Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong
That Laid The Foundation of Faith
< Exodus 25:1-9 >
"Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats' hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.'"
In a poem entitled 'A Psalm of Life,' Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, "Tell me not, in mournful numbers, 'Life is but an empty dream!'"
However, if you really think about it, the lives of human beings are indeed very poor. Though everyone's life may seem to end up returning to dust in vain after a lonely and transient living in this wilderness of the world, the earth is not the final destination. The final end of every person's life will be, because of sin, the everlasting, fearful sufferings of hell.
Yet people are usually indifferent to their own death and the world beyond the grave. While living in this world, people thus live without any purpose, heading toward hell, unable to meet God who has saved them. This is life. But if this indeed were all that there is to life, how poor and pitiful would we be?
To such lives, the Messiah is waiting. If people were carelessly thrown into this open world only to roam aimlessly and disappear into the darkness, they would indeed be leading pitiful and miserable existences. We can all recognize this just by looking at those around us.
The other day, when I was in a car, I saw an old man, around 60 years old, walking along the road. Walking with his back behind me, his head was tilted down and his shoulder sagged, all around looking quite lonely. When I honked, he turned around, and I saw that his face was filled with sorrows. Seeing this old man's expression, I contemplated for a while. This old man was probably feeling how empty his life was. The desolation of the fall perhaps added even more to this feeling of emptiness, making him feel even more of the futility of his life. Not only the life of this man, but of everyone is, in fact, truly pitiful.
With time flying by them, people do not even realize that they are getting old, until they suddenly discover deep wrinkles all around them. Many of them have faced so many difficulties in their lives that they did not even have a chance to pause, turn around, and see where they had been walking. Though all the parents had lived and labored hard for their children and family, words cannot describe their sadness, for when are facing their own sunset, nothing remains of their lives.
Taken over by their emotion, they are soon overwhelmed by tears. After so much time passed by, and after so many years gone by, they finally have a chance to look back, and when they do so, all that they can feel is just how uncannily this desolated scenery of the late fall fits into their own reflections. With the fall, when all the leaves have fallen off, and facing only the dreary winter, they recognize that their lives, too, will soon disappear in this manner. They would regret, of course, that it took them so long to realize this. What hope would these people have, when they are about to pass away without even meeting the Lord? Such people who come to their end without having met the Messiah are forever pitiful.
I myself would also have led a pitiful life had I not met the Lord. What about you? Where would you be heading now, if you had not met the Lord either? There are too many people in this world who, because they were unable to meet the Lord, have reserved their own unhappiness.
It breaks my heart when I think about these people, that there are so many people who have reserved their own unhappiness. All that pigs have to do is just to feed themselves until they face their end, but our lives are different from these pigs, for we must contemplate and look beyond the present into the eternal future. Many people meet their final day full of regrets. Though they know that there is the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, they recognize that they are too unfit to enter it, for they have remained sinful. That there are so many such lives full of such regrets only makes me lament and mourn for their sorry fate.
When we think about these lives, that they are unable to go to the good place prepared by God, and that they are to disappear from this world without having fulfilled the real purpose of their lives, we can only pity these soul and lament for their fate. This is why life is often compared to a voyage over a rough and difficult ocean. In referring to life, people say that it is like living in such an ocean, trying to survive in the bitterness of human world, for from their very birth to their death, they must suffer, kicking and screaming just to survive.
When we remind ourselves that this is what life is all about, we realize with certainty that explaining the truth of this Tabernacle to all the people and helping them to meet the Lord are all works of critical importance. Why? Because through the sacrificial offering, God gives to these sinful people their salvation from sin by meeting them in His own House of God. The Tabernacle is the House of God established in the wilderness. In this House of God, the Tabernacle, God meets the sinful through the grace of the remission of sin fulfilled by the offering of sacrifice. God tells us, "I will make you build My House where I will dwell, and I will meet you inside this Tabernacle, on its mercy seat." Only in the Tabernacle, the House of God, is anyone given a chance to meet God.
This faith in the truth of the Tabernacle cannot be exchanged for anything else in this world, and it is the most precious that cannot be purchased at any price. I believe that for those of us who have the Christian faith that believes in Jesus Christ as our Savior, to have the exact knowledge of and proper faith in this Tabernacle is the way to step onto an even more blessed road.
We Live Our Blessed Lives
My heart is filled with the happy thought, wondering if there is anyone else who is living such a blessed life as we are living. Though life is such a pitiful existence, many people carry on with their lives while remaining completely oblivious to their own fate. But God wants to make them recognize just how stubborn their lives had been before Him, and to make their hearts repent. They, on the other hand, are still trying to live their lives without listening to the gospel that God has given them freely, and without opening up even the tiniest space in their hearts.
Exodus tells us about the ten plagues that God brought to Pharaoh. A total of ten plagues were brought to the land of Egypt. God had commanded Pharaoh to let go of His people living in Egypt. He told Pharaoh that if he would not obey Him, He would bring ten plagues to him. But Pharaoh did not listen to what God had told him, resisted His command in stubbornness, and ended up receiving all the ten plagues that God had promised. Pharaoh's obstinacy was wrong-footed. Also, the reason why he finally freed the people of Israel only after receiving all the punishments of God was because he was held by Satan. This refers to our own wrong recalcitrance found in each and every one of us.
Such people, however, can still receive the remission of sin set by God in His Tabernacle, and live with Him in faith. Yet these people are so obstinate that they continue to reject and not believe in God's truth with the stubbornness of a donkey. This is why there are so many people who fail to meet the God of truth, live their lives as sinners, and ultimately face their own destruction. This saddens me beyond grief. Too many people are being way too stubborn before God.
Because such people yield for a while when they face hardships, but then go right back to where they were before rejecting God's will and once again resuming their recalcitrant ways, they would face their second plague. With this second plague, they yield a little bit. But this would not last long, for they would yet again start to not obey God and challenge Him. And so they are subjected to their third plague, followed by their fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth plagues, until they finally surrender only after the last plague and are destroyed.
When the last plague comes, there will be many people who would bear the suffering of hell for not believing in what the Messiah had done for them. How foolish are such people's lives? This is why everyone's life is so pitiful.
Though people's live are only pitiful before God, you must realize that meeting God in the Tabernacle is a great blessing for you, and dwell upon the Word of Tabernacle with this realization.
The Offerings That God Demands from Us
God commanded Moses to come up to the Mountain Sinai and gave him a whole series of His Law. First of all, He gave Moses the Ten Commandments: "You shall have no other gods before Me; you shall neither make images nor bow before them; you shall not call My name in vain; you shall remember the Sabbath and keep it holy; you shall honor your parents, you shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; and you shall not covet." In addition, God also spoke them of other laws that the Israelites had to keep in their everyday life: They were the 613 commandments and laws of God in total.
These 613 commandments covered such aspects as what to do when the Israelites lost their cattle, what to do when someone else's cattle fell into a hole, that they should not commit incest, that if they had servants they had to set them free on the seventh year, that if they had let their female servant wed their single male servant and had a child, they should let the male servant go by himself on the seventh year, and so on and so forth. God told Moses all such ethical laws that the Israelites had to keep by faith in the sight of God in their everyday life.
God then told Moses to go down the mountain, gather the elders, and declare His commandments. Hearing God's Word, the people of Israel all agreed, and swore with their blood that they would thus obey all His commandments (Exodus 24:1-4).
Then, God called Moses to the mountain once again, this time to command him to build the Tabernacle.
God spoke to Moses, "Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering" (Exodus 25:2). He then listed His offering: "And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats' hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate" (Exodus 25:3-7).
There was a concrete purpose behind God telling them to bring these offerings. This purpose was to build on this earth the shining House of God, where there is no sin and where God is to dwell, so that He would meet the people of Israel there and make their sins disappear. This does not mean, however, that God told them to bring money to build a memorial edifice just like today's churches. False prophets of today's Christianity are prone to misapply this passage when they are trying to build their church buildings in order to satisfy their own lusts.
In contrast, God told the Israelites to bring Him these offerings so that He would use them to build His own House and bless them abundantly there. In fact, the reason why God received these offerings was to deliver us from our sins and to save us from our judgment. It was for God Himself to meet us, we who lead pitiful lives, to wash away our sins, to make our sins disappear, and to make us His own people.
The Hidden Spiritual Meanings of the Offerings That God Commanded to Be Brought to Him
Before we proceed any further, let us first spend some time contemplating on the spiritual meanings of these offerings that God commanded to be brought to Him. After this, we will examine our faith in its light.
Gold, Silver, and Bronze
We should first of all find out where gold, silver, and bronze were used. In the Tabernacle, gold was used for the Holy Place, the Most Holy, and the items found in them, including the lampstand, the table of showbread, the altar of incense, the mercy seat, and the Ark of the Testimony. Gold refers to faith in the Word of God. And silver refers to the grace of salvation. It tells us that we must have the faith that believes in the gift of salvation given solely by the Messiah, and the faith that believes that our Lord has taken upon all our sins and was judged for us.
Bronze, in contrast, was used for the sockets of the Tabernacle's pillars, its pegs, the laver, and the altar of burnt offering. All the bronze utensils were to be buried in or set on the ground. This refers to the judgment of people's sins, and bronze also tells us that we are to be condemned by God for failing to keep the Law and because of our sins.
What, then, are the spiritual meanings of gold, silver, and bronze? They constitute the foundations of faith in receiving the gift of salvation given by God. The Bible tells us that all of us are sinners who cannot keep the Law wholly, that we therefore are to die because of our sins, and that instead of our own death the Lord came to this earth and was condemned for our sins in our place by becoming the sacrificial offering of the sin offering that was given in the Tabernacle.
To solve the problem of their sins, sinners brought an unblemished animal to the Tabernacle and, according to the sacrificial system, passed their sins onto it by laying their hands on its head; the sacrificial offering that accepted their sins then shed its blood and was killed. By doing so, the people of Israel, who were bound to hell (bronze), could receive the remission of their sins (silver) and escape from their condemnation of sin by faith (gold).
The Blue, Purple, and Scarlet Thread and the Fine Woven Linen
Here are the other frequently used materials; blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. These threads were used for the gate of the court of the Tabernacle, the gate of the Holy Place, and the dividing veil between the Holy Place and the Most Holy. These four threads tell us the truth that just as prophesied in Genesis 3:15, that the Lord would come as a woman's offspring, our Lord would indeed come to this earth and save sinners from their sins by being baptized and crucified, and that God Himself would save us.
These four threads were used not only for the gates of the Tabernacle, but also for the High Priest's garments and the Tabernacle's first covering. This was God's covenant that Jesus Christ would come to this earth and save us from our sins by fulfilling His works of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. And our Lord did in fact keep this promise and has indeed saved us from the sins of the world.
The most critical point of the gates of the Tabernacle is the blue thread. Why did Jesus Christ, coming to this earth as the Messiah, have to die on the Cross? The reason is because He was baptized. The blue thread refers to the baptism of Jesus, the purple thread tells us that Jesus is the King, and the scarlet thread refers to His crucifixion and bloodshed. The blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen are the essential building materials, which constitute the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ has given us by coming to this earth as the Messiah and taking all our sins upon Himself.
Many people in this world only emphasize that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He is fundamentally God Himself. But God tells us clearly through the Tabernacle that such teachings cannot be the whole truth.
The Apostle Paul said in 1 Peter 3:21, "There is also an antitype which now saves us-baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
This testifies to us that Jesus Christ fulfilled His promise of salvation and laid the foundations of faith wholly by receiving His baptism, the antitype that saves us. Who is our Messiah? The Messiah means the Savior, telling us that Jesus came to this earth, was baptized to take all our sins and all the sins of the world upon Himself, and did in fact take them all upon Himself with His baptism.
God told the Israelites to build the gate of the court of the Tabernacle by weaving it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. And the purpose for our Lord, who is the King of kings and the Lord of Heaven, to come to this earth in the flesh of a man was to fulfill the truth of these blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. Our Lord came in the flesh of a man and received the baptism that would fulfill all the righteousness of God from John the Baptist, the representative of mankind.
This was akin to the Old Testament's sacrificial offering that accepted the sins of the Israelites passed onto it by laying on of High Priest's hands on its head and that was condemned for these sins in their place. In other words, just like the sacrificial offering of the Old Testament, Jesus came in the New Testament as the sacrificial offering for the sins of all sinners, was baptized, crucified, and thereby bore all the condemnation of the sins of the world. Jesus fulfilled the truth of the blue thread by being baptized by John as the sacrificial Lamb of God. With this baptism, Jesus took the sins of mankind upon Himself at all once.
The reason why most Christians have turned into the kind of people who are even worse than the people of other worldly religions is because they have been unable to know and believe in this truth of the blue thread, the baptism of Jesus, and have therefore not received the remission of their sins at once. When Christians do not have the correct interpretation of this baptism that Jesus received to take our sins upon Himself, their very foundations of faith cannot be laid correctly from the beginning.
To be exact, the blue thread is the method and the truth by which the Messiah came to this earth and took our sins upon Himself. And the scarlet thread refers to the blood of Jesus. The reason why Jesus Christ was crucified, shed His blood, and died on the Cross is because all our sins had been passed onto Him through His baptism. It was because Jesus had taken our sins upon Himself with His baptism received from John that He could therefore die on the Cross, and it was because of this fact that His sacrifice on the Cross for us was not in vain. It was because Jesus Christ the Messiah bore all our condemnation of sin wholly with His baptism and crucifixion that He could complete our salvation.
The purple thread means that Jesus Christ is God and the King of kings. Although Jesus Christ is the King of kings (the purple thread), had He not been baptized by John the Baptist, the representative of mankind, and had he therefore not taken our sins upon Himself (the blue thread), no mater with how much suffering and pain He died on the Cross (the scarlet thread), His death would have been only in vain. The fine woven linen is telling us that the Word of prophecy that God spoke in the Old Testament is all fulfilled in the New Testament.
Today's Christianity Has Lost the Meaning of the Blue Tread
Yet there is a marked tendency in today's Christianity to ignore the blue thread among the four treads and to arbitrarily interpret the Word of God on one's own-this great sin will surely be condemned.
The blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen used for the gate of the court of the Tabernacle tell us the truth of salvation, that to save us from our sins, Jesus Christ our Messiah had to come to this earth in the flesh of a man, and be baptized and crucified. Jesus took all our sins upon Himself.
How did Jesus take our sins upon Himself? He took them through the baptism that He received from John. Only by taking our sins upon Himself could Jesus become our true Savior. This is why the gates of the Tabernacle had to be woven of these four threads, for they tell us that Jesus, who came to this earth, was baptized, shed His blood on the Cross, and rose from the dead again, is God Himself.
As such, the gate of the Tabernacle's court was made of these blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. Jesus is the door of salvation leading us into the Kingdom of Heaven. This door is a door woven of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. Jesus is the Savior of sinners. The baptism of Jesus and His crucifixion are His gift of salvation that has saved sinners from their sins.
It is because today's Christianity has failed to properly understand the baptism of Jesus that it has been unable to encounter the real God and has instead ended up turning into just one of the many worldly religions. As far as our faith is concerned, therefore, we must first lay the firm foundation of faith upon the truth of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. This foundation of faith is the fact that our Lord came to this earth and has save you and me from the sins of the world through His blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen.
Jesus came to this earth and has completed the gift of salvation that has saved us from all our sins with His baptism and the blood of the Cross. To be more specific, Jesus came to this earth in the flesh of a man, took the sins of the world upon Himself through His baptism, atoned all our sins with His blood of the Cross, and thus bore the condemnation of our sins by dying on the Cross. This Jesus who has thus saved us through the water and the blood (1 John 5:4-8) is fundamentally the Lord of creation who made us, and the very One who has given us the gift of salvation that has saved us. This Jesus who has saved us from all our sins and condemnation has become our true Savior. This is what the building materials of the Tabernacle are telling us.
As such, we must establish our faith firmly by believing in these materials. In believing in this Jesus who came as our Messiah as our very own Savior, we must believe clearly and definitely with all our hearts in the baptism that He received, in all the condemnation that He bore for us on the Cross, and in His resurrection from the dead. The Savior who has given us the gift of our salvation from all our sins through His baptism and the blood that He shed on the Cross was not just a man, but He was the very Creator who made the mankind and the whole universe. We must confess our faith in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Without such a confession of faith, it is simply untenable to believe in Jesus as the Savior.
Have you ever played a silent word-relaying game? This game starts from a person who is given a card on which a sentence is written. The person first reads the sentence secretly, and then expresses the sentence silently, only with the shape of lips. Then, the next one who reads the lips then passes it onto the third person. This person then reads the lips of the second person, and then passes it onto the fourth person in the same way, until the last person is reached. The point of this game is for the last person to correctly say the original sentence that was first passed on. The reason why this game is fun is that the original sentence gets easily distorted. For instance, if the game had started with a sentence that said, "Turn on the fan," after it is relayed onto a few people, it already begins to be changed. In the end, the last person might as well say, "Turn away the donkey," ending up with a completely different sentence.
Just as this last person comes up with a totally different sentence, so does today's Christianity have a completely misplaced faith, as if had been playing this silent word-relaying game. Why is this the case? It is because it has failed to lay the foundation of faith on the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Today's Christianity has not grounded its foundation on this faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. When the foundation of faith is faltering, no matter how ardently we believe in Jesus and how much we seek to apply His teachings to our lives, we simply cannot do this.
When the Lord told the Israelites to bring Him their offerings to build the Tabernacle, He told them to first bring gold, silver, and bronze, and then to bring blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. These building materials all show us that Jesus has saved us through His baptism received from John, His bleeding to death on the Cross, and His resurrection.
The blue thread was used not only for all the gates of the Tabernacle, but also for the High Priest's robe and the Tabernacle's coverings. This is the gospel that is telling us how our Lord came to this earth and just how exactly He has saved you and me from our sins. As such, it tells us how important these four basic constituents of faith-that is, the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine wove linen-really are for our faith. Based on this Word, we must all lay our foundation of faith firmly. Only then can we believe in God and receive our remission of sin, become His servants who spread this word thereafter, and, when the Lord returns, thereby become such people of faith who can stand confidently before God with this faith.
In Korea, it is true that there is still toadyism that considers anything foreign to be better. This tendency is present among the theologians of my country as well, who place great confidence in what western theologians have said, relying on their words even more than on the Word of God. They must be freed from this ignorance, and they must truly believe in the Word of God, trusting in and depending on Him, for the truth of the baptism of our Lord, of His blood, and of the fact that He is God Himself, has fundamentally become the door of our salvation.
Just like the Apostle Peter confessed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," (Matthew 16:16) if you believe in God, and if you believe that the Lord came to this earth to save us from our sins, then you must also know and believe that the Lord became our true God of salvation by taking our sins upon Himself with His baptism, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. The baptism of our Lord and the blood of the Cross are the foundations of the true faith that enables us to receive the gift of salvation. If we cannot even believe in the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread according to the Word of God, how could we ever call it true faith?
The Law Is the Shadow of the Good Things to Come
The building materials of the Tabernacle show us that our Lord came to this earth in the flesh of a man, took our sins upon Himself with His baptism, bore the condemnation of our sins with His crucifixion, rose from the dead again, and thereby became our Savior. With the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, our Lord promised in the Old Testament that He would give us the gift of salvation. The One who gave us this covenant was none other than Jesus Christ, the King of kings who was baptized and crucified for the sake of sinners. This God, in other words, came to us as our God the Messiah. As such, we must lay the foundation of our faith by knowing and believing in this truth wholly. By believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we must all receive the gift of salvation.
Gold, silver, and bronze were also the materials used for the Tabernacle. These materials refer to the foundation of our faith. Before God, we could not help but be cast into hell because of our sins. But to such people as us, our Lord has given the gift of salvation to those of us who believe. As the sacrificial offering for all mankind, Jesus Christ was baptized by John, crucified, and has thereby saved us wholly from our sins. There was no way for us to avoid hell, for we only knew that we were bound to be condemned for our sins, and did not know how we could have the faith that makes all our sins disappear. But in God there was the gift of salvation. That Jesus came to this earth, accepted all our sins onto Himself with His baptism, died on the Cross, and thereby has solve all the problems of our sins and condemnation-this is the gift of salvation.
We are saved from our sins through our faith, by believing that God has completed His work of our salvation and has given us the gift of this salvation. This is why God said to bring to Him the faith of gold, silver, and bronze, for He has wholly saved those who could not help but be bound to hell by giving them the gift of salvation. It is because our Lord has indeed saved us by coming to this earth, taking all our sins upon Himself, and bearing all our condemnation that we have been saved wholly before God by believing in this gift of salvation.
Jesus Christ has now become our perfect Savior. We must therefore stand firmly with our faith in His gift of salvation, for the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen are the gifts of faith. God does not want us to believe arbitrarily and blindly without knowing anything at all.
Goats' Hair, Ram Skins Dyed Red, and Badger Skins
These were used to make the coverings of the Tabernacle. The first covering was woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen, on which the second covering of goats' hair was laid. This was then covered by ram skins dyed red, and, lastly, badger skins were laid on top. In this way, four different layers of coverings covered the Tabernacle.
The covering that was last laid on the Tabernacle was of badger skins. So what appeared on the surface of the Tabernacle's coverings was just these black badger skins. A badger is a sea otter. The size of its skins is about the size of a man or slightly smaller, and the skins were waterproof. This is why badger skins were used as the covering for the top layer of the Tabernacle. Because of this, the outside appearance of the Tabernacle was rather unimpressive, and it certainly was not a pleasant sight to hold. This tells us that when Jesus came to this earth for us, He indeed came in such a lowly form, with nothing desirable in His appearance.
The ram skins dyed red tell us that Jesus Christ would come to this earth and be sacrificed for our sake, while the goats' hair tells us that He would save us by being baptized as our sacrificial offering and thereby accepting our sins onto Himself, and by being sacrificed on the Cross.
The materials of these coverings of the Tabernacle, in other words, are the fundamentals of our faith. These truths are the building materials of faith that absolutely cannot be missing at all. To give us the gift of salvation, Jesus Christ came to this earth as our own sacrificial offering. In the Old Testament, God established the sacrificial system for the remission of Israelites' sins: The unblemished sacrificial animals (goats, lambs, or bulls) accepted the sins of the Israelites passed onto them with the laying on of hands, and were killed in their place, shedding their blood and being burnt, and thereby saving them from all their sins.
Jesus Christ came to this earth as the Lamb of sacrifice and accepted our sins onto Himself through His baptism, that is, the laying on of hands. Just as the sacrificial offering was killed by shedding its blood and burnt on the altar of burnt offering for accepting the sins of the Israelites with the laying on of hands, so, too, did Jesus Christ bear all the condemnation of our sins by being baptized and dying on the Cross, and has thereby saved us from the sins of the world.
As names on the Book of Judgment were blotted out by putting the blood of the sacrificial offering on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, it was because Jesus was baptized and shed His blood that He completed our eternal atonement with this blood and has blotted out all the sins of the world. Like this, all the materials of the Tabernacle speak to us of Jesus Christ and His ministries, telling us that He has thus saved us from the sins of the world. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Word that Jesus Has saved us from our sins is the whole truth, completely free from any mistakes.
Many of today's Christians do not believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth as our sacrificial offering and took our sins upon Himself with His baptism, but they instead believe unconditionally only in His death on the Cross. Such Christian faith is of a lawless gate of the Tabernacle's court woven of only the scarlet and purple thread, leaving the blue thread out. They only have the mistaken faith that sees no need for the covering made of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen, and that instead believes that all that they need is only the two coverings of ram skins dyed red and of badger skins.
When we look at the many paintings of the Tabernacle depicted throughout the world, most of them are painted in such a way that we cannot find even the slightest trace of the blue thread. Because the people who painted these pictures are ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the gate of the Tabernacle's court in their paintings is all covered in scarlet and white colors. But such faith can never be the right faith before God.
The thread that was most used for the gate of the court of the Tabernacle was the blue thread, followed by the purple thread, then by the scarlet thread, and then by the white thread. So when looking at the gate of the court, all these four colors must come into view at once. But because there are so many people in this world whose faith is completely devoid of any knowledge of the baptism of Jesus, they have all ignored the four colored threads used for the Tabernacle and instead built their gates of the Tabernacle with only two threads.
By doing so, they are deceiving many people, who already have only a limited knowledge of God and are quite ignorant of His Word. These are all false prophets. Referring to these people, Jesus Himself described them as the tares that the Devil sowed among the wheat (Matthew 13:25). They have become, in other words, people who spread false lies by leaving the blue thread out of their painting of the gate of the Tabernacle' court. This is why so many people remain sinful even as they believe in Jesus, and why despite their faith in Jesus they are all bound to their destruction because of their sins.
Our foundation of faith must stand firmly. What good would it serve to lead a long period of religious life for your souls when it is all grounded in a lawless foundation of faith? Wrong faith can and will crumble down at a moment's notice. No matter how beautiful our house is, what good would it serve if we build this house on a flawed foundation of faith? Regardless of how diligently you have served God, if your foundation of faith is flawed, then you have only built your house on sand; when storms come, winds rise, and floods break out, it will all crumble down at once.
But what about the faith whose foundation is solid? It never falls down, no matter how it is shaken. God told us that a house built on the rock of the truth woven of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen will never fall down. This is actually the case. What is the faith of rock? It is the faith that believes in the truth of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. The faith of those who have built such a house of faith will never collapse. This is why it is critical for our faith to have a firm and solid foundation. If we believe without even actually grasping exactly what the Lord has done for us, then such faith would turn into false religious faith, unwanted by God.
Acacia Wood, Oil, and Spices
The pillars of the Tabernacle, the altar of burnt offering, and the boards and the items of the Sanctuary were all made of acacia wood. Wood in the Bible usually implies human beings (Judges 9:8-15, Mark 8:24). The wood here also refers to us in our human nature; that this acacia wood was used for the pillars, the altar of burnt offering, and the Tabernacle itself tells us that just like the roots of acacia trees are always buried under the ground, our fundaments are such that we cannot help but sin all the time. People must all admit that they simply cannot help but continue to be unrighteous and to sin always.
At the same time, the acacia wood also implies the humanity of Jesus Christ. The Messiah who came in the flesh of a man bore all the sins of the world, and was judged vicariously for the sake of all mankind. He is God Himself, and therefore, the ark, the table of showbread, the altar of incense, and the boards of the Tabernacle were all made of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold.
The oil for the light and the spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense refer to our faith that we offer to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Messiah who has saved you and me. The meaning of the name "Jesus" is "the One who will save His people from their sins," and the name "Christ" means "the anointed One," telling us therefore that Jesus Christ is God Himself and the High Priest of Heaven who has saved us. Obeying the will of God, our Lord came to this earth in the flesh of a man, was baptized, sacrificed Himself on the Cross for our sake, and has thereby given us the gift of salvation. The role of the High Priest taken by Jesus who has give us our salvation was indeed the most beautiful work.
Onyx Stones and Other Stones to Be Set in the Ephod and in the Breastplate of the High Priest
Twelve different precious stones are mentioned here that would be set in the ephod and in the breastplate of the High Priest. The High Priest first wore tunics, then put on a blue robe, and then wore the ephod over the robe. Then, the breastplate was placed on the ephod, which was worn during the sacrificial ceremony, and on this breastplate twelve precious stones were set. This shows us that the role of the High Priest was to embrace the people of Israel as well as all other people of the whole world into his bosom, to go before God, and to give Him their sacrificial offerings.
Jesus, the eternal High Priest of Heaven, also embraced all the nations of the world into His bosom, gave up His own body to take our sins upon Himself with His baptism and to be sacrificed on our behalf, and has thereby consecrated His people to God the Father. The twelve precious stones that were placed on the breastplate refer to all the nations of this world, and the High Priest who wore them refer to Jesus Christ who has likewise saved and embraced into His bosom all the nations of the world.
So these were the offerings that our God told the Israelites to bring to build the Tabernacle for Him. There is a spiritual meaning to the fact that God told them to build the Tabernacle, His place of dwelling, with these offerings. The people of Israel always remained sinful, because they could not keep the Law that God had given them. This is why God told them through Moses to build the Tabernacle and gave them the sacrificial system, through which the remission of sin was granted by the sacrificial offerings given in the Tabernacle. God, in other words, blotted out all the sins of the Israelites by accepting their offerings, using all these offerings to build His House, and then making them give Him their sacrificial offerings in it according to the requirements of the sacrificial system. This is how God could dwell in the Tabernacle with the people of Israel.
There are, however, too many Christians on this earth who simply do not believe in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. When God told them to bring gold, silver, and bronze to Him, why do they not believe in the truth implied by these offerings?
Were we not all bound to hell because of our sins? Have you believed in Christianity as if it were just one of the many religions of this world because you have never admitted yourselves to be bound to hell? If this is how you have believed so far, then you must repent and return to the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. And you must realize before God's strict commandments that you are a mass of sin, and that you are bound to hell because of these sins, and you must believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Now, you must believe in the gospel of the truth, that even as you were bound to hell, our Lord nevertheless came to this earth as the Messiah, accepted your sins onto Himself with His baptism, carried these sins to the Cross and sacrificed Himself by shedding His blood on it, and has thereby saved you and me from our sins and our condemnation. Without believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, we can never lay our foundation of faith wholly.
We Must Think about the Foundation of Our Faith
God tells us to have the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread; we should ask ourselves whether we indeed have this faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, or whether we believe in the truth manifested only in the purple and scarlet thread, leaving out the blue thread.
We need to look at ourselves and see whether or not we are taking to God the wrong kind of faith that only fits our own taste. When God tells us to bring Him the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, are we not, by any chance, giving Him black-colored nylon thread? "God, the thread that you asked for seems to be useless for the Tabernacle. It'll just rot away with rain. And it's also quite tiresome to look for it and bring it all the way here. Try this nylon thread instead. I can guarantee you that it will last at least 50 years, maybe even 100 years if You maintain it well. And even if You bury it in the ground, it won't rot away for over 200 years. Isn't this just wonderful?"
Is this not, by any chance, what we are saying to God? We must also take a good look at ourselves and consider whether we are not indeed taking this kind of narcissistic and superstitious faith to God. And if we have had such faith, we must repent right now. We must, in other words, turn around.
There are many among us who think themselves that they are really good Christians, but upon a closer look, their knowledge is mistaken and so is their faith.
Mysticism That Is Prevalent in Today's Christianity
Mysticism is what Christians ordinarily believe in the most. These people have no idea what the Word of God is actually saying. Because they do not know the Word of truth that the Messiah has given them, they believe in and follow the Lord according to their own feelings and emotions. And they are convinced that such feelings are of truth. Because they pray to God fervently by themselves, and follow faithfully their own emotions and feelings that they sense in their prayers, they cannot discern what exactly is the true faith in God.
Like this, believing in God according to one's own emotions and feelings that fluctuate widely within one's own thoughts is the faith of mysticism. People who believe in God led by the feelings they get when they fast, when they praise, when they believe, when they give early morning prayers, when they clime up a mountain to pray, when they sin, when they give prayers of repentance, and so and so forth-these people are all mystics. In other words, living a life of faith by holding onto one's own feelings is not the faith of blue, purple, and scarlet thread that the Messiah spoke of.
Perhaps as many as 99.9 percent of today's Christians have historically been mystics. It is no exaggeration, in other words, to say that except for the Early Church, the entire Christendom has all been following mysticism. Those who do not have the faith of blue, purple, and scarlet thread are deluded into thinking that their own feelings are somehow faith itself. They claim to have seen and met God in their prayers, and tell us how wonderful they feel whenever they are praising.
They say, "We gathered at this praise meeting, and we lifted up our hands and together repented our sins. We held the Cross and performed some ritual at its foot, and then our hearts were all fired up, and Christ became so intensely lovable. We felt so much thanks in our hearts for the blood that Christ shed. We believed even more fervently that the Lord has washed away all our sins, realizing even more this is why He shed His blood. We just loved the whole experience." But when their emotions subside one day, they say, "But all that feeling has just dried up, and we have sin in our hearts." None other than this kind of faith is the faith of mysticism.
Regardless of one's denominational or sectarian differences, every Christian needs the faith that believes in the truth of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. The faith of all those who do not have this faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread that God spoke are mystical and superstitious. These people are giving to God not the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, but the faith of nylon thread. They are bringing to God their mystical faith, in other words, something that falls far short, something that God does not even look at.
Have you ever seen the thick ropes used to tie boats at piers? The mystics would gladly offer God this kind of material. When our Lord has told us to bring the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen, some people take this thick rope to God, saying to Him, "Lord, accept this faith!" And some people take to Him even iron chains used to tie big ships to each other and to the dock. Having rolled a bundle of this thick iron chains, they offer it at the Lord's feet, asking Him to accept it.
But God has told us to bring the faith of blue, purple, and scarlet thread. He has not told us to bring to Him iron chains. Yet many people are taking to Him what looks better in their own eyes or what are easier for them to find. Though there are people who go to God with iron chains, rope, nylon thread, or even arrowroot vines, God in fact receives only the offering of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. God hast set that the only faith that He would accept is the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. As such, we must take this faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread before God.
The Messiah Does Not Receive Just Any Offering
The Israelites also had to take to God gold, silver, bronze, and twelve precious stones to be set in the ephod and the breastplate. Yet there are some people who take copper or iron to God. Is Jesus running a recycling dump, as if He would accept all kinds of things? Of course not!
Jesus is not someone who accepts just any kind of garbage. He does not run a recycling dump, taking in whatever useless stuff that you bring to Him. Jesus is the Messiah who wants to bestow on us His mercy of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread that forgives our sins, and who wants to give us His true love. This is why Jesus is called as the King of love. Our Shepherd is indeed the King of love. Jesus is indeed our true Messiah. This Messiah has set the faith that He wants from us, defining certain characteristics as absolutely required. Only when we go before God with this faith, He will give us what He has promised us.
Yet we see that among those whose faith in the Messiah is based on their mistaken knowledge of Him, there are some whose stubbornness is beyond description. They are simply wicked and evil, as much as Pharaoh who had insisted on his obstinate ways before God. When Moses said to him, "Jehovah has revealed Himself; let His people go," Pharaoh retorted, "Who is this Jehovah?"
When God's existence was explained to him, he would certainly have been better off to quickly surrender and yield to Him after calculating the costs and benefits of his recalcitrance. If he still absolutely could not believe and had to insist on his stubbornness, he could have tried to hold out for a while, but after a couple of plagues, he should have given up. How foolish and pitiful was it for Pharaoh to still hold out in his stubbornness and disobey the Word of God, even as he was plagued by frogs covering his whole nation?
Not only frogs, but lice also plagued Pharaoh's palace. Left and right, wherever one turned, everywhere in the whole land of Egypt became filled by lice, and yet Pharaoh did not surrender. How could anyone live when everywhere is filled by lice? In this situation, he should have realized, "Because I have disobeyed God, He is showing me who the real King is. I may be a king of my empire on this earth, but I am nothing compared to Him. Though I am the king of the greatest nation on the face of this earth, and though I have power over the whole world, God is even more powerful than I am, and He is bringing me these plagues because of my disobedience." This is how he should have surrendered.
The wise thing for Pharaoh to do would have been to quickly surrender after seeing for himself what the cost of his resistance would be. Regardless of how powerful Pharaoh was, if he reached the conclusion that there was no way for him to stand against God, all that he had to was to surrender to Him, saying, "Okay, God, You take the first place; I'll take the second place." But because Pharaoh refused to thus yield, his whole nation and people were plagued by lice.
Because of this, no Egyptian could do anything at all. When everyone was tormented relentlessly by lice, how could anyone do anything else but try to get rid of lice? We can all imagine these poor Egyptians running around with torches trying to get rid of lice, perhaps even burning down their own houses in the process, and the stench of the burning lice filling the villages.
There are things that man can do, and there are things that man cannot do. Because God is the Lord of Hosts, it is God who presides over life and death, happiness and unhappiness, and blessings and curses. When this is the case, rather than placing confidence in ourselves and trying to stand against God, we must all think rationally and reach the logical conclusion to abandon our stubbornness. Among ourselves, we may insist on one's own way and try to prevail over others, but when dealing with the Messiah, this is no longer feasible.
We must think of what kind of person we really should be before God. We must seriously consider whether we should hold out against God, or whether our hearts should indeed be gentle and meek. And we must reach the definitive conclusion that we must all be meek before God. Before men, we may hold out in our stubbornness and at times face its consequences, but before God, our hearts must absolutely be meek.
"God, I have done wrong"-those who admit this are the ones who choose the right way. These are the people who can be saved from their accursed lives. For those who had left God because of their sins, the way to be embraced in God's arms and feed on His life-giving water is to be born again by the water and the Spirit. What can we ever expect from our lives, when such lives are spent fruitlessly in the wilderness of this world, floating around its empty and barren land without any purpose, only to return to a handful of dust?
The only way for us, who are to return to dust and are bound to be cast out into the lake of fire, to be saved is by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and thus receive the remission of our sins. This is for the desperate and hopeless lives who were destined for eternal destruction for standing against God and for their sins to be miraculously revived again before God through His love of mercy, the love of salvation. We must, therefore, all be clothed in this salvation.
How can anyone, being a mere mortal, ever challenge God? When God tells us to bring such and such offerings, we must all obey His Word. Looking at the main passage above, where God tells us what offerings we need to bring to Him, we must all come to the realization, "Ah, so this is the kind of faith that God is asking us to bring to Him."
On the breastplate of the High Priest, twelve precious stones were to be placed. And beneath the breastplate of judgment, the Urim and the Thummim, which mean literally the Lights and the Perfections, had to be put in so that the High Priest could bear the right judgment over the children of Israel.
This refers to none other than the fact that only the servants of God can pass righteous judgment on their spiritual children of faith by shedding the light of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them and the Word of God.
We must all realize now that before God, the truth of blue, purple, and scarlet thread is the real truth and the real salvation. This truth of blue, purple, and scarlet thread is the true salvation that brings us to life, and apart from this, nothing else is constitutes our salvation. This is all based on the Word of God, clear and true.
All the Materials of the Tabernacle Are Related to Man's Salvation from Sin
Yet out of foolishness, people still stubbornly refuse to believe. What then would happen to them? They will never, ever be saved. Before God, we must cast away our foolishness also. And we must empty our hearts. We must cast aside our own thoughts and stubbornness before God, and instead obey His Word and give Him our hearts. We must never hold out against God, insisting on our own recalcitrant ways. We may do so before other people, but as Christians, we simply cannot do this, at least before God. And yet foolish people stand against God and are meek only before other men. This is what's wrong with them. We must throw ourselves flat on our faces before God and admit that what God has spoken to us are all right.
And we must believe and trust in the Word of blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Faith is trusting in God's Word. When we throw ourselves at God's feet, confess all our troubles before Him, and cling to Him asking for His help, God will certainly answer us. We must then accept what He has done for us with thanks. This is what faith is all about. In what absurdness and lunacy, then, could we ever show God something other than the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, bringing to Him fishing lines or metal chains? Bringing some useless thread before God and saying to Him, "This is my own faith. This is how I have believed so strongly. This is the firm faith that I have kept particularly,"-this simply is not faith, but making a fool out of oneself before God.
One must yield his/her stubbornness before the Messiah. Before God, in other words, one must bend his/her will. We must all recognize ourselves before God. We must recognize according to what God says to us and how He decides for us. None other than this is the correct faith of Christians. Obeying and believing according to the Word of God is the correct posture and heart of the faithful. This is what we must keep in mind before God.
Among ourselves, of course, we may boast of one's own achievements, compare each other, compete against one another, and challenge each other. Although this, too, is a useless practice measuring what are essentially the same before God, among the human beings this is something that we have little choice but be engaged in continuously.
Even puppies recognize who their masters are, and submit to their owners and obey them. Even dogs, in other words, obey their owners, recognize their voices, and follow only their masters. When dogs get rebuked by their owners, they recognize their wrongdoings, lower their heads in obedience, and try to return back to the good grace with their master by doing all kinds of cute little tricks. When even animals do this, and yet people continue to challenge God by taking the faith of their own thoughts. They continue, in other words, to cling to God even as they insist on their own ways and their own thoughts.
With His blue, purple, and scarlet thread, God has thus made all the sins of mankind disappear, and all that He has told us is to have the faith that believes in the works of our Lord. Yet people still remain recalcitrant and challenge God.
The Lord has told us to bring to Him all our sins, and by making them all disappear with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, He has given us the remission of sin. When God has told us to bring Him the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, people still do not believe in this, and are defying their own Master. These people will be cursed.
When they bring to the Messiah not the faith that He wants from them but the faith that He does not want, He can only be angered. They keep bringing their stubbornness before God and say to Him, "I have kept my faith this far and this well. Commend me for what a job well-done!" Would God commend them just because they have kept their faith, when in fact this faith has been simply useless this whole time?
There may be times when stubbornness is appropriately required in our lives. But the stubbornness of wrong faith is completely useless before God. God used the blue, purple, and scarlet thread in making our sins disappear. The Bible does not say that He used only the purple thread, nor that He used only the scarlet thread, even far less that He used metal chains, just as there is no mention of using nylon thread. Inside the House of God, and within His law of salvation given to us, the Messiah has demanded from us the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread.
Christians refer to those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ. We, too, then are also Christians. However, there are so many people who have not been born again despite believing in Jesus as their Savior, who have not received the remission of sin, and who do not have the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread-these are merely nominal Christians destined to hell, because they believe according to their own ways. God will abandon these people, for they are only religionists, not true Christians.
At least before God, we must all be honest, and recognize ourselves as we really are. Every moment, every minute and second, we must confess that we were bound to hell because of our sins. Before the Messiah, we must all have the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Believing so is the right thing to do. And whenever we confess, we must remind ourselves of what the Messiah has done for us, that He was baptized to deliver us from sin and was judged for our own sins with His crucifixion, and recognize our salvation every time. This is the faith that God demands from us.
We can never please God unless we do exactly as the Messiah wants us to do. Why? Because as He has become our eternal Savior through His blue, purple, and scarlet thread, we need to believe every moment in what God has done for us. As the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread is true, we need it even more for the remission of our sins that we ourselves commit everyday.
Would God Be Pleased If We Were to Give Him the Products of Our Own Efforts?
If we were to give to God the things of the earth, we would not only be garnering the wrath of God over us, but we would also be committing a great sin by mounting a challenge against Him. Such faith is treasonous, for it stands against God. Nothing in this world, no matter how precious and expensive it may be, can ever please God. Bringing to God such materials things of this world is never the right faith that can be commended by God. No matter how good they may be in worldly terms, God does not accept such material things. We must have the faith that God really wants from us, and give Him this faith.
Our faith must be one that believes in the Word of God as it is, one that takes exactly the offerings that God has asked from us. All the while, with each passing moment, we must also recognize what God has done for us, and we must admit our own infirmities and insufficiencies as well. We must remember the abundant blessings that God has bestowed on us, and we must know exactly and believe in what He has done for us, that He has willingly met us.
We must cast away all faiths of mysticism, and we must only have the faith that believes in the Word spoken by God. The offerings of this faith are what we must give to God. Only when we give to God the offerings of the right faith will He be pleased, meet us, and accept our faith. And it is when we do so that God gives us all the blessings that He has set and prepared for us.
When we dwell on the Word, we must therefore contemplate, "What is the faith that God really wants from us? What kind of prayer is the prayer that He wants?" We then realize that the prayer that God wants from us is none other than the prayer within faith. Our Lord wants from us the prayers that are offered within the faith of the salvation of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, within the faith that has accepted what God has given us. All that God wants from us is this thankful prayer within faith; He will never accept anything of our own making that we try to give Him or leave at His feet. We must all realize that we should never do this.
God is telling us, "No, no, that's not the faith that I want from you. I was baptized and crucified for you. I received baptism to make all your sins disappear. It is because I had to take your sins upon Myself before I was judged for these sins and died on the Cross. I am your Savior, but I am fundamentally your God also. I am the King of kings, but because I am also your God, I came to this earth and fulfilled everything. I want you to believe in Me truly, to recognize My authority in your hearts, and to confess wholeheartedly that I am your true God." It is with this intention that God has given us the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. And this is the faith that God demands from us.
We must really have this faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. You might think to yourself, "Well, it's still quite livable. I'm still doing quite okay, and things are going just fine. If it's not broken, why fix it? Why do I have to believe exactly in this way? Whether I believe in this way or that way, aren't they all the same?" No, they are not the same! If you have some faith other than this one in your hearts, then you have absolutely not been saved. Because in such hearts sin is still found, you must turn around your hearts and return to the faith that truly believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The hearts of those who believe in the true gospel and of those who do not are fundamentally different from each other. God knows this, and so does we, who have been born again. When you come to know yourselves, you must turn around. "God, I am indeed sinful. Please save me." When you thus turn around your hearts and seek after your salvation, God will meet you with His truth.
Our Lord Has Saved Us from All Our Sins
Our Lord was baptized and crucified for us. As written in Matthew 3, this is what the Lord has done for us. We believe in it. We thank Him for it. When Jesus was baptized, all our sins were passed onto Him. When He was crucified, it was because He took upon all our sins that He could carry these sins to the Cross. He was judged for not only our own sins, but all the sins of the entire world.
When our Lord tells us to bring to Him the offerings of building materials for the Tabernacle, or whenever He tells us anything, He always proceeds with a sequence. He always tells us, "Bring me blue, purple, and scarlet thread." The blue thread always comes first. And He follows this with His mentioning of the fine woven linen, telling us to believe in God's Word. Believing in the blood of the Cross first and then believing in Jesus' baptism may seem okay at first glance, but this is in fact wrong. It was because Jesus was first baptized that He could shed His blood on the Cross. I am saying to you again that it is never okay to first believe in the blood of the Cross and then in His baptism. God never allows such faith.
Coming to this earth in the flesh of a man, when our Lord turned 30, He was first baptized to take all our sins upon Himself. After having done so, He then carried these sins of the world to the Cross, was judged with His crucifixion, and then rose from the dead again, thereby becoming our Savior. As such, we must believe in what the Lord has done for us according to the order in which He fulfilled His works. This is how we must believe. Only then can our faith stand as whole, never to be confused, nor ever to be shaken. And when we spread the gospel to others, we must do so accordingly. We must believe, in other words, according to what would please God, according to how He has set for us.
What offerings of faith is God asking you to bring to Him? Is He not telling you to bring the faith of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen? Do you have this faith? Are you not, by any chance, believing in reverse order? "Whether I believe this way or that way doesn't matter. I still believe, and that's all there is to it. I believe in the scarlet thread first, and then in the blue thread, and then in the purple thread." If this is how you believe, then you must believe again. The Lord will never approve this reversed faith of yours.
Our Lord is the God of justice and the God of truth. As such, He does not approve wrong faith. Because faith cannot stand upright when its order is all mixed up, God cannot approve this faith even if He wants to. Just as we cannot try to lay the foundation after having finished building a house, it is because Jesus had taken upon our sins with His baptism that He could then be crucified.
We must therefore believe according to what the Lord has told us. This is the laying of the cornerstone for the right faith. Because God has saved us correctly, justly, and righteously, we cannot change His order on our own. If we believe in the blood of the Cross first and then in the baptism of Jesus, then this faith is simply wrong. And sin is still found in the hearts of those who believe so, for their sins were not washed away because of the reverse order of their faith. This is truly marvelous. None other than this is the amazing truth.
Before the Messiah, many of us used to believe only in Jesus' blood on the Cross. We believed, "Jesus took upon all my sins and bore all my judgement by shedding His blood on the Cross. We have therefore been wholly saved. Our salvation came from Christ who died for us on the Cross. Anyone who believes in this is now saved." We then realized the original meaning of Jesus' baptism. So on top of our first, wrong faith, we just added the faith of truth. What happened then? Our sins did not disappear in reality. Because this kind of faith is of merely intellectual and doctrinal one, it could not be the real and true faith of our hearts.
If your faith is like this, you must quickly turn around and change it. First of all, you have to admit explicitly that your faith has not been right. And then, you have to renew your foundation of faith at once. All that you have to do is change the order again. "Having come to this earth, when the Lord was baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River, He took upon all my sins. It is because Jesus was baptized that all the sins of the world were passed onto Him, and since all the sins of the world were thus passed onto Him, all my sins were also passed onto Jesus. And then, He shed His blood on the Cross to pay the wages of all my sins." This is how you should believe.
"Who cares whether I believe in this way or that way? All that matters is that I believe in these four ministries of the Lord. Why be so stubborn and insist on this order?" Do you, by any chance, still cling to this view? You must then take it to your heart this truth: Jesus died on the Cross only after being baptized. And this is the truth that you must believe in.
The Holy Spirit never approves injustice. God the Holy Spirit approves our faith only when we believe in what the Messiah has done for us on this earth as they are. The Holy Spirit does not say, "So you believe in all these four works of Jesus. Amen. Whether you believe correctly or in a reverse order, whether you believe in this way or that way, that's OK if you just believe anyway. Amen. Alright, you are My child then."
Jesus the Messiah came to this earth according to the will of God the Father and did according to the Father's bidding. This is how He lived His 33 years of life on this earth. Coming to this earth, He completed His work of our salvation by being baptized, crucified, and resurrected, and then ascended to Heaven. And He has sent us the Holy Spirit.
God the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of those of us who have received the remission of sin, and He approves the faith of those who believe in what the Lord has done for them as they are. This is why we can never believe according to our own thoughts. Though you and I truly believe in Jesus, do you not, by any chance, believe upside down on a reverse order? If so, you must believe again correctly.
When you do so, the Holy Spirit works in your hearts. Though we are full of shortcomings, the Holy Spirits holds our hearts steady, is with us, and bestows us with His grace when we come short before Him. The Holy Spirit gives us power. He gives us strength. He comforts us. He blesses us. He promises us a brilliant future. And to those of us who believe, He leads us from faith to faith not to lose the qualification to enter His eternal Kingdom.
This is what we need when we believe in what the Lord has done for us, or when He tells us to bring to Him our offerings-that is, we must believe that He has saved us with the water and the Spirit. All the items inside the Tabernacle are important because they all consistently tell us about the secret of being born again of the water and the Spirit. Through so many things of the Tabernacles, in other words, God wants to tell us about one thing-the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
For Our Faith, Its Foundation Is Very Critical
If we build the house of faith without first laying the foundation of our faith firmly, the longer we believe in Jesus, the more sins we accumulate, the more prayers of repentance we must give, and the more hypocritical sinners we become. But when we believe in the gift of salvation, that our Lord has saved us with His blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen, then we can all become the perfect children of God. Therefore, we must all believe in the truth of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen, and we must all thus become God's children.
Those whose foundation of faith is whole can always carry out their priesthood in the bright light, even when they themselves may have shortcomings. They can, in other words, fulfill all such tasks of priesthood as truly embracing all the people of this world into their bosoms, praying to God for their remission of sin, and serving this gospel before God.
In contrast, for those whose foundation of faith is not clear, the more time goes by, the more hypocritical they become. They become evil. They become more hypocritical religionists. As our Lord told us that we shall know a tree by its fruits, the fruits born by such people are all disgusting, filthy, and hypocritical. However, those of us who are born again are not hypocritical at all. They are all truthful. Though they have their own shortcomings, they are truly sincere. They recognize their own weaknesses and wrongdoings, and they always live in the midst of the bright light. Because our Lord was baptized and crucified to blot out all our sins, and because He has indeed thus made all our sins disappear, by believing in this truth we have received the remission of our sins. Because the foundation of our faith is solid, though we are insufficient, though we commit sins, and though we are weak, our lives are still bright, for our hearts are always sinless. Because of our shortcomings we may go astray at times, but because we are actually sinless, we do not go astray to lead others and ourselves to destruction. Though we are insufficient, we nevertheless walk on the path that pleases God, moving ahead step by step and serving the Gospel even more. This has been made all possible because Jesus has saved us perfectly.
If Jesus Christ, our Messiah, and our Savior had not thus saved us wholly with the four threads, we could never have been saved at all. It is because He has saved us that we are saved, and it is because of this that we believe, spread the gospel, and praise God with our faith. It is by our faith that we thank God, by our faith that we serve Him, and by our faith that we follow Him. This is who we have now become. We have, in other words, become the ones who please God with our faith. We have become the ones whose foundation of faith stands firmly.
Those whose foundation of faith is not properly laid must lay it again. This is why Hebrew 6:1-2 say, "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment."
What does this passage tell us? It tell us to know and confirm clearly, and to firmly lay the foundation for such questions as: "Why was Jesus baptized?"; "Is this baptism the antitype of the Old Testament's laying on of hands?"; "Would we live again?"; and, "What is the eternal judgment?" It tells us to have the whole faith and lay out its foundation firmly from the very beginning, so that we would neither be shaken nor be forced to lay our foundation again by these things. The faith that believes in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen is the whole faith that believes that our Lord has completed our salvation perfectly. We must stand firmly on this foundation of faith, and we must run from there. We must run the race of faith.
Some people interpret the above passage from Hebrew as saying that we cannot say again that our sins were passed onto Jesus through His baptism, and that the passage is telling us that we do not need to build the foundation of faith again. But would God have told us not to rebuild our foundation of faith if it had been built correctly in the first place? This passage tells us that those who do not have the correct foundation of faith should lay this foundation, and those who have the foundation of faith correctly should make it even more firm and solid, and run forward.
To save us, God commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle and to accept offerings from His people. To the people of Israel, He commanded them to bring to Him gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats' hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood. Just as laid out in these materials, our Lord has indeed given us the gift of salvation by delivering you and me from the sins of the world. In this way, God had actually told the Israelites to bring these offerings to Him, built the Tabernacle, set its sacrificial system, and forgave the sins of the Israelites who gave Him their sacrificial offerings in accordance to the requirements of this sacrificial system.
Our Faith Is Made Whole by Believing in the Blue, Purple, and Scarlet Thread and the Fine Woven Linen That Foretold Us of the Perfect Fulfillment of Our Salvation by Jesus Christ
If we, unable to believe in the perfect truth fulfilled by Jesus Christ, do not lay the foundation of our faith firmly at once, our faith would be continuously shaken. Without the knowledge, realization, and faith in the fact that our Lord has saved us wholly, we will all end up trying to reach our salvation through our own efforts. Such faith is not whole, but it is mistaken.
Let's turn to Hebrews 10:26-31: "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The LORD will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
The passage tells us that if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but only fearful judgment. Here, those who sin willfully after having received the knowledge of the truth refer to those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit even as they know it. We must believe in the truth that God has saved us with His blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen, that He has saved us with gold, silver, and bronze, and that He made the roof of the Tabernacle with the coverings of blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen, of goats' hair, of ram skins dyed red, and of badger skins. We must all know these things clearly and lay the foundation of our faith firmly.
Our Lord promised us that He would wholly save us, and when the time came, He was baptized to take our sins upon Himself, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and thereby has indeed saved us wholly. We have therefore been saved perfectly by believing in this Jesus Christ who laid the foundation of our salvation wholly.
But those who know this truth and yet refuse to believe it will all surely face God's fiery judgment when the day of their last judgment comes. Their bodies will not die but suffer forever. The Bible tells us that there will be only fiery indignation for them, and their suffering of hell will be so great that it describes it as being seasoned with fire (Mark 9:49). It tells us that there will be only a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation that will devour the adversaries.
When just failing to keep the Law leads to this fearful judgment, how greater would the judgment be for those who do not believe in their salvation given by the Son of God? This is why we must all believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, in the Lord who came to this earth in the flesh of a man, who took all our sins upon Himself with His baptism, who carried these sins of the world to the Cross and bore all the condemnation of sins with His crucifixion, who rose from the dead again, and who now lives.
The Foundation of Our Faith Must Therefore Be Laid Firmly
Why did God tell Moses to build the Tabernacle? When we look at each and every item of all the materials used for the Tabernacle, we can see that they all manifest the truth that Jesus Christ came to this earth in the flesh of a man, took our sins upon Himself with His baptism received from John the Baptist, carried these sins of the world to the Cross and died on it, rose from the dead again, ascended to Heaven, and sits at the right hand of the throne of God the Father, and has now become our eternal God. From its gate to its pillar and their bronze sockets, all the items of the Tabernacle show us the truth of the gospel. The whole Old Testament, in other words, is telling us about the baptism of Jesus Christ, His sacrifice, His identity, and His works of salvation.
From the Old Testament to the New Testament, because Jesus Christ speaks to us of the gospel of the water and the Spirit-that is, the gospel of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen-those who believe in this truth always speak of the truth of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen whenever they get a chance. Because they are preached and heard so often, sometimes we may even forget how preciousness this truth is. But just how important is this truth? As if we were living King Solomon's reign when precious gold and silver became so abundant that they were treated like stones, because we hear this Word of truth everyday in God's Church, we might at times come to take this salvation for granted. But you have to remember this: this truth cannot be heard anywhere outside God's Church, and without this salvation no one can be saved, nor lay the foundation of faith solidly.
The faith with which you and I have been saved is the belief in the fact that our Lord has saved us wholly and laid the foundation of our faith firmly with the four threads of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. Let me reiterate once more that we must all believe in this in our hearts. God promised us, and just as He promised, He came to this earth as the Seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15), took all our sins upon Himself with His baptism, bore all the condemnation of our sins on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and has thereby saved us perfectly. Because this is such a simple truth that is so easy to explain and understand, we can preach this gospel all over the world everyday. Of course, there are still many pitiful ones who do not know this truth. However, even more pitiful than those who do not know this truth are those who do not believe even as they remain in God's Church.
Even though you have truly received the remission of your sins, your thoughts may still be evil, but at least your hearts have become very meek. But the hypocrites who are not so, though they may try to paint themselves as meek outwardly, are so evil in their inner beings that they keep deceiving God and countless people everyday. You and I must lay the foundation of faith firmly. And on this salvation that our Lord has established for us so firmly, we must stand before God by believing in it.
Faith That Stands Firmly Like the Constituents of the Tabernacle
God told us to bring such offerings and to build His Tabernacle. You and I must all become the people of faith who believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth and has thus saved us spiritually. We must stand firmly before God by having the kind of faith that is like the building materials used for the Tabernacle. Do you believe? Do you really have this kind of faith? By God's Church, the gospel of the water and the Spirit is still being preached. Because this is the very foundation of the true faith, I cannot emphasize it enough.
So many churches and denominations of this world remain ignorant of the truth that Jesus accepted all sins onto Himself with His baptism, and instead believe only in the blood of the Cross. Even in these circumstances, our Lord has still allowed us to find the truth. The reason why Jesus was nailed and pierced on the Cross was because He had been baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River. It was because He had accepted all the sins of the world passed onto Him with His baptism that He was crucified and pierced on the Cross.
As such, the faith of those who claim to have received the remission of sin just by believing in the blood of the Cross alone is a false faith that would, no matter how devout they may be, all crumble down eventually. Regardless how tirelessly they preach to the crowds in a loud voice to believe in Jesus, their faith, which believes in the blood of the Cross alone, only offers the prayers of repentance, and cannot even solve their own problem of sin, is built on a flawed foundation that will simply collapse when the rain pours, the wind blows, and the flood comes.
I myself had not heard of the baptism of Jesus in any detail for well over 10 years since I started to believe in Jesus. However, Jesus met me with His Word of truth, and I could be born again of water and the Spirit. Now, I know that there are many people throughout the whole world who are seeking the truth but have not yet reached it. I want to speak to them all, so that they may hear the truth of the water and the Spirit, and so that they may receive the remission of their sins by believing it in their hearts.
Before you were born again, you, too, might have led your religious lives. At that time, you probably had not heard of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. Not only that, you probably had not heard of the gospel of the water and the Spirit either, far less that our sins were passed onto Jesus when He was baptized.
It is critically important for Christians to know and believe in the truth of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen as it is. Only when the foundation of faith is laid with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen can we all stand firmly and solidly with our faith. If you have not believed so thus far, it is never too late-all that you have to do is believe so even now. Only when you thus believe can you be saved wholly, lay your foundation of faith firmly, and establish your faith on this foundation.
Those Who Are in God's Church Must Also Lay Their Foundation of Faith Firmly
Matthew 24:40 says, "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left." When we have all been professing to believe in the same truth and serving the same gospel together in God's Church, what could be more tragic if some of us were left behind later on?
Because the Word of God is intellectual and polite, faith cannot be forced upon anyone by coercion. When you thus hear the Word of God preached to you politely, you must believe it with a fair mind, centering your mind on the fact that you are in fact hearing God's Word. When the people of Israel heard what Moses told them, they considered it not as his own words but the very Word of God. Likewise, when you are told about what the Word of God says, you need to check to see whether or not you do indeed believe according to this Word of God. You need to consider the Word with a cool head, and then believe in what it actually tells you.
The Bible commended the believers of Berea for their fair-minded attitude over the Word of God. The believers in Berea "were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). In short, they believed rationally in His Word as they were taught.
True faith comes from the rational and fair-minded heart that searches the Word. Would it make any sense to be forced to believe against your will? Even if one were to force someone else to believe, this actually would be completely futile, for the one thus being forced would not necessarily believe in what he/she is told to believe. Before God, everything depends on what one believes on his/her free will. If someone does not believe when he/she has been told the same story over and over, then there is no other way but for this person to end up in hell.
Therefore, every sinner throughout this world deserves our pity, but if some of us do not believe in His Word as it is even as we are all under the same roof of God's Church, then they are even more pitiful. How could there be anyone more pitiful than those of us who end up in hell, even as they have remained physically in the same Church of God with us?
Jesus had twelve disciples, and among them only Judas did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah and the Savior. So Judas always called Jesus as a teacher. Peter, too, used to call Jesus as a teacher at times, but He eventually came to believed otherwise and confessed, "Lord, You are Christ and the Son of God. You are the Son of God, the Savior who came to make my sins disappear. You are the God of salvation."
Peter's faith, in other words, was different from that of Judas. After Judas betrayed Jesus and sold Him out, he hung and killed himself. Although Judas had been with the other eleven disciples, in the end, he failed to recognize who Jesus Christ really was, and thus end up in hell. Peter, in contrast, was saved by recognizing Jesus Christ and believing in Him as his Savior, despite the fact that he was an impatient man of many shortcomings.
Likewise, salvation depends on whether one knows the truth and believes it in his/her heart or not. One cannot believe the truth when he/she does not know it. However, if people do not believe the truth even as they know it, they will face even greater punishments (Luke 12:48). This is why God is telling us that the foundation of our faith must be firm and upright.
How Is Our Faith?
Has the foundation of our faith been strengthened now? Is it firm? Do you believe that the Lord has definitively saved you? Through the water and the Spirit, our Lord has indeed saved us for sure. This is not something peculiar that only our denomination is teaching, but it is what God promised in the Old Testament and what Jesus has actually fulfilled in the New Testament-that is, this is how Christ has indeed saved us.
Jesus is the King of kings (the purple thread) who came to this earth in the flesh of a man, took the sins of the world upon Himself with His baptism (the blue thread), carried these sins to the Cross and was crucified (the scarlet thread), rose from the dead again, and has thereby saved us. He promised that He would do so in the Old Testament, and He has saved us by indeed fulfilling this promise in the New Testament. Do you believe? None other than this is the laying of the solid foundation of faith.
There are hundreds of millions of Christians throughout the world, and yet for most of them, their foundation of faith remains fragile. We can find out whether or not people have the right faith just by browsing through the many Christian books that are now available. The authors of these books tend to be the leaders of Christian communities, and by reading their books, we can find out whether or not they have the correct knowledge of the truth. If even just one of these leaders is ignorant of or does not believe in the truth even as he/she knows it, then everyone following such a leader will all be bound to hell. The sad reality is that hardly anyone at all knows the truth, as few as one in a million. This is why the few of us who know the truth have to spread the gospel faithfully throughout the whole world.
God is working through us. You and I cannot avoid but preach the gospel, for not proclaiming this gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the world is akin to committing a great sin before God. In fact, if we do not truly follow and serve this work in faith, then we would indeed be committing a great sin before God. This is the sin of sending people to hell even as we know we can stop it; it is simply an unforgivable sin that people would end up in hell in their ignorance because those of us who know the truth have kept their mouths closed.
If we do not fulfill the task assigned to us, these people will protest to us, for it is our mandatory task. The Bible warns us, saying, "But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand" (Ezekiel 33:6). We who have first known and first believed must carry out this task of the watchman.
I thank the Lord for giving us this gospel and for enabling us to know this truth. I thank Him even more when I realize that we are the chosen few in this world who know this truth and believe in this gospel. We have preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit to many pastors and laymen believers throughout the entire world, but everyday we have confirmed the fact that there was no one who actually knew and believed in this gospel before. Through us, the preachers of the gospel of the truth of the water and the Spirit have been emerging throughout the world. Like us, they, too, have the solid foundation of faith, and are spreading this solid faith.
If there are many such people who are spreading the gospel, we could perhaps breathe a little easier and rest a little in our preaching of the gospel, but, sadly, there are yet not so many people in this world who know and believe in this truth. Many have overestimated the achievements of the Reformation in the world's history. When we examine it in detail, we can find out that the reformists had misplaced the first button of the foundation of biblical faith during the Reformation, and that everything else that followed was also misplaced. Regardless of correcting these latter mistakes, with the first button still misplaced, it still remains flawed; as such, the history of Christianity must be rewritten.
But if you do not live for the gospel but pursue only the desires of your flesh even as you have received the remission of sin and known the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you will then end up living meaningless, empty lives.
I thank God for giving us this precious gospel, and for giving us our salvation freely. It is my prayer and hope that you would all examine your faith once more, and receive the gift of perfect salvation through the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen.