Self-Examination – Hymns of Dawn No. 13

Self-Examination – Hymns of Dawn No. 13

Lyrics

1.
Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own his cause,
Or blush to speak his name?

2.
Must I be borne to Paradise,
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

3.
Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vain world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

4.
Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by thy Word.

5.
When thine illustrious day shall rise,
And all thy saints shall shine,
And shouts of vict’ry rend the skies,
The glory, Lord, be thine.

 

The History Of This Hymn

AuthorIsaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote the words to the hymn “Self-Examination” (which is Hymn No. 13 in the “Hymns of Dawn,”) in 1724.

ComposerThomas A. Arne (1710-1778).

 

Bible Scriptures Associated With This Hymn

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NRSV) — “(13) Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. (14) Let all that you do be done in love.”

1 Peter 5:4 (KJV) — “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

2 Timothy Chapter 2 (NKJV)

(1) You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

(2) And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

(3) You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 

(4) No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 

(5) And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 

(6) The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 

(7) Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

(8) Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel,

(9) for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 

(10) Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

(11) This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.

(12) If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

(13) If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

(14) Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.

(15) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

(16) But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

(17) And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,

(18) Who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.

(19) Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

(20) But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.

(21) Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

(22) Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

(23) But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.

(24) And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,

(25) in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

(26) and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

 

*******

The following words are from a “Reprint” (No. 5403-5404) from “The Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence:”

ENDURING HARDNESS AS GOOD SOLDIERS

“Thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Tim. 2:3.

THERE are many illustrations used in the Bible, and all of them very forceful. The one which represents the Christian as a soldier, has a great deal of meaning. We are not to suppose that the angels in Heaven are soldiers, nor that that term would be applicable to them. There is no war going on in Heaven, but there is a war going on here on earth.

Six thousand years ago our first parents became entrapped, and the whole race was sold under Sin—became the servants of Sin and Satan. More and more this influence has prevailed—not that all willingly surrender to Satan, but that he puts darkness for light and light for darkness, and thus deceives mankind and leads them captive at his will.

All who desire to be in harmony with God would be out of harmony with Satan and Sin. And they might at times have resisted these, and have tried to do God’s will. But there was no organized undertaking for the overthrow of Sin until Jesus came. His mission was to overcome Satan, overcome Sin, and to bring everything into full harmony with God’s arrangement. Earth, this province of God’s great Empire, being in a rebellious state, needed to be conquered and restored, and Jesus undertook the work, with Divine backing.

The first step was laying down His own life as a Ransom-price for the sin of the whole world, and thus making good for the original transgression. But before taking His power and exercising it in the overthrow of Satan and Sin, Jesus, according to the Father’s will, began the selection of a Church class, variously styled members of His Body, His Bride, His companions and brethren in the Kingdom, His Royal Priesthood, under Himself as the great Royal High Priest. All those who have heard the Message, and whose hearts have been responsive, who have recognized the wrong conditions here prevailing, and who have felt sympathy for the race that is here sold as slaves of Sin and Death—all these have been invited to become members of this select class.

TERMS OF WARFARE STATED AT BEGINNING

These were informed at the very beginning that it would be necessary for them to fight a good fight. They were invited to enlist in the army to battle against Satan, and instructed that they should have full confidence that ultimately faith would have its victory. They were also told that they must suffer, laying down their lives as their Head and Forerunner laid down His life—not living for the world, but contrariwise, accepting His arrangement and living altogether for the purpose of carrying out their consecration with Him.

The final honor to which God has invited them is to a share in His great Kingdom, with His Son. This implies a change of nature to all who have become soldiers of the Cross, followers of the Lamb; for “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.” These are called to forego the rights and privileges of the present time, and by their lives to leave their mark, for a testimony to the world, for the benefit of mankind, and especially for the glory of God and for the calling out of others who might desire similarly to walk in the narrow way.

The warfare that these are called upon to wage is a warfare against sin and the powers of darkness. (Eph. 6:11.) They are pledged to the Lord for right, for truth, for goodness. They are thus to fight the good fight.

These soldiers will find, too, that some of their greatest difficulties are right in their own person.

They have tendencies toward sin, because of being members of the human family, children of wrath, of sin, even as others. Their relationship to the Lord is as New Creatures.

SELF OUR SPECIAL FOE

The New Creature is obliged to fight against and to control the flesh.

This is a great battle which each fights for himself.

Each soldier may more or less assist and set an example to the other soldiers, but the chief battle is with himself. It is a hand-to-hand conflict. Although he is expected at all times to be on the alert against the wiles of Satan and the world, yet his special fight is with the enemies in his own flesh. St. Paul himself had taken the shield of faith—wherewith to quench the fiery darts of the wicked—and the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Timothy was a young soldier, and the Apostle was encouraging him with advice. He had already come into the Lord’s company, under the Lord’s standard.

THE QUALITIES OF A GOOD SOLDIER

St. Paul intimates that any one of us may be a good soldier, or contrariwise, a bad soldier, a poor soldier. We can imagine some soldiers who would be very disregardful of orders, not prompt to obey the command of the Leader. We can see that a good soldier is:

(1) one who is very much in sympathy with the Captain of his Salvation. He is an intelligent soldier, and sees that he has on the proper armor, that he wears it properly and that he gets the very best possible use out of this armor. He sees that in his walk he has a soldierly bearing [behave like a good or brave soldier], as a proper representative of the King, and of the great Kingdom so near at hand.

(2) He is not ashamed of his flag, nor of the garment of Christ’s righteousness. He is to lift up the standard of righteousness everywhere. He enlists in this warfare, knowing that it means his death—the death of the flesh, of the human nature. He is to be a good soldier—not merely outwardly loyal, merely wearing the uniform, but having the full spirit of the Cause.

This means that whatever experiences come to him he is to receive these thankfully, and be glad to have the privilege of enduring something for His Captain and in the interests of the Kingdom to which he has sworn allegiance.

The thought which the Apostle is impressing is that all good soldiers should endure hardness—hard, distressing conditions, circumstances that are quite unpleasant, difficult. Earthly soldiers are obliged to tramp through water and mud, enduring long, wearisome marches. Sometimes they are short of rations, sometimes obliged to sleep on the ground. Sometimes their battles are waged in the face of great opposition.

So the soldier of Christ is to endure whatever experiences may come to him, under the guidance of his Captain, not only willingly, but gladly, rejoicing that he has been permitted to enter this army of the Lord, knowing that these experiences are working out for him “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” These various hard experiences of the Christian are designed to work out for his good, that he may “lay hold on eternal life,” and gain a share in the Kingdom with his Redeemer.

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased at:
The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/
The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm

Acknowledgment & References

  • Br. Charles Taze Russell

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Br. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled “Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

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Suggested Further Reading

Fight the Good Fight of Faith
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/31/fight-the-good-fight-of-faith/

Are You Able?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/04/are-you-able/

EXODUS 3 & 4 – Overcoming Timidity and Fear of One’s Own Inabilities
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/05/29/exodus-3-4-overcoming-timidity-and-fear-of-ones-own-inabilities/

Why and How To Obey God?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/05/11/why-how-to-obey-god/

2 CORINTHIANS 5:20 — What Does Being “Ambassadors For Christ” Mean?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/20/2-corinthians-520-what-does-being-ambassadors-for-christ-mean/

The Agony of Gethsemane
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/09/the-agony-in-gethsemane/

Gethsemane
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/09/gethsemane/

The Cost of Discipleship
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/03/the-cost-of-discipleship/

The Lord Is My Shepherd, (R.1396) — Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

 

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https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/03/10/self-examination-hymns-of-dawn-no-13/

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STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud by Day and The Pillar of Smoke by Night

“Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.” (Nehemiah 9:12)

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THE HISTORY ABOUT THE PILLAR OF CLOUD AND FIRE

The First Appearance of the Cloud and Fire

God’s miraculous guidance of Israel from Egyptian bondage was evident through the sign of a pillar of a cloud. The first account of this pillar of cloud and fire in the Bible, is in Exodus 13:20-22 (ESV):

20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.”

This text suggests that the pillar appeared when the Israelites departed Succoth, the first camp after departing Rameses on 15 Abib (Nisan), 1445 BC (2513 years after the creation of Adam ). Smith’s Bible Dictionary (at BibleHub.com) says Succoth (“booths”) was reached at the close of the first day’s march and that the distance traversed each day was about 24 kilometres (fifteen miles).  Following is a map of Israel’s journey through the first part of their 40 years in the wilderness.

2-map

(This map follows a conventional view. “More recent opinions place Mount Sinai further north at Har Karkom. Please see http://www.Harkarkom.com for specifics”, Br.David Rice, 2016. For a detailed account of Israel’s journey, giving each encampment, refer to Numbers 33.)

The Second and Subsequent Accounts of the Cloud and Fire

The next account in the Bible of this pillar of cloud is in Exodus 14:19‑20, after God instructed Moses to raise his staff, stretch out his hand over the sea, and divide the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites to escape Pharaoh and his army pursing the Israelites. They had overtaken the Israelites as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon (Exodus 14:16, 9).

Exodus 14:19-20 (ESV) reads, “19 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, 20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.” Subsequently “during the last watch [“morning watch” – KJV] of the night, the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion” (Exodus 14:24, NIV). If there were four watches in the night, the last would have been about 3‑6 am. This suggests that the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea during the night, around the hours of 3‑6 am which would be classified as the 4th watch of the night (if there were four night watches).

The Pillar of Cloud and Fire and Its Association with the Tabernacle

When it was time for the long awaited moment of God’s glory to “move into” the newly built and consecrated Tent of Meeting:

34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys.

37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.

38 For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40:34-38).

This occurred on the first of Abib, the following year, after the Tabernacle had been erected (Exodus 40:1, 17). Later, when God led them away from mount Sinai, He continued to direct them by the movement of the cloud representing His presence. “They departed from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the Lord was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp” (Numbers 10:33-34).

The Last Account of the Pillar of Cloud and Fire

The pillar of cloud and fire was present throughout Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness (Exodus 40:38). Numbers 12:10 refers to it in the incident of Miriam’s complaint against Moses. “When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.” It is mentioned also in Numbers 14:14, 16:42, Deuteronomy 1:33, and Deuteronomy 31:15 as the life of Moses was drawing to a close.

In 960 BC the Temple of Solomon was dedicated, replacing the function originally served by the Tabernacle (and any other “temple” that may have been temporarily in use between the two, 1 Samuel 1:9).

The pillar of cloud was no longer required after Israel settled in Canaan, for they no longer needed a token from God to direct their travels, giving “them light on the way they were to take” (Nehemiah 9:12).

One commentary suggested the following about the Feast of Tabernacles that Israel observed after settling Canaan. “This feast, also called Succoth, was to commemorate the protection God provided in the wilderness and it may have marked the cessation of the fiery pillar” (The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, May-June 2006, “A Pillar and a Fire,” Br. Carl Hagensick).

The manna had stopped the day after the Israelites ate the food from Canaan (Joshua 5:12).

Perhaps the pillar of cloud and fire had completed its purpose about that time also. Notably, the account of the crossing of the Jordan River into the Land of Canaan (Joshua chapters 3, 4) does not mention Israel following the cloud. Joshua 3:3‑4: “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. 4Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”

The “Dense Cloud”

The “dense cloud” over Mount Sinai apparently was different than the “pillar of cloud,” for “dense cloud” brought darkness, whereas the pillar of cloud evidently had not.

The Israelites came to Mount Sinai at the opening of month three after the Exodus (Exodus 19:1). At Sinai, God told Moses “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you” (Exodus 19:9).

Three days later there was thunder and lightening with a thick cloud over Mount Sinai and a very loud trumpet blast. “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently” (Exodus 20:16, 18, NIV). Then God called Moses to the top of the mountain where he stayed 40 days and nights and was given the ten commandments. “The people remained at a distance while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:21).

Though the “dense cloud” and the pillar of cloud were distinct, both indicated the presence of God. This would have been an enduring sign to the Israelites that God was with them all during their 40 years of wandering.

POSITION

If the pillar of cloud and fire remained over the Tabernacle, after it was constructed, then it would have been over the center of the camp of Israel, for the various tribes camped about the Tabernacle (Numbers 2:17). The Tabernacle was no longer “outside the camp”, where “Moses used to take a tent and pitch it … some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting”. (Exodus 33:7)

When the cloud lifted to direct Israel, it moved forward, ahead of them. However, in Exodus 14:19, 20, 24, it move behind them to protect them. “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. … And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.”

Over the Most Holy

Apparently the usual resting place of the cloud was over the Most Holy of Israel’s tabernacle. It is theorized by some that the Shekinah light, that shone between the two golden cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant, was caused by an interaction between the electrically‑charged cloud and the Mercy Seat with its two carved angelic figures. If this conjecture is correct, it shows that divine wisdom, represented in the light, is a product of GOD, whose presence was indicated by the cloud, and the harmonious balance between the attributes of love and power, shown in the cherubim, and justice, represented by the Mercy Seat itself.

At the Door of the Tabernacle

On occasion, however, when GOD wished to make a pronouncement to His chosen people, the cloudy pillar took up a position at the door of the tabernacle. Three such occasions are mentioned (Exodus 33:9,10, Numbers 12:5, Deuteronomy 31:15).

SHAPE

There are two thoughts as to the shape of this miraculous cloud. Some view it as an upright plume as suggested by the word “pillar”, as shown here:

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Others envision it more as a canopy similar to the cloud in this picture.

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PURPOSE OF THE TWO PILLARS

The pillar of a cloud and of fire served in the following ways.

(1) God’s compass

It showed the Israelites where God wanted them to go and what God’s will for them was. The Psalmist David draws inspiration from this guiding light.

As Spirit begotten Christians, our compass is:

(a) God (Psalm 32:8) and Jesus (John 1:1‑12);
(b) the holy Spirit (Romans 8:26);
(c) the Word of God in the Bible;
(d) from the mouth of our brethren in Christ (Psalm 119:105).

(2) God’s instruction

The Israelites learned to discern God’s will by being given instruction through the movement of the pillars of cloud and fire. “Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them” (Psalm 99:6,7).

As Christians we receive instruction also from the Word and God and the holy Spirit: “But the Comforter, even the holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, it shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you” (John 14:26).

(3) Israel’s Protection Mechanism

a) Shelter

Isaiah 4:5‑6 (RSV) sheds light on this point. “Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy and a pavilion (“defense” in the KJV). It will be for a shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.”

The cloud served as a “canopy” that provided both “shade by day from the heat” and as “a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.” This implies a large cloud for the horde of two million Israelites plus their flocks and herds. Usually clouds bring rain, not shelter from rain. Clouds are porous and thus incapable of keeping out rain. But this miraculous pillar of cloud was unique in its ability to prevent the saturation of a down pour of desert rain.

Perhaps the lesson for us as Christians today is this: that God’s wisdom will not lead us where his grace cannot keep us. Faith can firmly trust him, come what may!

b) Security & Protection

The pillars of cloud and fire gave the Israelites a feeling of security—that God was watching over them. God accompanied the nation of Israel by either going ahead of them or placing himself in the rear of their group, thus protecting them against their enemies and against death itself (Exodus 14:19‑20).

Spiritual Israelites have the protection of the “armour of God” (Ephesians 6:10‑18):

“10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

(4) A visual reminder to reverence God

The pillar of cloud and fire reminded the Israelites about who they were to serve. It was thus a warning, in a sense, to not worship foreign gods. It was a faith‑building and trust‑in‑God provoking tool for the Israelites (Exodus 19:9).

God wanted the Israelites to also show respect to Moses, the Mediator of the nation. So we, also, are taught to respect the Elders of the ecclesias that we meet with either for online meetings or physical meetings. They are chosen mouthpieces of God who deserve double honor (1 Timothy 5:17), “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”

Do we remember what happened when Solomon’s son Rehoboam did not listen to the Elders but followed the advice of the young men who he had grown up with? (1 Kings 12:6‑19). Let us learn from such examples to respect our Elders.

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The spirit begotten Christian is given reminders through the holy Spirit working within—we develop an educated conscience through studying the Word of GOD and through prayer. We also receive reminders from Brethren in Christ such as the Apostle Paul reminded the Brethren through the disciple Timothy (1 Timothy 1:14‑16, ESV) –

“14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.”

In Titus 3:1‑11 (ESV), Paul wrote to Titus these words about what to remind the brethren in Crete.

“1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,

5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self‑condemned.”

(5) A sign of God’s power

Not only were these two pillars a witness to the Israelites but also a witness to the surrounding nations that Israel’s God was wise, powerful, and protective of his chosen people: “And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night” (Numbers 14:14).

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CLOUDS IN THE BIBLE

Clouds are mentioned throughout the Bible and often signify trouble, or a time of judgment. Here are some examples.

Psalms 97:2“Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.”

Job 37:11 “Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning.”

Revelation 14:14 “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.”

Here the white cloud represents blessing as opposed to dark thunder clouds. Jesus sits on it showing that he is in control since the beginning of 1874 (Christ’s invisible second presence) when the end of the harvest, and the sifting of wheat and tares, began. This continues until the last member of the 144,000 Bride of Christ goes beyond the vail, that is, completes their sacrifice until death and becomes a Divine being. The sharp sickle held by Jesus is for gathering the Church, not the world.

1 Thessalonians 4:17“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

This verse also applies to Christ’s (invisible) Parousia—the Suntelia periodthe ending period of the Gospel Age, described in Matthew 24.

Leviticus 16:2“The Lord said to Moses: ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the vail, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.'” This refers to the cloud of incense, not the cloud over the Tabernacle.

1 Kings 8:10‑12“It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.”

Fire in the Bible

Fire in the Bible represents: purging and destruction. Here are some examples of Scripture:

Hebrews 12:29“For our God [is] a consuming fire.”

Luke 3:16“John answered, saying unto [them] all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:”

Jeremiah 20:9“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But [his word] was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not [stay].”

Jeremiah 23:29“[Is] not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer [that] breaketh the rock in pieces?”

Luke 12:49“I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?”

1 Corinthians 3:15“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Revelation 20:9“And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Revelation 21:8“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

The fire that purges evil from the world, is not literal fire, but a symbol of destruction of the evil systems of the world approaching in Armageddon. This will lead into the most glorious world government ever seen. Earth will be ruled by Christ and his Bride for 1000 years during a reign of righteousness until God shall be all in all.

No cloud or fire either figurative or literal will be required
in the future eternal eternities.

No longer will a Tabernacle or Temple be needed (Revelation 21:22-27), and God shall dwell in the hearts of all people as His laws will be in their minds (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).

As the fiery pillar led Israel safely to the promised land of Canaan, may God’s presence in our lives lead us to our promised Zion, our heavenly and perfect and holy home.

7. flower -c.jpg

Acknowledgement

We wish to thank Br. David Rice for his great zeal in the Lord’s work and patient endurance in the editing and sharing of content for this post in the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” Series on http://www.BIBLEStudentsDAILY.com

References

Special thanks to Br. Carl Hagensick for source material from his article “A Pillar and a Fire,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, May-June 2006.

Further Suggested Reading

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

STUDY 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/

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

The URL of this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

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