Wisdom - the Companion of God
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Turn in your Bibles to the book of Proverbs, chapter 8, the portion of the Word of God that we will be studying. We are discussing the second portion of the thirteenth lecture on wisdom which was delivered by King Solomon to his sons.

In this particular lecture he was pleased to personify wisdom. When we say personify wisdom , we mean that in this instance instead of presenting to us an abstract thing, he presented to us wisdom as though it was a living person. We offered you an analysis of Proverbs, chapter 8, in our last lesson, and we would like to refresh your memories about it as we continue our discussion.

We learned in verses 1-21 that Wisdom was a companion of man. In that presentation we found Wisdom's voice contrasted with the voice of the prostitute in chapter 7 who called out to men in dark, secret places to follow the pathway of sin. But Wisdom cries out in public, well-known places to follow the pathway of righteousness.

If Wisdom is personified, one might quite naturally ask, “Who is wisdom?” We reminded you then and we refresh your memories by saying that wisdom, when personified in the Scripture, is always representative of the Lord Jesus Christ because the Apostle Paul said that the Lord Jesus Christ had been made unto us as believers wisdom, righteousness and redemption. So we would have you consider that in last week's lesson the Lord Jesus Christ, a companion of men, offered His plea to men to walk in paths of His choosing which would lead to life.

Introduction

We want to begin to notice the second portion of the lecture which we have labeled Wisdom, the Companion of God . The entire lecture closes with an appeal to recognize the blessings of Wisdom's companionship.

As we consider together this second portion, Wisdom, the Companion of God , I would like for us to read, beginning in verse 22 of Proverbs, chapter 8:

Proverbs 8:

22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

We are going to stop our reading there because that concludes the description of Wisdom as the Companion of God. The paragraph which begins with verse 32 and concludes with verse 36 describes the blessings which accrue to those who seek the companionship of Wisdom. I trust that you noticed as we read the emphasis on the personal pronoun indicating what I have already emphasized—namely, the personification of Wisdom.

Pre-existence of Christ as to Origin

If you were listening closely, keeping in mind what I said—that Wisdom personified is the Lord Jesus Christ—you recognize that we were reading how the Lord Jesus Christ was the Companion of God in the days before Creation and in the days of Creation. Let me emphasize that again. We have been reading how the Lord Jesus Christ was the Companion of God in the days before Creation and during the days of Creation.

If it should seem strange to you today that the Lord Jesus Christ, who many of you may have known only as a man who walked the face of this earth and became a martyr to a forsaken cause, existed long before He came to the earth, you might want more proof than my mere statement that Proverbs, chapter 8, is referring to that pre-existence; so I am going to ask you to turn with me in your Bibles to the New Testament and notice a companion passage of Scripture to Proverbs, chapter 8. That companion passage of Scripture is found in the Gospel of John. I refer to a portion of chapter 1. Here we do not find the words wisdom personified , but we find the word Word personified—the word logos if you were reading it in the original text. Logos is a spoken word, and yet when it is personified, as it is in this portion, it refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the paragraph, please:

John 1:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

The chapter goes on to tell us how this Word became flesh and dwelt among men, but for the purpose of our discussion, these five verses will be sufficient that the truth of the paragraph might grip your hearts. I would like to read it again, this time substituting the word Christ for the word Word that you might see what we are talking about:

John 1:

1 In the beginning was Christ, and Christ was with God, and Christ was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God [we emphasize to you that this declares the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice carefully what I am saying. In the beginning of beginning, for there is more than one beginning spoken of in this paragraph].
3 All things were made by Christ; and without Christ was not any thing made that was made [that verse refers to the beginning of creation. The greatest truth that men will ever know is declared in verse 4].
4 In Christ was life; and the life was the light of men [the life is the light of men because it is a perpetual thing].
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

When you read verse 5, you don't find anything to take issue with immediately because it is true that the light shines in the darkness and darkness does not comprehend it because it does seem that the light that began to shine in this world's darkness nearly two thousand years ago has not made much more of an impression than a candle in a dark cavern. But I would like to suggest to you a victorious note in verse 5, which really is the literal translation of the last statement. The last statement reads from the King James Version, “…and the darkness comprehended it not.” The original Greek reads, “…and the darkness could not hold it down.” I like that much better. The darkness of sin, the darkness of Satan, could not suppress, could not and can not snuff out the light that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

With that thought in mind, go back to Proverbs, chapter 8, and notice this interesting Old Testament picture of the Lord Jesus Christ presented under the words Wisdom personified , as I suggested to you that if you were listening closely as to the reading of the Word, you discovered that the passage is speaking of the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ back in the beginning of beginnings, as we read in the companion passage in John, chapter 1, and in the beginning of Creation as well.

We are often asked, “Where did the Lord Jesus Christ come from?” We are often asked, “Where did God come from?” We are often asked, “Where did the Devil come from?” We can answer the last question with ease. The Devil was created. When he was created, as you well know, he was not the Devil; he was the anointed cherub. He was the highest of all God's created beings, but because of sin, he became the Devil.

However, when you ask me where God came from, when you ask me where the Lord Jesus Christ came from, I have to tell you I do not have the answer, for the Bible presents them as always existing. If you are familiar with theological controversy of ages past, perhaps you are ready to say to me, “Wait just a moment. The Bible assumes the existence of God, but the Bible, according to the Arian controversy which gripped the church for two centuries, declares that the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being, and the very passage of Scripture at which we just looked is used for the basis for proving the origin of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What about the pre-existence of Jesus Christ as to His origin? In the portion of the Word we read, there are three phrases which discuss the origin of the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 22 there is the phrase, “possessed me.” Notice:

Proverbs 8:

22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

In verse 23, is the phrase, “set up.” Notice:

Proverbs 8:

23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

Then in verse 24-25, the phrase, “brought forth,” is mentioned twice over. Notice:

Proverbs 8:

24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

The followers of Arian, in the second and third century, read Proverbs, chapter 8, and said, “We have found the answer. The mystery as to the origin of the Lord Jesus Christ is settled. He was a created being.”

They used the phrases that we have called to your attention to prove their point. Of course, the moment they said the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being, they ran into all kinds of difficulty with other passages of Scripture, but like many folk who are bent on making their point and standing by it, they were quick to say that the other passages of Scripture would fall naturally into their place in due season, and we need not be concerned about them.

I think it would be much better to find out exactly what these words mean, and in finding the meaning of these words, discover the origin of the Son of God. Was He a created being or not, on the basis of the passages of Scripture which we have read and the phrases that we have emphasized?

Correct Explanation

Let me suggest that we consider right at the start what I am going to call the correct explanation of these phrases. If you are not familiar with our manner of teaching, you might say, “My, you sound rather sure of yourself. You sound rather bigoted.” Men who know the Word of God do not differ. It is men who are not familiar with the original text who accept the idea that Jesus Christ is a created being. Listen carefully. You need to recognize this because some of the religions that are existing today that are drawing a great many adherents from the established church are promulgating the idea that Jesus Christ is a created being. You hear them on the radio frequently. I do not mention them because I do not have time for arguments at this time.

Notice the word possessed. “The Lord God Jehovah possessed Me in the beginning,” says the Spirit of God in verse 22. Individuals say this means that the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being. I would beg of you to notice that the word possessed comes from the Hebrew word quanah which simply means “to own as one owns a relative.”

Sometimes a son is disobedient to his father and brings reproach upon his father's name. The father may say, “I no longer own you as my son.” The word possessed simply means that the Lord Jesus Christ was owned of the Father as part of Himself. The same word is used in the book of Genesis, chapter 14, verse 19, where Melchizedek met Abraham and declared that he was the priest of the most high God, the possessor of Heaven and earth.

Another phrase that we looked at was the phrase brought forth. More emphasis is placed on this phrase than any other because the very meaning of the English words to our western minds, brought forth , suggests the idea of birth. We would remind you that this phrase, brought forth , is from the Hebrew word chiyl , which is translated more times than any other by the word live , and it does not refer primarily to birth. So you might read in verses 24-25:

Proverbs 8:

24 When there were no depths, I lived; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills I lived [declares the Lord Jesus Christ].

There was one other phrase that we found in our text, and I am purposely considering it out of order for the sake of emphasis. You will notice in verse 23:

Proverbs 8:

23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

This phrase, I repeat, is used by those who say that Jesus Christ is a created being to prove their point, but the words set up come from the Hebrew word nacak which simply means “anointed.” All that we are reading here in Proverbs, chapter 8, is, “I was anointed from everlasting, from the beginning.”

Anointed in what? In what connection was the Lord Jesus Christ anointed? Turn with me to the book of Psalms and notice with me Psalm 2. Here you find a prophetic picture of the nations of the world pitting their strength against God, declaring they no longer want Him to rule over them. Psalm 2 begins with the words:

Psalm 2:

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD [when you see all of the letters capitalized in the word LORD, you know it is translated from the Hebrew word meaning “Jehovah”, and when only the first letter is capitalized, it is referring to the Lord Jesus Christ] and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

If you were to read the rest of the chapter, you would find that the Anointed One is the Lord Jesus Christ, and you would discover that He was anointed to rule over the world in the due course of God's plan and providence.

Turn, please, to Psalm 45. Had we time to read all of the chapter, we would discover we are permitted a glimpse into the prehistoric throne room of Heaven. We are permitted a glimpse into the ivory palaces about which you sing on Easter Sunday: “Out of the Ivory Palaces, into a world of woe…” In verse 7, God addresses His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and says:

Psalm 45:

7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Above every person in the heavenly realm, the Lord Jesus Christ has been anointed because He is the Only Begotten Son of God. No, the Lord Jesus Christ is not a created being. He has always been as has God the Father; and as you go back to Proverbs, chapter 8, may I remind you that what was recorded there was not recorded to prove that Jesus Christ was a created being. Rather, it was recorded to prove the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pre-existence of Christ as to Time

We have spoken to you of the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ in relation to His origin. I would now like to think with you about the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ as to time. We emphasized what we learned in John, chapter 1—that there are two beginnings as far as God's dealing with Christ and the earth are concerned. There is the beginning of beginnings that goes so far back that we read in verse 23: “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning”—the beginning that is as far back as you can go. The beginning of creation indicates what we will be discussing in verse 27, where we read:

Proverbs 8:

27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

I think it would be wise for us to notice some of the phrases in the paragraph that deal with His pre-existence in the beginning of beginnings. Back in that period of time that is referred to as everlasting . Notice verse 22:

Proverbs 8:

22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

“Before His ancient works, the LORD owned Me as His own. Before His works of old, the beginning of his way. From everlasting.” Now notice verse 23:

Proverbs 8:

23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

We are interested in this earth because we are a vital part of it. It is difficult for us to think that interesting things were happening long before this earth was created, long before the Lord Jesus Christ became a companion of God in the creation of the world.

We said the central theme of this last portion of the book of Proverbs in contrast to the first portion is the companionship of the Lord Jesus Christ with God. The first portion is the companionship of Christ with man; the second portion is the companionship of Christ with God.

Though He did live with God from the beginning of beginnings, the emphasis in the portion of the Word that we are considering is placed upon His companionship with God in relation to His presence in the days of Creation. Notice in verse 27, He makes the statement:

Proverbs 8:

27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

In verse 30, He said:

Proverbs 8:

30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

On this earth there are some fathers who are privileged to have such empathy with their sons that they can truthfully say, “My son is daily my delight.” The father can rejoice in the time that he spends with his son more than the time he spends with any other man—such empathy, such understanding, such one-mindedness, rejoicing always before Him.

This is exactly how the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father got along. You remember when the heavenly testimony was given to the Lord Jesus Christ at the day of His baptism, the voice from Heaven came saying (God the Father speaking), “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

Our English rendering would have you think that He was well pleased with Him at that particular time because of what He is doing. That is true, but the tense of the grammatical construction of the language in that verse bears out the truth of our text here, for what God said, if it had been properly translated, was, “This is My beloved Son in whom I have always been and still am well pleased.” He was daily His delight.

In the first portion of verse 30, which I have taken out of order for the sake of emphasis, we read:

Proverbs 8:

30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him…

That statement sounds as though the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father grew up together, and that is an unhappy translation because it doesn't convey at all the meaning of the text. If it were literally translated, it would read: “I was beside Him as a Master and as a Director of the work.” Keep in mind that we are talking about God's creative activity, and Christ said, “I was there. I was daily His delight, and I was before Him as a Master and a Director of the work,” or as someone else has said, “I was there as a Master Workman.”

Of course, that ties in very definitely with what is discovered in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, when we were told that He was there and without Him not anything was made that was made. Describing his presence in the days of Creation, He said something else, and that was: “He was rejoicing in the inhabited earth.”

If you will notice verse 31, He was:

Proverbs 8:

31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

Think for a moment what it must have meant for the Lord Jesus Christ, when the work was finished, to rejoice in the inhabited earth. We do not have a true picture in the Word of God as to what the original, inhabited earth was like. Very little was said about it, for the original, inhabited earth is described in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 1:

Genesis 1:

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Then in verse 2, the sad statement is made:

Genesis 1:

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The rest of the chapter deals with the restoration to order after the earth fell into the darkness of which we speak. When God and His Son finished the earth, it was such that the Son could rejoice in the inhabited part of the earth.

Later, after that darkness and void was dismissed and God created Adam in His own image—in the image of God He created Adam and Eve—the Lord Jesus Christ could say, “His delight was with the sons of men.”

If you think about that, there are some beautiful thoughts that come to mind. We are told, for example, in the book of Genesis that God (the word is plural) came down into the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day and walked and talked with men. Of course, in our way of thinking, we think of God the Father as doing that, but the Lord Jesus Christ came down and He walked and He talked with men in the Garden of Eden and delighted in that fellowship; and when sin was brought into the human race and man was shut out of the Garden of Eden, man was not the only sad one. I doubt if man's sadness could even begin to measure up to the sadness of God that the fellowship was broken. Oh, it came as no surprise to them. They knew that such would be the case; and according to Psalm 40, in the annals of eternity, they made provision for that fellowship to be restored, and the Lord Jesus Christ came to the earth another time.

You know, we speak of the Second Coming of Christ, and it is all right to do that, but when He comes again, it won't be the second time He has been here. He has been to this earth a number of times, but He came the first time, as we commonly think of it, donning human flesh so that He might restore through His obedience to the death of the Cross the fellowship that was broken. He is coming the second time in His glorified body that He might fight the last battle against sin that will need to be fought, the last battle against Satan that will need to be fought to make it possible for the redeemed to dwell with Him forever.

Christ's Partnership in Creation

Go back to Proverbs, chapter 8. We are talking about the pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ in relation to the beginning of Creation. We have talked with you about His presence. He was there, of that there can be no doubt. I would suggest that we notice one other thing. I don't know of a better way to describe it than by the words His partnership in creation . We learned that He was with God as a Master Craftsman performing the work of creation.

Oftentimes you may ask where the story of creation is presented, and you might, without thinking, say, “In the early chapters of Genesis.” Someone might ask, “Is the story presented anywhere else?” If you were not familiar with your Bibles, you might say, “No, that is the place where it is presented.” But you would be wrong. It is presented here in Proverbs, chapter 8. It is presented in the book of Job. It is presented in the book of Jeremiah, and all of these passages of Scripture have their own way of telling the story.

It is intriguing to me to read of the partnership of the Lord Jesus Christ in this portion of the book. Notice verse 27, please:

Proverbs 8:

27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there…

Did you ever stop to think that the heavens were the first thing that God prepared in His original creation? Those heavens were so beautiful that Job says, “The sons of God sang for joy, when they saw all of their beauty.” Notice the last part of verse 27:

Proverbs 8:

27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

Those phrases do not convey the meaning to you that I am sure you would like for them to, and you would like to explore, in all probability, the distinctive meaning of each phrase. Since time will not permit that, I would like for you to follow with me a rendering of those verses that might make some of the things clearer to you: “I was there when He established the heavens and formed the great springs in the depths of the ocean.”

Some of those springs are just now being discovered: “I was there when He set the limits of the sea and gave them His instructions not to spread beyond their boundary. I was there when He made the blueprint for the earth and the oceans.”

If you read the Bible with an unbiased mind, you could not give any credence to the theory of evolution. Will you keep in mind I am using the word theory advisedly. It has never been anything but a theory, and it has flipped into repute and has been put back on the stage of popularity—on again, off again, depending upon the trend of the times. Though gullible young folk accept it as fact, it has never been anything but a theory.

You cannot read in Proverbs, chapter 8, how God drew the blueprint of the earth and the oceans and followed it closely, and then believe that there was anything like evolution related to our creation. Wisdom was there, and Wisdom beheld it.

Christ's Appeal to You

I would like to close our remarks by asking you to turn your attention with me to the appeal with which this chapter closes, keeping in mind if Wisdom personified is Christ, then this is an appeal from Christ to you. Notice verse 32:

Proverbs 8:

32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways [blessed is the man who follows where Christ leads] .
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not [everybody is faced with that responsibility: accepting or refusing. Nobody holds it in abeyance. You either accept it or refuse it the moment that you hear it].

Notice verse 34:

Proverbs 8:

34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

It pays to wait upon the Lord. Notice the simple plan of salvation in verse 35:

Proverbs 8:

35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

It is interesting to me how the Holy Spirit, the author of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is consistent, for what He writes is separated by the centuries. When I read, “Whoso findeth Me, findeth life,” I am reminded of what is recorded in I John, chapter 5: “He that hath the Son hath life.” It is as simple as that, but notice verse 36:

Proverbs 8:

36 But he that sinneth against me [sinning here is interpreted in the light of the context which refers to the sin of rejection] wrongeth his own soul [you reject Christ, you are doing injury to your own soul]: all they that hate me love death [there is no in-between position. If you hate Jesus Christ, then you love death].

He speaks here not of physical death because the saved and the unsaved alike will die if the Lord Jesus Christ tarries, but He is speaking of what the Bible refers to as the second death —eternal separation from God.

People who feel that the Old Testament is so complicated and the Gospel is found only in the New Testament need to be reminded that this is a simple presentation of the Gospel. Salvation resides in Jesus Christ. You have Him; you have life. You don't have Him; you don't have life. If you want eternal life, if you want Heaven and you say, “I don't want Jesus,” nothing can be done for you because eternal life comes wrapped up in Jesus Christ, and that is the reason each person ought to give careful consideration to what his relationship is to Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

What is your relationship? I can tell you what it is. You have either received Him or you have rejected Him. If you have received Him, you have taken your place as a sinner, knowing that you cannot save yourself, and received Him as the only One who can save you. If you have rejected Him, you are saying, “I may be saved without Him; I may never be saved; but I will never be saved with Him.”

Of course, the desire of our heart is that every person receiving this message has received Christ, but if it should not be so, let me implore you to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior.


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