Question 24d- Who is the Redeemer of God’s Elect?
“To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. – Rom 9:5 ESV
Whose are the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for, according to the (a) Jewish writers, “they call none in Israel אבות, “fathers”, but three, and they are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and they call none “mothers” but four, and they are, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah:” their descent from these fathers was a privilege, though they valued themselves too highly upon it; but what was the crown and glory of all, and which they took the least, though the apostle took the most notice of, is,
and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came; that is, either of the fathers, or of the Israelites, from whom Christ, according to his human nature, sprung; being a son of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of David, and the son of Mary; hence the Messiah is called דישראל משיהא, “the Messiah or Christ of Israel”:
who is described as over all, angels and men, being the creator, upholder, and governor of them; and as having another nature, a divine one, being God, truly and properly God, blessed for evermore; in himself, and to be blessed and praised by all creatures. The apostle alludes to that well known periphrastic name of God so much used by the Jews, הוא ברוך הקדוש, “the holy, blessed God”; to which, by way of assent and confirmation, the apostle puts his Amen.
Now all these particular privileges are mentioned by him, as what heightened his concern for these people; it filled him with heaviness and sorrow of heart, when he considered, that persons who had been partakers of such favours, and especially the last, that the Messiah should spring from them, be born of them, and among them, and yet that they should be given up to ruin and destruction. [Gill]
“And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God.'” – Luk 1:35 ESV
And the angel answered and said unto her, The angel gave her an account of the manner in which what he had said should be effected, as well as observed some things for the strengthening of her faith,
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee. The words, “upon thee”, are left out in the Syriac and Persic versions; but are retained in others, and in all copies: the formation of Christ’s human nature, though common to all the three persons, yet is particularly, and most properly ascribed to the Spirit; not to the first person, the Father, lest it should be thought that he is only the Father of him, as man; nor to the second person, the Son, since it is to him that the human nature is personally united; but to the third person, the Spirit, who is the sanctifier; and who separated, and sanctified it, the first moment of its conception, and preserved it from the taint of original sin. His coming upon the virgin must be understood in consistence with his omnipresence, and immensity; and cannot design any local motion, but an effectual operation in forming the human nature of her flesh and substance; and not in the ordinary manner in which he is concerned in the formation of all men, Job 33:4 but in an extraordinary way, not to be conceived of, and explained. The phrase most plainly answers to על בא, in frequent use with the Jews, as expressive of coitus,
And the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. By “the power of the Highest” is not meant the Lord Jesus Christ, who is sometimes called the power of God; but rather the Holy Ghost, as before, who is styled the finger of God, and power from on high, Luke 11:20 unless it should be thought that the perfection of divine power common to all the three persons is intended: and so points out the means by which the wondrous thing should be performed, even by the power of God; and which should not only be employed in forming the human nature of Christ, but in protecting the virgin from any suspicion and charge of sin, and defending her innocence and virtue, by moving upon Joseph to take her to wife. In the word, “overshadow”, some think there is an allusion to the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, in Gen 1:2 when, מרחפת, he brooded upon them, as the word may be rendered; and which is the sense of it, according to the Jewish writers as a hen, or any other bird broods on its eggs to exclude its young: and others have thought the allusion may be to חתנים הופת, “the nuptial covering”: which was a veil, or canopy, like a tent, supported on four staves, under which the bridegroom and bride were betrothed; or, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, it is a modest phrase alluding to the conjugal embraces, signified by a man’s spreading the skirt of his garment over the woman, which Ruth desired of Boaz, Ruth 3:9 though the Jewish writers say, that phrase is נישואין לשון expressive of the act of marriage, or taking to wife. The phrase of being נבואה ברוח מטללין “overshadowed”, or “covered with the spirit of prophecy”, as the virgin also was, is used by the Targumist, on 1Chr 2:55.
Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. The human nature of Christ is here called a “thing”; for it was not a person; it never subsisted of itself, but was taken at once into union with the person of the Son of God, otherwise there would be two persons in Christ, whereas he is God, and man, in one person; and it is said to be “holy”, being free from that original pollution and sin, in which all that descend from Adam, by ordinary generation, are conceived, and brought forth; and is, moreover, said to be born of a virgin, “of thee”, or “out of thee”. Christ’s flesh was formed out of the Virgin’s; he took flesh of her; his body did not descend from heaven, or pass through her, as water through a pipe, as some heretics of old said: nor did his human nature, either as to soul or body, pre-exist his incarnation; but in the fulness of time he was made of a woman, and took a true body of her, and a reasonable soul, into union with his divine person; and “therefore should be called the Son of God”: not that he was now to become the “the Son of God”; he was so before his incarnation, and even from all eternity; but he was now to be manifested as such in human nature: nor does the angel predict, that he should, for this reason, be called the Son of God; for he never was, on this account, so called, either by himself, or others: nor is the particle, “therefore”, causal, but consequential: the angel is not giving a reason why Christ should be the Son of God, but why he should be owned, and acknowledged, as such by his people: who would infer, and conclude from his wonderful conception and birth, that he is the “Emmanuel”, God with us, the child that was to be born, and the Son given, whose name should be Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, &c. Isa 7:14. Moreover, the word, “also”, is not to be overlooked; and the sense is, that seeing that human nature, which should be born of the virgin, would be united to the Son of God, it likewise should bear the same name, being in personal union with him, who was so from all eternity. [Gill]
Answer – The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ; Who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was and continueth to be God and man in two distinct natures, and one person forever.
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