ACTS 3:19-21 – The Restitution of All Things

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The King of kings has come! We are even now in the parousia (presence) of the Son of Man! Soon the last members of his “elect” body, the Bride of Christ, will be gathered to him—glorified and invisible to men,—and then he will begin the rule of the iron rod which shall break the world’s vaunted institutions as potters’ vessels (Revelation 2:27).

He declares, I will “gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. And then will I turn unto the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:8,9).

This symbolic burning and breaking will be the new missionary method, by which the glorified Bride of Christ and Church, will, after 2043, under and with her glorious Head, “bring in everlasting righteousness.”

“When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).

“The glory [majesty] of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5).

Through the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 3:19-21, Christ Jesus, intended his disciples to understand that for some purpose, in some manner, and at some time, he would return. True, Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), and by his spirit and by his Word he has been with the Church continually, guiding, directing, comforting and sustaining his saints, and cheering them in the midst of all their afflictions. But though the Church has been blessedly conscious of the Lord’s knowledge of all her ways and of his constant care and love, yet she longs for his promised personal return; for, when he said, “If I go, I will come again” (John 14:3), he certainly referred to a second personal coming.

Some think he referred to the descent of the holy Spirit at Pentecost; others, to the destruction of Jerusalem, etc.; but these apparently overlook the fact that in the last book of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation—written by the Apostle John some sixty years after Pentecost, and twenty-six years after Jerusalem’s destruction, he that was dead and is alive speaks of the event as yet future, saying:

“Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me.” And the inspired John replies, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:12,20).

Quite a number think that when sinners are converted that forms a part of the coming of Christ, and that so he will continue coming until all the world is converted. Then, say they, he will have fully come.

These evidently forget the testimony of the Scriptures on the subject, which declares the reverse of their expectation: that at the time of our Lord’s second coming the world will be far from converted to God; that “In the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4); that “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (Verse 13) They forget the Master’s special warning to his little flock:

“Take heed to yourselves lest that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall it come on all them [not taking heed] that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34,35).

When it is said, “All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him,” when they see him coming (Revelation 1:7), no reference is made to the conversion of sinners.

Do all men wail because of the conversion of sinners?

On the contrary, if this passage refers, as almost all admit, to Christ’s presence on earth, it teaches that all on earth will not love his appearing, as they certainly would do if all were converted.

Some expect an actual coming and presence of the Lord in the future, claiming that through the efforts of the Church in its present condition the world must be converted, and thus the Millennial age be introduced. They claim that when the world has been converted, and Satan bound, and the knowledge of the Lord caused to fill the whole earth, and when the nations learn war no more, then the work of the Church in her present condition will be ended; and that when she has accomplished this great and difficult task, the Lord will come to wind up earthly affairs, reward believers and condemn sinners.

However, when God’s Word and plan are viewed as a whole, we learn that Christ comes before the conversion of the world, and reigns for the purpose of converting the world; that the Church is now being tried, and that the reward promised the overcomers is that after being glorified they shall share with the Lord Jesus in that reign, which is God’s appointed means of blessing the world and causing the knowledge of the Lord to come to every creature. The Lord’s special promises include:

  • “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Revelation 3:21).
  • “And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

There are two texts chiefly relied upon by those who claim that the Lord will not come until after the Millennium (the 1000 years of Christ’s reign with his 144,000 Bride “body” members):

1. “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

They claim this as having reference to the conversion of the world before the end of the Gospel age (the 6000 years of permission of evil). But witnessing to the world does not imply the conversion of the world. 

The Apostle (Acts 15:14) tells that the main object during the gospel age is “to take out a people” for Christ’s name—”the Church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23) which, at his second advent, will be united to him and receive his name. The witnessing to the world during this age is a secondary object.

2. “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

The vague, indefinite idea regarding this text seems to be that Christ sits on a material throne somewhere in the heavens until the work of subduing all things is accomplished for him through the Church, and that then he comes to reign. This is misconception. The throne of God referred to is not a material one, but refers to his supreme authority and rulership; and the Lord Jesus has been exalted to a share in that rulership.

Paul declares, “God [Jehovah] hath highly exalted him [Jesus] and given him a name above every name.” He hath given him authority above every other, next to the Father.

If Christ sits upon a material throne until his enemies are made his footstool [all subdued], then of course he cannot come until all things are subdued. But if “right hand” in this text refers, not to a fixed locality and bench, but, as we claim, to power, authority, rulership, it follows that the text under consideration would in no wise conflict with the other scripture which teaches that he comes to “subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21), by virtue of the power vested in him.

Right hand—signifies the chief place, position of excellence or favor, next to the chief ruler. Thus Joseph was at the right hand of Pharaoh in the kingdom of Egypt—not literally, but after the customary figure of speech. Jesus’ words to Caiaphas agree with this thought: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64) He will be on the right hand when coming, and will remain on the right hand during the Millennial age, and forever.

The specific work of :

(a) the first adventwas to redeem men. In Hosea 6:3, this period is referred to as the time of the “former rain.”

(b) the second advent—is to restore, bless, and liberate the redeemed. In Hosea 6:3, this period is referred to as the “latter” rain. Having given his life a ransom FOR ALL (1 Timothy 2:6), our Savior ascended to present that sacrifice to the Father, thus making reconciliation for man’s iniquity. He tarries and permits “the prince of this world” to continue the rule of evil, until after the selection of “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife,” who, to be accounted worthy of such honor, must overcome the influences of the present evil world. Then the work of giving to the world of mankind the great blessings secured to them by his sacrifice will be due to commence, and he will come forth to bless all the families of the earth.

True, the restoring and blessing could have commenced at once, when the ransom price was paid by the Redeemer, and then the coming of Messiah would have been but one event, the reign and blessing beginning at once, as the apostles at first expected (Acts 1:6). But God had provided “some better thing for us”—the Christian Church (Hebrews 11:40); hence it is in our interest that the reign of Christ is separated from the sufferings of the Head by this 2000 years of waiting since Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary in 33 A.D.

The period between the first and second advents, between the ransom for all and the blessing of all, is for the trial and selection of the Church, which is the body of Christ; the “little flock” and “joint-heirs”; otherwise there would have been only the one advent, and the work which will be done during the period of his second presence, in the Millennium, would have followed the resurrection of Jesus. God has designed the permission of evil for six thousand years, as well as that the cleansing and restitution of all shall be accomplished during the seventh thousand.

Jesus has been absent from earth—in the heaven—during all the intervening time from his ascension to the beginning of the times of restitution—“whom the heaven must retain until the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).

We find the Scriptures teaching a further step in the divine plan—a RESTITUTION for the world, to be accomplished through the elect Church, when completed and glorified. The “little flock,” the overcomers, of this Gospel age, are only the body of “The Seed” (Galatians 3:16, Romans 4:13) in or by whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed. The fact that the world has not yet been converted, and that the knowledge of the Lord has not yet filled the earth, is a proof that it has not yet been sent on that mission.

 

Election and Free Grace 

While an Election has been in progress during the present and past ages, what is by way of distinction designated Free Grace is God’s gracious provision for the world in general during the Millennial age.

Election—as taught in the Bible, is not the arbitrary coercion, or fatalism, but a selection according to fitness and adaptability to the end God has in view, during the Gospel Age.

God’s grace or favor in Christ is ever free, in the sense of being unmerited; but since the fall of man into sin, to the present time, certain of God’s favors have been restricted to special individuals, nations and classes, while in the next age all the world will be invited to share the favors then offered, on the conditions then made known to all, and whosoever will may come and drink at life’s fountain freely (Revelation 22:17).

Glancing backward, we notice the selection or election of Abraham and certain of his offspring as the channels through which the promised Seed, should come (Galatians 3:29).

The selection of Israel from among all nations, as the one in whom, typically, God illustrated how the great work for the world should be accomplished—their deliverance from Egypt, their Canaan, their covenants, their laws, their sacrifices for sins, for the blotting out of guilt and for the sprinkling of the people, and their priesthood for the accomplishment of all this, being a miniature and typical representation of the real priesthood and sacrifices for the purifying of the world of mankind.

God, speaking to the people, said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2).

This people alone was recognized until Christ came.

Afterwards, Christ’s ministry was confined to the Jewish people, and he would not permit his disciples to go to others—saying, as he sent them out, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.”

Why so, Lord?

Because, he explains, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 10:5,6; 15:24)

All his time was devoted to them until his death, and there was done his first work for the world, the first display of his free and all-abounding grace, which in “due time” shall indeed be a blessing to all. However, God’s grandest gift was not limited to nation or class. It was not for Israel only, but for all the world; for Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9).

When the called-out company (called to be sons of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord—who have made their calling and election sure) is complete, then the plan of God for the world’s salvation will be only beginning.

Not until it is selected, developed, and exalted to power, will the Seed (Christ—”head” and “body” in glory) bruise the serpent’s head (Romans 16:20Genesis 3:15). The Gospel age makes ready the chaste virgin, the faithful Church, for the coming Bridegroom.

In the end of the age—when she is made “ready” (Revelation 19:7), the Bridegroom comes, and they that are ready go in with him to the marriage—the second Adam and the second Eve become one, and then the glorious work of restitution begins.

In the next dispensation—the new heaven and the new earth, “the Spirit and the Bride say, Come! And let him that heareth say, Come! And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

For this promised and coming blessing, the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:22,19).

Thus, free grace in fullest measure, not merely for the living but for those who have died as well, is provided in our Father’s plan as the blessed opportunity of the coming age because Jesus died for all. 

The United Nations expects the global population to reach 9 billion in the year 2043. (www.thoughtco.com/most-populous-countries-in-2050-1435117) What then will happen to the vast multitude who have not heard about nor accepted Jesus as their personal savior and redeemer? Did God make a wretched and merciless provision for their hopeless, eternal torment, as many of his children claim? Not at all. The opposite is true. God has yet in store for mankind an opportunity for all to come to the knowledge of that only name, and, by becoming obedient to the conditions, to enjoy everlasting life. When the Bride class is complete, then they, together with Jesus Christ, will regenerate the world.

Satan will be bound so that he cannot intrude his deceptions upon mankind.

In Revelation 20:1-3 (ESV) we read,

(1) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. (2) And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (3) and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

The saints will reign with Christ for a thousand years, as priests, to bring mankind back to God (Revelation 20:6). The whole creation “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). “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” (Isaiah 11:9).

To Be Testified In Due Time

For those who will be of the “Church of the firstborn,” the bride of Christ, and share the kingdom honors, the present is the “due time” to hear; and whosoever now has an ear to hear, let him hear and heed, and he will be blessed accordingly. Though Jesus paid our ransom before we were born, it was not our “due time” to hear of it for long years afterward, and only the appreciation of it brought responsibility; and this, only to the extent of our ability and appreciation. The same principle applies to all: in God’s due time it will be testified to all, and all will then have opportunity to believe and to be blessed by it.

Since God does not propose to save men on account of ignorance,  but “will have all men to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4); and since the masses of mankind have died in ignorance; and since “there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave” (Ecclesiastes 9:10); therefore God has prepared for the awakening of the dead, in order to knowledge, faith and salvation. Hence God’s plan is, that “as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive, but each one in his own order”—the Gospel Church, the Bride, the body of Christ, first; afterward, during the Millennial age, all who shall follow Godly righteousness during that thousand years of Christ’s reign with his Bride.

Everything and Everyone To Be Restored To Perfection

As death came by the first Adam, so life comes by Christ, the second Adam. Everything that mankind lost through being in the first Adam is to be restored to those who believe into the second Adam. When awakened, with the advantage of experience with evil, which Adam lacked, those who thankfully accept the redemption as God’s gift may continue to live everlastingly on the original condition of perfect obedience, and the perfect ability to obey will be given under the righteous reign of the Prince of Peace (Pastor Charles Russell, Volume 1 of “Studies In The Scriptures”, p.107).

All mankind shall be fully released from the slavery of sin, and the corruption of death, into the glorious liberty of children of God. But attainment to all these blessings will depend upon hearty compliance with the laws of Christ’s Kingdomthe rapidity of the attainment to perfection indicating the degree of love for the King and for his law of love. If any, enlightened by the Truth, and brought to a knowledge of the love of God, and restored (either actually or reckonedly) to human perfection, become “fearful,” and “draw back” (Hebrews 10:38,39), they, with the unbelievers (Revelation 21:8), will be destroyed from among the people (Acts 3:23). This is the second death.

Restitution Concerning Typical and Antitypical ISRAEL

Peter tells us that this restitution is spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets (Acts 3:19-21). They do all teach it. Ezekiel says of the valley of dry bones, “These bones are the whole house of Israel.”

And God says to Israel, “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I …shall put my spirit in you, and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:11-14).

To this Paul’s words agree (Romans 11:25,26)—“Blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles [the elect company, the bride of Christ] be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved,” or brought back from their cast-off condition; for “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Verse 2). They were cast off from his favor while the bride of Christ was being selected, but will be reinstated when that work is accomplished (Verses 28-33).

The prophets are full of statements of how God will plant Israel again, and they shall be no more plucked up (Jeremiah 24:5-7; 31:28; Jeremiah 32:40-42; 33:6-16).

“In those days, they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge, but every one [who dies] shall die for his own iniquity” (Jeremiah 31:29,30).

This is not the case now. Each does not now die for his own sin, but for Adam’s sin—“In Adam all die.” The day in which “every man [who dies] shall die for his own sin,” only, is the Millennial or Restitution day.

While Israel as a nation was typical of the whole world, its priesthood was typical of the elect “little flock,” the head and body of Christ, the “Royal Priesthood”; and the sacrifices, cleansings and atonements made for Israel typified the “better sacrifices,” fuller cleansings and real atonement “for the sins of the whole world,” of which they are sharers in, by God’s grace.

After comparing Israel with Sodom and Samaria, and pronouncing Israel the most blameworthy (Ezekiel 16:48-54), the Lord says, “When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them.” In death all are captives; and Christ comes to open the doors of the grave, and to set at liberty the captives. (Isaiah 61:1Zechariah 9:11) In verse 55 this is called a “return to their former estate”a restitution, when Jehovah says to Israel:

“(60) I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. (61) Then, thou shalt remember thy ways and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters…. (62) And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; (63) that thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, SAITH THE LORD GOD” (Ezekiel 16:60-63).

To this Paul adds his testimony, saying, “And so all Israel [living and dead] shall be saved [recovered from blindness], as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.’…They are beloved for the fathers’ sakes; because the gracious gifts and callings of God are not things to be repented of” (Romans 11:26-29).

A Summarized Explanation of Acts 3:19-21

Acts 3:19speaks of the “refreshing” that comes from the face of Jehovah (“presence” is not the Greek word parousia here, but prosopon, Strongs 4383) whenever they would convert and come to Jesus.

Acts 3:20The sending mentioned in verse 20 means sending Jesus not at his second advent, but sending him to bless them in their repentance. (As in verse 26, “Unto you first God, having raised up his son Jesus [by the resurrection] sent him to bless you [early Gospel Age work, not the second advent], in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”)

Acts 3:21This verse explains that Jesus will remain in heaven until the times of
restoration, and then he will return. We understand those times of restoration have begun as evidenced in the restoration of Israel, which is what these Jewish hearers of Peter were interested in. Since Christ’s second presence (“parousia”), the saints here who are still living, continue on here for some time, before their service here is complete as we read about in Luke 12:36-37. Here it speaks of a time when Jesus returns, knocks, and asks those saints the living to “open unto him.”  Further explanation about the Second Presence of Christ is provided in the “Further Reading” links, below.

As we continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), may we rejoice in knowing that “great joy shall be TO ALL people” (Luke 2:10) “in due time.”

 

Acknowledgement

Br. Charles Taze Russell. The above post was based on content from Study 6 of “Studies In the Scriptures.” The series of six volumes by Br. Russell can be read at http://www.htdbv8.com

Br. David Rice. Editing and content.

 

Further Reading

“Where Is The Promise Of His Advent. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. Sept/Oct. 2014 issue.
URL: https://herald-magazine.com/2014/09/01/where-is-the-promise-of-his-presence/

The Prophetic Date, 1874. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine. March/April 2003 issue.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_5.htm

Signs of Christ’s Presence. Beauties of the Truth. Volume 3, Number 1, February 1992
URL: http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB92.PDF

Chapter by chapter studies in the Book of Daniel at www.2043ad.com

Free Booklet titled: “I Will Come Again – John 14:3”
URL: https://chicagobible.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/I-WILL-COME-AGAIN.pdf

Jesus – The Name. BIBLE Students DAILY website. URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

Time and Prophecy by Br. David Rice.
URL: http://2043ad.com/timeandprophecy.pdf

 

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JESUS – The Name

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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.

Jesus

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 the Greek form of the Hebrew name 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 Jesus literally means Jehovah 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.

Here is a list of text containing the Hebrew word El for your consideration with a link for each from the Strongs Concordance: Genesis 31:29, Deuteronomy 28:32, Psalm 36:6, Proverbs 3:27, Isaiah 45:20, Psalm 89:6, Psalm 82:1, Exodus 15:11, Psalm 29:1, Psalm 50:1.

“Notice the above texts carefully and critically and all will agree that the context in every case shows the meaning of the Hebrew word El to 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—powerful ones. 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)

Immanuel

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 why everyone 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 kosmos in 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 elements is 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.

Coming back to the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6,7

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 established and 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.

Christ

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 were authorized 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.

Messiah

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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 deliverer to 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 with Jesus’ 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.

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The restitution, or restoration, of all things means to 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 word parousia in the New Testament, in scriptures such as Matthew 24:3 (where the word “coming” is properly translated “presence”).

NOTE: See booklet titled : “I WILL COME AGAIN”

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When mankind 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:

RRR.jpg      

Christ, Revisited

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 anointing represents 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.

Summary

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 Jesus we 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 lived since Adam and Eve were created will be raised from death to life by 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.

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[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—many were constitutes sinners but really, ALL of us were (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10, 1 John 1:8).]

Hymns of Millennial Dawn No. 96

AUDIO [Hymn 96] – The Name of Jesus

In Jesus' Name - Hymn.png

It makes the wounded spirit whole
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear name! the rock on which we build,
Our shield and hiding place;
Our neverfailing treasure, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

Jesus, our Shepherd, Saviour, Friend,
Our Prophet, Priest, and King,
Our hearts in gratitude ascend;
Accept the praise we bring.

We would thy boundless love proclaim
With ev’ry fleeting breath;
And sound the music of thy name
Abroad through all the earth.

References:

“In Jesus Name”—Public Lecture by Br Joe Megacz December 2016.
URL: https://chicagobible.org/public‑lecture‑in‑jesus‑name/

In Jesus' Name.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reprint 296-297 from The Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of  Christ’s Presence. The Everlasting Father.
URL: http://www.htdbv8.com/1881/r296.htm

Hymns of Millennial Dawn—URL: http://www.htdbv8.com/indexhd.html

 

Further Suggested Bible Study Material:

“The Ransom” video power point presentation discourse by Br. David Rice
URL: http://bibleresources.info/ransom‑david‑rice/

Soul and Spirit. Faithbuilders Fellowship. January 2006.
URL: http://2043ad.com/journal/2006/01_jan_06.pdf

Free Booklet titled: “I Will Come Again – John 14:3”
URL: https://chicagobible.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/I-WILL-COME-AGAIN.pdf

Immortality and the Human Soul. The Dawn Magazine. 1959
URL: http://www.dawnbible.com/1959/5904tbs1.htm

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

How Does “the Son of Man” Title, Speak Volumes About Jesus?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/10/how-does-the-son-of-man-title-speak-volumes-about-jesus/

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

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

Acts 23:6—HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART C: The Order Of The Resurrection Process.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

God’s Name—What Is The Heavenly Father’s Name That We Are To Hallow And Why?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

 

Acknowledgment:

  • Br Joe Megacz—content of this post.
  • Br David Rice—editing assistance.

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WHO WE ARE

WHO ARE THE BIBLE STUDENTS?

  • We are a body of religious believers who follow in the faith and character of the early Christian Church.
  • Each congregation is called an “ecclesia” (the New Testament word for Church). Our members are called Brother or Sister.
  • The elders and deacons of our Church are elected from within our local fellowship. (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9)
  • Members of our congregation contribute their time and energy voluntarily in service to God.
  • We accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God; and study both the Old and New Testaments. (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • We recommend personal and topical Bible study and provide Study aids. (Acts 17:11)
  • We are a non-denominational independent Church group that recognizes Jesus as our only head and enjoy a worldwide fellowship. (Colossians 1:18)
  • There is no organization to join and no creed to affirm. (Colossians 3:15)

 


“BIBLE STUDENTS DAILY” EMAIL NEWSLETTER

BIBLE Students DAILY Email Newsletters are monthly shared with those on the email subscription list.

Our desire is to spiritually edify the Household of Faith and help build faith in CHRIST in ALL whom the Heavenly Father wishes us to serve, as if serving CHRIST himself, as well as share words of comfort and cheer as we strive to please the Heavenly Father and make our “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).

We are glad to add anyone to the “BIBLE Students DAILY” Email Newsletter list. 

Feel free to write to us at biblestudentsdaily@gmail.com

Or mailing address:

BIBLE Students DAILY
PO BOX 80
ASHBURTON, VICTORIA, 3147
AUSTRALIA

 


WHERE DO WE MEET?

The co-ordinators of BIBLE Students DAILY meet regularly for Bible Study with other Bible Students in Melbourne, Victoria—Australia.

For information concerning the bible study meetings available, the weekday and weekend bible study programs and times, and the Bible Students Conventions in Australia, please address your inquiries to biblestudentsdaily@gmail.com

 

“10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder.”  2 Peter 1:10-13

 

Internal Peace, External Unity

 

Suggested Further Reading

 

 

 

pastor-russell-founder-of-bible-students-not-jehovah's-witnesses

 

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1 CORINTHIANS 15:45 – How Long Until the Millennial Reign of the “Last Adam”?

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“Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life‑giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

Of the two natures, human nature and spirit nature. Bro. Charles T. Russell wrote in R1259:5: “As surely as there are natural, human or earthly bodies, so surely also there is such a thing as a heavenly or spirit body.”

Adam was the first human man and all the peoples of the earth are descended from Adam, no matter how different in color, stature, intelligence, etc. they may now be (R2344:6). Adam generated no children until first Eve had been taken from his side (R4556:2). The first Adam is the sample of what an earthly body will attain to in the resurrection. (R1855:2, R3564:3).

The Apostle Paul in this statement from 1 Corinthians 15:45 does not contrast Adam and Jesus, but speaks of the “first Adam” and the last Adam.” Christ is very unlike Adam. Jesus was obedient. However, Adam and Eve in some respects foreshadowed Christ and the Church in the sense that Christ will be the Great Life‑giver, or Father of mankind, while the Church will be the mother or caretaker of the regenerated hosts (R5141:5, 777:1).

Jesus as the “Last Adam”

Jesus, as a “last Adam,” presently lifts us from condemnation and restores us to the fellowship of God through redemption. The saints have been regenerated by our Lord from Heaven, but rather than grow to human perfection, they sacrifice their justified bodies in the service of Christ for a higher calling, the “High calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). These, if faithful to their calling, will become, symbolically, a spiritual “bride” for Christ (Revelation 21:2). Then Christ and the Church will together restore the world, uplift the world, and bring them back to perfection during the Millennium. In this way Christ will be a “second Adam” or life giver to the world, and the Church will be a second “Eve” to nurture and assist them.

Adam was made a living soul since he was given a natural body, which is earthly. The “last Adam,” or life‑giving being, is Jesus, who from his resurrection forward is a glorious spirit being of highest magnitude.

 

“Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3, KJV).

 

Eve was drawn from Adam when his side was opened up after he passed into a deep sleep. She was formed from a rib of Adam, “bone of my bones” (Genesis 2:23). Jesus also was caused to pass into a deep sleep, the sleep of death, and then his side was opened up by the spear of the soldier at the cross (John 19:34). From this came blood and water, which represents redemption and the water of the Spirit, by which the Church class is developed.

The Church class are “bone” of Jesus’ bones, in the sense that bones represent one’s hopes for the future. We share the same hopes for glory in the service of God, as our Lord Jesus had. Of Jesus it was said that “A bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:36). That means that despite the tortuous trials and treatment suffered by Jesus, not one of his prospects for the future was in the least damaged. Those same prospects are sure for his bride also, “bone” of his bones.

The Bride of Christ shall be made Christ’s joint‑heir and help mate in the Kingdom who’s role will be to nourish and instruct all the willing and obedient back into harmony with God during the Millennial age (R4556:2, R5967)

“The plan of God proposes that the second Adam shall in relation to Adam take his place as the life‑giver to a race who shall possess the earth and enjoy it … as Father to our race does our Lord correspond to Adam—as the second Adam” (R4556:2). He is called the second Adam, in that he takes the place of the first Adam—undertakes to be the Father and life‑giver to Adam and every member of his race” (Expanded Biblical Comments). Upon condition of their obedience to him, they may then obtain everlasting life.

Our Redeemer presently enlivens us, in the respect that our old nature has been lifted from condemnation. This allows us to present ourselves in devotion and service to God, in order that we may grow a new life, a spiritual life, a heavenly life, to be secured in the first resurrection. Of that life God is Father, our “Heavenly Father.” “In accepting Christ as Redeemer, the believing one is reckoned no longer as a dying son of the dead Adam, but as a living son of the ‘last Adam,’ having a new life in Christ” (R1438:1). Our renewed standing is then laid down in sacrifice to God for the prospect of a heavenly life above. Our higher prospect is mentioned in Ephesians 2:6, NIV, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6, NIV).

How Long from the Creation of Adam to the Millennial Reign of the “Last Adam”?

The period in question, judging by the Hebrew Scriptures, was on the order of 4000 years. As we are now on the order of 2000 years further, brethren of our fellowship recognize that it is now timely for the blessed Kingdom of God to become established on Earth. For there is a long standing view, held even by Jewish Sages in pre‑Christian times, that God intended a millennium of blessing for the world following six millenniums of sin and death.

The Holy Scriptures refer to a “day” with God as a thousand years:

 

“A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday [one day] when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4).

“With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

 

By this measure, the six days of labor in the Jewish economy represent 6000 years of sin and death, and the sabbath of rest represents the 1000 year Millennium of restoration (Revelation 20:1‑6).

Ezekiel 46:1 (ESV) expresses this concept symbolically. “Thus says the Lord GOD: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day [the 7th day, which represents the Millennial Age of Revelation 20:4‑6] it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon [when a new covenant will be inaugurated with Israel] it shall be opened.”

With this hope in mind, Christians throughout history have endeavoured to estimate when the close of 6000 years may come.

 A Historical Perspective

In the days of William Miller and the early Adventist Movement, they supposed 6000 years were drawing to a close in the mid 1800s. In fact, William Miller concluded that Christ would return in 1843, assuming that 6000 years would end then. When Christ did not return as expected, some brethren gave up their faith but others simply recognized that they needed to keep looking. Br. Nelson Barbour was among those. He came to believe that Jesus would return in 1873. Therefore, he assumed that 6000 years would end about that time. He went looking, and found in EB Elliott’s work, “Horae Apocalypticae,” written in the early 1800s, a version of Bible chronology suggested there that shows how 6000 years might conclude somewhere near the year 1872.

Br. Barbour was a younger associate of Br. Miller, so he followed Br. Miller’s assumption that 6000 years would approximately mark the return of Christ. As far as we know, Br. Barbour did not consider another option—namely that 6000 years would take us to the completion of the Church, rather than simply to the return of Christ.

 Br. Russell met Br. Barbour in Philadelphia in 1876, and accepted the prophetic package, as it seemed reasonable. At the time they anticipated that the Church would be complete in 1878, after that they supposed it would be in 1881, and subsequently the expectation was reset to 1914. But concerns persisted. It seemed that a seventh “day” had commenced, and yet the Thousand Years of Revelation 20:4,6, was deferred. How could this be explained?

Some of the dear brethren seem unaware of the perplexity expressed on this issue by Pastor Russell himself. However, his words are clear and to the point about the uncertainty. It thus surprises us that even some who honor and revere his service bypass the important and specific points he advised brethren of, respecting this. However, the issue did not escape the attention of brethren in Pastor Russell’s own day. Thus, near the end of the year 1900, the following specific question was submitted to Pastor Russell.

“I understand from Revelation 20:4-6 that Christ will reign one thousand years, and from verses 2 and 7 that Satan will be bound during that period. If Christ began to reign in 1878, and Satan will not be bound until 1915, the two periods do not seem to synchronize; and … both extend beyond the seventh-thousand year period which … began in the Autumn of 1872. … Can you assist me?” (R. 2739

 

Pastor Russell’s answer is very different from what some appear to suppose it should have been.

Some today appear to suppose that the right answer would have been, “The reign, the binding of Satan, and the 1000 years all began in 1874.”

But not a word of this in Pastor Russell’s actual reply.

Instead, he refers to the “obscurity” of the issue as “an open question” that, at the time, was “not now ‘meat in due season for the household of faith.’ “ However, Pastor Russell did affirm the following part of the answer.

 

“The Scripture declaration respecting the saints, the ‘overcomers’ is, ‘They lived and reigned a thousand years.’ The reign of the saints cannot be properly said [R2740: page 368] to begin before all the ‘jewels’ have been gathered, nor before ‘the times of the Gentiles’ end, in 1914.”

 

It is clear from this direct answer to the brother’s question—on an issue that was declared as of then unresolved—that the 1000 years of Revelation 20:6 would not begin until the Church was complete. It was not apparent how this synchronized with the then-current view that 6000 years had been completed.

Pastor Charles Russell continued to affirm his view that the 1000 years of Revelation 20 would not commence until the Church was completed. Nor does he express any view other than this, respecting Revelation 20 directly. In R3460 (Diagram 3), you will find a diagram showing 1000 years beginning in 1914, when he supposed the Church to be complete. He later supplemented this with the following comments in later years.

R5115“The Church shall have passed into glory … Messiah will then reign for a thousand years.”

R5604“The great Battle of Armageddon … will precede … Messiah’s glorious rule of a thousand years … (Revelation 20:6).”

R5692“Messiah’s kingdom shall be fully inaugurated. Then these shall … reign with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4.)

R5919The Kingdom cannot come until the Royal Family is ready to take the Throne. Jesus, indeed, has long been ready; but in harmony with the Father’s Plan He has waited and has been doing a work in the preparation of the Church, His brethren, who are to be His joint-heirs in the Kingdom—otherwise styled ‘the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.’ (Romans 8:17; Revelation 21:9,10.) Then for a thousand years the Restitution privileges will be open to the whole world of mankind. It will no longer be necessary to preach; for all will know the Lord, from the least unto the greatest, and unto Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. (Jeremiah 31:34; Philippians 2:9-11.)”

There is more. Sometime late in the year 1913, Br. Russell changed the chart to accord with the expression cited just above. Early on, the period from the parousia of Christ forward was labeled “Millennial Age.”

But late in 1913, Pastor Russell changed the designation to the broad “Messianic Age.”

Why this change?

The reason seems apparent. Strictly speaking, the 1000 years of Revelation 20:4-6 would not begin until the end of the Harvest. Thus, if one begins a period incipiently from the parousia forward, better to give it a more general designation, “Messianic Age,” to avoid the inference that the 1000 years proper, of Revelation 20:4-6, had commenced.

A perceptive awareness of these points is the foundation for a recent presentation by Br. George Tabac, “Harvest Timing Clarifications,” which explains these points in remarkable detail. This presentation is specially excellent for brethren with high regard for the teaching of Pastor Russell.

What is the Answer?

What, then, is the answer to the question that has spurred so much discussion during the Harvest period? Namely—how does one reconcile the end of 6000 years early in the harvest of the Gospel Age, with the fact that the Thousand Years of Revelation 20:4-6 begins at the close of the harvest?

The answer is now at hand.

In the century and a half since the harvest began, and decades after Pastor Russell completed his course, the history of the Old Testament has clarified. 

Not because of the wisdom of men, but because it was God’s due time for greater clarity, to direct the Church to the approaching climax of their hopes.

 

The timeline from the Hebrew scriptures directly, respecting the synchronisms of the kings of Israel and Judah, shows that some of the kings of Judah (and of Israel) overlapped one another, in periods of coregencies. The testimony of these facts comes from the scriptures directly. However, the issues had not been solved while Pastor Russell lived. It was premature. “We may see some day just how [these synchronisms in the Hebrew Scriptures] can be harmonized, but at present we do not” (Question Book, page 42).

 

The overlapping of Judean kings, testified to in the Old Testament Scriptures, reduces the period of Kings from 513 years to 463 years. Affixing the end of this period to the firm date of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, establishes the year in which Israel’s last king, Zedekiah, lost his throne, was in 587 bc.

This means that we can now date the spring of Solomon’s fourth year to 966 bc, at which time was founded (but not yet operational) “Solomon’s Temple,” referred to in 1 Kings 6:1. From that text we can then place the Exodus at 1445 bc. (1445 bc is discussed in the following post: STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud by Day and The Pillar of Smoke by Night.)

As detailed in Volume Two of Studies in the Scriptures—“The Time is at Hand,” by Br. Charles Russell (page 43-47)—the time from Adam to the Exodus is widely agreed among brethren to be 2513 years. That is:

  • 1656 years (based on Genesis 5; 8:13; 7:6,) from Adam to the Flood

From Adam to the Flood

  • 427 years more (based on Genesis 7:6; 9:29; 21:5 and Genesis chapter 11 and 12,) to the Abrahamic Covenant and
  • 430 years more to the Exodus. (See Genesis 11-12; 21:5; 25:7; Exodus 12:40-42; 40:2, 7.)

From the Covenant with Abraham to the giving of the law.jpg

If we now count from the Exodus date of 1445 bc, a period of 2513 years backward to Adam, the result is the date 3958 bc for the creation of Adam. Six thousand years forward from there will be the year 2043 ad—thus the date opening the Seventh Millennium, which apparently is the same as the 1000 year Millennium of Revelation chapter 20.

Now the answer to the conundrum that Pastor Russell said was an “open question” in his day, can be resolved—for it is timely, inasmuch as the end of the harvest approaches. The resolution is straight forward. The end of 6000 years synchronizes with the close of the harvest, rather than with the opening of the harvest. With this key, all is harmonious.

 

Acknowledgements

 

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/06/1-corinthians-1545-how-long-until-the-millennial-reign-of-the-last-adam/

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Our Treasure – Christ the Lord

Malachi 3, 17-18.jpg

Priceless bars of burnished gold,
My whole being does enfold;
I know at last the Master’s will,
With jewels rare, my heart is filled.
 
Pearls and rubies, em’ralds bright,
Gems that shine throughout the night;
I’m richer than an earthly queen,
For with the Master, I have been.
 
I’ve traveled to his palace fine,
I’ve drank with him the sweetest wine;
No more to sip from Bab’lon’s cup,
The true vine’s yield does fill me up.
 
Lord of Lords and King of Kings,
Conveys the gift of angel’s wings;
Upon that faithful little flock,
Who opened to the Master’s knock.
 
I see the place prepared for me,
By the One who set me free;
From self, the world and Satan too,
He’s making all things so bran new.
 
This treasure’s not the earthly kind,
The world will seek-but never find;
For every piece I hold in store,
Is safe behind great heaven’s door.
 
If you also want a share,
In this treasure-oh, so rare;
Then you must choose to stand alone,
With Christ-beside the heavenly throne.
 
Consecrate your all to him,
If the prize you want to win;
You’ll find no treasure can compare,
With Jesus Christ, the Kingdom heir
Sr. Rosemary Page

Suggested Reading

The New Jerusalem, Br. George Tabac, “The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom” Magazine—http://www.heraldmag.org/2006/06ja_9.htm

Unique Among Gems, “The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom” Magazine —  http://www.heraldmag.org/2011/11so_6.htm

ROMANS 12:1 – What Does Being CONSECRATED TO THE LORD meanBIBLE Students DAILY, https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/01/romans-121-what-does-being-consecrated-to-the-lord-mean/

 

URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/05/29/our-treasure-christ-the-lord/

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EXODUS 3 & 4 – Overcoming Timidity and Fear of One’s Own Inabilities

Exodus 4, 12 - www.biblestudentsdaily.com.jpg

But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’” Exodus 3:11

Are you timid and fearful in using your abilities as Moses seemed to be when the Heavenly Father sent him to speak to the Egyptians and lead his people out of captivity?

  • Fear often prevents us from getting out of our comfort zone, even for righteousness’ sake.
  • Timidity can even stop us from standing alone and DEFENDING THE TRUTH.
  • Human emotions often causes us to fear rejection by our friends. It can even paralyze us and block the voice of God as He speaks through the Bible and providence.
  • Anxiety and depression can cause us to be overly concerned about something that is not reality.

If you can identify with any of these symptoms, then read on for some good news – as this post is for you!

As an infant, Moses was placed by faithful parents where an Egyptian princess could find him, amidst the bulrushes of the Nile. Seeing the young baby, she decided to adopt him.
Safe in the midst of his enemies, he received an ample education.

“And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.” (Acts 7:22)

The honors of the Egyptian Court were his, but when Moses learned the truth of his origin he no longer could enjoy the benefits of his high station while his kinsmen—the Israelites—suffered under the burden of slavery.

After killing an Egyptian taskmaster for his cruelty to an Israelite slave, he was disappointed when his brethren did not appreciate his endeavors to help them, but instead, reported him to the Egyptians (Exodus 2:11-22).

He fled to Midian, and was gone forty years. Then…

GOD’s time having come,

he was sent to deliver his people—Israel; but by now he was timid and feared his inability.

By Divine command, Aaron became his mouthpiece, and the message was carried to Pharaoh that Israel must be released from bondage. This commission to Moses was given at the burning bush which was not consumed. The Lord used this miracle to impress on Moses that God was with him. It provided the courage and confidence for Moses to fulfill his mission. We read of this in Exodus chapter 3-4.

Exodus Chapter 3 (ESV)

[Note: Most commentary in green from “Expanded Biblical Comments.”]

1Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

the burning bush

Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17 and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’

19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, 22 but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Exodus Chapter 4 (ESV)

1 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”

The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.”

[A staff signifies divine authority. R4058:4. A special manifestation of divine power and rule. R5419:5]

3 And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.

[Became a serpent—Symbolizing that all the evil there is in the world is the result of God’s having let go of his rod of authority temporarily. R4058:4  Those things closest to us might become injurious except for God’s power to overrule. R5419:2  Antitype may be that the power of God may appear to be evil.]

4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.

[Put out your hand — Typifying God’s purpose to lay hold upon present evil conditions. R4058:4 It became a staff — Typifying the re-establishment of divine authority. R4058:4
Representing God’s power to turn evil things into good things through the operation of FAITH. R2910:4, R5419:3 From this we should realize that of ourselves we could accomplish nothing. R5419:2]

R3990: “The assurance that he would be able to give the people this demonstration [with the staff] and other demonstrations that God had sent him to them strengthened Moses’ confidence in God and made up for his lack of confidence in himself. And this should be the case with all of us; we are not to have confidence in ourselves, but if we go forth strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, confident and rejoicing because he is with us, we are not only safe as respects ourselves but in the proper condition for the Lord to more and more use us in his service—”He that humbleth himself shall be exalted; he that exalteth himself shall be abased,” is the divine method of procedure.”

6 Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow.

[He put his hand — Leprosy is a symbol of sin. Divine power was first manifested without sin or imperfection or blemish (in Jesus Christ); secondly, that the same divine power, hidden for a time, was afterward manifest in sin and imperfection (in his Body members) and thirdly, that the same divine power, hidden again for a time, will subsequently be manifest without sin (in the glorified Christ) R4059:2]

7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 

[Restored — By and by the Church is to be received into Christ’s bosom and “changed” in the first resurrection. R4059:3
As his other flesh — Be used again of the Lord as his agent in stretching forth his rod and bringing forth the plagues, and delivering the residue of God’s people. R4059:3]

8 “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign.

[Voice of the first sign — Literature on the subject of “Why evil was permitted” has been circulated to the extent of millions of copies throughout the world ever since the year 1879. R4058:6
Voice of the latter sign — The sign of the leprous hand—the “Millennial Dawn” series of volumes (later called “Studies in the Scriptures”) the first of which was published in 1886. In these books the relationship between justification, sanctification and deliverance is distinctly shown. R4059:4]

If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

[Water from the Nile — The truth, as contained in millions of pages of tracts, poured upon the symbolic earth, society, liberally on many lands and in many languages. R4059:6
Upon the dry land — Typifying society. R4059:5
Shall become blood — To society the truth seems repulsive, undesirable, bloody. They not only view the typical sacrifices as bloody but they resent the thought that the antitypical sacrifice for sins was the death (blood) of Christ. R4060:1]

10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”

[I am not eloquent — Moses was so meek that he could not realize that with divine help he would be successful. R5262:2]

11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

*[I will be with thy mouth — So God declares to the humble ones now; that having no confidence in ourselves, we should have every confidence in God. R5262:4]*

13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

[Aaron represents the Royal Priesthood still in the flesh, still sacrificing. R4058:3]

15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people [to true Israelites], and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.

[The understanding of God through studying Scripture and prayer and developing the fruits of the spirit allows the called ones running for the prize of High Calling during the Gospel Age to be used as the “mouthpieces” of the Heavenly Father through Christ. 
Be as God to him — Moses was to be like God unto Aaron in that he would tell Aaron what he should say and do. Q498:5 Moses, not Aaron, was the one competent for the great work because of his schooling. Aaron was his servant, or mouthpiece, speaking only as authorized by Moses in whom, because of his meekness, God was reposing the responsibility. R5262:4, R4537:1; PD32]

17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.” 

18 Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.”

20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt [for the last 40 years of his life]. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”

24 At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death [because Moses has not circumcised their son.] 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

[The circumcision — Symbolizing a cutting off, a separation from the flesh, its aims, hopes and desires. R3022:3]

27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God [Mount Horeb, one of the peaks of Mt. Sinai. R4011:3] and kissed him.

[Does not the Lord God also tell us: to shelter ourselves from all evil by finding rest under his wings of care and Divine supervision when feasting upon the Words of Life in Scripture and when in prayer communion with the Him through Christ. Here the New Creation can “meet” with Christ and his Body members – in sweet fellowship for as we are told “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20) and “where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (Luke 17:37).]

28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do.

This reminds us of Jesus’ words in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people.

31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Moses’ experiences changed him for the better. How?

By God giving him the perfect experiences—which for the first 40 years of his life taught him to depend on his own strengths (i.e. he killed the Egyptian rather than depend on God to bring justice, etc); then the next 40 years of his life, Moses learned to not depend on his own strength (i.e. he worked for his Father-in-law looking after the sheep—which were not his own) and finally in the last 40 years of his life, Moses learned to put all his past experiences into practice hence why we read in Numbers 12:3 that “the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.”

Lessons from the Burning Bush 

“God usually has a symbolical meaning in every miracle, and in this one the representation is supposed to be Israel in the midst of tribulation, yet not consumed. Later on, in Reformation times, the Church of Scotland appropriated this burning bush as its emblem on its banner, because its experience had been similar in that it had passed through severe afflictions and distresses and trials, yet had not been consumed.

Is not the burning bush a good illustration of the experience of Christ and all of his members? Are they not indeed surrounded by fiery trials? And do they not emerge from these unscathed, uninjured?—on the contrary, blessed, developed, strengthened, made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light? (R.3990)

The Fear, Reverence of the Lord – 

“Well do the Scriptures declare that the fear, reverence, of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We greatly deplore the growth of irreverence in our day, and urge upon all of our readers for themselves and for their families the cultivation of this proper attitude of mind, so helpful to our preparation for the life that now is and that which is to come. Liberty and independence, while excellent qualities, are always to be valued and conserved and protected, are never to become license, never to lead in any degree to irreverence. This is the more necessary to us for two reasons: (1) Because of the growing irreverence of the world about us, born of a declining faith in God and everything supernatural; (2) because of our growing enlightenment in the Truth, by which we see that the fears of an eternity of torture were groundless, there is a danger of losing that proper reverence for God which belongs to and is an integral part of love.

“The Prophet David writes, “Keep thy foot when thou goest into the house of God”—take heed to your standing, take heed to your walk, take heed to your conduct. Whether the house of God be a great temple, as in past times, under divine direction, or whether it be the temple of God, which is the Church of Christ in the flesh, we should realize that reverence is befitting to us in connection with everything that is holy and consecrated. We should realize that whoever neglects the cultivation of reverence in respect to these matters is making his own pathway slippery and dangerous. He who reverences little and is careless is much more likely to stumble, to fall, and be utterly cast down.

If even Moses, the “meekest man in all the earth,” needed from the Lord as his first instruction a lesson of humility, shall we not suppose that such a lesson is necessary to us? Yea, verily!

Let us honor the Lord in our hearts, in our outward demeanor. Whether we bow to give thanks for our daily bread, whether we bow our knee night and morning in acknowledgment of divine care and providences, or whether we meet with those of like precious faith, let us see to it that reverence marks our conduct and our words as well as rules in our hearts. Let us, too, take off our shoes, let us lay aside the ordinary conduct of life by which we are in contact with the world, and in all our ways acknowledge him, especially when we hearken to his voice in the study of his Word as his people.” (R.3990)

Like Moses was asked by God, does not our Heavenly Father also ask us:

“What is in your hand?” 

“God can use our humblest talent to his praise. If, then, we would serve, we should look to see what we have in our hands.” (R5419:2)

How to overcome timidity and fear

Jesus gives us the ANSWER in overcoming fear of others (i.e. timidity.)

  • Timidity of people

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (Matthew 10:28, 29)

God is mindful of every creature that lives. He even knows when a sparrow dies. So, we can be confident that He cares for us and we have nothing to fear from others. David echoed this sentiment when he said, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6).

  • Fear of doing wrong in the eyes of God

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1, 2).

Christians who are committed to serving God have a special relationship with Him. Jesus, as their “Advocate” covers their sins. We can take great comfort in knowing we do not have to be perfect for God to accept us. The blood of Jesus provides our standing before God.

  • Fear of being misunderstood which can lead to being hated

 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).

Though every Christian should be sensitive to the feelings of others we should not fear what they will think of us. Only God’s view truly matters. If we live according to His principles and serve Him the best we can, then we have nothing to worry about.

  • Fear of standing for the Truth when others will not

And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:22-24).

Enduring to the end is important as we stand for truth. God sees and remembers all that we do for the cause of Truth. That’s what matters most.

Do you deal with any of these fears? 

Then please STOP right here!  

God has the plan, man has the problem, the Bible has the solution.” – Dewey Aaron.

May the words of Holy Scripture , be your comfort and your strength.

Why and how to Obey GOD

We cannot do more than to give our best to the Heavenly Father as we present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). It sometimes involves much pain and suffering for righteousness sake. But whatever suffering we are asked to endure will be well worth it in knowing that God is pleased.

 

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-5)

 

As Christians, we have a guidebook, as well as a guide, to show us how to live. The more we follow the instructions left by our guide, the more we begin to understand the plans, and influence others to do the same.

 

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

 

We cannot seek God’s help if we do not believe that He will help us.

When we come to Him, we must do so with the faith that He knows all, sees all, and has power over all.

 

GOd's Power. Mt Sinai..jpg

“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;  the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:10-11)

 

The Lord is not impressed with the things that the world sees as important.

 

Our Heavenly Father cares little for our physical strength, speed, or agility.

 

What makes our Heavenly Father smile is
the strength of our love for Him.

 

“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26

This is the ANSWER to overcoming ALL things through CHRIST!

 

It involves falling in love with the one who reads the heart’s deepest sorrows… deepest regrets… deepest pains… deepest secrets of our good intentions …

The Heavenly Father’s delight comes when our faith in his perfect abilities is strong.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-16)

 FOCUS ON YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE. 

This does not mean shutting ourselves away from everyone. The Lord wants us to serve one another and share each other’s burdens.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.(Galatians_6:2 )

 

If physical or mental impairment prevent one from being able to meet the needs of others, this too, is something the Lord understands perfectly. He reads the heart and understands the difficulties we often face in life.

This is where PRAYERS for each other ARE WORTH MORE THAN GOLD.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

Comfort and Reassurance

How reassuring to know that our Heavenly Father helps our weaknesses to become our strengths as we DEPEND WHOLEHEARTEDLY upon Him—that we might look to Him in every time of need and receive strength through CHRIST. He becomes our strength when we remain in Him and His Word remains in us.

Here are some Scriptures to meditate upon to gain strength from our Heavenly Father through CHRIST Jesus. These can give us great JOY. He is OUR STRENGTH as we fight the good fight of Faith to overcome sin and sorrow, focusing on the author and perfecter of our Faith, Christ Jesus.

CONFIDENCE & STRENGTH THROUGH CHRIST SCRIPTURES:-

“The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2 (ESV)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

“He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail.” 1 Samuel 2:9 (NKJ)

“God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:33 (NKJ)

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV)

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV)

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”  Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV)

“The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.” Psalm 33:16 (ESV)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1 (NKJ)

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24 (NKJ)

“God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. I call to You from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for You have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy. I will live in Your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings. Selah” Psalm 61:1-4 (HCSB)

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 (ESV)

5 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings.  7They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before God in Zion.”  Psalm 84:5-7 (AMP)

“28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV)

“…in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)

“…Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”  Joel 3:10 (ESV)

“17 Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! 19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (AMP)

“26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (ESV)

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV)

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (ESV)

“On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses.”  2 Corinthians 12:5 (NASB)

“9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (HCSB)

“8 I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close.Revelation 3:8 (HCSB)

“15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)

“Thou Mayest Bring Forth My People”

Just as God used Moses to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of Pharaoh, so too, if  “the Lord may choose to send us on any special mission, we may be sure that he does not wish us to undertake it as our own mission, nor to claim the honor of the success attending it. He merely deigns to use us as his instrumentalities, whereas he could do the entire work much easier, we might say, without us. How wonderful it seems that God throughout all his dealings, past and present, has been willing to use his consecrated people. Telling them on the one hand that they are unworthy, he assures them on the other hand of his willingness to use their imperfections and to overrule and guide in respect to their services for him and his cause.” (R. 3990)

“The prime essentials evidently in the faithful performance of such a commission would be reverence for the Lord and humility as respects our own talents and abilities. It was so with Moses, the “meekest man in all the earth.” (R.3990)

Not stopping even to tell the Lord of his appreciation of the facts that he had been chosen for and had undertaken this great work, Moses was overwhelmed with the thought that the Lord would deign to use him as a messenger, and he promptly disclaimed any special qualifications therefor. Indeed, he evidently felt, as well as said, that there were others much more capable of the work than himself. (R.3990)

“But was it not this very appreciation of his own unworthiness that helped to make him suitable for the Lord’s business?

“And so with us: we may be sure that when we feel strong then we are weak, and when we feel weak in our own strength then we are best prepared to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might and to be used of him as his instruments.” (R.3990)

“And all the members of the body of Christ, the antitypical body of Moses, are permitted to have a share, as the Lord’s representatives, in this work of declaring the fall of Babylon, the presence of the King, and the gathering together unto him of all who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. While feeling our unworthiness of so great an honor, and our inability as respects so great a work, let us remember that the Lord himself is with us, and that since it is HIS work it will go onward and accomplish the designs intended, and gather out eventually all who are truly the Lord’s, whether we are faithful or whether we are unfaithful.

“Let each of us then, dear readers, impress upon our hearts the essence of this lesson, that if God be with us and for us, however humble and weak of ourselves, we may be mighty through him to the pulling down of the strongholds of error and for the building up of his people in the most holy faith, and for their deliverance from the bondage of error. Let us in the name of the Lord do with our might what our hands find to do, but always with the thought that we serve the Lord. ” (R. 3991)

Let his words in Isaiah 41:10 be the strength in our every endeavor in his name and cause.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

By being faithful unto death, may we maintain the relationship to the great antitype of Moses, and ultimately be associated with him in the glories of the Kingdom, in the dispensing of the blessings and judgments of the future age.—Acts 3:23. (R.3

 EPHESIANS 6,10.jpg

 

References:

 

Acknowledgment 

Br. Tom Ruggirello – for editing assistance.

 

Suggested Further Reading

  • The Burning Bush, by Br. Carl Hagensick in “The Beauties of the Truth,” Volume 11, No. 4, November 2000.

 

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The Origin and Meaning of Easter & Lent

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The Word Easter in the Bible

 The only place in the Bible where the word “Easter” is found is in Acts 12:4, yet it is a mistranslation of the Greek word pascha. The word pascha should properly have been translated “Passover” (Strong’s G3957, “pascha, the Passover”). It has been correctly translated Passover in most modern translations. The corresponding word in the Hebrew Old Testament is Strong’s H6453, pecach, also defined as Passover.

Acts 12:4 describes events that took place in the springtime when the Apostle Peter’s apprehension and imprisonment by King Herod coincided with the Jewish festival of Passover, after Herod had earlier arrested and killed the Apostle James, brother of the Apostle John. In respect of Jewish religious custom, Herod waited till after Passover to act on Peter’s fate, planning to kill Peter as he had James. God did not allow this, and sent an angel to free Peter. Soon after, Herod himself was struck dead of a ghastly disease (Acts 12:23).

The “four quaternions (“squads”—in the NIV) of soldiers” (Acts 12:4) refers to four groups of four soldiers each, perhaps each group of four serving in rotation through the 24 hour day, at Jerusalem. During each period four soldiers guarded one prisoner as indicated in Acts 12:6—Peter was chained to one soldier on either side, with two guarding at the doorway.

A Real Angel, A Real Deliverer

During the festive week of Passover and Unleavened Bread, God’s mighty power delivered Peter from prison and death in a miraculous manner.

“The angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. (9) And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. (10) When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him” (Acts 12:8-10).

“It is worthy of notice that the miracles performed here were only such as were beyond Peter’s natural power. Whatever he could do he was required to do, namely, putting on of his sandals and his cloak, and following the angel. He could have been transported. His own sandals or other sandals could have been fastened to his feet. A new coat might have been provided. But the lesson is a more profitable one as it was given. Similarly in the Lord’s dealings with us today, we should remember that it is ours to do everything within our power, and the Lord’s to overrule all things for our good, and to supply our deficiencies from his abundance. Thus still he gives us day by day our daily bread, in the rain and the sunshine and the seed; but he expects us to labor for it, to plow the ground, to sow the seed, to harrow it, to thrash it, grind it and bake it.

” ‘When Peter was come to himself,’ when he realized the facts in the case, that he was free, he said, ‘Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath sent his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod and … of the Jews.’ St. Peter’s faith was strengthened. Willing to die, he found that the Lord was willing that he should live and labor and endure, and he was equally pleased, rejoicing, we may be sure, for the privilege of further service, even though it would mean further sacrifices and sufferings for the Lord’s sake and for the sake of his people” (Charles T. Russell, R4347)

From this account in Acts chapter 12, we are assured that “the Heavenly Father himself loves us and that all the heavenly powers are pledged to those whom he has accepted in Christ Jesus, and these unitedly guarantee blessings to all those who abide in God’s love. This means to abide in faith in the Redeemer. It means to abide loyal to our consecration, to do the Father’s will to the extent of our ability. That will is declared to be, that we shall love the Lord supremely, our neighbor as ourselves, and all the members of the household of faith, as Christ loved us” (Charles T. Russell, R4347).

Why Easter Sunday?

Dear friends, have you ever wondered WHY Easter Sunday is one of the most sacred Christian holidays?

It is because Christian churches have generally adopted Easter Sunday as the resurrection day and the proper time to celebrate the raising of Jesus Christ from the grave, which occurred on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus died on Nisan 14th  (Friday, about 3 pm, 33 AD), and was raised the following Sunday morning, Nisan 16th. This was the “third day” counting inclusively — Friday, Saturday, Sunday (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1‑2, John 20:1, Luke 24:1,24, 1 Corinthians 15:4.)

Later on, it was determined in the Christian world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus always on a Sunday, and remember the death of Christ by Good Friday, irrespective of whether Nisan 14th and 16th on the Jewish calendar actually falls on Friday or Sunday in a given year. Among brethren of the Bible Student fellowship, it is different. Jesus sat with his disciples for his “Last Supper” (Luke 22:20) on the evening that had just begun the calendar day Nisan 14th, and there instituted a memorial of his approaching death. We customarily observe our Memorial accordingly—on the night following Nisan 13th—that is, the night which technically begins the calendar day Nisan 14th. This year, in 2017, that means a Sunday night (April 9th) memorial of Jesus’ death, but the day of the week varies year by year.

Further in this post we shall explain Why “Good Friday” is not celebrated by the Christian world closest to the exact day of our Lord’s commemorated day of death. But in brief, here, it is because of the decision made by the Papal Anti-Christ church (lead by Constantine as we explain later) and they were not concerned about the Jewish date of Jesus’ death. Their new rule (established in 325 A.D.) fixed it relative to the equinox rather than relative to the Jewish calendar. The truth of the matter is, that it is Nisan 14th which the Bible explains is the date when the memorial of our Lord’s death is to be annually commemorated—not the nearest Sunday to this or any other date.

Pagan Influences Came in Later

Today, in our memorial supper, we recognize the influence of the Hebrew traditions by observing it according to the days of the Jewish calendar. The celebration is not of the Jewish Passover, however, but of the sacrificial death of our redeemer, Jesus, the antitypical Passover Lamb. Subsequently, however, pagan influences also blended with popular Christian observances.

(a) The name “Easter” is from Ishtar—who was the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love and fertility. The Phoenicians called her Astarte (a sister and consort of Baal,) a god worshipped in many parts of the eastern world. Some of the ancient Hebrews also worshipped Baal.

(b) In Europe, Eostre (with variations in spelling) became the Anglo‑Saxon goddess of spring, emphasizing fertility and the rising sun. The month of April was dedicated to her, and the Old English word for Easter was “Eastre” which refers to Eostre. The festival of Eostre was celebrated at the vernal equinox, when day and night receive an equal share of light and darkness.

(c) During the early Middle Ages, Christian missionaries seeking to convert the barbaric tribes of northern Europe realized that the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection also coincided with the Teutonic springtime celebrations. The Teutonic goddess of fertility, Ostare, derives her name from the ancient word for spring. As the days of approaching spring grew longer, celebrations coinciding with the spring equinox emphasized the end of winter and a rebirth of nature, triumphing life over death. The Christian missionaries taught that this time also pointed to the resurrection of Jesus.

Easter Eggs and Bunnies

Eggs symbolize birth, fertility, and new life in many cultures. The ancient Egyptians and Persians would hand out coloured eggs as gifts during their springtime festivals.

Europeans during the Middle Ages, collected eggs of different colours from the nests of various birds, using them as charms to avert evil and bring good fortune.

The Easter egg hunt custom was gradually phased out by the more popular egg painting custom where colourful eggs were hidden and children as well as others would search for them. Eggs were painted in bright colours to resemble the sun, the arrival of spring, and fertility, while Easter baskets, holding the collected eggs, were intended to resemble bird’s nests. Polish people today still decorate their eggs with many traditional symbols for Easter, many of them with religious representations.

Rabbits have also served as fertility symbols in some ancient cultures. Legends from ancient Egypt connected the rabbit with the moon because of their nocturnal feeding habits. This association with the moon is also thought to have originated with those who watched the cycles of the moon to determine the precise date of the approaching change of season, and the accompanying celebration. This event took place on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.

The first documented use of hares for the Easter festival was in Germany during the 1500’s. Later, edible Easter bunnies were prepared with pastry and sugar. These traditions made their way to America during the 1700’s by the Pennsylvania Dutch who had emigrated from Germany. During the years following the American Civil War, handcrafted chocolate Easter eggs and rabbits became increasingly popular.

Hot Cross Buns

Australians also celebrate Easter with hot cross buns, a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top. The first recorded use of the term “hot cross bun” was around 1733. They are traditionally eaten on “Good Friday” in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and India. The cross on the bun represents the crucifixion of Jesus and the spices inside are meant to remind Christians “of the spices put on the body of Jesus” (See Mark 16:1, Luke 23:54‑56, Luke 24:1).

John 19:39 says that Nicodemus also brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, “about an hundred pound weight,” for the burial of Jesus. The number 100 is used for Jesus in the Tabernacle, as the square measure of the gate, door, and vail, representing that Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life” for those who follow him (John 14:6). Also, there were 100 sockets of silver as a foundation for the Tabernacle, coming from the Ransom money of the Israelites, representing Jesus as the Ransom and foundation for God’s Plan of Atonement (Exodus 38:25-27).

Myrrh, a bitter herb, represents suffering, and aloes is used for healing. Thus these two elements represent the suffering of Jesus, from which comes the healing from sin and death from Jesus’ death. When Jesus is depicted as a king in glory, his garments smell of myrrh, and aloes”these very two fragrances (Psalm 45:8). For Christ in his resurrection glory has achieved a death of suffering that brings healing for the world.

Lent

Does the Bible teach us to celebrate or commemorate Lent?

The following is an extract from a website by the Uniting Methodist Church explaining what “Lent” is about—a practice not observed within the Bible Student Movement:

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means ‘spring.’ The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

“Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self‑examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

“Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a ‘mini‑Easter’ and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.”

There is no direct reference of this practice, of Lent, in the Scriptures. However, this pleasant custom probably has benefited various ones who applied themselves to it through the centuries, if it focused their minds and hearts on proper spiritual values. However, if afterward its observers supposed they were free at other times to practice worldly principles, then they would have missed the true value. A consecrated believer should remember that their life of service here first of all involves purity of heart and mind, always (James 3:17).

The Catholic Church believes that “Lent” is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self‑examination and reflection. This may have useful benefits. However, for the true Christian, their entire consecrated life should be one of devotion. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 ESV).

Fasting can be a good practice at any time of the year, both for our physical benefit, and for mortifying the things of the flesh, to focus on things of the Spirit. Sometimes eating less can cause the mind to sharpen. We are to be continuously humble and lowly of heart, as was Jesus (Matthew 11:29, Luke 2:37). Weaning away from earthly attractions, it can help us also to be satisfied with whatever God permits us to have in other temporal commodities also—food, housing, car, or job. God gives us what we need. If we experience some discomfort for the flesh, it can augment our hope for and appreciation of the spiritual values, and spiritual promises, that exceed anything Earth can provide.

Regarding the practice of Baptism at Lent season—perhaps this custom also had some beneficial results. However, it is not something mentioned in the New Testament, and Baptism is appropriate at any time of year, when the believer determines to proceed in full commitment to God, with a personal consecration of themselves and their life to Him. Thus it is not reserved for a particular month of the year. See the post titled: What Does It Mean To Be Baptized Into Christ? and What Does Being Consecrated To The Lord Mean?

Pastor Charles Russell’s Comments about Lent

The following is an extract from Reprint 3170.

“Our best wish for all the people of New York and of the whole world would be that all or at least some of them, may observe Lent and join in such petitions heartily: if but one in a hundred of those who will observe the Lenten season will do so, it will surely mean a great revival in their own hearts.

“To us who observe the Memorial Supper on its anniversary only, the occasion is one of the greater solemnity, and may well be approached with the greater reverence. We commend to all of ‘this way’ (Acts 9:2) that the interim between now and the Memorial (April 10th) be specially a season of prayer and fasting—drawing near to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:5). True, the Lord’s consecrated people are continually to live as separate from sin and from the mind of the flesh as possible, and are to “pray without ceasing”; but, as the Apostle intimates, there may profitably be special seasons of this kind; and surely none more appropriate than this Memorial season. The fasting which we urge may or may not affect the food and drink, according to the judgment of each, respecting what diet will best enable him to glorify God and to keep his “body under.” We refer specially to abstention from all “fleshly lusts which war against the soul”; these appetites always under restraint with the saints, may well be specially mortified at this time.”

However as the Apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:29‑31, our “fasting” or “mortification” should be a daily act moment by moment to those who have fully enlisted in the Priesthood of complete consecration in the “School of Christ” as far as it be reasonably possible and all depends on one’s level of maturity in Christ:

” ‘This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, (30) and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, (31) and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:29‑31).

Hebrew Customs

Concerning our opening text (Acts 12:4), let us consider the relationship between the Easter festival and the Hebrew Passover.

Passover is the oldest and most revered festival in Judaism. It is observed in the spring, in the month Nisan, the first month of the Jewish religious new year (Exodus 12:2). As Jewish months began with a new moon, the timing of Passover about halfway through the month puts it about the time of full moon. The afternoon that Jesus died was the time a full moon, and this represented that Israel’s favor was full—but because of their rejection of Christ, their favor would wane and diminish.

The Jewish Passover, under the administration of Moses, commemorated Israel’s deliverance from centuries of Egyptian bondage. The firstborn among the Israelites where passed over by the angel of death during the final plague suffered by Egypt. That tenth plague forced Pharaoh to release the Israelites from a life of compulsory servitude.

The Passover is celebrated on an annual basis in accordance with the instructions that were given by God to Moses:

“The Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.” (Numbers 9:1‑4)

Our Lord Jesus became the antitypical Passover Lamb (John 1:29) when he gave his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, during the time of the Jewish Passover.

Christian Traditions

Though the Easter festival became well‑established and accepted by Christians by the second century after Jesus’ death, there had been considerable debate between the Eastern and Western divisions of the Church over the exact date the event should be celebrated.

The Eastern Church preferred to not hold it as an annual Sunday event, but rather to observe it on whatever day Nisan 14 fell. These early Christians wanted to time the observance according to the timing of the Hebrew type. The Western Church, on the other hand, wanted to remember the resurrection of Jesus always on a Sunday—Easter Sunday—regardless of the day of the week indicated by the Jewish calendar (Exodus 12).

Emperor Constantine wished to resolve this issue at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. The question of the Easter date was one of the main issues of concern. After lengthy dispute, the council was unanimous in its decision that Easter should always fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. After further discussion, it was decided that March 21st was to be the date for the spring equinox. This dating process has been the general guideline for most of Christendom ever since.

In Remembrance of Me

Students of the Bible stand free from many of the long‑standing traditions that have been passed down to us from the past. Their faith is based on the meaning and partaking of the symbolic emblems that represent our Lord Jesus’ sacrificial death. Jesus’ request given to his disciples that night in the upper room were, “This do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Every consecrated child of God joyfully accepts the privilege of partaking of the bread, representing Jesus’ flesh, and drinking of the cup, representing Jesus’ shed blood. This is the true meaning and purpose of observing this most important occasion each year on the 14th day of the first month Nisan.

Church of the Firstborn

In his letter to the Hebrew brethren, the Apostle Paul speaks of the “church of the firstborn” whose names are “written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23). Elsewhere, he explains that they are walking with our Lord in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). They also remember his death, and solemnly renew their consecration to God annually by partaking of the meaningful symbols, bread and wine.

In keeping the type of Exodus 12, the blood of each lamb that was slain in Egypt that night was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintels of the houses of Israel.

  • Each Jewish household represents the household of faith, that is, all believers in Christ. This includes both spirit begotten and non‑spirit begotten, both fully consecrated and not yet consecrated, both the baptized into Christ and not‑yet baptized into Christ, who believe in the blood of Christ as the redemptive value that saves us from the curse of Adamic death. On that night, however, only the firstborn were under jeopardy, as only the firstborn has a spiritual life that could be lost.
  • That all believers benefit from the Passover sacrifice is reflected in the deliverance of all the Israelites through the Red Sea, subsequent to the Passover night. (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Here are some lovely words by Br. Charles Russell on the Household of Faith, from Reprint 5457. “These words “Household of Faith”—are broad enough to include not only those who are fully in the way, but also those who have made more or less of an approach unto the Lord and the Truth. The very fact that any one is drawing near to the antitypical Tabernacle is a strong reason why we should wish to encourage him to press on. He has come a part of the way, even if he has not made a consecration.

In a strict sense, the Household of Faith, of course, includes only those who are consecrated. But the words of the Apostle justify us in believing that those who are considering the matter, counting the cost, would in a broad sense be counted as of the Household of Faith. And we are to give these special assistance—all in whom we see any prospect of consecration. Our constant desire and effort should be to point men directly or indirectly to the Lord. Thus we shall be showing ‘forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ ”

  • Each slain lamb—represents the antitypical Lamb of God: Christ Jesus.
  • The firstborn Israelites in each familyillustrate the Christ, head and body, the “church of the firstborn.”
  • The bitter herbs that were eaten with the lamb (Exodus 12:8)—illustrate the trials and afflictions that are experienced by the Lord’s people during the present Gospel Age.
  • The unleavened bread eaten with the lamb (Exodus 12:8)—represents our wish to be purged from the leaven of sin, as we feast upon the merits of our Lord’s sacrifice for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).
  • The household joining eating the Passover lambrepresents our common participation, our sharing together, of the merits of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16,17).

Those who are faithful to their High Calling will be privileged to share in the deliverance of the poor groaning creation during Christ’s future kingdom, as proclaimed by the Apostle Paul (Romans 8:22, 23).

Christ our Passover Lamb

The Apostle Paul directs our attention to the significance of the Passover type and our need to purge out all unrighteousness and sin (pictured by leaven). He wrote to the Corinthians brethren,

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7,8).

The Jewish people were to slay their Passover lambs on the 14th day of the first month (Nisan) of the Jewish New Year. This was the exact time many centuries later when our Lord Jesus, as the antitypical Passover Lamb, died for the sins of the whole world of mankind.

All who recognize Jesus as the true Passover Lamb and have accepted the merit of his shed blood on their behalf, may appropriate the merit of that blood by purifying their hearts from a consciousness of evil. Because of their faith in the blood of Jesus, they are privileged to enjoy a new relationship and standing before God.

The Lamb of God

When John saw Jesus coming toward him, he proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Later, the Apostle Peter, when comparing earthly riches with the true value of our redemption (1 Peter 1:18), speaks of the exceeding value of Jesus’ blood of sacrifice, as “The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (verse 19).

God’s wonderful plan of reconciliation for the sins of the whole world will become manifest to all during the Millennial Kingdom soon to be established. The meaning of “Christ our Passover” takes on a deeper significance when we look forward to the time when the entire human family will praise God for the gift of his beloved Son, the “Lamb of God,” that takes away the sins of the world.

Acknowledgment:

The Dawn Bible Students’ Magazine—for content from the article from Highlights of Dawn, April 2006. “Easter—It’s Pagan Origins and True Meaning,” used to present this post.

Charles T. Russell, The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Br. David Rice—for editing assistance.

The Uniting Methodist Church website—for references cited from “What Is Lent and why does it last 40 days?”

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/07/the-origin-and-meaning-of-easter-lent/

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

THE GATE. THE DOOR. THE VAIL..jpg

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE: For the door, we do not have an explicit text for its measurements however the boards were 10 cubits high (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, p. 100)

Jesus is our entry into:

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

(1) THE GATE

the-gate-beauties-of-the-tabernacle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The FOUR POSTS at the Gate

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

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

(2) THE DOOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Materials Used for the Fabric of the Sanctuary

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

weavers.jpg

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

(Reference : images/LINEN1B.gif. Fine Twisted Linen.)

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

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

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

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

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

The Colours of the Linen Curtains

colours-of-the-tabernacle

  • White

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Blue

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

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

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

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

  • Scarlet

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

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

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

  • Purple

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

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

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

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

The FIVE POSTS at the DOOR

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

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

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

(3) THE VAIL

the-vail-of-the-tabernacle

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

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

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

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

The Rending of the Vail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Cherubim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The FOUR POSTS at the VAIL

4-posts-at-the-vail

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

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

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

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

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

Four – in the Bible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 100:2-5 (NLT)

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

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

 

References:

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

 

Acknowledgment:

Content assisted by Br. George Tabac

 

Suggested Further Reading:

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

STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud By Day And The Pillar of Smoke By Night  URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy and The Most Holy  URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/20/study-4-the-court-holy-place/

STUDY 5: The Camp. The Israelites.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

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

STUDY 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

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

 

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

 

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ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A: What is Jesus All About?

ACTS 23,6-HOPE & RESURRECTION - Part A - What is Jesus All About.jpg

What is the Good News of the Bible all about?  One 5-letter word,  JESUS!

And this is exactly what Apostle Philip explains to the Ethiopian Eunich, whom an angel of GOD sent him to, to minister unto and whom he explained the passage of Isaiah 35 to, which the Eunich had been reading, and whom he baptized while on the road that went from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26-35).

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’s 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”. And 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:

Truths about the Ransom—the whole foundational doctrine behind the forgiveness of sin for every single human that ever lived… and about the 2 Salvations… about the soul—that it is mortalabout restitution?

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’s tell the world
there’s a better day coming!

When there will be no more death or dying but a resurrection from the dead that will ultimately bring mankind back from the dead!

Dear friends, Armageddon is actually a great thing, coming! It’s a sifting out 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 JUSTICE to 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 strives to BE 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 26 in a 80+ 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 is a 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)

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

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