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Monday, April 16, 2012

One Time Renting Was Good!

All of the experts have an opinion on just about every single thing.  It used to be that only the tabloids and 'smut' papers carried the most updated 'facts' about what was good and what wasn't so good, what was health and what was sure to take years off of our life expectancies. Up until just a few short years ago, it was the general consensus among real estate and financial experts that renting was just about the worst thing a person could do, and that their was no 'upside' to renting.

(By the way, and I promised myself that I would not detour off topic today, I spent some time trying to get some information about what it is that makes a person either a real estate or financial expert.  I was after what I thought was some fairly simple answers, like what college degrees to take, or what kind of career paths to pursue, and how many years needed to be spent working in your degree field or career path before a person would be accepted as an expert.  Guess what?  I couldn't get a single consistent answer other than for the most part the 'solvency and mobility' of the real estate and financial markets played a huge role in whether a person was an expert or an idiot in either the real estate or financial fields.  Go figure!) 

Okay, back on track!  Well people, I can tell you one time when renting was without doubt a very good thing that happened for all of us.

'45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;'  (Matthew 27:45-51    NKJV)  (See also; Mark 15:37-39; Luke 23:44-46).

As some may have figured out by now, we're not talking about paying a certain amount of money on a regular basis for the use of a property.  What we are talking about is one very important effect caused by the One who chose to pay the highest price imaginable in behalf of people, who literally hated Him, so that they could basically live rent free for all of eternity.  It's obvious here that we're dealing with two different meanings for the word 'rent'.  Both meanings are literal to the secular world, one being to 'tear' and the other to pay to rent a property, as we've already talked about.  In verse fifty-one from the Scriptures up above, the contextual meaning is that the veil, a hanging curtain separating the 'holiest of holies' from the rest of the sanctuary, was quite literally torn in two.  I've heard some, in trying to take God out of the happenings on that very fateful day about two thousand years ago, explain that the veil, along with the rocks also mentioned in the same verse, were destroyed through the event of an earthquake, nothing more and nothing less.  Just one of many things that occurred to me in response to this kind of silliness is that why was that one particular earthquake, out of all of the millions that have taken place in that fault-ridden part of the world, so important as to have noted the damages that resulted.  Anyways, moving on...let's take a look at the real meaning behind the veil being rent, or torn, in two at the exact same moment that Jesus, '...yielded up the ghost.'   (Matthew 27:50    NKJV).  What we have to understand in order for the torn veil to have any meaning is the process, or ritual, that was a very  important part of the Jews worship of God at that time.

9 'Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; 8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— 10 concernedNKJV) 

Some denominations, and it truly saddens me to say this, still follow the ritualistic tradition we see here, which dates from the time that God chose the Children of Israel as His own.  In a nutshell, the normal everyday man did not have access to God, for any reason.  The priests were the intermediaries between God and man, but even the 'regular' priests were not allowed into this curtained alcove behind the altar.  Only the high priests were allowed to enter the Holiest of All, and that only once a year, in order to ask of God, by petition, just what the people should offer as an atonement for each of the sins confessed to the High Priest.  It wasn't that God is stand-offish, it's that man kept himself from God by his own sins.  But when Jesus, through His acts of obedience, paid man's sin offering in full, He also took on the permanent position of our Eternal High Priest, and since He is also God as well as mans intermediary, now man has permanent full-time access to God.  This is the figurative meaning behind the literal act of the veil being rent.  The Holiest of All was, and is, now wide open to man and for man.  Now, the only thing that can stand between God and man is mans own sin, and with Christ as our perfect atonement for that sin, it's our own fault if we're still separated from our Lord God. 

Another point to be made here, and this is just as important as understanding the meaning of the rent veil on that day, is that just as Jesus assumed His position as our Eternal High Priest able to stand as our perfect Atonement for sin by His acts of obedience, so our obedience is necessary for us to claim Him as our High Priest and His shed blood as atonement for our sin. 

4 'Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’”
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works” 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”  6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”  8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.'   (Hebrews 4:1-16    NKJV) 

It's only by the obedience of Jesus Christ that we're given the promise of the Throne of Grace, and only by our obedience that we're able to, with boldness, to claim that promise.  One way to look at the God/sin/man relationship is that the shed blood of Christ removed sin, signified by the veil in the temple, from between God and man.  But, man through disobedience can once again place his sin as a barrier between himself and God.  Through disobedience, man can effectively repair that torn veil and separate himself from God.  It is only be obedience, and not just a single act of disobedience in order to obtain salvation, that man can dare have the boldness to stand before God and claim sonship with the Author of Salvation.

How about you?  Do you dare to have the necessary boldness to approach the Throne of Grace?  Have you the obedience to God's Will as the most important part of your life?  Be Bold!

God bless you all,

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