ISRAEL – No Longer Dry Bones!

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  • The second presence of our Lord is here! (Matthew 24, Daniel 12, 2 Timothy 4)
    Invisibly he is active and the time of the Millennial kingdom reign of CHRIST is near,
    When a new covenant shall be established with Israel… (Hebrews 8:8-13, Jeremiah 31:31-34)
    Between the Heavenly Father and His people—Israel, and all who shall become “Israelites indeed”.
  • Then a golden standard of GODLY RIGHTEOUSNESS shall apply to all on earth. (Isaiah 26:9, 28:17, 35:8)
    Whoever will do things their own way—disobeying the will of GOD’s will—
    Upon such, judgment will be executed speedily and they will learn not to stray (Psalm 1:5);
    Learning that the only way to eternal perfect life, is by OBEYING GOD faithfully each day.
  • As we now remain in the flesh executing GOD’s will with careful discipline and training,
    Let us rejoice as we see how the nation Israel is blossoming like the rose (Isaiah 35:1);
    The work of CHRIST and his raised sleeping saints is happening before our still carnal eyes, (1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
    And these, now divine jewels, are fulfilling Bible prophecies according to Jehovah’s plans and purposes. (2 Timothy 1:9)
  • The process of Ezekiel 37 has begun, since our LORD’s invisible presence—his “parousia.”
    Ezekiel’s vision of “the valley of dry bones” reflects this. (Ezekiel 37)
    And it can be recognized as occurring in stages—
    Through a process of years and many developments, the Kingdom shall be inaugurated.
  • In 1874 the first stirrings (Peta Tikva)—here we see bone coming to bone…
    In 1896 the sinews (ligaments) are evident, to join Israel’s bones…
    In 1917 there is muscle that forms to cover the bones…
    And in 1948 the skin is applied—to complete the “bone” of Israel.
  • There is no breath—no life still—there in the land of the ancient heros of faith (Ezekiel 37:8),
    Until Armageddon shall hit the earth, when the four winds are let loose—showing their worth. (Ezekiel 37:9, Revelation 16:16)

    Then the financial, religious and political systems will collapse—false papal doctrines destroyed!
    And the breath into Israel shall herald earthly restitution—a millennial age enjoyed! (Acts 3:21, Revelation 20:6-7)
  • The nation of Israel will then recognize the one they have pierced on Calvary (Zechariah 12:10).
    Then CHRIST—head and body complete—shall reign for 1000 years with greatest vitality!
    GOD’s spirit of Truth and understanding poured into each heart and mind (Ezekiel 37:14),
    And at the end of the Millennial Age, after a final “little season” of testing for the world—ALL evil destroyed and eternal JOY and NO PAIN ever more! (Revelation 20:7-15, 21:4)
  • By considering the dates of Israel’s history and studying the Biblical prophecies unfolded,
    May our Faith be strengthened and our lives be JOYOUS, as into CHRIST we are moulded.
    With humble gratefulness and sincere thankfulness, let us continue to watch and pray.
    Why? So that we, with the yoke bearers in CHRIST, can faithfully reach the end of our narrow pathway.

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/05/02/israel-no-longer-dry-bones/

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The Word “Character”

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The word “character” in Greek is exactly the same as in English. Originally it was the name given to a sculptor’s tool—the forming chisel used in the development of the Greek statuary. Gradually the word broadened in its meaning to include not only the tool used, but the tooling process, the formation or shaping of the sculptures. Gradually also it came to signify the peculiarities or characteristics of a piece of sculpture. The word today in its English usage had reached a still higher plane and associates itself with the Divine character, which is the perfect example, and with humanity as it possesses more or less of the Divine characteristics.

When St. Paul writes in Hebrews 1:3 of Christ’s being the “express image” of the Father’s person, the phrase “express image,” in the Greek is the word character.

How beautiful the thought that our Lord Jesus, through whom the Father has spoken to mankind, explaining his Justice and his Love and his provision for our reconciliation—this one was the express image, the character-likeness of the heavenly Father, full of grace and truth! Nor does it seem strange to us that the Father, in inviting a “little flock” to joint-heirship with the Redeemer in glory, honor and immortality, has decreed, foreordained, that the acceptable ones, the “elect,” must all be conformed to the likeness of his dear Son, who was the character likeness of himself.

Truly there will be a wonderful family likeness in this Divine family—the Father, the Son, and the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife!

Who is sufficient for these things?
Who is worthy of such exaltation?

Surely those who would attain it must:

lay aside every weight, every besetting sin, and
must persevere
in the great work of
mastering self and developing character

the one kind of character which God can approve and reward.

As the sculptor must first have an ideal in his mind before he can follow it and hew the image from the rough stone, so must we recognize the true ideal of life and then follow it with all our hearts, with unwavering will.

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How important, then, that we have proper ideals before our minds; that we have a purpose in life; that it be a noble purpose of high standard!

Herein is the value of the doctrines of Christ, the teachings of the Scriptures. They set before God’s people the truest and noblest ideal and thus assist the pupils in the school of Christ in attaining higher and grander results than would be otherwise possible for them.

It has been said that every man is the sculptor of his own career. To a large extent this is true, but with the Christian it is different. He gives himself to the Lord and the Lord undertakes to work in him “both to will and to do his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

Again, as it is written, “We are his workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10).

True the Lord does not do the work in us without our co-operation; but in our case he is the Principal or Superintendent and we are the assistants co-working with God for the attainment of that which he has set before us as his ideal, his design for us.

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The glorious pictures set before us in the inspired Word—of participation in the Divine nature and sharers, joint-heirs with our Lord and Redeemer—are so transcendently bright that they overwhelm us; nor are we able to realize their details except as, more and more, we become transformed by the renewing of our MINDS,
by the Spirit of the Truth.

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Reference:

An excerpt from Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, R. 4417

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/29/the-word-character/

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PROVERBS 22:6 – Train Up A Child In The Way He Should Go

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“He that spareth his rod, hateth his son.” (Prov. 13:24) “What son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” “If ye be without chastisement…then are ye…not sons.” Hebrews 12:7

The content for this post comes from the 6th Volume written by Pastor Charles T. Russell and the topics discussed include:

  1. Order in the Home
  2. Rewards & Punishments
  3. Parental Discipline – Helps to Develop Character
  4. The Golden Rule
  5. The Atmosphere of the Home
  6. A Home in Which the Lord’s Spirit is not Manifested
  7. When a Child Reaches Manhood or Womanhood
  8. The Proper Amount of Education
  9. Our Children in the Time of Trouble
  10. Proper Amusements

Order in the Home

Nothing is further from our intention than to urge indiscriminate and frequent use of the rod in the training of children. We have cited these scriptures, however, to show the mistaken position of those who hold that corporal chastisement by parents, even when necessary, is wrong.

The home that is ruled with the rod must of necessity be an unhappy home.

The homes of the New Creatures should be ruled by love not by the rod. The rod is to be kept merely as an occasional necessity for enforcing the rules of love; and when it is administered it is to be wielded by the hand of love and never by the hand of anger.

The New Creatures, governed by the spirit of a sound mind, learn gradually that order is one of heaven’s first laws, and hence that it should be one of the first elements and characteristics of the homes of the New Creatures.

Order, however, does not of necessity mean absolute quiet, else the wilderness and the silent cities of the dead would be the only places where order would rule.

Order may mean joy as well as peace, happiness as well as rest, liberty as well as law. Order means law—with New Creatures the Golden Rule and the Law of Love governing the head of the house and his helpmate, as well as governing the children, making of the parents ensamples to the children in all the Christian graces. Law, even the Law of Love, means rewards and punishments, and in the family the parents have the dispensing of these.

According to their realized weaknesses they, in turn, need direction from the Heavenly Father that they may glorify him not only in their own hearts and wills, but that their homes shall be earthly ensamples of the homes of the righteous, the homes of those who have the mind of Christ.

Rewards & Punishments

Their rewards for their children should be in the provision of such comforts and blessings as circumstances, under control of a recognized providence, may permit.

Their punishments may be more or less severe according to the wilfulness of the child, but never according to the standard of justice, never in the attempt to mete out to the child the full measure of what its conduct might justly demand—because we are not under justice ourselves, but under mercy, under love, and are to show mercy, not only in our dealings with others, but specially in our dealings with our own children, whose imperfections and blemishes are, doubtless, traceable in a greater or less degree to ourselves and our forebears.

Love may sometimes punish by the refusal of a kiss, as it may sometimes reward by the giving of a kiss; it may sometimes for a season banish the unruly one from the company of the obedient and from the pleasures provided for them.

The Law of Love may sometimes even exercise the rod of discipline to the extent of denying supper or of giving merely the necessities, bread and water, and withholding some of the additional comforts and luxuries; or may sometimes wield the literal rod of chastisement to enforce obedience, and thus preserve the order and blessings of the home, not only for the obedient children, but also for the chastised one, whom it hopes thus to bless and bring into full accord.

It is scarcely necessary to admonish the New Creation that they should not use angry or harsh words to their children; for such know that language of that kind is improper to any one under any circumstances. On the contrary, their “speech should be with grace,” with love, with kindness, even when reproving.

Nor is it necessary to suggest to the class we are addressing the impropriety of a hasty blow, which might do injury to the child not only physically—perhaps permanently injuring its hearing—but also wound its affections, develop in it a fear of the parent instead of love, which should be considered the only proper groundwork on which the obedience and order of the home are built.

Furthermore, the hasty blow or cutting remark would be wrong, would indicate a wrong condition of mind on the part of the parent—a condition unfavorable to a proper, just decision of the matter along the lines of the Law of Love.

The parent owes it to himself as a part of his own discipline, as well as to his child, that he shall never inflict a punishment which he has not sufficiently considered, and coolly and dispassionately found to be not more, but less, than justice might properly demand.

He owes it to himself also that the child shall fully understand the situation, the necessity for the preservation of order in the home, that the happiness of the home may continue to the blessing of all its inmates; that the child understand thoroughly also that the parent has no anger toward him, no malice, no hatred, nothing but sympathy and love and the desire to do him good.

Christian parents have—if they will use it—an immense leverage of advantage in dealing with their children. They should read to their children, from the Word, the divine sanction of parental authority—the divine requirement that a parent shall train up a child in the way he should go; and additionally he should point out the necessity for this—because we all are fallen and unable to come up to the divine standard, etc.; that all these means and corrections are necessary as helps to the counteraction of evil tendencies under which we have been born.

Parental Discipline – Helps to Develop Character

Many parents forget to look backward and to note at how early an age they themselves learned to appreciate principles of righteousness—to appreciate the parental care which neglected not to reprove, to correct, and even to chastise as seemed necessary. Let us recall, too, how keen was our sense of justice when we were children—how we mentally approved parental discipline when we understood its motive to be for the development of character, but how we resented it if we did not see a principle of justice, if we were reproved or otherwise punished for things of which we were not guilty, or if we were punished beyond a reasonable chastisement comporting with the offense.

Not only is it the best and surest way of controlling a child thus to direct its mind along the lines of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, but this constitutes also a training of the child in character, when it is most susceptible to parental influence. It is character-building at a time when the conscience and judgment of the child are in their formative condition, and when it properly recognizes the parent as its sole lawgiver. If this work of character-building be ignored in infancy, the work is many times more difficult in future years, besides the disadvantages that will accrue both to parent and child and neighbors and friends in the interim.

It is all-important, then, to notice that the training of a child does not consist solely in teaching it respecting its outward deportment in politeness, cleanliness, obedience, etc., but further, and indeed chiefly, in the establishment of right principles in the heart—proper recognition there of the mind of the Lord as being the only standard of living, both for old and young.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule, the Law of Love, of generosity, meekness, patience, gentleness, forbearance, should be inculcated as respects the child’s relationship to other members of the family, to playmates, etc.

The child that is taught to be selfish, or one whose natural selfishness is not brought kindly to his attention (though not in the presence of others) and lovingly reproved and corrected, is missing a most important lesson at the most opportune moment.

The parent who neglects such an opportunity for giving instructions and corrections of the mind and judgment, as well as of outward conduct, is not only missing the most favorable opportunity in respect to his child, but is allowing weeds to grow in the heart garden where only the graces of the spirit should grow; and is thus laying up more or less of trouble for himself in dealing with that child throughout future years.

Many of the heartaches and tears of well-intentioned parents over the waywardness, wilfulness, selfishness and “wild oats” of their children might have been spared them had they done their duty by those children in infancy. Furthermore, such parents lose a great blessing in their own experiences; for it is undoubtedly true that the parent who is properly training his child in unselfishness, love, obedience, reverence to God, helpfulness to his fellow-creatures, etc., etc., will be getting valuable experiences for himself—growing in grace, growing in knowledge and growing in love, while endeavoring to teach these principles to his child.

He will learn, too, that the child will expect to find him illustrating in his daily conduct and in his relationship to God and to the members of his family, and to his fellowmen, the principles he seeks to inculcate in others.

This will make him the more careful of his own words, his own conduct; and such carefulness, such circumspection of all the little affairs of life, public and private, will assuredly develop in such a parent more and more of the graces of the Lord’s Spirit, thus making him more and more acceptable to the Lord, and preparing and perfecting him for the Kingdom.

The Atmosphere of the Home

The atmosphere of the home, however poor, should be one of purity.

Absolute purity in thought, word and deed we know to be impossible in our present conditions, just as material purity is absolutely impossible where the air is full of soot and dust.

But every Christian home should be as nearly absolutely clean as possible—as free from the outward soil and filth as circumstances will permit, and as free from moral obliquity and defilement as the imperfect earthen vessels can be made.

Every child should be able to look back upon its home, however humble, however scantily furnished, as a clean place, a house of God, a holy place.

He should be able to look back and in memory recall the voice of prayer at the family altar, the kind words of father or mother on various occasions, and the general spirit of peace and restfulness through contentment and submission to the divine providence. He should be able to sense the sweet odor of love pervading the home and associated with every member of it, manifesting itself in meekness, gentleness, kindness, helpfulness.

A child bred to and reared in such an atmosphere of love may be expected to desire to please the Lord and to obey him from the earliest moments of his consciousness; and from the time he reaches ten to twelve years of age he should be encouraged to consider the propriety of a full consecration to the Lord—to remember that his standing before the Lord during the period of immaturity of judgment is through the parent, but that in proportion as maturity of mind is reached the Lord expects a personal consecration.

Should such a child thus trained, neglect or refuse to make consecration to the Lord, we may be sure that the home influences would still continue, although when years of maturity had been reached and no covenant with the Lord had been made, such an one may properly hesitate to approach the throne of grace—hesitate to claim of the Lord the blessing he has promised to those who are his, because he has refused to become his. Nevertheless, to such there will still cling a precious memory of the seasons of approach to the throne of grace and of divine watchcare over the home of infancy and over themselves, and there will continually be a longing for the divine protection and for the privilege of approaching the Creator with the cry, “Abba, Father,” and the realization of relationship to him.

Should such an one become a parent, he will instinctively feel a desire to train his children as he was trained, and all these influences will gradually draw more and more upon his heart, and the strong probabilities are that at least by that time he will consecrate. In any event, the influences of a godly home will have been with him, a holy protection from many of the excesses under which otherwise he might have fallen.

A Home in Which the Lord’s Spirit is not Manifested

Contrast such a home, with its sweet odor of love, kindness, patience, gentleness, with the home in which the Lord’s Spirit is not manifestedthe home in which selfishness is the law, in which the child notes the quarrels between the parents, and how each seeks his own at the expense of the other, in which the child hears little but chiding, complaining, faultfinding, angry words, harsh sounds, etc. These become contagious amongst the children, and they in turn quarrel over their little affairs, speak angrily to each other, and keep the household in perpetual turmoil. The continued practice of selfishness in the home develops this organ in the mind and in the conduct of the child.

If in an angry voice the parent calls it “a little rascal,” and the feelings of the child, at first hurt by such reflections against its character, become toughened, it gradually learns to glory in being a little rascal. When first it hears the angry and impatient mother exclaim, “I’ll thrash you within an inch of your life!” or “I’ll break your back!” no doubt there is a measure of terror conveyed by the words to the heart of the child, but it is not long in learning that these are idle threats, from which it has comparatively little to fear; and gradually as it learns that the civil laws of the land would not permit the parent to do it serious violence, the childish mind concludes that the parent had the will to do it evil, but simply lacked the liberty. From such a little mind much of the original instinct of love is driven out. It finds its parent equally untruthful in respect to promises—that the promises are frequently given without the slightest intention of their fulfilment. Thus the child is taught to lie, to threaten, to promise, to deceive others in respect to its real intentions.

Is there any wonder that such a child grows up a hard character?

The wonder, rather, is that between the bad training, the indifferent training and no training at all the civilized world is not a great deal worse than it is.

Children Born in Justification

In all these matters the New Creature has a decided advantage over all others in respect to his children. They should, to begin with, be better born, better endowed at birth. And this prenatal endowment should be fostered from the very earliest moments of infancy.

The babe of a few days is pretty sure to be nervous and irritable and distressed if the mother is so; an influence goes to the child, not only through the mother’s milk, but telepathically, electrically, from her person to the child.

What a general advantage, then, the New Creature has in the indwelling of the Spirit of the Lord, with its peace, love and joy; and how favored is the infant under such care!

Humanly speaking, how great are its possibilities as compared with the possibilities of others in respect to noble manhood and womanhood; and, speaking from the standpoint of the Lord’s Word, how great is its advantage when we remember that the children of the Lord’s consecrated people, like themselves, are under the supervision of divine providence in respect to all of their affairs; that the children of believers, too, come under the terms of the promise that “all things shall work together for good” to them!

It is not difficult to see that the children of New Creatures have a tentatively justified standing with God, in virtue of the relationship of their parents to him and to them.

As the disobedience and alienation of Adam and Eve from the heavenly Father brought alienation to all their offspring, so, too, the reconciliation of the Lord’s people, through the merits of the great atonement, not only brings them back to harmony with God, but their children as well are counted justified through their parents, and on account of their parents, up to such a time as the child shall have an intelligence and will of his own.

The question is more complex, however, when one parent is the Lord’s and the other is a stranger and alien from him; but the Apostle assures us that in such a case God counts the child as his, through whichever one of its parents is the Lord’s disciple. The influence of the believing parent, the consecrated parent, is counted as offsetting and overruling the influence of the unconsecrated parent, so far as the child is concerned. On this subject the Apostle says: “Else Were Your Children Unholy [Sinful, Condemned].”

“The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the [believing] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the [believing] husband [in respect to the subject under consideration, viz., the offspring of their wedlock]; else were your children unholy [sinners under condemnation, unjustified, unrelated to God, aliens from his care and blessing]; but now [in view of this provision of divine grace] are they holy [that is, in a tentatively justified state with God, through which he may treat them, not as enemies].” 1 Corinthians 7:14

The question of the proper training of children may be a difficult one, but not too difficult for the Lord to manage; and, hence, the parent who has become a Christian may expect the Lord’s grace proportionately to abound in respect to his affairs, and should seek the more earnestly for the wisdom and help that come from above, that he may be rightly able to discharge his duties under the most trying circumstances. The Lord’s grace is sufficient for us in every condition.

The fact of the one being a New Creature, and the other an unbeliever, or unconsecrated, does not alter the divine arrangement in respect to the headship of the family. This still devolves upon the husband, and if a New Creature he must direct in respect to the affairs of his family as best he is able under the circumstances, and guided by the promised wisdom from on high.

If the wife be the New Creature, her soundness of mind, devotion to principles of righteousness, her gentleness, meekness, thoughtfulness, carefulness, should make her such a jewel in the family, should cause her light so to shine before her husband, that he might take pleasure in giving her practically the full control of the children, for which he would discern her to be specially adapted. Any rule or authority she should exercise, however, would be delegated by her husband, who, whether saint or sinner, is the responsible head of his family.

Likewise the husband, letting his light shine, should expect that ere long his wife, as well as his children, would discern his difference from irreligious men, his spirit of love, his gentleness and helpfulness, and spirit of a sound mind.

Nevertheless, if these results, which ought to be expected, do not come—if the greater the faithfulness the worse the treatment from the unbelieving partnereven to the extent that a separation might be necessary, let us remember that the Lord’s counsel forewarned us that such might be our experience; saying, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you”; and again, “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” And again, “I have not come to send peace on the earth but a sword.”

My message, although it is a message of peace and blessing in the present time, frequently results in strife, because the children of darkness hate the light, and because many of them, under the deception of the Adversary and the weaknesses of their [F534] own fallen nature, will wage a continual warfare against it.

Think it not strange, consider it a part of your trial, endure it as a part of the divine will, until the Lord shall open up a door of escape.

How to Rectify Wrong Child-raising Practices

The Lord, undoubtedly, will be pleased to find us regretful for having failed of duty in the past, and he no doubt will be pleased to have us ask his forgiveness for such shortcomings, and to have us promise greater faithfulness henceforth in seeking for and pursuing our obligations toward those dependent upon us. He would surely be pleased to have us take present experiences with unruly children with patience, with forebearance, as a part of that chastisement for sins of omission or of commission in respect to their training; and thus received, these trials may serve for our polishing and preparation for the Kingdom.

As for the duty of such a parent toward such children, it would unquestionably be to begin by teaching them the lessons they should have been taught in infancy, concerning responsibility toward the Lord, the principles of right, of justice, of love toward each other and toward all.

And this instruction should be given with great love and forebearance and patience, which would be a notable lesson to the child of the power of grace in the parent’s heart.

According to the age of the child and other related circumstances—the extent to which wrong principles had become rooted, etc.—results should be waited for with patience; and such restrictions as seemed absolutely necessary should be applied with gentleness and consideration and explanations.

Parental authority should be established kindly, not rudely.

Children who have been in the habit of ruling the household should not be expected to become good and obedient children instantaneously.

Wisdom from on high should be sought in respect to the details of the home arrangements and government, for no outsider is competent [F536] to understand thoroughly all the affairs of the family of another, nor to give specific directions respecting its proper government.

Two principles should guide:

  1. Love for the Lord and for the children—This love should be guided and directed by the Word of God;
  2. The Word of God, as the source of authority and instruction, should be continually appealed to.

Furthermore, all parents should learn to treat children with consideration. Whether they be children properly trained or otherwise, they should realize that the parent respects their consciences and their judgments, and endeavors to deal with them in harmony with these elements of character.

When a Child Reaches Manhood or Womanhood

Especially as the child reaches a condition of manhood or womanhood should his or her reason be appealed to, and in the same proportion force and corporal chastisement should be abandoned.

The principle of justice, to which we have already referred, is to be found to some extent in almost every human being, and especially if the sense of justice is found to cooperate with selfishness.

Thus, when the age of manhood or womanhood is reached the child instinctively feels that he has passed a line, and:

  • should no longer be treated as a child, but as a companion;
  • should no longer be commanded in anything, but requested;
  • should no longer be required to give a strict account in detail of all moneys earned, but should be permitted a larger discretion and personality than previously.

Wise, just, loving parents should not attempt a violation of these rights of maturity; but rather seek from that period onward to deal with the child as with a younger brother or sister—as adviser and best friend.

While, prior to maturity, the parent had full control, after maturity the child has a personality and individuality which should be recognized and appealed to. It is the duty of the child to make provision for the parent, but properly appealed to, the provision should be the more promptly and lovingly made. The obligation of the child to aged parents for their support corresponds exactly with the responsibility of the parent for the care and reasonable support of the child in infancy and immaturity.

The parent who has done justly and lovingly by his child will surely rarely be left to want while that child shall have strength to provide.

The Proper Amount of Education

We are of those who appreciate highly the value of an education; and yet we believe that great wisdom should be exercised in respect to what constitutes an education.

Education is like polish. Almost any stone may be made to look beautiful by careful polishing, but careful polishing is not alike valuable or helpful to all stones. In the case of a diamond or a ruby or other precious stone, polishing is absolutely necessary to the development of the latent qualities [F538] of the stone; without the facets, the glories and brilliancies of the stone could not be appreciated nor shed their luster.

But the same polishing bestowed upon a cobblestone from the street would be a waste of energy; worse than that, it would make the cobblestone too valuable, too nice, for use as a cobblestone. Moreover, it would be less fit for its duties as a cobblestone after being faced than if it had been let alone, or merely chipped in a general way, to make it fit its place.

And so we perceive it is in respect to education, the polishing of the mind with a “classical course” in college. Some would be benefited by such a course, while others would be injured. Who has not seen men so educated that they could not occupy the place in life for which their natural talents fitted them? They were over-educated, and, like the man in the parable, they could yet dig, and to beg they were ashamed, and for anything else unfit.

If in the Lord’s providence the parents found that they had a child of very brilliant mind, and if that providence guided their affairs so that financial and other considerations opened the way for a collegiate course to such a child, they might well consider whether or not these indications were the Lord’s direction in respect to their duty to the child, and should follow their convictions.

Nevertheless, in sending him to college at the present time they should feel a great trepidation, a great fear, lest this outward polish in the wisdom of this world should efface all the polish of faith and character and heart which they as the parents and proper instructors of the child had been bestowing upon it from infancy and before.

The Lord’s people of the New Creation should learn to appreciate the education of heart and character and faith in God as a superior education in every respect to anything that could be attained in the schools of this world—that the “wisdom from above, first pure, then peaceable, easy of entreatment, full of mercy and good works,” is more to be desired than all the wisdom of earth. They should consider well whether their child was so thoroughly rooted and [F539] grounded in character, in principle, in loyalty to the Lord and his Word, that the infidel tendencies of the schools of our day, and their rationalistic teachings called Higher Criticism, Evolution, etc., could never displace the well-grounded faith in the Lord and in his Word.

We write with full consciousness that to the worldly minded this advice is foolishness or worse.

Nevertheless, we have learned to view matters from what we believe to be the divine standpoint, and recommend that all of the Lord’s consecrated people shall endeavor in this and in all matters to seek this standpoint—the Lord’s view of this matter.

Relaxation & Recreation

Relaxation and recreation should be secured chiefly through change of occupation, rather than through idleness or useless exercise.

The little girl takes pleasure in dressing her doll and caring for it, and “playing house.” The little boy “plays shop,” and with sand, etc., as substitutes, he makes imaginary dealings in tea and coffee and sugar and potatoes; or he “plays horse,” teamster, or imagines himself a preacher or a missionary or a schoolteacher or a doctor. All such plays are in the right direction, and should be encouraged in the little ones.

As they grow older they should be drawn from these to consider it as a part of their recreation to help keep the home in order or to assist in the real store or shop with their parents or guardians or others.

If they be taught to take pleasure in usefulness, helpfulness to others, financially or otherwise; if they be taught that idleness is a sin and a shame, a discredit to any person and a waste of valuable opportunities, they will be in a proper attitude to face the duties of life with pleasure, and not to envy those who waste both time and money in looking at a ball game, or in participating in something equally foolish and profitless.

Economy of time as well as of means should be inculcated from infancy—not with a view to cultivating selfishness, but an economy in accord with the divine will that nothing be wasted.

The Master, after feeding the multitude, commanded that the fragments be gathered and not wasted, thus indicating his mind in respect to all affairs, that there be no wastefulness; that we recognize a responsibility [F541] toward him for every moment, every dollar, every day; not a responsibility which would keep us in fear, but a responsibility which delights to note the divine will, to be as fully in accord with it as possible, and which realizes that such a course is pleasing to the Lord, and, therefore, may be thoroughly enjoyed.

The Proper Exercise of the Child-Mind

As the child grows and realizes how much there is in the world to learn, he should be encouraged to read, but from the first he should be taught to discriminate wisely between the “chips” of fiction and the “apples” of knowledge.

He should be shown that every chip stored away in his mind is worse than valueless, an injury or encumbrance, besides having cost valuable time, which might have been used to advantage in storing up knowledge, shortly so necessary in the proper discharge of the duties of life. He should be encouraged to read such books as would give information, and not novels. He should know considerable respecting the history of his native land, and have a reasonable knowledge of the remainder of the world. He can secure these through histories: we do not mean merely the histories which give the order of kingdoms and battles and generals but more particularly such works as show the social, moral and intellectual development of the ages past, and of the world as it is today. In a pleasant and kindly manner the child should be shown the importance of such information as a feature of education for his future—his reason and judgment should be appealed to, and thus his will enlisted in favor of such educative reading, and in opposition to all weedy, trashy, dreamy literature, that will do him harm and leave him unprepared for the duties of life.

The Confidence of Children

If the confidence of the child in the parent have its roots in a recognition of the fact that the parent is a member of [F548] the Royal Priesthood, a child of God, and that the parent has fellowship with God through prayer and is instructed by God through his Word—ministers being merely assistants in the understanding of the Word, etc.—and if additionally, the spirit of love and its various graces of meekness and patience and kindness pervade the home and flow through its various channels, and if the parents seek and exercise the wisdom that cometh from above, pure, peaceable, merciful, the child’s confidence will naturally rest in that parent in respect to all of life’s affairs. Then the many questions naturally presenting themselves to the opening mind—religious, moral, secular, social and physical—will all be carried most naturally to such a parent.

Such questions should be expected and invited, and should be given wise and respectful answers, according to the age of the child.

Confidential questions should never be treated lightly nor confidences broken.

Many a parent forfeits the future confidence of his child by making light of its sentiments or secrets.

We do not mean that all questions should be answered in full (regardless of age); a very partial answer may be wisest sometimes, with the suggestion that a full explanation of the matter will be given later—perhaps setting a date—as for instance, “I will explain the matter to you fully when you are thirteen years of age if your mind and character then seem to be sufficiently developed to make this the proper course. You may come to me with the question then, and in the meantime should dismiss it entirely from your mind.”

To the rightly trained child this course will at once commend itself, and in any event it should understand that the parent’s word is positive, that it had not been given without mature consideration, and that once given it must stand, until some further information on the subject should alter the judgment of the parent.

A proper observance of the Lord’s words, “Let your yea by yea, and your nay, nay,” would save many parents much trouble, and greatly promote the general peace and order of the household.

From [F549] earliest infancy the child should learn obedience, and that without a repetition of the command. But this in turn implies a recognition on the part of the parent of his responsibilities, and a desire on his part to grant all the reasonable requests of his children, so far as his circumstances will permit. Love, wisdom, and justice must combine in the parent in order to make his power and authority valuable to the home and all of its members.

The Power of Suggestion in Child Training

The Bible is full of suggestion—all proper preaching is in the nature of suggestion—that selfish and sinful thoughts and acts bring divine disfavor and react to our disadvantage; but that loving thoughts, words and deeds yield blessed fruits to others as well as to ourselves for the future as well as for the present.

Mark how the Apostle, after pointing out the results of wilful sinning to be Second Death, turns and declares suggestively, and therefore helpfully to many: “But we are not of them that draw back, but of those who believe to the saving of their souls.” (Heb. 10:39)

The mother who every morning greets her child with a cheery face and voice, gives her child a happy suggestion, good for it both mentally and physically. While dressing it, her little talk about the pretty wee birdies and about the big sun looking in at the window and calling all to get up and be good and happy, and learn more lessons about God, and to be helpful to each other, are additional profitable suggestions; whereas a complaint about “another scorching day” would be a suggestion of heat, discomfort and discontent, breeding unhappiness.

If, instead of sunshine, there is rain and a gloomy outlook, it will only make matters worse to think of the day gloomily and to suggest gloomy thoughts to others. Rainy days have their blessings for us as well as for others, and our minds should be quick to note these and to pass them along by suggestion to companions.

The mother should anticipate the child’s disappointment by calling its attention to the beautiful rain which God has provided for giving the flowers and trees and grass a drink and a bath to refresh them, that they may be bright and cheerful to us and yield their increase; and provided also for the cattle and for us to drink and bathe and be clean and happy, and praise him and love him and serve him.

Another helpful suggestion can perhaps there be introduced, viz., that this will be an opportunity [F551] for wearing storm cloak and heavy boots, and how thankful we should be that we have these and a rainproof home and school.

Or the suggestion can be given that, “My little boy and girl must take good care to avoid mud and water puddles, so as always to look neat and tidy, and neither track mud into the schoolhouse nor into the home. Pigs like the mud and have little sense about anything, and therefore must be kept in a pen; but God gives us reason and power to appreciate the beautiful and the clean. Therefore to copy after pigs and lower animals in uncleanness, etc., is to dishonor ourselves and our Creator and tends to degradation. It is honorable for anyone to get dirty in some useful and necessary employment, but no one should get dirtier than necessary nor take rest or ease until he had cleaned up.”

Discontent, one of the serious evils of our day, would find little to stimulate its growth in a family in which all were intent on giving happifying suggestions to themselves and each other.

The parent who thus greets his or her little child must of course have first cultivated happy suggestions in his own heart; and this being true, it follows that such good and happifying suggestions will not be confined to the children, but will likewise flow out to the wife, husband, neighbors, employees, etc.; and even the animals will be blessed by it.

The same method should be adopted in the guidance of the child’s dietary in sickness or health. Never should the child have aches or pains suggested, for the mind will almost certainly fasten upon these and tend to aggravate any weakness or pain, nor should aches and ailments be made the topic of conversation—especially not at table, where every thought and influence should be cheerful, healthful. [F552]

The good suggestion should be given early and be oft repeated:
“Is my little boy feeling happy this morning?
Does he love papa and mamma and sister and brother and doggie? Yes, that’s right—I thought so!
Is he hungry for some nice breakfast?—some nice porridge with sugar and milk and cracker and bread and butter and jam?
Now we must remember not to eat any unripe apples; these give my little boy the stomachache. Instead we will have something else for him specially good for him.

Won’t that be nice? There will be corn on the table today, but that would not be good for my little man, and so when the dish passes he will say, ‘No, thank you!’ He wants to be well and strong as God wants him to be and as papa and mamma desire to see him. That will be a good lesson in self-denial, too, and papa and mamma will take pleasure in seeing their little boy (or girl) learning this great lesson, so necessary to true manhood and womanhood. God wants all Christians to practice self-denial in respect to sins and in respect to everything which would hinder his cause in any degree. And even worldly people all recognize that the person who is a slave to his appetites is pitiably weak and unmanly or unwomanly. Now papa and mamma will be watching to see how strong is the will power of their little boy and we feel sure he will succeed bravely.” How highly God appreciates self-control is shown by the Scripture statement, “Better is he that ruleth his own spirit [will] than he that taketh a city.” Prov. 16:32

The child-mind, taught early and persistently to admire the noble and the true, has a bulwark reared in his mind against mean and dishonorable conduct in general. If never sanctified by the Truth, if never begotten of the Spirit, he has deeply laid the character needful to noble manhood or womanhood, and if sanctified and begotten of the Spirit, he or she will have the larger opportunities for successful service, both in the present and the future life.

In the event of the child’s disobedience and hence its need for reproof or correction, it should be admonished from the standpoint of sympathy and confidence in its good intentions.

“I know that my little girl whom I love so much and endeavor continually to make happy, and to train as the Lord would approve, did not willingly disobey me. I am sure this disobedience was rather the result of following the example of others and not sufficiently exerting her will to do as mamma told her to do. I believe that this time I shall forgive you and not punish you at all, except that tonight I will give you no good night kiss—just to impress the matter upon your mind, my dear. Now you’ll try still harder next time to exercise self-control and do as I direct—won’t you, dear? I am sure you will!”

Next time take the matter still more seriously, but never question the child’s proper desires or intentions.

“I am so sorry that my little daughter failed again. I do not doubt your good intentions, dear, but I am sorry to see that you do not exercise your will power in the matter as I am sure you could do, and as I earnestly hope you will do in the future. It is necessary, my child, that I do my duty toward you and punish you, though it would be far more to my pleasure to commend you. I trust I may soon be enabled to rejoice with you in your victory over this besetment. The matter affects far more than is directly involved in the disobedience; it affects your entire future, for if you do not now learn to say ‘No’ to temptation you will fail also in the more important and weighty questions of life as they present themselves in the future. But I am confident that my love and confidence and instructions will yet bear fruit. And remember, my child, that our very defeats, as in [F554] this case of yours, may become helps to us, if we but set our wills the more firmly for the right. We learn to be specially on guard at points where we find by experience that we are weak. Let us bow before the Lord and ask his blessing, that this failure may be a profitable lesson, and ask his assistance in laying it to heart, that your conduct may be more pleasing to him when next you are assailed by temptation.

All suggestions should take into consideration the Lord—

 

“The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

 

Scripture text cards in every room in the house should continually remind parents and children and visiting friends that the Lord’s will is the only standard recognized, that the Lord is cognizant of all our doings and affairs, and that God is “for us,” his newly begotten ones, and for all who are seeking righteousness in humility.

Our Children in the Time of Trouble

When the time shall come that men shall cast their gold and silver into the streets, and they shall not be able to deliver them (Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:18), gold and silver, bank notes and bonds evidently will be of little value, and will fail to procure either protection or comforts or luxuries. If we look away, then, to country places, where we [F555] might suppose that food at least would be obtainable, we have the intimation of the Scriptures that the distress of those days will affect the country places as well as the cities: “There shall be no peace to him that goeth out nor to him that cometh in, for I have set every man against his neighbor.” Zech. 8:10

There is just one promise which seems to hold during that time of trouble, and it appears to be a general one, applicable to all who are meek and lovers of righteousness. This class should include all mature children of the consecrated ones, who have been rightly taught in the precepts of the Lord, rightly instructed out of his Word.

The promise reads, “Seek meekness, seek righteousness; it may be that ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” Zeph. 2:3

Christian parents sometimes feel loath to leave their dear ones, even though full of confidence that they themselves would be with the Lord immediately they should pass through the veil—that they would be changed and partake of the powers of the First Resurrection, and be with the Lord and all his holy ones and share his glory. The new mind is sometimes thus hindered, and made anxious in respect to the members of the family left behind—desirous of continuing with them for their counsel, assistance and guidance.

Such should realize that having given their all to the Lord, in accepting them the Lord accepted all of their proper interests; and that they may wisely commit to his loving care every earthly concern.

As they more and more learn of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of love divine, and how ultimately the benefits of the great redemption shall extend to every member of Adam’s race, they will gain the greater confidence and trust in the Lord in respect to their dear ones.

Additionally, such should remember that they themselves, on the other side the veil, will have still as good an opportunity of watching over the interests of their loved ones as they now have, and a much better opportunity than now to exercise a protecting care over them—a providential guidance in their affairs under [F556] divine wisdom, with which they will then concur absolutely.

What, then, is the best provision possible for the New Creation to make for their children according to the flesh? We answer that the best provision is in their proper training. This, as already shown, would include a reasonable education in the common branches, and a particular training and instruction in matters pertaining to God—in reverence for him and his Word, in faith in his promises, and in the cultivation of those characteristics pointed out in the Scriptures as the divine will, the Golden Rule.

Such children, if left without one dollar of earthly wealth, are rich; because they have in heart and in head and in molded character a kind of riches which neither moth nor rust nor anarchy nor any other thing in the world can take from them. They will be rich toward God, as the Apostle expresses it, and as again he declares, “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” great riches.

Earnestly striving by the grace of God to thus properly equip and qualify their children for every emergency—both for the life that now is and that which is to come—the New Creatures may feel comparatively free from all concern respecting temporal interests, remembering that the same Lord who has provided things needful and expedient in the past is both able and willing to continue his supervision and provision, adapted to all the circumstances and conditions of that time as well as this—for those who love and trust him.

Proper Amusements

Mirth and humor are elements of our human nature, too often educated out of all proportion to the more serious and useful qualities. Babies are spoiled by being kept in a constant excitement of amusement until their contentment is destroyed and they will cry for amusement. This thought of amusement continues during childhood, when the child should be entertaining itself investigating the affairs of life and asking explanations of its parents or of books. Desire to be amused thus cultivated, in due time craves the theater [F557] and the nonsense of the clown.

Members of the New Creation should from first to last train their offspring along opposite lines—to be actors in the great drama of life, to deprecate shams, and to seek to perform as great acts of usefulness and benevolence on the world-stage as their talents and opportunities will permit.

Reference:

Br. Charles T. Russell – Volume 6, p.525-557 ( Note: some passages were omitted from the original text referenced.)

 

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/23/proverbs-226-train-up-a-child-in-the-way-he-should-go/

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Gethsemane

GETHSEMANE - Matthew 26, 36-39

GETHSEMANE! The Garden’s lonely shade the world’s
Redeemer sought that night. He went alone to pray
For grace and strength to drink the last drop in His Cup.
Great souls crave solitude in sorrow’s hour. Not e’en
His well-beloved three might share the sacredness
Of that deep woe, – He bade them tarry, while He went
A little farther on, and fell upon His face.

Gethsemane! A solitary place, apart,
No mortal feet may press in sympathy that dark,
Encrimsoned earth. No human hand the fevered brow
May cool, no other heart can share its agony,
No voice but God’s may break the solemn silence there, –
A place where every soul must drink alone the Cup
The Father’s hand hath poured, and given to His child.

Gethsemane! A desert place, alone, apart?
Ah, no! The anguished heart doth never cry in vain
To Him who marks the smallest sparrow when it falls,
For He shall send His Angel with the message, “Fear
Thou not, for I am with thee! I will ne’er forsake,
Nor let thee fail! My right hand shall uphold, My love,
My power shall keep thee, even to the bitter end!

Gertrude W. Seibert

Matthew 26:36-46 KJV

“36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”

SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER

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JOHN 13:14-15 – Washing One Another’s Feet – A Privilege

jesus-washing-apostles-feetJohn13,14-15.jpg

During Bible times, frequent washing of the feet was necessary as the Israelites wore sandals instead of shoes, and often went barefoot in the house. Thus, among the Israelites, it was the first duty of a host to give his guest water for washing his feet. To omit this was a sign of marked unfriendliness. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, “it was also customary to wash the feet before meals and before going to bed (compare Cant. 5:3).” Abstaining for a long time from washing them was a sign of mourning (2 Samuel 19:24).

The priests had laws about this practice (Exodus 30:18-21). Here it is explained that a copper laver was placed in the court, between the Tabernacle and the altar of burnt offering, in which the priests had to wash their hands and feet before entering the Tabernacle or approaching the altar of burnt offerings, hence before all their priestly functions. As no one is allowed to approach a king or prince without due preparation, which includes the washing of the hands and feet, so the Israelite, and especially the priest, is forbidden in his unclean condition to approach God, for if such a one came defiled, he was subject to die.

Feet Washing in the Old Testament

The practice of providing water for guests to wash their feet is illustrated on the occasion of a mysterious visit by “three men” to Abraham.

In Genesis 18:24 we read: “And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.”

Later, Abraham’s nephew (Genesis 11:27), Lot, made a similar offer to two angels who came to the city of Sodom where he and his family lived, to destroy the city because their immorality has become “so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent” angels to destroy it (verse 13).

“(1) Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. (2) And he said, ‘Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.’ They said however, ‘No, but we shall spend the night in the square.’ (3) Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate” (Genesis 19:13).

(See also Judges 19:20, 21. To understand the context here, starting from verse 1 may be good).

The act of feet washing in the above cases reflects a spirit of LOVE, SERVICE and HUMILITY = WILLING SACRIFICE TO PLEASE THE HEAVENLY FATHER, who reads the heart of men.

Feet Washing – In the New Testament

The Woman’s Tears and Perfume

those who are forgiven much love much

Feet washing in the New Testament is found in Luke 7:36-50. It is six days before the Passover (Luke 12:1) a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to his home for a meal. While he was seated at the table, a woman “who had lived a sinful life in that town” came to the Master with an alabaster jar of costly perfume.

“(38) and standing behind him [Jesus] at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing his feet and anointing them with the perfume. (39) Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet he would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.’

(40) And Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ And he replied, ‘Say it, Teacher.’ (41) ‘A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

(42) When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.

So which of them will love him more?’

(43) Simon answered and said, ‘I suppose the one whom he forgave more.‘ 

And He said to him, ‘You have judged correctly.’

(44) Turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

(45) You gave me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet.

(46) You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.

(47) For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.’

(48) Then he said to her, ‘Your sins have been forgiven.’ (49) Those who were reclining at the table with him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man who even forgives sins?’ (50) And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace‘” (Luke 7:38-50 NASB).

Dear friends, what can WE do as did this woman?

In the Mark account of another occasion, Mary, the sister of Lazarus, even poured the perfume on Jesus’ head (Mark 14:3).

How can we anoint the minds of our brethren, as suggested by the head?

Perhaps by praying for our brethren’s strength, that they might endure all for CHRIST.

This is so important, as would we not ourselves wish others to pray for us to more than overcome, which is the desire of our entire existence—to bring JOY to the Father by pleasing Him more? What more than to feel his Perfect Loving counsel moment by moment?

Perhaps anointing the head of our brethren can also mean sharing spiritually edifying thoughts and asking faith-building questions as well as letting the subject matter discussed or studied, be one that feeds the New Creation in Christ so as to encourage fellow consecrated believers to be fully consumed in their thought processes upon heavenly things since “a mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:7-9).

How can we wash each other’s feet as this woman did for Jesus?
How can we show true hospitality likewise to our fellow brethren in Christ?

The specific and precise answer for each consecrated child of God may be unique and personal, just as each has been given by God uniquely specific talents to use in His service in the body of Christ. But how can we make sure our talents in God’s service are not buried? Perhaps by COURAGE IN CHRIST and by asking our Heavenly Father to eradicate FEAR of man from our lives while holding on to the REVERENTIAL FEAR of GOD—the fear of doing wrong in the eyes of God alone. See post titled: A Proper Fear

Does FEAR OF MAN … fear of past mistakes (as with the Apostle Paul before he became fully enlightened) … fear of being misunderstood and thus misrepresented and shunned or separated from the general assembly, or labelled “crazy” or “a missfit,” “the radical one,” stop us from BEING as CHRISTLIKE as we can and striving to moment by moment develop into the likeness of Christ by getting outside of the CARNAL COMFORT ZONE? Let it not!

This means, going BEYOND the PAIN BARRIER!

If you are not suffering for righteousness sake in some way, shape, or form, it means YOU ARE NOT working to your full potential in CHRIST.

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…” (1 Peter 2:21)

The consecrated until death “stars of heaven” class are the “heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29) and coheirs of Christ (Romans 8:17). But such will be heirs only if they display the forgiving, repenting, and humble spirit among men, as we find in the weeping woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears of remorse and reverential thankfulness in being worthy of but touching the hem of the garments of Jesus. (Matthew 6:15) She had heard among the crowds that his kingdom was not of this world, and now she was able to SERVE him and be CLEANSED from her sins by him—because of her desire to have her sins forgiven. Later, if she continued on, she would be washed in this antitypical lamb’s blood. Her REVERENTIAL FEAR wished only to do right in God’s sight, recognizing her need for a redeemer.

Since Simon was a Pharisee, he may have considered himself to be rather important and may have felt he had bestowed an honor to Jesus by inviting him to dinner.

Was Simon embarrassed or afraid of what others would think of him if he showed Jesus hospitality? This Jesus who had allowed the woman considered in the public eye as inferior, to come near him?

Do you think Simon’s attitude was one of self-righteousness? Self-importance?
Do we ever allow this feeling to creep into us like LEAVEN?

To rid our minds of any such poison to the New Creation in CHRIST, let us focus our thoughts upon the Son of God who humbled himself even to the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).

Anointing the Feet

In John 12:13 Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with costly ointment of spikenard six days before the Passover, when Jesus came to Bethany. [Note: this would be Nisan 10th after 6pm and an appropriate time for anointing the Passover lamb—whom Jesus himself was, symbolically.] Mary displayed her loving devotion to the Master by using her hair to wipe Jesus’ feet.

Although Judas’ perhaps insincere words highlight his dissatisfaction with Mary’s use of this expensive perfume (“worth a year’s wages”), Jesus said that she should be let alone, because she did what she could.

In fact, Jesus commended Mary’s actions, in Matthew 26:11-13: “(11) For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. (12) In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. (13) Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

What a beautiful illustration how true Christians should treat their most valuable assets on earth—the feet members of Christ that remain. In these we see Christ. They profess consecration, and evidence this with acts of true loving kindness, and manifestations of concern, gentleness, patience, assistance, and sympathy. They strive to bless others as Mary did with Jesus, lavishing costly, symbolic perfume upon the body of Christ, the Church.

As the washing of another’s feet is not a glamorous work, and considering the imperfections that each of us have, it takes a large measure of love, phileo and AGAPE love, and humility, to press forward in striving to serve our brethren.

Let us not allow differences along one line or another, nor misunderstandings, hinder us from seeking to do good unto all that we have opportunity, especially the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10, 1 Peter 3:11, Psalm 34:14, Micah 6:8)

Washing the Disciples’ Feet

One of the marks of female saintship in the early church was, “if she have washed the saints’ feet” (1 Timothy 5:10). Feetwashing being necessary at that time, became a synonym of service and kind hospitality. To illustrate this same principle of service and humility, Jesus used this same custom on the night of the Last Supper:

At the end of Jesus’ ministry and “just before the Passover Feast,” and when “the evening meal was being served,” Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. The disciples must have been shocked and silent that the Great Teacher, their Lord, would do such a thing. Simon Peter did not want Jesus to wash his feet at first, until the Master said that unless he washed Peter’s feet, he could have no part with him in the kingdom. Then Peter was willing to have his whole body washed, yet Jesus pointed out that he who is clean needs only to wash his feet. Jesus pointed out that not all of them were clean, the reference obviously being made to Judas.

Jesus admonished the disciples: “(14) If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. (15) For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15).

Jesus’ act was intended as an example in humility and a lesson to the apostles who seem still to have had a spirit of rivalry for preeminence. To our understanding, the lesson was that our Lord’s followers were not to shun any service, however menial, that would enable them to assist or comfort one another.

Jesus’ lesson is amplified by his words in John 13:34, 35: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Not until they had received the holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, were the disciples of Christ able to manifest their determination to serve Christ in a way that would enable them to become pillars of the Church (Acts 2:24, 16-18, 33, 38).

Feet Washing – TODAY

When it comes to helping brethren, let us gladly do the work of feet washing, illustrated for us by the Master himself who taught the disciplines the lesson of HUMILITY, “that they should love one another to such an extent that they would consider no service too great nor too degrading which would minister to each other’s comfort” (Br. Charles T. Russell, Biblical Expository 1).

Here are some encouraging words of Br. Oscar Magnuson from a 1932 Bible Students Reunion Convention Report:

“If we place a limit on what we are willing to do and to bear for the Lord, the Lord might find it necessary to give us a body with limited capacities in the resurrection. In that case a divine body would not suit us, for such a body is unlimited in bodily capacities.”

There are hundreds of opportunities of showing the meek, lowly, and loving spirit of our Master. As God’s stewards and servants, it is not self that we are to minister and serve and pamper, but it is our mission to “do good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith,” remembering that we are to walk in his footsteps who “came not to be ministered unto [served], but to minister [serve] and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, Matthew 20:28).

In Reprint 1101, Br Russell writes that “the entertainment of any of the household of faith, is really the fulfillment of our Lord’s injunction, ‘See that ye wash one another’s feet.’ But none should be permitted to overdo themselves in this blessed service, nor to deprive themselves of the spiritual communion of the meetings. To this end all have been urged to make only very simple arrangements, that both visitors and entertainers may have their principal feast upon the spiritual meat. Come, then, expecting a warm welcome to such plain things as we have ourselves.”

In our sympathetic desire to help others be more than overcomers, a reciprocal washing of one another’s feet can include:

  • Desiring and maintaining loving fellowship with the members of Christ’s body as did Jesus spend in that upper room SERVING his disciples;
  • Praying for each other, as our Lord Jesus taught in his prayer in John 17.
  • Encouraging each other to fight the good fight of faith and become transformed in newness of life by renewing the mind when we dwell on things that are above. For example, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
  • Within the ecclesia and among those with whom we have frequent fellowship, if we are actively engaged in promoting one another’s spiritual growth and development, we should be able to appreciate that all of our brethren have certain qualities, graces, or attributes that can benefit us; and we, likewise, should be on the alert as to how we can be of help to them.
  • Volunteering for ecclesia projects.
  • Entertaining visitors with an offer of a booklet or Divine Plan Book.
  • Witnessing to all humans at every single chat we have with another.

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  • Providing transportation.
  • Sending messages of comfort to all who write messages on the Old Ron email list.
  • Sharing tapes or truth literature.
  • Typing, proofreading.
  • Testifying at Testimony meetings.
  • Sharing hymns, psalms, and Bible Scriptures over the phone or conference calls etc.
  • Sharing bible study magazine articles or poems written.
  • Sending little “keep pressing onward and upward” parcels of spiritual items to edify.
  • Sending item of use to our brethren worldwide E.g. Africa, Philippines…
  • Visiting the ill, hospitalized or isolated.

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  • Reading the Scriptures morning and evening  with your own children/family.
  • If you have a garden: sharing some of your garden’s edible produce with brethren and friends.
  • Creating a one or 2 page witnessing ad/flier and distributing amongst the public as a family activity.
  • Helping your children leave fliers on the tables and seats at shopping centres and at supermarkets.
  • Sending in bill payments with a booklet inserted inside them letting someone know about GOD’s GLORIOUS KINGDOM to come to give the world HOPE!
  • Offering to set up Convention/Camp Book Tables.

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  • Coordinating a class choir.
  • Opening up your home for a weekday Bible Study.
  • Having an email sign-off Scripture “logo” — let CHRIST be what others remember you by.
  • Asking the brethren who have websites how you can contribute your skills to aid in the witnessing efforts.
  • Asking your Elders how you could help lighten their load by supporting them in their preparations for the Ecclesia.
  • Making bookmarks from pressed leaves to sell to raise money for some Truth related cause or to give out as gifts and reminder of Scriptural words of encouragement.
  • Offering your time for Sunday School teaching and Children’s Camp /Convention lessons.
  • Sitting next to someone different during ecclesia meeting intermissions at ecclesia and share Scriptures and Scriptural thoughts.
  • Coming prepared to class studies.
  • Finding an Elder who you can be your mentor and have Bible studies, Question and Answer email studies etc.
  • Take the kids on “witnessing bike trips.”

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Each of us should realize that we have something to give for the edification of the body. We should be faithful in contributing to our ecclesia studies, praying for others, and being a model of someone whose life is undergoing the transformation process; being, therefore, an example of a believer.

Let us be faithful in washing one another’s feet!

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Acknowledgement

  • Bro. Homer Montague, for source material from his article in the Herald of Christ’s Kingdom (MarchApril 1998), titled “The Privilege of Feet Washing.”
  • Br. Charles T. Russell, Biblical Expository 1
  • Br. Oscar Magnuson for source material from a 1932 Bible Students Reunion Convention Report.

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/27/washing-one-anothers-feet-a-privilege/

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Phileo & Agape Love – Helpful Reminders

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Love is …

perfection of character.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” – 1 John 4:16

The LOVE that our Heavenly Father seeks to have us develop is a love which is in full harmony and in total surrender to God’s will. When we please our Divine Father of Life, He will bless with eternal life,

“To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor an immortality, he will give eternal life.” (Romans 2:7)

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

One element of Love is MEEKNESS.

Meekness does not mean weakness.

Consider Moses. He was a meek man and did he have a weak character? Not at all. He was humble-minded, not boastful, not proud or haughty.

“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3)

So the New Creatures in Christ, must develop and maintain this quality of meekness, from the divine standpoint.

Another element of love is GENTLENESS.

Does this signify weakness or fear? No.

Gentleness is part of a character of love.

Jesus said, “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

In Galatians 5:22-23, the Apostle Paul writes, that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

To the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6)

“Let your moderation be known unto all men.” (Philippians 4:5)

“Moderation”reasonableness, gentleness—the spirit of a sound mind, of gentleness, meekness.

This attitude of mind comes in large measure as a result of knowledge of God and his plans. (R5840:3) Surely there never was a time when this counsel was so much needed as now!

Let the fact that we know only in part and understand only in part keep us humble and moderate in word and deed and thought. (R5249:6)
Temperance, self-control—let men see by our thoughtful (not rash and hasty), careful and considerate demeanor in every affair of life, that we honor our profession. (R4809:1, R2460:4)

Here is a practical example:

If we feel the leader of a meeting is not following the best Scriptural course, we must show moderation in our approach—approving what we can, objecting in kindness, meekness, and brotherly love. R3866:2 The Greek seems to carry the thought of reasonableness, of not exacting our rights too rigorouslymercy and leniency. R3128:2 Keep yourselves well in hand, subject and obedient to the will of God.

In 2 Timothy 3:3-5, the Apostle Paul warns against those “in the last days” (today) who he describes as “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.” The Apostle Paul then states, “have nothing to do with such people.”

Even in discussing the time of trouble, emphasis should be laid upon the glorious Kingdom which will be inaugurated. (R5716:4) We should be using the knowledge we possess, doing with our might what our hands find to do. (R5249:3)
Let us be specially on guard that the influence of every word and act should be in accord with law, order and peace—“live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18).

Our gentleness toward all men would begin at home—more particularly in the Church—but should be manifested toward all with whom we have dealings. (R5840:6)
Messiah’s Kingdom is shortly to be established—this should help the Lord’s people in living an exemplary life. (R5840:6) This clause implies the exhortation belongs specially to the closing of this Gospel age—thus, to this time period we are currently living in.

We are expecting great changes soon and can well afford to be generous and liberal in our sentiments toward others.(R3128:3)

PATIENCE is another element of love and a part of the true Christian character.

“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

Patience is an element of character. We read in Revelation 3:10,

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

When examining the word “patience” we find that two quite distinct words in the Greek are translated by our English word patience in the New Testament:

  • makrothunia ( 6:12; James 5:10; Acts 26:3): this is the word which in a general way corresponds to the common thought of patience, as we speak of it connected with every-day affairs of our lives; it means merely long-suffering, and, indeed, makrothunia is generally so translated throughout the New Testament. (Rom. 2:4; 9:22; Eph. 4:2; Col. 1:11; 3:12; 1 Tim. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:15, [R2791 : page 115] etc.)
  • hupomonee: this is used in the Revelation text quoted above which has a much deeper and fuller significance than attaches to our English word patience. It signifies rather constancy,—the thought being :

An endurance of evil in a cheerful, willing, patient manner. It represents, therefore, an element of character, and not merely a temporary condition or restraint of feeling or action.

For instance, a worldly man might have a great deal of patience in connection with the running of his business;—he might be very attentive to his customers, very obliging, very painstaking, and show no dissatisfaction in connection with the inconsiderateness of his customers; and “patience,” in its ordinary sense, might be ascribed to his conduct.

But the word in the Revelation text rendered patience” signifies such a development of heart and character as manifests itself in an endurance of wrong or affliction with contentment, without rebellion of will, with full acquiescence in the divine wisdom and love.

In Luke 8:15, in the parable of the sower, we read:

“That [sown] on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience [with cheerful endurance, constancy].”

The thought here is that in order to be of the fruit-bearing class which the Lord will approve and accept to his Kingdom, it is necessary TO DO MORE than to receive the word of his testimony, even thou we receive it with joy—for that class in the parable is represented by the stony ground, which at first gave evidence of great fruitfulness and vigor, but which, when the sun of persecution arose, withered, because of lack of depth of soil. That stony, shallow soil represents, the Lord explains, a class of hearers who rejoice greatly in the truth, but do not endure, such as cannot withstand persecution or opposition, but wither under it, become discouraged. Such cannot be of the Kingdom class, all of whom must be overcomers.

In this parable our Lord shows us that patient endurance, constancy, is the final test, following after the readiness of preparation to receive the seed; following after the seed has been received and has sprouted; following after love and hope and joy and faith have caused it to spring forth and to give fruitage. (R.2791)

Patient endurance, then, is necessary, in order that the grain may be developed and thoroughly ripened, and made fit for the garner.

Ah! how important patient endurance seems to be, in the light of this our Lord’s word—cheerful endurance; for we cannot suppose that he who judges the thoughts and intents of the heart would be pleased with his children, even if he saw them enduring much for his sake, if they endured in an impatient or dissatisfied or unhappy frame of mind. They would not, in that event, be copies of God’s dear Son, our Lord, whose sentiment is expressed in the words,

“I delight to do thy will, O God!” (Psalm 40:8)

All of the Royal Priesthood are sacrificers, as was the Chief Priest, our Redeemer and example, who offered up himself: we, as the under priests, have also presented our bodies living sacrifices, and are to lay down our lives for the brethren—in the service of the truth. And God, who accepts these sacrifices through the merit of Christ, informs us that he appreciates or loves the cheerful giver, those who perform their sacrifices of a willing heart, cheerfully.

The other instance in which our Lord used the word “patience” during his ministry is recorded in Luke 21:19. He had just been telling his followers what they must expect as the result of being his disciples during the present time, when sin abounds, and when Satan is the prince of this world—they must expect tribulation, opposition from various quarters; but he assures them that they would nevertheless be fully and completely under divine care and protection, even though the persecutions would be permitted to reach and to affect them. Then follow the words,

“In your patience [patient endurance, cheerful constancy] possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19) (R3242:2)

BROTHERLY KINDNESS is another element of love.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)

The Greek word “Philadelpia” signifies brotherly love. (R3949:4; Q449:1)
“Phileo”—is duty love, a love which has a cause or demand upon it. (R2807:4)
Phileo love is evidenced in the natural family relationship, and also in the spiritual family, the Church. We may not love our brethren’s peculiarities, their features, but we love them as brethren, whether black or white, bond or free, because they are brethren, comrades in the same race. (Q449:1)

Phileo love means to make due allowance for inherited weaknesses and circumstantial misfortunes of others—to deal patiently and helpfully so far as wisdom may dictate, with a view to the correction of those faults, even at the expense of self-interest, if necessary and prudent. (R4809:2, 1114:5)

Phileo love means to meekly bear reproof, determining to overcome deformities of character, and prove a help rather than a hindrance to others; no longer fostering old dispositions. (R4809)

Phileo love allows one to exercise and manifest the principles of the divine character toward our fellow-men. (R3090:2, 1628:2)

Phileo is a love for all who are brethren and yoke fellows in the cause of righteousness and truth, the cause of God. (R2037:3)

Instead of disdaining those who are ignoble, instead of putting them away, treat them kindly.(R448:2) This of necessity grows out of godliness. As god-likeness presupposes the other graces mentioned, so its development implies an enlargement of our hearts to all who are of the household of faith. (R2155:5)

There is also “AGAPE” LOVE…

This is known as Charity (R5693:1, 5208:5)

Greek, agape, is the higher grade of disinterested love; the broader, more comprehensive, or divine love. (R3949:4;Q449:1)

Love as a general expression covers all the elements of character which are really parts of love. (F186)

We might divide the race-course into four quarters:

(1) duty-love;

(2) love for the Lord because we see something of the glorious majesty of his character;

(3) love for the brethren;

(4) perfect love—for all, even our enemies. (F187-189)

As we get agape love it means that we love all. (Q449:1) We must reach this climax of love before we can be counted worthy of a place in the new creation. F(F190)

Agape Love:

  • Is deep, pure and true.
  • Thinketh no evil.
  • Does not puff itself up.
  • Is not easily offended;
  • Rejoiceth always in the truth and never in iniquity;
  • Is the climax of Christian attainment in the present life, the grace of all graces, which never fades, and which will be perfected when we receive the new resurrection body (R2037:3, 2155:5).
  • Is sincere love for the unrighteous and unlovely, as well as for the good and beautiful. (R4809:3, 1114:5)
  • Is a love which is ever ready to manifest itself in wise and helpful activity for saint and sinner; and which pities, helps, comforts, cheers and blesses all within its reach—manifesting and cultivating the disposition which must be found in every member of the Christ company. (R4809:3, 1114:5)
  • Is a broad, generous love, taking in the whole world, even our enemies. (R5678:2, 5757:2, 5460:1)

We do not attain to the perfection of love at the beginning of our course, but it is the mark or standard which indicates the end of the course. (F186)

Love is the chief of all graces.

Acts of kindness will gradually lead to an attitude of love, even where the subject does not seem to deserve it (1628:2)

Love is an experience, and includes in it an earnest desire for the well-being of the object loved. (R78:5)

Love excels all the other virtues, because it is the most enduring. (R4732:4)

True love on our part will manifest itself in obediencedisobedience is an evidence of the loss of love as viewed from the Lord’s standpoint. R2466:5

“WITHOUT LOVE I AM NOTHING”

If we could speak all the languages known amongst men and even the angelic tongue as well, and if we were to use these talents in preaching, if we were to preach without being inspired by love, it would be completely unprofitable.

God would esteem it no more than the sound proceeding from cymbals or any brass instrument. Does GOD want to give cymbals and brass horns glory, honor and immortality? Of course not!

If man were to preach the whole Truth in all its grandeur, and have the ability to comprehend it even through the holy Spirit yet if there be a weakness in character development of love towards the brethren, then we could not be fit enough for divine favor and a share in the Kingdom, just like that brass horn would not be.

What a glorious lesson as we attempt to sound forth the praises of Him who has called us from darkness to light! How necessary it is that we speak the Truth in the love of it, with hearts full of devotion and appreciation!

By quieting the mind… and heading to the voice of our Heavenly Father through the inspired words of God in Bible and through prayer, we may learn to absorb and appreciate each lesson step by step as God unfolds it to us. God is the ultimate example of PATIENCE, waiting perhaps billions of years before finally confronting the pain of watching His own firstborn Son being sacrificed on Calvary and be the ransom for all mankind.

And Jesus… has been waiting for the completion of His Bride… His Body members of 144,000 since 33 A.D!

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Everyone knows the saying “take time to smell the roses.”

And in the same way let’s remember to TAKE TIME TO HEAR GOD SPEAK
digest it…
absorb it…
and grow from it…

The Apostle suggests that if he had mountain-moving faith, if his knowledge of Divine mysteries were very great, superior to those of all other men, and even if in his zeal for man or for God he should become a martyr and permit his body to be burned, yet, notwithstanding all this, if the primary influence in these matters were not love, all the sacrifice, all the self-denials, all the labors, even the burning, would profit nothing.

Dear friends,

When we come to get the Divine standpoint of things we find indeed that we have a very high standard to achieve; and yet our judgment assures us that it is right, that it is just, that it is proper, that God should thus set the standard of love as the only standard by which we shall ultimately be measured. But whoever thinks to have this perfect love for God and for man and make no manifestations of it is equally mistaken.

Wherever love is in the heart words, works, thoughts and looks will testify to it, so that he who loves much will serve much.

If we love the Lord we shall delight in His service regardless of failures, regardless of fame, regardless of any earthly consideration; yea, even though the service of the Lord should cause us the loss of human approbation, fellowship, etc…

Hence every true Christian may link the two words love and service, and be sure that his love will manifest itself in zeal. Similarly, love of the brethren will mean a desire to serve the brethren; love of the home and family will mean a desire to do good to them; love of our neighbor will signify a desire to do for his interests according to our knowledge and limitations.

THE RESTRAINTS OF LOVE

The Apostle points out some of the restraints of love.

It cannot be quick, irascible; for “love SUFFERS LONG and is kind.” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

  • He who is loving cannot be envious of others, nor covetous of the blessings and favors they are enjoying; for “Love envieth not.”
  • He who is loving cannot be boastful and proud; for “love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
  • He who is controlled by the spirit of love will not be ungracious, unkind, rude; for “love doth not behave itself unseemly.”
  • He who is full of the spirit of love will not be selfish, grasping, neglectful of the interests of others; for “Love does not seeks its own”(1 Corinthians 13:5).
  • The truly loving one will not be quickly angered, will not be easily offended; for “Love is not easily provoked.”

The one controlled by the spirit of love will not be imagining unkindness and rudeness nor seeking to interpret the words or conduct of others unkindly; for “Love thinketh no evil”.

What a beautiful example we see in our Master’s words to Simon:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”(Luke 22:32).

Let us not neglect to pray for our fellow brethren in CHRIST always.

“LOVE NEVER FAILS.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8

Reference: The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence

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STUDY 8: The Tabernacle Coverings

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The Tabernacle structure was overlaid with 4 coverings as explained in detail in Exodus chapter 26 (and chapter 36). There were 2 primary coverings of measured dimensions and 2 additional coverings over those.

THE TWO INNER COVERINGS OR CURTAINS

The two inner coverings formed the “MISHKAN” the Tabernacle proper.

  1. THE FIRST COVERING

The Tabernacle was covered by a large white linen cloth composed of ten curtains interwoven with figures of cherubim, in blue, purple, and scarlet. (Exodus 26:1, 36:8-13).

Each curtain was 28 cubits x 4 cubits, making a total of 28 cubits across and 40 cubits from front to back. The ten curtains were sewn into two sets 28 x 20 and these two sets were coupled together with 50 blue loops on each joined by 50 gold clasps. This joint would have been situated above the pillars of the vail (Exodus 26:33).

Since the dwelling was 30 x 10 cubits, this linen curtain covered the roof and both the northern and the southern side of the Tabernacle plus the back (western side).

If this linen curtain had have hung straight down, then it would have reached 9 cubits from the top of the Tabernacle structure (on the northern and southern side) and 10 cubits on the back (western side) and this would mean that the western corners of the curtain would be dragging along the dirty ground—and we do not believe this was the case. This white curtain presumably did not drape straight down, but was angled outward on the ropes that were secured by the pins and cords of both the Tabernacle and the court, Exodus 35:18:

18 The pins (“tent pegs” –NIV) of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords(“ropes” – NIV).”

If not for these cords (that would have kept the curtain from going straight down), then the two back corners would have lain on the dirty ground—just as the two corners of a bedspread go farther down than the bedspread on the three sides of a bed. Thus it we understand the curtain did not drag along the ground.

The pure linen covering with its embroidery represents the New Creation, holy (white linen), sanctified (set apart for God’s service), with the fruits of the spirit intertwined in their character.

This covering was in two main parts—five strips in each part.

The two main parts represents the two parts of the New Creation—our Lord Jesus, and the Church, his Bride class.

That there were five strips in each part is consistent with the use of the number five elsewhere in the Scriptures to represent the New Creation. (Thus the five wise virgins of the parable and their companions of the same number, the five foolish virgins.) As Jesus is the effulgence of God’s glory, so the Church will reflect the glory of God also, and thus the splendid beauty of this covering. [See Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle” on this website titled “The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy & The Most Holy.”]

The gold clasps suggest the divine nature to be obtained by the Church.

The loops of blue suggest the bonds of faith and fidelity that hold the Church as a unit. They are 50 in number, appropriate for the New Creation which is often represented by the number 5 or its higher orders, 50, 500, 5000. [see Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”].

This overwhelming inner beauty of the Tabernacle may reflect our Heavenly Father’s interest in having a dwelling place of the holy Spirit where the inward detail of our lives is beautiful because of our efforts of striving for righteousness in all.

  1. THE SECOND COVERING

The second covering over the linen curtain was the goats hair curtain. (Exodus 26:7-13; 36:14-18). This one extended a cubit further on the back and 2 outer sides than did the first linen curtain underneath it.

It consisted of eleven curtains 30 cubits x 4 cubits. Eleven of the curtains made 30 cubits across (2 cubits wider than the first linen covering) and 42 cubits overall length (2 cubits longer than the first linen covering) from front to back (Exodus 26:9).

At the front of the Tabernacle, the 11th of the four-cubit-wide curtains was doubled over—(creating a one cubit vertical “ledge” above, at the front of the Tabernacle door) —something unique to this particular curtain, possibly signifies that when we begin our consecration we have a double measure of goat nature, but less of it later on.

Just like the white linen curtain, this goat’s hair curtain did not touch the ground in the back but would have been elevated by ropes (cords) that were pegged to the ground outside with bronze pegs so that it hung down at an angle preventing them from getting dirty and degraded easily.

The goats hair curtain was also sewn into two sets, but this time the two sets of 50 loops were joined by 50 bronze clasps.

Bronze, (chiefly copper) representing human nature which is noted in the bronze serpent (Numbers 21:9)— representing the justified human nature of Jesus that was sacrificed for us to remove our sins. Thus bronze clasps are appropriate here, because this covering represents the human nature (in its perfection—thanks only to the imputed robe of Christ’s righteousness covering us so that a fully consecrated justified believer can be reckoned as righteous in the eyes of God) of the New Creation while in the flesh.

In other words, the goat hair covering represents our old nature (the fleshly), in which we have our spiritual hopes.

It is interesting to note that there was no bronze inside the Tabernacle, showing that the calling of the saints is away from the flesh, into the spirit.

One wonders whether the joining clasp areas of the linen and goat hair coverings may have allowed some ventilation for the Tabernacle and a place of exit for the smoke from the incense altar and the lamps. Our “ventilation” from the sorrows and difficulties of the flesh also is upward, through our prayers to our Heavenly Father (Psalm 34:4).

However, this possibility seems foreclosed, because the clasped area for the linen covering, and the clasped area for the goat hair covering, did not line up with each other, to allow such ventilation. This is because of the stagger of 1/2 curtain width in one covering relative to the other, occasioned by folding one of the goat hair curtains in half at the front of the Tabernacle.

The Bride class is depicted in Song of Solomon 4:1 as having “hair as a flock of goats,” which further connects the goat hair curtain with the Church class.

This covering represented the Church, as sacrificed with Jesus, as an offering given for the purpose of cleansing the world from sin during the Millennium. In this, it reminds us of the goat for a sin offering that was offered on the Day of Atonement.

Jesus’ sacrifice as a sin offering was represented in the bullock for a sin offering on the Day of Atonement [as is discussed in Post 7 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle” on this website, titled “Study 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.”] The Church shares with Jesus in suffering and sacrifice during the present Gospel Age, in order to assist Jesus during the Kingdom to cleanse the world from their propensity for sin. The share of the Church class in this service is represented in the goat hair curtain.

As the Church is presently imperfect, they need a covering for their imperfections in order to be an acceptable sacrifice to God. That covering is the Ransom given by Jesusrepresented in the covering of rams’ skins dyed red, which was above the goat hair curtain.

The 5 stripsrepresents the Church as the New Creation:

i.e.

2  (holy Spirit—the understanding of God’s divine plan and God’s influence on our character through studying the Old and New Testaments of the Bible)
+   
3  (redemption through Christ’s blood)
=
5  (the New Creation in Christ).

The 6 strips—show we are still in sinful flesh.

The 11 strips in total—is a picture of the Church in the flesh but with their new hopes. Thus the need for the ram skin dyed red covering, of the ransom.

It is most interesting to note that the perimeter of this covering of goat’s hair, with the “sixth curtain” doubled over in the forefront of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:9) measures exactly 144 cubits, which when multiplied by 1000 (God’s number in the Tabernacle), gives the number of those who will share with Jesus in the sin offering of atonement, 144,000—the Elect, Bride of Christ (Revelation 7, 14)

THE OUTER COVERINGS

The outer coverings formed the “OHEL”—the large tent, that spread over the first two coverings (curtains), protecting them from the sun and rain. This was the covering mentioned in Exodus 40:19 which was put over the top of the tent (the curtains or Tabernacle proper.) These coverings were a weather proof protection to the tabernacle and were held in place by cords and pins fixing them to the ground.

  1. THE THIRD COVERING

The third covering was made of ram skins dyed red (Exodus 26:14, 36:19; Numbers 4:25).

The ram skins dyed red covering represents the ransom sacrifice, which covers our imperfect humanity. It is over the goat hair covering, to show that it covers our flesh with its imperfections.

A ram is a grown male sheep and the head of the flock. A shepherd may have one or two rams in a flock of ewes to promote uniformity. The ram is forever in the eyes of the Jew as the substitute animal, faithful unto death. This is of course because GOD provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac on that day when Abraham’s faith was revealed. (Genesis 22:12-13)

The ram’s skins were dyed red to represent the ransom sacrifice of Jesus shedding his blood on the cross for the redemption of all mankind from inherited Adamic sin.

John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”

Hebrews 2:17 “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

Thus, the first layer typifies the New Creation, the second layer shows that we are still in the flesh, the third layer typifies that Jesus bore our sins and shed his blood to redeem us.

Measurements for both the 3rd (ram’s skin) & 4th (sea cow skin) coverings are not given in the Bible nor are we told precisely how they covered. Thus some artist conceptions show them as a covering tent, not in direct contact with the goat hair covering. In any case, we presume the third covering was more than sufficient to cover the second, and that the fourth was more than sufficient to cover the third.

Nevertheless, the reason for no dimension given for the ram’s skin covering may be as if to say that God’s love manifested toward the world, in the sending of his son “out of the realms of light into the shades of night,” to become the man Christ Jesus and thus to give himself a ransom for all, is immeasurable!! Who can measure it?

The ram and sea cow coverings were not divided into units as were the other two, which may mean that while the Church shares together with Jesus in the sin offering and in the glory of the kingdom, it cannot and does not share either in the humiliation of the Logos in leaving his glory to become the man Christ Jesus, nor in his death as the ransom sacrifice for the sins of the world.

  1. THE FOURTH COVERING

The fourth and top covering was made of  sea cows’ (manatee or dugong) skins (mistranslated badger skins). (Exodus 26:14, 36:19).

This outward covering was serviceable for the elements of weather, rather than suited for attractive décor. Thus it was durable (Exodus 26:14). It was not especially attractive, just as the world sees no attraction to our service in the present time. However, in the Millennium they will see the Church class cleared of all unattractive conditions. She will then be seen in her glory and grandeur; just as the temple, a type of the glorified Church, was covered with plates of gold, there were no ugly skins.

As this outward covering hid all that was beneath it, so also, Jesus’ flesh did not reveal him to be what he truly was—the Messiah whom Israel so long sought. When he presented himself to his own people as simple and humble, “his own received him not” (John 1:11) for they beheld in him “no form nor comeliness … no beauty” that they should desire him (Isaiah 53:1-2). Jesus said, “though seeing they do not see, though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (Matthew 13:13) They see only the outer things. But blessed are those who use the eyes of faith and enter in.

To those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Personal Redeemer and Advocate and Sin offering, Jesus is to us part of our being… the “altogether lovely One”, (Song of Solomon 5:16) He is the “Rose of Sharon”, the “Lily of the Valley” (Song of Solomon 2:1) and the “fairest among 10,000” (Song of Solomon 5:10) to our souls… Jesus Christ is our Bridegroom and our Head, our ultimate example of everything and everyone, our source of “oxygen” and the source of our eternal joy already now while still in the flesh, whom we long to belong to, forever more.

If anyone desired to look beyond the outer flesh covering they will see Christ’s glory. Just as questioned by Nathanael “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (see Post titled: Will Mankind Need To Become “Israelites Indeed”.) Jesus says, “Come and see.”

God does not attract anyone by apparent riches. We do not come to God because of the majesty and beauty of some building. Our reasons are not visible. The ones who endure to the end are those who do not have an outward beautiful appearance but who have an inward heavenly beauty and divine comeliness. Christ is both their content and covering, so nothing can damage or overcome them. We must learn to seek Christ in the spirit, as then we will enjoy the riches of Christ. Ultimately we will arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 3:8, 4:13).

Many think that the Truth is as unattractive as a manatee’s skin. Many think a Christian life is sad and dark; they do not know that for Christians the exterior has no value. Inside there is light, joy, richness, and peace—the “inside” being founded on the precious promises and the joy of pleasing a Creator whose standard of righteousness leads to the highest level of happiness and joy that anyone could imagine and which provides the means for us to gain immortality.

The Manatee

The Manatee - for the Tabernacle's fourth covering.jpg

It was also a peculiar skin and this illustrates the peculiarity of God’s people. The world does not like this peculiarity and considers us a bit out of our minds.

The manatees are gentle, herbivorous, and possibly ritually clean creatures, like the Church, who are out of their natural habitat, “the heavenlies” of Ephesians 2:6. Jesus, in his pre-human existence, was “the Logos” (“the Word,” John 1:1). His natural habitat was the spirit plane on which he was created. Thus being on earth was being out of his natural, comfortable environment, also.

A summary – The Antitypical Lesson Behind All Four coverings

Since the Tabernacle depicts things as they are during the Gospel Age, the saints are a new creation (linen with cherubim), sacrificing in the flesh (goat hair curtain), covered by the ransom (ram skins dyed red), apparent to the world as a drab outer covering which refers to the flesh of the saints, reflective of how our Lord Jesus was treated during the 3 1/2 sacrificial years of his life as a sin offering (aged 30-33 ½ years) who “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering… like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised…numbered with the transgressors,” until our precious Lord Jesus, “poured out his life unto death.”  (Isaiah 53:2-12, NIV)

Why Four Coverings?

Since four refers to the concept of testing or judgment, perhaps there being four coverings could suggest that this is how the Church is represented while under judgment in this life.

Likewise, at the entrance of the most holy of the Tabernacle, the time of judgment of the Church, there are four posts. Other Biblical examples of four representing judgment and testing include:

  • the second feeding of four thousand by Jesus, representing the time of harvest and judgment closing the Gospel age;
  • the forty years in the wilderness representing the Gospel age period of testing, trial, development;
  • the four hundred years of Genesis 15:13 which describes the period of the affliction of the seed of Abraham and represents the Gospel age affliction of the Church. These four hundred years, if multiplied by the 360 days in a prophetic year, yield 144,000, the number of the church in Revelation.
  • It is also noteworthy that of the dated visions of Jeremiah in chapters 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 36, three are dated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and three in the fourth year of Zedekiah—all six judgments are in a year four.
  • When the seven times of punishment on Israel was represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the expression “seven times” appeared four times in the narrative, and four times in the warning by Moses (Daniel 4, Leviticus 26). These judgments were fulfilled by four Gentile kingdoms dominating Israel during the 2,520 years of their national punishment.

In all these uses, four is linked to the concept of trial, testing, probation, judgment.
Which one?

Out of the following four drawings, which do you think would be the most probable to represent the actual Tabernacle Proper’s covering setup?

the tabernacle structure - which one was it.jpg

Not the first one. All the four coverings were draped on cords at an angle (not downward straight as covering a box). If one stretched the cords entirely vertically, then the pegs would be right next to the boards and sockets of the Tabernacle which would be a clumsy arrangement and the back corners of the first two coverings would then both be dragged along the ground, become very dirty and corrupted. (This has been discussed earlier in this Post.)

The covering was unlikely to be as the one in the 4th picture because there is no reference to the supports that appear to be necessary in that case for holding up the curtains on the side before they go straight down.

If the outer covering were like a circus top, then another beam or pole(s) would most likely be mentioned in the Bible that gives the added pointy height, hence eliminating the possibility of covering appearing as in the third drawing.

On the other hand, such a ridge pole might simply be covered by the term “tent”; all tents requiring some poles for erecting them.

Based on the data read and researched, we conclude that the Tabernacle covering was most possibly as the 2nd drawing (top right) demonstrates. Probably the first two coverings were draped as suggested in Drawing No. 2. The last two coverings may have been a tent over the whole, like one of the bottom two. Artistically, the author likes the last one, perhaps even with an extension to the back like the side extensions. But one cannot be sure.

Hidden Beauty

It has been a matter of surprise to some, that the glories and beauties of the Tabernacle—its golden walls, its golden and beautifully engraved furniture, and vail of curious work—were so completely covered and hidden from view of the people; no sunlight from without even to illuminate its glorious beauty. Yet you see, there is a beautifully glorious lesson behind this.

God covered the type and hid its beauty under skins and curtains, so the glories and beauties of spiritual things are seen only when within by those who enter the Tabernacle.

During the Gospel Age it is the “royal priesthood” and “peculiar people” who respond to God’s invitation and suffer with Christ developing into His likeness of character and conduct who may enter a hidden glory which the world and all outside fail to recognize and comprehend. Their standing as new creatures in Christ are hidden from their fellow men.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

“Ah; these are of a royal line,
All children of a King,
Heirs of immortal crowns divine,
And lo, for joy they sing!
Why do they, then, appear so mean?
And why so much despised?
Because of their rich robes unseen
The world is not apprised.”

To these “God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:27-29)

 

Reference:

– The Tabernacle and Its Teachings – Supplement to Feb.“ZION’S WATCH TOWER, 1882 p.52
– “Our Wilderness Wanderings”— by Bro. Anton Frey.
– Content assisted by Br David Rice.

 

Further Suggested Reading:

STUDY 1: An Introduction To The Tabernacle And It’s Purpose
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/02/study-1-an-introduction-to-the-tabernacle-and-its-purpose/

STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud By Day And The Pillar of Smoke By Night  URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy and The Most Holy  URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/20/study-4-the-court-holy-place/

STUDY 5: The Camp. The Israelites.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

STUDY 6: The Levites
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/18/study-6-the-levites/

STUDY 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

STUDY 9: The Gate. The Door. The Vail.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

 

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/02/study-8-the-tabernacle-coverings/

 

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ROMANS 12:1 – What Does Being CONSECRATED TO THE LORD mean?

Psalm 1,1-2.jpg

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

 Dear fellow Brethren and friends in CHRIST,

  “Are you consecrated to the LORD?” 

What is your first reaction to this question?

Is it a question you have been asked before or perhaps you have asked others?

Which word in that question stands out the most?

If your answer is “consecration” … then stay tuned! If not, stay tuned anyway as we wish all who read this post to God willing, receive a spiritual blessing.

What does the word consecration really mean in relation to a Christian’s calling?

Is consecration a means of escaping horrible punishment in the afterlife, where just a simple profession of faith, and reasonably moral conduct are enough to avoid the jeopardy and secure a place in heaven?

Of course not.

God is not merely saving a few before He destroys (or worse) the vast majority…

Rather, God is selecting from among men and women of faith an “elect” class (Matthew 24:24, Romans 8:33, 2 Peter 1:10) for a special honour during the coming 1000 year reign of Christ with his “Bride” (consisting of 144,000 members—the more than overcomers from the Gospel Age)—who with Christ, their “Head”, will be the spiritual rulers of the world. They will help lead mankind—that is all the human  race from Adam who will be resurrected—up the “Highway of Holiness”, teaching them godliness and truth, so that righteousness will flourish through the Universe and the eradication of evil and the evil ones will lead to everlasting joy and pain-less-ness and sin-less-ness! (Isaiah 35:8)

What a MARVELLOUS PLAN!

What an incredibly unfathomable Creator of ALL we have!

God’s timing is perfectly precise to work out everything for the ultimate purpose of bringing everlasting JOY to all and in all for eternal eternities. (Habakkuk 2:3, Galatians 4:4-5, Romans 5:6, Psalm 27:14, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Romans 11:25, Genesis 18:14.)

Romans 5, 6-8.jpg

Can you imagine what glorious harmony and unity in all things will occur amongst every soul that lives once Christ and his saints lead the world into obedience and understanding?! WOW! It will be like ONE MIND made up of trillions of bodies united in thought, action and purpose bring the Heavenly Father JOY in all things. (Revelation 20:1-3, 6.)

How High are God’s Standards?

By understanding the high honour associated with the saintly class called by God during this Gospel Age as his “royal priesthood” training as the under-priests of a heavenly government soon to commence—then we can better appreciate the high standards which are expected of them by God.

These standards may be considered in four parts:

(1) Godly conduct, (2) Character Development, (3) Study of the Truth, (4) Service and Sacrifice.

  1. Godly Conduct

Paul clearly explains in 1 Corinthians 6:10 in Corinth, Greece, he knew some of them had practiced the darker sins of the world. He listed these in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) what our conduct MUST BE:

“9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

We learn from these words of the Apostle Paul to the “called of God” in the church of Corinth in Greece, that once we have been “washed,” we are not to return to any immoral ways of conduct of the past.

What then, do you think is the pre-requisite for consecration?

It is REPENTANCE.

Repentance means turning completely 160.c  away from past ways of living for the flesh to now living to feed the New Creation—the New Mind in Christ.

It means COMPLETELY being DEAD to sin and ALIVE IN CHRIST.

It means soaring like an eagle towards the SUN…

isaiah-40-31

Who does the sun represent in the Bible?

It represents JESUS. Yes, our Lord and Saviour who’s wings are of healing soon to come to all the nations of the earth!

By focusing on JESUS… and by being considered a FOOL IN CHRIST by many if not most, we will not be caught in the VISIBLE spider web spun by the most evil one of all in this dark world—the one who is described in 1 Peter 5:8 as “a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”

He wants most to deceive “the best of the best”! Watch out and BE ON THE ALERT!

Is a spider web visible in the day? :-

NO—if you are rushing around and careless…

YES—if you tread with CAUTION and are FOCUSED ON WHAT IS AHEAD—a mind fixed on Jesus.

By inquiring “What is your will Father? Please show me” we are at a “safe speed” of zealous action moving forward with Christ who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

—– LET US PRAY FOR EACH OTHER AND BE ON THE ALERT. —–

DO NOT SLUMBER even for a moment away from spiritual alertness of the New Mind in CHRIST!

Let our thoughts be on Jesus and the faithful ones of the Bible—the Apostles and the Ancient Worthies—our “cloud of witnesses” talked about by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Hebrews, and the prophets of the Old Testament.

May we be HOT (not lukewarm) for the Truth (Revelation 3:16)… because if we are not careful of GROWTH and PROGRESS in the School of Christ, slipping towards the gates of perhaps no return… means slipping towards second death! To be by these “gates” is emptiness in the fullest sense and a loneliness and rejection and loss of everything.

Jesus explains to us what should characterize a Christian’s character in his words spoken in his Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-11, ESV).

  1. Character Development

Actions are a result of thoughts. Likewise, one’s outward conduct is the result of one’s inward character. Our character is like a mirror that reflects hidden within principles and qualities that are in our heart and mind. (Proverbs 23:7, Proverbs 4:23)

How reassuring it is though, that God knows the intent of our heart even when our conduct does not express our intents, or when our conduct is misunderstood or misrepresented by others. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

How do we live in this world but not be of the world? (John 17:16)

How do we not become friends of this world and thus enemies of God? (James 4:4):-

  • By feasting on the Words of God.
  • By prayer.
  • By disciplining the flesh.
  • By feeding the spiritual mind.
  • By going AGAINST the tide of the world—STARVING the fleshly minds and FEEDING the spiritual mind.
  • Literally saturating the mind with Divine Beauties of Truth and thus feasting on the Word of God and communing with the Heavenly Father moment by moment. (Romans 12:1)

The result of these actions is a clear conscience before GOD which is the only way to righteous peace… a peace unlike that which the world knows… It is a peace that knows only JOY in the spirit for the flesh is counted as dead as one lives in newness of life feeding that which is spiritual—the embryonic New Creature within. (Psalm 97:11)

Christian character can be defined by “the fruits of the Spirit” which the Apostle Paul so brilliantly explains in Galatians 5:22-23.

Galatians 5, 22.jpg

Another list of Christian character is given to us by Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:5-12:

5Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

Colossians 3, 2.jpg

  1. Study of the Truth

The Apostle Paul wrote to “the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae” including in this letter, the following words:

“from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…”

To the Philippian brethren, the Apostle Paul wrote:

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.” (Philippians 1:9)

Why is studying the Word of God in the Bible so important for the consecrated in the Lord?

Because by doing so, we can learn to understand the plans and purposes of God in part (1 Corinthians 13:9), so that we can be in harmony with Him, and work in sympathy with Him.

Some of the Jews in the Apostle Paul’s day had “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:2). This was because the brethren back then were transiting from the old Jewish Age to the new Gospel Age and the labours of Apostle Paul were in this direction.

We should be zealous as they, but our zeal should be directed by an accurate knowledge of the Divine Plan. One method of reasoning upon Holy Scriptures which the Apostle Paul teaches us from his methods of reasoning, is to understand the types, or pictures, used in the Old Testament.

E.g. The Apostle Paul cited:

(1) the spiritual meaning of the wives of Abraham (Galatians 4:21-31),
(2) the meaning of Israel’s Day of Atonement (Hebrews 9:1-14, 10:1-10),
(3) the meaning of Melchizedek as a figure of Christ (Hebrews chapters 5 & 7).

Other methods of studying the Bible include: drawing lessons from the prophets (e.g. Romans 9:23-33), topical and chronological.

“No work is more noble and ennobling than the reverent study of the revealed purposes of God.”

(Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 1, page 13).

  1. Service and Sacrifice

Does our consecrated life include active service in the cause of Christ? It must.

Why?

Because this is a way of sacrificing our earthly interests for our spiritual work by using our time, strength, energy, talents, or any other means for the Lord’s cause.

A great way of seeking out opportunities in this way is to inquire of the Lord:

“Heavenly Father, please show me, what is your will for me today. Where do you wish I be sent? To whom do you wish me to minister unto? Who may I spiritually edify? Please use me to bring you joy so that your Holy Name may be glorified, and your Son Jesus may shine through into the hearts of whomever you wish requires this.”

Some examples of active service in the cause of Christ include:

  • Opening our home for fellowship with the brethren.
  • Attending meetings of the Lord’s people rather than spending time in pursuing hobbies and things of this world.
  • Preparing answers to Biblical questions asked by others or in preparation for Bible Studies.
  • Travelling to serve the brethren (Acts 15:25, 26).
  • Preach the Truth in favourable or non-favourable circumstances.
  • Visiting/assisting the sick, bereaved, widows, orphans.
  • Accepting physical and/or mental abuse and/or imprisonment. (Note: According to traditions and the Bible, eight of the Apostles died as martyrs. At least two of the Apostles, Peter and Andrew, were crucified.)

Even when on beds of sickness, one can lie in bed and when mentally alert, send prayers of petitions and supplications to the Heavenly father for others as well as for self. This is the GREATEST of gifts perhaps that one can give another!

The Apostle Paul wrote that he was “being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of” the faith of the Philippian brethren, which made him rejoice and be filled with joy. He urged the Philippian brethren to “rejoice in the same way and share your joy” with him. (Philippians 2:17).

In 1 Corinthians 16:15-16 the household of Stephanas is praised by the Apostle Paul because they “devoted themselves to the service of the saints”. Paul encourages the brethren in Corinth to be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer.”

The Word “Consecration”

There are eight different Hebrew words in the Old Testament which are rendered consecrate, consecrated, consecration, or consecrations.

  1. “Nazar” (Strong’s Concordance #5144) means to set apart (for sacred purposes) and this word is in Numbers 6:12 – a text referring to the Nazarite vow, which is a picture of the consecration of Christians to God. (See Study 6 – The Levites). The worshipper taking this vow was to consecrate [nazar, set apart] unto Jehovah the days of his separation..

Are we continuously keeping our earthly life SET APART for the sacred purposes of devotion to God?

  1. “Nezer” (Strong’s # 5145) means something set apart and this word is found in Numbers 6:7 and also refers to the Nazarite vow:

“7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration [separation] of his God is upon his head.”

  1. “Charam” (Strong’s #2763) means to seclude, by a ban, to devote to religious use and this word is found in Micah 4:13, “I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord.”

This refers to the wealth of gentile nations after the judgments of God. It is not directly relevant to our present study.

  1. “Godesh” (Strong’s 6944) means a sacred place or thing and this word is found in Joshua 6:19, “all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron are consecrated unto the Lord.”

This refers to the precious things of the gentile nations conquered by Joshua which would come into the treasury of Jehovah. These precious items of “silver and gold” taken from the world might represent the Church Class (the Elect of the Gospel Age).

[Note: Compare Haggai 2:7, 8, where God will “shake the nations,” and the silver and gold may here too represent the saints of God who will glorify God’s spiritual temple.

  1. “Qadash” (Strong’s # 6942) means to make, pronounce, or observe as clean. This is used three times of the priests. See: Exodus 28:3, 30:30; 2 Chronicles 26:18.
  1. The most frequent Hebrew term rendered consecrate is actually a pair of words used together, “mala” (Strong’s #4390) meaning to fill and “yad” (Strong’s #3027) meaning open hand.

To fill an open hand, in this context, means for the priests to be devoted to their sacred duty to God and ministering to others. In English there is an expression, “my hands are full,” meaning one is fully occupied. So it should be with those consecrated to God during this age. We should have our hands full in the sacred service which is our privilege.

  1. “Millu” (Strongs #4394) means a filling, or consecration.

In Exodus 29 and Leviticus 8 this word is used of the offerings by which the priests were consecrated to their office. In Leviticus 8:33 it is once used in reference to days of consecration of the priests.

In what way is this consecration in relation to the Priests, significant to us?

It is fitting to us since we are called to be priests of God to reconcile the world back to God during the Kingdom.

So actually, we should be consecrated to God even more deeply than the priests under the Old Law were.

In the New Testament, the term “consecration” is found in the following 2 places:

  • Hebrews 7:28 (ESV) –“For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”

Here it speaks of Jesus consecrated as a priest to serve God, and “the oath” refers to the oath given by God to King David in Psalms 110:4, “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Prophetically, this refers to Jesus Christ, who was descended from the line of David.  Melchizedek was a king of Jerusalem who was also a priest (Genesis 14:18). Paul says Melchizedek was a picture of Jesus, who in heaven, after his glorification, is also a King and Priest. (See further words on Melchizedek in the post : Study 7 – The Priests.)

Jesus is now our high priest, but during the Millennium we will join with him as priests for the world (Revelation 20:6).

By being consecrated unto death now in the entire service of and for God, we will be, God willing, qualified, tested and proven worthy and ready to serve with him to uplift the world.

  • Hebrews 10:20 (KJV) – refers to the “new and living way which he [Christ] hath consecrated [inaugurated] for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”

Here the Apostle Paul reminds us about how remarkably, the thick veil in Solomon’s Temple was rent from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:51).

The present heavenly calling of the Gospel Age to consecrate our lives to God, was never even extended to the righteous of past ages. This call is unique, and was opened up (inaugurated) through Christ’s death on the cross.

Those who consecrate their lives to God now receive the redemption provided by this ransom now, whereas the world will receive the redemption later, during the Millennial Age.

Are All Christians Consecrated?

We hope they will be as not all now are.

One may believe in God, believe in Jesus as their Saviour, appreciate what God has provide, strive to refrain from sin and evil as best one can, commit to works of kindness and charity, attend worship services but if there is no full personally commitment, then there is no valid consecration .

A step in the direction of full consecration involves showing by an outward sign of God’s invisible grace (the holy Spirit) one’s full commitment to their consecration vow through water baptism—a testimony to others.

If you have still not done so please take some time to thoughtfully consider consecrating your all to the Lord—the benefits in this life, far outweigh any other joy that any other person, thing and place can give!

What will it cost?

A good answer is in Luke 14:26-33. Jesus explains this best!

(See Post:“The Cost of Discipleship”)

In the earlier verses Jesus spoke of humility (verse 11), and of giving without having any thought of getting back in return (verse 14). Jesus also gave a parable about a great supper prepared by a good man, who sent his servants to invite his guests. It represents God’s invitation through Christ to come into the spiritual kingdom of God. Since most of those invited declined, (giving one excuse or another), the man decided to open the invitation to any who would be interested for he insisted, “my house [will] be filled.” (verse 23).

Are you one of the interested? Are you ready to accept the blessings of “a gracious God [who is] merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love?” (Jonah 4:2)

You know… the fastest way to happiness is BEING A GIVER and what better way than to give the Creator of ALL your ALL?

To the already consecrated brethren in Christ, are you rejoicing in your testing of patient continuance in well doing and seeking for glory and honour and immortality?

Acknowledgment:  

We thank the author(s) of the article titled “Consecration”  in the publication “Faithbuilders Fellowship-Proclaiming Christ’s Parousia and the coming Millennial Kingdom,” February 2006 (www.2043ad.com) for content material used in creating this post.

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NEHEMIAH 8:10 – The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

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Why should the children of the Almighty God go mourning all their days?

It was proper that we should mourn for sin, that we should realize the need for a Savior, that we should lay hold upon him by faith; but, once we have accepted the Lord and realized the forgiveness of our sins, the time for mourning is past, the time for joy and rejoicing is commenced.

The Apostle exhorts that we should:

Rejoice in everything!
And YES, rejoice most especially in tribulation, because:

“tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Spirit which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

Since we have given ourselves to the Lord and he has accepted us as his children and given us the anointing of his spirit, adopting us into his family and made us heirs with Christ in the glorious promises to be fulfilled, our hearts should be so full of rejoicing that all the trials and difficulties of the way should seem as no burden to the New Mind in CHRIST but in fact… they are THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES TO EXERCISE CHEERFUL PATIENT ENDURANCE and prove to GOD that we are indeed trusting in Him—trusting that our Heavenly Father is treating us as His most special Sons and Daughters by allowing us to share in the experiences of humanity to one day, in the Heavenly Jerusalem up above, be able to be empathetic High Priests and Kings—perfected through the experiences that were overcome while in the human shell—the flesh—during disadvantageous conditions when the permission of evil was present, permitted as a “testing ground” for God’s called ones. 

Whoever can exercise the proper faith in the Lord and in his Word can rejoice.

The Lord is now seeking those who may FIRMLY TRUST him, come what may; he is seeking those who will walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Those who cannot walk by faith now will have the opportunity of walking by sight very shortly, when the kingdom shall be established. They indeed shall have a goodly portion, but the portion which God has specially provided for the faithful is joint heirship with his Son in the kingdom.

Let us, then, who have accepted the Lord and his Word, CAST AWAY everything of DOUBT and of FEAR, and live rejoicingly day by day while seeking to walk in the footsteps of him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

—“The joy of the Lord is our strength” – Nehemiah 8:10.—

This is the joy which God gives; the joy which comes from realizing that the Lord is our fortress; and that no ill can betide us without his knowledge, and that he has promised that all things shall work together for good to them that love him – with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.

“Our present sojourn is toward the heavenly Jerusalem, the kingdom … in a tabernacle condition, waiting for the eternal conditions which God has promised us.”  (Reprint of the Original Watchtower, R3677)

“The true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth – John 4:23.

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” John 4:34.

Is not this our aim too—to finish our “mission” here for which we were called out by our Heavenly Father to complete?

The body members of Christ must endure all the pain, sufferings and ridicule for the sake of Christ—overcoming the battle of the flesh that results in the greatest joys in the Spirit of Christ, and a victory over every evil that surrounded in order to develop the highest form of Godly Love possible—AGAPE love—that “knows no evil” (Psalm 101:4; 1 Corinthians 13:5).

Worshiping in spirit and in truth does not simply mean prayer, praise, supplication and thanks giving. It goes deeper than all these and takes hold upon the affections, upon the heart, and hence signifies:

Not an act of worship but rather
A LIFE of worship.

This means a life in which, through the begetting of the spirit and the knowledge of the divine plan, the individual becomes so at-one with God and all the features of the plan of God that it is, in the words of our Lord his meat and his drink to do the Father’s will.

This is the real meaning of “worship in spirit and in truth.” It will find its expression… also in all the acts and words of life. (R2071).

“It is the privilege of the Lord’s people to ask, in order that they may have fullness of joy.” (R5877).

We have this joy and the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” and we rejoice greatly in hope of the glorious things which the Father has in store for us and which the holy Spirit reveals through the Word.

“The joyful Christian is the thankful Christian. The thankful Christian is the one who is making the best use of his life. By reason of having exercised thankfulness of heart, he will be the better prepared for the kingdom. “ (R5203)

Reference:
R = Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/20/nehemiah-810-the-joy-of-the-lord-is-your-strength/

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