The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 4: The Plan of Redemption
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The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow. The world that
God had made was blighted with the curse of sin and inhabited
by beings doomed to misery and death. There appeared no
escape for those who had transgressed the law. Angels ceased
their songs of praise. Throughout the heavenly courts there was
mourning for the ruin that sin had wrought.
The Son of God, heaven's glorious Commander, was touched
with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite
compassion as the woes of the lost world rose up before Him.
But divine love had conceived a plan whereby man might be
redeemed. The broken law of God demanded the life of the sinner.
In all the universe there was but one who could, in behalf of
man, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God
Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its
transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from
the curse of the law and bring him again into harmony with
Heaven. Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of
sin—sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the Father
and His Son. Christ would reach to the depths of misery to rescue
the ruined race.
Before the Father He pleaded in the sinner's behalf, while the
host of heaven awaited the result with an intensity of interest
that words cannot express. Long continued was that mysterious
communing—"the counsel of peace" (Zechariah 6:13) for the
fallen sons of men. The plan of salvation had been laid before
the creation of the earth; for Christ is "the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8); yet it was a struggle,
even with the King of the universe, to yield up His Son to die for
the guilty race. But "God so loved the world, that He gave His
only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. Oh, the mystery of [p. 64] redemption! the love of God for a world that did not love Him!
Who can know the depths of that love which "passeth knowledge"?
Through endless ages immortal minds, seeking to comprehend
the mystery of that incomprehensible love, will wonder
God was to be manifest in Christ, "reconciling the world unto
Himself." 2 Corinthians 5:19. Man had become so degraded by
sin that it was impossible for him, in himself, to come into harmony
with Him whose nature is purity and goodness. But Christ,
after having redeemed man from the condemnation of the law,
could impart divine power to unite with human effort. Thus by
repentance toward God and faith in Christ the fallen children of
Adam might once more become "sons of God." 1 John 3:2.
The plan by which alone man's salvation could be secured, involved
all heaven in its infinite sacrifice. The angels could not
rejoice as Christ opened before them the plan of redemption, for
they saw that man's salvation must cost their loved Commander
unutterable woe. In grief and wonder they listened to His words
as He told them how He must descend from heaven's purity and
peace, its joy and glory and immortal life, and come in contact
with the degradation of earth, to endure its sorrow, shame, and
death. He was to stand between the sinner and the penalty of
sin; yet few would receive Him as the Son of God. He would
leave His high position as the Majesty of heaven, appear upon
earth and humble Himself as a man, and by His own experience
become acquainted with the sorrows and temptations which man
would have to endure. All this would be necessary in order that
He might be able to succor them that should be tempted. Hebrews
2:18. When His mission as a teacher should be ended, He
must be delivered into the hands of wicked men and be subjected
to every insult and torture that Satan could inspire them to inflict.
He must die the cruelest of deaths, lifted up between the heavens
and the earth as a guilty sinner. He must pass long hours of
agony so terrible that angels could not look upon it, but would
veil their faces from the sight. He must endure anguish of soul,
the hiding of His Father's face, while the guilt of transgression
—the weight of the sins of the whole world—should be upon
The angels prostrated themselves at the feet of their
Commander and offered to become a sacrifice for man. But an angel's [p. 65] life could not pay the debt; only He who created man had power
to redeem him. Yet the angels were to have a part to act in the
plan of redemption. Christ was to be made "a little lower than
the angels for the suffering of death." Hebrews 2:9. As He should
take human nature upon Him, His strength would not be equal
to theirs, and they were to minister to Him, to strengthen and
soothe Him under His sufferings. They were also to be ministering
spirits, sent forth to minister for them who should be heirs
of salvation. Hebrews 1:14. They would guard the subjects of
grace from the power of evil angels and from the darkness constantly
thrown around them by Satan.
When the angels should witness the agony and humiliation of
their Lord, they would be filled with grief and indignation and
would wish to deliver Him from His murderers; but they were
not to interpose in order to prevent anything which they should
behold. It was a part of the plan of redemption that Christ should
suffer the scorn and abuse of wicked men, and He consented to
all this when He became the Redeemer of man.
Christ assured the angels that by His death He would ransom
many, and would destroy him who had the power of death. He
would recover the kingdom which man had lost by transgression,
and the redeemed were to inherit it with Him, and dwell therein
forever. Sin and sinners would be blotted out, nevermore to disturb
the peace of heaven or earth. He bade the angelic host to be
in accord with the plan that His Father had accepted, and rejoice
that, through His death, fallen man could be reconciled to God.
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