THIS WORD, "galaxy," is defined as "an assemblage of splendid things." And, sometimes, in a short passage of Scripture there will be a cluster of phrases we may well call a galaxy. Such an assemblage is seen in the opening clauses of the epistle to the Hebrews.
There, in clearly expressed language, is an array of rare titles. God reveals the majesty of His Son, and is Himself revealed thereby. Let us note the high accorded dignities set forth. God appoints Him Enjoyer of the allotment of the universe, through Whom He makes the eons also; "Who, being the Effulgence of His glory and Emblem of His assumption, as well as carrying on the universe by His powerful declaration, making a cleansing of sins, is seated at the right hand of the Majesty among the high; becoming so much better than messengers as He has enjoyed the allotment of a more excellent name than they" (Heb.1:2-4).
Here is a galaxy indeed! And how illustriously they wreathe His brow! Would that believers everywhere so acclaimed Him! The pity is, that though acknowledging His worthiness, so many limit His powers. O that the veil were lifted and they could see Him in the plenitude of these high horrors! What a Saviour and Lord would then appear!
"Enjoyer of the allotment of the universe, through Whom He makes the eons." Heir of the ages and glorious Creator. The predestined Lord of the universe. What a heritage, and with what possibilities! Through Him are the ages framed which so momentously hold these possibilities. He adjusts the balance of their several powers. He, the Daysman, too, of all the creatures of God's hand. For this and all worlds, the Ancient of days, "pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise."
Have the ages blemish? Are they stained by sin? Is there dire estrangement in evidence everywhere? Yes, in very truth. Notwithstanding the marvelous order and beauty of the universe, the radiant hues of earth and sky, and the piled up genius of man, there is still a missing note. God is not thanked and glorified. Praise for His power and achievement is accorded elsewhere. The true God of space and time is disregarded, and His glory given to another. Science, so-called, is so much a god these days.
Sir James Jeans remarks: "Modern scientific theory compels us to think of the creator as working outside time and space, which are part of his creation, just as the artist is outside his canvas." Outside indeed. What of His wondrous working inside space and time? Apart from celestial spheres, this earth of ours has known His tread, His voice, His hand and eye. And while to some extent this may be acknowledged by many who think of Christ's brief earthly life, yet there still remains the vast residuum of His visits in ages past. So few accord Him glory as the preexistent One, and few assign to Him the place preeminent. He is, however, Heir and Lord of all.
But what may we say about His being "the Effulgence of God's glory and Emblem of His assumption?" Thought and word must ever fail to fully set His radiance forth. Ages lie ahead which will reflect His resplendence. And in them will be seen, as never before, the mighty character of God's being. In Him God will assume not only a regal bearing millions of eyes have never seen, but such a representation of righteousness, justice, and mercy, no world has even seen. And these divine attributes will fittingly accompany God's grace and love.
What God is, in moving, heart-inspiring actuality, will then be seen in His Emblem. From time immemorial, emblems have been as passwords to place and prestige. But what significance will be attached to God's rare Emblem. What glories will unfold and what quickly-born conceptions of God as light and love. So august a Revealer will most mightily move both heaven and earth.
Moreover, He is "Carrying on the universe by His powerful declaration." He is its great Upholder, its Sustainer. Well might a star proclaim His lowly birth, as He came to live and learn as man, by way of suffering. And is it any surprise that the waves should be a carpet for His feet, or the storm at His word should hush? That, at His death, the sun its glories hid? Heaven and earth yield tribute to Him, for in Him they hold together. And how much they are for Him, their most able Governor, is yet to be seen in meridian splendor. Display after display, to a supreme crowning point, will demonstrate His infinite intelligence. There will be no need for the scientists to assign causes for the cataclysms which, in His governorship, will occur. It will suffice that His powerful declaration brings about the change desired.
In harmony with this stupendous change, He is "making a cleansing of sins." He, the sole Purifier of the heavens and the earth, has made a sweeping disposal of every taint and stain. In God's sight there is already a clean universe. The creatures of His hand do but wait the perfect vision. How could they possibly effect it? Would all their tears avail, or vows of repentance, or finest handiwork? Not for one moment! He alone has made preparatory provision, and in conformity therewith, will effect the necessary result. He Who has broken the power of sin, will free all worlds of its presence.
Not for all time, not endlessly, is sin to mar God's universe. Virtually, it has been put away. Expressly for that purpose He died, not as any other, not even the death of a martyr, but the shameful death of the cross. It was thus before God He bore away the sin of this, and all the worlds. The sacrifice of One such as He effectually puts away all sin. And the time will come when in our hearts we shall fully know, and with our eyes shall truly see, how utterly sin has vanished from God's creation.
In mythology we are told of Augeas, whose stables, containing three thousand oxen, had not been cleansed for thirty years, till Hercules swept them clean by turning the river Alpheus into them. And what Augean stables everywhere exist! Yet, in the augmented power arising from "the blood of His cross," He will sweep them clean. Where churches and the crusades of reformers fail, He will succeed. The stream of His overcoming grace will most surely cleanse them all. Has not God put into His hands the necessary and most desirable power? Who but He can bring sin's tragic reign to an end? His hands alone are clean, His heart pure. To Him, therefore, is the excellent work given. Sin be endless? So it must be if millions are to experience unending misery. No, no. That were to belittle the efficacy of such cleansing as He has made in the sight of God.
In the eyes of Deity a cleansed and perfect universe alone will be found the fitting result and reward for such sacrifice as Christ has made. Such an outcome is worthy of God, and since He is positive about it, as His Word shows, then joyous assurance may be ours. Only so do we think of Christ as we ought to think.
Well prepared are we now to be apprised of the next glorious truth, that He "is seated at the right hand of the Majesty among the high." The glorified Man is richly endowed with the qualities so needful for right governance--One Who thinks as God thinks, Who sees as God sees, and Who will act as God, and for God Himself. In Him, grace will mightily demonstrate its potency. What we now know as civilization will be wondrously and vastly changed. Work-a-day life will be a delight, and the whole earth a pleasure to behold. It is the Lord's, with the fullness, the fertility thereof.
And if on earth His Kingship means so much, what will be its expression in realms above? Lifted there, we shall be as God's ambassadors, ministers of His love and grace. And the knowledge we have experienced as humans, of God's most wonderful favor, we shall so tell forth, that a response will quickly be wakened. And, ever growing, it shall come to pass that beings everywhere praise their Lord and King. In perfect understanding, shall they worship and adore.
The vision of a transformed earth, and of enlightened heavens, is no idle fantasy. It is one most clearly limned upon the sacred page, the high placement of God's Son being its sure augury. And then, ah then, in the vast circle of His presence, what dreams will be realized!
Will there be any room for tears and pain,
For dim grey twilights, sighing wind, and rain,
Mist-wreaths, and flying clouds, the thunder's roar,
The surf a sobbing on a lonely shore,
With all the yearnings these do shadow forth?
Is the pathetic minor but for earth,
And will the heavens resound with joy alone,
Though sadness often wakes a deeper tone?
Must all of life fall off that cannot show
Some fruit that did to full perfection grow?
May not all discords to one concord lead--
Whose every missing note would leave a need
Vast, unimagined as a world untrod--
A perfect harmony Whose name is God?
Such questions wait on the perfect Ruler of the heavens and the earth. His fiats will affect the whole range of life. The elements of creation will blend for the well-being of all. And, as peoples of every clime look to Him, in a far deeper way than they now look to the rulers of the earth, there will be an ever-increasing impulse Godward. Veils, which down the centuries had clouded the mind, will be marvelously lifted. Then, with vision crystal clear, true expression will be given to dormant powers, and life will be as God means it to be, a thing of light and beauty.
And now, the contemplation of this radiant cluster of titles closes on a lovely phrase. Still of Him we read, as "becoming so much better than messengers, as He has enjoyed the allotment of a more excellent name than they." What a gathering up, what an essence of perfection! Truly, His name is as ointment poured forth. How glorious, time and His tireless grace will show.
His distinguished name. There are doubtless distinctions of rank, and illustrious names among God's messengers. But they all serve as ministers of God, and also stand charged with fealty and homage to His Son. He is presented to them as worthy of their worship, and they are attendant upon Him in all the will of God. It has not been given to them to communicate the heart of God, to express in deepest reality His far-reaching love. They have not known the exquisite nearness existing between God and the Son of His love. Yet in this nearness lies the secret of His merit--a merit of such quality as to place the whole universe under obligation.
It is, however, an obligation conferring a most precious privilege. To acknowledge it is to experience a deep satisfaction. His merit, His service and His sacrifice are of an absolutely unique kind. And that the knowledge of it should have come to our hearts with its rare health and blessedness will always be a wonderful thing to relate. How laggard is human acknowledgment of its value and meaning! In contrast how swiftly came God's own majestic acceptance of His worth!
"Wherefore, also, God highly exalts Him, and graces Him with the name which is over every name, that, in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, for the glory of God, the Father"
What a name! And of what proven excellence! Well may it stand by itself. What are names of earth, or even heaven, beside the name of Jesus? And though so few acknowledge its inherent power, yet the distinction and dignity of it does but await the joyous fulfillment of God's purpose concerning it. His name was to be called Jesus. He was born a Saviour. He is Christ the Lord, not only of messengers, but of all powers beside. And in the ineffable scene of His triumph, when all clouds of sin, doubt and ignorance shall have been dispelled, all will avow the excellence of His name.
For ourselves, we thank God that to our hearts His name is even now the one of rarest distinction. Day by day we see and hear names of varied consequence, but our inmost thought finds truest peace and joy in one great name alone. It gathers up all that is good, all that is best, for all time. It tells us of One outstanding, of One preeminent. Therefore, we are satisfied, and blest indeed.
Most truly have we surveyed an assemblage of splendid things, an array of words surpassing human thought. They speak of the superiority of Christ, of His rare, God-given ascendancy. They tell of a peerless majesty, and in line with other tributes, bespeak the worth-while-ness of regard to their truth.
Sevenfold brilliance--a cluster of flashing light. He, the Son of God's love, the Christ of God, is Enjoyer of the allotment of the universe, Maker of the eons also. Effulgence of God's glory and Emblem of His assumption. He is carrying on the universe by His powerful declaration. Therefore its Upholder, its Sustainer. Making a cleansing of sins, He is seen as Redeemer and Reconciler. Seated at the right hand of the Majesty among the high, He is Ruler of all realms. And, absolutely Supreme, becoming so much better than messengers as He has enjoyed the allotment of a more excellent name than they.
How precious the thought, and of what nearness it whispers to our hearts.
"I shall be to Him for a Father,
And He shall be to Me for a Son."
What gathered beauty of grace and truth God's Word can show! Galaxy indeed!