A Scriptural Study Newsletter edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

 

 

Holy Laver

We read in Ex. 30:17 where God spake to Moses: "Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein." The laver was for washing for Aaron and his sons, the priests. As we will notice there were occasions when they would be washed and occasions when they would wash themselves. The following verses teach us that Aaron and his sons were to be washed
before the holy garments were placed upon them:

1. Ex. 29:4, "And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water."

2. Ex. 40:11, 12, "And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot and sanctify it. And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water."

3. Lev. 8:6, "and Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water."

In the occasions above we see that Aaron and his sons did not wash themselves, but rather were washed prior to having the holy garments placed upon them.

In comparison there were times when Aaron and his sons were to wash themselves prior to going into the tabernacle: Ex. 30:18 21, "Thou shalt also make a laver of brass and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: So shall they wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statue forever to them, even to him and his seed throughout their generations." Thus there were two types of washings. Washings that were done to the priests and washings the priests did to themselves.

In the new testament there are at least seven washings that apply to the child of God. In two of these washings the scriptures teach that God is the one who does the washing. These washings are as follows:

1. Rev. 1:5, "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood..." This is a judicial washing and teaches us that through the shed blood of Jesus we are cleansed from our sins before the just and holy God.

2. Tit. 3:4, 5, "But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have  done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost..." This is an internal washing that the Holy Ghost does to us when we are born again of the Spirit. This is the same washing that is taught in John 3:5, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Likewise, we read in Eph. 5:26, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." Thus Jesus sanctified and cleansed us when he spoke the word of life into us in the new birth. Therefore, this washing God applies to us in the new birth.

3. Rev. 7:13, 14, "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." This is an experiential washing. When God's redeemed see themselves as poor ruined, hell deserving sinners and then afterwards they see that Jesus died for them, then in the experience of their heart they by faith see themselves righteous before God.

4. Acts 22:16, "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Water baptism is a ceremonial washing. According to 1 Pet. 3:21 water baptism does not put away the filth of the flesh (sins) but is the answer of a good conscience toward God. Water baptism shows forth the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Thru Jesus' death and resurrection our sins are
atoned for, forgiven, and put away. Thus when a child of God is baptized he is signifying that Jesus died and arose to put away his sins. Thus, in the ordinance of baptism, he is ceremoniously washing away his sins. This is akin to the old testament Passover when the children of Israel thru applying the blood of the slain lamb to the upper door post and two side posts, ceremoniously cleansed their house from the avenger of sin.

5. 1 John 1:7 9, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." This washing is the daily washing of our conscience from the pollution of sin guiltiness. When we sin against God our heart condemns us. When we confess our sin to God he forgives us and causes us to realize our sins have been washed in his atoning blood at the cross.

6. II Cor. 7:1, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Also James 4:8, "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." The child of God applies this cleansing when he strives to walk uprightly according to God's word. This cleansing doesn't make him upright, but brings his lifestyle into conformity to the redeemed upright stature that God has made him.

7. In John chapter 13 Jesus washed the disciples feet and then commanded them to wash one another's feet. Washing of the saints feet requires humility. Pride is perhaps the biggest enemy that a child of God must overcome in his Christian walk. God resists the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. While washing the saints feet is a ceremonial washing of humility, it points us to the need to walk humbly before God and man.


Holy Garments Part I

In Ex. 28:1 4 we read where God commanded the children of Israel to make holy garments for Aaron for glory and beauty and to consecrate him to serve and minister in the priest's office. They were commanded to make a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle. We will look at several aspects of the "holy" garments. The Lord told some unbelieving Jews, "Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." The Lord said the scriptures are a testimony of him. The scriptures under consideration at that time were the old testament scriptures for the new testament hadn't been written at that time. Thus the old testament is a testimony of Jesus Christ! This is an essential element of studying the old testament, that we seek to see Jesus in the types and shadows therein and in the prophecies and declarations. The holy garments of the high priest are designed to declare unto us certain aspects of the person and work of our High Priest Jesus Christ.  In the description of the holy garments given in Exodus chapter 28 certain aspects of these garments are highlighted. The first aspect of the garments we will consider is the colors of the garments. The colors included in the garments are gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen (white). The ephod, breastplate, and curious girdle are made of all 5 colors. The robe was all blue with a hem containing pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet and golden bells. The mitre was made of fine linen with a plate of gold with a blue ribbon. The coat was made of fine linen.

The use of colors in the scriptures are associated with specific bible subjects. We will consider each of the five colors and their associated subjects. First, however, we note that there are three basic colors: yellow, blue, and red. From these three basic colors all other colors are derived by mixture of the basic colors. For instance, the color purple is derived from an approximately equal mixture of red and blue.  Also we should note that according to Webster's dictionary gold is defined as yellow and yellow is defined as gold in color. The color scarlet is a deep dark (blood) red color.

The color, gold, is associated in the scriptures with deity and kingship. For instance, idols were frequently made of gold, Aaron and the children of Israel fashioned a golden calf as a symbol or image of God. While, what they did was obviously wrong, yet we see the association. Also we see in the furniture of the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant (a figure of Christ) was of gold. The mercy seat was made of gold. We read of golden crowns, golden thrones, and a golden sceptre all of which are associated with kingship. The gold of the holy garments thus points to the deity and kingship of Jesus Christ. He is our high priest after the power of an endless life. Possessed with deity, he has the authority, purity and power of deity to accomplish his eternal purpose.

The color, blue, is associated with law or commandment. We read in Num. 15:37 40, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they made them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them, and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go whoring: that ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God."  Thus when the children of Israel looked upon the ribbon of blue they were to remember and do the commandments and law of God. Jesus is not only the law giver, but he is also the keeper and fulfiller of the law.  Jesus said in Matt. 5:17, 18, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot and one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."  Thus, Jesus, as an high priest is the great keeper of the law and through his keeping of the law he fulfilled it perfectly, thus making himself the only one who could stand before God in judgment to represent his people as their perfect representative and sacrifice.

The color, scarlet, is the color of blood. We read in Heb. 9:19 22, "For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood is no remission." Remission of sins came through the shedding of blood of the perfect sacrifice. Jesus as our high priest appeared in the presence of God to put away our sin by the sacrifice of himself. For by one offering he perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Thus, the color, scarlet points to the sacrifice of Jesus to purge us from our sins.

The color, purple, is frequently found in the robes of priests and kings. Purple is a mixture of blue and scarlet (red). Thus Jesus in keeping the law (blue) perfectly and then in shedding his blood (scarlet) for the remission of sins confirmed himself and his work as our High Priest and King. Furthermore, as we read in Rev. 1:5, 6 "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father..." Not only did Jesus confirm himself as King and High Priest, but he also made us to be kings and priests unto God.

Fine linen (white) is associated with righteousness: Rev. 19:8, "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Naturally, we have no righteousness of our own as we read in Is. 64;6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..." Jesus Christ is the righteous one (1 John 2:1; Rev. 16:5; 2 Tim. 4:8) and it is he as our High Priest who hath made us righteous: II Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."


Holy Garments Part II

The ephod of the High Priest had two shoulder pieces. On the two shoulder pieces were two onyx stones set in ouches of gold. The names of the twelve children of Israel were engraved in the two onyx stones six in each stone. The stones were stones of memorial unto the children of Israel and the high priest was to bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

It is obvious from the description in Exodus chapter 28 that the twelve names of the children of Israel were representative of all the nation of Israel. Twelve is used in the scripture as a representative number. For instance, the twelve princes of Israel represented the twelve tribes of Israel. In comparison our High Priest, Jesus Christ, represented the entire elect family of God and carried them upon his shoulders. The onyx stone is green in color. Green in the scripture is associated with life. Just as the names of the children of Israel were written in the two onyx stones which were green, so the names of the elect children of God are written in the Lamb's book of life (green) before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:15) and it is Jesus who gives them life as stated in John 10:28, "And I give unto them eternal life..." Also Eph. 1:4 reads, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."

Just as the stones were stones of memorial for the children of Israel, so are all the elect remembered of our God and High Priest. It is great assurance to the child of God that he is never and never will be forgotten of his God. Regardless of how long we may lay in a grave or our ashes scattered to the four winds, our God and High Priest will never forget us and will claim his jewels (children) in the morning of the resurrection.

Just as there were two onyx stones on the shoulders of the high priest so there are two folds that our High Priest carries upon his shoulder: John 10:16, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and their shall be one fold, and one shepherd." Our High Priest has two folds: a Jewish fold and a Gentile fold. In Eph. 2:13 16 we read, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby..." Thus the two folds are made one in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Now the two stones were carried on the shoulders of the high priest indicating the carrying of a burden. Thankfully, we have a High Priest who carries our burdens. Unlike those in Is. 46:7 who carried their idols upon their shoulder, our God and High Priest carries us upon his shoulders. According to Is. 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Thus our High Priest Jesus Christ carried the burden of our sins and subsequent redemption from sin upon his shoulders.

As the Lord declared in John 6:37 39, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." Thus Jesus came to save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21). Furthermore, Jesus bears the burden of the government of the Lord's people: Is. 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder..."

The government of the kingdom of God and the government of our personal lives rest upon the shoulders of our High Priest. While we may choose to walk contrary to that government, we will suffer the chastisement of God because of it. According to the scripture every transgression and disobedience receives a just recompense of reward.

Christ's government is perfect. In addition, our High Priest carries the life's burden of his people upon his shoulders: Ps. 55:22, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." According to Rom. 8:34, "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Cares, burdens, concerns, problems, trials, tribulations, temptations, and afflictions are the lot of God's people while they travel their earthly pilgrimage.

It is comforting to know that we can carry such to God in prayer and know that Christ intercedes on our behalf and that he is our help and strength and deliverer.


Holy Garments Part III

Among the holy garments of the High Priest was the breastplate of judgment. The breastplate of judgment was four square with 12 stones bearing the 12 names of the children of Israel arranged in four rows. The High Priest was to bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart when he went into the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. "And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and Thummin; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually."

There are several things in the scripture that are said to be four square in addition to the breastplate of judgment: the brazen altar (Ex. 27:1); the incense altar (Ex. 30:2); the inner court of the Lord's house (Ezek. 40:47); holy oblation of the first fruits (Ezek. 48:20); and the holy city (Rev. 21:16). Each one of these things is laid out in such a way as to have four measured borders of equal length. Within the four borders of equal length is either the people (inner court, holy oblation, holy city), or a representation of the people (breastplate of judgment) or a representation of someone representing the people (brazen altar, incense altar).

Thus we have a figure of the people or their representative being positioned within a four square border. This is a figure of the covenant of redemption. The people who God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ep. 1:4) are, of course, the same ones who God foreknew in Rom. 8:29. The people whom God foreknew are surrounded by four borders of exactly the same length.

The first border is God's predestination. He predestinated all that he foreknew to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).

The second border is God's calling. He called to spiritual life all that he foreknew (Rom. 8:30).

The third border is God's justification. God justified all that he foreknew by His redemptive work (Rom. 8:30).

The fourth border is God's glorification. God glorifies all that he foreknew in body, soul, and spirit, which work will be completed at the resurrection. Thus all the elect are predestinated, called, justified, and glorified by our High Priest, Jesus Christ.

The twelve stones with the engraved twelve names of the children of Israel within the breastplate of judgment represented the twelve tribes of Israel. This was the entirety of national Israel being represented by the high priest after the order of Aaron. Jesus Christ, our High Priest after the order of Melchisidec, represented the entire elect family of God in judgment. He came to save His people from their sins and he suffered the wrath of God and died on the cross in their room and stead. (This is typified by the brazen altar). As he bore them on his heart as he lived and died for them thus accomplishing the judgment of God, so also does He now ever live to make intercession for them. (This is typified by the incense altar). Thus He is the first fruits of the elect. (This is typified by the holy oblation).

There were twelve different stones on the breastplate of judgment. Each stone being different yet precious tells us that each of the elect of God are unique in character yet are precious in the sight of God.  According to 1 Cor, 15 one star differs from another star in glory. We are told that no two fingerprints are alike and that no two snow flakes
are identical. God has made us unique yet we by his grace and mercy and love are precious in his sight.

Furthermore, the four square breastplate of judgment with the twelve stones was carried upon the heart of the High Priest when he went into the most holy place to offer the sacrifice of atonement. It certainly is a comforting thought to me to know that I am upon the heart of my High Priest, Jesus Christ, continually, not only when he lived and died and arose and made his offering unto God, but that I am upon his heart
daily as I struggle with the problems and affairs of this life.

Furthermore, I will be upon his heart when I lay this body down in death, knowing that he will never forget me and that I will be upon his heart in the morning of the resurrection when he returns to take his children home to glory. What a precious comforting thought this is to me. The breastplate of judgment is said to contain Urim and Thummin or as these words are interpreted, "lights and perfections." The elect children of God are neither light nor perfection in and of themselves.  They come to possess spiritual life because Christ, the Word of God, "lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). As a result they become the "light of the world" and in obedience they become a part of the "city that is set upon a hill that cannot be hid." They have also become perfect before God in judgment "for by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14). Thus by the one offering of Jesus Christ we are perfected for ever before God in judgment.

Finally, the breastplate was doubled. A double portion has been given us of the Lord. He not only died to redeem us from our sins and thus restore us to the position of our father Adam which he had before he transgressed, but he gave us spiritual eternal life and an inheritance with him in glory.

Thus as the prophet proclaimed in Is. 40:1, 2,"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." Thanks be to God for this double portion that has been given us by his grace.
 

Primitive Baptist