With a tender smile on His loving face,
My Lord stood holding the Cup of Grace —
“Wilt thou drink, dear one, today?”
O loving Bridegroom, I am so weak! My enemies even now do seek To cause me to shrink away.
Today the Cup seems a bitter draught That cost Thee Thy life, as once Thou quaffed —
Increase my faith, I pray!
“My Dove, I will show thee the care I take To guard the Cup for thy dear sake, That thou mayst drink each day.”
Oh, wondrous vision my Lord revealed! I saw my soul’s fierce battle-field, And the enemies dreaded by me.
The World, the Flesh and Satan wise Were all made plain in their evil guise, Plotting adversity.
“I will fill the Cup with troubles sore, Pour them in till they’re brimming o’er— I’ll make it a Poison draught!
“So bitter ’twill be that its very breath Will cause her to shrink from such a death!”— Thus Satan in wickedness laughed.
And the World and the Flesh in blindness lent Their aid to his wicked, fell intent: My soul felt their power so dire.
Then I turned and looked at my Bridegroom’s face— The glory from it filled all the place, But His eyes were flames of fire.
“BEGONE, ye enemies of My Bride! The Cup is MINE!” He sternly cried; “I guard this Cup each day.
“And nothing goes in it beyond the power Of My Bride to bear in her weakest hour, If she l
Then He turned to me with the tenderest mien– “My Love, art thou strengthened by what thou hast seen? Canst thou now the enemy face?”
Dear Lord, forgive me, I humbly cried, That I should forget that He who died To redeem my soul, is by my side And holds the Cup in His hand.
Gladly I take the Loving-Cup, Gladly I drink as Thou holdest it up;
To share it with Thee is grand!
And if it should be that this is the day When the flesh, as I drink, shall pass for aye, Then ’twill be the Cup of Joy.
Oh, wondrous miracle of grace! The smile on my loving Bridegroom’s face As I pressed my lips to the Cup,
Filled my soul o’erflowing with peace Divine! And not alone did this peace I find, But my heart with Joy welled up.
And so each day as I take the Cup From my Best Beloved, I meekly look up And whisper a prayer for grace.
And He gives me grace; and Peace Divine,
And Love and Faith and Joy are mine, As I gaze upon His face.
My hope is in faith the Cup to drain That I in His Kingdom with Him may reign; The Cup of Joy I then will claim, Triumphant by His Grace!
Lilla S. Ward.
The above poem is from the “Reprints (No. 5868) of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.”
Peace with God Through Faith
(1) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.(2) Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (4) and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (5) and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (Weymouth New Testament)
“(20) Now may God who gives peace, and brought Jesus, our Lord, up again from among the dead — even Him who, by virtue of the blood of the eternal Covenant, is the great Shepherd of the sheep — (21) fully equip you with every grace that you may need for the doing of His will, producing in us that which will truly please Him through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory to the Ages of the Ages! Amen.“
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“(18) … you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, (19) but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
“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” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).
“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:10).
All glory to Jesus be giv’n,
That life and salvation are free,
And all may be wash’d and forgiv’n;
Yes, Jesus has sav’d even me.
Christ Jesus is mighty to save,
And all his salvation may know
On his merit I lean, and his blood makes me clean,
Yes, his blood has wash’d whiter than snow.
From the darkness of sin and despair,
Out into the light of his love,
He has bro’t me and made me an heir
To kingdoms and mansions above.
O! the rapturous heights of his love,
The measureless depths of his grace.
My soul all his fulness would prove,
And live in his loving embrace.
In him all my wants are supplied,
His love starts my heaven below,
And freely his blood is applied,
His blood that makes whiter than snow.
THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST
(An article from “Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence,” R1229 – R1231.)
All of God’s dear children trust in the precious blood of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. They know, … that the blood of Christ is the principal topic of God’s revelation, and the foundation of his great plan of salvation. They know that the expression, “blood of Christ,” somehow stands for sacrifice of Christ, though they are sadly confused by false ideas on the so-called “trinity,” and consequently upon what our Lord Jesus gave as the sacrifice for sins.
In this “evil day” the great Adversary of God and his truth is taking advantage of this confusion, this lack of clearness of understanding, to overthrow faith in the ransom, the foundation doctrine of Christianity. The process is, to scoff at the idea of blood cleansing from sin, and to insinuate that most Christians believe in having literal blood sprinkled on their hearts, or that they are cleansed from sin by plunging into a literal fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins. Thus the idea of blood-cleansing is scouted as being on a par with the doctrineof everlasting torment, and belonging to the savage minds of the “dark ages.”
As a matter of fact, no sane Christian people have ever held this literal and absurd view of the meaning of the blood of Christ. It has always been recognized as synonymous with sacrifice. Any fair-minded person can readily see this to be true as well of the use of the word blood by the Apostles, as in the hymns of all denominations of Christian people. Take that grand old hymn—
“There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.”
What could more clearly express the very essence of the Bible doctrine; and how absurd for any to try to make out that those who thus express their sentiments believe in a river of literal blood. The hymn expresses well and beautifully the very thought of the Prophet (Zech. 13:1), “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David for sin and for uncleanness.”
There is surely an object in this misrepresentation of the general views of Christian people. Is it to confuse the mind, excite disgust at the thought of blood, and swimming in rivers of blood, etc., and then under the warmth of the denial: “Such is not my belief even if my fathers did believe it,” to point out to the confused one a theory which it is desired to impress? It looks very much that way. The theory then advanced is, that when Christ’s blood is mentioned, the word blood stands for carnal nature, and the understanding should be—Christ slew HIS carnal nature, as an example of how all his followers and the world in general should slay their carnal natures.
Ah! no wonder that, with such a theory to advance, the great Adversary first tried to excite disgust for any and every thing connected with “the blood.” He well knew that, unless disgust for “the blood” should be aroused and form a barrier of mental prejudice, some of God’s children would be sure to examine the forty-three places where the Scriptures mention the blood of Christ, and the many more where they mention the blood of animals which typified his blood. And if they would but investigate, they would find that which would prove fatal to the theory he wished to establish as new light.
The few who look to God’s word for instruction find that in these forty-three times that the blood of Christ is mentioned, neither our Lord nor the apostles once hint that the blood of Jesus represented the slaying of his carnal nature, nor that he had in or about him anything evil that required to be destroyed. They find, on the contrary, that there was no cause of death found in him except in the sight of the hypocritical Pharisees. And they find that, to the contrary of the theory we are criticizing, these forty-three inspired testimonies on the subject declare unitedly, not that our Lord shed his blood for himself and as an example to all men to shed their blood for themselves and thus reach perfection, but that, whatever blood symbolizes, it is his blood that cleanseth us from all sin.
Yes, his blood became the basis for the forgiveness of our sins, made peace for us, opened up the way to reconciliation, and transferred us from the domain of sentenced culprits, back to sonship in the family of God. So says the great Apostle Paul—Col. 1:20; Heb. 9:12; 10:19; 13:12; Rom. 3:25; 5:9; Eph. 1:7; 2:13; Col. 1:14 and Acts 20:28-31. So declares the great Apostle Peter—1 Pet. 1:2,19. So testifies the beloved Apostle John—1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5; 5:9; 7:14.
Truly the Word of God is sufficient that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished against all the wiles, glosses and sophistries of Satan. Even those who do not see clearly what the blood does signify or symbolize, can, without aid, quickly see that it means nothing at all like what this erroneous view would set forth. The idea of the blood of Christ signifying the slaying by him of his carnal nature is as far from the testimony of the above passages of God’s Word as the East is from the West.
But what is the true significance of theblood of Christ when used in reference to our cleansing from sin, as in the above citations? If it does not mean literal blood, what does it mean?
We answer by giving God’s definition of what blood represents or symbolizes. The blood is the life. (Gen. 9:4-6.) “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have appointed it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls [lives, beings]: for it is the blood [sacrificed life] that maketh atonement for the soul [or being].”—Lev. 17:11,14.
By accepting God’s definition of what blood signified, in all the sacrifices, as well as in the case of the “one sacrifice for all” which our Lord Jesus presented, all confusion disappears.
As blood represents the life, the shedding of blood represents the loss of life—death.
So then, the expressions—the Lamb slain, the cleansing blood of the Lamb, the precious blood of Christ, no more refer to literal blood than to a literal lamb, but to the deathof Christ. True, our Lord’s side was actually pierced and blood flowed out, but the expression, “He hath redeemed us by his blood” (by his death), would have been equally true and proper, if not a drop of his literal blood had passed from his veins; for it merely signifies that he redeemed us by his death—by the sacrifice or loss ofhis life. Thus it is written, “He poured out his soul [being—life] unto death;” and again that he made “his soul [being—life] an offering for sin.”—Isa. 53:12,10.
So then, God’s people have always had the pith of the truth on this subject, when believing that the “blood of Christ” meant the sacrifice of Christ. That is the correct thought. Their difficulty is, that when they come in contact with errors their lack of a clear understanding of whatsacrifice Christ did make for the sins of the world, combined with erroneous ideas of a trinity, make them liable to be led astray from the foundation doctrine of Christianity—”that Christ died for oursins according to the Scriptures.” Finding that they cannot clearly analyze their own views, they are very susceptible to the false view we criticize, which first ridicules the idea which no one holds, that it is the literal blood of Christ which washes away our sins, and then offers the proposition, that Christ’s blood, when referred to in Scriptures, represents his slaying of his own carnal nature and desires, as an example to men, how they must each slay his own carnal nature and desires. According to this unscriptural theory each man would be his own Savior. And not only so, but if each would be a great Savior in proportion to the work accomplished, then the Lord Jesus would be the least of all; because, even those who claim that he had a carnal nature to crucify or slay cannot dispute that many men have far more of evil and sin working in their members to overcome than our Lord had. And if each slays sin in himself, the more degraded the man the greater the salvation, and the greater he is as his own Savior.
But let each compare this view briefly with the view presented in the above cited statements of the apostles respecting the blood of Christ—the life which he laid down on our behalf.
The life of the world in general was gone—forfeited in father Adam’s failure when on trial—all not absolutely dead were dying. They were under the execution of the just sentence of God, “Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return.” God had decreed a sentence which would most fully manifest the law of the universe—that no sinner shall live—and one which at the same time furnished an opportunity for revealing to angels and to men his unswerving justice, his great love, and his boundless wisdom and power. When God decreed death as the penalty for sin, so that a ransom (a corresponding price—a just one to die for [or instead of] the unjust one—Rom. 5:17) would be necessary to the release of mankind from the sentence, he did so in full view of the course he would pursue. His wisdom foresaw the results of leaving Adam to his own free will—that in his inexperience he would not submit his will to the will of his creator and would therefore get into sin and under the sentence of death—extinction. And his wisdom also foresaw how his love could work out a plan for the salvation of his creatures. And he foresaw that the well beloved and only begotten Son would humbly consent to carry out the divine plan—to leave the glory and honor of the heavenly nature, and as the man Christ Jesus give himself a ransom for Adam and his race.—Phil. 2:7,8; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
Since the penalty was death,the ransom necessary to release the dead and dying world from the sentence under which all were, and to secure them restitution—resurrection—and an individual trial for everlasting life, was the death of this perfectman whom God thus provided. And this simple and easily comprehended plan was carried out. The man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all;—he died, the just for the unjust;—he died for our sins. The dying on the cross, the drops of bloody sweat in Gethsemane, the pierced hands and side and flowing blood were not necessary to our ransom. None of these things were the penalties of sin. God’s sentence against Adam—”dying thou shalt die”—did not specify what manner of death, nor what amount of suffering should be connected with it.
Death alone was the penalty, and had God’s will been such, for our Lord to have met death in any other form than crucifixion would have been equally our ransom price.
Many do not see that in our Lord two things were being accomplished at once.  Our ransom was being provided, and  our Lord’s extreme fidelity to the Heavenly Father was being tested and proved in the same sacrifice. As our ransom, death in any form would do; but as an unbounded proof of his humility and obedience to the Father’s plan, the shame of the cross was added.—Phil. 2:7,8.
The result of his death as it affects himself is that he is now highly exalted and made partaker of the divine nature, that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.—Phil. 2:8,9; John 5:23.
The result of his death as it affects mankind is that it places the world in his hands as the purchaser, to the intent that, without violating the law and sentence of God (which he satisfied with his own [life] blood), he may restoremen to perfection and offer everlasting life to all who will come into harmony with God’s perfect law through him—under his direction and assistance.
THIS IS JUSTIFICATION
(An article from “Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence,” R1231.)
Thus we are justified by his blood [by the life which he laid down for us]: our sins and imperfections are passed over, forgiven, covered by the merit of the ransom which he gave.
Not only sins past and present, but also all future sins—all that are directly or indirectly the results of Adam’s transgression—all that are not our own, that our wills do not approve of, are not reckoned any longer to those who are in Christ Jesus.
No wonder these have joy and peace as they realize that there is now no longer any condemnation against them.—Rom. 5:1; 8:1.
Here begins the work of sacrifice and crucifixion with Christ to which many are invited, but to which few respond. It is a mistake, however, to consider this sacrificing as a slaughter of our sins or as having anything to do with the “slaying of the enmity” mentioned by the Apostle. On the contrary (under the Law, which was typical), no sacrifice could be offered unto the Lord that had any blemish or imperfection—blemishes representing sin. So it is that no one is ever invited to become a sacrificer with Christ until he has first been justified from all things—cleansed from all sins—by the precious blood [sacrificed life] of Christ. And if these who are cleansed from sins—justified from all things—are told that they may present their bodies [“holy and acceptable unto God” through Jesus Christ] as living sacrifices, it must be their justifiedselves and not their sins that they present, and that the Lord proposes to accept.
The “enmity” which the Apostle declares Christ abolished (Eph. 2:15) was not sin in himself, nor anything in himself; but in or by the sacrifice of his flesh, the man Christ Jesus abolished the enmity or opposition of the Jewish Law Covenant, under which fleshly Israel labored. When that Covenant which they could not keep was fulfilled by our Lord Jesus and passed away (Col. 2:14), all who had been under it were released from its requirements of absolute perfection which opposed and condemned them all, that they might receive through Christ forgiveness of sins—through faith in his blood.
The privilege of becoming joint-sacrifices with Christ is limited, as truly as is the privilege of becoming joint-heirs with him. “Now is the acceptable time.” Both the privilege and the reward of sacrifice will end with this age. Now is the time when God will accept the living sacrifices of all who (after being justified from all sin by the blood of Christ) come unto God through him.
Such are not invited to sacrifice for their own sins, then, for their sins must be canceled before any sacrifice would be acceptable. But they are invited to sacrifice time, talent, influence, self-ease, and lawful self-gratification, in the service of the truth—in the general cause of God against the great enemy, Sin, and for the recovery of sinners out of it through Christ Jesus.
The sufferings of Christ, to a share in which all believers cleansed by his blood were invited during the Gospel age, will soon end. They will be filled up or completed. (Col. 1:24.) Then the glory will follow—the glory of Christ Jesus and also of all the members of his body, the church, those who suffered for the truth (not for their sins), sacrificing their justified selves with him and in the cause of God. Then the reign of righteousness will begin and none will have occasion to lay down his life for the truth’s sake thereafter.
Many have believed in the precious blood and have had joy and peace in believing and then heard the call to the privilege of self-sacrifice with Christ; but few have responded, and hence few are chosen to be with him and behold and share his glory and his throne, and his new nature—the divine nature—far above both the human and the angelic natures, even in their grandest perfections. Let us, acceptable to God through the precious blood, make our calling and election sure.Let us lay aside every weight and hindrance and run with patience the race of self-denial to the end—looking unto Jesus, the author of our faith, to finish it by receiving us to the heavenly mansion.
Suggested Further Reading
Here are some free ONLINE reading articles in relation to the Heavenly Father—Jehovah, his Son—Christ Jesus—“a ransom FOR ALL… to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:6), and about the holy Spirit (the understanding of God), with clear explanations about why the anti-Christ teaching of “the trinity”—introduced by the Roman Catholic Church system (the “Beast” in the Book of Revelation)—is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible Students Movement also does not support the false teaching about purgatory nor does it support the Roman Catholic System’s false teaching about people being sent to a place where they burning up forever as this certaining does not reflect Jehovah’s divine, perfect love, justice, power and wisdom … “who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103:8). For the interested Reader, we urge you to consider the following articles and posts:
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.
More about the Bible Students movement can be found here:
“(1) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.(2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1, 2, ESV).
“(7) But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (8) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (10)that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,(11) that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead“ (Philippians 3:7-11, ESV).
Here is some brief content from the latter referenced article above (“The Ransom”) concerning the two applications of Christ’s blood:
1. The first application — is for the consecrated class, those who accept Christ now, and accept Jesus’ invitation to self-denial and cross bearing (Hebrews 9:24).
2. The second application — the one for all the remainder of Israel, shows that after this age for the consecrated, another age of redemption follows. This will be for the remainder of the world those who will be blessed by the saints when, as a class, they are complete in glory with Christ.
Now we see that Jesus’ death, by itself, did not automatically bring release from the curse. Jesus was raised from the dead with the value of the Ransom price he provided, and by God’s design Jesus himself is the one who applies the value of the Ransom. He applies it first to us who consecrate our lives now, and later to the world during the Millennium. Jesus died for our offences to provide the Ransom value and was raised again for our justification to apply the Ransom (Romans 4:25).
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed pow’rs;
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All my days and all my hours.
Let my hands perform his bidding;
Let my feet run in his ways;
Let my eyes see Jesus only;
Let my lips speak forth his praise.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
Let my lips speak forth his praise.
Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside—
So enchained my spirit’s vision,
Looking at the crucified.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All for Jesus crucified.
The History Of This Hymn
Author – Mary D. James (1810-1883)
When Mary D. James was 13 years old, she began teaching Sunday school in the Methodist Episcopal church. She became a prominent figure in the Wesleyan Holiness movement, assisting Phoebe Palmer, and often leading meetings at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and elsewhere. She wrote about 50 hymns, and articles by her appeared in various journals and newspapers.
Composer – Asa Hull (1828 – ?)
As of 1895, Hull was a music publisher in New York City; his company was still operating as of 1910.
Suggested Further Reading
Here are some free online articles in relation to the Heavenly Father—Jehovah and his Son—Christ Jesus—“a ransom FOR ALL… to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:6), as well as, about the holy Spirit (the understanding of God) with clear explanations about why the anti-Christ teaching of “the trinity”—introduced by the Roman Catholic Church system (the “Beast” in the Book of Revelation) —is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible Students Movement does not support the teaching of purgatory nor does it support the Roman Catholic System’s teaching about people being sent to a place where they burning up forever which certainly does not reflect the perfect love of God — the Almighty Creator of all things.
For the interested Reader, we urge you to consider the following articles and posts:
Br. Charles Russell — the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of“Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn.” With the assistance of Maria Frances Russell (1850 – 1938) — the former Maria Frances Ackley (whom Russell had married in 1879) — this Bible Students’ devotional was published in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (USA) in 1890. It originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.
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.
Br. David Rice — For the article “The Ransom.” Faithbuilders Fellowship (“Journal” section) March-April 2007. http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2007/02_ma_07.pdf
“Hymnary.org” and “Wikipedia” — hymn history content.
Here is an overview of the written content from the video “After Armageddon, God’s Kingdom” which can be viewed at the link provided at the end of this post.
In recent times Television and Radio news commentators, have filled our consciousness almost daily with catastrophic events happening throughout the world. Who can forget the tragic collapse of the twin towers on November 9th, 2001, when thousands of innocent people lost their lives because of a hand full of terrorists. Earthquakes are increasing at an alarming rate all around the world, which in turn, often produce the heart wrenching scenes of Tsunamis, wiping away entire cities with tens of thousands of lives lost in Indonesia, and the more recent one in Japan. The world is plagued with terrorist attacks. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan being fought not against conventional armies, but suicidal terrorists. Throughout the Middle East we see people uprising in revolt against their nations leaders. The masses in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran and many other countries, are held down in poverty and oppression of rights. As a result, they demanded the removal of all their corrupt leaders, and governments. Other countries are worried that terrorists or radical governments might acquire a nuclear weapon to destroy their enemies resulting in a nuclear holocaust.
Armageddon In The News
These catastrophic events and increasing threats are resulting in the Medias News anchors using the term Armageddon ever more frequently. People are wondering if all this trouble is an indicator that we are approaching Armageddon mentioned in the book of Revelation?
In Revelation 16:13-20 (ESV) we read:
“(13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon [Political power under the influence of Satan], and out of the mouth of the beast [Papacy – the Roman Catholic Church], and out of the mouth of the false prophet [the Church of England and their Protestant allies]. (14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (16) And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon [Strongs 717 – “the hill or city of Megiddo”]. (17) And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. (18) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. (19) And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. (20) And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”
The destruction in Armageddon is highly symbolic picture language. By many, the word Armageddon has come to be misunderstood as a final great cataclysmic event that will destroy by fire the heavens and our literal planet earth, together with all remaining unbelievers. Let us explain in relation to the words of 2 Peter 3:10.
This scripture is using figurative symbolic language, and should not be taken literally.
The Heavens and The Earth
The heavens being destroyed couldn’t possibly be referring to the literal heaven of God’s abode or the billions upon billions of stars in the starry heavens above as in this NASA deep space shot, in which each speck of light is not a star, but a galaxy.
Nor could the destruction of the earth be referring to our literal planet earth on which we live, for notice God’s Word in Ecclesiastes 1:4.
This scripture is a plain easy to understand literal statement. The earth will abide forever!
How then, can 2 Peter 3:10 be understood which says the earth will be destroyed by fire?
Since the Bible was inspired by God, we realize it must be harmonious with itself. Hence, the heavens and earth that are to be destroyed can only be understood in a symbolic sense.
We are told in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan is the god of this present evil world.
“In their case the god of this [evil] world [the Adversary] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Thus, the symbolic heavens and earth that will be burnt up with fire, refers to the destruction and removal of all the works of injustice and iniquity of Satan’s evil empire.
All these elements of Satan’s empire will be destroyed or removed inArmageddon.
The Apostle Peter furthermore, explains what will replace Satan’s empire.
God will replace the present evil order of society with a new righteousone. This new heavens and earth refers tothe kingdom of God that Jesus taught us to pray for.
We notice God’s kingdom for which we pray for, is going to be right here on earth.
Thus the new heavens isn’t referring to a new literal heaven, but to the new spiritual ruling power of “The Christ,”that will govern over a new earthly society. Not a new planet, but to a new holy righteous kingdom here on earth.
A Great Time of Trouble
A great time of trouble will remove this present evil order. Yet, let us take note what immediately follows after—a great time of blessingto mankindhere on planet earth! The kingdom of God!
Psalm 46 speaks of the time of trouble that will melt the earth at the end of the age. It begins with giving comfort to his faithful people as the trouble time approaches.
This is the same end time trouble referred to in Revelation and in 2 Peter chapter 3. The elements melt as he brings desolation or destruction to earths evil social structure. But now notice what immediately follows in the very next verse after the symbolic earth melts from the heat of trouble.
After the symbolic melting of earth, the earth is still here!
God makes wars to cease to the ends of the earth. It’s God’s kingdom time, the time God will be exalted among the nations.
And where are the nations? God says, “I will be exalted in the EARTH!”
Yes, the EARTH will abide forever.
The previous melting, was only symbolic of the destruction of Satan’s evil empire that will be removed, and replaced with God’s kingdom. Similarly we read about this in Zephaniah 3: 8,9.
Again, we read of the destruction of symbolic earth with the FIRE of God’s jealousy. But in the very next verse we read:
After the removal of the present evil order of society, the kingdom of blessings will immediately follow.
All mankind will be gradually raised from the tomb of death, and will be instructed with a pure language, that is a pure and true understanding of God’s word, his plans and His will for mankind to follow in order to go on to receive everlasting life.
Now we come to our theme text of Haggai 2:6-8 (KJV).
“(6) For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; (7) And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory,saith the Lord of hosts. (8) The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.
This is prophetic of the same shaking of Armageddon and the end time of trouble that will remove Satan’s empire—the present symbolic heavens and earth. But again, let us notice what immediately follows in the very next verse!
“‘(9) The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.’”
What a glorious precious promise!
After the trouble, the blessings of the kingdom of God on earth will come. A time when THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS WILL COME when they are raised from the tomb in God’s kingdom.
What is the desire of all nations, of all people?
→ peace → health → freedom from all fear and anxieties, → EVERLASTING LIFE!
The opportunity for all these and more is what God has promised for all mankind in God’s promised Kingdom on earth.
One might ask, then, if God intends “the desire of all nations” to pass, then:
WHY did God not do this from the very beginning of Creation?
WHY has God allowed man to suffer pain, sickness and death for thousands of years?
In order to find the answer to this universal question, may we suggest that for a few moments we try to imagine ourselves being God! That’s rather difficult but let us give it a try! Imagine having just finished creating the Angelic host and all the stars, galaxies and planets.
Let us try to envision our beginning to contemplate creating a new human race of intelligent beings. Our first thought might be that of creating him in such a way that it was impossible for him to ever do anything wrong, for in this way, humanity will live forever never having any pain or sickness.
But upon further thought, we may realize no, this would not be good because then humans would be mere robots, programmed to love God rather than truly desiring from their own hearts to love God.
We would want our children to love and obey us because they want to, not because they have to without any choice.
We would want them to have a mind of their own, to have freedom to make their own decisions.
As we consider various possibilities, we gradually develop a fantastic plan. A plan that:
is kind andloving!
provides for freedom of choice!
teaches our children to learn by experiencing right from wrong!
provides an opportunity to live forever in perfect happiness.
allows our children to love and serve us, not because they have to with no choice, but because they love us for what we are, and for what we provide for them.
This is the plan of God that he provided for his new human family. As we further consider that plan, we will see that it is the most loving, most just, most reasonable plan for mankind that you could ever imagine.
Adam and Eve in Eden
When God created Adam in the Garden of Eden, he gave him a simple test:
Obey and live, or disobey and die.
God knew Adam would fail his test, because of a lack of experience, but Godpermitted it as an act of love for man’s ultimate greatest eternal blessing.
Man was to learn from experience to discern right from wrong and also to experience the disastrous effects of disobedience so that…
after evil is eradicated, for eternity the lessons of the past will serve as a reminder of what JOYS REMAIN ETERNALLY for all who OBEY the Heavenly Father’s principles.
The Scriptures promise, that very soon every single one who has ever lived will gradually be raised from the sleep of death in God’s promised kingdom.
In 1 Corinthians 15:22 we read, “For asin Adamalldie, even so in Christshallall be made alive.”Notice ALLwill be made alive. This includes every man, woman and child that has ever lived on the face of the earth… Jew, Arab, Christian, Atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, good or bad… ALL are promised to be made alive in God’s kingdom!
Because the one perfect man Adam sinned, the death penalty came upon him and all of us as his children. But God’s love provided for another perfect man Christ Jesus, to give his life as a ransom to redeem father Adam. Thus, it was Jesus’ ransom merit that provided the legal basis for justice to be satisfied, and allow everyone that has ever lived to be resurrected from the dead.
The KEY to understand God’s ultimate plan for his human creation is to recognize that the scriptures teach that there are two salvations for mankind:
A heavenly salvation.
An earthly salvation.
Our Lord refers to this heavenly class as but a “little flock,” that is relatively few in number.
It is to this earthly kingdom that ALL the remainder of mankind (the good and the bad) will be raised in the 1000-year Millennial kingdomof God. As each one will be raised from the dead in this kingdom, they will be guided and instructed in the laws of the kingdom. They will be given every opportunity to gradually change their ways to develop Christ -like qualities.
By that time, all mankind will have experienced the great contrast between disobedience (prison) and obedience (joyful life). Thus, with experience being the best teacher, this vast contrast will enable most of mankind to pass their individual test and go on to live forever in perfect happiness.
A Foretaste of the Future
We can see that the plan God has adopted for his new human creation will result in most all of mankind loving and obeying their Creator for all eternity, not because they have to with no choice, but because they want to with all their being. It will be then that words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:10,11 shall be fulfilled.
With this brief summary of why God permitted evil for man’s ultimate good, let us note a few of the many Scriptures that describe the blessings of what the kingdom of God will be like.
In Isaiah 35:1-10 we are promised:
“The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose… Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped… Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue will shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert… and the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calfand the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them”(Isaiah 11:6, NIV).
“They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain (Kingdom), for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea”(Isaiah 11:9).
“He will destroy in this mountain [kingdom,] the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:7-9, RSV).
After the shaking trouble of Armageddon, truly “the desire of all nations shall come” in God’s glorious kingdom!
Signs of The Time of the End
Since Jesus died so long ago, one might wonder when will this resurrection take place and the kingdom of God be established? The disciples asked Jesus this very same question in the 24th chapter of Matthew:
Jesus proceeded to outline evidences that would enable those who were watching to recognize when this time would be.
Matthew 24:21,22—“For then shall be great tribulation,such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.”
But someone might say, there has always been trouble, and people often feel it is worse than ever before. What makes our present day trouble, a special sign? What makes it a special sign is the last phrase,
“And except those days should be shortened, there should be no flesh saved.”
Recall for a moment the devastation that took place in Hiroshima Japan on August 5th1945. The next day the United States dropped one Atomic Bomb over Hiroshima and the city was completely destroyed.
Over 200,000 people died and countless others were injured with radiation burns.
By today’s standards that bomb was relatively small. Its destructive power was the equivalent of exploding only 13,000 tons of TNT explosive.
On October 30, 1961 Russia exploded a test hydrogen bomb, that had the equivalent of 50 million tons of TNT—3,846 times greater explosive powerthan the one bomb on Hiroshima!
Today there are eight countries that have nuclear warheads: China, England, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States. There are currently about 31,000 nuclear warheads owned by these eight countries. The combined explosive yield of these weapons is approximately 5000 million tons of TNT. That’s 200,000 times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima!
We can see the fulfillment of Jesus’ sign of the end of the age when he said:
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:22).
Never before in the history of man would it have been possible to destroy all life on earth. Today there are enough nuclear warheads to destroy all flesh on earth many times over. But how thankful we are God has promised the trouble will be shortened. And when Satan’s present evil heavens and earth are removed, they will be replaced with the new righteous heavens and earth of God’s kingdom.
In the book of Daniel, God gave us additional signs to know where we are in the stream of time.
“And at that time shall Michael [Jesus] stand up, … and there shall bea time of trouble, such as never wassince there was a nation even to that same time” (Daniel 12:1-4, KJV).
Again a great time of trouble like never before, but note what will come after the trouble in the next verse… THE KINGDOM TIME!
“And at that time thy people shall be delivered, (2) Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake…” (Daniel 12:1,2).
The resurrection of the dead will begin!
Then in verse 4, God gives us two more signs to help us know when this time of trouble followed by the kingdom would be. It wasn’t going to be in Daniel’s day, but in “the time of the end.”
We have witnessed both of these signs. Think for a moment how fast knowledge is increasing. The accumulated knowledge of mankind since his first appearance on earth up to 1750 had doubled by 1900, a period of 150 years, redoubled again in just 50 years by 1950, redoubled again in 10 years to 1960, and again in 8 years to 1968.
The telephone, electric light, automobiles, sound recording, radio, television, jet airplanes, modern appliances, computers, space travel, trips to the moon, cell/mobile phones have been changing so rapidly we can’t keep up. And now with the internet—via a press of a button—information about any topic from around the globe can be accessed.
The “increase of knowledge” was one of the signs Daniel gave us of the nearness of the kingdom of God and it made possible the next sign Daniel gave us: “…many shall run to and fro!” (Daniel 12:4, KJV).
Are we not running to and fro today?
Think for a moment how just a little more than 100 years ago, man’s common transportation for thousands of years was a horse and buggy. Sir Isaac Newton was scorned by his peers when he predicted man would someday travel at speeds of 50 miles per hour. Little did he realize that man would fly across the ocean at 1300 mph and travel through space at 25,000 mph.
“Many shall run to and fro”—this is certainly our day! Another evidence that we are on the very brink of the establishment of God’s Kingdom!
The Fig Tree
Returning to Matthew 24, Jesus gave another very important sign that would indicate the time of his 2nd presence and the end of the age in Matthew 24:32-34.
“32 Now learn a parable ofthe fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
From many Scriptures throughout the Bible we realize the fig treealways represents the nation of Israel. Leaves sprouting on a tree is a sign that the tree has sprung to life after a dormant winter. Thus, what Jesus was actually telling us, is that when we see Israel come alive as a nation after being without a homeland for thousands of years, then we will know that God’s kingdom is right at the door.
Has Israel put forth leaves? Yes!
As we recall the past, we see how Israel as a people were dispersed among all nations, persecuted bitterly, having to live in Ghettos, hunted and exterminated as undesirables. Yet Israel’s hope was strong in God’s promises of a return to their homeland.
We recall the words uttered so often by Jewish people, “next year in Jerusalem.”
This hope was fulfilled in an historic miracle of our day, after thousands of years without a homeland.
By all military standards, Israel should not be in existence.
In war after war, outnumbered 100 to one, the tiny Israeli forces could not be overpowered.
And so it has continued to this day because God’s time clock has struck, for Israel to return to their land!
The Fig tree has blossomed!
Remember this was a sign Jesus gave to show the nearness of his kingdom. The Apostle Luke adds something in his account that makes our faith even stronger, writing the following words:
If the Fig Tree pictures Israel, “all the trees” would refer to other nations.
So Luke is telling us that together with Israel putting forth leaves (springing into life), many other nations would be putting forth leaves—sprouting into existence. And when we see this happen we would know the kingdom of God was near at hand. What does history tell us? It ties in exactly with Israel becoming a nation.
Up until 1945 the number of independent nations in the world remained relatively constant for centuries. A total of 70 were in existence in 1945. But since the ending of the 2nd World War in 1945 notice what’s happened! Today, there are 196 nations! More than 125 new independent nations have sprung into being which previously were held as colonies. Yes, Israel simultaneously with other nations has put forth leaves, sprouting into existence! We are the ones who have witnessed the fulfillment of this!
Let us recall what Luke and Matthew told us:
“When ye see these things come to pass, know ye the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand” (Luke 21:31).
“When ye shall see all these things know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34).
What a thrill to our hearts to realize this means we are on the very brink of the greatest event in all human history—the establishment of God’s Kingdom!
If this is so, then why all the continued trouble?
This is again in fulfillment of prophecy. For just as a contractor must remove an old structure from a building site, before he can build a new skyscraper, so with God. He must first remove Satan’s present corrupt systems of society, before they can be replaced with Jehovah’s kingdom of blessings.
Notice how this was portrayed in the book of Daniel. In Daniel 2:31-45 Daniel interprets a prophetic dream of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, that pictured the four Universal World Empires,and their removal. Here are three images to explain the image according to Bible prophecy:
The stone that struck the image—pictures how God’s kingdom will grow and fill the whole earth. This prophetic dream is in essence, another symbol of the removal of the present corrupt heavens and earth being replaced by the new heavens and earth of God’s kingdom, which will fill the earth with blessings.
Then in verse 44 of Daniel 2, we are given another prophetic corroboration of 1914 as the time when the stone of God’s power initially strike the image beginning the “time of trouble” which will be culminated in Armageddon.
We realize that the kings of Europe virtually passed away after the first World War of 1914.
Thus this Scripture is telling us, that when the kings still existed in 1914, it was God’s initial kingdom power that struck a blow which startedthe time of trouble.It started to break in pieces the monarchies and colonies of the kingdoms, and the breaking down process will continue until it ultimately removes all the kingdoms in Armageddon.
God’s plan is truly the most kind, the most loving, the most just, the most blessed and reasonable plan for mankind, that you could ever imagine.
We leave you with one of the most precious closing verses of the book of Revelation. Earlier we consider Revelations reference to Armageddon. But now notice how Revelation’s closing promises show us that Armageddon is not the end, but in reality it’s the prelude to the beginning of the new heavens and earth, the most glorious time period awaiting you and me and everyone that has ever lived—God’s Kingdom!
Truly, the desire of ALL nations will have come, and it will LAST FOREVER!
Br. George Tabac—The content for this post is based on Br. George Tabac’s script of his video titled “After Armageddon, God’s Kingdom” which can be viewed on the BibleTruth411 YouTube channel, at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzAnPWMXrW0
There are many names and titles of Jesus found in the Bible, and each of them contains a description or illustration of his life and work. Let us examine some of those names, and gain the lessons to be found in the deeper meanings in Jesus’ name.
First, let us look at the most familiar name, Jesus. Matthew 1:18‑23 tells about the angel of the Lord appearing to Joseph in a dream explaining to him to call the boy who would be born to Mary “JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” These words directly reference the words of Isaiah 7:14.
Bible dictionaries tell us that Jesus is theGreek form of the Hebrewname Joshua and both these names are English adaptations of these respective forms of the word just as Elisheba (the wife of Aaron, Exodus 6:23) is a Hebrew form, and Elisabeth (mother of John the Baptist, Luke 1:5) is a grecianized form, but both of these names also are English adaptations. The full form of the name Joshua has two parts—Jeho‑shua, or Jehovah‑shua, meaning Jehovah saves. Later, this name assumed the form Jeshua (sometimes pronounced Yeshua), from which came the Greek form Jesus. But the Hebrew origin of the Greek name Jesusliterally meansJehovah saves, or, God saves, and that name was given to our Lord to describe the mission of his life, to save the people from their sins, as we just read in Matthew 1:21.
Why did not Joseph call Jesus’ name Immanuel,like Isaiah prophesied? Here’s where understanding the meaning of names makes everything clear.
The word El means might, strength, power. The Schofield Reference Bible states that God (El) signifies the Strong One. In the Old Testament El refers not only to God, but also to mighty men of earth. The word El was often made part of peoples’ names to include a reference to God. For example, the name Elijah, or El‑i‑Jah, begins with El and means Jehovah is God. The name Daniel, or Dan‑i‑El ends with El and means God is my judge.
“Notice the above texts carefully and critically and all will agree that the context in every case shows the meaning of the Hebrew word Elto be powerful one. How clearly it is stated in the last three quotations that JEHOVAH is the chief “el”and ruleth over all other el—powerfulones. And it should be known to all, that JEHOVAH is the name applied to none other than the Supreme Being—our Father, and him whom Jesus called Father and God. (John 20:17.) The meaning then of the words ‘Mighty God’in our text, is,—He shall be called the mighty powerful. And so he is, for to him the Father has given all power in earth and heaven—(Matt. 28:19, and 11:27.) ‘He is Lord of all’—next to the Father for “The head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3.) They are one in mind, purpose, etc., because Jesus gave up his own will and took the Father’s(John 5:30) just as we must give up our will, mind, spirit and receive the Father’s if we would be made heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord.Does any one ask further proof of a distinction of persons? If so we request such to read Matt. 22:44—Jesus’ application to himself of Psa. 110:1, remembering that the words used by David, translated Lord [Master]are totally distinct and entirely different words, the first one being Jehovah, and the other adon. We give Young’s translation of this verse—’The affirmation of Jehovah to my Lord—sit at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’” (Reprint 296, Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence)
In the name Immanuel, the suffix ‑El is at the end, which tells us that the word God is part of that name. Bible dictionaries say that the first part of that name, Immanu, means with us. Thus, the entire name means God is with us. Indeed, God was with mankind in that He turned His favor toward mankind when he gave us his only begotten son to be Jesus—the savior of the world.
Since both names, Jesus and Immanuel, convey the thought of God sending his son Jesus to be the savior of the world, what is the deeper meaning of the name Jesus—which the son of man was to be named by Joseph?
It is salvation! But what does “being saved” mean?
Let us first explain what the Bible says is the punishment for sin.
Is it Hell?
No. It is simply death.
The Bible answers in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.” God’s punishment upon Adam in the Garden of Eden extends to all of Adam’s progeny, the entire world of mankind, as explained in the following three Scriptures.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17).
“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5).
This scripture explains to us that death is unescapable. Right from birth, humans inherited the penalty God imposed upon Adam, and that is whyeveryone dies.
The good news of salvation is all about being saved from death.
What are we saved to, and how? The Bible answers in the following way.
“(3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:3‑6).
“(21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22).
The word ransom means a price of release. As by one man’s (Adam’s) sin of disobedience, death came upon him and all mankind, so too, by one man, Jesus, mankind is saved from the just penalty of death. Jesus’ willing sacrifice of his life on the cross provided a ransom, a price of release for Adam and all mankind. The scales of God’s justice remain balanced, yet mankind is allowed relief from the penalty of death. They can be freed from condemnation because Jesus provided the price of release by accepting the penalty upon himself. Mankind may thus be freed from condemnation, and released from death in a resurrection.
Those who come into Christ presently are released from condemnation now. Romans 8:33,34, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Others will have their condemnation lifted during the Kingdom (Revelation 22:3).
Now the deeper meaning of the name Jesus is clear: we have the whole picture of salvation, and its two main features—the ransom and the resurrection. Jesus is the savior of the world because by his ransom sacrifice he saved mankind from death, to a resurrection to life. We also gain a correct understanding of the nature of man, specifically that he is mortal human flesh, and does not have an immortal soul. For if man had an immortal soul that could not die, then there would be no need for the resurrection of the dead, which is so clearly taught in the Bible.
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
What will this resurrection be like, and when? Let us answer that question by considering the five names of Jesus found in Isaiah 9:6,7 (a prophecy of Jesus’ birth, and a scripture we often hear read or even sung in Handel’s Messiah).
“(6) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
(7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”
The first few words of Verse 6 refer to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. The rest of these two verses fast‑forward to a time yet future, as the tense changes from present tense (“unto us a child is born”) to future tense (“and the government shall be”). It is apparent that Jesus’ government, Jesus’ kingdom of peace, is not yet established with judgment and justice. When it is, all mankind will say, this is the government we have always wanted, but never had. This promised government, this kingdom, was the most frequent topic Jesus preached about, during his three and a half year ministry on earth. When Jesus taught his disciples, and us, how to pray in the model prayer, He included these words.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
In Isaiah 11:9 we read, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
“Mountain“ is used as another word for kingdom or government. The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, just as the Apostle Paul wrote in that scripture we read earlier, “God wills that all men will come into a knowledge of the Truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus will be mankind’s Counselor, or teacher, in that Kingdom.
When will Christ’s kingdom be established “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)? Examining John 18:36 sheds light on the answer to this question. In the context, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate to answer the charge that claimed Jesus had committed treason against Caesar by claiming to be King of the Jews, which if true would be punishable by death, hence why Pilate put the question directly to Jesus in John 18:33. “Art thou the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence”(John 18:36).
At first reading, it might be thought that Jesus is saying, I am indeed a king, but my kingdom is not of this world, this planet, this earth; my kingdom is in heaven. But that is not what Jesus is saying. A closer examination of the names of Jesus helps us gain a deeper understanding of his life and work. The word world in Jesus’ reply is kosmosin Greek and it means order. When Jesus said, my kingdom is not of this kosmos, he was as if saying, I am not establishing my kingdom now; it is not of this present order, but there is a new world order coming. And when it does, that new world order, that new social order, that new kosmos, will be my kingdom, here on earth.
In relation to the resurrection to life in God’s Kingdom on earth, some sincere Christians believe that this world will be destroyed by literal fire(based on Scriptures such as 2 Peter 3:12) and that only the true followers of Jesus who have done their best to live a righteous life will be saved from destruction by being taken up to heaven.
That is not what this means.
In fact, Ecclesiastes 1:4 says the opposite: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.”
How do we harmonize these two seemingly contradictory scriptures?
We do so by recognizing that 2 Peter 3:12 is symbolic. Here the Greek word for elementsis stoicheion, which, like that other Greek word,kosmos, means an orderly arrangement.It is describing the end of the old social order of things in this present evil world, not the end of the planet.
In Ecclesiastes 1:4, the Hebrew word for earth, means the dirt, the planet—these will never pass away.
Jesus will be the world’s Counselor, instructor, teacher, and guide to give assistance and direction, whereby the billions of resurrected people will return to harmony with Jehovah and to the enjoyment of the blessings provided through the ransom.
His name, The Mighty God, or Mighty, Mighty One, will be recognized then, on earth, as well as in Heaven. As the Heavenly, Divine Being he became after his own resurrection, he will have all the power necessary not only to resurrect mankind, but also to bring to pass justice and righteousness for everyone.
The name, The Everlasting Father, will apply to him as the Life‑Giver of the world, during the thousand years of his reign. In all that time he will be giving “life more abundant” to mankind—everlasting life to all who will obey him—therefore his title, The Everlasting Father, or the Father who will give everlasting life to humanity, is a fitting one. All the world of mankind, resurrected on the human plane, will obtain their right to everlasting life as human beings in an earthly Paradise from their Redeemer, who will then be their King.
His name, The Prince of Peace, will not apply to Him at the beginning of His reign when He will be tearing down the old order of this Present Evil World. However, true peace will speedily be establishedand he shall be known as The Prince of Peace, whose reign will be undisputed and uncontested. “Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end,” there will be no rebellion, and his kingdom will not pass away.
Combining all these names and the future works they reveal to us, his name will be Wonderful—the one who will be recognized by all as the embodiment, the expression, of Divine Justice, Love, Wisdom, and Power. That will be the Kingdom on earth for which Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth.”
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Another name or title of Jesus mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:15: “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.“
The meaning of this title is fairly straightforward, and this scripture also tells us what the other Scriptures have been telling us about Christ’s kingdom, namely, that it is not yet fully established, but will be, in his times, and we believe that time is soon as we will examine a little later.
A Bible dictionary gives the following definition for the name Christ:
(1) Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus Christ), regarded by Christians as fulfilling Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, (2)The Messiah or anointed one of God as the subject of Old Testament prophecies.
An ordinary dictionary says that Christ comes from the Latin Christus, which in turn comes from the Greek Khristos, which means anointed. Thus, the name Christ carries the thought of, anointed. We can understand that because we have a few English words derived from Christ which convey the idea of anointing. We speak of babies and even ships being christened, with some ceremonious application of a liquid in the manner of anointing.
So when we say the compound name “Jesus Christ,” we are saying, Jesus Anointed, or Jesus, the Anointed one.
What, then, is the deeper significance of this name of Jesus, Anointed, or the Anointed One?
In Old Testament times, a special anointing oil was prepared according to a formula given by God Himself in Exodus chapter 30. It was to be used only to anoint the persons who were to serve as Israel’s priests, as well as the furniture and utensils used in the sacrifices God commanded the nation of Israel to offer on various occasions. This anointing signified that the ones being anointed wereauthorized to serve as priests. This holy anointing oil was so restricted in its usage, that if anyone used the holy anointing oil for any other purpose, or if anyone concocted an oil like the holy anointing oil, they were to be put to death (Exodus 30:32‑33).
A different oil was also used to anoint Israel’s kings, in a type of inauguration ceremony, to signify the authority of the one being anointed to legitimately assume the office of King. The one doing the anointing was often a prophet whom the people recognized as God’s spokesperson; authorized by God to anoint a king to his office.
We can think of these words anointing, or anointed, as an Old Testament equivalent of what we commonly see today when a president, or governor, or other high official, is sworn into office by placing his hand on a Bible and taking the oath of office administered by a judge or other official.
We now see that this term, Christ, defined as anointed, has a deeper meaning of authorized by God Himself to serve in the capacity or office given to them.
The word “Messiah”comes from a Hebrew term meaning “to smear or anoint.” When grease or oil was applied to objects by Israelites, the commonly used term was “anoint.” However, the name “Messiah” is used in reference only to persons, rather than to “anointed” objects. As mentioned before while discussing the name Christ, persons who were anointed had been appointed and given authority for specific offices and tasks given to them. So, then, “Messiah” is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek name, “Christ.”
Since Old Testament times, Jews have been looking for the Messiah to come and fulfill all the prophecies that foretold his work of delivering Israel from their oppression as a people, and their scattering as a nation. Even today, religious and even non‑religious Jews will say something like, “When Messiah comes, Israel will prosper and the world will be a better place.” So the name Messiah has a connotation of delivererto the Jews. This matches nicely with the equivalent name Christ, because ever since Jesus died and was resurrected, Christians have been looking forward to his return, or coming again, as mankind’s deliverer. Thus the name Messiah is associated withJesus’ return. Jews in general do not believe that Jesus Christ is their long awaited Messiah. But when they see the establishment of his kingdom and how it meets and exceeds their grandest expectations, they will.
The restitution, or restoration, of all things meansto restore mankind, and the earth, to the perfection Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden.
The spiritual part of the restitution phase has begun since our Lord’s second presence(invisible to the world, but visible by the eyes of understanding to the spirit begotten of the Gospel Age).
The presence of Christ is referred to by the wordparousia in the New Testament, in scriptures such as Matthew 24:3 (where the word “coming” is properly translated “presence”).
Whenmankind is restored to perfection, then they will be tested individually, as Adam was.
If they are obedient they will live—if they are disobedient they will not.
In that future test, mankind will have the enormous advantage of their past experience with sin and its consequences, that will enable them to
choose life through obedience, and pass the test.
This doctrine of Restitution now gives us the third “R” in a trio of precious truths concerning salvation:
Let us now consider our key scripture, Colossians 1:26,27.
“(26) Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is, Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Remembering that the anointingrepresents authorization to a work or office, like the priests and the kings of Israel, this passage tells us that Jesus’ close, footstep followers, can be, like he was, anointed or authorized to join him in his kingdom work.
Is not this thought incredible!
The following Scriptures support this:
“If we suffer (with him), we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).
“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Romans 2:7).
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality”(1 Corinthians 15:53).
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).
This means that there are actually two resurrections, and therefore, two salvations (See the HOPE & RESURRECTION posts: PART A, PART B, and PART C).
There is a first resurrection, now during the Gospel Age (from Christ’s ascension until the end of the age of the High Calling, ending six millenniums of the permission of evil), to a salvation of glory, honor, and immortality in heaven (Romans 2:7). This is for the very few who share in Christ’s sufferings by living their lives as peculiar people, a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), following in Jesus’ footsteps.
Then there will also be a general resurrection in the future, on a perfect earth, of the rest of mankind, to a salvation in God’s kingdom.
Why is it taking so long for the Kingdom Jesus taught us to pray for, to come?
Why is it taking Jesus so long to establish his kingdom and do all the things his names imply?
Here is the answer:
Before the general resurrection and earthly salvation can begin, the first resurrection to the heavenly salvation must be complete. Romans 8:19 explains:
“The earnest expectation of the creature [all mankind] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God [the completion of the Bride class].”
All this truth is embodied in the name Christ—Jesus, the anointed redeemer, and the anointed class, his footstep followers, who will reign with him as kings and priests in his kingdom.
By examining the several names and titles of Jesus and their meaning, deeper illustrations of our Savior’s teachings, life, and work can be learned.
In the name Jesuswe see his work of salvation, from death to life, which the doctrine of the Ransom teaches us about.
In the names Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting father, the Prince of Peace, we see when that due time when that Ransom will have its fullest effect. It will be in the coming Kingdom on earth for which Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” In that Kingdom the resurrection will take place. Everyone who has ever livedsince Adam and Eve were created will be raised from death to lifeby the Everlasting father or life‑giver and taught by that Counselor in the peaceful kingdom where none will hurt anyone else.
In the name Messiah we see the return of Jesus when the spiritual phase of the restitution period begins, after which time shall commence the process of resurrecting, teaching, and guiding mankind back to the perfection enjoyed by Adam and Eve before sin entered the world. Since restitution means to restore to a previous state or condition, here mankind shall be restored to perfect bodies, perfect minds, and perfect characters. After that restitution work is complete, everyone in that kingdom will be equipped and ready to pass the test that Adam failed: obey and live, disobey and die. But this time mankind will have the enormous advantage of experience with sin and its consequences, which will enable them to choose life through obedience, and live.
In the name Christ, which means anointed and is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament word Messiah, we see Jesus, authorized by God to be our Savior and to accomplish all things required for the salvation of mankind. More than this, the scriptures tell us that there is also an anointed class of Jesus’ true footstep followers who are also called to be assistants in Jesus’ work for mankind in the kingdom. These footstep followers will have a first resurrection in heaven, following which will come a resurrection for the remainder of mankind on earth. This is the key doctrine of the two salvations.
In learning about Jesus’ life and work, we have gained some key insights into commonly held misconceptions that are not supported by the scriptures. We have seen that there is no Hell of torment, and that man does not have an immortal soul.
[NOTE: The word “many” in the above Matthew 20:28 verse reaffirms that many are involved in being freed from the sentence of death. Thus similarly, in Romans 5:19—manywere constitutes sinnersbut really,ALL of uswere (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10, 1 John 1:8).]
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 (Leviticus 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 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 faithin 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 calledbut feware 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.
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).
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 “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.”
Here 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
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.”
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 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 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).
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).
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 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 yearsof 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).
Unlike the curtain for the gate and the door, the linen curtain of the vail was embroidered withcherubim, (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:
Cherubim 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, theHoly place at the front — 20 x10 cubits — and theMost 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 forGod’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
The FOUR posts (Exodus 26:32; 36:36) supporting the vail into the Most Holy are set insockets of silver.
Silver is a general symbol of Truth — the knowledgeof 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) areno 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.
The Tabernacle structure was overlaid with 4 coverings as explained in detail in Exodus chapter 26 (and chapter 36). There were 2 primary coverings of measured dimensions and 2 additional coverings over those.
The Two Inner Coverings or Curtains
The two inner coverings formed the “MISHKAN” the Tabernacle proper.
The First Covering
The Tabernacle was covered by a large white linen cloth composed of ten curtainsinterwoven with figures of cherubim, in blue, purple, and scarlet (Exodus 26:1, 36:8-13).
Each curtain was 28 cubits x 4 cubits, making a total of 28 cubits across and 40 cubits from front to back. The ten curtains were sewn into two sets 28 x 20 and these two sets were coupled together with 50 blue loops on each joined by 50 gold clasps. This joint would have been situated above the pillars of the vail (Exodus 26:33).
Since the dwelling was 30 x 10 cubits, this linen curtain covered the roof and both the northern and the southern side of the Tabernacle plus the back (western side).
If this linen curtain had have hung straight down, then it would have reached 9 cubits from the top of the Tabernacle structure (on the northern and southern side) and 10 cubits on the back (western side) and this would mean that the western corners of the curtain would be dragging along the dirty ground — and we do not believe this was the case. This white curtain presumably did not drape straight down, but was angled outward on the ropes that were secured by the pins and cords of both the Tabernacle and the court, Exodus 35:18:
“18 The pins (“tent pegs,” NIV) of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords(“ropes,” NIV).”
If not for these cords (that would have kept the curtain from going straight down), then the two back corners would have lain on the dirty ground — just as the two corners of a bedspread go farther down than the bedspread on the three sides of a bed. Thus it we understand the curtain did not drag along the ground.
The pure linen covering with its embroidery representsthe New Creation, holy (white linen), sanctified (set apart for God’s service), with the fruits of the spirit intertwined in their character.
This covering was in two main parts — five strips in each part.
The two main parts represents the two parts of the New Creation — our Lord Jesus, and the Church, his Bride class.
That there were five strips in each part is consistent with the use of the number five elsewhere in the Scriptures to represent the New Creation. (Thus the five wise virgins of the parable and their companions of the same number, the five foolish virgins.) As Jesus is the effulgence of God’s glory, so the Church will reflect the glory of God also, and thus the splendid beauty of this covering. [See Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle” on this website titled “The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy & The Most Holy.”]
The gold clasps suggest the divine nature to be obtained by the Church.
The loops of blue suggest the bonds of faith and fidelity that hold the Church as a unit. They are 50 in number, appropriate for the New Creation which is often represented by the number 5 or its higher orders, 50, 500, 5000. [see Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”].
This overwhelming inner beauty of the Tabernacle may reflect our Heavenly Father’s interest in having a dwelling place of the holy Spirit where the inward detail of our lives is beautiful because of our efforts of striving for righteousness in all.
The Second Covering
The second covering over the linen curtain was the goats hair curtain. (Exodus 26:7-13; 36:14-18). This one extended a cubit further on the back and 2 outer sides than did the first linen curtain underneath it.
It consisted of eleven curtains30 cubits x 4 cubits. Eleven of the curtains made 30 cubits across (2 cubits wider than the first linen covering) and 42 cubits overall length (2 cubits longer than the first linen covering) from front to back (Exodus 26:9).
At the front of the Tabernacle, the 11th of the four-cubit-wide curtains was doubledover — (creating a one cubit vertical “ledge” above, at the front of the Tabernacle door) — something unique to this particular curtain, possibly signifies that when we begin our consecration we have a double measure of goat nature, but less of it later on.
Just like the white linen curtain, this goat’s hair curtain did not touch the ground in the back but would have been elevated by ropes (cords) that were pegged to the ground outside withbronze pegs so that it hung down at an angle preventing them from getting dirty and degraded easily.
The goats hair curtain was also sewn into two sets, but this time the two sets of 50 loops were joined by 50 bronze clasps.
Bronze, (chiefly copper) representing human nature which is noted in the bronze serpent(Numbers 21:9) — representing the justified human natureof Jesus that was sacrificed for us to remove our sins. Thus bronze clasps are appropriate here, because this covering represents the human nature (in its perfection — thanks only to the imputed robe of Christ’s righteousness covering us so that a fully consecrated justified believer can be reckoned as righteous in the eyes of God) of the New Creation while in the flesh.
In other words, the goat hair covering representsour old nature (the fleshly), in which we have our spiritual hopes.
It is interesting to note that there was no bronze inside the Tabernacle, showing that the calling of the saints is away from the flesh, into the spirit.
One wonders whether the joining clasp areas of the linen and goat hair coverings may have allowed some ventilation for the Tabernacle and a place of exit for the smoke from the incense altar and the lamps. Our “ventilation” from the sorrows and difficulties of the flesh also is upward, through our prayers to our Heavenly Father (Psalm 34:4).
However, this possibility seems foreclosed, because the clasped area for the linen covering, and the clasped area for the goat hair covering, did not line up with each other, to allow such ventilation. This is because of the stagger of 1/2 curtain width in one covering relative to the other, occasioned by folding one of the goat hair curtains in half at the front of the Tabernacle.
The Bride class is depicted in Song of Solomon 4:1 as having “hair as a flock of goats,” which further connects the goat hair curtain with the Church class.
This covering represented the Church, as sacrificed with Jesus, as an offering given for the purpose of cleansing the world from sin during the Millennium. In this, it reminds us of the goat for a sin offering that was offered on the Day of Atonement.
Jesus’ sacrifice as a sin offering was represented in the bullock for a sin offering on the Day of Atonement [as is discussed in Post 7 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle” on this website, titled “Study 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.”] The Church shares with Jesus in suffering and sacrifice during the present Gospel Age, in order to assist Jesus during the Kingdom to cleanse the world from their propensity for sin. The share of the Church class in this service is represented in the goat hair curtain.
As the Church is presently imperfect, they need a covering for their imperfections in order to be an acceptable sacrifice to God. That covering is the Ransom given by Jesus — represented in the covering of rams’ skins dyed red, which was above the goat hair curtain.
The 5 strips — represents the Church as the New Creation:
2 (holy Spirit — the understanding of God’s divine plan and God’s influence on our character through studying the Old and New Testaments of the Bible) + 3 (redemption through Christ’s blood) = 5 (the New Creation in Christ).
The 6 strips — show we are still in sinful flesh.
The 11 strips in total — is a picture of the Church in the flesh but with their new hopes. Thus the need for the ram skin dyed red covering, of the ransom.
It is most interesting to note that the perimeter of this covering of goat’s hair, with the “sixth curtain” doubled over in the forefront of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:9) measures exactly 144 cubits, which when multiplied by 1000 (God’s number in the Tabernacle), gives the number of those who will share with Jesus in the sin offering of atonement, 144,000 — the Elect, Bride of Christ (Revelation 7, 14).
The Outer Coverings
The outer coverings formed the “OHEL” — the large tent, that spread over the first two coverings (curtains), protecting them from the sun and rain. This was the covering mentioned in Exodus 40:19 which was put over the top of the tent (the curtains or Tabernacle proper). These coverings were a weather proof protection to the tabernacle and were held in place by cords and pins fixing them to the ground.
The ram skins dyed red covering representsthe ransom sacrifice, which covers our imperfect humanity. It is over the goat hair covering, to show that it covers our flesh with its imperfections.
A ram is a grown male sheep and the head of the flock. A shepherd may have one or two rams in a flock of ewes to promote uniformity. The ram is forever in the eyes of the Jew as the substitute animal, faithful unto death. This is of course because God provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac on that day when Abraham’s faith was revealed (Genesis 22:12-13).
The ram’s skins were dyed red to represent the ransom sacrifice of Jesus shedding his blood on the cross for the redemption of all mankind from inherited Adamic sin.
John 1:29 —“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Hebrews 2:9 —“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
Hebrews 2:17 —“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
Thus, the first layer typifies the New Creation, the second layershows that we are still in the flesh, the third layer typifies thatJesus bore our sins and shed his blood to redeem us.
Measurements for both the 3rd (ram’s skin) & 4th (sea cow skin) coverings are not given in the Bible nor are we told precisely how they covered. Thus some artist conceptions show them as a covering tent, not in direct contact with the goat hair covering. In any case, we presume the third covering was more than sufficient to cover the second, and that the fourth was more than sufficient to cover the third.
Nevertheless, the reason for no dimension given for the ram’s skin covering may be as if to say that God’s love manifested toward the world, in the sending of his son “out of the realms of light into the shades of night,” to become the man Christ Jesus and thus to give himself a ransom for all, is immeasurable!!Who can measure it?
The ram and sea cow coverings were not divided into units as were the other two, which may mean that while the Church shares together with Jesus in the sin offering and in the glory of the kingdom, it cannot and does not share either in the humiliation of the Logos in leaving his glory to become the man Christ Jesus, nor in his death as the ransom sacrifice for the sins of the world.
The Fourth Covering
The fourth and top covering was made of ‘sea cows’ (manatee or dugong) skins(mistranslated badger skins) (Exodus 26:14, 36:19).
This outward covering was serviceable for the elements of weather, rather than suited for attractive décor. Thus it was durable (Exodus 26:14). It was not especially attractive, just as the world sees no attraction to our service in the present time. However, in the Millennium they will see the Church class cleared of all unattractive conditions. She will then be seen in her glory and grandeur; just as the temple, a type of the glorified Church, was covered with plates of gold, there were no ugly skins.
As this outward covering hid all that was beneath it, so also, Jesus’ flesh did not reveal him to be what he truly was — the Messiah whom Israel so long sought. When he presented himself to his own people as simple and humble, “his own received him not” (John 1:11) for they beheld in him “no form nor comeliness … no beauty” that they should desire him (Isaiah 53:1-2). Jesus said, “though seeing they do not see, though hearing, they do not hear or understand” (Matthew 13:13). They see only the outer things. But blessed are those who use the eyes of faith and enter in.
To those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Personal Redeemer and Advocate and Sin offering, Jesus is to us part of our being… the “altogether lovely One” (Song of Solomon 5:16). He is the “Rose of Sharon,” the “Lily of the Valley” (Song of Solomon 2:1) and the “fairest among 10,000” (Song of Solomon 5:10) to our souls… Jesus Christ is our Bridegroom and our Head, our ultimate example of everything and everyone, our source of “oxygen” and the source of our eternal joy already now while still in the flesh, whom we long to belong to, forever more.
If anyone desired to look beyond the outer flesh covering they will see Christ’s glory. Just as questioned by Nathanael “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (see Post titled: Will Mankind Need To Become “Israelites Indeed”) Jesus says, “Come and see.”
God does not attract anyone by apparent riches. We do not come to God because of the majesty and beauty of some building. Our reasons are not visible. The ones who endure to the end are those who do not have an outward beautiful appearance but who have an inward heavenly beauty and divine comeliness. Christ is both their content and covering, so nothing can damage or overcome them. We must learn to seek Christ in the spirit, as then we will enjoy the riches of Christ. Ultimately we will arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 3:8, 4:13).
Many think that the Truth is as unattractive as a manatee’s skin. Many think a Christian life is sad and dark; they do not know that for Christians the exterior has no value. Inside there is light, joy, richness, and peace — the “inside” being founded on the precious promises and the joy of pleasing a Creator whose standard of righteousness leads to the highest level of happiness and joy that anyone could imagine and which provides the means for us to gain immortality.
It was also a peculiar skin and this illustrates the peculiarity of God’s people. The world does not like this peculiarity and considers us a bit out of our minds.
The manatees are gentle, herbivorous, and possibly ritually clean creatures, like the Church, who are out of their natural habitat, “the heavenlies” of Ephesians 2:6. Jesus, in his pre-human existence, was “the Logos”(“the Word,”John 1:1). His natural habitat was the spirit plane on which he was created. Thus being on earth was being out of his natural, comfortable environment, also.
A Summary — The Antitypical Lesson Behind All Four Coverings
Since the Tabernacle depicts things as they are during the Gospel Age, the saints are a new creation (linen with cherubim), sacrificing in the flesh (goat hair curtain),covered by the ransom (ram skins dyed red), apparent to the world as a drab outer covering which refers to the flesh of the saints, reflective of how our Lord Jesus was treated during the 3 1/2 sacrificial years of his life as a sin offering (aged 30-33 1/2 years) who “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering… like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised…numbered with the transgressors,” until our precious Lord Jesus, “poured out his life unto death” (Isaiah 53:2-12, NIV).
Why Four Coverings?
Since four refers to the concept of testing or judgment, perhaps there being four coverings could suggest that this is how the Church is represented while under judgment in this life.
Likewise, at the entrance of the most holy of the Tabernacle, the time of judgment of the Church, there are four posts. Other Biblical examples of four representing judgment and testing include:
the second feeding of four thousand by Jesus, representing the time of harvest and judgment closing the Gospel age;
the forty years in the wilderness representing the Gospel age period of testing, trial, development;
the four hundred years of Genesis 15:13 which describes the period of the affliction of the seed of Abraham and represents the Gospel age affliction of the Church. These four hundred years, if multiplied by the 360 days in a prophetic year, yield 144,000, the number of the church in Revelation.
It is also noteworthy that of the dated visions of Jeremiah in chapters 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 36, three are dated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and three in the fourth year of Zedekiah — all six judgments are in a year four.
When the seven times of punishment on Israel was represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the expression “seven times” appeared four times in the narrative, and four times in the warning by Moses (Daniel 4, Leviticus 26). These judgments were fulfilled by four Gentile kingdoms dominating Israel during the 2,520 years of their national punishment.
In all these uses, four is linked to the concept of trial, testing, probation, judgment. Which one?
Out of the following four drawings, which do you think would be the most probable to represent the actual Tabernacle Proper’s covering setup?
Not the first one. All the four coverings were draped on cords at an angle (not downward straight as covering a box). If one stretched the cords entirely vertically, then the pegs would be right next to the boards and sockets of the Tabernacle which would be a clumsy arrangement and the back corners of the first two coverings would then both be dragged along the ground, become very dirty and corrupted. (This has been discussed earlier in this Post.)
The covering was unlikely to be as the one in the 4th picture because there is no reference to the supports that appear to be necessary in that case for holding up the curtains on the side before they go straight down.
If the outer covering were like a circus top, then another beam or pole(s) would most likely be mentioned in the Bible that gives the added pointy height, hence eliminating the possibility of covering appearing as in the third drawing.
On the other hand, such a ridge pole might simply be covered by the term “tent;” all tents requiring some poles for erecting them.
Based on the data read and researched, we conclude that the Tabernacle covering was most possibly as the 2nd drawing (top right) demonstrates. Probably the first two coverings were draped as suggested in Drawing No. 2. The last two coverings may have been a tent over the whole, like one of the bottom two. Artistically, the author likes the last one, perhaps even with an extension to the back like the side extensions. But one cannot be sure.
It has been a matter of surprise to some, that the glories and beauties of the Tabernacle — its golden walls, its golden and beautifully engraved furniture, and vail of curious work — were so completely covered and hidden from view of the people; no sunlight from without even to illuminate its glorious beauty. Yet you see, there is a beautifully glorious lesson behind this.
God covered the type and hid its beauty under skins and curtains, so the glories and beauties of spiritual things are seen only when within by those who enter the Tabernacle.
During the Gospel Age it is the “royal priesthood” and “peculiar people” who respond to God’s invitation and suffer with Christ developing into His likeness of character and conduct who may enter a hidden glory which the world and all outside fail to recognize and comprehend. Their standing as new creatures in Christ are hidden from their fellow men.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”(1 Corinthians 2:14).
“Ah; these are of a royal line, All children of a King, Heirs of immortal crowns divine, And lo, for joy they sing! Why do they, then, appear so mean? And why so much despised? Because of their rich robes unseen The world is not apprised.”
To these “God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you,the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:27-29).
References & Acknowledgment
“The Tabernacle and Its Teachings” — Supplement to Feb. ZION’S WATCH TOWER, 1882 page 52.
“Our Wilderness Wanderings” — by Br. Anton Frey.
Content — assisted by Br. David Rice.
Further Suggested Reading
STUDY 1: An Introduction To The Tabernacle And It’s Purpose
The Christmas season is the most enjoyable time of the year for many who think upon the events surrounding the gift of Jehovah to the world—his firstborn Son, our Lord Jesus as a special gift to the human family, but is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, truly appreciated in its full sense?
You see, the true reason for Jesus’ birth was that he would give his life as a ransom price for the sins of every single human that has lived.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time”(1 Timothy 2:1-6).
In John 3:16 we read that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Greatest Message of Joy
The angel in Luke 2:10-14 was announcing God’s greatest gift to his poor, sin-sick and dying human creation: A SAVIOR… The “ransom for ALL to be testified in due time” when Christ’s future kingdom of righteousness will soon be established on earth, and when “God’s sons” (the Bride of CHRIST—the 144,000, shall be all beyond the vail and “revealed.” (1 Timothy 2:6, Romans 8:19)
The birth of Jesus had been foretold by the Prophet Isaiah:
“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6,7).
Isaiah’s prophecy speaks of Jesus as the antitypical King David, and that he would in due time assume the several and distinct offices of his yet future kingdom as outlined in the prophecy.
At that future time, our loving Heavenly Father would entrust the glorified Jesus to exercise the great power and authority that would be given him to bless all the families of the earth as promised to the true and faithful “seed” of Abraham (Genesis 22:15-18; Acts 17:31).
At Christmas when the world’s attention is drawn to the birth of our dear Lord Jesus, we must acknowledge that he left us with no instructions to celebrate his birth date.
In the Book of Luke, Jesus’ words spoken to his followers at the last supper on Nisan 14th (the day of unleavened bread when the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed) are as follows:
“(17)And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: (18) For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. (19) And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. (20) Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:17-19).
An Ancient Holiday Season
Although many Christian people continue to observe December 25th as the date of Jesus’ birth, there is no scriptural evidence for this date. Many students of the Bible have come to the conclusion that the blessed event took place around the beginning of October, as we have explained in the post titled Calculating the Date of Jesus’ Birth.
The Winter Solstice
Many ancient cultures chose the Winter Solstice as a special time for celebrating Christmas—which was the terminal point between the darkest days of the year, and the time when the sunlight would begin to increase. That is, when the path of the sun has reached its furthest southern position. The word “solstice” literally means “the sun stands still.”
The time of the Winter Solstice was determined using very primitive and imprecise methods—measuring the length of the shadow created by a stick or a standing stone, which in turn, was dependent on clear weather to create a shadow and to make their calculations as accurate as possible.
In pagan times, the Winter Solstice was seen as part of an annual cycle of the earth’s seasons known as “the wheel of the year.” They celebrated eight festivals including the spring, midsummer, fall, and Yule seasons. Four others were spaced midway between each of them. These festivals have origins in Germanic and Celtic pre-Christian feasts.
The Yuletide festival was one of the ancient traditions that was observed in many areas of Europe, the British Isles, and elsewhere. The word Yule relates to the Christmas season and the time when the sun reverses its downward path and begins to shine longer each day.
The actual time may vary a few days over the course of years, but usually occurs sometime between December 21st – 23rd.
Fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year. The log was believed to bring good luck to the occupants of the dwelling. Ashes from the log were placed in wells to keep the water pure and they were also placed at the roots of fruit trees and vines to help them bear an abundant harvest during the following year.
The end of December was also when most cattle were slaughtered, thus, the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat and most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
In Germany, people honoured the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday who they were terrified of, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.
In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful, when slaves would become masters for this month and when peasants were in command of the city. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could partake of this pagan “fun.”
Another of the Winter Solstice festivals was the celebration of Mithra—annually observed by the people of ancient Persia in honour of the Persian god Mithra who was considered the deity of light, wisdom, and moral purity. For some Romans, Mithra’s birthday was the most sacred day of the year and celebrated on December 25th.
The celebration of Mithra was later introduced into Europe and other areas of Asia Minor after the conquests of Alexander the Great (in early 300 BC) but it began to lose much of its influence by the end of the fourth century. With the rise of Constantine the Great in the fourth century, Christianity was then elevated to the prominent position as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Therefore, the ancient traditions and various observances of the old pre-Christian era gave way to the new Christian religion and its festivals.
The Christian Era
Who Established the Christmas December 25th Date?
In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. During the early centuries of the Christian era, religious leaders wanted to establish a fixed date to celebrate the mass of Christ, which was called Christmas.
It is commonly believed that the church (that is, Pope Julius I—a bishop of Rome from AD 337 to his death in AD 352) chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival.
First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by AD 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated.
By the Middle Ages, on Christmas believers attended church and afterwards celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined “debt” to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.
Christmas is Outlawed In the Early 17th Century
In 1645, Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England and they vowed to rid England of decadence and, thus Christmas was cancelled through these efforts, even being known to be outlawed (from 1659-1681) in Boston. However, by popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.
In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.
The Christmas Tree – A Pagan Custom Brought to Christianity
Long before Christ, evergreen trees and plants have been used to celebrate winter festivals.
Early Romans used evergreens to decorate their temples at the New Year’s celebration of the Saturnalia festival, and exchanged branches and twigs of evergreens as a good luck blessing.
The ancient Egyptians used green palm rushes as part of their worship of the god Ra.
Pagans in Europe believed that because the evergreen tree stayed green throughout the year and could withstand the rigors of an extreme winter, they had magical abilities to ward off the life-threatening powers of darkness and cold. Thus they were considered to possess powers over evil spirits, which some ancient pagan civilizations of northern Europe believed stalked the eerie shadows of the wintertime forests.
During the winter months, evergreen wreaths and other forms of greenery were hung over doors and windows and brought inside the house to protect one from the darkness and evil spirits. The incense from burnt needles and cones as well as the scent from this greenery would freshen the dark and dismal dwellings from the otherwise stagnant odour of thresh and straw and was considered a means of blessing the occupants of the home.
The evergreens served as a reminder that the rigors of winter would pass, and that the land would once again be fruitful.
Many historians believe that the pagan people of Scandinavia were among the first to actually bring evergreen trees indoors, which served as a mid-winter symbol of the promise of the coming warmth of spring.
German Saxons are believed to have been the first to light their trees with candles, and to adorn them with decorations and trinkets for good fortune. The tradition of the indoor evergreen tree became popular in Germany, and it is believed that the first use of Christmas trees by Christians was developed in that part of Europe. Some historians have suggested that its origin may reach back as far as the eighth century.
In England, the first recorded Christmas tree was in 1841. At that time, Queen Victoria was married to Prince Albert of Germany, and he brought the tradition with him and set up the first Christmas tree in Windsor Castle.
German immigrants to America also brought the tradition with them and were celebrating Christmas with evergreen trees as early as the 1830s. The custom took several decades to catch on in the United States. During that period of time, most religious people correctly assumed that it had pagan origins. However, by the 1890s the indoor decorated Christmas tree had become popular in the majority of homes in America.
The Truth behind the Word “CHRISTMAS”
The word “CHRISTMAS” is based upon an impure doctrinal foundation: THE ROMAN CATHOLIC PAPAL SYSTEM—the ANTICHRIST of the Bible—was identified by the Reformers of the Early Church, such as Martin Luther.
“…who opposethand exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that isworshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God,showing himself that he is God…”
The evidence to the Reformers in confirming the identity of Antichrist was the doctrine of the Mass. The ritual of the Mass claims to recreate and sacrifice over and over Christ’s actual flesh (bread) and blood (wine). Known as the Eucharist, it became a requirement that each believer must receive this fresh sacrifice of Christ to cover his daily sins. Daniel 11:31 refers to this as “the abomination thatmaketh desolate.”
The Mass makes desolate or negatesthe full merit of Christ’s blood which was“shed once for all.” (Hebrews 7:27; 10:10)
It is important to note that the Protestant Reformers were careful not to condemn any individual Catholic believer as Antichrist—recognizing that no man is The Antichrist. Popes, bishops, priests and others have been only parts of, and, possibly, innocent members of the corrupt Antichrist system.
Jesus Christ’s Commission On Earth
At the age of maturity (30 years), the perfect man Jesus presented himself to his Heavenly Father in total consecration and obedience to do his will.
Jesus fulfilled the words that the Psalmist David had written concerning him:
“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:7-11).
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
“To the poor”—In his sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
“Heal the brokenhearted”—Jesus was to heal the brokenhearted, and he said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Luke 11:28).
“Preach deliverance to the captives”—Isaiah’s account reads, “To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).
When Jesus quoted Isaiah’s prophecy, he used the word “bruised” which means to crush, as in death. The reference to “captives” points to the prison house of death. In his sermon on the resurrection of the dead, he said, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25).
“To preach the acceptable year of the Lord”—speaks of the special invitation which has been extended to the called by God during this present Gospel Age who are laying their lives down in sacrifice which is acceptable to God (Romans 12:1,2).
We, too, are commissioned to preach the Gospel to the poor, groaning creation. If we are faithful unto death, we will have the great privilege to share with our glorified Lord in his future kingdom of righteousness over all the people of earth. Let us renew our efforts to serve him as we approach another new year.
May we continue to give thanks to our loving Heavenly Father for his gift of Jesus, in whom the whole human family will be blessed under the provisions of his future kingdom of life and righteousness.
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?
“Let us remember: Jesus did not tell his disciples to celebrate his birth. Therefore, it is not important when we choose to remember this wonderful event. Because love and appreciation for our Savior abound in people’s hearts on December 25th, we may join in their attitude of glad remembrance. And the habit of giving gifts to one another seems especially appropriate. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Certainly, amongst all His gifts, the one of greatest important to us is the gift of His Son to be our Redeemer” (Chicago Bible Students Website, Questions and Answers).
The Dawn Magazine, December 2005, “The Birth of a Savior: Tidings of Great Joy.”
The Dawn Magazine, December 2011, “The Yuletide Traditions: and the Winter Solstice.”
The End Times, Fall 2005, Issue No. 34 – “Anti-Christ – the Counterfeit Heavens.”
Chicago Bible Students Website: Questions and Answers (www.chicagobible.org)
What is the Good News of the Bible all about? One 5-letter word, JESUS!
It is this good news about Jesus, that Philip explained about to the Ethiopian eunuch whom he was sent to minister unto (possibly by a vision or a dream), and to whom he explained the passage of Isaiah 35 (which the eunuch had been reading on his way home from Jerusalem).
“(34) And the eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’(35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:34,35).
Philip baptized the eunuch while on the road that went from Jerusalem to Gaza, before being suddenly taken away by “the Spirit of the Lord,” and the eunuch did not see his again, but went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:36-39).
What is Jesus all about?
Jesus is all about the “repentance and forgiveness of sin”—these being the exact words of Apostle Peter “and the other Apostles” as documented by Luke in Acts 5:30-31 when they had been summed to stand before the High Court officials of the Sanhedrin and were questioned by the High priest (who was Caiphas at that time—John 18:24) about why they were not obeying the strict orders given of not to “teach in this (Jesus’) name” (Acts 5:28).
Jesus is also all about the hope and resurrection of the dead.
Let us explain this by taking a look at the Apostle Paul’s experiences and words:-
When the commander in Rome was made aware by the Apostle Paul himself that Paul was a Roman citizen, he summoned Paul to stand before the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin (comprised of Pharisees and Sadducees) to find out why Paul had been accused and flogged by the Jews the day before. Then after stating to the Sanhedrin that he had “fulfilled his duty to God in all good conscience to this day” he was hit in the mouth by those standing near him in the crowd, as ordered by Ananias, (Acts 23:1-3)—who was the Father-in-law of Caiaphas (the High Priest) and had also been a high priest himself, hence still carried this title and still had his opinion count heavily amongst the Sanhedrin.
And now, perceiving that no speech of his could affect his hearers, the Apostle Paul “cried out,” “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question” (Acts 23:6).
It was not just the Apostle Paul who taught about this glorious doctrine of hope, as we read in Acts 4:2. Other Apostles such as Peter and John also “taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” This “greatly disturbed” the priests, the temple guard and the Sadducees (Acts 4:1).
Do we likewise share the good news about the resurrection to those around us?
Do we help people recognize God’s loving and merciful character helping destroy the false beliefs of a God who would eternally punish and send his creation to a place of burning hell fire to be tortured for eternity or purgatory (which is not even a word in the Bible)?
When was the last time we explained to someone:
the truths about the Ransom—the whole foundational doctrine behind the forgiveness of sin for every single human that ever lived …
the two salvations …
the truth about the soul—that it IS mortal …
God’s plan of restitution …
the truth about hell?
Are we also, today, “prisoners in the chains of Christ”… (mentally perhaps) because of boldly sharing what is Godly truth because it is too glorious to keep just for oneself? (Acts 17:32)
Do not worry that you are mocked!
This is what the sufferings of Christ are all about and those who suffer for righteousness sake, are blessed “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthains 4:17).
How gloriously logical these words are, and give sense to the questioning mind and thus provide hope and comfort that, “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then they that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (1 Corinthians 15:13, 18).
Like the early Christians, we too, are scattered all over the world and either alone or in small groups of two or three we preach Jesus and the resurrection.
Let us tell the world there is a better day coming!
Let us tell others that there is coming a time when there shall be no more death or dying but a resurrection from the dead that will ultimately bring mankind back from the dead!
Armageddon is actually a great thing, coming and here is why…
It is a sifting out and cleansing process … it is how the world is to be bleached out from all unrighteousness and the JUDGEMENT OF GOD has begun with His Own house—the Church(1 Peter 4:17)—causing GODLY JUSTICEto change the heart and mind of the one called by God from one that was ignorant in much, to one that UNDERSTANDS WHAT GOD EXPECTS and is reckoned as RIGHTEOUS in ALL so that one can be in HARMONY with GODLY RIGHTEOUSNESS for it is a “terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
It is part of the HOPE of the precious promises in the Bible. It involves the resurrection of the dead in the resurrection!
This death and dying condition we all find ourselves in, is unnatural.
Have you ever come across a dying loved one who says they feel like they are twenty six years old yet they are in an eighty plus year old body?
People are caught in this trap they can’t escape from. Yet death today is inevitable. It was purchased by Jesus’ sacrifice but death will be overcome!
The hope that will be accomplished ISa resurrection from the death.
This will ultimately bring mankind back to God.
The Bible so beautifully explains how God will unlock the prison house of the grave and release ALL mankind from the prison house of death.
The hope that will be accomplished is a resurrection from the death.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
The Tabernacle was surrounded by a yard, or “Court” (Exodus 27:9-19), toward the rear of which it stood, and this courtyard is referred to by the Bible translators, as the “holy place” — see Leviticus 6:26 and 14:13.
The Court represents the condition ofjustification, entered through faith in Christ, the “gate.”The tabernacle represents things from the time of Jesus forward. However, there are three time periods in the Plan of God when God through His holy Spirit deals with justified people:
The Ancient Worthies from Adam until Jordan;
The Churchduring the Gospel Age;
The world during the Millennium Age (Messianic 1000 year reign of Christ with the Church — the 144,000 Elect Bride of Christ members).
The same is shown in the time inthe ark (which pictures redemption) — a total of 381 days, which is 3 x 127, that is, three times the age of Sarah, who represents the Abrahamic Covenant.
Also in the three times the doves were sent out from the ark in Genesis chapter 8—three missions of the holy Spirit.
And again in the three stories or levelsof the ark, thus three time periods of justification.
Who Could Enter the Court?
Any Israelite (typical of a justified believer of the Gospel Age) was allowed to come into the Court, as indicated in Leviticus 1: 1-3 (ESV):
“The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, 2 ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock.3 If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord.’”
Leviticus 1:11 shows also that Israelites were to bring their offerings into the court, and kill them there, “on the side of the altar northward before the Lord.” However, the priests would take the blood thereafter, for use at the altar. “And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.”
Note: Northward is the direction of God, and the Heavenly Realm. Offering on the north side of the altar emphasizes that the offering is made to God.
The offerers (Israelites) represent believers, coming in faith to make an offering to God — whether believers in this age, or in the next.
Israelites commonly came in to make offerings. But the “daily sacrifice” was one lamb in the morning, another in the late afternoon, and these were done by the priests (Exodus 29:38-39).
The daily sacrifice was a burnt offering and it represents the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, who fulfilled this type, thus causing it to cease. The morning and evening times correlate with Jesus being put on the cross in the morning and expiring in the afternoon.
The Apostle Paul explained that our sacrifice is not just to be twice a day but 24/7 hence he defined the consecrated ones of this Gospel Age of the “High Calling” into Christ, as “living sacrifices” who “are holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
Around and Inside the Court
In the Court, the metal used most often was copper.
Copper representshuman nature, either justified or perfect.
In John 3:14, Jesuscompares himself to the copper serpent lifted up in the wilderness in the days of Moses, which healed those who looked to it. The copper of that serpent represents the perfect humanity of Jesus. The serpent symbol is used to represent that Jesus takes the burden of our sins upon himself, thus curing us from the “snakebite” of sin.
The court contained the “brazen altar” for use by the priests. Possibly Levites assisted the priests in some ways respecting the sacrifices (other than putting it on the altar).
(B) Court Measurements
The court was 50 cubits wide and 100 cubits long — thus three of them could fit into the floor plan of Noah’s Ark, which was 50 cubits wide and 300 cubits long (Genesis 6:15). This also suggests that there arethree time periodsin God’s Plan (as explained at the start of this Tabernacle Study No. 4) where justified persons are called of God. It is notable that the “house of the forest”, picturing the call of the world during the Millennium, was also the size of the court (1 Kings 7:2).
The court was formed by a fence of white linen curtains (see Study 9 on this website in the series “Beauties of the Tabernacle,” titled “The Gate. The Door. The Veil”, suspended from silver hooks, set in the tops of wooden posts 5 cubits (7 1/2 feet high), which were set in heavy sockets of copper(mistranslated brass), and braced, like the tent which covered the Tabernacle, with cords and pins.
(C) The Silver Hooks
The silver hooks in the courtyard posts by which the posts held up the curtain, represent the divine Truth, by the knowledgeof which the justified believer holds on to the righteousness of Christ. Silver is a general symbol of Truth but perhaps more specifically, that TRUTH which centers and deals with the RANSOM — the redemption accomplished in Christ Jesus. (Tabernacle Shadows, page 114).
As these hooks weresmall in sizethey represent thesmall amount of Truth necessary to justify one.
Note: The Tabernacle Proper’s 100 silver sockets which supported the whole structure was made from the ransom or redemption money paid as a poll tax by the Israelites. (Exodus 30:12-16; 38:25-28.) In “Notes on the Tabernacle” (page 21) we read:
“. . . [God] enjoined that, whenever Israel was numbered as His people, every man must give a ransom for his soul. The price was fixed by God Himself.
Each man, whether poor or rich, must bring the same. One could not pay for another; but everyone must tender his own ransom-money of pure silver and of perfect weight. `Half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs), a half-shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.’ (Exodus 30:13) Other Gospel truths here shine out. When the question came to be one of ransom, the poor and the rich, the foolish and the wise, the ignorant and the learned, the immoral and the moral, stood on the same level. Each person was estimated by God at the same price. He proved Himself no respecter of persons.”
Hence, since most of the silver used in the Tabernacle was for the 100 foundation sockets for the Tabernacle Proper, this beautifully points to the TRUTH relative to the RANSOM sacrifice of our Lord as the foundation Truth upon which the entire plan of God rests.
“The four gold-plated pillars (posts) at the entrance of the Most Holy supporting the (second) Vail stood in four SILVER sockets, (reality, truth, verity) seeming to say to us, when you come inside this vail, you will be perfect – really and truly new creatures” (Tabernacle Shadows, page 115).
(D) The Posts (pillars)
The posts of the Court (see Exodus 27:10-17) represent the justified believers whose imperfections are covered by Christ’s righteousness.
The function of the posts is to hold up to public view one’s faith in Christ who is represented by the linen curtain. This, brethren, is our purpose for being. This is why we are here. To show forth the mercy and goodness of Christ’s redemptive work, as Paul says, “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).
The posts were made of wood which is a corruptible material thus implying that the class typified, are not actually perfect as human beings.
(E) Sockets of Copper
The posts were set in sockets of copper which were sunken in the sand for stability.
The copper sockets represent our standing of perfect human beings, and this beautifully representsjustification by faith, (despite the actual fact of our personal imperfections) which we can only hold onto by the aid of the Truth. This is the justification spoken of in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Some use the term “tentative justification,” to describe a Christian in the court condition before they reach the point of consecration at the door of the Tabernacle. However the priests also served in the court, and the priests represent the fully consecrated/spirit begotten. So their justification is also indicated in the court. If we simply relate that the court represents justification through faith in Christ, perhaps this suffices. It need not be one way or another — only unconsecrated (not spirit begotten) believers or only consecrated (spirit begotten) believers — as the concept of being justified by one’s faith in Christ can pertain to believers before consecration or believers after consecration.
Thanks to being reckoned as righteous in God’s sight, we are judged as to faithfulness in our intentionsrather than in our actions. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (2 Corinthians 8:12).
Now, with rejoicing we can say with the Apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
It is thus that our faith becomes “rooted” and the philosophy of the ransom begins to appear. It is of this which Paul speaks in Colossians 2:7, “rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
(F) Guy Lines/Ropes/Cords & Pegs
There is more to the philosophy of the ransom that prevents our faith from becoming weak and unstable. This is shown in the system of guy lineswhich uphold the wall of the court and tie the posts to the ground.
These cords represented the things which tie the justified believer to the earth; and there were two sets of cords and pins, one set inside the Court, the other, outside.
The set outside of the Court, outside of the justified state, represented the sin in the flesh which ties the believer to the world.
The set inside the Court represented the earthly things: joys, studies, music, etc., right enough in themselves, which bind the believer to the world. These are the weights (Hebrews 12:1).
These ropes were anchored by copper pegs — tent pegs. One of these was installed inside the court and the other on the outside. Being copper, as opposed to wood covered with copper, they showed actual human perfection.
As we scan the pages of history we see just two — and no more — perfect men: Adam and Jesus. We see the one who lost his standing in the court, Adam, as the peg driven outsidethe fence. The other, grounded firmly in the court, pictures Jesus. These two have one connection — the ransom — pictured by this cord even as it was by Rahab’s scarlet thread. It is this simple philosophy of the ransom — a perfect human life for a perfect human life—that gives stability to our faith. How beautiful! How simple! Substitutionary atonement is the central doctrine of the Bible.
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22).
“For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (Romans 5:15).
It is the very simplicity of the concept that speaks to its authenticity. Too good to be true? Too good not to be true! And yet our faith is sometimes weak. We need further support.
According to the Temple Institute in Israel:
The courtyard pillars, (amudim) were composed of three main components: The acacia pillars themselves, which were reinforced by silver bands, (chishukim); the copper bases, (adanim), into which the pillars were inserted; and the silver eyelets, (vavim), which were fitted onto the tops of the pillars, for stretching the curtains, (yeriot) across.
“fillets” — Others have concluded that they were rigid, whether rods or bands, and served to stabilize the posts from leaning toward each other. We think that is correct.
The Furnishings In The Court
The Brazen Altar
The Brazen Altar was the first item encountered in the Courtyard. It was five cubits square, and 3 cubits tall (Exodus 27:1).
In each of the four corners there was a horn made from the same piece of acacia wood as the altar itself and the altar was over-layed with copper.
The Brazen Altar was used to burn up sacrifices placed upon it, such as during the consecration of the priesthood and the Day of Atonement.
Various utensils belonged to its service — fire pans (called censers), for carrying the fire to the ‘Incense Altar’, basins to receive the blood, flesh hooks, shovels, etc.
A Christian understands this altar is not an ornament of the Court, but a place where bulls and goats were killed and sacrificed, a place many times covered with blood and ashes, with the smell of burning meat, and much smoke. The grate of this altar was not on the top like a modern barbecue. It was placed half way between the bottom and the top of the altar:
“Thou shalt put it [the grate] under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst [Strong’s #2677: half or middle] of the altar” (Exodus 27:5). This placed the grate at the 1½ cubit mark, the same height as the mercy seat in the Most Holy. Both are considered in the design to be at the same “level”; neither towers above the other.
A Christian recognizes that Jesus has been sacrificed for him and starts to recognize that a similar sacrifice is needed from him if he is to enter beyond the next door. The sacrifice we have to offer is as the Apostle Paul expresses it in Romans 12:1.
Thus, the antitypical priesthood of this Gospel age are privileged touse this altar(Christ Jesus), in presenting their bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” for is it not the altar that sanctifies the gift?
“You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?”(Matthew 23:19).
“Your sacrifice would not be holy and acceptable, but it is made holy and acceptable as such by the Advocate [Christ Jesus] imputing of his merit to cover your sacrifice” (“What Pastor Russell Said,” page 614).
Presenting our bodies as “living sacrifices” to God includes all our thoughts, words and doings and doing the best we can in all we do to bring God glory, honor and praise. It is Christ Jesus, our antitypical High Priest who alone is able to offer up the antitypical sacrifices. All that the followers of Jesus do, therefore, is to present (consecrate, set apart) themselves, as pictured in the type by the goat’s being, tied at the door of the Tabernacle. “It is after Jesus lays hold of this individual, accepts his consecration, imputes His own merit, and offers him to the Father, that the Father’s acceptance is manifested through the Son… by the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Thereforth, such an one is a member of the Body of Christ, and his name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, from which it will not be blotted out if he maintains his faithfulness” (What Pastor Russell Said, page. 614).
“It is the New Creature’s business to keep the old nature on the altar, upon which the great High Priest has put it. In other words, the New Creature must keep the old nature dead, hold it in subjection. When our flesh is brought into contact with the fires of experience for its consumption, it is the old creature that weeps, not the New Creature. Let the goat weep if it will. The New Creature will rejoice in the Lord and in His providential care, as daily it grows in grace and in knowledge. When the old creature is knocked out, or brow-beaten, as the Apostles says (1 Corinthians 9:27), it will groan; but the New Creature will be glad and rejoice in the Lord… We rejoice because God’s favor and blessing are with us as New Creatures.” (What Pastor Russell Said, page, 613.) See also Acts 16:26, Philippians 4:4.
Jesus allowed himself to be sacrificedfor the entire world of mankind. He was perfect and became flesh to do the will of his Heavenly Father (John 4:34, John 6:38).
The wood of the altar,typifying humanity, reminds us that Christ became a man for the express purpose of experiencing our infirmities and “to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
There is a thought that wood was used to make the articles of lighter weight and thus, more easily portable, than if of solid metal. This was an important consideration when they traveled.
As discussed earlier in this series of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”, the use of copper represents the human nature in its perfection, a little lower than the angelic nature (unlike gold, which represents the divine nature, far above angels, principalities and powers).
As gold and copper are much alike in their appearance, yet different in quality, so the human nature is an image and likeness of the divine, adapted to earthly conditions.
“The Tabernacle’s altar of burnt-offering represents… the ransom-sacrifice of Christ Jesus (Tabernacle Shadows, page 22) — the ‘altar’ unto which the world of mankind in the Millennial age, will bring its sin-, trespass-, burnt-, and peace-offerings. (Tabernacle Shadows, page 95,96)” (“Notes on the Tabernacle,” page 134).
The horns of the Altar of Burnt Offering were in themselves symbols of power; yet this power came from the blood which sanctified it. The Scriptures do set forth the fact that one guilty of a sin against his fellowman, when in danger of being apprehended, might flee for asylum to the altar — take hold of its horns, and find a safe refuge there
(1 Kings 1:50; 2:28).
“We too have an altar, the power of which stems from the blood of Christ Jesus, that
sanctified it. We too, had sinned against our King, who could justly have destroyed us. But we fled to the altar and found sanctuary, an asylum, a refuge, there. Our faith in the precious blood, justified us — made us free as it were; but only on one condition could we continue to be free and that was that we covenant with our King thereafter to walk “worthily.” Having entered into this covenant we are safe from the “avenger.” But should the time ever come when we would break that covenant by profaning the blood of the covenant by which we were sanctified — outraging the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29) — we would then fall directly into the hands of the “avenger” and be put to death — the Second Death!” (“Notes on the Tabernacle,” page 130).
Was there a ramp?
Some may question whether there was a ramp attached to this brazen altar which would assist the priests with getting the sacrifices onto the large surface area of the altar.
We read in Exodus 20:26, “Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.”
“It is worthy of note that the Hebrew word ‘maalah’ occurring [here] in Exodus 20:26 and there rendered ‘steps’ in the KJV, according to Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible means ‘a going up, ascent.’ It would therefore cover even such a thing as a ramp, though this latter term has nowhere been used in the common version of the Bible. It has been rendered ‘stairs’ (2 Kings 9:13; Nehemiah 3:15; 12:37; Ezekiel 40:6; 43:17) and ‘steps’ (Exodus 20:26; 1 Kings 10:19, 20;2 Chronicles 9:18,19; Ezekiel 40:22,26,31,34,37,49).
“No priests were ever to enter the precincts of Jehovah—the Tabernacle’s Court, Holy, or Most Holy—without the linen breeches ‘to cover their nakedness’ upon them (Exodus 28:42,43). Especially is the injunction given that Jehovah’s altar was not to have any steps (stairs or ramp) unto it, since an approach by way of such would necessitate the ‘lifting of the robe’ and the consequent exposure of the priest’s nakedness (Exodus 20:26)” (Br. Anton Frey, Notes on the Tabernacle, page 133).
“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting, and the altar, and you shall put water in it. Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the LORD. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they will not die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations’” (Exodus 30:17-21).
The Laver stood between the brazen altar and the door of the Tabernacle or “sanctuary”. It was a receptacle for water where the priests washed his feet and hands leaving behind the last traces of the flesh and of his contact with the surrounding world, before entering the Tabernacle.
The Laver as a whole represented the Word of God,Jesus was the word who cleansesthe believer through the washing of water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).
The Laver was cast from the mirrors of women who served at the Tabernacle (Exodus 38:8) thus it was made of polished copper (Exodus 38:8) which represents the brightness of Jesus’ perfection. As the priests looked into the laver, they could see the faces reflected in its polished surface, so the consecrated see the imperfections and failings of their own characters when they compare these characters to the bright perfection of Jesus by looking unto him.
The priests did not bathe in the Laver, but presumably drew water out of the laver using a copper pitcher for the purpose of washing his hands and feet (Exodus 40: 31, 32) — otherwise the water in the laver would become dirty.
So we are greatly helped by concordances, dictionaries, etc. We cannot wash in them, but theyhelp us in getting the Truth to cleanse us. And we likewise, cleanse our hands that they may do the will of God, and our feet that they may walk in Jesus’ footsteps, in the straight and narrow way.
At this step an approaching Christian accepts this purification as did all the followers of Jesus. Even if the Master did not need any purification, since he was perfect and without sin, by washing the feet of his disciples Jesus showed another important element of that washing: humility.
Now the Christian is at the door of the Tabernacle. After his journey through the Court, he is ready to follow his Master into the “greater and more perfect tabernacle” (Hebrews 9:11, KJV).