“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

He openeth also their ear to discipline… If they obey…

“So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.” (Job 32:1,2).
“Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,

I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.

Behold, He findeth occasions against me, He counteth me for His enemy,

He putteth my feet in the stocks, He marketh all my paths.
Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

Why dost thou strive against Him? for He giveth not account of any of His matters.
For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

That He may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.

His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.…

Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.
If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.

If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.” (Job 33:8-22,31-33).

“For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.

What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.

For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that He should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that He should commit iniquity.

For the work of a man shall He render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.
Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.

Who hath given Him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
If He set His heart upon man, if He gather unto Himself His spirit and His breath;

All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.

Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn Him that is most just?
Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?

How much less to Him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of His hands.
In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.

For His eyes are upon the ways of man, and He seeth all his goings.
There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

For He will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.
He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.

Therefore He knoweth their works, and He overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;

Because they turned back from Him, and would not consider any of His ways:
So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto Him, and He heareth the cry of the afflicted.

When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when He hideth His face, who then can behold Him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:
That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.

Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
That which I see not teach Thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

Should it be according to thy mind? He will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest.
Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.

Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.
My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.

For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.” (Job 34:5-37).

 “Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?
For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.
Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.

If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto Him?
If thou be righteous, what givest thou Him? or what receiveth He of thine hand?

Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?

There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.
Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.

Although thou sayest thou shalt not see Him, yet judgment is before Him; therefore trust thou in Him.
But now, because it is not so, He hath visited in His anger; yet He knoweth it not in great extremity:

Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.” (Job 35:2-16).

“Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.
I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

For truly my words shall not be false: He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.
Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: He is mighty in strength and wisdom.

He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.
He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, He doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.

And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;
Then He sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.

He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.
If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.

But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.
But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when He bindeth them.

They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.
He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.

Even so would He have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.
But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.

Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” (Job 36:2-18).
“If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man His uprightness:

Then He is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:

He shall pray unto God, and He will be favourable unto him: and he shall see His face with joy: for He will render unto man His righteousness.
He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;

He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,

To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.” (Job 33:23-30).
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1Tim. 1:5).

“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (Jas. 5:11).
“The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” (Rom. 2:4).

“When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?” (Job 34:29).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our nurturing Creator

What do these two pictures have in common?
A caring parent who provides the environment for deeply instilled happiness. God is not visible as our caring parent, but He has left us abundant surroundings that warm our hearts and subconsiously bring us health of mind. As David said, "Thou art He that took me out of the womb: Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts." (Psa 22:9). And, "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psa 107:8).
Our Creator gives us what we need for mental and spiritual health as we can appreciate and appropriate it. In stages He expands our faculty of faith, until we are like Adam in Eden, filled with all the fullness of God.
"But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD." (Num 14:21).

Friday, November 23, 2012

Love over intellect

“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1Cor. 1:19,20).

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” (1Cor. 1:26-28).

Does God not desire wisdom in His children? Of course!

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.…
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,
How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” (Prov. 1:8,9,20-22).

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” (Prov. 2:10,11).

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath He established the heavens. By His knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.” (Prov. 3:13-22).

“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.” (Prov. 4:5-9).

Our Father in heaven desires excellence in everything. His discretion and knowledge are the blessing that makes His universe comfortable and happy for His children. His will is to develop all of their abilities and faculties. He presents before them the mysteries of His creation and draws them into the deepest study possible. To be fully like Him physically, intellectually, and spiritually is His ultimate purpose in all of His creatures.

But God weighs the spiritual development higher than intellectual culture, and the intellectual development above physical exercise. Not that any one of these three are unimportant, but that they have their priorities. He sees that the heart must be above the head, and the head above the muscle. This is the structure of His government. He develops all three with His tests weighted the greatest on faith and love, then on intelligence, and lastly on brawn.

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.” (1Tim. 4:8,9).

Paul wasn’t advising Timothy to disregard the laws of health, but to see that spirituality also gives life and health, even life and health to a greater degree. The two aspects of total health must cooperate side by side, but trusting that divine power and love provides the greatest well-being of the two. We must keep our temple pure and strong; we must have a proper diet, drink pure water, breathe fresh air, get exercise and rest, abstain from harmful substances and food and get our sunlight. But without trust in divine power, all of these laws of health are limited and even insufficient to fight disease and early death.

Likewise, we might indulge in intellectual development and refinement. Education may be our ongoing delight. And it should. But, it is empty without the culture of spiritual things, the things of the heart. Such it was to Solomon after he drifted from God, and found life to be nothing but vexation and vanity. (Ecc. 2:11).  Faith and love are the basis of our total development and restoration to the perfection of Eden. Love for God and communion with Him, human friendship and fellowship, kindness, joy, hope, patience, mercy, justice, righteousness, honesty and conscientiousness—the power and effects of the Spirit of God. All of the aspects of God’s character make up the things of God, the things of spirituality and godliness.

But, fallen humanity has lost the propensity to naturally desire trust in God and communion with Him. So the common result is to focus development on the remaining two aspects of the image of God in man, the intellectual and the physical.

This has led to all kinds of abuses. Without love and mercy, greater education produces educated monsters, without patience with anyone who inherited less I.Q. It has led to the dressing down of those without talents or quickness to answer. Slowness, which is relative, they judge unacceptable and such a person, soul, mind, and body are considered rejects of the human race.

Those who have received a lesser degree of intelligence often inherit a greater degree of physical strength and ability. They focus their development on the physical and grade everyone else on the size of their muscles, their handsome features, their balance and nimbleness. Beauty and strength is the main attraction for this class. They often believe that the strongest should accumulate the most and they take others’ possessions by force.

But, it is clear from the Bible, that spiritual things are the most important, and that out of it both of these, the mental and bodily exercises and development, must spring.

Martha was a natural at home-making and that included the fixing of a vast array of food preparations.

“Now it came to pass, as they went, that [Jesus] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luk. 10:38-42).

Martha was smart; she learned quickly. She had mastered everything that pertained to being a woman. Her brain just naturally collected information and her spirit was strong to practice and quickly perfect in her cache of talents all that she observed around her.

But her sister lacked in all of those things. Mary was more gregarious and needy of human companionship. When compared beside each other, Jesus chose Mary to have the preeminent gift. He didn’t mean to discourage Martha’s hospitality or to belittle her energy. But, He saw in Mary a heart that more closely mirrored His Father’s. It could be said of Mary that she was a woman after God’s own heart.

And that faith and love which He saw in her was a seal of approval from the Holy Spirit, sent down from the Father of glory. Mary came up short in behavioral excellence, while Martha shone brightly in that. Yet, Christ defended Mary and reproved Martha. Was Mary lazy? It appeared that way, and Martha certainly made it look like that. But it was Satan working in Martha that led her to manipulate the truth about Mary.

This Jesus saw through and uses a balanced approach to correct the ungodliness in Martha.
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (Rom. 1:17-18).

It is the traditions of men that motivate all the Marthas today to think like they do, both females and males. And it’s the tradition of men that causes the Marys, both males and females, to cower under that condemnation of the ungodly male and female Marthas in the world.

The true reality is the heavenly reality, which has been and forever will be the eternal reality.  “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luk. 10:42).   For “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” (1Cor. 1:27,28).

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” (Psa. 8:2). This is good news for the untalented, the slow, and the unsightly, the young and immature.

Did Mary remain inept at cooking? No, she gradually learned all the lessons of homemaking and hospitality. “For … godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is.” (1Tim. 4:8). And she learned at the pace that she could learn, and as quickly as she could because of her love for Jesus who was a better cook than Martha. Mary learned the hospitality of Jesus, far exceeding Martha’s. Mary received the robe of Christ’s hospitality. (Is. 61:10). And even if she never attained to the rich, complicated foods of Martha, the love and friendship that Mary served made everything taste so good. And if I can wager a guess, her simpler fare made her food healthier and thus better than Martha’s.

The Lord prefers the slow learners who receive a thorough education of spirituality. They may be towered over by massive intellects, but they are seen as favorable by a God who towers over the greatest human minds, and He says of them, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isa. 2:22).

Even as Lucifer, no doubt, outshone Michael in colorful glory streaming from his body (Ezek. 28:12,13), and he probably towered over the Son of God like Goliath did to young David. The rapid rise of Lucifer and his quickly learned ability to organize the armies of angelic hosts stood opposed to the Son’s apparently  lesser work in that respect.

“Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee.” (Eze. 28:2,3). And the atomic power of Lucifer seemed to overshadow the slow, quiet growth of Christ who did only what His Father showed Him in the work of creation.

But, in the end, it was the slow learner that excelled in all that God was. Only the Son of God could stand in God’s place and do perfectly as the great Creator, even though it took a long time to do all of that. And shouldn’t it have required a slow development, since the lessons were infinitely deep?

All of God’s elect, have a lot to learn, a course that is heavily loaded with projects that cover an exceedingly broad scope. They may not appear to be advancing quickly enough by the eye of faulty man, but they are quietly, slowly, grasping lessons that the most talented and ingenious will never begin to learn. God’s children usually don’t even know that they are under a higher curriculum; all they know is that the world constantly accosts them for their retarded growth and ineptness according to the normal elementary curriculum of the world.

But the children of God are learning the most difficult lessons of life, especially while under fire and condemnation of the world. At length, the precious ones finally learn of Jesus who they trust in as fully as Mary did, and then their development picks up speed, and they blossom into the world’s most desired treasures. Then, in the sight of everyone, God raises them up in the society of their peers. He chooses them for a place of preeminence above all of their brethren, as He did Joseph and Daniel. Many like Lucifer who became envious and violent toward the exaltation of the Son, do as their father does, but Christ protects His people from them.

They spent many years being trodden under the feet of the world, but now they are glorified in Christ’s righteousness. And, in the end, they are very satisfied with the path Jesus led them through. “He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10). In all respects they have His character perfectly reproduced in theirs.

“But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Mat 19:30).  “And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.” (Luk. 1:50-53).

“My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in Thy salvation.
There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside Thee: neither is there any Rock like our God.
Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and He hath set the world upon them.
He will keep the feet of His saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall He thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.” (1Sam. 2:1-10).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jesus the burnt offering

“And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Gen. 22:2).

“If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.” (Lev. 1:3-9).

“And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty;
Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.…
And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish.
And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering.
And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:
And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.” (Lev. 4:27,28,32-35).

The burnt offering was a solemn event. The repentant one confessed his sin upon the head of the animal and then the animal, innocent of the wrongdoing, was slain in the place of the sinner by the sinner.
After the person would “slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering…. The priest shall burn them upon the altar… and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.”

This was a remorseful experience. That pure baby lamb, dependent and gentle, had to die; the sinner, we, must kill the innocent. My wife was given a baby goat once. She brought it home and he kicked around at our place. He loved to sit in my wife’s lap as she bottle-fed him. His long eyelashes and tiny nose danced as he slurped up that milk. He walked on his tippy toes, tapping his way as he went, because his hoofs pointed downward, and he loved to jump straight up sometimes. We had him for a few weeks before I had to leave and truly got attached to him. And he quickly got attached to us, nudging himself into everything we did. We got attached to him because he attached himself to us. He lived to be loved. We loved him because he first loved us.

But then came the day that my wife realized that he would grow up and we had no place to keep a full grown goat. So she gave him to a man who would raise him. But that man didn’t have the motherly care or affection for the kid that Zeny gave him. So after three weeks, the baby goat died. The man fed him, but, he died from lack of affection and loving physical contact; he had no purpose in living; he died of no love.

After slaying the kid or the lamb, then it was burnt before the Lord. After millions of animals were killed this way through the four millennia, the One they all pointed to came to this world, darkened by Satan and sin, and died for mankind.

Our sins have crucified the hearts of Jesus and God. So the Son of God presented Himself before His Father, in our place, accepted the destruction we deserved, “for the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23).

So, Jesus came “as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7). “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” (2Cor. 5:21).  All the wrath of God toward sin, all of His hatred of it, all of the sorrow and grief He saw in sin’s indulgence of self, its laziness and weakness, its boasting and self-centricity, all of the Father’s pent up frustration and anger was focused on His Son.

And we, with eyes healed of their blindness can look at the infinitely expensive ransom money our sin cost God through the loss of His Son in order to spare us and reclaim our love and obedience. Thus Jesus united two hopelessly separated individuals when He reconciled God and man.
He was our burnt offering because He took our due justice, and fire from heaven consumed His soul like the fire that fell upon Elijah’s altar.

His cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” show the separation taking place by His Father. Sin separates us from God, and God was looking upon Jesus as sin which He detests. “God left Him,” (2Chron. 32:31) the Originator of life divorced His life from His Son.

Intense, jillion volts of wrath boiled Christ’s soul. His mind was being stressed to the maximum. Every evidence of love was flayed and boiled. Christ’s joy, His love, His hope were breaking down and turning into mush. Yet, Jesus’ response to such torture was to cling for more evidence, to hang on to His joy in the Lord, to reach out to God’s love and hope in His grace unto the end. This He did until His last conscious thought, as He descended into shock and death. Jesus’ tenacious seeking His Father’s presence is why His Father was satisfied.

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa 53:10,11).

Not only did our Savior’s response to total spiritual annihilation resolve His Father’s infinite grief, but Jesus learned spiritual vacancy more than what would ever be needed to satisfy the unfallen worlds and angelic hosts. And as man would look at the depths of their redemption, they would be brought up out of sin.
Satan desired God to destroy sinners as soon as they had sinned. But sin is so caustic that it will sin even in the middle of its destruction. Even Adam and eve would have passed through the death of hell that Christ experienced, but they would have gone down shaking their fists at God for it. The travesty of witnessing this would have put the capstone on Lucifer’s work of damaging God. Certainly the Cains and Hams and Nimrods of humanity, which really encompass include all of us, would pass through hell making a mockery of God. But, would Adam and Eve the beginning of the creation of God? Yes, even the nicest of us turn into raucous swine in the overwhelmingly miserable hellfire of God’s wrath.

It was Satan’s wily purpose to see God’s kingdom of trust destroyed when He destroyed sinners and sin. Certainly, Satan and his hosts would curse God through the whole ordeal. They would curse Him then as Satan has done all during their existence since they fell. “He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Rev. 13:6).

But, God preempted all cursing toward the righteous Judge by making His Son the first display of the total punishment. Jesus assumed the divine retribution upon Himself, and even in the face of Satan’s total onslaught of temptations, Christ showed what His heart was made of—love to God and love to corrupted man. This is the love of God. It was love that descended into death and took sin with it. The Prince of peace laid down His life, and when sin descended into destruction with Him, honor to God and to His justice on sin descended into annihilation with it.

At his last chance to dishonor God, Satan failed in his temptation to make Christ shake his fist at God and man. Jesus went to His death quiet and obedient, trusting His Father to accept His sacrifice. Satan howled at his failure, and his wails were heard through all heaven. And God’s character and reputation were vindicated.

Jesus was burnt in the “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41). He was the red heifer because His dissolving tissue caused the rupture of every cell in His body. His skin, His internal organs were all falling apart under the tremendous power of the jillion volts of spiritual lightning His Father had to send Him in order to sufficiently exterminate sin through throughout the universe.  His rapid death and the water and blood that came out of His side show the condition of His inner parts, that were mutilated by divine power. It was an incomprehensible separation of God from God that caused all of this, and this alone could accomplish the demise of sin.

It was the internal bleeding and blood pouring from His eyes, nose, mouth and ears, seeping from every pour in His skin and every tissue of His body that made Him the red heifer (Num. 19). He was falling apart as His Father departed from Him and His “Spirit … return[ed] unto God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7). “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws; and Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death.” (Psa. 22:14,15). The jillion volts shook His body with 7000 electrocutions per second, and Christ’s tongue could not speak without the greatest effort to utter His seven sayings. Satan was crowding Christ’s mind, trying to confuse Him. Were it not for His life filled with unutterable love and undying grace, Jesus would not have retained His royal majesty on the cross. He would have presented the look of a man foaming at the mouth and possessed by Satan.

But He hung there dying quietly and subdued, tortured without a single complaint, doing the will of His Father in perfect self-denial, perfect self-sacrifice. His behavior on the cross showed the infinite depth of rest and peace He had always had, from His very conception. He was the only perfect and holy one. He was the Anointed one, “For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” (Jn. 3:34).

“His ways are everlasting.” (Hab. 3:6).

Our response should be: “I am crucified with Christ.” (Gal. 2:20). Then His life, His power to be a son of God, will be transferred to us and He will live out His life within us. We will be redeemed and saved from sin. Then we will lay down our lives for others, in the hope that they will be crucified with our crucifixion by them, and get a taste of redemption. “As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Rom. 8:36).

The Holy Spirit will then lead them to get a better experience of that redemption, which will happen when they themselves go to the cross and witness Christ’s beautiful and powerful propitiation. Faith will grasp the goodness of God and peace will drive out the chastisement of Satan. They will be crucified with Christ, and then will lay down their lives for others and gain an even better comprehension of the love of God. Even if their contact with the sin in others somewhat infects them because the sin of others led them to disconnect from Jesus, He can readily bring them to repentance and reclaim their faith in Him, which is symbolized by the footwashing that facilitates the first conversion and baptism. The intention of the missionary is to not get carried away in sin, but if he does sin, because his desire is to show others an example of crucifixion and grace toward their anger and mistreatment, he has a holy Friend and Mediator before God, Jesus Christ the righteous.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20).

“Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21).

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 22

This prophecy is the key to understanding several statements in the New Testament.

As an overview of Isaiah 22, the testimony of Jesus was again repeating His plans for the disobedient and idolatrous Israel to Isaiah who then sent the word out to the people. Jesus taught this lesson through a parable, a real-life, acted out parable.

The plans of the Lord God for Israel were not good tidings. Since they carried His name, anything short of a studied imitation of the Law of His life was a misrepresentation of Him. Their national title said, “I am an Israelite, (‘one who wrestles with Elohim and overcomes self and sin.’) I represent the Creator of the heavens and the earth.” Yet, their disobedience to Him led the world to hate Him as they watched the uncouth and unloving lives of these people who claimed Him as their God.

Nothing but evil action against them could turn them from their course of misrepresenting Jehovah. Yet, they had forgotten the first principle of that experience. All they knew was Baal, and “[Satan] gave [Baal] his power, and his seat, and great authority.… And they worshipped [Satan] which gave power unto [Baal]: and they worshipped [Baal], saying, Who is like unto [Baal]? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:2,4). And serving Baal led to the grossest perversions and the harshest license to oppress others, especially the rich toward the poor and the powerful over the weak.

Now, the Lord God would raise up the Assyrians and later the Babylonians to strip Israel of its wealth and freedoms, its temple and spiritual pride. And it was the very priests and Levites and priests of Baal who were teaching the rulers and the people that ungodly lifestyle. Therefore, this prophecy of Isaiah’s spoke against one of the highest and probably the most powerful rulers of the temple under the High Priest, the temple treasurer.

Isaiah paints a picture of Israel worshipping the heavens like the pagans, and he builds a case against them.
“The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?” (Isa. 22:1). They were on the flat house tops because those elevated places simulated a convenient high place for pagan devotion, and the whole family could worship together, trembling before Baal for their sins and weeping to Ashtaroth to save them from Baal. What aileth thee? Sin ails us and drives us to find a solution for its constant torment and misery. But, will we seek the blessed covenant of Him who created us? Or will we look to Satan and his methods which only profess to bring peace because they provide ever increasing indulgence to self, but really only increase the unrest in us that comes from separation from God? The devil has no love for us; and it’s the heart’s emptiness of its Maker that causes our love for each other to grow cold and causes iniquity to abound.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40). “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom. 13:10). But, Satan hates love and never, never allows his subjects to have it. Hence, the miserable life of all who follow him.

Isaiah’s disturbed soul toward his nation, which was caught up in false revival and tumultuous worship, and which was already suffering divine wrath through receiving the delusional Mark of the beast, the possession by the devils:

“Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.
All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.
Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.
For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.
And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.
And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest.
Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.
Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.
And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Isa. 22:2-14).

They weren’t joyful from the heart for receiving a contrite spirit or a clean heart. A contrite spirit or a clean heart, which the Law of God required, was a lost concept to them. Their delight was pleasure in self-indulgent worship and spiritualistic drunkenness. They were lost, lost to the spiritual exercises of Satan. It was exactly the same which Christ rebuked centuries later, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” (Matt. 23:25).

The Jew’s sacrifices to the Lord were actually sacrifices to Baal, as Isaiah said later, “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.” (Isa. 66:3,4). Their sacrifice to Jehovah was only an act, a fake display, in order to convince themselves that everything was all right between them and Him. Their sacrifices were no different from Babylon’s great feast when Cyrus was just outside the city walls.

The Israelites all believed that their positive thinking could propitiate God and change His work of evil against them. So they continued on with the sacrifices and high worship, oblivious to the armies that Jehovah was amassing beyond the northern frontier. Today, we observe the church attempting the same things, altogether a duplicate of the ancient delusion. Satan never changes his tactics! And the third angel’s message is the severest warning that applies to us today as Satan moves the Protestant denominations closer and closer toward Spiritual Formation, which is only baptized pagan worship and a means of demon possession. The denominations’ departure from the Law of God was the ticket to their final destruction. How far Protestantism has fallen!

There was nothing more the Lord could do with Israel except to obliterate them and scatter them to the farthest quarters of the earth. They were squatting on His holy land. They were not worthy of His divine forbearance any longer. Seven centuries of callous dishonor to Jehovah was enough.

But, notice that the Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. “Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.” This was more than Isaiah speaking there. It was Jehovah Himself; it was Isaiah filled with Jehovah’s Spirit. All the skeptics who blast the Old Testament God for assumed satanic cruelty need to look more closely at the God of the Old Testament who was God of the whole Bible, Jesus Christ preincarnate, who was later fashioned in our image.
“Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die” (Vs. 13). This was such a pagan concept that it persisted to Paul’s day. No thought of eternal realities of purity and holiness to the Lord, fear of God and of His judgment, only hedonism which all the prophets and apostles reproved.

“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” (1Cor. 15:31,32). Living for this world and this life only, was what Israel had become. The far-removed, true life of Abraham’s and David’s godliness would not return to Israel until the apostolic church was born. In the church, founded squarely upon God’s dealing with ancient Israel, the principles of life were again brought out and presented in all of their divine beauty.

Christ-likeness and its future resurrection in His people is what Isaiah and all the servants of God prophesied about.

So, the Lord taught Israel an object lesson through their wicked treasurer, Shebna, who evidently used public holy money to make his own splendid burying place.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,
What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?
Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.
He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.
And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall He pull thee down.” (Isa. 22:15-19). 

“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1Tim. 5:20). “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (Jas. 3:1). “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1Pet. 5:2-4).

The removal of this chief priest, Shebna, and the rebuke given him for his embezzling, was the means of communicating to the tribes what God intended to do to them all for their run-away national apostasy, especially to the religious leadership.

But, another prophecy would go further with the rebuke against an apostasy that they would never rein in. The office of temple treasurer would be given to another, One after God’s own heart.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
And I will clothe Him with thy robe, and strengthen Him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into His hand: and He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder; so He shall open, and none shall shut; and He shall shut, and none shall open.
And I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place; and He shall be for a glorious throne to His Father’s house.
And they shall hang upon Him all the glory of His Father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.
In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 22:20-25).

This Eliakim prefigured Christ, the Son of David who appeared in so many Old Testament prophecies.

“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.
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6,7).

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears:
But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
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.
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious.” (Isa. 11:1-10).

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:2-5).

“For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their King, whom I will raise up unto them.” (Jer 30:8,9). Every Davidic and Levitical prophecy of scripture referred to Jesus and His redemption and restoration of Eden, the eternal heavenly kingdom which He would establish. “The scriptures…are they which testify of Me.” (Jn. 5:39).

The laying of the key of the house of David upon this Eliakim’s shoulder represented the work of the Messiah in His shouldering the whole work of salvation for lost mankind. He would carry the cross. He would have the strength to open to sinners the door of salvation; He had the key to that door. His cross was that key. No one else had the authority to give us redemption and to present before us the glories of His truth and righteousness. But, Christ has full authority to save us. What can Satan say, after all that he did to the Lord? He might lead us to feel that we are great sinners, and we are; but Jesus is a greater Savior. Let us not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. Eliakim as our Savior’s type, Christ would be Priest and King, like “Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the most high God.” (Heb. 7:1). As King, He shows us our sins, condemning us and leading us to repentance; then, as Priest of the most high God, He dies in our place at our hand, forgiving us.

Later, in an investing of the royal regalia, Zechariah similarly portrayed the Messiah.

“Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; and speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a Priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zech. 6:11-13). The Messiah alone can carry both thrones of church and state. Only in Him can there be peace when both are united. And in Him Grace and Law are always united and at peace; and His peace He shares with His priests and kings.
“Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31). Here we see the basis and very essence of the glories of salvation which our Messiah provides us—not only forgiveness, but He gives us repentance and victory over sin, too.

“And they shall hang upon Him all the glory of His Father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.” (Isa. 22:24). These temple cups and bowls and great pitchers represented the beauty of God’s mercy and the fullness of His continuing patience for sinners. They were all gold because gold represented love, and the Messiah’s every act, look, and gesture, which decorated the beauty of His holiness, was love. Only divine love can bear up under the burden of sin’s presence in God’s children. It “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Divine “charity never faileth.” (1Cor. 13:7,8).  All those cups of His graciousness toward us, small and large, hung all over Christ like bells and pomegranates. They might also represent the angels of God going up and down upon the Son of Man, bearing the message of the Father’s love through Christ.

“And I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place; and He shall be for a glorious throne to His Father’s house.” (Isa. 22:23). Christ was forever enthroned before God when He died on the cross. As Christ was fastened to the cross; the cross was His throne, the throne of David who was the earthly king who most deeply knew pure, open-hearted love and surrender to God’s will. “Yea, for Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Psa. 44:22). “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all Thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy name, O Thou most High.” (Psa. 9:1,2).

And Jesus so perfectly accomplished God’s purposes for the cross that His hanging on the cross is forever “a sure place.” “He [the Father] shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa. 53:11)  “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 6:19,20).

“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder; so He shall open, and none shall shut; and He shall shut, and none shall open.” (Isa. 22:22). This is the key that Jesus promised to Peter. But, the Lord was only repeating through Matthew’s gospel the very same object lesson that He had spoken through Isaiah and Zechariah in ages past. Peter was not to receive the key, but to be a living parable of David’s Son, who Himself possessed the key. Neither was Peter to be Christ’s vicar, but an object lesson of Christ Himself and nothing more. But, what a privilege for Peter to be a living, walking Messianic promise, pronounced and equipped by the Spirit of the Lord, as Eliakim and Joshua, and even Aaron, had been!

Peter would receive the wondrous ability to reveal Christ and His character to the church, especially to the Jewish Christians. Peter was simply following the Lord’s ancient tradition of using a living witness to represent His true doctrine and law. And later, people laid down their sick for Peter’s shadow to cross them, and they were healed. Christ was working through Peter to do great things. But, the great things didn’t come from Peter, only through him. The true source of power was Christ. And as we heard from Peter in an above verse, neither he nor any other church father was ever permitted to lord himself over the people, as we have always seen in the bishop of Rome. When Peter tried to reign for Christ and institute his own ideas of God’s will, he was immediately rebuffed and called Satan. Peter never did that again!

To overlord and demand worship of the people is sure indication that such a person does not have the key of David. The first shall be last.

This key also shows up in the Revelation.

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev. 1:18). “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” (Rev. 3:7,8).

This passage has been associated with Christ’s moving into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. But, a close comparing of scripture shows that, while it does have that meaning, its original intent had to do with the opening of salvation at the cross, as we have seen in the above paragraph. It also indicates the opening of the grave to so many who have suffered death, yet held on to the blessed hope of the resurrection. What Christ accomplished at the cross is so sure that no human or satanic host can ever change the divine achievement that has forever settled it in God’s mind that man can be justified and glorified.

Christ has opened the door to our justification and our future glorification, but, what about the work of our sanctification? Surely our sanctification is also covered by the key of David, right? And so it is. Hebrews 8 and 9 clearly bring forward the work of Christ as our High Priest, working for our purification as He officiates His blood in our behalf in the heavenly sanctuary that Christ built (see Heb. 8:1,2).

But there were two ministries that He must accomplish there. One, to apply His atonement for our sins, feeding us His body and blood, giving us insight into His heart and mind, and working prayer into our thoughts as the natural expression of receiving His sacrifice and example.

“Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Rom. 5:9-11).  So, His ministry in the Holy Place of His sanctuary above encompasses His work to apply His blood for our justification and sanctification from sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn. 1:9). “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

The second ministry that Christ must accomplish is the final, special work of our purification in preparation for our glorification at His second coming.
“On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, He shall be cut off from among His people.
And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among His people.
Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev. 23:27-32).

Without any equivocation, unlike any other holy day, the children of Israel were to take this Day of Atonement of utmost seriousness. It was no day for celebration—that would wait until after the atonement. But this day was a total preparation of the soul. It was the annual Day of Judgment for the nation. The whole previous year of their sin had accumulated in the Holy Place, and now a special work in the Most Holy Place was to cleanse the sins from the Holy Place.

Those typical services were “a shadow of things to come.” (Col. 2:17). The ceremonial cleansing of the tabernacle of the congregation spoke of a future event in the heavenly sanctuary. Pointing to 1844, “He said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Dan. 8:14). Then the antitypical Day of Atonement began. Since then we’ve been in the shadow of judgment day; and the message to the world, “unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” has been, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:6,7).

While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. Great Controversy, p. 425.

Christ did open the door from the heavenly Holy Place into the Most Holy Place, and no man in heaven, in earth, or under the earth, was able to shut it. And His work of maintaining our justification only went shut in order for the special work of glorification to begin, which would involve a special justification and a special sanctification. This speaks of God’s deep anticipation of the end of sin and the inauguration of eternity. That former work of justification would continue, but now with the added emphasis of perfection and preparation for immigrating to the bleached white atmosphere of heaven’s perfection, and for entering into the pure joy that our Lord has prepared for us.

 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” (1Jn. 3:1-3).

The old work of emphasizing only justification has ended. That door has gone shut and cannot be opened again. Now we are inexorably bound for purification or corruption, for the Seal of the living God or the Mark of the beast, the house of David which was full of praise and life, or the house of Dagon, which was the sanctuary of spiritualism and death, the synagogue of Satan.

All of Christ’s heavenly ministries to prepare this world for its reconciliation, reinstatement into God’s favor and the restoration of paradise have been in Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah’s being nailed to the wall of the temple treasury. And the final end of the prophecy foretells the end of Satan and sin.

“In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 22:25). Satan will be cut down. No more sin and transgression. No more oppression and persecution and death. No more self-indulgence or ungodliness. No more hatred and anger and distrust. No more disease and pain and sorrow. This is another promise “which … we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Rev. 13:10).

We can glean one last lesson from Isaiah’s prophecy which applies to the experience of Peter and the temple treasurer tax collectors.

“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your Master pay tribute?
He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers?
Peter saith unto Him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for Me and thee.” (Matt. 17:24-27).

Christ knew that He was the one about whom Isaiah has prophesied. He knew that Eliakim represented Him as the new temple treasurer. The greedy Shebna represented the corrupt priests and rabbis of Jesus’ day who would never lower themselves to hear the instruction of the Son of God who came in cognito under the guise of a commoner, as Isaiah had prophesied. The only thing that would convince them of God’s displeasure toward them was the same sentence of captivity and death that Shebna received. And they heard what Shebna heard, “Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Isa. 22:14).  “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24). 
If the priests had studied the scriptures, they might have taken the lesson and sought for God’s help to overcome. But, the prophetic account of Shebna’s replacement by Eliakim came true for them. Christ was their replacement, and His followers were prefigured by the nation of Israel, “He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah” (Isa. 22:21).

His disciples were also prefigured in Zechariah’s visions, as Joshua represented Jesus (the Lord’s name being the Hellenized translation of the Aramaic name Joshua, or Yeshua).

“Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;
Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;…
And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.” (Zech. 6:10,11,14). These men were undoubtedly the same men referred to earlier in this context.

“Hear now, O Joshua the High Priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My Servant the BRANCH.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.” (Zech. 3:8-10). Didn’t Jesus meet Nathanael under a fig tree where he had been meditating on the scriptures? That was meant as the fulfillment of these messianic prophecies.

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” (Jn. 1:47-51).

So Jesus was not only the prophesied Priest King, but also the builder of the temple, the treasurer of the temple, the door of the temple’s treasure house, and the nail that keeps the golden implements of our Father’s love, but Jesus was also the Father, or High Priest of the house of God.

An earlier prophecy had His children being beautifully adorned temples like Himself. “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” (Isa. 54:11-14).

Jesus was not supposed to pay the temple tax because He was the temple; He was the Sacrifice and He was the Priest; He was the builder of the temple and bore the glory of it. A greater than Solomon’s temple was among them. The priests should have been embellishing Him with their gold. But, He didn’t want to needlessly offend them, so He had Peter give them the money they required.