The Hem of the Savior’s Garment

Chickens, Boaz and Tears: Three Things that will Save your Eternal Life.

Have you ever seriously considered the verse, “Away from me, I never knew you!” ?

The Lord Jesus uses this warning in Matt 7:21-23 to show that not everyone who thinks they are saved will actually be saved.

But have you ever thought that MAYBE you might hear those words from the Lord’s lips? Does the thought strike fear into you?

In our Social Studies class this month we are studying the American Colonial times, and of course the Salem Witch trials come up. Many people accused of witchcraft were excommunicated from the Church, namely being told they were no longer saved.

In our PostChristian environment today, most people don’t give credence to the right of the Church to excommunicate its members.

But Scripture shows the authority Spirit-filled church leaders have to turn their members “over to Satan.” So those in 1692 Salem accused of witchcraft and their families all believed the convicted had likewise been deprived of salvation.

Can that happen? Really?

Another big question is about the “unforgivable sin.” Maybe you think you have committed it. You may be asking yourself, “Have I committed the unforgivable sin? Is what I have done too big now for Christ to forgive?”

What do I have to do to lose my salvation? What does one look like who will hear on Judgment Day, “Away from me, I never knew you”?

Or, more likely what you are asking, “How can I make sure that’s not me?”

I have good news for you today. You can know and be sure that you will never be discarded by God. You can have certainty. But it is costly and it is hard.

The answer is in the idea: Up is Down and Down is Up. But to understand this, we must understand Covenant.

A key aspect of the Bible, God’s Covenant with us, is expressed vividly in the Old Testament. Nature provides many examples of God’s principles (because Heavens Declare the glory of God).

One of the most poignant images, used repeatedly in Scripture, is that of the wings of God, which metaphorically represent his protective covering.

 

WINGS

Behold what Psalms says:

Ps 91:1–2
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Ps 17:8
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,

Ps 57:1
…for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,

Ps 61:4
Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah

Ps 63:7
…for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Christ’s Desire

Jesus wept over Jerusalem as he spoke of his desire to bring comfort and safety to God’s people. He used the same imagery used of God in the OT.

Mt 23:37
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Lk 13:34
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

 

GARMENT:

The word for wing is also the word for garment. In Hebrew the word is kanaph (כָּנָף).

So we see in Ezekiel 16:8:
I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine.

 

 

The Sick Woman

The story of the sick woman taps into this same imagery.

Matthew 9:20-21
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.”

Mark 6:56
And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Reasons for the sick touching the edge of Christ’s robe.

Several places in Scripture show us the thought behind sick people trying to touch Christ’s garment.

Zech 8:23
This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'”

As we saw above, the Hebrew word for robe matches the word for wings, repeated many times in the Psalms. Taking hold of Christ’s robe was an ancient analogy for “attaching oneself to the party of his lord.”

They were humbling themselves before God, asking for mercy.

Down is Up. This is another way of saying “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Pet 5:6, NIV).

Bend down, bow, kneel, humble yourself…admit you are inadequate to the task…confess that HE is your only hope. Go down. God gives grace to the humble. But he opposes the proud. (1 Pet 5:5, James 4:6). Up is Down and Down is Up. If you go UP–if you insist on doing it your own way, sure you can do it yourself, lifting your chin and defying your need for God, that is the surest way “DOWN” to death and destruction, in the end.

But if you go Down, he will lift you Up.

Which means he will bring you into his eternal Covenant.

Nowhere is this more clear than the story of Ruth and Boaz.

Ruth

The Book of Ruth holds the greatest clue for us, showing the relationship between redemption and the edge of the garment. Showing the certainty of the Covenant.

It’s a strange story, and one scandal-seekers love to point at while wiggling their eyebrows. But Ruth’s visit to the threshing floor was a demonstration for us of what a kinsman-redeemer is for humanity.

Ru 2:12
The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”

Already, Boaz had raised the topic of coming under the “wings” of God. Now, Naomi encourages Ruth to demonstrate the need for Boaz’s specific “wings,” as her protector, redeemer, and savior.

Ru 3:7–9
[Boaz] went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

She had put herself under the edge of his garment. She desired covenant.

She desired him to be her guardian, her lord, her escape from a helpless situation.

Do you See it Yet?

It’s your only escape. The world may condemn you, they may falsely accuse you, or rightly accuse you. You will also accuse yourself of committing the unforgivable sin.

But where is your hope?

We will never live up to the life Christ lived. That’s the reason we needed a Savior.

But where is your hope?

Do you, after needing Christ for salvation, now attempt to reach perfection by works? (Gal 3:3) It won’t happen. We will produce fruit only as the Spirit enables us. As we abide we will be changed into his image.

But we are all going to fail this broken world.

You will have some up days, and down days. But as Billy Graham said, most of life is the valleys. We are not building our kingdom here. This broken world is not our home. We have hope in a kingdom not built by human hands. (Heb 11)

And when we consider Judgment Day…

…when we consider if he might could possibly accuse us of not being his,

…there is only one safe place to be found.

There is only one place to hide safely:

One vantage point from which to view the Great Assize, the Great Courtcase.

HIDE UNDER THE SHADOW OF HIS WINGS.

PULL HIS GARMENT OVER YOU AND HIDE. 

Hide from sorrow. Hide from failure. Hide from the law of sin in you waging war against the law of grace.

He is our only hope.

Under his wings we will find refuge. Hide under the edge of his garment.

On Judgment Day, DIVE DOWN under his garment. For under his wings you will find refuge. Under his wings you will be safe.

So What About Being a Witch?

We all are witchy. We, none of us, will ever satisfy God completely and thoroughly. We are broken people in a broken world.

Say to yourself out loud, “I am not my hope.”

They will not be pleased with you. Your righteous desires will not be pleased with you. God will not be pleased with “you.” 

But when the Father sees you, hiding there under the shadow of Christ’s garment, hiding under Christ’s righteous garment, he’ll shine his face on you.

That’s where the Father and the Son and the Spirit wanted you all along.


For more amazing Bible verses on this topic, click here: Shadow of the Almighty

 

Luther, the Blue Portal & the Pea-Green Coat Guy, Episode 1

by s. nicole böcek
2017 and AD 33

Sometimes life takes you where you don’t expect to go. When Amber woke up, she had no idea that a man in a pea-green coat would soon be crawling through her window.

But it happened….like this:

The strange man shoves a bundle into her hands. Amber’s eyes widen.

He grasps her by her shoulders. Her mouth opens to scream but no sound comes out.

“Listen,” he whispers, eyes wide. He looks down at his watch and starts trembling, “You must visit those dates. My life depends on it; do you understand?”

He looks out the window for a minute and then back at Amber.

“I need your answer.”

Just as Amber reluctantly nods, he looks at his watch again and disappears like dust flying away.

No way!

Tearing the bundle open she sees it is a piece of paper with a watch inside. On the paper is a list of dates. AD 33. AD 354. 1521.

A flashing blue light in the middle of the watch draws her attention.

I guess I’m supposed to press the activate button. His life depends on it.

A blue light surrounds her like a dome, smooth as glass. Amber types April 23, AD 33. The lights go out and she is consumed in darkness. Suddenly, a bright light startles her. When her eyes adjust, she sees three men on a road; the man in the middle is speaking.

“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken,” he was saying, “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into glory?”

The words sound familiar.

“Do you not remember what Isaiah wrote about the Messiah? Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

The tunics and cloaks they wear look like the kind in those old Bible-times movies like Ben Hur.

Ben Hur? Wait! AD 33! That’s when Jesus died.

Amber looks again at the scenario before her, her heartrate rising. She covers her mouth in shock. The man in the middle is Jesus!

That’s Jesus! I know him!

Amber rushes forward and grabs his arm.

“Jesus!”

He turns and winks at her but the other men don’t seem to notice her there. What should I say? Her heart burns inside her. It’s Jesus!

Suddenly, the world of light and dark spins around her with a glowing blue light and she finds herself in her bedroom.

Covering her face, she moans, “Oh no. I wanted to talk to Jesus.”

Fumbling with the watch, she tries to return but it is flashing red.

Please, please, let me back in. She wants to cry. I saw Jesus! Take me back!

I should tell my parents. Will they even believe me? What is this watch?

She heads downstairs to the kitchen.

“This year is the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation,” Amber’s father announces.

Amber scratches the back of her neck. Why did that guy want me to see that conversation? Why Jesus? Maybe Dad can help.

“Dad?” It must have something to do with what Jesus was saying.

Her father looks at her as her mom put plates on the table in front of them.

“You know that verse that goes he was wounded for our transgressions and by his stripes we are healed?”

He nods. “Right, that’s Isaiah 53. It’s exactly what I’m talking about. This is the gospel. By his stripes we are healed. The Reformation that we are celebrating is getting back to this gospel. Jesus reformed everything. He taught us about grace. The Reformers took the works-based errors of the Church and brought them back to the pure gospel.”

Mom adds, “It’s the new covenant. We are saved not by our works but by Christ’s work.” She sets the pancake platter down. “Are you two ready to eat?”

As they eat, Amber’s mind wanders back to Jesus winking at her. I wish I could see him again. What does this all mean? Who was that strange man? He said his life is depending on me. I must figure this out.

She takes out the slip of yellow paper and looks at the next date. AD 354.

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Close as Your Next Phone Call: The Story of Scripture

scroll-1410168_1280STORY OF SCRIPTURE

The Word in the World

Pentateuch

For thousands of years the people of God had no full copy of God’s Word. The Israelites of the Exodus had the word of Moses, and the books he was writing. Otherwise it was hearsay. The judges had a couple more books. The kings had the books of Moses up through Samuel.

God commanded Israel that when kings would finally reign:

“…when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them (Deut 17:18-19).

During the time of the kings the historical books and the wisdom books were pulled together: Ruth, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. And the later kings required the prophetical books spoken against them. The more God spoke, it seems, the more people ignored him.

(How Did We Get the Bible We Have?) READ ON…>>

The Persians at the GATE

The Name

Caesar Augustus, of Bethlehem Nativity fame, 15th_century_map_of_Turkey_regiondied in 14 AD, when Jesus was a teenager.

Archelaus, besides being the son in law of Herod the Great (of Nativity infamy) was also the Last King of Cappadocia. A Roman vassal, he was active in the political game, so when Caesar Augustus died, he renamed his city after the dearly departed. It thus became Caesarea in Cappadocia.

Cappadocia played a great role in the growth of Christianity. During the half-century after Christ, the Apostles went to and fro on the earth, preaching and teaching and writing. The Scrolls they left behind became the Bible we have today.

The Persecutions

In the post-Apostolic times, that is, after John died in 90 AD, the next generation of church leaders went forward with the Scrolls left by the Apostles. They hid the scrolls, and they hid themselves, in caves as they faced the persecutions over the next 250 years.

64 AD

  • Nero
  • Domitian
  • Trajan
  • Hadrian
  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Septimus Severus
  • Maximinus the Thracian
  • Decius
  • Valerian
  • Diocletian
  • Galerius

313 AD

With the signing of the Edict of Milan in 313 the widespread persecution of Christians ended. Then when the Arabs invaded in about 1080, it was renamed Kaisariyah, an Arabic form based on the Latin (Kaisar=Caesar, meaning emperor). And as you know, Kaiser is the German (Dutch-root) name for emperor.

Now the town is called Kayseri.

Enter the Persians

In Trunk of Scrolls, the characters have concern over the “Persians at the gate.” The Persians and Byzantines were always at odds with each other. In fact, a war broke out between the two soon after the events described in Trunk of Scrolls.

What is interesting is how the Persians won. Especially today.

A few days ago, I heard from an Iranian (Persian) believer about an Iranian Christian refugee church in Kayseri. One of several Iranian refugee churches in the town.

–>This ONE CHURCH has more Christians in it
than TOTAL Christians in many big Turkish cities.

Finding this out floored me. The Persians at the Gate.

The Byzantines slowly left the “fold.” The beginning of the end was the Schism of 1054, but even before this the Monophysite Controversy weakened them. They did not understand the significance of Church unity on the Identity of Christ, which set the stage for a weakening empire and a slipping faith.

RaviZachariasSome people say that theology is not important. They say that God doesn’t care what you believe as long as you love Jesus. Or they say that theology divides but the Spirit unifies.

In fact, the Spirit of God divides the church by his WORD. Truth and error are separated when compared with Scripture. And Scripture principles are what “theology” is in the first place.

Theology, or the “Study of God,” means knowing who God is, what He is, how He is, what He does, what He wants from us. These are all that theology is the study of.  There is a GREAT difference between the God of Persia (Zoroaster) and the God of the Bible.

The Persians got what the land of Anatolia lost.

ACTION POINT: What about YOU? Do you care to know God for Who He IS? Studying a comprehensive catechism, like the Westminster Shorter Catechism, can help you be grounded in Truth. The truth can set you free. Please share your experiences or thoughts about this in the comments below.

Amazing Ancient Technology! Making of a Silver Bowl in the Roman Era

In Trunk of Scrolls, the family of Gaius Justus owns an exquisite silver relief fruit bowl. Watch the process the Romans used to make this type of bowl.

Amazing technology! While the “cup” in this video was made a century or so earlier than the Late Roman/Early Byzantine time of Justinian, the process used in making the Antioch fruit bowl (and the 6th century Antioch Chalice, which some think was the Holy Grail!) would have been very similar.

Now, for more time travel, take a look at the Getty Museum’s Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Collection from Berthouville artifacts!

COMMENTS: What was your favorite part of the process? Any favorite pieces from the Getty Museum?