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The Ladder Connecting Earth with Heaven

Both Peter's ladder (2 Peter 1:4-8) and Jacob's ladder (Genesis 28:12-15) have been cited. by Inspiration, as symbols of how fully the connection between earth and heaven had to be in order to save man:

Jesus was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are . . Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw, the base resting on the earth. . If that ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we would have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are. He took our nature and overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made 'in the likeness of sinful flesh,' He lived a sinless life. " Australian Signs, December 14, 1903.

"Christ, who connects earth with heaven, is the [Peter's] ladder. The base is planted firmly on the earth in His humanity; the topmost round reaches the throne of God in His divinity. The humanity of Christ embraces fallen humanity." 6 Testimonies, 147.

In a great variety of ways, God revealed through Inspired Writings that Jesus Christ fully became like us in every way, except in indulging in sin. Here are some additional examples:

"[He] took our nature that He might understand how to sympathize with our frailty." Review. April 19, 1870.

'Jesus clothed His divinity with humanity that He might have an experience in all that pertains to human life." Signs, September 30, 1890.

And as Jesus was in human flesh, so God means His followers to be." Signs, April 1, 1897.

"Christ humiliated Himself to humanity, and took upon Himself our nature, that. . He might become a stepping stone to fallen men." Review, April 25, 1886.

"The Divine Son of God, who had. . come from heaven and assumed their fallen nature . . to unite the fallen race with Himself." Signs, September 23, 1889.

"In the likeness of sinful flesh, He condemned sin in the flesh." Review, May 6, 1875.

"Christ became sin for the fallen race. "Review, May 6,1875. "Had He not been fully human, Christ could not have been our substitute." Signs. June 17, 1897.

"He consented to become fallen man's substitute and surety," Review, June 15, 1891.

"He took our nature upon Him. . and knowing all our experiences, He stands as Mediator and Intercessor before the Father," Signs, November 24, 1887.

"He [Jesus] is the 'Daysman' between a Holy God and our sinful humanity,One who can 'lay His hand upon us both,' "Signs, August 24,1891.

"With His human arm Christ encircles the fallen race, and with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite," Signs, April 18, 1892.

"Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of degradation." Signs, December 3. 1902.

"This was the only way in which fallen men could be exalted. . It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon Himself the form and nature of fallen man." Review. December 31,1872.

"In order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was," l Selected Messages, 268.  

The Kenosis

"The kenosis" means "the emptying:' The phrase comes from the Greek of a word in Philippians, chapter 2. That chapter is a highpoint in the Apostle Paul's writings.


The following analysis of the Greek, of Philippians 2:511. is reprinted from one of the more than 200 studies in the present writer's book, The Biblical Sanctuary, which is an in-depth Biblical defense of our historic Sanctuary teaching:

"Think about Philippians 2: The same Paul who presents us with the two Adams also penned the second chapter of Philippians. We should have the attitude of Jesus (Phil. 2:5). Consider Him: Jesus, who had the inner substance (morphe) of God (2:6), had no need to grasp for divinity, for He already had it (2:6). And yetthis same Jesus who was the highest in the universe in nature and poweremptied (kenosis) Himself and took the inner nature (morphe) of a slave [to sin] and was made in the characteristics (homoio) of a human being (2:7). And being found with the manner of life (schema) of a human, He humbled Himself [still further] and became obedient unto death, even the death by a cross (2:8)!

"In spite of what theologians may say, Jesus Christ went from the highest to the lowest for you and for me because there was no other way in which man could be saved.

And because of the 'descent' of Christ to the very bottom, yet without sinning, the Father hath exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above every other name (2:9). That at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth shall [one day soon] bow (2:10), and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Masterto the glory of God the Father (2:11). Jesus who was fully God became fully like us, and then died for us in order to save us by His death and by His lifeand that is the gospel." Biblical Sanctuary, part of Study 15: "The Human Nature of Christ," on Hebrews 2:9 [italics in my original].  


Reprinted below is one of the most solemn and impressive passages in all the Spirit of Prophecy. Read it slowly, thoughtfully. Read it out aloud. meaningfully! Here you find the Kenosis! Christ emptied Himself, and "went lower and lower in His humiliation, until there were no lower depths that He could reach, in order to lift man out of his moral defilement."

Our Lord and Saviour went from the highest to the lowest, in order to bring us up to the highestto live with Him for eternity. "Be astonished, 0 ye heavens, and be amazed ye inhabitants of the earth:'

The passage is taken from the Review, September 4. 1900 (5 BC 11261128 on John 1:13. 14). It is actually an expanded presentation of Philippians 2:511.

"The apostle would call our attention from ourselves to the Author of our salvation. He presents before us His two natures, divine and human. Here is the description of the divine: 'Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.' He was 'the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.'

"Now, of the human: He 'was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death.' He voluntarily assumed human nature. It was His own act, and by His own consent, He clothed His divinity with humanity. He was all the while as God, but He did not appear as God. He veiled the demonstrations of Deity, which had commanded the homage, and called forth the admiration, of the universe of God. He was God while upon earth, but He divested Himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of a man.

"He walked the earth as a man. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He laid aside His glory and His majesty. He was God, but the glories of the form of God He for a while relinquished. Though He walked among men in poverty, scattering His blessings wherever He went, at His word legions of angels would surround their Redeemer, and do Him homage. But He walked the earth unrecognized, unconfessed, with but few exceptions, by His creatures. The atmosphere was polluted with sin and curses, in place of the anthem of praise. His lot was poverty and humiliation. As He passed to and fro upon His mission of mercy to relieve the sick, to lift up the depressed, scarce a solitary voice called Him blessed, and the very greatest of the nation passed Him by with disdain.

"Contrast this with the riches of glory, the wealth of praise pouring forth from immortal tongues, the millions of rich voices in the universe of God in anthems of adoration. But He humbled Himself, and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal: but as a God, He was the fountain of life to the world. He could, in His divine person, ever have withstood the advances of death, and refused to come under its dominion; but He voluntarily laid down His life, that in so doing He might give life and bring immortality to light.

"He bore the sins of the world, and endured the penalty, which rolled like a mountain upon His divine soul. He yielded up His life a sacrifice, that man should not eternally die. He died, not through being compelled to die, but by His own free will. This was humility. The whole treasure of heaven was poured out in one gift to save fallen man. He brought into His human nature all the life-giving energies that human beings will need and must receive.

"Wondrous combination of man and God! "He might have helped His human nature to withstand the inroads of disease by pouring from His divine nature vitality and un decaying vigor to the human. But He humbled Himself to man's nature. He did this that the Scripture might be fulfilled; and the plan was entered into by the Son of God, knowing all the steps in His humiliation, that He must descend to make an expiation for the sins of a condemned, groaning world. What humility was this! It amazed angels. The tongue can never describe it; the imagination cannot take it in. The eternal Word consented to be made flesh! God became man! It was a wonderful humility.

"But He stepped still lower; the man must humble Himself as a man to bear insult, reproach, shameful accusations, and abuse. There seemed to be no safe place for Him in His own territory. He had to flee from place to place for His life. He was betrayed by one of His disciples; He was denied by one of His most zealous followers. He was mocked. He was crowned with a crown of thorns. He was scourged. He was forced to bear the burden of the cross.

"He was not insensible to this contempt and ignominy. He submitted, but, oh! He felt the bitterness as no other being could feel it. He was pure, holy, and undefiled, yet arraigned as a criminal! The adorable Redeemer stepped down from the highest exaltation. Step by step He humbled Himself to diebut what a death! It was the most shameful, the most cruel the death upon the cross as a malefactor. He did not die as a hero in the eyes of the world, loaded with honors, as men in battle. He died as a condemned criminal, suspended between the heavens and the earth died a lingering death of shame, exposed to the tauntings and revilings of a debased, crime-loaded, profligate multitude! All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head" (Ps. 22:7).

"He was numbered with the transgressors, He expired amid derision, and His kinsmen according to the flesh disowned Him. His mother beheld His humiliation, and He was forced to see the sword pierce her heart. He endured the cross, despised the shame. He made it of small account in consideration of the results that He was working out in behalf of, not only the inhabitants of this speck of a world, but the whole universe, every world which God had created.

"Christ was to die as man's substitute. Man was a criminal under the sentence of death for transgression of the law of God, as a traitor, a rebel; hence a substitute for man must die as a malefactor, because He stood in the place of the traitors, with all their treasured sins upon His divine soul. It was not enough that Jesus should die in order to fully meet the demands of the broken law, but He died a shameful death. The prophet gives to the world His words, 'I hid not my face from shame and spitting:

"In consideration of this, can men have one particle of exaltation? As they trace down the life and sufferings and humiliation of Christ, can they lift their proud heads as if they were to bear no trials, no shame, no humiliation? I say to the followers of Christ, Look to Calvary, and blush for shame at your self important ideas.

All this humiliation of the Majesty of heaven was for guilty, condemned man. He went lower and lower in His humiliation, until there were no lower depths that He could reach, in order to lift man up from his moral defilement. All this was for you who are striving for the supremacystriving for human praise, for human exaltation; you who are afraid you will not receive all that deference, that respect from human minds, that you think is your due. Is this Christlike?

" 'Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.' He died to make an atonement, and to become a pattern for everyone who would be His disciple. Shall selfishness come into your hearts? And will those who set not before them the pattern. Jesus, extol your merits? You have none except as they come through Jesus Christ. Shall pride be harbored after you have seen Deity humbling Himself, and then as man debasing Himself, till there was no lower point to which He could descend? 'Be astonished, O ye heavens! and be amazed, ye inhabitants of the earth, that such returns should be made to our Lord! What contempt! what wickedness! what formality! what pride! what efforts made to lift up man and glorify self, when the Lord of glory humbled Himself, agonized, and died the shameful death upon the cross in our behalf! "Review. September 4. 1900 (5 BC 1126-1128 on John 1: 1-3, 14 [but actually commenting on Philippians 2:5-11]).