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De Moor on God's Essential Vindicatory Righteousness: The Satisfaction of Christ, Part 1

Finally, we were saying that the Fourth Argument was to be sought from the actual and stunning Effect of this Righteousness in the Death of the Surety, substituted in the place of the Elect, prefigured in the innumerable Types of the legal sacrifices. That is, as the whole Law, so also the Ceremonial Law, was subservient to the promise. Inasmuch as: Hence it was teaching that guilt was contracted through sin, which guilt was requiring the shedding of blood, with the Lawgiver indicating, and delineating on a table, as it were, that individual sinners were thus worthy of death; and in this respect that Law was called by Paul, τὸ καθ᾽ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν, ὃ ἦν ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν, the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, Colossians 2:14. But thence, after the blood of the sacrifices was shed, and the people were sprinkled with it, by admitting this people into the presence of God, comparing Exodus 24:8 and following, and by typically expiating sins, imposed upon the victim by solemn rite (as it is especially to be seen in the ceremonies wont to be performed on the annual Feast of Atonement, Leviticus 16), for which the blood of a victim to be sacrificed was altogether necessarily to be shed, comparing Hebrews 9:22, καὶ σχεδὸν ἐν αἵματι πάντα καθαρίζεται κατὰ τὸν νόμον, καὶ χωρὶς αἱματεκχυσίας οὐ γίνεται ἄφεσις, and almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission: in this manner, I say, it was teaching the same people, that a better and more worthy victim was eventually to be sacrificed, which would take away all the sins of the world in one day; and thus it was signifying the remission of sins through faith to all ἀτενίζουσιν εἰς τὸ τέλος τοῦ καταργουμένου, looking stedfastly unto the end of that which is abolished,[1] namely, unto Christ, who was τέλος τοῦ νόμου εἰς δικαιοσύνην παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, Romans 10:4, and εἰκὼν τῶν πραγμάτων, the very image of things, of which the Law had the σκιὰν/shadow, Hebrews 10:1. Therefore, after the greatness of the work was signified by long-lasting delay, after the faith of the Fathers was exercised, after their desire was so greatly increased; at the time appointed in eternity and announced of old by divine Preachers, which Paul called πλήρωμα χρόνου, the fullness of time,[2] God the Father sent Christ forth into the world, and in Him willed to fulfill whatever had been indicated of old through the legal types. And so, Christ, with the glory of His Deity veiled through the taking of the form of a servant, was made obedient to God the Father, not only to lead a calamitous life here, having been overwhelmed in the meantime with innumerable miseries, reproaches, vexations, and the rest, that are wont to render life troublesome to man, especially while His public ministry was lasting; for these things were not able to suffice to fill the chasm of the divine Anger:[3] after all these were patiently borne, yet more παθήματα/sufferings, predicted by the Prophets, were pressing.[4] Sufferings of the Body; as thus ὡς φονεύς, ἢ κλέπτης, ἢ κακοποιός, as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer (if I might make use of the Petrine phrase,[5] although with a different occasion treated by him), He was bound and led to the judgment seats of the Judges, He was received to blows inflicted upon Him and whips fetching blood, exposed to the mockery of all, so that attendants did not fear to dishonor His face with spittle; until at last, having been condemned in a questionable manner, Him they suspended upon a cross, so that thus He might meet a form of death cursed by God.[6] And also sufferings of the Soul, in which He was obliged to endure things no less dire: that is, although He was all the while bound by no chains, nor delivered into the power of His enemies; from which He had been able to release Himself with perfect ease, unless He had freely willed to give Himself to death: He felt the Wrath of God against the sins of the Elect. For it is not the case that we should deduce the great grievousness of those sorrows, wherewith the Soul of the Lord was pressed, with the most learned LIGHTFOOT,[7] from the external wresting with the Devil, appearing in a form terrible to Christ. Nor should we fetch them, with others, from a consideration of the bodily Evils threatening the Savior with a shameful death joined with most exquisite sorrows. Even less should we derive them from a contemplation of the sins and infirmities of His elect people; of the cowardice of the Disciples, who all fled; of the inconstancy of Peter, who was going to deny disgracefully the greatest of all Masters; or from a sight of their calamities also, which were pressing the pious, and among them His mother, Mary. Still less should we ascribe the mentioned παθήματα/sufferings to the carefully weighed scandals of an impious world and the punishments justly those offences; especially in the case of the unbelieving Jews, to be utterly destroyed in a short time according to the prediction made just a little before the Passion, with Titus being about to lend his hand to God demonstrating His Wrath;[8] and in the case of the traitor Judas, against whom Jesus had just denounced the sentence of eternal destruction in the midst of the Passover celebration.[9] Since the things incurred are verily to be referred to the Wrath of the divine Judge, the sense of which against the sins of the Elect falling upon Him the Lord experienced; to the Devil, whose ὥρα/hour had now come,[10] with God the Father also loosening his bridle: into which this is not the place to go more deeply: see the most illustrious MARCKIUS, Exercitationibus Textualibus, Part V, Exercise XXXIII, § 8-14. With the sense of this Divine Wrath, therefore, our Surety and Goel was pressed so hard that He began λυπεῖσθαι, to be sorrowful, ἀδημονεῖν, to be very heavy,[11] to fail in spirit because of terror, as it were, from ἀδήμων, sore-troubled, ὁ ἐκ λύπης ὡς οἷα καί τινος κόρου (ὃς ἄδος λέγεται) ἀναπεπτωκὼς, according to EUSTATHIUS,[12] one that falls on account of the κόρου/satiety (which is written ἄδος) of sorrow, as it were; and ἐκθαμβεῖασθαι, to be astounded, to be stricken with fear, Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33;[13] whence His Soul was περίλυπος, sorrowful exceedingly and above measure, Matthew 26:38, as περιαρὴς the opposite, one that rejoices with effusive gladness; and because of the vehemence of His sufferings He was compelled to pour out these prayers to God the Father, indeed, to repeat them twice: Πάτερ μου, εἰ δυνατόν ἐστι, παρελθέτω ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο· πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς συ, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt, Matthew 26:39 and following. And, as if this were too little, Luke represents to us His highest degree of anxiety, Luke 22, not only narrating that an Angel descended and assisted Christ, ἐνισχύων αὐτόν, strengthening Him, verse 43, but adding in verse 44, καὶ γενόμενος ἐν ἀγωνίᾳ, and being in agony, in such distress, with which they that are approaching a battle are wont to be seized, in a certain, most vehement agitation; ἐκτενέστερον προσηύχετο, ἐγένετο δὲ ὁ ἱδρὼς αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ θρόμβοι αἵματος καταβαίνοντες ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, He prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. This was certainly distress, similar to which there never was the like, which even pressed bloody Sweat from Christ! That that Sweat was not thus described to us by the Evangelist on account some bare resemblance both in abundance, and in substance as thicker and denser (which nevertheless is not therefore excluded); but that real Blood was mixed with that, hence also receiving a more ruddy color; is eruditely, as always, demonstrated against the unbelief of some by the most illustrious MARCKIUS, Exercitationibus Textualibus, Part VI, Exercise XXXIV, at the same time more diligently inquiring into the cause of this most unusual happening, against the ἀπροσδιόνυσον/disjointed conjecture of the learned CLOTZIUS;[14] and dexterously wiping away, together with the Writer cited, the stain of νοθεύσεως/adulteration rashly branded upon this text of Luke on account of the want of it in some ancient codices. But not thus was all labor exhausted. To this Divine Wrath against sins; which after this sharp contest appears to have been mollified for a while, lest the Lord collapse under so many and so great torments of body, but rather be all the more fit for sustaining them: to this Divine Wrath against sins, I say, we discern that He was exposed, while He was hanging on the cross (at least no mention occurs in this space of the vexation of His Soul): and, while neither the impudence of the Lord’s enemies holding Him in derision, nor the most abject and humilitating sort of death and punishment, which He was obliged to pay, nor the nails piercing His hands and feet, although they inflicted great sorrow, were able to drive this Lamb of God to words of complaint: that the sense of grace and favor now withdrawn by the Father, which He was wont to enjoy, yet He willed to bear witness, by exclaiming with a φωνῇ μεγάλῃ, loud voice, indicating the vehemence of his affection, Ἠλί, Ἠλί, λαμὰ σαβαχθανί; τοῦτ᾽ ἔστι, Θεέ μου, Θεέ μου, ἵνα τί με ἐγκατέλιπες, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46. Neither was there an end to the afflictions, whether bodily or spiritual, until they were consumated in death; with the Lord of glory thus crucified[15] and the Prince of life put to death.[16] And in this way our at last our debts were able to be taken away, our crimes expiated, God reconciled with us, and His Anger allayed.

[1] 2 Corinthians 3:13: “And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished (πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἀτενίσαι τοὺς υἱοὺς Ἰσραὴλ εἰς τὸ τέλος τοῦ καταργουμένου)…”

[2] Galatians 4:4.

[3] See Philippians 2:6-8.

[4] 1 Peter 1:10, 11.

[5] 1 Peter 4:15.

[6] See Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13.

[7] John Lightfoot (1602-1675) was a minister and divine of such distinction and learning that he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. He specialized in Rabbinic learning and lore. He brought that learning to bear in his defense of Erastianism in the Assembly, and in his comments upon Holy Scripture.

[8] Titus Flavius Domitianus (51-96 AD) was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96 AD. He destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.

[9] See Matthew 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-21; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:21-30.

[10] See Luke 22:53.

[11] Matthew 26:37.

[12] Eustathius (died 1198) was Archbishop of Thessalonica. Eustathius wrote a commentary on the Iliad and Odyssey, which is in fact a compilation of earlier commentators. This work is extremely valuable because most of the commentators cited by Eustathius are now lost.

[13] Mark 14:33: “And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy (ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν)…”

[14] Stephan Clotz (1606-1668) was a German Lutheran theologian. He labored as Professor of Theology at Rostock (1632-1636). His De Sudore Jesu Christi Sanguineo: Tractatus Exercitationibus aliquot comprehensus is here referred to.

[15] See 1 Corinthians 2:8.

[16] See Acts 3:15.

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