"Sovereign Head" - The Unveiling of Jesus Christ
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 6 - The Inclusiveness of Jesus

We have been seeing a very little of how that answer - "I am Jesus" (Acts 9:5) - that designation and definition was the instrument by which the Apostle Paul was taken right back into the pre-creation times, the "before times eternal" into the counsels of God - the Father and the Son and the Spirit - and how out of those Eternal Counsels, the Son, in a covenant relationship, came forth to project the counsels of God known as "The Eternal Purpose."

We have seen Jesus "I AM" in eternity past before Abraham was and before the world was. We have seen Jesus the "I AM" in His creative activity. We have seen Him, the "I AM" in history, governing and controlling; and we have seen Him, the "I AM" in spiritual experience on a basis of grace. We have still to see much.

One would just like to read one or two other fragments of the Apostle's utterances which link this up before we come to the specific phase for this moment, but remind ourselves again of his words in. Phil. 3:10:

"That I may know Him."

This is the new quest, the new passion, the new outlook, the new direction of this man. If you want to know what the old one was you can put him into the 27th verse of Acts 13. Undoubtedly he is included here, although he is speaking about others, but they were his set, of which he was a member:-

"For they that dwell at Jerusalem and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, fulfilled them in condemning Him."

"They knew not Him, nor the voices of the prophets which were read every Sabbath day." That is a very sweeping and tremendous affirmation, seeing that Jesus was the personification of patriarch and seer and psalmist and prophet; that He gathered up into His own Person all the spiritual elements of all that had ever been written in Moses and the prophets; and they knew Moses and the prophets, they were read every Sabbath day, but Him they knew not. The voices of the prophets they knew not, they only knew the words. It is a tremendous thing, and Paul came to recognise that he was one of those, who knew the prophets but Him he knew not. He came to see just how far we may have a wonderfully comprehensive knowledge of the letter, and act in absolute contradiction thereto in spirit. It was that One whom he was desirous of knowing "THAT I MAY KNOW HIM."

Then you may link with that such words as those which he wrote to the Corinthian brethren, "When I came to you I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

Now if you leave out some of the words you really see the force of that declaration and his determination: "Brethren, when I came to you I determined to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified." That is the positive side. The negative side is "not to know anything."

And then further you will remember the familiar words which immediately bring you on to the ground of resurrection, the other side of the Cross:-
"Henceforth know we no man according to the flesh. Yea, though we have known Christ according to the flesh yet henceforth know we Him so no more."

His quest and his determination was to know Jesus only after the Spirit. We may see the force of that before we are through, but we are just staying to see this quest for a knowledge of Jesus in a certain realm of a certain kind to a certain end.

We have worked thus far, although we shall have to go back with glances, right up through history into grace, and now Paul's revelation of Jesus in incarnation, and this was for him the door, as it were, of hope through which he saw everything as practically possible, nay, more, practically assured. He had the vision, the revelation of Jesus away back in eternity past, Sovereign through history, as the Instrument and Agent, the Cause and the Consequence of creation, but now how was all this to be brought into the experience and the possession of man. As we have seen, it was to that end; this was not all for Jesus as an isolated unit as a Member of the Godhead. It was unnecessary from that standpoint, but the Purpose had as its main element and main factor, that all this Eternal Purpose, this Divine Design, was relative, and man was included in it, the sons in the Son, yet how was it all to be brought into the possession and experience of man? Or, to put it the other way, how was man to come into it and possess it? And Paul sees, by the Spirit, that it is on the basis and by the principle and law of incarnation. The incarnation of the Christ is the key to the whole thing, and I would just like to read two or three fragments again in this connection which reveal Jesus as the Heavenly Man. Philippians 2:8: "Being found in fashion as a man."

The "Fashion" and the "Form"

A simple study of two Greek words will throw much light on this; Schema and Morphe. Schema relating to the outward form, the fashion; and Morphe relating to the inward reality, and in verses 6 and 7 you have the two: Morphe "Who being in the form of God." That is, the essential reality, the abiding thing, the essence, the form, the morphe of God. And then, "Took upon Himself the form of a servant." That is most striking, that He did not just assume the fashion of a servant, but literally entered into the spirit of the servant. That is, He became a servant in reality. He was not acting a part, as Satan acts a part; you read that even Satan is transformed into an angel of light. It is the word schema, which means an outward form merely, assuming a guise, assuming a fashion. Now Christ never acted a part when He became a servant, He entered into the reality of this thing, so real that He went through death and hell in this thing. It was no mockery matter; it was the Spirit of service, and that we have to see in relation to obedience presently.

Now we come to "in fashion as a man." Here you have the word schema. He is taking an outward form, but there is an inward reality. This outward form, as He assumes it, will change as it did change, and that is the central point of this part of our theme - the change through death and resurrection, not that He ceased to be man, but He changed the form of His manhood, and you see how the key to the Incarnation, the Purpose of the Incarnation was the changing of the form of manhood, and that not only because of "the Fall," but in the purpose of God. When He created man He created him on a principle that he could be changed into another being. Adam as he was in creation before the Fall was not quite as God intended him ultimately to be. Christ is the ultimate, the climax of creation, and it was like unto Him that Adam was to be made. We are anticipating the subject somewhat by saying this, but it comes here, one must say it, and you will bear with the reiteration later when you have to look at man in resurrection to see what was in the mind of God when He said, "Let us make man in our own image." That is where you arrive at the Divine idea and ideal. Now the change in the form of the man is here indicated that He was found in fashion as a man. He took a certain form in which to do something which would produce another form, or make possible the other form, and that is why Paul said we do not know Him any longer according to the flesh, not the historic Jesus, but Jesus Risen is the One we want to know, "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection." It is the Risen Christ Who alone can fall in with the Eternal Purpose and be the realisation of that Purpose.

Just link with that those familiar words in Hebrews 2:10: "Verily He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham." One's emphasis there is simply this, "Not the nature of angels."

Man Higher Than Angels

The suggestion behind those words is this; that He is assuming something which, in the mind of God, transcends the nature of angels; that human nature when it reaches its highest level through resurrection power transcends angelic orders. If He had taken the nature of angels He could only have reached to the highest standard of angelic life, but God intends something higher than that for man, and we do not sing about wanting to be angels, we want to be something more than angels. We want to see the tremendous meaning of Incarnation; we want to see what God really meant when He made a human race to be partakers of His Divine Nature. Beloved, I do not know whether this sounds to you like a very wonderful theory, or conception, to me it carries tremendous values, it has a great spiritual significance of present practical meaning and helpfulness. "He took not upon Himself the nature of angels," no, He took upon Himself the seed of Abraham. "He was found in fashion as a man." "The Word became flesh," in order that humanity might be brought to a position above the angels. That is our goal.

Then this other word that you know so well in 1 Cor. 15:45:-
"The first man Adam was made a living soul. The last Adam a quickening (or life-giving) Spirit... Verse 47: "The first man is of the earth, earthy [that is not where the Lord intended him to stay]: the second Man is the Lord from heaven."

Now what we have to do before we are through is to see the nature of the second Man, the last Adam into Whom we are incorporated to share that nature. But now we must just come to this, and note that the Incarnation has a two-fold aspect. On the one hand, it is representation in death - you are familiar with that. "He was made in the likeness," the fashion, not the substance, not the morphe, but the schema, the likeness, the fashion of sinful flesh, and that implies and carries representation in death, and is retrospective to the Fall, and means abolition; back to the Fall the abolishing of a system representatively and inclusively. That is one side of the Incarnation, the whole scheme of sacrifice summed up in Him whereby judgment and death bring an end to a system, to a state. On the other hand, it is retrospective to the Eternal Purpose, beyond the Fall, and prospective to the consummation of that Eternal Purpose. That is in the Incarnation. It goes right back beyond the Fall.

The Incarnation was not merely occasioned by the Fall, something bigger than that is in the Incarnation, but the Fall, and the dealing with all the consequences of the Fall is included in the Incarnation, and the Incarnation is the gathering up of an infinitely higher purpose than redemption, it is the bringing of a race into living likeness to, and union with God which is the final intention of God in creation. In order to do that, redemption becomes incidental by the Fall, but "the Head of all creation," if it is a human creation, that is, the creation of a human race, must be manifest, whether there be a Fall or no Fall, to gather up into Himself. I wonder if you see what I mean. That if in the "before times eternal" Christ was appointed Head of all creation, Heir of all things, that all things were to be gathered up into Him, and that these "all things" were created by Him, and on a human plane, then, as the climax of glorified humanity, He must inevitably be revealed, be manifest in the flesh apart from a Fall. It seems to be a necessary conclusion, and there are distinct traces of this very truth in the revelation that came to Paul as to Who and What Jesus is. Now that other side of Incarnation which leaps over the Fall and all its consequences into the Eternal Purpose of God and takes up the nature of that Purpose so far as man is concerned, and then leaps over the ages to the consummation in Christ at the end of all, is the nature and purpose of the Incarnation. To put it more simply and again in another way. The Incarnation, the Manifestation in flesh, on the part of the Lord Jesus, is that He should be manifestly the Inclusive God-Man, and so Paul, in his quest to KNOW HIM is all the time seeking to know

The Inclusiveness of Jesus.

Now perhaps the most familiar thing amongst us is that little phrase which he uses more than any other,  "In Christ Jesus." I wonder if we have exhausted that yet. It is a small key, but it unfastens a mighty door. "In Christ Jesus." All that is there in the Purpose of God from eternity, from a to z, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end," the initiation and the consummation of all things, everything in the Eternal Mind and thought and intention of God is there in Christ, and now it is all there in Christ for us, concerning us, and we are concerned in it. So in order to be in it we must be in Christ, and how do you get into Christ? On the ground of incarnation, that He has become the Inclusive Man, the All-inclusive Man, the Federal Head of this race, the Generic Man, the last Adam, the Second Man, and we become incorporated into Him on the ground of His resurrection, having been planted together with Him in the likeness of His death. But Paul saw that the death side of the Incarnation was only one - it does not minimise the value, but was only in order to make all this other possible and real. It was not an end in itself, it was incidental in the course of the ages. It was not the main thing, it came in because of the Fall, but our incorporation into Christ as this Arch-Type Man, this Federal Head, this Generic Man dates back long past the Fall. "We were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world," before any Fall took place. Now then our union with Him in death is incidental to the main business of God, essential, indispensable, and so Paul saw, but don't stay there, get that settled, get that reckoned with once and for all, and come right out into the main thing.

This death is like a ghastly hiatus in the course of God's Eternal Purpose; it is a kink as it were, it is not in the straight line of God's will, but was only to make possible all the other, it had to be, it was a necessity because of what had happened, but resurrection union is the thing that brings us at once right into the heavenly realm, and right into direct alignment with that great eternal thing of God, so by resurrection union we do not become united with Him in the fashion of a man, the likeness of sinful flesh, we become united with Him in that transcendent arrival and achievement of God, the highest realisation of His creative Purpose, and we are no longer of the earth, earthy, we are now of the Lord from heaven. That will be seen when we come to study more closely the nature of this Heavenly Man, and see our nature in Him, the whole constitution.

What Paul saw was the inclusiveness of Christ in His real Person. This Christ of history is not the real Christ in a sense - don't misunderstand me (if that were printed by itself it would lead a lot of people into a fog), but in a sense this is not the real Christ, the real Christ is that which the world did not see. "The world knoweth Him not." "They knew Him not, nor the voices of the prophets." There is this other Christ transcendent in union with the Father Who was manifest only to a few comparatively. Now Paul has seen Him, and that is the real Christ, and the only One to know, but Whom to know is to bring us into the Life of the Ages, the Eternal Life, out of the life of time, out of the historic into the Eternal. The inclusiveness of Christ as He was essentially, and not as man saw Him, that is what he wanted to know, and he saw that the Incarnation was a Way into all that which was included in Christ.

Now you take up Paul with that simple thought - A Way. "By Him we have access, through Him we have access by the new and living Way which He has consecrated for us in His flesh." The Incarnation a Way! Now go back to Genesis 3:24 (Paul started to study the scriptures all over again when he began to see Jesus, and he knew the scriptures), "So he drove out the man, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden the Cherubim, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, keeping the way of the tree of life."

Now you see what has happened, "keeping the way of the tree of life," barring the way of the tree of life, judgment was in the way, and therefore, seeing that the tree of life was hedged around and safeguarded, "Eternal Life" was impossible. How? By disobedience. Is that a "Pauline" phrase? A very declaration of Paul! Disobedience and death - the tree of life safe-guarded. Now listen to Paul! "He became obedient unto death, yea, the death of the Cross," - and when He fulfilled that obedience to the last degree, and there was nothing more of obedience to be fulfilled "He cried with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, and the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom." "And hath opened a way for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh." The Incarnation in the uttermost obedience to God has cancelled death, and opened the way into life. The Tree of Life, which is His real self, is no longer cut off by judgment, because the judgment of the flaming sword lighted upon Him in that assumed likeness of sinful flesh, and in His uttermost obedience He brought Life and Immortality to light, brought a Way into Life, and into all that which is in God from which Adam was excluded, both experimentally and potentially; for Adam never received his full inheritance in God, but Christ received all that by obedience and opens the Way in His flesh into all that: the full inheritance of the joint-heirs with Him Who has been made Heir of all things.

Now I realise that is all imperfectly stated, and is not as clearly put as one would have liked to have presented it, but perhaps the Lord conveys something to you through the words, as one finds it so difficult to explain this. You see the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus deals with the thing that has come in between and brought death, and removes it out of the way, and gets God's Eternal Way open right through, clear, by His obedience, and that Way has been reopened by the Incarnation - if "re-opened" is the right word to use. God's way has been made clear for Him to go right on to the consummation of that Purpose to realise a perfected and glorified humanity in His Son. Disobedience cut clean across that Way, as it were, or caused this kink, this hiatus, but the obedience of the Son unto death, yea, the death of the Cross issued in a Way being made right into the fulness, and that is what Paul is seeing. He is seeing the fact that Jesus is the Way. Paul got his revelation by the Spirit, not from John. John wrote his many years after the Apostle had laid down his pen for good. Paul got right through in the Spirit and saw Jesus in the Incarnation as the Way, and there is no coming into this Eternal thing only through the Veil of His flesh which has been cleft by God, and not by man from the top to the bottom, not from the bottom to the top.

If you could only see the meaning of that cleaving, that rending, it, in itself, is a marvellous key to the scriptures. There are two sides to a way always, and you will find there were always the two ways of God's coming through. Take the offerings in the book of Leviticus. In the main offerings there were two kinds which represented the two sides of the way. There was the kind which was utterly judged and destroyed from the presence of God, not a saving element; then there were the sweet savour offerings which were acceptable to Him. The other side of the way. The way through to God is that which speaks of destruction from God, and acceptance by God. Take the smaller offerings, and you find that the two elements were in single offerings. Take the scapegoat - two halves of one sacrifice - one goes out into the wilderness to perish under the judgment of sin, destroyed from the presence of the Lord; the other is offered unto the Lord and accepted. Destroyed unto the Lord, and destroyed from the Lord - two sides of the way. He is the way. When He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh He was destroyed from the presence of the Lord, and that was retrospective to the Fall, but on this other side of the way He represents the eternal conception of God concerning glorified humanity in which God is resident and He is offered to the Lord and fully acceptable. Two sides of the way.

A covenant in those old days always had these two sides. A sacrifice was offered, it was parted in the middle, and the two people making the covenant came between the halves and had a meal together. You remember in Genesis 15 the Lord makes a covenant with Abraham. The sacrifice is made and one half is put here and one-half there. It is divided asunder on two sides, and a light passes in between and the Angel of the Lord prepares a meal in between the two, and Abraham enters into that sacred feast with God between the two halves of the sacrifice, and the covenant concerning the redemption of a people from the land of darkness is entered into. You see this is the way through, God coming through and making possible the realisation of His great Purpose, and He hath consecrated this way open, a way through His flesh, and you know the Veil with its four-fold colour and four-fold type -
BLUE - Heavenly glory and mystery.
PURPLE - Sovereignty and majesty.
SCARLET - Sacrifice and passion.
WHITE - Holiness and righteousness and then worked upon it the CHERUBIM.

What are the Cherubim? The figure of the -
Lion - Sovereignty, majesty.
[Eagle -] Heavenly glory and mystery.
Ox - Suffering and sacrifice unto service.
Man - Presentation of the Perfect Man Christ Jesus.

Here He is representing humanity. The Incarnation of the Lord Jesus is there, His perfection, and the realisation of that perfection in holiness and purity through sacrifice and suffering into the heavenly glory. It is all there, and then God comes in and through that makes a way - rent from the top to the bottom, and the new and living Way is opened. It is all so rich, beloved, that one simply has to skim the surface. I am breaking here and one ought not to break at this point because immediately emerges in this presentation of Christ Incarnate the laws and rules of the life of the Heavenly Man, and if we are called unto Him we have got to know those laws and rules by which to live is to bring us into the state of glory ultimately.

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