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

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“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).

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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 degrees 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…

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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.

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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.

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  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.

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/01/romans-121-what-does-being-consecrated-to-the-lord-mean/

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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” (Reprints of the Original Watch Tower, 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).

“Thankfulness will make every trial and sacrifice on our part seem small, and proportionately easy to be offered, and it will make all of God’s mercies and favors toward us proportionately grand and great and inspiring (R2723).

 

Reference:
R = Reprints of the Original Watch Tower 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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STUDY 6: The Levites

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In the third chapter of the book of Numbers, the Levites are introduced as a tribe that replaces the special place of the firstborn. The Israelites as a whole represent believers in Jesus during the Gospel Age, and the Levitesas with the firstborn on passover night represent the spirit begotten ones.

Subsequently, in Numbers 8:5-16, the Levites are required to wash their garments and are then presented to the priesthood as a helper class. When the Levites are thus distinguished from the Priests, this represents the end of the Gospel Age, when there is made a distinction between the Priests (the Bride class of overcomers), and the Great Company class, who wash their robes in the blood of the lamb, and are then made a helper class to the Church in glory (Revelation 7:9, Revelation 19:1). They will inherit a heavenly (spiritual) reward and bebefore the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:15).

The Levites

The Levites that served the Tabernacle (from thirty to fifty years of age, Numbers 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39) were from the clans of the Kohathites, Gershonites and Merarites. All were descendants of Levi, a tribe which had no inheritance in the land but lived off the tithes paid by their brethren (Leviticus 27:32–33; Numbers 18:21, 24), and the farming they did around the Levitical cities. A tenth of the tithe was also to be given to the priests (Numbers 18:26–28).

Here is a chart showing the descendants of Levi (who was one of Jacob’s 12 sons).

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  • Age Considerations

In Numbers 8:24–25 we are told that Levites who were 25 to 50 years of age could serve with work for the Tabernacle yet in Numbers 4:3, 23 & 30, the age range of 30 to 50 is stated.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary says this: “They entered on their work in their 25th year, as pupils and probationers, under the superintendence and direction of their senior brethren; and at 30 they were admitted to the full discharge of their official functions.” Perhaps so. Or, perhaps in chapter 4 it refers to the transporting of Tabernacle items, and in chapter 8 it refers to auxiliary duties helping others in the services.

Later during King David’s day, we note that the age for entering priestly service was from 20 years of age (see 1 Chronicles 23:27). Age 20 was the age of fighting men, and by the time of King David lifespans were decreased somewhat, so perhaps David made the adjustment for practical considerations. As to a spiritual meaning — this is only a conjecture—but 20 is a number (2, 20, 200, 2000) that refers to the holy Spirit (This is explained in Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle” on this website). As such the age of 20 may refer symbolically to those who have received the Spirit of God.

  • The Role of the Levites

The Levites fulfilled the following roles:

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The Levites were explicitly permitted to go near the sacred furniture, and this special privilege distinguished them from ordinary Israelites (Numbers 8:19; 16:9–10; 18:22­–23). Yet the Levites were allowed to approach the sacred furniture only when it was covered (Numbers 18:3).

The Israelites who were not Levites had no right to go into the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle represents the condition of the spirit begotten, not merely believers.

Numbers 18:22–23, explains that “the stranger” (non-Levites) did not have the privilege of service regarding the Tabernacle that the Levites did.

22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.”

  • Favoured Above Other Tribes

The reason the Levites were favoured above other tribes to be specially allocated to the service of God, is that they stepped forward to the side of Moses and God when the Israelites sinned with the golden calf in the wilderness. They were “set apart to the Lord” because when Moses asked the people “whoever is for the Lord come to me” the Levites “were against their own sons and brothers” and rallied to him. (Exodus 32:26, 29, NIV). They did as Moses commanded, slaying 3000 of the offending Israelites.

Numbers 3:14-17 describes the selection of the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn male Israelites — a class specially marked out for the service of God.

Antitypes

When considering the antitypes in relation to the Levites and the Priests (see Study 7 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”) as well as for the Israelites (see Study 5 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”) it must be considered on a situational basis, thus it is scripturally context specific, or for better words, contextually sensitive. Each of the three groups of Israelites cannot be considered as one static picture and mean the same thing in every case. In fact, all these three groups do not appear together in any particular case. Sometimes there are Levites and Israelites written about (such as in Numbers chapters 1–4). Sometimes there are priests and Levites (such as in Numbers chapter 8). Each of these cases has its own meaning as to who and what are represented. They are all separate pictures.

  • In Exchange for the Firstborn

To understand the symbolic meaning of the Levites in this exchange of the firstborn, one has to recall the symbolic meaning of the firstborn. Recall that on Passover night, all the Israelites were to remain in their homes, with the blood of the Passover lamb brushed onto the doorposts and lintels. All of them were to eat of the lamb. Thus the Israelites there represent people of faith — believers in Christ Jesus during the Gospel Age.

However, on Passover night only the firstborn were in jeopardy of death. The firstborn represent the consecrated, spirit begotten of the present Gospel Age, who are under jeopardy of losing their spiritual life if they do not remain in the house sanctified by the blood of the lamb. Paul refers to the “Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven,” linking the symbol of firstborn to those begotten to a heavenly hope (Hebrews 12:23).

That is the foundation for the picture in Numbers 3:45, which reads, Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord.”

The standing of the firstborn as specially devoted to God is now transferred to the Levites. As the “Church of the firstborn” do not have an inheritance in earthly things (1 Peter 1:4, Ephesians 1:11) but in heavenly things, so the Levites had no inheritance in the land. (Deuteronomy 10:9). They represent the ones “called out” of the world during the Gospel Age and described by the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:30, “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified,or honoured, with a “heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1).

  • The “Called Out” Ones

It is this “called out” class that James (who was later beheaded by King Herod Agrippa, the first grandson of Herod the Great) explains about, to a whole assembly of gathered believers in Acts 15:14-18, some of whom belonged to the party of the Pharisees and thought the Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses:

“14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Here the Apostle James appeals to the prophecy of Amos 9:11–12 to support what Apostle Peter (Simon) had said, namely that the Gentiles were receiving the Gospel of Christ. The Apostle James saw that “the residue of men” calling upon God was shown by the Gentile
converts coming into Christ. James said that the prophecy from Amos said this would occur after the “tabernacle of David” was raised up again.

The house or the “tabernacle of David,” the ruling house of Israel, had fallen when Zedekiah lost his throne six centuries earlier (587 bc, at Nebuchadnezzar’s third captivity of Israel). It had been raised up by virtue of Jesus of the tribe of Judah and descended for David, ascending to glory seated at the right hand of God, as our King and leader.

Jesus is our Melchizedek priest — a king and a priest.

  • Melchi is the Hebrew word for “king.”
  • Zedek is the Hebrew word for righteousness, and Jesus is “king-righteousness” — Melchi-zedek — “king of righteousness” (Hebrew 7:1–3).

Thus, the Apostle James explained that Jesus as king has been established as monarch in glory, the house of David had risen again, and it was timely for the “residue of men,” the Gentiles, to receive the grace of God through Jesus. Thus, as Apostle Peter and others testified was occurring here, the High Calling had started since Jesus’s ascension, allowing the “called out” ones of God (1 Peter 2:9), the opportunity to become Sons of God if faithful until death.

The following Scriptures are helpful concerning this calling: Jude 1:1, Galatians 1:6, Romans 11:29, Ephesians 4:1–4, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:14, Hebrews 3:1, 2, 1 Peter 5:10–11.

1 PETER 5, 10-11- BEAUTIES OF THE TABERNACLE- POST 6- THE LEVITES. BIBLE STUDENTS DAILY.jpg

  • In Numbers 8

In Numbers chapter eight, the Levites will be distinguished from the priests. In this distinction, the Levites represent the Great Company class, who will be distinguished from the elect Priest class, following the completion of the judgment period by the end of the Gospel Age.

In Numbers 8:7, the Levites “shave all their flesh,” and “wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean”. The shaving of their flesh pictures the beginning of the service of the Great Company beyond the vail resurrected as spirit beings of a high order, but subordinate to the Bride class. It also pictures the end of their consecrated walk on earth as those who had pressed “towards the mark for the prize of the high calling in God through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12) during the Gospel Age, much like those who took the Nazarite vow were to shave at the conclusion of their vow (Numbers 6:13, 18). This even pertained to Joseph, when raised out of prison, representing Jesus raised out of death. Joseph had to shave and change his garment, to appear before Pharaoh, picturing that Jesus had completed his consecrated walk here, and had a change of nature in order to appear before God.

The Levites washing their clothes reminds us of the Great Company class washing their robes in the blood of the lamb, to cleanse them for their service in glory (Revelation 7:14–15). This distinction between the priests (the Church in glory) and the Levites (the Great Company in glory), also appears in Ezekiel 44:10–14 (Levites), compared to verses 15-24 (priests).

The “Great Multitude” are mentioned in Revelation 7:9-10, and reflected in types such as Rebecca’s maidservants, and Elisha who walked with Elijah.

Some points to be aware of:-

  • In the types of the Book of Leviticus, as far as we can see, the focus is on the Bride class, rather than on the Great Company class. This is because there is no separate calling to the Great Company class, so pictures about the Gospel Age calling to service and sacrifice do not show this class as a distinguished class of spirit begotten ones here, during the Gospel Age. The Great Company class are simply part of the spirit begotten class, all called in the one hope. The distinction between the Bride and the Great Company appears at the end of the Age or otherwise at the time of each member’s judgment time (final sentence/verdict). The Great Company class are depicted in the fifth chapter of the Song of Solomon where there is the lazy lover who does not rise for her betrothed, and misses her opportunities. (Song of Solomon 5: 2, 3, 6).
  • Only those who are finally judged as “more than overcomers” at death — who qualify to be of the Bride, the Elect, Little Flock class — fully share in the sin offering experiences of the present time, and are represented in the Lord’s goat of the Day of Atonement. The special focus on the Bride class in this picture can be compared to the picture of Eliezer in Genesis chapter 24 (who represents the holy Spirit), sent out by Abraham (God) to find a bride (the Church) for His son (Jesus). The bride is Rebekah. This picture is focused on the bride class, but in fact all who are spirit-begotten are called by the same spirit (Eliezer). So with sacrifice. We are all called to sacrifice, and all the spirit begotten do sacrifice. But the picture is focused on the bride class.

Another Kingdom Picture

There is another kingdom picture represented in the Levites if we consider just the four groups of Levites on their own, which may picture the state of the completed work of God’s great plan of the ages after the world of mankind reaches perfection in the kingdom as also seems to be the order suggested in Psalm 45:13–17.

EAST:  The AMRAM Levites (signifying highly exalted, very high) represented the “Little Flock” (144,000), the Bride. These had full charge of all things religious—their brethren—even all the Levites—being their honoured assistants or servants. “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework.” (Psalm 45:13–14).

NORTH:  The MERARI Levites (signifying bitterness) represented the “Great Company” of spirit-begotten ones (before the throne), the Bride’s “allies” and Companions who fail to win the prize of the Royal Priesthood, and are “saved so as by fire,” coming up through great tribulation and bitter experiences to the position of honor and service which they will occupy.

The Merari Levites were given four wagons and eight oxen to transport the gold-covered boards and posts, sockets, cords and pins, etc. (Numbers 3:36–37; 4:31–32; 7:8).

“The virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.” (Psalm 45:14,15).

SOUTH:  The KOHATHITE Levites (signifying ally or comrade) represented the Princes, the “Ancient Worthies”—whose faith and obedience and loyalty to God and willingness to suffer for righteousness was so fully attested, and with whom we feel so close a kinship. They were, indeed, the Lord’s allies and ours.

“Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth(Psalm 45:16).

The Kohathite Levites were given no wagons. These had charge of the most sacred articles—the Altars, the Candlestick (lampstand), the Table and the Ark. (Numbers 3:31; 4:34–36; 7:9).

WEST:  The GERSHOM Levites (signifying refugees, or rescued) represented the saved “World of Mankind,” all of whom will be refugees succoured and delivered, rescued from the blindness and slavery of Satan.

“I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever” (Psalm 45:17).

The Gershom Levites had charge of the least important services — the porterage, etc., of the cords, outer curtains, hangings, gate, etc. which they first transported on two wagons and four oxen (Numbers 3:25–26; 4:22­­­­–26; 7:7).

References & Acknowledgment

Pastor Charles Russell: “Tabernacle Shadows,” “The Tabernacle and Its Teachings” —  Supplement to Feb. “Zion’s Watch Tower,” Pittsburgh, PA, 1882, Volume 6 — “Studies in the Scriptures,” Reprints of the Watch Tower.

Br. Anton Frey: “Notes on the Tabernacle,” pages 362-364; “Wilderness Wanderings.”

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary.

Br. David Rice — some written content for this post.

Suggested Further Reading

STUDY 1: An Introduction To The Tabernacle And It’s Purpose
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  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  https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
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 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

STUDY 8: The Tabernacle Coverings
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/02/study-8-the-tabernacle-coverings/

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

The URL for this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/18/study-6-the-levites/

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ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART C: The Order of the Resurrection Process

john-5-28-29-two-salvations-two-resurrections

According to Christian beliefs, you can only get to heaven and God through Jesus. How did people get to heaven before Jesus came on the scene?

Answer: They didn’t.

Jesus opened up the “New and Living Way”—that is, he opened up the heavenly calling.

The rest of mankind from Adam until now who have not come in through Christ will get a resurrection on the earth. You are familiar with the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on the earth as it is in heaven…”

The faithful Christian is part of the “first resurrection.” If there is a first then there is at least one more. They are the resurrection of the “just” or justified, and the rest of the world is the “unjust” or unjustified by Christ. Their resurrection is not to condemnation as some translation say, but to judgement—that is the Millennium is a period of trial for all of mankind. Not a sentencing, but trial. They come back and will “know the Lord from the least unto the greatest”—they get an opportunity not afforded them in this life.

Two Salvations and Two Resurrections

Here are some texts that explain that there is one Ransom but two salvations and two resurrections.

  • “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
  • “…There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just [the spiritual classes: Bride of Christ & Church, and the earthly class: the Ancient Worthies] and the unjust (the world of mankind)” (Acts 24:15).
  • “(28) Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, (29) and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life (Heavenly Salvation), those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment (Earthly)” (John 5:28-29, NAS).

The Overcomers in the 1st Resurrection

In John 16:33 Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We read in 1 John 5:4 that “everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

These “overcomers” or “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) have been redeemed from Adamic condemnation (Romans 8:1), and committed their earthly life to be a “living sacrifice” in the present time (Romans 12:1). They have become begotten to a new life, a spiritual life, and thus are on trial for their spiritual life presently. These are the Church members. The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, RVIC: “(51) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall all fall asleep [Acts 7:60- also says “fell asleep”], but we shall not all be changed (52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

[NOTE: RVIC – THE REVISED VERSION (AMERICAN EDITION) IMPROVED & CORRECTED BIBLE – is the most accurate up to date English version of the Holy Scriptures available, compiled from manuscripts discovered and published to AD 1999.]

The ones who died long ago were “raised” to life at the Lord’s return in 1874, at the sound of the last, or seventh, trumpet. Those who die within the present harvest period of the Gospel Age are “changed” at the moment of death.

Overcomers in the 1st resurrection.jpg

The ORDER of the Resurrection Process

1st ­– Christ, “the firstfruits” (1 Corinthians 15:23)—Christ has inherited DIVINE NATURE = IMMORTAL LIFE.

2nd – The Sleeping Saints—these are the OVERCOMERS and they that are Christ’s at his coming i.e. the Bride of Christ—the Elect, 144,000 members of Christ’s “body”.

3rd – The Harvest Saints—these are also the OVERCOMERS—the Bride of Christ, the 144,000 raised “in the twinkling of an eye” in new, spiritual bodies and inherit IMMORTAL LIFE since 1874 until the completion of the Bride of Christ.

“God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40). This talks about the necessity of the Church to be a part of blessing all the families of the world.

What is meant by “a better resurrection” in Hebrews 11:35?

This refers to the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies, the “Heros of Faith.” Some of the Ancient Worthies are described in Hebrews chapter 11. In Hebrews 11:39 and 35 we read, “… these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise… (35) Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.

It is understood that Apostle Paul meant that the ancient worthies receive a better resurrection (i.e. eternal life) than those received who were revived temporarily in the Old Testament (which is the subject of Hebrews 11:35).

The Ancient Worthies will be the first humans resurrected onto the earth in the Kingdom. They will be raised perfect, as they already were justified by their faith. They will lead mankind on earth. Psalms 45:16 refers to them as “princes in all the earth.”

4th – The Great Multitude & Ancient Worthies

The Great Multitude:

The Great Multitude will be resurrected after the GREAT TRIBULATION (Armageddon, Battle of Gog and Magog) starts, as indicated in the following passages of Scripture in the Bible:-

  • Genesis 19:23 – “The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.”

Zoar was the city, not “the mountain.” The mountain, to which Lot fled subsequently, represents the heavenly realm where Lot later went to dwell (Genesis 19:30). Lot is often seen as a picture of the Great Company, who lingers through the severe troubles that close the present Harvest period.

  • Matthew 25:1-13 – the five wise and the five foolish virgins.
  • Micah 7:1-7 – here the Great Multitude realize that the Bride of Christ is taken and there is a time of God’s wrath when deplorable and fearsome conditions on earth remain and all faithful men have perished and there is no one upright on earth – yet in verse 7, God delivers them as they “watch in hope”.
  • Revelation 7:14 – “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Members of the Great Company class have received purging experiences whenever they may have lived during the Gospel Age (since AD 33). However, Revelation 7:14 speaks in particular of members of the Great Company who are living during the Harvest and pass through the “four winds” that close the harvest. In the Revelation 7:3-4, the 144,000 class are “sealed” before the four winds blow which may signify that they are taken to glory—but the Great Company class linger and pass through the experience.

The Ancient Worthies:

  • The Ancient Worthies—it is possible that these faithful ones of old will be resurrected towards the end of Armageddon to bring peace during the 7th (last) plague described in Revelation chapter 16. That seventh plague includes a battle, an earthquake, and a plague of hail.
  • The Ancient Worthies, or at least some of them, evidently will be raised in the midst of the crisis of Israel invaded by the coalition of Gog and his allies. This is suggested by Micah 5:5, and 2 Kings 3:10,11, and context.

“And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men” (Micah 5:5).

Assyriarepresents Gog with his invading hosts, thus Russia, together with their allies.

——-[NOTE: The battle at Israel when God fights for them is described also in Ezekiel chapters 38 to 39. Here we again see that the coalition that comes against Israel includes:

  • Gog (Russia) which is part of Old Christendom
  • Persia (Iran)
  • Cush (perhaps Muslim black Africa),
  • Libya (Libya, perhaps North central Africa, not including Egypt)
  • Gomer (perhaps Western Europe),
  • Togarmah (Turkey).

Except perhaps for Gomer, the identification made here are customary, not unusual, they are however interpretive, so let us “watch and pray”.

On the other side, in the author’s understanding (and this is interpretive), is (according to what we read in Ezekiel 38:13):

  • Sheba and Dedan (Saudi Arabia, always against Iran),
  • the Merchants of Tarshish (England), and
  • the young lions thereof (American, Canada, Australia). They are part of newer Christendom, and not part of the alliance of the sixth plague whose representative governments fall at Israel. The victory at Israel is orchestrated by God, using the forces of the Israelis assisted by God’s overruling power.]——-

Seven shepherds—represents the Church completed beyond the vail. The word “shepherd” was a way of referring to kings in the language of the day. (For as a shepherd has control of his flock, so a king has control of his people.)

Eight principal men—Eight “princes” of men, as contrasted to the seven kings (shepherds). Thus those who will be “princes in all the earth” (who are the Ancient Worthies.) The number seven is about the Church because of the seven stages of the Church—the period following the Gospel Age is then period “eight,” and that is when the Ancient Worthies come back. Thus the number “eight” is associated with them.

In Micah 5:6 we read, “And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”

Here it is explained that Israel, under the hand of the completed heavenly Church above and the advice of the Ancient Worthies among them, will have a dramatic
military victory.

The land of Nimrod is the land of Assyria, perhaps because Asshur who came from the land of Nimrod (Shinar) built the initial area of Asshur (Genesis 10:10-12).

Our second lot of verses quoted above is from 2 Kings 3:10-11:

“10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab! 11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.”

Elisha represents the Ancient Worthies, raised at a point of crisis in Israel. Some of the Great Company class may linger to see the intervention of God on behalf of Israel. This may be what precipitates their expressions as prophesied in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

[NOTE: Elisha does represent the Great Company class when they are separated from Elijah (the Church) by the whirlwind. When Elisha then crosses the Jordan from east to west, after the taking of Elijah, Elisha thereafter is a picture of the Ancient Worthies in their experiences during the Millennium. Refer to 2 Kings chapter 2.]

5th – The Remainder of Mankind

All will have an adequate opportunity to be on trial for life in the Kingdom before judgement is received. (Isaiah 65:20)

The “Highway of Holiness” operating during the Millennium will lead people from ungodliness, to holiness as we read in Isaiah 35:8,

“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

John 5:28-29 refers to the resurrection of judgment, which will be the point of decision between self will and God’s will:

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (judgment).”

All mankind will be raised by Christ and the Church. They will be raised as human beings, and during the Millennium they will be developed and prepared to receive everlasting life in the judgment following the Millennium. The world will be natural being, fleshly beings, as at present. “There is a natural body (human) and there is a spiritual body” (spirit beings) (1 Corinthians 15:44). The world will be natural, fleshly, human beings.

When is the Resurrection Complete?

The resurrection will be complete when all who have died are raised again. The curse will be lifted at the beginning of the age, by the application of the Ransom for the world of mankind, in order to allow the resurrection of the dead.

The resurrection is the only hope for the dead. Let us conclude with John 11:23-26—

“23Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

The resurrection is our ONLY HOPE and an integral part of God’s Divine Plan!

How thankful we are to our Heavenly Father for such a Perfect Plan that will result in eternal life for all.

Romans 11, 36 - from him and through him... to GOD be the glory.jpg

References

Some source material was used from the power point presentation (a BibleTruth411 Video) titled “The Hope and Resurrection of the Dead.

Suggested Further Reading

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A: What is Jesus All About?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART B. Will Mankind Resurrect With the Same Mind?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

ACTS 3:19-21 – The Restitution of All Things
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/02/acts-319-21-the-restitution-of-all-things/

Epoch Periods In God’s Plan
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

The Resurrection of the Dead. Faithbuilders Fellowship, Nov. – Dec. 2008 (Journal Section). http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2008/06_nd_08.pdf

In the First Resurrection. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, March/April 1987 Magazine
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1987_2.htm#_Toc36954777

Life After Death. Dawn Bible Students Association.
http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/life.htm

 

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Our Trial

 1 Peter 4, 12-13 - poem OUR TRIAL.jpg

Come into the furnace, brother dear,
Do trust the Lord, for he is near;
You must not faint, be of good cheer,
Our trial, it soon shall end.

Forget all thoughts of world or self,
And every coin of earthly wealth;
God’s holy spirit-means good health!
Our trial, it soon shall end.

Cut all ties of earthly kin,
For the prize we want to win;
Farewell to every taint of sin,
Our trial, it soon shall end.

Though every friend should be a foe,
Our hearts, the Lord, does surely know;
He has no doubt-we love him so,
Our trial, it soon shall end.

From Where Eagles Gather
By Sr Rosemary Page

1 Peter Chapter 4

1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice,

inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

 

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2 Corinthians 5:20 – What Does Being “Ambassadors for Christ” Mean ?

2 COR. 5, 20

What is an ambassador ?

According to Wikipedia, an ambassador is :

“an official envoy, especially a highest ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state, or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment… They are stationed in a foreign country and they as well as the embassy staff are granted diplomatic immunity and personal safety while living abroad.”

Apostle Paul made it clear to us that those who are accepted of God and begotten of the holy spirit are ambassadors of another country:

“For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20, ASV).

“For he has delivered us out of the dominion of the darkness, and transplanted us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 11:13).

The Apostle Paul

Apostle Paul referred to himself as an “ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:20). This is hardly the view we take of diplomatic ambassadors today. But Paul does not say this to elicit pity. Rather he tells the Church not to lose heart over what he is suffering because it is for the Church’s glory.

Truly Apostle Paul was a great ambassador!

Should we not also represent our head, Christ Jesus and SHINE like stars in the sky, being blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation”? (Philippians 2:15)

YES we MUST do so… not tomorrow… BUT NOWright NOW… the High Calling of the Gospel Age is soon to end and Christ’s Bride composed of 144,000 members, shall hath made herself ready!

Dear Brethren, we will not miss out for the chance of eternal eternities and forevermore to belong to the BODY of Christ… to be counted worthy of the prize of the High Calling… of bringing our Heavenly Father grandest JOY and who shall present the Bride as the most righteous gift to Christ!

Let us “trim our lamps” as the “wise virgins” (Matthew 25:7) and stay separate from this world (2 Corinthians 6:17); and be “peculiar people” renouncing the world and its evil desires!

“14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:14-15).

Prepare yourselves through strict training and discipline to belong to the ONE BRIDEGROOM ONLYlet JESUS BE YOUR HEAD–SEEK him; SEARCH for him; COPY him; make him proud; REPRESENT him in spite of ALL RIDICULE and SUFFERING in this world.

“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV).

The Apostle Paul encourages us: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20, KJV).

Qualifications of an Ambassador

As ambassadors of Christ, how should we conduct ourselves? What is our role?
Let’s consider the following characteristics of an ideal ambassador:

  1. PATIENCE

An ambassador listens carefully to the citizens of the countries he is involved in helping to understand their needs and situation so that any conflicts or disagreements can be resolved in peace. The Apostle Paul was so patient through his experiences as a prisoner and in his dealings with rulers he sought to bring about mutual understanding concerning the Truth.

  1. WISDOM

An ambassador uses his knowledge of people to (as far as possible) resolve conflicts between any parties involved. We have an example of this by the Apostle Paul–when question by rulers and confronted by hostile Jews and Greeks, he used Godly wisdom to answer.

“Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial” (Acts 23:6, ESV).

  1. GRACIOUS SPEECH

As a spokesperson for his country, an ambassador is one who encourages and entreats with his words rather than causing any offence or hostility, as well as seeking the good of all. We see this in Apostle Paul’s conduct here:

“32Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:32-33, KJV).

Apostle Peter explains: 11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12, KJV).

  1. GENEROUSAn ambassador will use his time and talents to help others, especially as it promotes the interests of his home government, even at personal sacrifice and we note how Apostle Paul laid down his life for kingdom interests  in Philippians 2:4:-

Phil. 2, 4.jpg

  1. REASONABLENESS

An ambassador will try to help those in his host country and persuade them to appreciate the benefit of his counsel. Paul continually appealed to others to accept his counsel concerning Christ’s kingdom and the blessing it will be to all.

  1. HONESTY

An ambassador tells the truth and uses facts to persuade others. He neither deceives nor exaggerates to achieve his way. Paul was forthright, even on occasion calling the attention of Peter and others to what appeared to be a misleading example.

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Galatians 2:11-14, ESV).

  1. UNDER READINESS OF MIND

An ambassador is ever alert to represent and promote the interest of his government even at the risk of personal benefit or gain.

Apostle Paul did not let opportunities slip by him, to regret latter. He embraced his appointed service with diligence. As Jesus, “for the joy set before him” endured ALL manner of rebuff and persecution, so Apostle Paul followed the example of Jesus (1 Corinthians 4:11-13).

  1. HUMILITY

An ambassador recognizes that he has no personal authority apart from the country he represents. Further, as he provides instruction and direction, he explains the laws of his home country.

Though Apostle Paul was a leading light in the early church, he considered himself the “least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9, Ephesians 3:8).

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:9).

“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8, ESV).

Philippians-2-3.jpg

If we as Christians could keep these thoughts always prominent before our minds, what a dignity it would add to our character! What a transforming power it would be!

What an assistance to the new nature in its battle with the low and grovelling tendencies of the old nature now disowned by us and reckoned dead!

Dear friends, let us remember that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

While still living in the world, we are not of it but have transferred our allegiance and citizenship to the Kingdom. And now, as appointees of our Kingdom, while still living in the world among aliens and strangers, we as representatives and ambassadors should feel both the dignity and the honor of the position and the weighty responsibilities and keep in memory the Apostle’s words,

Whatsoever ye do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus(Colossians 3:23).

(Refer to Reprints of the Original Watch Tower page 3329 for a lovely article titled “Do All in the Name of the Lord Jesus.“)

We can learn by Apostle Paul’s wonderful example of ambassadorship and demonstrate, as he did, a ministry of reconciliation now.

Our Christ-like behavior in this world brings a certain amount of help and healing to a world that needs deliverance.

“A wicked messenger falleth into unhappiness; but a faithful ambassador bringeth healing
(Proverbs 13:17, Leeser).

This will prepare us well for the greater reconciliation of all mankind in which we will participate, no longer as ambassadors, but rather as kings and priests with Jesus.

What a hope is ours!

May we do ALL in our power to glorify our Heavenly Father Jehovah through Jesus Christ, GOD’s Son–in our bodies and our spirit which belong to our Head—Jesus CHRIST.

Reference:

Special thanks to Br. David Stein for source material from the article Paul the Ambassador“, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, August/September 2011.

 

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2 PETER 1:5-11 – Is Mere FAITH IN GOD Enough?

2 Peter 1, 5-11 - C&C.jpg

The following post is an extract from “Epistles of Peter” by Bro. Frank Shallieu.

2 PETER 1:5: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.”

“Add to your faith virtue.”

The next step in the Apostle Peter’s evaluation is virtue.

The Apostle Paul breaks down the various fruits leading up to love, but Peter is talking from the standpoint of making one’s calling and election sure and his listing gives a sequential development. The Apostle Peter, the fisherman, is now a mature Christian feeding the lambs as well as the sheep. Having been qualified with a wealth of experience, he knows that death is imminent. Likewise, Paul realized the end of his life was approaching when he said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (2 Timothy 4:8).
We are not reading a textbook but a very valuable, sobering account by one who speaks from experience as well as under the guidance of the holy Spirit.

Comment: Instead of the King James wording “And beside this,” the New International
Version has “For this very reason.” The NIV makes clearer the tie-in with the “exceeding
great and precious promises” of the preceding verse. In other words, “Because of the great and precious promises–for this very reason–you need to add to your faith virtue, etc.”

“Giving all diligence” is an important phrase, and it applies to all of the steps.
Give all diligence to add to your faith virtue.
Give all diligence to add to your virtue knowledge.
Give all diligence to add to your knowledge temperance, and so forth.

The great majority of Christians are immature seed.

In the parable, seed that falls in good ground and develops to maturity brings forth “some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23). In other words, full capacity is reached according to the content of the individual vessel. Some have
a 30 percent vessel, some have a 60 percent vessel, and the ten-talented person has a 100
percent vessel—and hence more responsibility. All three categories picture the Little Flock, children of the Kingdom in the real sense of the word.

Virtue means fortitude, strength of character.
Question: Doesn’t “virtue” also convey a morality aspect?

Answer: Yes, the breastplate of righteousness is part of virtue. From the simple rudiments of faith
and the milk of the Word, one now starts to get food that is a little stronger, and the body
grows proportionately stronger as well. The child grows, spiritually speaking, with moral
development and strength of character based on an outgrowth of faith.

Following initial faith, virtue is the first development of one who believes into Christ and starts to grow.

Many, thinking that knowledge follows faith, try to bypass virtue and want to teach and
write books when they are still babes. In the enthusiasm of our early days, we tend to be
overconfident. Those who talk that way are not mature Christians, and they betray
themselves by their immaturity of conduct, immaturity of reasoning, and immaturity in an assumed familiarity with Scripture. Thus the flesh tends to jump over virtue and go
straight to knowledge. However, Peter shows our need to go step by step by step.

Faith is the substratum of an entire Christian’s life. The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).
Faith in Jesus is the bottom line–faith that he is the Redeemer. We are to add to that faith, in successive order, the seven steps that Peter enumerates.

“Add … to virtue knowledge.” “Knowledge” is a broad term, for there are all kinds of knowledge.

2 PETER 1:6: “And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.”

Peter continues to enumerate the various steps in the progression to maturity.

At the Last Supper, Jesus remarked to Peter, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32).

After Jesus’ resurrection he gently rebuked Peter three times for the three denials. At that time Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my lambs.” The second time the Master said, “Feed my sheep.” And the third time was “Feed my sheep,” after which Peter said, “Thou knowest that I love thee” (John 21:15–17). Notice the progression: (1) “feed my lambs,” and then (2) “feed my sheep” and (3) “feed my sheep.” In other words, Peter was not in the position to feed mature adults at the time of our Lord’s ascension or even after Pentecost. At Pentecost, Peter possessed the first two qualities: faith and virtue. Peter had faith: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Also, he and John spoke very boldly on the Day of Pentecost.

“Virtue” means strength, courage, fortitude.

Now when we study Peter’s epistles, we see a very different Peter from the impulsive one in the Gospels.

Peter tells us to add to or supplement our faith with virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. In other words, Peter adds seven different qualities to the basic substratum of faith.
Let us consider “knowledge.”

Remember, Peter is speaking about character development. Regardless of the subsequent lack or fullness of development, we all start our Christian walk as babes with faith in Jesus. In his first epistle, Peter said that “as newborn babes, [we should] desire the sincere milk of the word, … [so that we] may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). As the babe feeds on milk, his bones grow and he gets a little stronger so that, spiritually speaking, he can withstand opposition and persecution. This would be adding virtue to our faith.

To add knowledge, the babe needs milk for growth. “Milk” includes the knowledge of
God’s Word, for how can we instruct others if we have not been instructed ourselves?

To knowledge, we are to add temperance or self-control.

The growth of Peter in the area of self-control is amazing! He underwent a remarkable change from his earlier impulsiveness.

Jesus said to Peter, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not [to death in crucifixion]” (John 21:18). Jesus was referring to the manner in which Peter would die. When Jesus asked, “Who do men say that I am?” impulsive Peter responded, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13–16).

Peter was a natural leader, but he needed to be instructed himself. The very fact Peter was naked in the boat after Jesus’ resurrection gives us an insight into his character. He did not want any restraints. He impulsively girt himself with his coat and jumped into the water to swim to Jesus, who was frying fish on the shore.

This same man, but a mature and developed Peter at the end of his life, said, “Add to your knowledge self-control and self-restraint.”

This self-restraint must come after knowledge.

Both of Peter’s epistles were written in the last years of his life, just before his death. How valuable is the instruction of Peter in his maturity!

When Paul discusses the various graces of the holy Spirit, he does not necessarily
enumerate them in succession. For instance, in describing love, he does not follow any
particular sequence, but Peter says, “Add to your faith virtue. Add to your virtue knowledge. Add to your knowledge temperance.” Thus Peter gives a sequence and Paul does not. The point is that the instruction of the two apostles does not conflict. Paul gives more detail but lists the graces of the holy Spirit in random fashion. (An exception would be Paul’s discussion of faith, hope, and love, which are in succession.)

Comment: It was Peter who lopped off the ear of Malchus in the Garden of Gethsemane at the arrest of Jesus. This act is another example of his impetuosity and impulsiveness.

Comment: In a practical sense, temperance could be along both material and spiritual lines. We need to have self-control over our life-style and how we expend our resources. Along spiritual lines, temperance would affect how we witness and preach the gospel. For example, as a general rule we would not deliberately make a spectacle of ourselves.

Comment: A comment in the Berean Manual says, “Moderation, self-restraint in all things–we are not to be hasty and hot-tempered, or rash and thoughtless, but evenly balanced, thoughtful and considerate.” We get this moderation through the knowledge of God’s Word.

Reply: Yes, “he that ruleth his spirit [is better] than he that taketh a city” (Proverbs 16:32).

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

We should be temperate in language, money-getting, money saving, eating, drinking, joy, sorrow, at work, in the store, home, church, and schoolroom–everywhere.

Comment: On the other side of the coin, there is a danger in becoming too temperate and thus not having enough zeal for the truth, the Lord, and His service.

Reply: If we have too much self-control, we will be mute when we should speak. The other extreme is being so out of hand and rambunctious that we destroy whatever good we might do. The proper amount of self-control makes us much more effective.

Add “to temperance patience.” What is this “patience”?

The Greek word is hupomone, which means “endurance.” Hupomone conveys the thought of bearing under a burden, of enduring it and not chafing, of remaining under the burden and not giving up. The same word is used in Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Of course a lot depends on the makeup of the individual, for we are all different. Some brethren under trial may react without a lot of apparent cheerful endurance and yet be faithful. The circumstances must be considered. Those who run a marathon race are not very cheerful when they near the end of the race, for they are pressing on to the utmost. Those who win have an extremely strong
desire to excel and be a champion.

Comment: James 5:11, in referring to Job, uses this same Greek word for “patience.”
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and
have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

We are all familiar with Job and the conditions under which he endured.

Comment: “Patience” would be meekly submitting to discipline in every case. Add “to patience godliness.” “Godliness” is the wrong word, for that quality should be the
end, the highest step. Godliness and love are synonymous. The thought here should be
love and reverence for God, God-likeness. Thus the word “piety” is a better translation, for piety is a form of reverence. Piety can also be considered decorum, as in 1 Timothy 3:15, “Behave thyself in the house of God.”

Comment: Strong’s and the Diaglott use the word “piety.”
Reply: The Greek word is eusebeia, and a famous historian was Eusebius, a name meaning piety, a reverent one.

Comment: Reprint 2155 states that God-likeness, piety, is “that devout controlling reverence for God which yields a hearty, cheerful, loving conformity to his will–fervency of spirit in serving the Lord.”

Reply: Piety is especially fervency in spirit in obeying the Lord. He is looking for obedience in us–that is the bottom line.

Works by themselves are meaningless.

“To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams [which is offered in sacrifice and may cost a little money]” (1 Samuel 15:22).

Obedience supersedes works.

2 PETER 1:7: “And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” 

Add to piety “brotherly kindness.” There are occasions where it is difficult to love all
brethren completely and indiscriminately. In other words, there are cases where we cannot manifest love to others because of their disobedience. For instance, 1 Corinthians 5:11 says, “I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

The individual may not have even consecrated, but if he thinks he is a brother in truth and is a drunkard, a brawler, a fornicator, etc., we are to refrain from fellowship with him. Treating him in this manner is doing him a favor, for if he truly loves God, the truth, and the Lord’s people, he will feel he has done something wrong and will repent.

The Greek word for “brotherly kindness” is philadelphian. Some translations use “love of
the brotherhood,” and that is a better term.

We love those who fervently love God. We are drawn to such because they are of the brotherhood. Jesus particularly favored Peter, James, and John because they manifested a greater zeal for God. The incident in which Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus illustrates this favoritism (Mark 5:35–43). Another example is Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–9). That is the type of love we should have for the brotherhood.

We love those who love God, and the more they love Him, the more we love them.

Moreover, we are helped by their example. In the hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers,”
when we sing the words “All one body we,” we are thinking not of individuals but of the
brotherhood, of those who love Christ and are trying to serve God.

Add “to brotherly kindness charity [love]. If the previous step was love for the brotherhood, what is this highest type of love? It is agape love.

Comment: We love those who love God and have a special affinity for them because of our common bond, but our love must go beyond that point to where we love mankind.

Comment: This would be a principled love versus phileo love with an emotional basis.

Comment: We love the Lord, the brethren, humanity, our enemies, and also the brute
creation.

Reply: That is true, for principled agape love is broad. The Law shows how we should treat the animals; for example, they should not be unequally yoked in plowing. Agape love includes love for our enemies and doing good to them that despitefully use us (Matthew 5:44).

With this principled love, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”
(John 3:16). Those who obey in the future will be saved, for God has made provision for the restitution of mankind. In other words, He will open the opportunity for salvation toothers besides the brotherhood. His love goes from the brotherhood to mankind and even to those who are enemies now but may not be once their eyes are opened in the Kingdom.

Only those who are incorrigible in iniquity will go into Second Death.

Remember that before Peter started the enumeration of the seven graces of the holy Spirit, he said, “And beside this, giving all diligence,” add to your faith, etc. (2 Peter 1:5).

Because we live in the world with its responsibilities and experiences, our time becomes important–the little time we have left after doing that which is right for family, employer, and others. We must give all diligence to add these seven qualities. Isn’t it remarkable that the impulsive Peter is like a statesman or a father in these epistles? True, he was a leader in the beginning of his Christian walk, but now he is more than that. In his first epistle, which was written only a couple of years before the second epistle, he called Marcus “my son” (1 Peter 5:13). Paul used the same terminology with Timothy, and that epistle was written near the end of Paul’s life. As the apostles aged in the truth, they matured. Peter underwent a radical, miraculous, almost unbelievable change from his days as a fisherman. True, he speaks according to the holy Spirit, but his own life is in harmony with that holy Spirit. He experienced these steps himself, and he is passing on the information to us. Later he says, “I am going to remind you of these things until the day I die, and the Lord Jesus has informed me that my death will occur soon.”

Comment: The verses being alluded to are quite touching: “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shown me” (2 Peter 1:13,14).

2 PETER 1:8: “For 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.”

Comment: If “these things” (the seven steps above faith in verses 5–7) are in us and abound, we will make our calling and election sure. The fact that Peter uses the term “these things” five times in this chapter (verses 8–10, 12, 15) shows how important they are.

Reply: Yes, Peter is inclined to repeat words and references. For instance, the use of the
word “divine” twice in this chapter is unusual, for that word appears only three times in
the whole New Testament. The reason is that Peter recognized his own faults and weaknesses and how the Lord changed his life. He is admitting, as it were, that what God
did for him, He can do for us. Accordingly, Peter mentions the importance of developing
character and the various steps of grace that are required if we are to win a crown. We must have diligently tried to add the seven graces to our faith.

Comment: If the words “and abound” had been omitted, the meaning of the verse would have been a little different. All who get life on the spirit plane, including the Great
Company, must have these qualities, but to attain the Little Flock, to get an “abundant
entrance,” these qualities must abound in us and must increase more and more.

Reply: For example, when people do acts of kindness, are patient, etc., there is often a lack of consistency. With knowledge, some are satisfied with a certain level and stop there. These qualities must be diligently practiced if we would be more than overcomers.

Question: Is the “knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” in verse 8 the same “knowledge” that is in verse 5?

Answer: The Greek gnosis is used in verses 5 and 6, and epignosis (full knowledge) is used in verses 2, 3, and 8. The words are the same except that epignosis is expressed more powerfully, i.e. with more fullness. By faith we know (gnosis) that Jesus is the Savior, that he died for our sins, and through this knowledge we are forgiven for our sins. In addition, we should also know in more fullness (epignosis) his sermons and parables, his life and character, and how he lived to please the Father.

The “knowledge” (gnosis) of verses 5 and 6 is the second step in the various graces of the holy Spirit, but epignosis embraces all seven steps, which would include a comparison and study of Jesus’ statements and teachings. However, epignosis has nothing to do with the depth of our understanding, which is not always the same. If we have not searched the Scriptures daily, if we have not habitually familiarized ourselves with the Word of God, with the life of Jesus, with the Old Testament, etc., we will be lacking.

Comment: In the footnote for the text “If these things be in you, and abound … ye shall
neither be barren nor unfruitful,” “barren” means “idle.”

2 PETER 1:9: “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

To be “blind” in this sense is to be nearsighted, meaning the individual “cannot see afar
off.”

Question: What is the relationship between the first part of verse 9 and the second part? What does lacking the graces of the holy Spirit have to do with forgetting that we were purged from our old sins?

Answer: The object of our being purged from old sins is to grow in character. We are nearsighted if we do not always keep this goal in mind. Peter is saying, “It is not enough to just believe Jesus is the Savior and to be willing to suffer for him. We must have more understanding in order to please God.” Since we are imperfect and by nature fallen–our humanity is depraved–we must frequently occupy our minds with pure thoughts. Paul said, “Think on these things.” “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

If we do not feed on pure thoughts, our minds will naturally gravitate to unspiritual things.

Those who neglect or do not see the necessity of developing the fruits of the holy Spirit, are “blind,” nearsighted. Far-sighted vision would be making our calling and election sure. We are not at the goal yet, so we must keep running.

We cannot let ourselves drift in our thinking or in our actions, but must school ourselves with God’s Word.

Comment: If we stagnate and do not grow in character, we stay in the sins from which we were supposed to be purged.

Reply: We must try to distance ourselves from the old man as far as possible. Of course we cannot do this completely, for he is saddled on our backs, but we must separate as far as possible from our own reasoning and our own will.

2 PETER 1:10: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”

The objective is to make our calling and election sure.

If we take our eyes off the goal, we will gravitate to our natural tendencies instead of to the supernatural tendencies of the Holy Spirit.

“If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” The thought is that if we develop these fruits of the holy Spirit and they abound in us, we will never fail but will succeed in attaining the Bride class.

Comment: The Great Company will fall or fail to a certain extent.

2 PETER 1:11: “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the
everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

If we give all diligence to developing the fruits of the holy Spirit, if we have the right heart attitude and diligently practice Christianity throughout our Christian walk, we will get an abundant entrance into the Kingdom, for we will be obeying the promptings of God’s holy Spirit.

We are given “exceeding great and precious promises” so that we might inherit the divine nature.

The “everlasting kingdom” would be the age-lasting Kingdom (Greek aionian). The 144,000 will be on the throne and reign throughout the Kingdom Age.

 

Acknowledgment:

Bro. Frank Shallieu–for the content above which was an extract from “Epistles of Peter” The full study is on the Bible Study Library CD which can be accessed at the following link: https://herald-magazine.com/bookstore-2/#!/Bible-Study-Library/p/38387237/category=0

 

URL of this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/08/06/2-peter-15-11-is-mere-faith-in-god-enough/

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Hebrews 10:25 – Not Forsaking the Assembling of Ourselves Together

 

Heb 10, 25 with address

Dear friends,

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much more as ye see the day approaching. For if ye sin willfully after ye have received a knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin” (Hebrews 10:25-26).

It seems to me that there is a most astounding connection between those two verses, as though the Apostle were explaining that a time would come when communion and fellowship with the people of GOD would be more essential than it had been before, and if we would ignore and neglect that PRIVILEGE there would be great danger that the final results might be the loss of everything.

You will notice, too, the Apostle uses the word “forsake” here. He did not say, “Do not ignore the assembling of yourselves together.” If you and I have never met with the people of GOD, and knew nothing of the blessing and benefits of that fellowship, the Lord would never have made the statement quite so strong; and you and I would not be quite so well able to discern the necessity or value of meeting with the people of GOD. And, the thought is, if you have once tasted of this blessing, if you have once enjoyed this fellowship, if you have once participated in this communion, now do not forsake it; NEVER GIVE IT UP; forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is.

Why is this made such an important matter to not forsake the assembling together ?

Why does the Apostle lay such stress on it?

Why should you and I be so careful about meeting with the children of God?

Here are some reasons:

1.

You and I should do this thing on the basis of FAITH, because the Lord says so, even if we could not see one single benefit to be derived, even if we could not see one single advantage to be gained; the very fact the Lord said so ought to settle the whole matter, and we should say, “Lord, I respect your Word; you have said it, and I am going to abide by that.”

I think there is not the confident faith in many of the statements of the Word of GOD, even among some of his children, that there ought to be.

Do you remember the faith that Abraham had? Do you remember the time when GOD came to Abraham and said to him, “Abraham, leave thine own house, and thy father’s house and come out into this land that I will show you?” Do you remember how Abraham never stopped to question the wisdom of GOD’s advice? He did not say, “Well, LORD, your desire is clear to me, but I cannot see why you want me to go out there? Don’t you think, LORD, this is a pretty good place where I am living? Why cannot I stay here and serve you? How is that land that you want me to go out into? Is it a pretty good land for farming purposes? Do you think I would be able to raise a crop to support myself and my family?  Abraham did not say one word. GOD told Abraham to go, and he was ready to go. Even when he got there he found nothing but a barren wilderness. Dear friends, that was faith, and that is the faith that you and I want to have.

When we find the advice in the Word of GOD that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, then when we find the people that have GOD’s spirit, when we find the people who give evidence of living close to the LORD, then, whether you find the measure of profit in associating with them you expect or not, you should meet with them, because GOD has said so.

Some might say, “Well, but do not situations alter the matter?” I am sure if there is no one in your neighborhood who does give evidence of having love for GOD and his Truth, then of course matters would be altered, but even in that case you would have to hold fellowship in your mind and heart with the people of GOD, even though visible fellowship was impossible. But if you are located where there is a company of GOD’s children, then your course is clear from that statement.

I am afraid that there are some of the Lord’s people who say, “Well, I know the Scriptures say we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but I have some trials and some obstacles in the way, now don’t you think I am justified in not attending ecclesia meetings?

“Sister, the LORD said forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.”

“But now wait, I want to show you from this standpoint: I live quite a ways from the meeting, and I have not the very best of health. Now don’t you think I would be justified in staying home and not assembling with the LORD’s people?”

“The LORD has said, Sister, forsake not the assembling of yourselves together. It does not matter how you view it, the matter is settled. ”

Let us not be of that class that are seeking some excuse that they may not have to act on what GOD has advised, but let us be of the class that are determined to overcome every obstacle in order to adhere to the advice and abide by the suggestions GOD has made. I think it is a dangerous thing when we get into the position where we want some excuse for ignoring the Word of GOD. I believe that Satan realizes our weaknesses along that line and he knows how to take advantage of them. It seems as if the devil has a big excuse department, and if anybody wants any excuse for anything-anything that would be contrary to the Word of GOD, he will get the excuse up for them. All you have to do is to have a half a wish in your heart that you do not have to go to the bible study meeting tomorrow, and he will send you a box of excuses right away. If he finds in your heart or in my heart the least inclination to ignore the admonition of the LORD, he will find some way of taking advantage of that inclination, and you and I are going to be trapped.

2.

Where GOD’s people are gathered, there GOD is, and where the church is, there the head (Jesus) of the church is. The Savior himself says, “Where two or three are met together in my name there will I be” (Matthew 18:20).

It would be absurd for any of GOD’s children to gather together without the Lord being present if they really are his children. How absurd to think of someone coming to these meetings and leaving their head at home? Indeed if they come they have to bring their head with them. If you are one of the children of GOD, and if Jesus is your head, if you have given up your own head, your own will, to do the will of your Master, then wherever you go your Master goes; and you will say, “Where there is a company under the control of the Spirit of the Master there I want to be; I want to be where he is, and I know he is there in a special and peculiar sense over and above what he is with me when I am alone in connection with my daily employment.”

3.

When we meet with the LORD’s people, we realize that these are the people who love to talk about the things that we love to talk about; they love to dwell on the topics that are dearest to our hearts. If we are amongst the people of the world, and if all our interests and all our desires are along worldly lines, then we would rather go where our neighbors go-we would rather go to places of amusement, we would rather go to places that would to some degree benefit us along worldly lines; and if your heart has been given to the LORD you want to go to the place where these things are talked about that you are most deeply interested in, the things of the LORD, where his will is in control.

And yet this does not mean that when the people of GOD meet together they always do confine their discussions and conversations to the subject that means the most to them. Let us be careful all along that line.

When we meet with the LORD’s people let us keep our minds focused on the things of the Lord; let us keep our hearts centered upon spiritual matters. And you might misuse the LORD’s time in talking about the things that do not profit you as respects the edification of the new creature.

I think it is very much like the Jewish Tabernacle. You know how when you went into the Holy if you would look up there on that curtain overhead you could see all of those figures of cherubim wrought in needle work. To me that illustrates the way you and I, when we are in that condition, begotten of GOD’s holy Spirit, as we look up we see GOD’s providences, we see his wisdom, his love, his power and his justice, and by the eye of faith we behold the very angels as ministering spirits sent forth to minister to the people of GOD.

Do you remember when the high priest, or the under priests either, were in the Holy, if they looked up they could see these angels, these cherubim, everywhere on that curtain wrought with needle work? But suppose instead of looking up, the priest just looked down, and kept his eyes on the earth, what would he see? Nothing but dirt, just ground. You remember there was no special floor made in that Tabernacle, it just stood on the earth. This gives us the thought that even though you and I have been begotten of GOD’s Holy Spirit, even though we have been brought to the place where we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, yet we have to keep our eyes up, as it were-lift up our heads. On the contrary, if we are looking down in the worldly direction we will see earthly things; we will just see dirt, nothing but dirt.

4.

When we meet together with the LORD’s people, we talk about the things that will help them toward the kingdom, help them to make their calling and election sure, things that will give them an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of GOD.

In the 3rd chapter of the Book of Philippians, we read “Forgetting the things that are behind.” We want to learn to set our affections on the things above and forget those things that are behind. We want to seek the things that will edify, and especially let us beware of boastfulness along these lines. I find so often we are inclined to cultivate a little boastful spirit, we like to talk about the different people we have engaged in conversation, and how we have downed them in our argument, and how they could not answer us, how we were able to cover them with confusion, etc. Dear friends, I think it would be well for us if we would not talk quite so much along those lines. We do not want to have that boastful spirit that will go around boasting of the victories gained, or anything of that kind. We do not want to merely pull the faith of others down. Rather we want to build their faith up in the right direction. So I would suggest that we talk more along the line that would draw us towards the Lord, and less along the lines that would draw us away from the Lord.

5.

In meeting with the people of God we will find grace and strength to prepare us for the hard experiences that are coming.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the LORD, through the Apostle Paul, uttered these words:

“My GRACE is sufficient for you.”

By these words, our LORD did not mean that we would always have grace sufficient for every trial. It may be possible some of the LORD’s people have found themselves in trials sometimes, and they have had to confess that they did not have grace enough. They said, “Oh, I know if I had sufficiency of grace I could bear this trial better than I do. There is something wrong; the LORD said his grace would be sufficient, but it is not.” Has the LORD broken the promise? Not at all. Here is the thought:

The LORD promised he will supply sufficient grace, but you and I, in order to make use of that supply, we will have to go to the source of supply in the right way, as it were. Perhaps in going to a particular Bible Student Convention or an ecclesia meeting, GOD has arranged that you will obtain grace to prepare you for trials you are going to have, in the nearest future.

Now suppose you say to yourself, “Well, I know the LORD has told me I should not forsake the assembling of myself with you people, but it is a long distance to the meeting place, and I do not like the brethren altogether there. I think some of them have very peculiar and eccentric ways about them, and I just think I will stay at home instead”…

What about going to BE A BLESSING? Or going for the sake of even that ONE who may benefit? Ill health or lack of money may be the case but if one prays in faith about it, then GOD does indicate His will and often what seems impossible GOD makes possible if the desire is to DO HIS WILL (Luke 18:27).

What is the result of not going to that convention or that ecclesia meeting?

You are not obtaining the grace that you needed for the trial when it comes and the consequence is when the trial arises, you will be lacking, but not because GOD failed in the keeping of his word; GOD has done his part, he is supplying the grace, but you just as much as told him, “LORD, I know there is grace at that meeting, but I do not want it that way; you have just got to inject the grace into me; that is the way I want it.”

Dear friends, we cannot afford to miss one single opportunity for service, or one single opportunity that is reasonable and proper for us to make use of in connection with associating with those who love the Lord, without it being to our detriment spiritually, so that some trial will come and we will be unprepared for that trial.

So I say, we want to be ready for those trials coming; we want to have that preparation of heart and mind that will enable us to pass through trials victoriously, and that is the reason why we do not wish to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

6.

We also want to meet with the people of GOD because we recognize these are the people we are going to spend eternity with; we want to get acquainted beforehand. If you are one of the faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and if I am one of those who may prove true to him, then we will be among those who will have to be associated through all the boundless ages of the future. I feel, therefore, that if I am at all unwilling to associate with you today, if I feel that I would rather live without physically meeting with the people of GOD, that I would rather spend my time dealing with business associations or ways of worldly pleasure, the consequence of that would be that I would be unfit to spend those ages of eternity in your company, and in the company of others that are making their calling and election sure.

7.

In assembling with the people of GOD, they help us, and we are able to help them. Do they help us? They certainly do if our heart is in the right attitude.

In going to a convention or ecclesia meeting, is your attitude such that you think you will get no benefit from going because you feel there will not be anything said which you did not know and you think you are pretty well informed and well up on the Scripture?

If that was the spirit in which you go to meeting or to a convention, then to the extent you entertained that inclination, that spirit, to that extent you have lost a blessing; but if on the other hand you go in a teachable attitude, with a desire to learn-not merely to learn something new, but to learn something that will draw you closer to the Lord, then I know you will go away spiritually enriched, you will go away feeling as though you were nearer to our Lord than you ever have been before.

If we are in the attitude where we simply want to hear only something new, where we come to the conventions not to hear about brotherly love, and not to hear about patience, and not to have our spirit of zeal encouraged, and not to be impressed with the glories of the kingdom so much, but we come to hear only something new, something that has never been said before, something that will just make our blood tingle to hear, because of its novelty, then we realize that we will also go away to some extent disappointed, because that is not the LORD’s purpose. It is not GOD’s intention that His people should be built up and strengthened by the amount of new things that should be said, but on the other hand it is the frequent reiteration of the old things that is likely to strengthen us and to enable us to make our calling and election sure.

So now when you go to your little home bible study meetings and you find that the brother who took the leading part in that meeting never has anything very original to say, and you find that the other friends in the class seem to have very little novelty in their statements, then, dear friends, the fault is not with the class, the fault is with you; you are not in the proper attitude. Just think, if we are one of those faithful ones who will be united with our Lord in the ages to come, what is going to be your work and my work? Will we have all of that thousand years for something new to say to the world every day? I think not. It seems to me that when the world comes up from the tomb in the near future, if we are one of that honored company associated with our Lord Jesus, we will have to repeat the plan just so many times that if you do not love it very dearly you will get tired of it then; and that is why the Lord is not going to have one in that class who does not love the “old, old story” so dearly that he can sing it from the heart; and “those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.”

I have come across brethren and sisters who sometimes go to a Berean study and they only half listen. Brother so and so says something, and they think of something else because they know that brother never says anything new… then another brother speaks up, and they pay a little attention to what he is saying, because they know already what he is going to say. And consequently when the meeting is over they think it is strange they do not get much benefit from the meeting. But the fact is, that if we had paid attention to what that brother said, instead of allowing the spirit of pride to make us feel we knew it already and did not have anything to learn from him, it would have done us good and been refreshing. Then we listened to the next brother, and he made a statement and we would probably see a connection between what he said and what that other brother said that was especially helpful; and the third brother would follow with a little statement, and there would be some helpful point in what he said that would fit in with the statement made by the other, and when the meeting was all over we would say, “Gee… that was such a profitable meeting we had today! Oh, how much benefit I received; how much help I derived from this little Berean study!” Let us remember that frequently it is pride that causes us to be inattentive when another is speaking.

What did Apostle Paul mean from the following words:

“For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15).

Well, possibly at that time, there may have been about ten thousand consecrated believers, as far as the Apostle Paul would judge, and he wanted this number to realize that every consecrated child of GOD was in a position to some extent to be an instructor. I will have to say that I have gotten an indescribable measure of benefit from just observing the conduct, the speech and the deportment of those I come in contact with in my travels.

May I also suggest that we cannot only learn from others, and instruct others by the words that are spoken, but by our example, by the deeds we perform. I think a great many must fail to appreciate what examples we ought to be.

We often say, “Well, you must not take me for an example.” But, dear friends, if you claim to be a consecrated Christian you ought to be an example-you must be an example.

To be a Christian means to be an example; not an example of perfection, but an example of what the grace of GOD can do.

Do you mean to say you have been under the influence of GOD’s grace for five years or ten years or fifteen years, and yet the LORD has done nothing in your life that ought to be an example, a benefit, a blessing to those who come in contact with you?

It would be something to be very much ashamed of, if we would have to say that we have resisted the influences of GOD’s spirit to such a degree that we are not an example of what our Heavenly Father can do at all-even though the LORD has thus been dealing with us so long.

If we are living epistles, as we ought to be in our homes, we will be careful there just as truly as anywhere else. But sometimes even friends who are very careful how they act amongst others when they are in a public place, when it comes to their own home it is rather a matter of indifference to them. You cannot help but sometimes observe it.

I remember I was in one home where there was a little sister there who was in many respects a grand consecrated character. Her husband did not make very much religious profession at all, but I will never forget the impression made upon me. At the table, for instance, if I would ask for a thing that sister would go to any amount of trouble to have it at my plate right on the instant; if her husband asked for anything she did not seem to care whether she heard him or not; he would have to wait until the thing got around to him. If I asked a question, she would take ten minutes to explain and tell me all about how to get to the post office, or whatever it was; if her husband asked her a question she would cut him off in such a snappy sort of way that it made me wonder why he ever wanted to ask her anything much.

I could not help but realize that sister was not showing the spirit the Lord desired in his people, and I could not help but think if possibly I stayed at that home for six months she would not be quite so beautiful in her treatment of me as she had been in the few days I was there.

Now, dear friends, let us be careful along those lines. Let us remember that we can just put it on when we have company for a day or two, but what we really are, and what is actually in our hearts, manifests itself by the daily lives we live in our home, and amongst those with whom we are accustomed to associate day after day.

Also, we can set an example to others on very simple lines, in ordinary things, that will have an influence over them in very important matters.

E.g. Suppose in your ecclesia you find there is a lack of thoughtfulness; for instance when the song service is going on there is some brother or sister that has no song book; nobody ever seems to think of looking around to see whether others have hymn books or not; the rest of you sing and this one is allowed to sit there without an opportunity to look on a book at all. Now that would be an indication that there was a lack of consideration, and a measure of selfishness probably, amongst the friends. But if that is the case you ought to keep the thought in your mind that you are partly to blame for it, because if you set the proper example, it does not matter who you are, you might be a very unimportant personage apparently, and yet at the same time your influence in helping to overcome that condition would be valuable. So if you see a brother without a book, you would immediately hand your book to that one, and then let’s say… the next time you were at a meeting you did the same thing… well, the result would be that by and by the members of the class would notice those things, and they would begin to see the spirit of consideration in you, and you would begin to find them doing likewise; and soon, there would be such a spirit of considerate unselfishness in that class that it would do anybody’s heart good to meet with them. So then, if the little company with whom you meet is not in the condition you think it ought to be, do not blame them but begin to blame yourself, and think,

“Should not I set a different example?

Should not I have been showing a different spirit, and in doing so would it not be found a benefit to the other members of this class?”

Our influence will count most in proportion to the thorough spirit of humility we possess.

Whoever tries to be conspicuous, will injure their influence to that extent, I would say that especially with regard to the elders of the various classes. If a brother is permitted to occupy the position of an elder, it seems to me he ought to perform the duties that devolve on an elder in a spirit that is so permeated with humility that others would get a blessing from his service, and yet at the same time would hardly be aware of the fact that he was the elder of the class.

I remember one class where I went where they all seemed to be fairly humble, but there was one brother that I am afraid-well, wanted to be a little prominent, to be rather conspicuous, and I remember at first this brother went ahead and opened the meeting, and at the second meeting the same brother took charge of the meeting, and just before the third meeting began I said, “Brother, who will open the meeting this morning?”-Sunday morning it was.

He said, “I think I will, Brother Barton.”

“Well, are there any other elders in the class, brother?”

“Oh, yes, we have four elders.”

“Well,” I said, “suppose brother, you take your turns; I think it looks much nicer if all the elders take their turns in matters of this kind. Suppose you have one of the other brethren open the meeting this morning.”

“Well, Brother Barton, I know they will not want to do it; they put it off on me, and tell me I ought to do it; I know they will refuse.”

“Well,” I said, “you go and ask them anyhow.”

He went to one of the brothers and asked him if he would open the meeting. The brother apparently refused, and this brother came back to me and said, “He tells me he would rather I would open the meeting, he does not want to do it.”

I said, “Wait, I will go and speak to him.”

I said, “Brother, you are one of the elders of this class?”

“Yes.”

“Well now, could not you open the meeting this morning?”

“Well, but I think Brother So and So could probably do it much better.”

“Well, but brother, I think if the class elected you as one of the elders it would be proper for you to take your turn.”

“Well, if you think so, it will be all right.”

That brother opened the meeting, and I got another brother to open another meeting, and a third brother the next meeting, and I think if I am not mistaken possibly all the elders of the class had a turn in opening those meetings before the conclusion of our visit.

Now the thought is this: These brethren apparently had the spirit of humility, but there was one brother that was too willing that he should be prominent. He ought to have impressed on the minds of the others the fact that they had a work to do, too; they had an opportunity, according to the Lord’s voice as expressed through the class; and I would suggest that brethren who are elders of the classes be especially careful that they do not assume too much of the responsibilities and ignore the other elders in the class. And where there is only one elder, how careful that brother ought to be!

Another thing: the elder that exerts the greatest influence over the class is the elder who performs the duties developing upon him in such a way the others would hardly know he was an elder. He does not feel boastful about the matter, he does not have much inclination to put himself forward.

So, by not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, we get HUGE opportunities to assist in the building up of the Body of Christ.

8.

We find especially helpful opportunities for spiritual development which we do not find out in the world amongst those who do not profess Jesus Christ as the son of GOD Yahweh, Jehovah. Hence, when we come to the people of GOD, we do expect something better, and the consequence is, when we find that GOD’s people are imperfect, when we find that they sometimes do things we would rather they should not do or sometimes say things we would rather they should not say, it helps to develop in us a larger measure of spirituality, a larger measure of the graces of the Holy Spirit than would possibly have been developed in us if it had been a worldly person that had treated us that way.

I think we are all inclined to expect too much of the people of God. We realize we are in the flesh, and we know that as long as we are in the flesh we are imperfect, we all have our failings; but we are thankful that the failings and imperfections and blemishes are not of the new nature, but the old nature-not in the hearts but rather in the flesh. And I think if we would keep that in mind we would be ready to make greater allowances for those who we come in contact with; we would have great allowances for our dear brethren and sisters when they do something that is not altogether to our liking.

In the Book of Romans 15:24, the Apostle Paul writes:

“Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.” 

Here the Apostle Paul told us about the journey he hoped to make to Spain, and he said he expected he would go by way of Rome, and he would stop and visit the Roman brethren for awhile, and he said he hoped that when he met those brethren in Rome he would be somewhat filled with them. Another translation  reads: he hoped he would be ‘partly satisfied’ with them. What? Why only ‘partly satisfied’ with the brethren at Rome? Did he not expect to be entirely satisfied? No. You see, if he was not entirely satisfied with himself, how could he be entirely satisfied with them?

I know I have been acquainted with myself a great deal longer than I have been acquainted with you, and I know I have had opportunities to understand my motives better than I could possibly understand your motives, because I can not read your hearts, and I know furthermore I have had plenty of time to get accustomed to my own peculiarities and idiosyncrasies, and so on, while I have not had much opportunity to get acquainted with yours. It must be so then, that if after all of these years I am not satisfied with myself, how can I possibly be satisfied with you? I know that in you there are things I do not like; if I do not know what they are it is simply because I have not been with you long enough. If you and I could live under the same roof for about six months probably I would know something about your weaknesses, and probably you would know something about mine; and therefore the thing for us to do is to not cultivate the spirit that would readily find fault because a brother is weak, but rather the spirit which seeks to be strengthened and benefited and helped by the weaknesses of the brethren.

How can these weaknesses help us?

By developing in us more of the spirit of patience, of compassion, etc.—the spirit that would make allowances for that brother.

Here is one illustration of this:

A certain brother in Christ who was on his way to one of the conventions; he got on the train; there was quite a company going to the convention, and he went through one of the coaches talking to a number of friends there, and he sat down beside another brother to talk to him, and he said he was one of the most disagreeable brethren he had ever met; he did not like his ways; he did not like his way of talking, he did not like some of his manners, etc., and the consequence was the brother terminated that conversation in a very short time and got up and said to himself, “Well, I feel so sorry for this poor brother, but I would not want to be with him during the convention.” And he said he had taken a few steps when the thought came to him, “Look here; that is the very brother that will give you an opportunity to humble yourself. Do you think the Lord has accepted him, and now you can turn your back on him? It is your duty to show a better spirit than that toward that brother.” He said he went back and sat down beside that brother and talked to him for quite a while.

In fact, when they got to the convention, they got a room together, and the greatest part of the convention to him was the communion with that disagreeable brother who was his greatest blessing during the time spent together.

Now, that is the way with us.

If we meet with those who seem to show some disagreeable traits, the thing is not to run away from them, but to look at the new nature; do not look at the old nature; we cannot see much of the new nature, but it is there. We have got to think of that one as walking after the Spirit rather than what we see of the flesh.

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Dear Friends, let us not then forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Let us be among those who appreciate fully this opportunity for communion.

May are ecclesias be strengthened and helped, not merely by what we are able to say, but by the spirit we show, the life we live; and if a Bible Study meeting or a Bible Student Convention has lifted us to a little higher plane than we had been on before, our suggestion is, stay on that plane; do not go back to the old plane-indeed, do not stay on that higher plane, but try to go to a still higher one, until by and by in GOD’s providence, having enjoyed the blessings of our meetings with the brethren, we may all be prepared and fitted for a place we hope to share with our Lord and master, Jesus Christ.

“Speaking the truth in (agape)love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

Acknowledgement:
Content from a discourse by Br. Benjamin Barton (in his book, “Pilgrim Echoes,”) has been used to create this post.

A Testimony
The reason behind the creation of this post was such, that it was a Sunday morning here in Australia, and the night before, an email had been sent to one of the Elder’s of the Ecclesia expressing a request to kindly have several answers emailed back after they were discussed at the Revelation Study on the Sunday and explaining that one’s presence will not be there due to some major “road blocks” … and the next morning a chapter from a book was opened up and begun to be read during the breakfast meal for the spiritual benefit of the listeners intended … but it actually turned out to be a personally “hand-delivered” GOD sent letter to the reader only thanks to divine providence—our Heavenly Father’s inspiration—which immediately changed the day’s decision, from one not going to ecclesia meeting, to one going. The words that were read that Sunday morning, were like blinding white lights from heaven with, as if a voice saying, “GO TO THE ECCLESIA MEETING… YOU ARE NOT TO STAY HOME WHATEVER THE EXCUSE!”… and the following thought immediately illuminated the mind like a most joyous revelation never thought of before…. that is, that let us just say one were faced with a life threatening situation (we are not saying this is the case here), then one should not think they are a burden to others and hence not want to go to meet with their Brothers and Sisters in Christ, but rather think:

Would it not be a grand privilege to be finally taken home by our Heavenly Father while in active service being BOTH PHYSICALLY and MENTALLY PRESENT amongst one’s brethren in Christ Jesus ?

YES—Of course it would!

The URL for this post:  https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/26/hebrews-1025/

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