Who Is Melchizedek in the Bible…Or As I Like to Call Him, ‘Mel’?


If one goes to the Internet to answer this question, there are all sorts of claims made in the name of ‘Melchizedek”.  I’ve come across the name, once again, in bible study in The Letter to the Hebrews 7:1-22, and to save me the time of writing down “Melchizedek,” over and over again, I took the liberty of calling him ‘Mel’.

Many religious groups with ties to Christianity make claims regarding Melchizedek.  Ancient Gnostics go to great explanations of claiming Melchizedek was actually Jesus [For more on the term “Gnostic,” go to GotQuestions.org/”What is the definition of the term Gnostic? ]. Others say he was the archangel, Michael.

Suffice to say, I don’t recommend an Internet search answering these sorts of questions.

In Hebrews 7, the information presented gives the most information about ‘Mel’ in the entire Bible.

Of course, Melchizedek first shows up in our Bible in Genesis … 12 pages into my Bible.

  • Genesis 12 contains God’s call of Abram and God’s promise that would make Abram a great nation and Blessed him (Genesis 12:2).
  • Genesis 13 includes the story of Abram (Abraham) and his nephew Lot agreeing to separate and occupy different territories in the new land.
  • At the beginning of Genesis 14, there’s a report of war among several kings.  Caught up in the plunder of war, Lot was carried off by the victory and apparent victim of circumstance, Lot was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • In the middle of Genesis 14, Abram learns of his nephew’s plight, takes a group of 318 soldiers, routs Lot’s captors and liberates Lot, his possessions, and all the people with him.

It was after Abram’s return from the victory that the story unfolds with Melchizedek.  Even though it is contained in just three chapters in our Bibles, it was a significant encounter for Abram.  Mostly because it’s a moment in which Abram acknowledged God’s Blessing on his life:

  • He chose the Blessing of the priest over the spoils of war offered by the other kings.
  • He credited God for the victory won.
  • He tithed, giving an offering in worship to “God most high”.

AND THIS IS THE END OF THE ACCOUNT.

There are no more details about ‘Mel’ to be found in Genesis.

Most history books I’ve run across don’t deny the existence of Melchizedek, but they don’t have much else to add either.

Aside from our text in Hebrews in this study, the only other place I could find in the Bible was Psalm 110.

Psalm 110 is what Bible scholars call a Messianic psalm, a prophecy that describes the ultimate Savior, the Victor that would deliver God’s people for all eternity.

And this particular Psalm describes the Messiah as “a priest after the manner and order of Melchizedek”  (verse 4).  

Sound familiar?

Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.

He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

This duplication of this specific language presented at the end of Chapter 6 of Hebrews is in the precise language of Psalm 110.

Hebrews 6:20 (AMP)

[20] Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

This is to remind us that none of this is primarily about ‘Mel’…it’s all about Jesus!

Although, as a Word Detective, it might be really tantalizing to think of all this in terms of unlocking some great mystery about this baffling Melchizedek.  The main point I find here is to tie Jesus to the prophecy found in Psalm 110.  So we will be best served to look at this passage of Scripture not so much for answers to the question “Who is Melchizedek?”  Rather, what we should really be after are the answers to the greater question, “Who is Jesus?”

The author who penned these words under the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit has no interest in leading us as readers to Melchizedek.  We are being led to Jesus!

What is found in this passage of Scripture now is Melchizedek being used as an illustration to help us understand more about Christ Jesus.

Melchizedek’s position is worth taking a close look at in Hebrews 7.

The beginning of the chapter explains that he is both king and priest.  Specifically king of Salem (ancient Jerusalem), priest of God Most High.

Jesus too is both King and Priest.

This mention of genealogy seems curious when it comes to studying this in the context of the Bible, especially the Old Testament historical books.  Unlike almost every other figure in the O.T. historical books, ‘Mel’ has no genealogical context.  He isn’t identified as “the son of” anyone, no begat.

Neither his birth nor death is recorded.

In Melchizedek’s case, scripture is silent about all that made him unique.  In this case, what distinguishes Melchizedek isn’t his genealogy, but his righteousness, peace, his association with God Most High!

Verses 4-10 makes us aware of Abraham’s position in respect to Melchizedek.

Abraham, the father of faith, the one through whom God chose to create a special people for Himself, subservient to Melchizedek.

  1. Abraham tithed to Melchizedek–giving him, in an act of worship, a tenth of what he had.
  2. ‘Mel’ blessed Abraham.

First the blessing and then the tenth. 

The lesser person is blessed by the greater.  Abraham wasn’t BLESSED because he tithed.

He gave because he was already BLESSED!

Jesus, too, is greater than Abraham.

Jesus, through this illustration, is associated in a superior order than all kings and priests, especially all those kings and priests that would come from Abraham.

Verses 11-14 make more of this idea of genealogy and ancestry.

The LAW given by Moses, established the tribe of Levi, the tribe of priests.

But Jesus wasn’t a Levite, as ‘Mel’ wasn’t a Levitical priest; Jesus was from the tribe of Judah.

Under the old covenant, one would be a law-breaker if one claimed to be a PRIEST but not qualified by his genealogy,

If you weren’t a LEVITE, you couldn’t be a PRIEST.

But like Melchizedek, who preceded the Levites, Jesus is a PRIEST superior to the Levitical priesthood not on the basis of RULES or ANCESTRY, but on the basis of the POWER of an indestructible life…a life everlasting! 

So, Jesus makes possible what the imperfections of the old priestly order could never deliver.

Jesus introduces “a better HOPE” as described in verse 19.

In the priestly order, only a select few could dare approach YHWH, but Jesus set aside what “was weak and useless” and made a way “by which we draw near to God.”

The old order of SACRIFICES made in the old order of Levitical priests, in which men continually offered payment for SIN through offerings, was set aside.

There were no chairs in the Temple or Tabernacle, for the work was not done.  But Jesus accomplished for us, once and for all, A NEW HOPE by which we draw near to God.

Finally, these last verses in the passage take our mind and spirit back to the prophecy in Psalm 110.  We have to remember, the point here is that Jesus isn’t merely like a king, like a priest, like a Messiah.  

The POINT here is…Jesus IS that Messiah!

He is sealed with an oath from the Creator (“The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind” Psalm 110:4) and not a priest by association or ancestry, but a PRIEST by declaration.

God said to him:  “The Lord has sworn (made an OATH) and will not change His mind:  ‘You are a priest forever'”

(verse 22 b.) – Because of His OATH. Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.  A whole new order, a new way, a new deal, a better covenant…

“SO WHAT?” you might say.

At one level, the “so what,” is simply the benefit of study.  The illustration found in Hebrews regarding Melchizedek gets a little technical, I’ll admit, but it’s powerful!  There’s a real reward that comes with a clearer understanding of God’s Word.

That understanding draws us closer to God and for this confidence that comes from the Word, we can shout, “AMEN”!

There’s of course, this very practical reminder…to keep our focus on Jesus.

‘Mel’ is one of those figures that has been hijacked and made into something that was never intended by many.

If you were googling Melchizedek, you’d soon find yourself way out in the theological weeds.  You can also go to Amazon.com and find all sorts of books that would want to take you down all sorts of weird roads.

But those “roads” take people away from the plain and simple basics of our faith.

We should take away from this study, a reminder that Scripture points us to Jesus.  We don’t need to search for secrets and mysteries about Melchizedek; the intent of this passage of Scripture is clearly to draw our attention and understanding to Jesus:

He is…

  • King of Righteousness
  • King of Peace
  • Priest Forever.

We’re reminded of the continuity of our faith.  That all ancient history points to the hinge of history, Jesus our Savior.

…that all religious practice, all rules, and law, all sacrifice and worship…ALL of it is trumped (if you will), superseded by a Superior Order, Jesus, the promised priest forever!

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CREDITS

The New International Commentary On The New Testament – The Letter To The Hebrews

PHOTO/IMAGES:  Google Image Search – Settings, advanced.

Bible Translations used:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); and other translations used are so noted.

 

 

Is Finding the “Ashes of the Red Heifer” A Big Deal?

Numbers 19:2 (NIV Bible)

“This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded:  Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under the yoke.”

How many of you have ever heard of the ASHES OF THE RED HEIFER”?  Usually, not many have.  I could only find 2 mentions in Scripture – Numbers 19 and Hebrews 9.

In my last Blog-Post in the Book of Numbers, https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2017/09/27/dont-let-your-ashes-put-out-the-fire/, was about disposing of the ashes.  But here in Numbers 19, the ASHES were to be a “Perpetual Statute” to the nation of ISRAEL.

The Purpose Of The Ashes – NUMBERS 19:9

[9]  “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp.  They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin.”

This God-given statute was during the time of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years–approximately 600,000 Israelites (not counting women and children) died of their failure to TRUST God and enter into the Promised Land–Canaan–(about 40 people per day) over the age of 20 years.  During this time, there was the serious ceremonial defilement of Israel who had to bury the dead.

In the Mosaic Law, there are 613 laws that were given at Mt. Sinai; 248 Mandatory Laws and 365 Prohibitionary Laws.  There were 18 Mandatory Laws alone that dealt with “Ritual Purity.”

This brings us to Numbers 19:14-16 – “touching the corpse of a dead person, or even their bones or on the grave”  CAUSED DEFILEMENT.  

This DEFILEMENT lasted 7 days:  Numbers 19:2-9 gives instructions to the Priests and the children of God in the process of PURIFICATION OF SIN which involved the use of the “Ashes of the Red Heifer.”

Jewish History of the Red Heifer (Talmud Histories) –

The Talmud is a Jewish History written by former Rabbis:

  1. Heifer was chosen and sacrificed/burned.
  2. Ashes collected and put into a crock-pot (2-3 gallons).
  3. The priest would take a hyssop, place in fresh, running water, take a pinch of ashes, place on the hyssop, sprinkle the sprig of hyssop upon the “unclean person” seven times, on the 3rd and 7th day.
  4. On the 7th day, the ceremonially unclean person was declared clean.
  5. When the “Ashes” were nearly consumed, another Red Heifer was sacrificed, burned, and its ashes “added to” the ashes of the previous heifer or heifers (perpetual statute).

From Numbers 19 until AD 69, there have been 9 such HEIFERS sacrificed.  [See Footnote [i] ]

IN AD 70, Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem’s Temple and looted the city.  Many of the furnishings of the Temple were removed, including the Ark of the Covenant and…the Ashes of the Red Heifer.

The Archaeology Findings of 1947

A young Arab boy found the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave, including a “copper scroll.”  The scroll gave directions of a cave between Jericho and Saccachar.

Vendel Jones, an American archaeologist, found the cave, and after three digs and the beginning of the fourth dig, uncovered many artifacts.  Then for a second time, the money ran out and the permit to continue was refused.

The Significance of the Findings –

Temple worship cannot be established without the ASHES OF THE RED HEIFER being used to cleanse the priesthood of unrighteousness.

Today, in ISRAEL, a school is already in the process of training men named Cohen, Levy, and Levi from the Tribe of Levi.  The Chief Priest, the holiest man in Judaism, can ritually PURIFY himself, then the students into the PRIESTHOOD as soon as they find the “Ashes of the Red Cow”.  Why is the such a “BIG DEAL” when this happens?

The Church will be gone!  RAPTURED!

TYPOLOGY OF THE RED HEIFER – Old Testament/New Testament Comparisons.

  1.  Numbers 19:2 infers that the HEIFER came from among the people.  Christ came from among the people (John 1:11).
  2.  HEIFER brought as a SACRIFICE for others.  JESUS came as a SACRIFICE for others (John 3:16, 17; ! Timothy 1:15).
  3.  HEIFER was to be without spot or blemish (Numbers 19:2).  JESUS was also!  (1 Peter 1:18, 19).
  4.  HEIFER knew no yoke of bondage– a symbol of sin (vs. 2).  Christ knew no BONDAGE of sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  5.  HEIFER was a “Female” – the price for a female slave was 30 pieces of silver, male slaves were sold for 50 pieces of silver.  Christ was sold (betrayed) for 30 pieces of silver.
  6.  HEIFER was given to the Priest, Eliezer (Numbers 19:3).  JESUS was arrested and taken to Caiaphas, the High Priest.
  7.  HEIFER was taken outside the camp for SACRIFICE.  JESUS was also taken to Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, then back to Pilate, then outside the camp (gates) of Jerusalem to Calvary.
  8.  HEIFER was slain BEFORE the Priest, but not by the Priest (Num. 19:4).  Christ was SLAIN before the Priest at the Cross.
  9.  HEIFER’S neck was “double jointed”.  One swift blow could kill.  JESUS too died in only 6 hours – He died at will swiftly.

While researching and looking up Scripture references this past week, Holy Spirit gave me a revelation from The Death, Crucifixion, and Burial of Jesus Christ.  And in that revelation, 2 men entered the conversation–

THE NICODEMUS & JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA DILEMMA – John 19:38-42

These two men came from two theological directions, totally opposed to each other.

JOSEPH had believed in salvation by good politics where Nicodemus had taught obedience from 613 rules which the Pharisee’s thoughts summed up the Old Testament Law of Moses.  But coming from two opposite directions, both came to believe JESUS was the MESSIAH!

So when they heard Jesus was going to be CRUCIFIED…they knew something would have to be done for decent disposal of His body.  If nothing was done, the Roman soldiers would leave the corpse to rot on the Cross.  And time was short because the PASSOVER celebrations would begin at sundown.

So the two men who were opposed to each other in doctrine together carried the body into a garden tomb laying the body not just in any tomb, but in Joseph of Arimathea’s recently carved out family tomb.  Previously, Joseph went boldly into the palace of Pilate the Roman Governor, asking permission to remove Jesus’ body from the Cross.

With Numbers 19 in mind, I believe Joseph of Arimathea must have sent his family a message that he would be defiled by touching a dead body and that the Passover Seder celebration would have to be delayed a month (according to my study on the rule given (Numbers 9:6-11).

Since of the importance, the Gospels give to these two men, an assumption can be made that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea must have joined the Christian community.  As the Holy Spirit began teaching them they soon discovered that Jesus’ Resurrection made nonsense of the Sadducee explanation that death of the body was the end.  JESUS’ SACRIFICE on the Cross replaced the cleansing of the Ashes of the Red Heifer once and for all!  Therefore, the significance of being cleansed by the “Ashes of the Red Heifer” was doctrinally important in the Jewish Law of Moses, but Jesus Himself had said, “I’ve come to fulfill the Law” (Matthew 5:17)

HIS BLOOD SACRIFICE FULFILLED THE LAW!

The Ashes of the Red Heifer – Numbers 19

In the Old Testament, the Priest sprinkled the “Blood of the Heifer” before the entrance of the presence of God (Numbers 19:4).

If you’re reading this POST and you’re not sure of your SALVATION…KNOW THIS:  If you would come to Christ, it will only be by the BLOOD of the Son of God, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:22).

CONNECTING THE SACRIFICE OF THE HEIFER WITH CHRIST (Numbers 19:7, 8-9).

In these verses, we find that a person was “Unclean until made clean”.  So like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, how can we, who are born in sinful uncleanness (Romans 3:23), become CLEAN or RIGHTEOUS before God?

The ANSWER is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21.

 

And what happened to those who refused Cleansing?

Numbers 19:20 (AMP)

[20] But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord…

Those who refused CLEANSING were “cut off” – separated from God.

What about YOU?  Have YOU ever come for a “cleansing”, not from the “Ashes of the Red Heifer”, but from the BLOOD of the Lamb, Jesus Christ that He shed at Calvary?

Why not come today and be cleansed while there is still time in the last days.

 

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CREDITS & FOOTNOTES –

Footnote [i] :  Encyclopedia-Judacia: Red Heifer – Jewish Virtual Library.

Commentary:  Robert Brow – John 19:38-42, JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA AND NICODEMUS.  

Photos:  Google Image Search, Advanced Settings.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP); New International Version (NIV)

The Needed Keys In Understanding the REVELATION TO JOHN – Part One

 

WHY DOES THE BOOK OF REVELATION NOT BEING PREACHED TODAY?

8454499314_7168031652That’s a good question.  I’ve heard various replies over the years: “It’s to difficult to understand” or “It’s scary to hear about beasts–a dragon, lake of fire, hell, etc.”  

My purpose in this study, is to address the issues and difficult questions that always arise when we read the book on the surface.

THE REVELATION in the bible is NOT a ‘light read’ of biblical metaphors. Like All Scripture, the words describe an unveiling of the truth–past, present, future.  It is NOT like a “crystal ball”; no fantasy made up by man.

First, A Disclaimer–

As I began this investigation study in the last Book of the New Testament, and… for as many times I’ve read and studied the words in the past, I still come with some anxiety.  But since I was prompted going forth by the Holy Spirit– ( I don’t debate with the Holy Spirit), I found myself underlining words and phrases in Chapter One; making notes in the verses, following up with other biblical passages to give me (“you”) a spiritual glimpse–the “needed keys” available into the mysteries often overlooked.

My intentions throughout the course of this study is not to debate this study.  Nor do I intend to blog about every chapter in the Book.  I will be posting only what the Spirit directs me to write and proclaim.  So grab your Bible, ink pen, highlighter, and let’s get started!

THE THEME–

The theme is not the seven churches, not the seven bowls, the seven trumpets, the Beast, the Antichrist or the symbolism.  The THEME is Jesus Christ Victorious!!!

REVELATION CHAPTER ONE – AN INTRODUCTION:

Key Verse 1:19 (N.I.V. Bible Translation will be used in this study unless so noted.):

“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”

REVELATION is broken into 3 major parts according to Revelation 1:19 –

1.  What John has seen.

2.  What John is presently seen.

3.  What is coming.

In other words, write down the past, present and future events:  “Write therefore, what you have seen (The Past)” – the Lord Jesus as the Glorified One.

**NOTE:  “Revelation” not Revelations” (plural).  It is the “Revelation” of JESUS, not of John.  If your Bible says The Revelation of St. John the divine…IT’S WRONG.

A.  The PREFACE, the PROLOGUE, the Warm-up begins – Revelation 1:1-3:

“THE REVELATION of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John,   (2) who testifies to everything he saw–that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.  (3) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

IMPORTANT WORD “KEYS” for the study in UNLOCKING the doors–

I want to show you an invaluable KEY when reading and understanding in any biblical study.  I underline with pen on the bible pages, certain words that stick out to me.  Then, with the leading of God’s Spirit, I use resources I have at hand (Expository Dictionary, Vine’s Complete Dictionary, etc.–or even Google).

The following KEYS (steps) is one idea on how to approach each chapter.  If you have your own methods, you might incorporate some of these:

1.  “REVELATION”=apokalypto (Greek); where we get the English word “Apocalypse”: (unveiling, disclosure) of Christ Jesus.

2.  SERVANTS=  All believers.

3.  SOON TO TAKE PLACE=

Vs. 1:3 “…because the time is near.”

Vs. 22:6-7 “…must soon take place.”

Vs. 22:10 “…the time is near” or “…at hand”  

Vs. 22:20 “…I (Jesus) am coming soon.”

4.  ANGEL= Messenger of God (anyone, human or heavenly, who proclaims God’s message).

5.  JOHN= identifies himself as John

Vs. 1:1  “…to His servant John”

Vs. 1:4  “John”

Vs. 1:9  “I, John”

Vs. 22:8  “I, John”

6.  BLESSED= the first of the seven beatitudes in the book; Greek word “Makarios” = “HAPPY, HAPPY” are those who will enjoy eternal life in glory (See footnote [i]).  

“BLESSED”= a favorable circumstance God puts on a person– Psalm 1:1; Matthew 5:3.

Vs. 14:13  “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on”

Vs, 16:15  Jesus speaking, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

Vs. 19:9  “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”

Vs. 20:6  “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection…”

Vs. 22:7  “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

Vs. 22:14  “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”

7.  PROPHECY= means foretelling the future as well as proclaiming any word from God.

B.  The GREETINGS & DOXOLOGY (Hymn or Verse or Praise to God) – Revelation 1:4-8:

–More KEYS on the Key Chain…

8.  SEVEN SPIRITS= The Holy Spirit in each church?

The SEVEN CHURCHES listed are located 50 miles apart forming a circle in Asia Minor, moving in a clockwise direction.

the-seven-churches-of-revelation

Using Bible Maps can give you an additional perspective in understanding.

9.  A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS= this Old Testament designation of Israel is applied to the New Testament Church:

1 Peter 2:5:  “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…”

1 Peter 2:9:  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…”

10.  PIERCED= ekkenteo, Greek found in John 19:37; Revelation 1:7 and refers to each text to “piercing” Christ on the cross.  “Karah”, Hebrew word used in the OT is a symbolic anticipation of the future suffering of Christ:  

Psalm 22:16:  “For [like a pack of wild] dogs they have encompassed me, a company of evildoers has encircled me; they pierced my hands and my feet”  (Amplified Bible).

Isaiah 53:5:  “But he was pierced for our transgressions…”

John 19:34:  “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear…”

So shall it be! AMEN= A double affirmation.

11.  ALPHA & OMEGA= first and last letter of the Greek alphabet. 

GOD is saying He is beginning and the end; He is and was and will be.

C.  VERSES 1:9-20 – “Jesus among the Seven Churches”:

12.  SUFFERING, KINGDOM & PATIENCE= the three pivotal themes in REVELATION.

13.  PATMOS= a small island off the coast of modern Turkey.

JOHN was imprisoned here until his release in 96-98 AD.  [*Note: Suggestion: look up “Patmos” on a map for reference].

14.  THE LORD’S DAY= technical term for the first day of the week; so named because JESUS rose from the dead on that day.

Also, the day Christians met together, took a collections, and why we attend church on Sundays today (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

15.  IN THE SPIRIT= In a state of Spiritual Exaltation–not a dream, but a vision like Peter’s– [Acts 10:10].

16.  SCROLL= pieces of parchment or papyrus sewn together and rolled on a spindle.

The book was not invented until about 2 AD.

17.  SEVEN= Hebrew number of perfection or completion.

18.  SEVEN GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS=the SEVEN churches (Vs. 1:20).

19.  SON OF MAN=Jesus Christ.

Daniel 7:13, 14:  “In my vision at night I looked, and there before was one like a Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Mark 8:31:  He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again.

20.  ROBE TO HIS FEET= traditionally, the high priest wore a full length robe to his feet.

Bible References:  Exodus 28:4; 29:5.

Reference to Christ as the high priest supported the fact that He is wearing a golden sash around His chest. 

21.  WHITE LIKE WOOL= suggest wisdom and dignity.

Daniel 7:9:  “I kept looking until thrones were placed [for the assessors with the Judge], and the Ancient of Days [God, the eternal Father] took His seat,  Whose garment was as white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool.  His throne was like the fiery flame; its wheels were burning fire”  (Amplified Bible).

Isaiah 1:18:  “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow…”

22.  EYES LIKE BLAZING  FIRE=penetrating insight.

23.  SHARP DOUBLE EDGED SWORD= the sword is the Word of God which is used for our protection, but also our divine judgement.

Hebrews 4:12:  For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of the joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.  (Amplified Bible)

24.  FELL AT HIS FEET= great respect and true awe!

25.  LIVING ONE= Based on Old Testament references to the Living God; in contrast to the dead gods of paganism–Christ Jesus possesses life in His essential nature.

26.  KEYS OF DEATH AND HADES (Sheol, or the place of the dead)= Christ has absolute control over their domain.

27.  ANGELS=heavenly messengers, earthly messengers/ministers, personifications of the prevailing spirit of each church.

~THE BOOK OF REVELATION~

This book is primarily a book of prophecy; it seems to begin as an epistle or a letter.  It addresses SEVEN different churches with SEVEN different problems or challenges.

It foretells things that are to come.  But I want to mention again: It IS a REVELATION about Jesus Christ; REVELATION depicts JESUS AS:

“The faithful witness”,

“The firstborn from the dead”,

“The ruler over kings of the world”,

“The Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the End”,

“The One who is and was and is to come, the almighty”,

“The beginning of all Creation”,

“The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”,

“The Lamb on the throne”,

“The Messiah who will reign forever”,

“The King of kings and Lord of lords”,

“The bright morning star”.

Lessons To Be Learn In This Upcoming Study:

*  The church is warned on sin lifted to holiness;

*  We will see vivid pictures of worship, the ministry of angels;

*  Eschatology= Doctrine of last days.

*  The final political setup of the world;

*  The career and ultimate defeat of the Antichrist;

*  Christ Jesus 1000 year reign; and…

*  The final state of the wicked and the righteous–the unsaved and the saved.

As we go through The Book of Revelation in the weeks to come, I will try to point out ties between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

EXAMPLES:

In Genesis the earth was created; in Revelation it will pass away.

In Genesis was Satan’s first rebellion; in Revelation Satan’s last rebellion.

In Genesis the sun, moon and stars were meant for the earth’s government; in Revelation these same heavenly bodies are for the earth’s judgement.

In Genesis the sun was to govern the day; in Revelation there is no night.

In Genesis the entrance to SIN; in Revelation the exodus of SIN.

In Genesis the curse was pronounced; in Revelation the curse is removed.

In Genesis death entered; in Revelation there is no more death!

In Genesis Satan’s doom being pronounced; in Revelation Satan’s doom is executed.

Feel free to point out in this series notes you made, discoveries you found in the comment section of this blog-site.  It will be helpful to all who follow along.

PART 2 to follow in Revelation 3. So start reading in your own bible (ink pen) and I’ll see you there!

 

Layout 1

 

 


Sources for this Study:

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF WORDS – Stephen D. Renn.

NIV Complete Concordance.

Photos and Maps:

Google Images

Photo Pin

Wikipedia Maps -The Seven Churches in Revelation

Bible References:

New International Version (NIV)

Amplified Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the New Year, Ring Those Bells and Don’t Forget the Pomegranates!

EXODUS 28:33-35 AMPLIFIED BIBLE:

[33] And you shall make pomegranates of blue, and scarlet [stuff] around about its skirts, with gold bells between them;  [34] A gold bell and a pomegranate, a gold bell and a pomegranate, round about on the skirts of the robe.  [35] Aaron shall wear the robe when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes [alone] into the Holy of Holies before the Lord and when he comes out, lest he die.”

I just finished my study and investigation of God’s Word in the Book of EXODUS.  There is so much symbolism, pictures connecting the OT with the NT.  The three verses referenced above in Exodus 28:33-35 and Exodus 39:24-26 are no exception.  Can we take the PRIEST’S ROBE description and find some “hidden wisdom” to apply to our own spiritual life?

“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all of the words…”  (Deuteronomy 29:29 AMP).

THE PRIESTLY GARMENT:

Pomegranates & Bells
Pomegranates & Bells

Everything about the high priest and his garment described in the referenced verses is a picture of our eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ and every item of the garment holds a TRUTH.

Now you might be thinking at this point, “What does the details of the priestly garment in Exodus have to do with my role in the New Covenant?”  Scripture is quite clear in the answer:

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…” (1 Peter 2:5)

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Our Representative in Heaven and HIGH PRIEST:

TODAY, Jesus entered the true Holy of Holies in heaven, representing us before God, as the Perfect Man, the eternal High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:5, 10; 6:20).  His work on the Cross is so perfect–this High Priest did no sin, knew no sin that He is perfectly qualified to represent ALL the believers of the world.

Because of the perfection and the eternal nature of this High Priest of ours, we are eternally SAVED and BLESSED.

Today, we don’t see JESUS in the natural but He is representing us as the PERFECT HIGH PRIEST in heaven.

RING THOSE GOLDEN BELLS!

There’s a quotation from Judaic writings (the “Talmud”) that fits in nicely with the golden bells on the hem of the High Priest’s garment:

“The BELLS said to the fruit-bearing tree, 

‘Why do you not make any noise?’  They replied

‘Our fruits are sufficient advertisement for us’.”

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)–

The high priest garments
The high priest garments

On the Day of Atonement, once per year, the high priest would undress himself of the glorious garments in the Holy Place to make a SACRIFICE.  He wore only the “holy” coat of fine-twined linen with the hat/skull-cap (the mitre).

The high priest dress was ALL WHITE  entering the Holy of Holies, the presence of God; whereas, the Tent of Meeting, he wore blue, purple, scarlet, and gold.  But this is only a visible difference…because “WHITE” is the sum of the other colors.

The ‘Tinkling’ Bells…

All year-long, until this day, the BELLS on the high priest’s robe of blue would ring clearly and the children of Israel know that he was ministering before the LORD MOST HIGH for them.

When the priest put on the garments once again for glory and beauty after the ritual was completed (Leviticus 16:23), the BELL would ring out to God’s people who the SACRIFICE made earlier had been accepted by GOD on their behalf and that their high priest was still alive.

DISCLAIMING THE FABLE…

According to the fable spread throughout Christianity today,

“…so awful was the presence of Holiness in the Holiest Place and so fearful were the Jews, that the priest who entered into the Holiest might not be approved of by God from a committed sin, that there was a long rope tied to his ankle which extended into the outer Court as he would walk into the Holy Room beyond the Veil.  After a certain amount of time, if they failed to hear the BELLS on the hem of his garment ringing and he failed to reappear, he was assumed dead and was pulled from the Room by this rope, since no one dare enter the “…Holiest Place to secure the dead body of the priest”  [*See Footnote [i]].

Aren’t you glad that when you enter your church on Sunday morning, or you kneel next to your bed at night to worship and praise God, someone doesn’t attached a rope to your ankle just in case your SACRIFICE of Worship isn’t worthy?

God’s Word Is Always Specific in Detail–

If a rope was to be tied on the ankle, God’s Word would state which ankle, how much time to wait, and how long the rope would be and what it would be made of.  Furthermore, the Glory Garments were not worn in the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood on this one-time-a-year ritual.

Our Great High Priest in Heaven…

Remember everything about the high priest and his garment is A PICTURE!  So what do the GOLDEN BELLS mean to believers today?

 

GOLDEN BELLS
GOLDEN BELLS

GOD speaks of divine RIGHTEOUSNESS–

It’s the BEAUTIFUL gift of righteousness by FAITH given to every believer.  THE BELLS make a chime that always conveys a message.

JESUS said in the gospel of John that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin and the BELIEVERS of righteousness because Jesus goes to be with the Father.

What was Jesus talking about?

The GOLDEN BELLS–

The Holy spirit is pictured by the Wind, “Ruach” in Hebrew.  When the BELLS ring out from the Holy place, a message is conveyed– every believer is righteous because JESUS’ perfect work on the Cross.

Today, the Holy spirit convicts the believer, not of sin, but of righteousness, even when we sin, because JESUS is still alive representing us perfectly before the Father in the Holy of Holies in Heaven.

Also, the “gold bells” is a picture of our mouth and tongue inside.  In fact, in my detective work, I found the hanging part within the BELL is called the tongue!  That certainly gave me a vivid picture.

The Gospel Ringing Out!

I believe the “golden bells” are an emblem of the Gospel, as preached by Christ Himself, His apostles and ministers; your pastor and yes, even you and I as we should be demonstrating the Gospel Message in word and deed to those around us!

The “Sound” of the Gospel Needs to be Heard…unless of course, the church is DEAD!

This “sound” is not a musical sound.  The “SOUND” I’m referring to is a sound that “describes”: THE SOUND OF LOVE, GRACE, MERCY, PEACE, PARDON, RIGHTEOUSNESS, LIFE, and SALVATION; music to one’s ears when heard.

AND JUST IN CASE…DON’T FORGET THE POMEGRANATES!

“The POMEGRANATES” on Aaron might be an emblem of his priesthood, the ceremonial Law.  pomegranatefruit

They were also shadows and types of, and of Jesus Himself, of VIRTUE, ODOUR, FRAGRANCY…

—  His SUFFERINGS, SACRIFICE, INTERCESSION, also of the CHURCH…called an “orchard of pomegranates”  (Song of Solomon 4:13; John 15:5; Ephesians 5:9).

The ORCHARD OF POMEGRANATES consisting of various members, as the pomegranates of various seeds, or grains that should perpetuate the fruit’s effectiveness to all–growth, spiritual fruit, harvest, etc..

JESUS speaks to all us when he says “…every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit” [“pomegranates”] (Matthew 7:17).

The JUICE of the FRUIT which the blood of Christ may resemble and their hanging on the hem of the garment may signify the ACCEPTABLENESS of them through the righteousness of Christ Jesus and the GOSPEL MESSAGE produces; and particularly the BELLS and POMEGRANATES signify together the SOUND DOCTRINE (Titus 1:9)–a savoury life and conversation to those around us–believers and unbelievers.

CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS ARE GOD’S PRIESTS ON EARTH:

“You are a CHOSEN race, a royal priesthood…”  (1 Peter 2:9).

We are dedicated as PRIESTS to be ministers of God’s Word.

Are your garments in order?  Are the “golden bells” ringing out in your community, your church, your family?

Are the “pomegranates”, the fruit of your faithfulness, your righteousness demonstrating who you belong to in this world?

If your answers to the questions are “NO” or “SOMETIMES”….the people that live near your church may just think you’re DEAD!

And just maybe, for a visual effect for emphasis, there could be a tub full of ROPES at the sanctuary entrance this next Sunday– to slip around some ankles, just in case of an emergency.

The New Year Is Coming–

So in this upcoming New Year, the ringing of your golden bells should be heard; the Word Seed of the pomegranates should be spoken: separated and planted.  And perhaps, as people drive by, maybe even stop in the parking lot, they might hear the gold bells ringing and see the orchard of pomegranate trees planted all about the grounds!

2120393608_71541f1768
And All Year Long!

 


Footnotes & Credits:

Robe of High Priest Image: http://www.mishkamministries.org

Photos:   Photo Pin

Footnote [i] – http://www.delrifkah Feb. 12th, 2011.www.

Commentaries:  Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Exodus 28:34 Commentary.

 Bible Translation: Amplified Bible.

Don’t Get Stuck In A “WRINGER”!

Zechariah 3:1-7  (MSG):

(1-2)  Next, the Messenger-Angel showed me the high priest, Joshua.  He was standing before God’s Angel where the Accuser showed up to accuse him.  Then GOD said to the Accuser, “I, GOD rebuke you, Accuser!  I rebuke you and choose Jerusalem. Surprise!  Everything is going up in flames, but I reach in and pull out Jerusalem!”

(3-4)  Joshua, standing before the Angel, was dressed in dirty clothes.  The Angel spoke to his attendants, “Get him out of those filthy clothes,” and then said to Joshua, “Look, I’ve stripped you of your sin and dressed you up in clean clothes.”  I spoke up and said, “How about a clean new turban for his head also?”  And they did it–put a clean new turban on his head. Then they finished dressing him, with GOD’s Angel looking on.

(6-7)  GOD’s Angel then charged Joshua, “Orders from GOD-OF-THE-ANGEL-ARMIES:  ‘If you live the way I tell you and remain obedient in my service, then you’ll make the decisions around here and oversee my affairs.  And all my attendants standing here will be at your service.’

The "Little Old Wringer" Washing Maching
The “Little Old Wringer” Washing Machine

 

I still remember a little old wringer type washing machine my mother would used every Monday when I was a child.  MONDAY, was WASH DAY. Period!

It was an all-day ritual; washing clothes, wringing them as dry as possible, and hanging the wash outside on a clothesline.

I know most of you would wonder how anyone could remember that far back.  Wasn’t that before the days of radio?  No, it wasn’t that far back but it was before the days of 4- track and 8- track players, cassettes, color TV (most couldn’t afford a black & white TV), and the internet.

It was the early to mid-1950’s, when I remember mom pulling that old wringer washer out from the closet beneath the stairway, then pushing it on its wheels into the tiny apartment kitchen.  What a job wash-day must have been.

I was too young to do much work but, I’m certain that I was a drain on her energy level as she had to watch me too.

There’s one image that still remains about that old washing machine.  The image of those flat pressed clothes as they came out of the wringer and into the clothes basket before hanging them outside to dry.

And on one of those days, in my enthusiasm to help mom on wash-day, I decided I could and would…feed the clean, wet sheets through the wringer.  My thoughts must have been”,  I wonder if those sheets are in any pain?”  

And at that moment of “wondering”, being somewhat distracted, I inadvertently let my fingers and hand follow the sheets through the wringer. The clothes weren’t the only thing in pain.  By the time my mom could release the rollers, she found me up to my elbow, with my little toes barely touching the floor–frozen in time as tears flowed down my cheeks.

To this day, I still think of that old wringer washer and how much of our lives are spent going through a wringer, and I can definitely say…it does hurt when you’re going through it.

The problem is, if you didn’t put those DIRTY CLOTHES through the process, of washing and wringing them out at regular intervals, then the clothes would become useless, or, if you did wear them anyway, no one would want to be around you very much.

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOK OF THE PROPHET, ZECHARIAH 3:1-3:

Who Was JOSHUA?

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.  The Lord said to Satan,  “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!  The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!  Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”  Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.  (NIV translation)

The GARMENTS of the High Priest
The GARMENTS of the High Priest

At the end of the Babylonian Captivity, Nehemiah and a number of Jews were released and sent back to REBUILD Jerusalem and the Temple.

At the end of the work, one of the HIGH PRIESTS who ministered in that rebuilt temple was JOSHUA.

This man, Joshua, was typical of the priesthood and its condition in Israel at the time.  He had little or no rule over his own house.

His sons had married outside the faith, polluting the nation with idolatry.  And, because of Joshua’s SIN, the sin of his family, Zechariah was given a VISION that spoke of Joshua’s life.

The Similarities…

But in a greater sense, that VISION spoke of the condition of all of us.  JOSHUA may have worn the outward robes that signified righteousness and holiness, the ephod of the High Priest, the golden mitre on his head with the words, “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD” on a gold band around it, and the robe he wore under the outer garment made of pure, white linen.  But Joshua’s life was far from the holiness he tried to display to those around him.

God Knew Joshua’s Heart…and so did Satan

We see in Zechariah’s vision, Joshua, Israel’s High Priest standing before the courts of Heaven; standing before the Angel of the Lord, which is no angel at all, but is one of the Old Testaments names given to Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel of God’s very presence.

Here then is an unholy priest standing before a Holy God in pure guilt and shame from the SIN in his life.

His self-righteousness was shown for what it was now–“FILTH!”:

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.  No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.  Yet, O Lord, you are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand”  (Isaiah 64:6-8 NIV).

It wasn’t bad enough Joshua stood there in sin and shame facing almighty God, but he had some company.  Right beside Joshua, on his right hand, was the one that Revelation 12:10 calls “the accuser of the brethren”, Satan.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the devil pointing out my sins to God.  I do a good enough job on my own to condemn myself.

Nevertheless, there he was, Satan, standing there with his outstretched pointing finger, accusing Joshua right in his face–every failure, every sin, every doubt, every fear, and every disobedience before the Bar.  He was there for one purpose only.

Satan’s One Purpose…stealing this soul from God’s hand…

Destroying any chance of Joshua’s survival of High Priest in the land, but of Israel’s right to be a nation.  Satan’s PURPOSE was to steal, kill, and destroy Joshua and Israel once and for all (John 10:10-a).

The Evidence…

Satan had eye-witness accounts, even though he didn’t need any, because God already knew how sinful that Joshua was.

As Joshua stood there that day, his filthy garments and the SIN that was on him was evident.  The evidence was so outstanding in court against Joshua, Satan must have believed he had this case in the bag.  CONVICTED!!!  That’s how we are in our own righteousness too.

Right now, before the court in Heaven, the “accuser of the brethren” is standing there pointing his finger of accusation, making known every sin that you and I commit.  He has proof from the way we are dressed–in filthy clothing of the flesh that stinks to ‘high heaven’ with B.O. (‘bad odor’) of sin.

Satan is still attempting to snatch us from the very presence of God.  What a terrible thought it is, to be that close to God’s holiness, yet never know Heaven’s glories.

That’s what it will be like for those who will face God on judgement day without JESUS in their heart.  So close, and yet so far away.

Are you wrestling with sin in your life?

Do you wrestle with the “accusing finger” of the devil, who says to you…”You don’t PRAY ENOUGH, STUDY ENOUGH, AREN’T COMMITTED ENOUGH…and there is no way you will ever be “GOOD ENOUGH” or “HOLY ENOUGH” or “RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH”; at least not in your own power.

The apostle Paul said in Romans 3:10,  “There is no one righteous, not even one;”

So, is there any chance we can be holy and righteous…any way that our filthy garments of sin can be taken away and new clothes place upon us making us more presentable to our Holy God?

Yes, there certainly is, but not by might or power of our own hand.  Too many people keep trying to make themselves more presentable–righteous and holy–and all it does is backfire, proving themselves more sinful and unholy; back through the “wringer” and squeezed once more.

Most of the time we are sorry for being “filthy” but refuse to allow the cleansing POWER OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS to wash away the stain of sin. Instead, we try to find ways to soothe the guilt and pain:

—  We may continue in our sin but we will at the same time, try to spend more time in prayer.

—  We get down on the scrub board, turn on the agitator, bounce around for a while, hoping that somehow what we do… will play a part in our depth of sin.

We can cover the outside with good works (“whitewashing” – Matt. 23:27; Acts 23:3) all we want, but if JESUS isn’t in your heart…the center of your life, then you are still clothed in “filthy rags” of self-righteousness and that’s how you will stand before God.

A WHITER, FLUFFIER LOOK!
“A WHITER, FLUFFIER LOOK!”

Every time we try these the little ‘gimmicks’ ,trying to cover over the iniquities, we’re actually throwing ourselves in the washing machine ( “soft water makes a whiter, fluffier wash”), agitate the contents for a while and go through the WRINGER one more time…and find ourselves  come out, still as filthy, or find ourselves up to our elbows, caught once more in the wringer with our toes barely touching the ground.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t like going through my mother’s WRINGER when I was young, nor going through GOD’S WRINGER now.

HOLINESS:

In the Hebrew, the word is gadash, and in the Greek, the word is hagios (Footnote [i]).  Their similarity in meaning is almost identical:  “Those persons and things that are “holy” in the sense of being SET APART for divine redemptive purposes.”

We should be tired of trying to be holy enough or righteous enough.  I want to have TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS!  I want to live in TRUE HOLINESS!

BUT HOW?

Looking back in Zechariah 3:2-5, Joshua represented you and I.

I love the way God answers Satan.  It’s as though God says to the devil,  SHUT UP! I AM GOD!  I am the One who has chosen this one, who stands before Me!  [Put your name in the place of the word “JERUSALEM”.  The meaning is still the same].

God saved us! God chose us!

God did the choosing and He won’t let go; no man can pluck us out of His hand!  Yes, Joshua had on filthy clothing!

— You and I have no righteousness with ourselves.

— We have no holiness within us.

— We have no power to deliver our soul from sin…

BUT JESUS DOES!

God speaks out to the angels who had gathered around…

Listening and watching for His commands-GET HIM OUT OF THOSE FILTHY CLOTHES!  GIVE HIM A NEW GARMENT AND A CHANGE OF HEART!  CLOTHE HIM IN RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Joshua didn’t deserve to be clothed in righteousness but neither are we.  None of us will ever be WORTHY enough.

It has nothing to do with WORTHINESS but everything to do with FOLLOWING JESUS, allowing Him to give us His righteousness by His own choice.

GOD took away Joshua’s SIN, then gave him robes of righteousness–placed a pure mitre of white linen upon his head with the words, “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD,” written across them.

JESUS stood by us when the work was finished because, when He purchased our salvation on the cross, His work was completed.  In other words, GOD takes away our sin, washes them away in the Blood of the Lamb, while clothing us in RIGHTEOUSNESS for His own name’s sake and changing our way of life and thinking while writing His Holiness upon our lives.

Zechariah 3:6-7, then says,

God’s Angel then charged Joshua,  “Orders from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:  ‘If you live the way I tell you and remain obedient in My service then you’ll make the decisions around here and oversee My affairs.  And all My attendants standing here will be at your service.

I love all the “IF s” and the “AND s” in Scripture.  “IF” we will walk in the ways of the LORD, keep His commandments, obey His Word, judge righteous judgements, not judge one another, and keep close to JESUS…then God promises we would walk among those who stood by.

WHO ARE THOSE WHO STOOD BY?

The Holy angels of Glory!  We will be there, right along side of Michael and Gabriel, the archangels.  We will walk and talk with JESUS, living eternally in the presence of our Father God without filthy garments but clothed in the pure righteousness and holiness.

HOW DO WE RECEIVE THESE CLEAN, PURE WHITE LINEN CLOTHING – THE ROBES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS?

HOW DO WE GET RID OF THAT OLD, GREASY, FILTHY BASEBALL CAP WE’VE BEEN WEARING DAILY AND REPLACE IT WITH A NEW TURBAN WITH THE WORDS “HOLY UNTO THE LORD”?

HOW ARE OUR SINS ALL BE WASHED AWAY?

By ACCEPTING and CONFESSING that Jesus as your Lord and Savior–SACRIFICED for your sins.  By BELIEVING in His death, burial and resurrection.  By BELIEVING that He is ALIVE FOREVER, and by ALLOWING HIM to RULE and REIGN in your life.

So the question becomes, are we willing to allow Jesus to enter our lives and give Him the control, or are we ready to go through the WRINGER one more time?

The choice is yours!  What will it be? 

 

Footnotes and Credits:

[i]  Definition of Holy or Holiness is from EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF BIBLE WORDS by Stephen D. Renn.

High Priest Photo by http://www.robertmock@biblesearchers.com

Other Photos by Photo Pin.

Referenced Bible Translations:

The Message Bible; The NIV Bible; Amplified Bible. 

 

 

Which Side of the Holy Remnant Are You On? (PART 1)

“The place where you worship makes a difference.  It matters

who touches you; it matters

who teaches you; it matters who ministers to you”

(quote from C.R. Oliver’s book; The Sons of Zadok)

THE “HOLY REMNANT PRIESTHOOD”

“[Come] and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into] a spiritual house, for a holy (dedicated, consecrated) priesthood, to offer up [those] spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ”   (1 Peter 2:5–Amplified Bible).

Whether we want to admit it, recognize it or not; God’s Word tells us that we are “a holy priesthood”, PRIESTS in God’s kingdom.

“And formed us into a kingdom (a royal race), PRIESTS to His God and Father”  (Revelation 1:6).

A CURSE FOUND UPON ONE PRIESTHOOD

It all started back in the Old Testament with The First Book Of Samuel; a raising up in the  prophetic, “an enduring” holy remnant priesthood. 

Eli the priest represents a “cursed priesthood”; self-centered servants of God.  Although they were called “priests”, they lightly esteemed the work of God:

–They didn’t like the ministry of correction.

–Their spiritual children became wicked because of their “lazy” life-styles.

–Their refusal to cry out against sin.

–They made themselves “fat”  (1 Samuel 2:29).

Eli saw iniquity in his sons who had brought down a curse on to themselves:

“And I [now] announce to him [Eli] that I will judge and punish his house forever for the iniquity of which he knew, for his sons were bringing a curse upon themselves, and he did not restrain them”  (1 Samuel 3:13).

WHAT WAS THE EVERLASTING JUDGEMENT ON THE ELI PRIESTHOOD?

FIRST, a weak priesthood  (1 Samuel 2:31).

SECONDLY, the continuance of falling short to God’s fullness, even during a spiritual outpouring; “DOOMED” to come short of God’s glory:

And you shall behold the distress of My house, even in all the prosperity which God will give…and there shall not be an old man in your house forever”  (verse 32).

THIRDLY, all in this kind of priesthood will fall in the prime of life; “spiritual life” and “blessing; because of a flawed walk with God.

FOURTHLY, this weak, flawed and self-centered priesthood continues on and is still with us today!  Will we be tolerant of the priesthood?

“Yet I will not cut off from My altar every man of yours; some shall survive to weep and mourn, but all the increase of your house shall die in their best years [1 Sam. 22:17-20]”  and (verse 33).

THE “UNKNOWN PROPHET”

A prophet, which went un-named in Scripture, came to the priest Eli and prophesied.  He says that there is going to be a “new kind” of priesthood that God would raise up:

“And I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in My heart and mind.  And I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed (Anointed) forever”  (1 Samuel 2:35).

That is an amazing prophecy; the first prophecy of a “holy remnant priesthood“:

–Enduring until the end.

–Enduring till Christ returns.

–It’s a “remnant” which God says, “I will build”.

A DUAL PRIESTHOOD REVEALED

Now during king David’s reign, there was a dual priesthood; Zadok and Abiathar which fulfilled the prophecy to the letter (2 Samuel 15:35).

Zadok in Hebrew is ‘tsadog’, meaning “one proved righteous”.  Abiathar is ‘ebyathar’, meaning “at peace with the Lord who is God”.  These two priests represents two priesthoods mentioned by the unknown prophet; one of the spirit of Eli and the other a ministry unto the Lord.

Let’s look at ZADOK first by turning to and reading 1 Chronicles 12:1, 22, 28.  We learn that Zadok and his household, his family reject Saul.  They gave their hearts and allegiance to David.  They never looked back, they all proved to be righteous and proved to be faithful!  Zadok was there when David needed him and he remained faithful ‘through it all’! [See”Through It All”; PART 1 & 2 The Word Detective blog of 2011-10/7; 10/8]

All the country wept with a loud voice as all the people passed over. The king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people went on toward the wilderness.    Abiathar [the priest] and behold, Zadok came also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of god until all the people had gone from the city.    Then the king told Zadok, Take back the ark of God to the city.  If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, He will bring me back and let me see both it and His house”  (2 Samuel 15:23-25).

“The king also said to Zadok the priest, Are you not a seer?  Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son and Jonathan son of Abiathar”  (2 Samuel 15:27).

Read again the words, “Are you not a seer?”   This meant, Zadok, you have the gift of discernment!  You know what is evil and what is holy.  You are strong enough, faithful and committed enough to Me to go into that realm of rebellion and idolatry.  Save the kingdom!  The king said to Zadok to “return to the city”.  God now had a holy priest to guard the house of God from ruin!

A whole nation was in rebellion but in God’s house, there was a remnant; the holy remnant, the faithful priesthood today!  The servants of the Lord’s heart are blameless and faithful–these are the offspring of Zadok!  The spiritual sons and daughters of Zadok!

EZEKIEL HAD A VISION OF A “SPIRITUAL TEMPLE”

“You shall give to the priests, the Levites who are of the offspring of Zadok, who are near to Me to minister to Me”  (Ezekiel 43:19).

Ezekiel saw in the vision; a “remnant priesthood” offering sacrifices to the Lord.  The ones who are “near to the Lord“, who minister to Him.  The ministry to the Lord was the mark of the Zadok remnant.

LOOKING AT ABIATHAR; WHO WAS HE?

“Not all Levites were Zadokites, but all Zadokites were Levites.”   Abiathar was pious, dedicated and at peace with God on the surface, but who was he really?

His very name suggests a reverence for His lordship.  He was also with David and Zadok on the other side of Kidron   (2 Samuel 15:24, 29, 35).

He appeared to be just as faithful as Zadok; he wanted nothing to do with Absalom’s rebellion.  Outwardly, he appeared to be blameless and faithful.  So why did the prophets ignore him, speaking of Zadok as the example of the holy remnant priesthood?

Abiathar had in him the seed of Eli; lazy, indulgent, a weak spirit of Eli laid dormant in his soul.  It happened just as it was prophesied to Eli that his inner weakness would be exposed.  He would go so far and then stop just short of God’s glory.  Abiathar’s heart wasn’t right with God.

Abiathar’s sin:

–self-exaltation!

Listen to these tragic words:  “Then Adonijah son of [David’s wife] Haggith exalted himself, saying, I [the eldest living son] will be king.  And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, with fifty men to run before him            (1 Kings 1:5–Amplified bible).

“He conferred with Joab [the commander of Israel’s army], son of Zeruiah [David’s half-sister] and with Abiathar the priest, and they followed Adonijah and helped him.  But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s mighty men did not side with Adonijah.  Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatlings by the Stone of Zoheleth”  (verses 7-9).

This was a boastful bunch.  They mocked the “old and worn out ways” of David.  They wanted a new kind of kingdom; a new priesthood.  There was rebellion in the land; a spirit of adultery, a demonic realm of pride and self-esteem.  A new wave of self-exultation was sweeping all around deceiving the masses and Abiathar was one of them.

Abiathar became caught up in this demonic realm.  How sad!  A pious, once faithful man at the peak of his ministry made a wrong move; he compromised and turned against the true way, though he thought he was doing God’s will.  Now we see him spiritually blind with no discernment.  He was doing the ministry of a priest at the stone of a serpent (the Stone of Zoheleth).

THE “EZEKIEL WARNING!”

And you shall say to the rebellious, even the house of Israel,  Thus says the Lord God: O you house of Israel, let all your previous abominations be enough for you! [Do not repeat them!]    You have brought into My sanctuary aliens, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to pollute and profane it, even My house, when you offer My bread, the fat and the blood; and through it all and in addition to all your abominations, they and you have broken My covenant”  (Ezekiel 44:6, 7).

Here is a house of God, full of abominations so bad that God can’t take any more of it!  “Enough!” He declares.  They had polluted His sanctuary with ungodly worshipers.  They had“a form of godliness but no power of holiness”.  No more!  These half-converted, worldly, corrupt, so-called believers had no place in God’s house.  Those are tough words to read!

When I first read those verses in Ezekiel, I thought God would wipe them out–bring them down.  But I see the picture more clearly after meditating on the Word; God is a merciful God and full of grace and promise!

God is cursing a corrupt people with corrupt shepherds.  He is appointing shepherds after their own hearts.  Idolatrous shepherds being appointed to shepherd idol-loving sheep!  Read what the Word says:

“But the Levites who went far away from Me when Israel went astray, who went astray from Me after their idols, they shall bear [the punishment for] their iniquity and guilt (Ezekiel 44:10).

“And they shall not come near to Me to do the office of a priest to Me, nor come near to any of My holy things that are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame and their punishment for the abominations which they have committed.  YET I– will appoint them as caretakers to have charge of the temple, for all the service of the temple and for all that will be done in it”  (verses 13, 14).

These shepherds won’t be removed from God’s house.  They will keep the”charge of the house and all that shall be done in it”.

What is their shame, their punishment?  “Therefore will I do to this house (the temple), which is called by My Name and in which I gave you trust, to the place which I gave you and to your fathers, as I did in Shiloh.  And I will cast you out…”  (Jeremiah 7:14, 15).

The worst punishment and shame upon a man or a woman of God is to minister in the flesh with no anointing.  Their houses are like Shiloh; “The glory has departed!”  Their message is chaff; God’s holy presence ‘has left the building’.

Yet, they are still appointed to minister to the house but abandoned by the Lord.  Might this be the reason for church attendance is dwindling and church closings in America and through out the world?  This is the offspring of Eli; the “Abiathar priesthood!”

I want to leave you with this question:  “Which Priesthood Do You Belong to?  Zadok or Abiathar?  I will try to deal with some of the answers to these questions in my next blog.  As For Me and My Household… “It’s Your Choice to Make (PART 2)”.

Study and research found in the Amplified Bible and [i.e., “Copyright @2002 by World Challenge“].