The Plan for Redemption

God did not first conceive of the plan of Redemption after the fall of man. Indeed, the mediator of the covenant of grace was ordained and anointed already from eternity. He was appointed as an offering before the foundations of the world, and the church was already from that time chosen. For that church He came to suffer and die. As the King of Israel He was also an heir of David’s house, and David’s throne, and must needs be born at Bethlehem. That was already prophesied by Micah, and Caesar Augustus must without willing or know­ing it be the instrument thereto. In order to fulfill that prophecy, Augustus designed all people to be registered by a compulsory registration, and therefore all the Jewish people must become regis­tered. We read then that Joseph went up out of Galilee out of the city of Nazar­eth to Bethlehem to be registered with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. Mary was espoused at that time and must remain unmarried by God’s appointment. That was also prophesied by Micah, and Caesar Augustus must without his will or knowledge be an instrument toward the fulfillment of that prophecy. That was already prophesied by Isaiah 742 years before. The Lord Said to Achaz, “Ask of me a sign.” Arid Achaz said, “I do not want to ask a sign.” And the Lord said, “If you desire not a sign, a sign will nevertheless be given you,” namely, ‘‘A virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son.” That was a wonder-sign. That a woman be­came with child and bore a son, is no wonder, that happens every day, but that a virgin becomes with child and bares a son is an eternal wonder that we cannot understand. And Mary did not under­stand that either. Therefore she said to the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” And the angel said, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over­shadow thee, therefore also the hoy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” And that Son of God came to suffer and die. His suf­fering began then by the manger. The Lord said to Joseph, “Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt.” That must happen according to Scripture, for it is written, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” And He must return to Nazar­eth, for He shall be called a Nazarite. There at Nazareth He grew up and when He was thirty years old He walked among Israel as “The Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the World.” And we also read that He went through the land doing good. He healed the sick opened the eyes of the blind, and raised the dead. And they said, “Away with Him. He is not worthy that He lives. Crucify Him!” “He came to His own and His own received Him not.” They condemned Him to death. Yes, they persecuted Him from the manger to the Cross. And even though they persecuted Him from the manger to the cross, He said to them and to us, through the preaching of the Gospel. “Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Come unto me, all the ends of the earth and be saved, for I will wipe out your sins as a mist, and I will cast them behind me in the sea of eter­nal forgetfulness, so that you need not fear even though the earth would be moved out of her place, and even though the mountains would be removed in the middle of the sea, but I will take you up in my glory. See, those are God’s promises which He has revealed to us in His Word. Therefore we say with the Psalmist, “Thy Word is a lamp be­fore my feet and a light upon my path.’’ Now He is set at the Father’s right hand, but soon He comes again, and the glory shall then be revealed in the fullness of the day of the Lord. Then men will not need a lamp, nor a candle, but then men shall walk in the light of the Son of Righteousness, satisfied with Thy Godly Image. And when that day has come, then men will not say anymore, “I am of Cephas, and I am of Apollos,” or are you from the Reformed? or of the Chris­tian Reformed Church, or a Hoeksemanite? No, no, says Paul, “Here the natural body is sown, but then a spiritual body is raised and then we shall eternally be spiritual children of God’’. And to that return of our Lord and Saviour the Church looks forward, from all the ages it sings with an eye to that return: Hallelujah! There is no night, no sorrow, no grief. There sin and death find no power.