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Dec 20: Job 25-27 | Zec 2, 3 | Jude

Reading 1 - Job 25

Job 25: Bildad virtually concedes Job's argument. His few words might be paraphrased: "We do not know what your sin might be, but there obviously is one -- because all men are sinners."

However, this being true -- all men are placed in the same condition before God. Therefore, Job's question still stands: "Why am I singled out for special sufferings?" There is nothing left for his three friends to say.

Reading 2 - Zec 3:9

" 'See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day' " (Zec 3:9).

THE STONE I HAVE SET IN FRONT OF JOSHUA: The stone is a common figure of God and Messiah in the Bible (10:4; Exo 17:6; Num 20:7-11; Psa 118:22; etc). In the past God promised that the Stone would be a secure, never-failing refuge for His people (Isa 28:16; 1Pe 2:6). When Messiah appeared, however, He proved to be a stone over which the Jews stumbled and an offensive rock to them (Psa 118:22-23; Isa 8:13-15; Mat 21:42; 1Pe 2:4-9). Presently He is the foundation stone, the chief cornerstone of the church (Eph 2:19-22). And in the future He will be the great stone that smites the nations (Dan 2:35, 45).

THERE ARE SEVEN EYES ON THAT ONE STONE: Seven stones signifies complete divine intelligence (Zec 1:10; 4:10; 2Ch 16:9; Isa 11:2; Eze 1:18; 10:12; Col 2:3, 9; Rev 5:6). The eyes of the LORD -- that is, the angels -- are watching over this "Stone", and helping it accomplish its desired work.

I WILL ENGRAVE AN INSCRIPTION UPON IT: What is engraved upon the Stone of Jesus?

  • the name of the Father, that is, Yahweh, found in "Yah-shua", the Salvation of God;

  • the reaffirmation of this at his baptism: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased!";

  • the wounds in his hands and feet, by which he was "sealed" to the service of his Father; and ultimately

  • the reward he received: the divine nature:

"The writer, or engraver, is the Seven-Horned and Seven-Eyed Spirit (Zec 4:5; 5:6) who 'engraves the graving thereof'. When the dead body prepared for the Spirit (Heb 10:5) was restored to life, and had come forth from the sepulchre, the Spirit, 'in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,' engraved upon it, or impressed it with, every attribute necessary to constitute it 'the Lord from the heaven' -- He 'made it both Lord and Christ'. The precious stone had come out of the earth, whence all precious stones also come; but it had to be cut, polished, embroidered, and adorned, to bring out all the beauties of which it was susceptible. This the Spirit effected in the operation of raising the risen body to consubstantiality with the Deity.

"Now, it matters not whether it be one man to be made 'the Lord from heaven,' or a countless multitude of earthborns to be made the Holy Jerusalem 'descending from the Deity out of heaven' -- the operation is the same. Every individual is subjected to a like polishing, embroidering, and adorning, as saith the Spirit who will do the work. 'Him that overcometh,' saith he, 'I will make a pillar in the Nave of my Deity, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the Name of my Deity, and the Name of the City of my Deity, New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my Deity; and my new Name' (Rev 3:12). To have the Name of Deity, the Name of the City, and the New Name, engraved or written upon one, is for such an one first to come into existence, and then, to become a constituent of the things engraved. He becomes one of the City of the Deity, New Jerusalem; and in the operation is married to the Spirit in so close and intimate a union, that he becomes one body, flesh, and bones, with the Spirit; so that all the earthiness and corruptibleness of his grave-body is 'swallowed up of life;' it loses its similitude to the nature of the first Adam; and acquires 'the heavenly image' of the Lord from heaven" (John Thomas, "Eureka" 3:687).

I WILL REMOVE THE SIN OF THIS LAND IN A SINGLE DAY: Compare v 4. What Christ did for himself he also did on behalf of others: Heb 7:27; 9:28; 10:14. See also John 11:49-53; Zec 13:1; Isa 66:7,8; Rom 11:26,27.

Reading 3 - Jud 1:21-25

"And perhaps an exhortational point on priesthood might be helpful. We shall be a kingdom of priests. The work of a priest involved blood, sweat and tears; smoke, dirty ash, and much manual labour. One washed, but was never clean for very long, the work was so messy. And the work of cleaning out the altar, the ground, the ornaments, was never finished. One got one's hands dirty, immersing them in filth, blood, and broken tissue continually. And one's neighbours brought their diseases, their lesions, close to one's face seeking compassion, seeking diagnosis, seeking healing. Lifting; cleaning; scouring; teaching; eating and fellowship, all in the presence of God. What a picture of effortful service. Is this not ecclesial life?" (Dev Ramcharan).

Think of all the cleanup the priests and Levites would have to do. HOW did they deal with all the mess? How did they get all the blood out of the garments? Or DID they? As we think about the work of the priests, we have to naturally wonder: 'Didn't they... sometimes... have to make a clean sweep, a spring house-cleaning? Didn't they have to stop everything else, and wash down the whole altar, tabernacle, temple? And wash it again? Didn't they have to make a perfectly new, fresh start?

I don't know. Did they? Could they? Or did they go on, from day to day, and week to week, and year to year, accumulating more encrusted blood and gore, and dirt... and never quite getting clean again, either themselves, their garments, or their work area? Maybe that's the point: we never ever really "get clean" again either, in the ecclesia, either individually or collectively.

Except... through the cleansing, and sanctifying, of the sacrifice of our Saviour -- which cleanses the "conscience" (Heb 9:14) and not necessarily the body.

So there you are: a body (individually) and a "body" (collectively, and ecclesially) unclean in and of itself, and which life soils more and more, with each passing day... but... somehow, miraculously... washed and purified through faith in our Lord.

"Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire"... an allusion to the altar, and the sacrifices?... "and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear -- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh"... sounds like the priestly garments?... "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy -- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!" (Jude 1:21-25).


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