and in earth.

And now he is in a position to carry out his Father’s plan for restoring the sin-cursed and dying race to life. This is the pleasure of the Lord for Jesus, and during the time of regeneration it will prosper in his hand. While in the flesh, and by enlisting divine power to aid him, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. Now that power has been given to him, it will be used in due time to heal all the sick and raise all the dead.

In Isaiah 52:13-15 this ‘Arm’ of the Lord, who will extend salvation to all the ends of the earth, is called Jehovah’s ‘servant’. The passage reads, “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many as are astonied at thee; his visage was marred more than any man, and his form more that the sons of men.” Certainly Jesus, to whom has been given all power, is now exalted ‘very high’. First, however, his visage was marred by the cruel persecutions which fell upon him, ending with his death on the cross. Little did his enemies know that by his humble submission to these cruelties he was providing redemption for them, and for all the families of the earth.

“So shall he sprinkle many nations,” continues the prophet. The Hebrew word here translated ‘sprinkle’ is a primitive verb meaning ‘to spirit’. It is the word frequently used in reference to the sprinkling of Israel’s priesthood, the Tabernacle, and the people. Symbolically, it denotes a cleansing through expiation from sin. During the Jewish Age it was merely a typical cleansing; but, as it will be accomplished by the Arm of the Lord, it will result in an actual cleansing, not merely of the one nation of Israel, but of all nations. And this cleansing from Adamic sin will open the way for lasting life for all who accept this wondrous provision of God’s grace through Christ, and obey the laws of the kingdom then in force.

Isaiah continues: “The kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” Throughout the six thousand years of human experience there have been many kings, many rulers. Some have been noble, endeavoring to rule their subjects in justice and in righteousness. Some have been cruel and vicious. But the best any of them could do, even the noblest, was to protect their people from exploitation and to see that a measure of justice was assured to all. But it will be different when the Arm of the Lord is ruling. Then ‘that which had not been told them they shall see’.

Whoever heard of kings and rulers offering health and everlasting life to their subjects? When has there ever been a king who ever promised to raise the dead? The issues confronting all governments have been limited to the things of a temporary life, at best, matters pertaining to equity and justice. The Arm of the Lord will give equity and justice to the people, and in addition, health and life. He will even raise the beloved dead of all his subjects, for to this mighty Arm has been given all power in heaven and in earth.

The Prophet David wrote concerning this new king of earth, this Arm of the Lord, the last Adam: “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him: and his enemies shall lick the dust. … Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.”—Ps. 72:6-13

What a beautiful description of the blessings which will be lavished upon the people of all nations under the rulership of the Arm of the Lord! He will even save the souls of the needy. All mankind will be needy. Sold under sin, condemned and dying, no blessings which could be given to them would be of lasting value unless their ‘souls’ can be ‘saved’. And, thank God, all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation provided for them through Jesus, who gave his ‘flesh’, his life, that all the children of the first Adam might be given an opportunity to live.

So all the souls, the lives, that is, of the poor groaning creation will be saved, restored to life. It was life in an earthly paradise that was lost, and it will be life in an earthly paradise that will be restored. And it will then be a global paradise. This is the pleasure of the Lord which will prosper in the hands of him who is mighty to save—mighty, because to him has been given all power in heaven and in earth.

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