STUDY 9: The Gate. The Door. The Vail.

THE GATE. THE DOOR. THE VAIL..jpg

There were three entrances in the Tabernacle arrangement which include:-

  1. the “gate” to the “outer court” (Exodus 27:16-19).
  2. the “door” to the “holy place” (Exodus 26:36-37; 36:37-38).
  3. the “vail” to the “holy of holies.” (i.e. “Most Holy”) (Exodus 26:31-33).

All three entrances were made of the same material: a fine white woven linen with blue, purple and scarlet threads running through the material (Exodus 38:18).

All three entrances had the the same dimensions as regards their area, that is, they were all 100 square cubits a number representing Christ Jesus:

  • The gate was 20 cubits long x 5 cubits high (Exodus 38:18);
  • The door and the veil were 10 x 10 cubits — SQUARE — a symbol of PERFECTION (equality on every side)!

NOTE: For the door, we do not have an explicit text for its measurements however the boards were 10 cubits high (Exodus 26:16). As to the width, we infer from the 20 cubits of Solomon’s Temple that the Tabernacle was half the size (1 Kings 6:2) — thus, 10 cubits wide. The back of the Tabernacle was defined by 6 board of a cubit and a half, so 9 cubits interior — the two sides, if each 1/2 cubit thick, would constitute 10 cubits outside dimension of the Tabernacle. If the door was sufficient to cover this, then it was 10 cubits wide.

This teaches us that the same truth seems therefore to be embodied in each of these typical curtains. The same Jesus is portrayed in each. There could be no access to God, of any kind, whether of comparatively distant worship, or of closest intimacy, but through the one door, the Lord Jesus. “I am the door” (John 10:7).

The value of 100 also “beautifully correlates to the “redemption price” of the “firstborns” which was five shekels at 20 gerahs per shekel: 100 gerahs (also representing Christ Jesus)! (Numbers 3:46,47; 18:15,16)” (Notes on the Tabernacle, page 100).

Jesus is our entry into:

  • justification (the gate into the court),
  • sanctification (the door into the Holy) and
  • glorification (the vail into the Most Holy).

(1) THE GATE

the-gate-beauties-of-the-tabernacle

The gate was the only way into the court and represents our Lord Jesus who said of himself, “I am the door. Whoever enters through me, will be saved” (John 10:9, NIV).

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).

By faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice, represented in the Brazen altar, we enter the ‘gate’ to the ‘Court’ — the vail of unbelief and sin is passed” (Tabernacle Shadows, page 22).

The gate was wider than any of the other entrances, enabling all Israelites to enter the court. The width of the entrance shows that God makes grace available to many for “many are called but few are chosen(Matthew 22:14).

In Exodus 40:33 we read, And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.”

The root word of “gate” from Exodus 40:33 is shâʻar, shaw-ar’ and means, to split or open, reason out, estimate… and the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon writes: “to set free… to set a price” and Jesus most certainly did “set free” every human from the curse of sin.

The gate, (as also the door and the vail) was really a “hanging.” (See Exodus 27:9, 16; 26:31,32, 36).

All three entrances were suspended by way of metal (silver or gold) hooks from the pillars which supported them (Exodus 38:19; 26:32,37). (See Study 4 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.”) There were no curtain rods nor any other device by way of which these “hangings” could be raised up or pulled to one side.

To enter the court, and thus, in order to pass “beneath” the “hangings,” one had to lift the bottom of the curtain and stoop down and go under the curtain. This bowing to enter shows a right attitude of heart, for when we come to Christ we come humbly in need of a Saviour. The man who will not bow his knee and his heart to Christ, cannot enter in (Psalm 99:5, Ephesians 3:14, Matthew 19:24).

We can only approach Jehovah God, by recognizing Jesus’ merit and through the eyes of a New Creation mind — the mind that was also in our Lord Jesus.

There were no cherubim interwoven into this outdoor screen surrounding the court area and the gate, unlike that of the vail. (We discuss about the cherubim a little later in this Study.)

The tribe of Judah, the kingly tribe, camped outside the Eastern Gate. The name Judah means “praise,” and Jesus was descended from this tribe (Hebrews 7:14).

The Four Posts at the Gate

There were FOUR posts at the Gate (Exodus 27:16-19).

Perhaps FOUR here, could represent the four authors of the Gospels of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) who most conspicuously held up Christ’s character before the world and who are the instruments used to build our faith into Christ — by studying about Jesus and getting to know who he is and thus how to become like him, and learning about what he taught to likewise follow his teachings and spread the lessons to all who have a listening ear.

(2) THE DOOR

the-five-posts-at-the-door-of-the-tabernacle

The “door” was the one entrance into the Holy (which represents the spirit begotten condition of the “little flock” class — see Study 3 of the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” series of posts on this website).

The door of the Tabernacle is of finely twisted linen (Exodus 26:36) because Jesus has completely satisfied the justice of God.

It is white to express the purity and righteousness of Jesus’ character. Jesus was the one without sin and without stain or blemish (1 Peter 1:19).

As was the gate and veil, this door was made of “blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer” (Exodus 36:37).

The door would have been thick enough to block light and it was in the Holy Place where the golden lampstand was (which stood directly opposite the table on the south side) and it was to burn continuously both night and day (Exodus 27:20-21).

The Materials Used for the Fabric of the Sanctuary

Flax and goat’s hair were the materials used for the fabrics of the sanctuary. According to Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, “the flax was dyed before it was spun into thread.”

weavers.jpgHere is an image of two Israelite women moving the “weavers beam” forward on a large vertical loom as they make fine twisted linen.

In Exodus 35:25 we read, “And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. 26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.

In the above verse, “wise-hearted” women refers to all who had sufficient skill. Although both men and women of ancient Egypt spun thread, spinning seems to have been done primarily by the Hebrew women. It was effected in early times by means of a wheel and spindle, with or without a distaff. (Reference: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200000994).

Jesus Christ referred to spinning when he urged his disciples, not to be unduly anxious about clothing, but to trust in God to clothe them. Jesus said: “Mark well how the lilies grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, Not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.” (Luke 12:27, 28; Matthew 6:28-30).

“Of fine linen” — Rather, of white. Most of the Egyptian linen is of a yellowish white, being made from flax imperfectly blanched.

Note: It is described in the English version as the linen being wrought with the needle, or embroidered; but the word rendered “needle-work” is now believed to denote a striped or checked pattern produced by the loom. Hence the curtain of the gate and door had a blue, scarlet and purple colour appear in them in stripes or checks, instead of being wrought into figures of cherubs, as on the curtain of the vail.

The Colours of the Linen Curtains

colours-of-the-tabernacle

  • White

White linen was used for garments for royalty and persons of rank and has been found in the tombs of the Pharaohs. White linen always speaks of purity and righteousness:

Revelation 15:6 —And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands.

Revelation 3:5  “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

Revelation 19:14  “And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”

The fine-twined, white linen speaks of righteousness and typifies Jesus, the Son of Man, spotless, pure, and sinless.

1 John 3:3-5 — “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure…and you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”

  • Blue

The interwoven thread of blue seems to speak the fact that Jesus remained completely loyal and true to his heavenly Father; that he faithfully maintained his righteousness and purity at all costs.

Blue is the colour of the sky without clouds and so it is also known to be a symbol of what is heavenly.

Blue is also the colour of nobility. We recognize those qualities in our Lord Jesus. He came from heaven, he then returned there as a divine soul. “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:20, ESV).

We read that Jesus came and being found in the appearance of a man humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-11).

  • Scarlet

Scarlet represents Christ’s blood shed for all — his sufferings and death on the cross. Our Lord’s loyalty and faithfulness were put to the severest tests, tests in which obedience to the will of God resulted in his sacrificial death on Calvary’s cross.

The Apostle Peter captures the thought here in saying “it was not with …. silver and gold you were redeemed… but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:17-23).

It is Christ’s blood which gives life and purifies.

  • Purple

Purple represents Jesus’ royalty; he was of the royal line of David, Lord of the earth, and the inheritor of all the promises of God.  Our Lord Jesus became King of kings and Lord of lords since Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18, NIV).

Jesus is king of a kingdom not of this world (John 18:33-39).

Because of Christ’s faithfulness unto death, God indeed did highly exalt him to the royalty of the kingdom, as was prophesied many centuries in advance:

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).

The Five Posts at the Door

There were FIVE posts (pillars) that supported the first vail (the door) of the Holy (Exodus 26:37; Exodus 36:38). The number 5 in the Bible represents the New Creature in Christ. (See Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”.)

These posts were constructed of shittim wood overlaid with gold, and they were set in sockets of copper — representing perfect (or justified) human nature, and therefore, the spirit-begotten condition of the church. How beautifully this reflects that the saints still in the flesh (in the Holy — representative of the “in part” condition (1 Corinthians 13:9) have their “treasure” of the Spirit (gold) in “earthen vessels” (copper) as we read of in 2 Corinthians 4:7 (ASV):

 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.”

(3) THE VAIL

the-vail-of-the-tabernacle

The entrance to the Most Holy is called “the vail” (or in Hebrew, paroketh) of the Tabernacle and which the Apostle Paul in the New Testament designates “the second vail” (Hebrew 9:3).

It was only through the vail (which represents Christ’s flesh, R.4746) that one could enter into the Most Holy — the spirit-born condition of glory, honor and immortality to which the faithful over-comers of this age became heirs. (See Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.)

For a certain period of time the door to the High Calling of the Church stands ajar during the 6000 years of permission of evil which has been allowed since 33 AD. Jesus opened up this new way of life through the veil; that is to say, his flesh—his sacrifice.

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh (Hebrews 10:19, 20).

The Rending of the Vail

The rending of the Temple vail (in Jerusalem) took place at the same time as the earthquake at the moment of our Lord’s death — his crucifixion — which we read about, in Matthew 27:51 and Luke 23:45.

Interestingly, this great vail was torn, not from the bottom toward the top, as would be the expectation if it were the result of wear, but from the top to the bottom, as indicating it was a manifestation of divine power.

The rending of this curtain represents symbolically the opening of the narrow entrance way into the High Calling — an opening between heaven itself and the heavenly condition of those living in the Gospel Age (now spanning nearly 2000 years since 33 AD) by Christ through the sacrifice of his flesh.

Through that rent vail we may see into the things beyond and be ready to pass into the Most Holy (R.4746).

Passing through this second vail into the Most Holy, involves “the death of the HUMAN body” (Tabernacle Shadows, page 22).

Both the fleshly mind and fleshly body must be left behind before we can enter into the “holiest of all.” We will then be in the spirit realm, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50).

True believers are represented as being associated with Jesus as priests in the Holy, (the outer apartment of the two) where they have fellowship with God through the light of the golden candlestick, through the bread of the golden table, and through the incense that we are permitted to offer on the golden altar. It is from this standpoint we can now by faith see beyond the vail — catch glimpses at least of the heavenly estate which God hath in reservation for them who love him, for the called ones according to his purpose, for the Christ, head and body (R.3371:2).

The Cherubim

Unlike the curtain for the gate and the door, the linen curtain of the vail was embroidered with cherubim, (as were the walls of the Tabernacle proper — due to cherubim embroidered on the first of the Tabernacle’s coverings). Any cherubim in the vail would presumably have been depicted in a different way than the two golden cherubim over the ark of the covenant — these being described in Exodus 25:20:-

“And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.”

Here is one artist’s impression of what the vail pattern may have resembled:

artist's impression of vail pattern .jpgCherubim being heavenly (angelic) creatures suggests that those passing beyond this vail enter into the heavenly condition — life on the spirit plane — partakers of the Divine Nature.

The ancient Jews said this later veil of the temple was as wide as four fingers, so that no one could possibly see into the Most Holy place (David Guzik).

The vail divided the Tabernacle into two, the Holy place at the front — 20 x10 cubits — and the Most Holy place that became a room 10 cubits long x 10 cubits wide x 10 cubits high.
Only the high priest was permitted to go beyond the vail. This occurred once a year, on the Day of Atonement.

When it came to moving from place to place, the vail was taken down from its hanging position and draped over the ark of the covenant (in which case, there was no “most holy” at that point, the vail defining the most holy having been taken down).

“(5) And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it: (6) And shall put thereon the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof” (Numbers 4:5-6).

Hence there was sufficient means by which the Levitical priests could carry out God’s requirements of not entering the most holy nor seeing the ark of the covenant exposed and thus not inflicting death on themselves or others. For whomever would touch the ark of the covenant (other than the High Priest on the Day of Atonement) would die, such as in the case of Uzzah (Exodus 25:14-15).

Is this not a wonderful reassurance that a consecrated child of God should not fear failing in their vows of consecration until death or fear second death! Why? Because the Heavenly Father provides enough immunity against the evils that surround when, one’s fear of reverence to the Father through Christ (Proverbs 1:7) helps one seek for God’s wisdom, help and comfort in every time of need and trial (Psalm 46:1). This reverential fear of doing wrong in the eyes of God is a blessing in disguise! — helping the consecrated Christian overcome (Romans 8:37) all the testings and temptations as did our Lord Jesus when he was on earth.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The vail (“katapetasma”) means “to hide or conceal”, hide from view the “ark of the covenant” and the “mercy seat.”

It also acted as a barrier between God and man because while we are in the flesh, in the Holy condition as the developing embryonic New Creations in Christ, God is in the Most Holy, thus the vail separates the two of us.

The FOUR POSTS at the VAIL

4-posts-at-the-vail

The FOUR posts (Exodus 26:32; 36:36) supporting the vail into the Most Holy are set in sockets of silver.

Silver is a general symbol of Truth — the knowledge of which the justified believer holds on to the righteousness of Christ. (See Study 4  of the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” Series of posts on this website, regarding details about silver.)

The posts here, represent the spirit-birth (gold) condition as an actuality (silver), where one’s treasure is obtained in the fullest sense by carrying out one’s sacrifice willingly and with great joy in the Spirit, unto death.  Thus, the posts into the Most Holy no longer had sockets of copper as in at the gate and door entrance ways and this signifies that those entering the Most Holy place (Divine Realm) are no longer in the flesh.

The vail was hung from golden hooks from off the 4 posts (not from the 50 golden clasps which joined the two parts of the linen covering, although, the vail was located approximately under these clasps.) Refer to Study 8 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.” It was probably a unified drapery on the backside of the posts.

As were the golden hooks and covering of the pillars of the holy and most holy — so are our hopes, aspirations, and calling — these all concern with things divine (Exodus 26:32-37).

The Number FOUR — In the Bible

The number four in the Bible refers to the concept of trial, testing, probation, judgment.

Thus here at the entrance of the most holy of the Tabernacle, the time of judgment of the church may be reflected in the four posts.

Here are some other examples of four in the Bible (as explained in an article titled “Symbolic Numbers” by Br. David Rice in The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov./Dec. 2004):

  • At the second feeding of the multitudes by Jesus — representing the time of harvest and judgment closing the Gospel age, the number reported was four thousand.
  • The forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 32:13) — representing the Gospel age period of testing, trial, development.
  • The same is represented in the four hundred years of Genesis 15:13 — which describes the period of the affliction of the seed of Abraham, beginning with the mocking of Isaac, at the age of five, by Ishmael — a picture of the early affliction of the Church by the Jewish authorities and ends at the Exodus — a picture of the deliverance of God’s chosen at the end of the Gospel Age.

When multiplying these 400 years by the 360 days in a prophetic year, we yield 144,000, the number of the church in Revelation — showing the fruitage to be developed during the testing period of the Gospel age.

The different orders of magnitude of the number four (i.e. 4, 40, 400 and 4,000) also expressing the symbol.

[It is interesting to also note: “Of the dated visions of Jeremiah in chapters 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 36, three are dated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and three in the fourth year of Zedekiah — all six judgments are in a year four.

When the seven times of punishment on Israel was represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the expression “seven times” appeared four times in the narrative, and four times in the warning by Moses (Daniel 4; Leviticus 26).

These judgments were fulfilled by four Gentile kingdoms dominating Israel during the 2,520 years of their national punishment.] (Symbolic Numbers, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Nov./Dec. 2004)

The colours embroidered on the white linen of the vail are the same here as for the entrance into the Holy. The presence of these three colours on the white linen vail is echoed in Revelation:

“Be thou faithful (blue) unto death (scarlet) and I will give thee a crown (purple) of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Psalm 100:2-5 (NLT)

Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

References

[R= Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence – Charles Russell]

Acknowledgment

Content assisted by Br. George Tabac.

Suggested Further Reading

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

STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud By Day And The Pillar of Smoke By Night  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.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

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

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/

The URL for this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

 

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Two Canary & Sparrow Stories

Romans 12, 12 with address.jpg

Story 1: The Canary and the Sparrows

A story is told of a gentleman who had a beautiful singing canary. A friend wanted to try if he could teach his sparrows to sing by keeping the canary with them. He borrowed it, and placed it in the cage with his sparrows.

Instead, however, of teaching them to sing, the poor bird got so timid among the strange birds that it stopped singing altogether, and did nothing but chirp like the sparrows. The owner then took it back; but still it would not sing.

It then occurred to him to put it beside another canary, which sang well. This had the desired effect, and, regaining the old note, it sang as beautifully as ever.

Many Christians go, like the canary, into the strange company and atmosphere of the worldlings, and consequently they not only do not teach the world to sing their happy, glorious note of praise, but they cannot sing the old songs of praise in a strange land themselves, and soon they learn the sorrowful note of the world.

The best thing for such is to go back again into the more friendly, warm, encouraging and spiritually edifying society of happy, rejoicing Christian saints, among whom they will soon learn to sing the glorious notes of praise again, making melody in their hearts. 

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20, KJV).

Other Bible Texts to consider:

  • Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).
  • 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:15-20, NIV).
  • 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25, KJV).
  • 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, KJV).
  • “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV).
  • “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV). 

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Are two canaries always content being together? We would hope so.

Are we content with the circumstances in our lives? 

Let our answer be YES as we daily surrender the fleshly preferences and exchange them for seeking and doing our Heavenly Father’s will, being living sacrifices “holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).

What if there be misunderstandings between our brothers and sisters in Christ?

As we are on trial for glory, honor and immortality, our test is to overcome our weaknesses of character and rather, to develop agape love towards our brethren, TRUST and reliance on God and patient cheerful endurance, learning to do the will of the Heavenly Father who knows best what we each need to develop in our characters, so that we can become “more precious than gold” to our Heavenly Father, and be heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:17).

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NO TRIAL OR TEST IS FOREVER. 

It is your faith that is on trial now.

In the calmer days, when the sun of favor shone brightly upon you, you were quietly laying the foundation of a knowledge of the Truth, and rearing the superstructure of Christian character.

Now you are in the furnace to be proved…

Summon therefore ALL your courage; fortify your patience; nerve yourself to endurance; hold fast to your hope; call to mind the promises, they are still yours; and “cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward” (Hebrews 10:35).

“In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7) and faith has gained her victory.

 “57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58, KJV).

“37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us(Romans 8:37, KJV). 

*****

Story 2 – The Canary and the Sparrow

There once was a canary who would sing the most beautiful song during the day. This was so because he lived in a beautiful cage. His master brought him fresh water to drink and bathe in every morning. On top of this, he was fed the finest food. His house was set by the window with the best view and when the weather was pleasant, he would be refreshed by the fragrant breeze of the open window.

On a certain sunny day, a stray sparrow flew up to the window sill. He heard the song of the canary and then listened for a time. After a while he spoke and said, “Why are you singing so cheerfully since you are such a poor bird?” “What do you mean?” demanded the canary. “You live a confined life where your world is so small without any freedom,” answered the sparrow. “Your prison is so restricted, you can’t even try out your wings. Whereas, look at me… I can fly freely around” and then the sparrow flew up to the top of the neighbor’s house and back again, adding, “You surely are a poor bird.” Then the sparrow flew off without looking back.

After watching him fly off, the canary then looked at the bars on his cage. They wouldn’t move and he yearned to see a little more of the world around him very much. He started thinking more and more about his limited life, and soon became sad.

Before long, he lost his song. The next morning, his master brought him fresh, clean water for both drinking from and bathing in, but the bright yellow canary paid no attention. He stopped eating any of the delicious food prepared just for him and as the days went on, his head begun to hang down lower and lower and not one chirp or whistle came out of him.

The once happy canary had now become worse and not better and was truly a poor bird.

Then one bright morning, the sparrow reappeared as suddenly as he disappeared. He stopped and looked at the canary for a while. However the yellow bird with his head bowed low and filled with sadness, took no notice. The sparrow finally broke the silence and said, “What is wrong with you?” But the canary would not answer.

The sparrow now spoke with contempt, “You are even a poorer bird than I first thought.” Then, just as he was about to say something else to insult the canary, a cat jumped up on the window sill and caught the sparrow. The sparrow cried out for help, but there was no one who could help him. Then right before the canary’s eyes, the cat dined on the sparrow for lunch. When the cat had finished eating, he tried to get the canary also, but the bright, gold bars on his cage wouldn’t let him through.

When the canary’s master then heard the commotion, he briskly chased the cruel cat away.

After everything settled down and peace was restored again, the canary began to consider what had happened.

His cage protected him from his enemies, while the sparrow had no protection and was now dead. The canary had a master who cared for his welfare, meeting all his needs. The canary looked at the bars around him… he viewed the clean water to drink and bathe in, and gazed at the most delicious food for him to eat… and after thinking a long time, he decided he wasn’t poor anymore, but rather the richest and happiest of all birds. Understanding such great truth, he raised his most beautiful, yellow head and began to sing the most beautiful song!

Let us consider how much our heavenly Father lovingly cares for us, meeting ALL OUR NEEDS for our highest spiritual welfare!(Philippians 4:19)

Like the canary, we are protected from the Adversary—who, like the cat in this story—“prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  The Apostle Peter warns the Christians of the early Church to “be of sober spirit [serious], be on the alert” (1 Peter 5:8).

Some may say we are confined and restricted because of our consecration vows unto the Lord in following Christ and because of our strict training & disciplinary lives as we fight the good fight of faith and run in the race of the High Calling in such a way as to win— be more than overcomers (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Perhaps one could say, this is the strictest training school ever in existence because it is one which guarantees the highest reward—it guarantees glory, honor and immortality for eternal eternities in the Divine Realm if one patiently endures faithfully unto death (Romans 2:7).

Should you ever want to be like the sparrow in this story—seeking for earthly comfort … Or if you ever feel “caged in” or think the grass is greener on the other side” then it will help to remember what happened to the sparrow—he was caught and devoured by his enemy!

In a similar way, the Adversary will not be content until you are completely destroyed and your life is ruined!

Let us remember that when Satan tells us, “You are truly the poorest person without any freedom, with the most severest experiences which you do not deserve … there is something better than this for you now to experience… this life is about being free and having lots of fun etc.,” he is a liar!

Let us obey God’s Divine Principle of RIGHTEOUSNESS and sing our song of greatest JOY IN THE LORD reminding others & ourselves that we are the richest of all children because God is our Almighty Father who gives us only that which will work out for good. 

Let us declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). 

The Heavenly Father through Christ has promised a crown of life to those who are faithful to Him until death (Revelation 2:10).

Since we have surrendered our entire will to do the heavenly  Father’s Divine will in all, we cannot bemoan or wish for anything other than what our heavenly Father’s Perfect will IS and whatever His overruling providence has permitted, knowing that GOD IS THE GIVER OF EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD (James 1:17).

Let us end with the exhortation of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:3-15.

“3 His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.”

His Eye is On the Sparrow

References:

Story 1 – R.878 (Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s presence); Bible Students Daily Heavenly Manna Book – June 4th

The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/21/the-canary-and-the-sparrows/

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Fight The Good Fight of Faith

1 Cor. 9, 25 - 900 x 900

We are told in 1 Timothy 6:12 to “fight the good fight of faith.”

The Apostle Paul reminds us in Hebrews 12:4, that “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

What do the words “the shedding of blood” refer to?

It is understood that our battles must resemble those of our Master and King, our Beloved Jesus who we seek to be transformed into the likeness of, after we have fought to the best of our human capabilities in learning to do God’s will by surrendering up with great joy in the Spirit our self will (the flesh – the “old man,” Ephesians 4:22) and doing so until our last dying breathe or else until our last conscious moment of existence in the flesh.

Our consecration vow of following in Jesus’s footsteps isn’t just for a season but for however long our Creator wishes us to be trained in the School of Christ for and each day is another chance to improve, to develop our weaknesses so they become our strengths. Each day is a new opportunity to prepare ourselves like young Esther did, to be found worthy of becoming the Bride for Christ.

It means actually going through experiences of suffering for righteousness sake (Matthew 5:10-11, 1 Peter 3:14)… suffering in our battles to overcome evil with good and to do how our Heavenly Father would want us to, in order to please Him.

It means enduring with cheerfulness in the hope set before us and mortifies the deeds of the flesh (Colossians 1:11, 2 Peter 1:6).

By resisting unto death, it must cost us our ALL to be faithful to the truth and righteousness, and our Heavenly Father seeks such as will be “faithful until death” (Revelation 2:10). If it be the surrendering up of fleshly interests, or perhaps careers or prestige or positions of authority, or reputation, then one will thank God for all the experiences endured patiently with great joy in the precious promises of the Bible, seeking more and more, day by day, to clean out in ourselves what needs to be cleaned, relying on the strength of the Lord to renew the new mind in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Let us surrender to the experiences God may allow upon us as HIS PLANS ARE PERFECT (Psalm 18:30).

Consider opening up the Bible and just for this exercise focusing on all the precious promises in the Bible.

You will be transported into another world in your mind, if you focus on the joy in Christ which God’s people can now have through faith in Christ. Let us focus moment by moment on overcoming the challenges that would help make God as well pleased as is possible with the time that remains in our lives.

It is good to remember that DIVINE TIME is not HUMAN TIME. So let us patiently endure all the testings of our Faith, striving to develop the kind of patience that God has toward us (2 Peter 3:9) and in our daily imperfections of the flesh.

Our Christian warfare involves
wearing the FULL uniform of Christ-likeness ALL the time
not just when it’s most comfortable to do so.

It requires discipline, determination, zeal and a lot more which can be acquired through study and prayer.

In 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 we read, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

Positivity is required by a soldier of the Cross to fuel their zeal in climbing and not resting then longer than they need on a plateau.

If you long to be in a place where we can one day be found by God’s grace, in the most responsible positions that our Heavenly Father would trust us to be in, then we must go through many trials and experiences now without wavering or complaining (Psalm 34:19).

No cross, no crown.

The narrow way trodden by the footstep followers of Christ is not an easy way, yet it is the MOST JOYOUS PATH because of the Hope we have IN CHRIST!

There is only enough room on it for ONE and JESUS at a time, hence it is called a NARROW way.

IT IS POSSIBLE to achieve the crown of life if one seeks it with their whole heart and continually asks God for help, for God’s grace and mercy. Which teacher would not help their student who is asking for help?

“4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5).

ROMANS 8, 4, 8.jpg

In Mark 10:25 we read, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

In this parable, Jesus told the young rich man that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, he needed to disentangle himself from his wealth first like you would have to unload all that was on a camel’s back to get through the eye of the needle. Unfortunately, the young rich man in the parable was not willing to unload his back and he missed out on what his heart was looking for.

[Photo Credit: BiblePictureGallery.com]

The photo above of a similar gate in Nazareth illustrates the eye of the needle gate quite well. You can see that a camel could not pass through the gate unless it first had all its baggage removed and then stooped to get through the gate.

This discipline in faithful patient endurance to achieve victory in Christ and be one of the Bride will require the surrender of ALL and it is worth every and any earthly pleasure/comfort gladly surrendered up now in order to belong to Christ and bring joy to our Heavenly Father by OVERCOMING the flesh, the world and the Adversary!

“Be watchful (alert), stand firm in the faith, act like men (courageous, be brave), be strong”  (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Have you asked the Heavenly Father for a greater measure of His holy Spirit:

– to increase one’s faith, trust in God’s power?

–  to place full confidence and reliance on God’s strength working through the carnal flesh as the New Mind in Christ matures into Christ ?

– to not fear what the world fears?

–  to discern God’s will?

God teaches us uniquely individual lessons hence it requires very careful listening to the voice of God which comes from walking closely with Him and learning His principles and HIS ways.

“The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked” (1 John 2:6).

Other Holy Scriptures about walking with God include: Micah 6:8, Deuteronomy 8:6, Romans 13:13, Ephesians 2:10, John 4:32-34, Hebrews 10:22, Luke 10:27, Romans 8:29, Philippians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 5:7, 1 John 1:6-7, Galatians 5:16, John 8:12.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

In Hebrews chapter 12, Apostle Paul encourages us not to slack off from our privileged Profession as Soldiers of the Cross of Jesus. We are to be vigilant and continuously on guard protecting our New Creature Mind in Christ as if we were a Body Guard standing in front of Paul Gauguin’s 1892 oil painting titled “When Will You Marry?” which hangs at the state-financed Qatar Museums and was bought in 2015 for almost $300 million, smashing the record for the world’s most expensive single work of art…

Hebrews 12:3-17:

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”

GOD’s Truth is THE MOST PRECIOUS thing we own now.

Let us GUARD IT and PROTECT the mind in Christ because the devil roars around like a lion wanting to deceive whomever he can.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Peter 5:7-9).

Dear friends, every spiritual help and assistance we receive are parts of the Father’s good providence for us whereby we shall be the stronger in the spirit, the more courageous, the better prepared for further trials, besetments, difficulties and conflicts with the world, the flesh and the Adversary.

But when we reach the glorious condition mentioned by the Apostle, all the trials and testings will be in the past.

Then finally for us there will be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, no more fightings, no more crosses, no more sufferings, but instead, life eternal, joy eternal, glory, honor and immortality at our dear Redeemer’s right hand of favor.

Let us console ourselves with the thought that whatever is God’s will concerning us must necessarily be for our highest welfare and best interests.

If, therefore, it is not yet time for us to pass beyond the veil, it is because our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer have a work for us to do in the present life–either a work of further polishing upon our own character or a work of helping the brethren,  or both, for we remember the declaration that Christ’s Bride is to make herself ready for that event.

We are to build one another up in the most holy faith, encouraging, strengthening, sympathizing with and assisting one another in running the race for the great prize.

What gloriously wonderful precious promises we have in the Bible to rest our minds upon, in full reassurance of the hope we have in Christ:

“I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

“My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in thy weakness”  (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12).

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

Dearly beloved Brethren in Christ,

May we not lose heart and flee from the battle, but rather, as a company of good soldiers who have been refreshed and encouraged and stimulated, we will return to our duties full of good courage, full of joyful anticipation of the coming Great Home-Gathering of the Church of the Firstborns; full of renewed determination that by the GRACE OF GOD, and with the assistance of our great Advocate, Jesus Christ, we will make our calling and election sure by so running in His footsteps as to receive the great Prize which Our Heavenly Father has offered to us.

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?”

1 Thessalonians 2:19

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