The Strength of Christ

FFF 14:5 (May 1968)

The Strength of Christ

John Bramhall

Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” said Isaiah as he described the coming day of the Lord and His judgments coming on this world (Isa. 2:22). Man’s strength is weak! for the Lord “taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man” (Psa. 147:10). The legs of men bend beneath their burdens and “in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble… the strong men shall bow themselves” (Eccl. 12:3). Jesus described the present conditions of the world which precede His return, saying, “Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear,” etc. Read Luke 21:25 and 26.

Today, in these circumstances, we must rest in The strength and steadfastness of Christ alone. In contrast to weak men, the Bride describes her Beloved as One with “legs as pillars of marble” (Song of Solomon 5:15). This figurative description symbolizes that both strength and steadfastness are HIS alone!

1. The symbol of strength:

(a) Our redemption rests upon those “pillars of marble,” for on Him was laid the weight of His people’s sins from the beginning to the end of the world. See Isaiah 53:6. Did He bear them ALL? Absolutely! — for “His legs are pillars of marble.” In type of His unfailing strength, His legs were not broken on the Cross. See John 19:31-36. The legs of the railer crucified with Him were broken. The legs of the penitent thief were broken, for his own strength was weakness and all his help was in Another!

But they broke not the legs of the Lord Jesus for His own Father, though bruising Him, (Isa. 53:10) would grant a token of His love and care to signify that everlasting strength is Christ’s, even in the midst of weakness. No human or heavenly power dared to break those legs for infallible Scripture had declared that “A bone of Him shall not be broken.” He was the true Passover, Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12 and I Corinthians 5:7.

(b) — The maintenance of His Church is given to His care and His unfailing strength alone assures of its safety and permanence. Can HE sustain the weight? Listen to His words — “On this ROCK I will build My assembly; and hades’ gates shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18, JND Trans). No power can prevail to destroy His Church for “His legs are pillars of marble” — possessing unfailing strength! Read Ephesians 5:25-27 and note that the glorious consummation of His Bride is definitely assured, praise His blessed Name!

(c) — The burdens of all His followers are cast upon Him. “Cast thy burdens upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee” (Psa. 55:22). Read 1 Peter 5:7. All their fears and countless burdens He invites them to place on Himself. Thousands upon thousands have done it! Thousands are doing it! Child of God are YOU doing it? Can He endure ALL the weight? Yes! — for “His legs are pillars of marble.”

2. The symbol of steadfastness:

Steadfastness is symbolized as well as strength. In all men, from Adam downward — “the unequal legs of the lame” have been seen; halting, stumbling and falling in the way, but the legs of the “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45) are pillars of marble, upright, even, steadfast and unmovable.

(a) — Satan proved them: (Matt. 4:1-11 or Lu. 4:1-13). Jesus walks wearily from the wilderness, hungry, with knees weak through fasting. Satan tests whether those upright limbs will bend before him! “IF Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread”. Stoop! Eat and satisfy Thy hunger! says the devil. HE stoops not! He halts not! He walks on, saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” He bends not! for HIS legs are pillars of marble! Praise GOD!

Satan takes Him to a pinnacle of the Temple, saying, “Cast Thyself down,” etc. Even on the narrow confine of the pinnacle Jesus stands still and moves not! What a very dangerous place is a religious pinnacle! He answers Satan, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God,” etc. “His legs are pillars of marble!”

Satan makes one more desperate effort, more daring; for nothing will satisfy him but the prostrate bending of those pillars in obedience. The kingdoms of the world and their glory are shown the Lord. All pillars move not! He will never bend His knees to Satan! “Get thee hence, Satan” etc. is the reply and Satan flees, confounded and defeated. He must add his reluctant testimony to the Bride’s, “His legs are pillars of marble!” Every other man has bowed the knee to sin and Satan but not the Son of God, even Jesus! What steadfastness! Truly “His legs are pillars of marble!”

(b) — The saints prove the steadfastness of His legs. For us His legs are still “pillars of marble” as He dwells at the right hand of God above. (1) He is our great High Priest (Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:14-16), the unfailing source of mercy and grace for our help in every time of need, always dependable! (2) He is our great Intercessor (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34) steadfastly praying for His own in the present world. Read the 17th. of John and digest His great High Priestly prayer! (3) He is our great Advocate — (1 John 2:1, 2) never failing to maintain our cause and our relationship with His Father above. Satan can often accuse of sin for he is “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10), but even in Heaven Satan finds that our Advocate has “legs as pillars of marble.”

(c) — The world will prove the steadfastness of His legs. He alone has the power and right to “set His right foot upon the sea, and His left foot on the earth” as recorded (Rev. 10: 1-6). What a mighty description of His power is given when He is about to take the kingdoms of the world for Himself! What marvelous legs are these!

The world will know the power of those legs when “His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem toward the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, a very great valley: and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” Read Zechariah chapter 14. At the glory of His return to the earth, Jesus will manifest His great strength and steadfastness as He establishes His Millennial Kingdom. The world will find that “His legs are pillars of marble!” for “the Lord shall be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9).

3. Our present encouragement

If we are unfaithful, He abides faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). Thank God for HIS strength and steadfastness!

The Thread and the Cable

Though waves and billows o’er me pass
In whelming floods of ill,
Within the haven of God’s love
My soul is anchored still;
For though the stress and strain of life
My thread of faith may break,
The cable of HIS faithfulness
No storm can ever shake.

Annie Johnson Flint

Beloved, let us always remember — “His legs are pillars of marble!” (S. of S. 5:15).