The Counsel of Peace
The Counsel of Peace is a subject we are well-acquainted with, but as far as I know there is only one text that refers to it. There may be others, and if so, I would be happy to be enlightened. The text we do know is as follows:
"And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:
Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Zechariah 6:12.13.
As you can see, the words are 'counsel of peace'. We often think of them as the 'council of peace', the meeting held in eternity where the covenant of redemption was formulated, but it actually refers to the covenant (or counsel) of peace itself. However, there certainly was a counsel in which the covenant was formed.
The question on many minds is: Who made the counsel of peace?
Was it the Trinity -- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost?
Or was it God the Father and His only-begotten Son?
Certainly the text is telling us clearly that one of those present was the Branch or Christ. Obviously there must be another, as it says, "and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." v13.
Our prophet tells us clearly. "The Son is taken into special counsel of God in regard to His plans." Spirit of Prophecy. Vol 1. p18.19.
Another Spirit of Prophecy statement says the following:
"The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption. In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin. What line can measure the depth of this love? God would make it impossible for man to say that He could have done more. With Christ He gave all the resources of heaven, that nothing might be wanting in the plan for man's uplifting. Here is love--the contemplation of which should fill the soul with inexpressible gratitude! Oh, what love, what matchless love! The contemplation of this love will cleanse the soul from all selfishness. It will lead the disciple to deny self, take up the cross, and follow the Redeemer." Counsels on Health p222.
This statement clearly says the Father, Son and Spirit were all involved in the 'council' of peace, where they "gave themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption."
Or does it? (See next study - Godhead - for details of this quotation)
You can see that a number of verses have been quoted, all of them regarding the counsel of peace and the Father giving His Son.
Our prophet said: "The relation between the Father and the Son, and the personality of both, are made plain in this scripture also:
'Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts, saying,
Behold, the man whose name is the Branch:
And He shall grow up out of His place;
And He shall build the temple of Jehovah; . . .
And He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule upon His throne;
And He shall be a priest upon His throne;
And the counsel of peace shall be between Them both.'
Zechariah 6:12, 13, A. R.V.
Our prophet said: " 'And the counsel of peace shall be between them both'. The love of the Father, no less than of the Son, is the fountain of salvation for the lost race. Said Jesus to his disciples, before he went away, 'I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you.' (John 16:26, 27) God was 'in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.' (2 Cor. 5:19) And in the ministration in the sanctuary above, 'the counsel of peace shall be between them both.' 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' (John 3:16)" Great Controversy 1888. p416.
"Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the Father and the Son had united in a covenant to redeem man if he should be overcome by Satan. They had clasped Their hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race." Desire of Ages p834.
Here we have a very clear answer as to who 'both' were in the heavenly council.
The paragraphs ends with,
"This pledge Christ has fulfilled. When upon the cross He cried out, 'It is finished', He addressed the Father. The compact had been fully carried out. Now He declares: Father, it is finished. I have done Thy will, O My God. I have completed the work of redemption. If Thy justice is satisfied, 'I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.' John 19:30; 17:24." Desire of Ages p834.
"To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word." Desire of Ages p25.
"The great plan of redemption was laid before the foundation of the world. And Christ, our Substitute and Surety, did not stand alone in the wondrous undertaking of the ransom of man. In the plan to save a lost world, the counsel was between them both; the covenant of peace was between the Father and the Son.
'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' The Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, would become a servant. The only-begotten Son, in whom the Father delighted, was given for the ransom of a fallen race." Signs of the Times. December 23. 1897.
“The plan of salvation devised by the Father and the Son will be a grand success.” Signs of the Times. Jun 17. 1903.
“Before the fall of man, the Son of God had united with His Father in laying the plan of salvation.” Review and Herald. Sep 13. 1906.
“A covenant has been entered into by the Father and by the Son to save the world through Christ.” Signs of the Times. Oct 10. 1892.
“In counsel together, the Father and the Son determined that Satan should not be left unchecked to exercise his cruel power upon man.” Manuscript 31. 1911. Remember, Christ is the only being who can enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. Patriarchs and Prophets p34.
“…. And the counsel of peace was between them both.” Zechariah 6:12.13.
While the major understanding is that the Father and the Son pledged the covenant of redemption together,it is also true that the words 'the counsel of peace shall be between them both' refers to another aspect. The text says that Christ would "rule upon his throne", and He would be "a priest upon his throne".
In the economy of Israel, the priests were from the tribe of Levi, and the kings were from the tribe of Judah. As Christ would be from the tribe of Judah, his royalty did not conflict with anything in Israel or the Scriptures.
However, being from Judah, He could not be a priest, and yet peace would be between His Kingship and His priesthood.
How can that be?
Because Christ's priesthood was not from Levi, but from Melchisedek. "For he testifieth, 'Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec'." Hebrews 7:17. Psalm 110:14.
So, the 'counsel of peace' was between Christ's kingship and His priesthood.
However, having a secondary meaning does not take away from the primary one -- it was the Father and His Son who had clasped hands in a solemn pledge that Christ should become the surety for the human race.