Just A Few Quick Thoughts While Studying…

Edens garden 2

(FreeImages.com/JennyW)

I am not going to elaborate, but I wanted to share just a glimpse into some of the amazing things I am looking at during my Bible studies.  Feel free to delve deeper because there are way more treasures to be gleaned!

Flesh Offerings and Baptism by Fire:

I have been thinking a lot about the meaning behind the “flesh” offering in the OT and the connection to the Baptism by fire in the NT.  I believe there is quite a parallel, but as usual, the OT is pointing ahead to a greater truth in the NT.

Just a small hint: Flesh will never crucify the flesh, but the Holy Spirit (typified by fire) alone can “burn off” the flesh (our fleshly or sinful/selfish nature).

Also, offering signifies the sacrifice or laying down something of ourselves. In this case, it’s the yielding of ourselves in obedience to the Holy Spirit.  I am still doing more studies on this, but God has highlighted this portion to me. There is so much to learn in the Word. May I “rightly divide the Word of God.”  (Further notes: https://www.bible-history.com/tabernacle/TAB4The_5_Levitical_Offerings.htm).

Matthew 3:11 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit [a]and fire.

Acts 1:4-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Holy Spirit Promised

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,”He said,“you have heard from Me;for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

1 Corinthians 12:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink [a]into one Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 New King James Version (NKJV)

19 Do not quench the Spirit.  (comparison to a fire — Holy Spirit)

Luke 3:16-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Garden Of Eden And Jesus Christ:

While studying Genesis, my attention was turned to the fact that gold and bdellium are mentioned in the Garden of Eden’s description.  I looked into bdellium, and it is a sister-tree to myrrh and frankincense. In fact, within this area is where myrrh is still known to grow.

bdel·li·um
ˈdelēəm/
noun
  1. a fragrant resin produced by a number of trees related to myrrh, used in perfumes.  (Google search)

In Matthew 2:11, we find that wise-men brought gifts of these same valuable items to present to the young Jesus.

There is significance in the very meaning of gold (royalty, signifying Jesus is the King of Kings), myrrh (used to embalm bodies and for medicinal purposes, signifying that Jesus would be the ultimate sacrifice, and by His death/stripes would be our healing) , and frankincense (used in temples by priests, signifying Jesus is our High Priest and able to make the final and perfect sacrifice).

When the wise-men brought these three gifts, they were bringing incredibly valuable gifts, but they were also showing prophetically (with actual objects) that Jesus had come to restore all that was lost to man in the Garden of Eden due to sin. Jesus came to restore all that was lost and in much greater and in perfect measure!

Some have suggested that the Garden of Eden was God’s first “temple.”  Incense was used in the temple for worship by the priests, and it was made from the resin of both myrrh and frankincense.  It’s interesting that both flourished in the Garden of Eden and still do in that area.

Gold was also used in the temple to form all of the priestly vessels, laths, mirrors, bowls, etc…  It was woven into the tapestries and hammered to cover the rods for the tapestries.  The candelabras (Menorah) were formed from this gold.

Notice what was central at God’s establishment of what we might call a “temple”: God’s Presence was there and fellowship/communion with His people was central to the “worship.”  It seems that worship and communion/fellowship are intertwined.  

Worship is truly entering into His Presence — into fellowship and communion with Him.  Yet, we often think that worship is about the programs, the presentation, and the elements.  The only elemental part of worship involves God’s Presence and our hearts in communion with His.

Yes, God encourages the gathering of the Body of believers to worship:

Hebrews 10:25 King James Version (KJV)

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

God loves to use objects to be a visual picture of what He wants to teach us.  He gives instructions to include communion within our Church assembly times:

1 Corinthians 11:25-26 King James Version (KJV)

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

Communion is a continual reminder to us of the sacrifices Jesus made.  It also can speak of more.

There is a saying that we are what we eat.  There is a lot of truth to this.  What we eat does become the building blocks (molecules and enzymes) for our body’s cells.  If we eat unhealthy food, we will have an unhealthy body.

By partaking of Communion, we are reminded that Jesus is to be our very source of sustenance and life.  He wants His very nature to be the “molecule” or “building block” upon which our lives are empowered and sustained.

1 Corinthians 6:17 King James Version (KJV)

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

 Once again, it’s all about Jesus!  

Just a side note: I would encourage you to look at how myrrh is processed.  Did you know that it is a thorny tree/bush?  Sound familiar?  The resin from the myrrh is also “farmed” by taking a spike or similar instrument to pierce the trunk of the tree.  This can be repeatedly done until the myrrh resin pours out and is then “harvested” for use.  Sound familiar again?  …spikes!  …resin  poured out!  So many analogies…!

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What The Wise Men Teach Us About Worship

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=5763381&searchId=eeb88ec99493842a38cd3a6fd0543e96&npos=11)

I have read and heard on numerous occasions the story of the Magi bringing their gifts to the young Jesus.  The wonder of these rich and wise men traveling for miles and following a mysterious star has produced many a good story.  Yet in our familiarity of it, we often miss its impact.

This past Sunday, a brother in Christ shared during our worship meeting some of the significance of the gifts of the Magi and how they displayed a greater meaning.

The life work of these Magi was to study the stars and their meanings.  They understood that God had written His story in all of creation so that for the one with spiritual understanding or faith, their own story could and can be understood in His story.

You see, our story is found in His story — in the One who made us and ultimately knows the purpose for which we were created.

As I listened to this brother share, I immediately realized something significant I hadn’t seen in the story before.  It is the fact that these gifts represent a key part to what constitutes worship or what worship looks like.

First, the Magi saw Jesus.

Worship first starts with actually seeing Jesus.  This is more than physical sight but involves a spiritual awareness or recognition of Who Jesus is.

Faith is the “door” to our spiritual sight.  God shines His truth into our hearts, and we must respond by faith to it.

Seeing happens when the hearing of the gospel is made effective by the Spirit.  — John Piper in Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ

Then the Magi gave the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The Christian brother shared how gold was a gift for royalty and represented the wise men’s understanding of the importance of this child to which the star led them.

  • Gold was used for gifts for royalty.  The Magi’s gift of gold symbolized their recognition of Jesus’ divinity and royalty as the “heir” to David’s throne and Son of God.

Worship recognizes the “kingship”and divinity of Jesus.

The Christian brother shared that frankincense often represents the prayers of the saints and that our prayers and lives are to be a sweet savor of worshipful service before God.

There are several possible different meanings to the Magi’s gift of frankincense, but perhaps one of the best meanings is that of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth and His position as the Great High Priest.

  • Frankincense relates to worship and the service of the High Priests that was a continual worship before the Lord in the temple and tabernacle.  The Magi’s gift of frankincense acknowledged Jesus’ position as the Great High Priest who would offer his life once and for all of mankind.

Worship recognizes the holiness of Jesus, as God the Son.

Our lives are to be a service of continual worship before God.  That’s what true ministry is: the results of being in fellowship with God produces a work within us that is His work.

The Christian brother shared that myrrh represents suffering and was used to embalm the dead.  It was prized for its scent and preservation qualities.

  • Myrrh represents the suffering.  The Magi’s gift of myrrh represented the priceless value that Jesus’ death on the cross means to all of mankind.  He offered His life, and His offering was not only accepted and cherished by God the Father, but it is also a sweetness to those of us who believe.  It is of priceless and matchless worth!

Worship recognizes the glorious work that Christ did on the cross on our behalf.

Christ gave His all so that we might have His all!  Our inheritance is matchless!

Worship recognizes the gift of lavish love that Jesus is to a hopeless, suffering, sinful world.

His glory is displayed through our joy in it.  …we were made to experience full and lasting happiness from seeing and savoring the glory of God. — Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ

The cross is the place where we first see Jesus — where we recognize the glories of Christ in the light of the Gospel.

This Christmas, may we truly see Jesus, and may our worship “spring forth” from that glory.