DANIEL 3:17 – Our God Whom We Serve Is Able To Deliver Us

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“Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us.” Daniel 3:17

The King of Babylon – King Nebuchadnezzar

Probably twenty years elapsed after Daniel and his companions reached Babylon in captivity before the scenes of the lesson in Daniel Chapter 3 were enacted. Meantime Daniel had been raised to a very high position in the empire, as the King’s counselor, while his three Jewish companions—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegohad been made magistrates in the provinces of Babylon. We know that their prosperity did not tend to make them careless of their duties and responsibilities toward God, for otherwise they would not have been able to stand the severe test recounted in this lesson, and which proved a great blessing to them because of their fidelity to the Lord.

King Nebuchadnezzar just before this had won some great victories over surrounding nations—Egypt, Syria, etc.—as he had previously done with Judah, and as the Lord had predicted in the dream which Daniel had interpreted for the King, which showed the Babylonian Empire as the golden head of earthly dominion. His great success no doubt had tended to feelings of pride and a desire for display. Yet these were probably not the only motives which led to the program of the great festival in honor of his victories, and the erection of the great image which all were commanded to worship.

With a view to unifying the Babylonian empire by unifying the religious views and worship of the various peoples under his sway, Nebuchadnezzar had a great feast arranged, of which the very center of attraction was the great image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Nebuchadnezzar's image

In Daniel 3:1 we read that this image, with its pedestal, was sixty cubits high (approximately 27 metres or 8 storeys high) and six cubits wide (approximately 2.7 metres wide). It was of gold, probably either made hollow or on a base of clay cement. It was located in the Plain of Dura, about the centre of the walled enclosure twenty-four miles square, known as the city of Babylon. As it is a level country, and as the structures were comparatively low, the image could probably be seen from every part of the great city.

The Festival

The appointed time for the festival having come, leading representatives, judges, treasurers, governors, sheriffs, etc., from all the divisions of the empire, clad in the gorgeous garments of the East, were present. A great band had been prepared, composed of all the musical instruments popular at that period.

As the people stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the herald proclaimed aloud:

“‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace'” (Daniel 3:4-6).

By falling down and worshiping the image, the people would thus be indicating their loyalty, not only to King Nebuchadnezzar, but also to his gods who he believed had given him the wonderful victories which they were celebrating.

This was a crucial test for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They knew that the King’s powers were autocratic, and that to cross his will meant death in some form, yet they wanted to be true to God, whatever the cost. It might be that their refusal to prostrate themselves before the image would pass entirely unnoticed by others, or it might be that, even if noticed, the incident might never reach the ears of the King, but such circumstances could make no change in the matter of their duty; whatever others might do, they must not bow the knee to any but the true God. Daniel is omitted from mention here, possibly because, occupying a different position as one of the king’s personal staff and household, his conduct would not come so directly in contrast with the general conduct.

The Hour of Trial

Finally, the hour of trial came, when the great King of Babylon was recognized not only as civil but also as religious ruler, and the image which he had set up was worshiped by the various representatives of his empire—except Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Their neglect to bow was quickly brought to the attention of the King, for no doubt these, like all good men, had their enemies: some enemies through jealousy and rivalry for the King’s favor; other enemies because, perhaps, they had been interrupted or hindered in dishonest practices and contracts with the government. The matter seems to have astounded the king, and hence his inquiry, Is it true, can it be true? Surely, no sane men would be so foolhardy as to oppose my decree, and that in my very presence, and upon such a fete-day as this? Not waiting an answer as respects matters of the past, the king voluntarily proposed for them a fresh test of loyalty and submission.

Perhaps the king’s mind shot a glance backward fifteen years, to the time when the God of the Hebrews, through Daniel, had told and interpreted his dream, a matter which none of the other gods of his wise men could do; and as though he had this in mind, and wishing to impress the matter upon these three Hebrews who had dared to challenge his power, he made the boast, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” In his arrogance of mind and under the flush of his mighty victories over the greatest nations and mightiest kings, Nebuchadnezzar felt prepared to have a contest even with the unseen and to him unknown invisible powers. He would not be backed down in his own capital city; he would demonstrate his power to inflict a penalty, regardless of what any of the gods might do in retaliation.

The answer of the three Hebrews was a wise one; seeing from the king’s mood that the discussion of the subject would be useless, they did not attempt to retaliate by threatening him with divine vengeance; neither did they attempt to convert the King to Judaism, knowing well that the provisions of the Jewish covenant were not for Gentiles. They simply responded that they were not anxious to avail themselves of the opportunity to argue the matter with the King. They assured him of their full confidence that their God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, and out of the hand or power of even the greatest king of the earth; but they answered:

 “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Angered that his great festal day should be thus marred by even the slightest opposition to his will, the king did not wait to give another opportunity wherein the Hebrews might relent. He saw that it was useless, that they were men of character and determination, and he resolved that he would make an example of them before all the people. The form of his visage or his countenance changed toward these men; whereas once he had admired them, as amongst his ablest counselors and magistrates, and an honor to his empire, now he hated them, as opponents whose course, if not interrupted, might introduce disorder into his empire, and lead to more or less sedition, if copied by others. In his rage he commanded that the furnace be heated seven times, or to its utmost capacity. The furnace, already heated for the occasion, may have been the one used in melting the gold for the image, and must have been of immense size.

Probably as a mark of his great authority, and to show that even the very greatest of his subjects were subordinate to his supreme authority, the king commanded that these three recalcitrant officials be cast into the fiery furnace by prominent officers of his army—no doubt to teach a lesson respecting the power of the army, and the willingness of its chief representatives to serve the king, as against everybody else.

The Hebrews, bound in their official garb, were evidently cast into the furnace from the top, because it is stated that they fell down bound, while the heat was so intense that it even killed those who cast them into the furnace, possibly by the inhalation of the flames, which might kill them instantly.

The King seemed to be having matters his own way, as usual; even the mighty God of the Hebrews had not delivered these men from his power. And yet the King was solicitous and eyed the furnace, and to his surprise beheld those who had been cast into the furnace bound, walking about free in the flames—seemingly uninjured. More than this, he saw a fourth person there, of most remarkable appearance, which caused the King to think and speak of him as one of the gods. No wonder he was astonished; he was evidently contending with a God of whose powers he had been ignorant.

Nebuchadnezzar realized he had made a great mistake in attempting the destruction of three of his most eminent magistrates, and that he was thus defying the great God. He was prompt to make acknowledgement, and approached the furnace, calling out, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” In the presence of the king’s courtiers they came forth, and all beheld them that the fire had done them no injury, not even having singed their clothes or their hair. This was indeed a stupendous miracle, and doubtless was valuable in its influence, not only upon the Gentiles, but also upon the Hebrews residing throughout Babylon, who would thus hear of the power of Jehovah in delivering those faithful to him.

Whether this had a bearing on the subject or not, we know well that, while idolatry had been one of the chief sins of the Israelites before this captivity, there was comparatively little of idolatry in its crude forms in that nation afterward.

Nebuchadnezzar’s acknowledgement of the God of the Hebrews, who sent his messenger and delivered his servants that trusted in him, is very simple and very beautiful. He rejoiced in the noble character of these men, and at once made a decree:

“Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way(Daniel 3:30).

And furthermore, he promoted these faithful men to still higher positions, for they had still more of his confidence respecting their integrity.

Men who would thus hazard their lives for conscience’ sake could be trusted in the most important positions.

Lessons From This Bible Account

The Lord’s people may find in this Biblical story many valuable lessons and suggestions. Not all of God’s people are in such prominent positions as were these Hebrews; and not many have testings of exactly the same kind as were theirs, with a literal fiery furnace before their eyes. Nevertheless, there are trials before the Lord’s people today that are fully as severe.

Babylon the literal was in ruins long before the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos was shown in prophetic vision the mystic or symbolic Babylon “which reigneth over the kings of the earth” today. The provinces of Babylon today are the various civilized nations—really “kingdoms of this world;” but deluded into calling themselves and thinking themselves kingdoms of Christ—“Christendom.” And parallels to the King and the image are also presented in Revelation—they are religious systems symbolically described as “the beast [Papacy] and his image” (Revelation 13:15-18).

The worship of this symbolic beast and his image are to be the great test or trial upon professing Christians in every province of symbolic Babylon in the end of this age and indeed, the testing is even now in progress. Only those who refuse to render worship to those powerfully influential religious systems (symbolized by “the beast and his image”) will be counted by the Lord as “overcomers” and be made his joint-heirs as members of his elect Church (Revelation 20:4).

As already pointed out, the “beast” represents not Roman Catholics (the people) but the Roman Catholic system, as an institution: and the image represents not Protestants (the people) but the consolidation of Protestant systems, as an institution. Those who absolutely refuse to worship its images are already exposed to fiery trials;—social ostracism and financial boycotts. Prominent amongst these is:

The Roman Catholic idolthat church sets itself as the representative of God, and demands worship, obedience and contribution to its funds;

The Greek Catholic Church idol: the Anglican is another; and the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.all similarly demand worship, obedience and revenue. They have “pooled their issues,” to a certain extent, so as not to war upon each other’s devotees, but they unite in warfare against all who do not bow the knee to some such idol (who reverence and worship only the Almighty God, and recognize his only begotten Son as the only Head and Lord of the true Church, whose names are only written in heaven—not on earthly rolls of membership (Hebrews 12:23).

In the “dark ages,” when Papacy had a monopoly of the “church” business, it meant torture and the stake, as well as social ostracism. Today, in many instances there are evidences that the same spirit prevails, merely restrained by changed circumstances and lack of power. Thousands today are worshiping at the various shrines of Christendom who in their hearts long to be free from the sectarian bondage of fear—who fain would serve the Lord God only, had they the courage. And there are some the world over who, with a courage not less than that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, declare publicly that the Lord God alone shall have the worship and the service which they can render. None, perhaps, know better than the writer the various fiery experiences to which these faithful few are exposedboycotted socially, boycotted in business, slandered in every conceivable manner, and often by those of whom they had least expected it, who, according to the Lord’s declaration, say “all manner of evil against them falsely” (Matthew 5:11,12).

But with these, as with the three Hebrews of our lesson, the chief trial is in connection with their faith; after they have taken a firm stand for the Lord and his truth they may indeed be bound and have their liberties of speech and of effort restrained, and they may indeed be cast into the fiery furnace, but nothing more than these things can be done to them. As soon as they have demonstrated their fidelity to God to this extent, their trials and troubles are turned into blessings and joys. As the form of the Son of God was seen with the Hebrews in the fiery furnace, so unseen, the Lord is present with those who trust him and who, because of faithfulness to him and to his Word, come into tribulation. How beautifully this is expressed in the familiar hymn,

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”

And sometimes even the worldly can realize that the Lord’s people in the furnace of affliction are receiving a blessing, and sometimes thus our Heavenly Father’s name is glorified in the world, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s experience.

Sometimes the Lord’s people who are bound, restrained of liberty to proclaim the truth, find, as did those Hebrews, that the fire burns the cords and sets them free, and really gives them larger opportunities to testify to the glory of our God than they could have had by any other course.

The Lord’s providences vary, and it is not for his people to decide when shall come remarkable deliverances, and when they shall apparently be left entirely to the will of their enemies without any manifestation of divine favor on their behalf.

Note, for instance, the fact that, while the Lord interposed to deliver these three Hebrews from the fiery furnace, he did not interpose to prevent the beheading of John the Baptist, although of the latter it is specifically declared, “There hath not arisen a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” We remember that, while Peter was delivered from prison by the angel of the Lord, James was not delivered, but was beheaded. We remember also that Paul’s life was miraculously preserved on several occasions, and that the Apostle John, according to tradition, was once cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, but escaped uninjured, while on other occasions dire disaster came upon the Lord’s faithful ones, and that quickly, as in the case of Stephen, who was stoned.

It is not, therefore, for us to predetermine what shall be the divine providence in respect to ourselves; we are to note the point of right and duty and to follow it regardless of consequences, trusting implicitly in the Lord. This lesson is most beautifully set forth in the language of the three Hebrews, who declared to King Nebuchadnezzar that their God was entirely capable of delivering them from his power, but that, whether he chose to do so or not, they would not violate their conscience.

It is just such characters that the Lord is seeking for, and it is in order to their development and testing that multiform evil is now permitted to have sway.

While such testings have been in progress to a considerable extent throughout this entire Gospel age, the Scriptures clearly indicate to us that in some special sense all of the Lord’s people will be tested in the “harvest” or closing time of this age. Our Lord speaks of it, likening our Christian faith to a house, and represents the trials in the end of this age as a great storm which will beat upon every house, with the result that all that are founded upon the rock will stand, and all founded upon the sand will collapse. The Apostle Peter speaks of this trial-time, saying:

“Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as tho some strange thing happened unto you” (1 Peter 4:12).

We are to expect a testing in the end of this age, just as there was a testing of the Jewish nominal church in the end of its age. As in that testing there was a thorough, complete separating of the “wheat” from the “chaff,” so here the separating will be complete between the “wheat” and the “tares,” as our Lord declares (Matthew 13:24-30). Throughout the age the “wheat” and the “tares,” by divine arrangement, have been permitted to grow side by side; but in the “harvest” the separation must occur, that the “wheat” may be “garnered,” received to the Kingdom.

The Apostle Paul, also, speaks of this time of fiery trial, and, likening the faith and works of a zealous Christian to a house built of gold, silver and precious stones, he declares that the fire of this day, in the end of this age, shall try every man’s work of what sort it is, and shall consume all but the genuine faith and character structures (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). But we are to remember that such loyal characters grow not suddenly, in a few hours or days—mushroom-like,—but are progressive developments, fine-grained and strong like the olive tree.

We who have become “new creatures” reckonedly, in Christ, know that we are to be tested (if our testing has not already commenced), and should realize that only as we practice self-denials in the little things of life, and mortify (deaden) the natural cravings of our flesh in respect to food, clothing, conduct, etc., will we become strong spiritually and be able to “overcome.”

Many deal slackly with themselves in respect to little violations of their consecration vow, saying,—“What’s the use” of such carefulness and so different a life from that of the world in general? Ah! there is great use in it, for victories in little things prepare for greater victories and make them possible: and on the contrary, surrender to the will of the flesh in the little things means sure defeat in the warfare as a whole. Let us remember the maxim laid down by our Great Teacher—that he that is faithful in the things that are least will be faithful also in the things which are great. And this is the operation of a law, whose operations may be discerned in all the affairs of life.

Our Lord expresses the same thought, saying,—To him that hath (used) shall be given (more), and from him that hath not (used) shall be taken away that which he hath. If we start on a Christian life ever so weak in the flesh and weak in spirit, we will find that faithfulness in the little things will bring increasing strength in the Lord and in the power of his might. But it is in vain that we pray, “Lord, Lord,” and hope for great victories and the “crown of rejoicing,” if we fail to do our best to conquer in the little affairs of daily life. In other words, our testing is in progress from the moment of our consecration, and the little trials are but preparations for greater ones which, when faithfully attained, we will be able to reckon with the Apostle as light afflictions which are but for a moment, and which are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

The answer of the Hebrews to Nebuchadnezzar,—“Our God whom we serve,” is worthy of note. They not only acknowledged God and worshiped him, but they additionally served him, according as they had opportunity. And so it will be found today: those who have the necessary strength of character to refuse to worship human institutions and thereby to “suffer the loss of all things,” counting them but as loss and dross, that they may win Christ and be found finally complete in him, as members of his glorified body, and joint-heirs in his Kingdom, not only practice self-denials, but gladly serve and confess the Lord in their daily life. Rightly appreciated, a profession of love for the Lord would always be a profession of service to his cause. Whoever is not rendering some service to our King in the present time of multiplied opportunities has at very most the “lukewarm” love that is offensive to the Master (Revelation 2:4; 3:16).

Let us resolve, dear brethren, as did the three Hebrews of this lesson, that we will worship and serve only the Lord our Godthat we will neither worship nor serve sectarianism, in any of its many forms, nor mammon, with its many enticements and rewards, nor fame, nor friends, nor self. 

God “seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth,” is the declaration of our Lord and Head (John 4:23,24).

Acknowledgement

Br. Charles Taze Russell – The above content is based on Reprint 2494-2497 – from The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Suggested Further Reading

Daniel The Beloved
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/bio_3.htm

Daniel and the Lions
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTMAY98.PDF

Daniel In Babylon
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/proph_31.htm

Trials
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB98.PDF

Time and Prophecy 
http://2043ad.com/timeandprophecy.pdf

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Mystery or Confusion
http://www.heraldmag.org/1999/99nd_3.htm

The Origin of the Trinity – From Paganism To Constantine
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm

Facts About the Trinity http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/FACTS%20ABOUT%20THE%20TRINITY.htm

God and the Trinities
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_42.htm

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/23/father-son-and-holy-spirit/

What Is the Heavenly Father’s Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Jesus – The Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

The Doctrine of Christ – Booklet
http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

Daniel the Beloved of Jehovah (paper back book) by R.E. Streeter –

Streeter-Daniel-Paperback_cropped_with_shadow-424x600

This book can be purchased through the Chicago Bible Students bookstore at the following link:

https://chicagobible.org/product/daniel-the-beloved-paperback/

 

book-of-daniel-activity-book-biblestudentsdaily-com

The Book of Daniel- Children’s Activity Book – free online here for use in proclaiming the glorious Gospel message:

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/02/05/the-book-of-daniel-childrens-activity-book/

 

 

 

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

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

Dear fellow Brethren and friends in CHRIST,

“Are you consecrated to the LORD?” 

What is your first reaction to this question?

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

Which word in that question stands out the most?

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

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

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

Of course not.

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

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

What a MARVELLOUS PLAN!

What an incredibly unfathomable Creator of ALL we have!

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

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

How High are God’s Standards?

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

These standards may be considered in four parts:

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

  1. Godly Conduct

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

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

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

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

It is REPENTANCE.

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

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

It means soaring like an eagle towards the SUN…

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Who does the sun represent in the Bible?

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

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

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

Is a spider web visible in the day?:-

NO — if you are rushing around and careless…

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

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

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

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

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

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

EVERYTHING!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Character Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  1. Study of the Truth

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

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

To the Philippian brethren, the Apostle Paul wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

E.g. The Apostle Paul cited:

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

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

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

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

  1. Service and Sacrifice

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Word “Consecration”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are All Christians Consecrated?

We hope they will be as not all now are.

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

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

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

What will it cost?

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

(See Post: “The Cost of Discipleship.”)

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

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

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

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

Acknowledgment:

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

 

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

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