The Patience of the Saints
A compilation from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, with comments
By Davi P. Silva
The book of Zechariah presents several prophecies directly pointing to Christ, either: (1) At His first or second coming, or (2) following the 1,000 years referred to in Revelation 20.
In this article we would like to consider a special Christ-centered prophecy: “One shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” ().
What an awful thought, for someone to be wounded “in the house of my friends.” A friend’s home is a place of refuge, a safe haven, a place where you “take off your hat” and relax, because you are in the house of your “friend.” It certainly is not a place to be wounded. However, real friends, when necessary, will not fail to admonish and even chastise when they see a friend needing correction.
So, what is the meaning of Christ’s wounded hands “in the house” of His friends? The wounds in His hands were not, however, the type of “wounds” that friends would inflict, for He needed no reproof, no correction, no punishment. These wounds are the result of the “punishment” Christ received on the cross. He received an undeserving punishment, for He had done no wrong. The psalmist also prophesied about the wounds Christ would suffer: “They pierced my hands and my feet” (). Christ with His wounded hands will forever be noticed, will forever be admired by God the Father and by the holy angels, and will forever be worshipped by the redeemed.
“What are these wounds?” Was Christ wounded (punished) for His own sins? No. He had none. He knew no sin. He was wounded (punished) for my sins, for our sins. He was wounded for the sins of friends and enemies. Yet, the prophecy foretold of this future event, when in the kingdom of God, some saints will ask Him the question: “Lord, What are these wounds in Thine hands?” Then He shall answer, those are the wounds “with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” He does not say, “You in your rebellion, in your sin caused Me this pain.” He does not say, “This is the beating I received because of you.” He does not say, “Do you see what you (your sins) have done to Me?” He does not say, “This is to remind me and to remind you of how much I suffered for you.” He just says, “I received these wounds in the house of My friends.” What love, what compassion is demonstrated towards human beings!
Again the question: “What are these wounds?” These wounds were necessary because of sin. Sin is the problem, the great problem. There has been suffering since sin entered into the world. Adam and Eve suffered from the moment they sinned. But do we realize that God the Father and Jesus Christ have suffered even infinitely more? The wounds in the hands of Jesus are proof of God’s mercy and justice combined. We suffer from guilt and remorse, and we suffer the results of our sins. We even partake in the suffering of the results of Adam’s sin. But Christ suffered the most. He suffered an unjust, undeserving punishment. He suffered on our behalf. Please stop to reflect: What a Friend, what a Saviour!
Christ was not only wounded by His friends, but in the “house of” His friends. Christ “came unto his own, and his own received him not” (). From His very birth Christ was rejected by His people, for they (the Jews) received Him not. He came to His own, and though they were His bitter enemies, He still called them His friends. They should have been His friends, but tradition had blinded their perception, their understanding of Scripture. What manner of Man is He that called His enemies “friends?” He called Judas His friend: “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” ( ). Do you know another man who calls his enemies, “friends?” Do you know another man who took beatings for his so-called “friends?” Yes, I know a Man who took beatings, not only for “friends” but for enemies. This Man is the Man Christ Jesus, and I invite you to know Him.
How privileged we are to be called His “friends.” We are more than friends to Christ. We are His children, according to Paul in“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
More than children, we are His brothers and His sisters. He is our Brother. “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister” (). He is our bones and our flesh, for He was “found in fashion as a man” ( ).
The Spirit of Prophecy says that “[The Son of God] came to die for us, to lie in the tomb as human beings must, and to be raised for our justification. . . . Christ ascended to heaven, bearing a sanctified, holy humanity. He took this humanity with Him into the heavenly courts, and through the eternal ages He will bear it as the One who has redeemed every human being in the city of God, the One who has pleaded before the Father, ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands’ (1). The palms of His hands bear the marks of the wounds that He received. If we are wounded and bruised, if we meet with difficulties that are hard to manage, let us remember how much Christ suffered for us. Let us sit together with our brethren in heavenly places in Christ. Let us bring heaven’s blessing into our hearts.”
Oh, precious wounds. Christ took these wounds with Him up to heaven. When we cry to Jesus with our life’s troubles, we know that we are heard. “We can carry all our sorrows and griefs, troubles and trials, afflictions and cares, and pour them into the ear that is open to hear, of One who is pleading before the Father the merits of His own blood. He is pleading His wounds—My hands, My hands! ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.’ He offers the wounded hands to God, and His petitions are heard, and swift angels are sent to minister to fallen man, to lift up and to sustain.”2
“Heaven had viewed with grief and amazement Christ hanging upon the cross, blood flowing from His wounded temples, and sweat tinged with blood standing upon His brow. From His hands and feet the blood had fallen, drop by drop, upon the rock drilled for the foot of the cross. The wounds made by the nails had gaped as the weight of His body dragged upon His hands. His labored breath had grown quick and deep, as His soul panted under the burden of the sins of the world. All heaven had been filled with admiration when the prayer of Christ was offered in the midst of His terrible suffering—‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (3). Yet there stood men, formed in the image of God, joining with Satan to crush out the last spark of life from the heart of the Son of God.”
Ellen G. White, the servant of the Lord, clearly connects Zechariah’s prophecy with the prophets predicting the suffering of Christ in behalf of humanity’s redemption.
“How unmistakably plain were Isaiah’s prophecies of Christ’s sufferings and death! ‘Who hath believed our report?’ the prophet inquires, ‘and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
“‘Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
“‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken’ ().
“Even the manner of His death had been shadowed forth. As the brazen serpent had been uplifted in the wilderness, so was the coming Redeemer to be lifted up, ‘that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (). . . .
“What are these wounds in Thine hands? . . . ().
“He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief’ ().
“But He who was to suffer death at the hands of evil men was to rise again as a conqueror over sin and the grave. Under the inspiration of the Almighty the Sweet Singer of Israel had testified of the glories of the resurrection morn. ‘My flesh also,’ he joyously proclaimed, ‘shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell [the grave]; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption’ (4).”
These Old Testament prophecies met a complete fulfillment in Christ’s mission, especially during His last hours from Gethsemane to His resurrection.
“Paul showed how closely God had linked the sacrificial service with the prophecies relating to the One who was to be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” The Messiah was to give His life as “an offering for sin.” Looking down through the centuries to the scenes of the Saviour’s atonement, the prophet Isaiah had testified that the Lamb of God “poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” ().
“The Saviour of prophecy was to come, not as a temporal king, to deliver the Jewish nation from earthly oppressors, but as a man among men, to live a life of poverty and humility, and at last to be despised, rejected, and slain. The Saviour foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures was to offer Himself as a sacrifice in behalf of the fallen race, thus fulfilling every requirement of the broken law. In Him the sacrificial types were to meet their antitype, and His death on the cross was to lend significance to the entire Jewish economy.”5
“Poor, weak, miserable man spat in the face of the King of glory, while a shout of brutal triumph arose from the mob at the degrading insult. They marred with blows and cruelty that face which filled all heaven with admiration. They will again behold that face, bright as the noonday sun, and will seek to flee from before it. Instead of that shout of brutal triumph, they will wail because of Him.
“Jesus will present His hands with the marks of His crucifixion. The marks of this cruelty He will ever bear. Every print of the nails will tell the story of man’s wonderful redemption and the dear price by which it was purchased. The very men who thrust the spear into the side of the Lord of life will behold the print of the spear and will lament with deep anguish the part which they acted in marring His body.”6
“One shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
There is here a friendly dialogue between some saved ones and Christ in God’s kingdom. The questioners seem ignorant about the reason why Christ’s hands were wounded. When will it be possible for such a dialogue to take place? It clearly refers to the second coming of Christ when God’s people will be with Him in His kingdom.
Is there a possibility that someone who had never heard the everlasting gospel might be in heaven with Christ? Yes. We call attention to the following Scriptures:
“(For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” ().
“Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.”7
Since our God is a merciful and just God, and since Christ gave His life to save the of whole humanity, it is understandable, then, that those sincere people who walk in the light they possess will be saved by the amazing grace and sacrifice of Christ through the mercy of God, even though they have never heard of Jesus.
The prophet Habakkuk thus describes the second coming of Christ: “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had bright beams coming out of his side: and there was the hiding of his power” (margin).
“Upon [our Redeemer’s] wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in His glory: ‘He had bright beams coming out of His side: and there was the hiding of His power” (8margin). That pierced side whence flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God—there is the Saviour’s glory, there ‘the hiding of His power.’ ‘Mighty to save’, through the sacrifice of redemption, He was therefore strong to execute justice upon them that despised God’s mercy. And the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise and declare His power.”
Ellen G. White writes about a special class in heaven made up of those who, however loyal to the truth they knew, could not comprehend the plan of salvation thoroughly.
“Some among the redeemed will have laid hold of Christ in the last hours of life, and in heaven instruction will be given to those who, when they died, did not understand perfectly the plan of salvation. Christ will lead the redeemed ones beside the river of life, and will open to them that which while on this earth they could not understand.”9
Have you ever imagined the wonderful privilege to be a student at the feet of Christ in heaven? What joy will it be to receive from Him personally an explanation about the plan of salvation? It really will be worthwhile to be there! It is certainly worthwhile to accept Christ as our Saviour and Lord today!