The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 11 : The Tabernacle

[11-33] (Exodus 28:1-14) The Materials Used for the Garments of The High Priest

(Exodus 28:1-14)
“Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a skillfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest. They shall take the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and the fine linen, and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked. It shall have two shoulder straps joined at its two edges, and so it shall be joined together. And the intricately woven band of the ephod, which is on it, shall be of the same workmanship, made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on one stone and six names on the other stone, in order of their birth. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall set them in settings of gold. And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial. You shall also make settings of gold, and you shall make two chains of pure gold like braided cords, and fasten the braided chains to the settings.”
 
 
Let us now turn our attention to the materials used for the garments of the High Priest. Ephod was a unique item among the garments worn by the High Priest. This ephod was woven of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. This holy garment of the High Priest was made by a craftsman who artistically embroidering these five threads.
The golden thread mentioned here in the Bible speaks of the true faith. The blue thread used for the garments of the High Priest refers to the baptism that Jesus Christ had to receive from John the Baptist in order to take upon the sins of mankind (Matthew 3:15). The purple thread speaks of the King of kings, and the scarlet thread speaks of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made when He bore the condemnation of the sins of mankind. The white linen used for the garments of the High priest manifests the righteousness of God that has blotted out everyone’s sins with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread.
Among the duties of the High Priests, the most important one was the duty of giving offerings to God. By fulfilling this duty of offering sacrifices to God in accordance with the sacrificial system, the High Priest not only served God, but this also meant that he helped the people of Israel to be delivered from their sins. We must remember that the first and foremost of all the duties of the High Priest was to give offerings to serve and worship God.
To prove this point, let me refer you to an incident as told in Exodus 32. When Moses went up Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, the people of Israel, seeing that he was delayed in coming down from the mountain, said to Aaron, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him "(Exodus 32:1). Aaron then took the Israelites’ gold bracelets, earrings, and rings, and made a molded calf out of them. The people of Israel then said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!" (Exodus 32:4). Seeing this, Aaron built an altar before the calf and proclaimed the next day to be a feast to Jehovah God.
When the next day came, the people of Israel offered burnt offerings and brought peace offering; they then sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. This became a great sin before God, making the people of Israel suffer His fierce judgment. We must keep this event in mind. The High Priest Aaron also had a weak side to him, of course, but despite this he still had to obey the will of God, not forgetting that for him to serve God was his most important duty as the High Priest. But Aaron had failed to be faithful to his duties as the High Priest. To carry out the duties of the High Priest, he had to give burnt offerings and bring peace offerings in accordance with the sacrificial system which was established by God, no matter whether his people followed him or not.
In short, Aaron the High Priest should have only served God. Like this, pastors these days all too often work only for people, and not for God. It saddens me deeply to think that many of today’s modern priests are espousing such misguided thoughts. But I am not so terribly worried yet, for the right priests could still be found among them. In order to atone for people’s sins, the priests must fulfill their responsibility to give offerings to God properly according to the sacrificial system.
We should pay special attention to this passage where God says to Moses, “Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest” (Exodus 28:1). God clothed Aaron with the garments of the High Priest which was made especially for him in order for him to serve God first and foremost. Every priest ministering today should not forget this: The garments of the High Priest were made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen.
 
 
To Fulfill the Duties of the High Priest
 
On the Day of Atonement, and in order to remit the Israelites’ sins once a year, the High Priest had to pass all their sins onto the sacrificial offering by laying his hands on its head, draw its blood, and then put it on the altar of burnt offering and sprinkle it on and before the mercy seat. Likewise, Jesus, our true High Priest of Heaven, came to this earth, received the baptism through which He took upon the sins of mankind, shed His blood and died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, and has thereby brought the victory of salvation to those who believe.
While serving God as the High Priest, Aaron had to wear a peculiar garment called the “ephod,” which was made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. With this garment of the High Priest, God is teaching us how we must give our offerings in order to receive the remission of sin. To realize the profound meaning that is held in the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen used for the garments of the High Priest, we must know the remission of sins which was fulfilled by God’s righteousness and His love.
Through the five threads used for the garments of the High Priest, God has shown us that He established the everlasting remission of sin in Jesus Christ even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Hence, for us to carry out our duties of priests well, we must first understand the mystery of the washing away of sin held in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe in it. This is the predestined providence of salvation that God the Father has established for us in Jesus Christ.
For the High Priest to fulfill his priestly duties well he had to give offerings to God properly—that is, for the remission of his people’s sins, he had to lay his hands on the head of the sacrificial offering and pass their sins onto it properly according to the sacrificial system. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest laid his hands on the head of the sacrificial offering and cut its throat to draw its blood. By this laying on of hands, all the yearly sins of the Israelites were passed onto the sacrificial offering. And by the shedding of its blood, all their sins were atoned for. He then sprinkled its blood and burnt its flesh for the completion of this sacrifice. He thus offered this sacrifice for the remission of sins of his people.
Here we have to pay great attention to this point: The High Priest had to teach his people that their sins were already passed onto the sacrificial offering before being burnt by fire, and that the remission of their sins was fulfilled through the laying on of hands and the shedding of blood of the offering. This was the greatest duty of every High Priest. The High Priest was someone who had to defend the Truth. In other words, he had to be a faithful guardian of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Although the High Priest was also a weak human being like the common people of Israel, by believing in the Truth manifested in the sacrificial system and giving offerings to God for them, he nonetheless enabled his people to receive their remission of sins. In the same manner, although we are insufficient beings, by believing in what Jesus Christ the High Priest of Heaven has done for us and receiving our remission of sins, we are able to walk with God.
This sacrificial system which is revealed in the Tabernacle system is the wisdom of salvation that has come from God. The wisdom of God that has saved us from sin is held in the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen used for the garments of the High Priest. For the High Priest to successfully fulfill his duties, he must teach that the only capable way of making mankind sinless is reached by the sacrificial system which was set by God. We, as today’s royal priests (1 Peter 2:9), also must always bear witness to the fact that Jesus came to this earth, took upon the sins of the world once for all by being baptized, shed His blood and died in our place, was buried, and rose from the dead for us.
Can human beings blot out their own sins? Can the religions of this world make the sins of mankind disappear? The disappearance of our sins is made possible only by the Truth of salvation constituted by Jesus’ baptism and His blood that the High Priest teaches us. It is only through the gospel of salvation which was established by God that we can receive the remission of all our sins. Remitting the sins of mankind is something that can be done only by Jesus Christ, the eternal High Priest of Heaven. In other words, because Jesus Christ who is God Himself came to this earth in the flesh of a man and took upon all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, He could shed His blood on the Cross to wash away all the iniquities of us the sinners. It is because the Lord shouldered all our sins with His baptism that He bore the condemnation of all our sins by being crucified, shedding His blood, and dying on the Cross. And He has completed the salvation of mankind from sin through this righteous act (Romans 5:18). Were it not for what Jesus had accomplished for us, we could never have been saved. This High Priest of Heaven who made us the children of the Holy God by completely blotting out all our sins with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit is none other than Jesus Christ.
The spiritual High Priest of Heaven knew all about the Father’s plan of salvation which was predestined for our remission of sins. That is why the Lord said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13). With His perfect knowledge of the beginning and the end, the Lord fulfilled our salvation according to His promises shown in the sacrificial system. He has made it possible for us to never be condemned and be destroyed for our sins and weaknesses. What the High Priest of Heaven has done for us—that is, taking upon the sins of mankind by being baptized and blotting them out by shedding His blood, He has thus completed the perfect salvation for us. The wisdom of God provides salvation of all human beings from their sins. It was fulfilled with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. In Jesus Christ, God the Father planned the everlasting remission of sins with the Truth hidden in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and to all believers in this Truth, He has permitted this perfect salvation.
 
 
Band of the Ephod for the High Priest
 
Among the garments of the High Priest was a band for the ephod. This band, a waistband worn by the High Priest for his ephod, also was made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. A band usually denotes “strength.” It tells us, in other words, that the faith that believes in the salvation having come by the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen has the power to save us from all our sins. Only this genuine gospel of the water and the Spirit has the power of God that saves everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). And so, it is a futile exercise to believe in any other pseudo-gospels apart from what is manifested here in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen.
Those who have many shortcomings can also be washed from all their sins perfectly by believing in this Lord-given gospel of the water and the Spirit, for the sins of the world were all passed onto Jesus Christ by this Truth of the remission of sins which was fulfilled by God (Matthew 3:15-17; Leviticus 16:1-22). Therefore, those who believe that these righteous works of Jesus which is manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread has saved them can be reassured even if the willpower of their flesh is very weak. When we dwell in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that Jesus Christ the High Priest of Heaven has given us, what could possibly cut us off from the love of God? Our faith in God’s salvation has been completed by our faith that believes in the Truth revealed in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen.
For the priests to carry out their priestly duties, they could not tolerate any false gospels that did not obey the sacrificial system which was clearly shown in the Tabernacle. Those who preach such pseudo-gospels, no matter how articulate they deliver their sermons, cannot offer any help to anyone because they are not bearing witness to God’s genuine gospel of the water and the Spirit which is manifested in the Tabernacle. Therefore, they are merely swindlers and wage-earners. When it comes to believing in Jesus Christ the High Priest of Heaven as our Savior, we cannot fail to acknowledge the sacrificial system of the laying on of hands and the shedding of blood which was manifested in the Tabernacle system. We must realize that there are many pseudo-gospels in this world. Also, no matter who the preacher is, if the preacher is preaching the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit, we must then hear and accept all his or her teachings.
The five materials used for the ephod and its band denote our true salvation. They were the materials which manifested the sacrificial offering which brought the remission of sin to sinners when it was offered exactly according to the God-given sacrificial system in the Old Testament, and this mainly consisted of the laying on of hands and the shedding of blood. These materials eventually manifested itself in the New Testament, by the baptism of Jesus and the shedding of His blood; Jesus has thus brought the salvation of the remission of sins to those who believe. Whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit wholeheartedly receives the remission of sins and eternal life. This Truth was spoken into all the truly born-again who have been entrusted with the duties of today’s High Priest.
The earthly High Priest passed the sins of his people by laying his hands on the head of the sacrificial offering; he then cut its throat and drew its blood, sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat, and thereby fulfilled his priestly duties of defending the genuine gospel before God. But the High Priest of Heaven is the One who was baptized to take the sins of the world upon His own body; He has wholly blotted out all the sins of His people by giving up His body, shedding His blood on the Cross, and rising from the dead again. By doing so, He has enabled His people to be remitted of their sins and brought the providence of God to its fulfillment. Today, it is when the disciples of Jesus spread this gospel that Jesus Christ has eradicated all the sins of mankind and that they are successfully carrying out their priestly duties.
One of the reasons why Christianity today has so many problems is because there are many spiritual swindlers in its communities who claim to be fulfilling their priestly duties well even as they do not know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The way to become the true priests before God is to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only those who have this faith can give proper sin offerings to God and truly love other people. For what do you think God’s Church exists? I can say to you that God’s Church exists to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to sinners. And this is how to serve God and love all souls which were created in His image.
 
 
Everyone in the World Must Know the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
 
Today’s Christianity throughout the whole world must know the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Our Lord said, “You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14). We who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the true light and the spiritual salt of the world. Those who know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the spiritual priests who bring benefits to people and enable them to receive the remission of their sins. But, on the other hand, those pastors who claim to be fulfilling their priestly duties even as they do not know this gospel of the water and the Spirit are no more than mere wage earners. Those who carry out their priestly duties only as wage earners may be able to make people nominal Christians, but they are unable to wash away the sins that are found in all their followers.
The true priests are those whose sins have been atoned for, those who stand sinless before God by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is by giving them their priestly duties and making them give the lawful sacrificial offering that cleanses away all the sins of His people that God enables everyone to be washed from all their sins. It is through such priests that God has enabled mankind to know His works of salvation, believe in them, and thereby return to Him and lead righteous lives. The priests are the ones who have the responsibility and the duty to make everyone realize the mystery of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and to spread this Truth. Therefore, the spiritual priesthood is as critically important as the gospel of the water and the Spirit itself.
God has given us the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit so that we may fulfill our spiritual priesthood powerfully. We must thank Him for giving us this faith (gold thread) that believes in the genuine gospel which is manifested in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. When we study the garments worn by the High Priest, we can discover how mankind’s remission of sin has been fulfilled. Upon a closer examination of the garments of the High Priest, the gospel of the water and the Spirit becomes crystal-clear. It is not through the pseudo-gospels which are propagated by liars that God has saved mankind from the sins of the world. But rather, God has planned our salvation from sin in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, and He has fulfilled this plan exactly through the baptism and the bloodshed of Jesus Christ.
Among the garments of the High Priests, there were also a skillfully woven tunic and linen trousers. We also wear undergarments, but these garments of the High Priest were different from the undergarments that we wear. The tunic of the High Priest was a long garment extending all the way down to the knee. Because it was woven of fine linen thread, air could circulate freely. When the priests gave burnt offerings, they had to bring the pieces of the offerings to the altar of burnt offering to burn them on it. This altar was set relatively high, and therefore the lower part of the High Priest’s body could be exposed when they come near the altar of burnt offering. So, God ordered Moses to make a tunic and linen trousers to cover the lower part of the High Priest’s body thoroughly lest he might incur iniquity and die.
How splendid are the garments of the High Priest? The breastplate placed on his chest glittered with twelve precious stones which were placed on it, and the shoulder straps also had precious stones. The breastplate was fastened to the shoulder straps with the two chains of pure gold made like braided cords, and it was bound to the band of the ephod so that it would not come loose from the ephod. So when the High Priest walked, these braided cords of pure gold swung back and forth and glittered. Moreover, the twelve precious stones on the breastplate of judgment also dazzled, the large precious stones placed on the two shoulder straps also glimmered, and the forehead also glittered in gold with the gold plate which hung on the turban made of fine linen.
Just how much gold was in the Tabernacle? All its boards were overlaid with gold, and the mercy seat, the lampstand, the table of showbread, and many such utensils of the Holy Place were all made of gold. The Tabernacle was simply magnificent. Likewise, when we enter into the dominion of Jesus Christ, we can realize just how splendid this realm is. When looking from the outside, the Tabernacle may not seem that impressive, but anyone who knows about the amount of gold used for it knows that the combined weight of this gold amounted to over one ton. The total gold used for the Tabernacle was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels (Exodus 38:24) and when we calculate this into today’s measurement it will be over one ton or thereabouts, because a talent or kikkar (= 3000 shekels) weighed 42 kilograms.
Have you prepared the garments of faith made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen yet? The gold thread here refers to faith; the blue thread refers to the baptism that Jesus received; the purple thread refers to the Divinity of Jesus as God Himself; the scarlet thread tells us that because Jesus Christ took upon all our sins with His baptism He had to shed His precious blood on the Cross; and the fine woven linen speaks of the Word of God that reveals the righteousness of God. Like this, the blue, purple, and scarlet thread used for the door of the Tabernacle and the garments of the High Priest tell us that God has blotted out all our sins.
 
 
When We Come before God with the Faith in This Truth, We Can Receive the Remission of All Our Sins
 
When we come before God, we must have the faith that believes in the Truth of salvation held in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen manifested in the garments of the High Priest as well as in the Tabernacle’s door. When the High Priest gave the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement, he had to lay his hands on the head of the sacrificial offering and then cut its throat to draw its blood. By this laying on of hands, the sins of all his people were passed onto that sacrificial animal and by this shedding of blood, all those sins were remitted. Anyone who does not have this faith cannot go to God. Trying to give offerings to God without this faith is completely absurd. The sacrificial system and the materials of the Tabernacle are all related to the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It was by his faith in the Word spoken by God that the High Priest could come before God and fulfill his priestly duties for his people by giving the sacrifices that blotted out all their sins.
How, then, is our faith? In this present age, you and I who know and believe in this Truth and live before God by faith are also the royal priests of Him (1 Peter 2:9). Is your faith the same as the faith that believes in the sacrificial system revealed in the Old Testament? The true faith must be the faith that believes in the genuine gospel spoken of by the Old and the New Testament. The external forms of faith can differ from time to time, but the content of true faith must be the same. The High Priests who are approved by God are the ones who give their offerings according to the sacrificial system.
When the Bible says that the ephod was “artistically worked,” it means that it was elaborately embroidered in fine detail. The High Priest had to wear the ephod that was wholly woven, with no thread of the five specified threads missing from it. Like this, it is by the faith that truly believes in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen that those who have become priests can first be clothed in holiness, and then only come before God, and give the offering of the remission of sins for others.
How is your faith then? Do you know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit correctly? The faith of the priests of the Old Testament that believed in the Truth which manifested itself in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen is the same as the faith that believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in the age of the New Testament. This faith is the absolute Truth of salvation that no one can alter. Without this faith, no one can come before God, nor spread His holy gospel. Ultimately, this means that those who have not received the remission of their sins by this genuine gospel cannot fulfill their priestly duties for others.
Through our homepage, we hear news from many other countries. We hear from all around the world, from Peru to China and from Uganda to Holland, that people are receiving the remission of sin through our Free Christian Books. Through these books that hold the gospel of the water and the Spirit, people whom we have not even met yet are receiving the remission of their sins. If people in each country receive the remission of sins and they in turn spread the gospel as our co-workers, just how much great works would be accomplished? If our Free Christian Books can only make their way into every country, it will not be too difficult for many people throughout the world to be truly born again. Countless souls throughout the whole world are now receiving the remission of sins by reading our books. We must therefore continue to be faithful to our priestly duties and spread this Truth of salvation which is manifested in the Tabernacle system by faith.
Dear fellow believers, it is only when you become sinless and holy that you can spread the true gospel to the people of the entire world, and not before. For us to become priests, we must have and spread the faith that believes in the four truths which are manifested in the Tabernacle. Our Lord, who is the true God Himself, has remitted all our sins with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. By coming to this earth, being baptized, and shedding His blood, our Lord has washed away all our sins, and by vicariously bearing the condemnation for all these sins in our place, He has saved those who believe from all their sins. Anyone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that makes us righteous and sinless can wear these holy garments. When we wear these garments, come before God, pray to Him, ask for His help, and serve Him, we can then fulfill our priestly duties by spreading this gospel.
Have you received the remission of your sins yet by believing in this gospel of the water and the Spirit? Is faith like this gold thread found in your hearts? It is not enough for us to just know this gospel Truth for ourselves, but we must also believe in it wholeheartedly. We must not leave out any one of these truths found in the four threads used for the garments of the High Priest and the Tabernacle’s door; every single one of them must be found in our faith. Who are pseudo-believers today? When something looks similar but on closer examination its content is very different, we then call this an imitation. Is this not what pseudo-gospels are about? Those who do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit but instead believe in some other fake gospels are all just people having a bogus faith.
 
 
Defend Your Faith and Fight Your Battle as Spiritual Soldiers
 
For a while, there used be many quasi-reporters pretending to be true journalists and defrauding people of money. These bogus journalists carried forged credentials and were quite good at pretending to be real journalists, many people were conned by them. Today, there are in fact many people who are spreading some other pseudo-gospels that may resemble the genuine gospel, but the truth is, they are in fact different from the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, before believing in any gospel, we should examine it closely by paying particular attention to see whether or not it contains each single thread of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen, and whether or not anyone of these has been left out. God ordered Moses to make the garments of the High Priest by weaving all of them artistically without leaving out any one thread; this means that today’s priests should not leave out any element from the gospel of the water and the Spirit when it comes to their faith. If we do not believe that God has fulfilled our salvation with these four threads—the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen—we then cannot be approved by God.
How can we discern whether or not someone’s faith is spurious? When we look at the colors of the garments worn by the High Priest, we can realize that today, only the faith of those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit is whole. If someone believes in the true gospel like these people, then you can consider this person as someone who has been wholly remitted of their sins. There are many people who think that their faith is whole, even as they do not believe in the truth of the blue thread, the baptism of Jesus, and only believe in the blood of the Cross. Such people are not the ones who believe in the perfect gospel. Because these people do not know the true gospel before God, they cannot preach about the spiritual remission of sins.
Dear fellow believers, you must be able to discern the faith of those who believe in the pseudo-gospels from that of those who believe in the true gospel. There are many pastors on this earth who believe in such pseudo-gospels. In the Old Testament, the garments of the High Priest were made with five materials, and it is by having this faith that we have received the remission of sins. This is why we are waging our spiritual battle against Satan.
The Apostle Paul addresses this issue in the Book of Ephesians. Let us turn to Ephesians 6:10-18: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
The Apostle Paul is telling us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” and to “put on the whole armor of God” so that we “may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” What is this whole armor of God? It is the Word of God. Paul is telling us, in other words, to fight against these pseudo faiths by believing in the Word of God, by wearing it and by holding on it. This is why he says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” He is admonishing us to fight against the rulers of this age, against those who are on the side of this world, and against the evil spirits of the Devil.
Paul is telling us, “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Paul tells us this so that we, having done all these things, may stand before God. Because we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit before God, we receive the remission of sins and stand before God to enjoy everlasting life with Him.
We are all weak in our flesh. We must therefore put on the girdle of faith. By telling us to put on the breastplate of righteousness, Paul is telling us that we must believe in this gospel with all our hearts. As the High Priest wore twelve precious stones on the breastplate above his chest and the name of each tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel was engraved on each stone, he is saying that we should embrace all people in our hearts and lead them to Christ. That the High Priest wore these twelve precious stones which were mounted on the breastplate and carried it on his chest means that he bore all the people of Israel in his heart.
As the Apostle Paul said here, “having girded your waist with truth,” we must definitely and definitively have the faith that believes in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. When we do not fear our weaknesses but hold onto our faith in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread in our hearts, our hearts are then strengthened. It is by this faith that we can stand firmly on our unwavering faith. Therefore, we must put on the breastplate of righteousness and believe in it in our minds and also in our hearts. It is not enough for us to just know this true gospel in our heads, but we must also believe in it in our hearts.
We must then wear the shoes of the spreading of the gospel with the preparation of the gospel of peace. With the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God has given us peace. God has told us to believe in this gospel of the water and the Spirit that has brought us peace and to lead our lives by serving the gospel.
God has also told us to take “the shield of faith” and “to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” In ancient times, fiery darts were often the first weapon of choice to be deployed in a battle. Paul is telling us that this is how Satan attacks us. The Devil pinpoints and directs his attack on our weaknesses and insufficiencies, saying, “Just who do you think you are? Your thoughts and acts that creep up from inside your hearts are all filthy, and yet you espouse to spread the gospel? What kind of nonsense is this? Don’t you think you are too conceited? Why don’t you straighten yourself out first?” If you are struck by these fiery darts and then capitulate because of it, saying, “You are right,” then you should be asking yourself, “What kind of priest am I really when I am not able to even manage myself properly?” If this happens then your souls will die and you will be dead spiritually. This is why the Apostle Paul told us, Above all, take the shield of faith. What protects us from these fleshly thoughts that Satan tries to implant in our hearts making us fall into our weaknesses? It is the unwavering faith that believes in the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen. This is the shield of faith.
When the fiery darts rain on us indiscriminately, our Lord has told us to ward them off with this faith: “The Lord has made me righteous with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. I believe in this wholeheartedly.” It is by such faith that we can repel these fiery darts and all the schemes and attacks plotted by Satan.
Are you insufficient? Your flesh is surely insufficient. Given this, you must deal with all things with the faith that believes in the providence of God and the gospel of the water and the Spirit. After receiving the remission of sins, at first you may be able to deal with small issues by faith, but later on, many other hardships that truly cannot be dealt by any other means but only by faith will come knocking at your door. At the beginning, your weaknesses might show only a little, but in time, such weaknesses will continue to be revealed in an even greater degree and far more bluntly. Eventually, you will be flooded by so many weaknesses that they will make you recoil from yourself.
It is in times like this, when you begin to have doubts about whether you have actually received the remission of your sins or not, that Satan launches his severe attacks against you. With your faith, therefore, you must be able to take care of your weaknesses also. In other words, you must prevent yourselves from having such kind of fleshly thoughts that leads you to your own self-destruction because of your weaknesses. With the shield of faith, you must repel Satan’s attacks and shout, “Get behind me, Satan! As Romans 1:17 says, ‘The just shall live by faith,’ I am still righteous by my faith in the righteousness of God even though I have many shortcomings.” The righteous must live by faith.
Is there anything we have that can boast of yourselves in this world? We have nothing to boast of in a worldly term, but we can still talk confidently before the people of this world. The people of the world might say to you, “If you are righteous, then I am also righteous. Then you should answer them, ‘Listen, if you are righteous, then I am the mother of all the righteous.” There are many people who have no understanding and attack us by dragging out our shortcomings. “You are not a good student. You can’t do this, and you can’t do that either.” Even if they attack us like this, there is absolutely no reason for us to be concerned. You can reply, “You are right. I am not so good at that. But nevertheless, I believe in this genuine gospel. Do you know what this gospel is? Do you know what the blue thread is? What the purple thread is? What the scarlet thread is? What the fine woven linen is? Look into the original texts. It will most probably take you at least a month of Sundays before you can find their meanings. No, actually, you would be lucky if you could decipher its mystery even after a year. It would probably take you 500 generations before you even begin to realize them. Do you know what the gold thread is? Well, unlike you, I know and believe in all these things.” Like this, you must ward off all the attacks of Satan boldly with your faith. You must have strong faith, and with this faith you must repel him.
“Though I am insufficient, I still serve the gospel of God. Serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit is serving God. Even though I am lacking, I am still a king in the Kingdom of God. I am a royal priest who is like a king. If I don’t spread the gospel, you will then all end up in hell.” Brother and sisters, you must all have such a bold faith. This faith is not something that you can attain by force, but it is something that God has given to us, and therefore all that you have to do is just take it by believing. Have you received this faith by believing?
In Ephesians 6:17 the Apostle Paul admonishes us to “take the helmet of salvation.” You know what a helmet is, right? Remember the knights of the Medieval Age? They wore helmets made of metal and dueled against each other on horseback with long lances. When they wore these helmets which covered their faces, their wounds were rarely bad enough to kill them unless they got pierced through the eyes. What warded off such lance attacks and protected them were these specially made helmets. Likewise, the helmet of salvation plays such a role.
Like this, in our heads also, our knowledge of the Truth must be perfect. The gospel Truth must be well-organized intellectually in our knowledge as well. “Is this true or not? Is this right or wrong?”—instead of dithering about in our uncertainty like this, we must have our understanding clearly sorted out in our heads: “The Lord has made me perfectly righteous with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread. I believe in this.” Only when we do this would there be no crack through which Satan can attempt to get in. This is to equip ourselves with the helmet of salvation. We must believe with the exact knowledge of the Truth.
And Paul also told us to have the sword of the Spirit. This sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, and so when we learn, know, and believe in the Word, it is like having a great weapon. Satan attacks shrewdly through other people, through money, through the opposite sex, and through your weaknesses as well, but we can repel them all with our faith in the Word of God.
In Ephesians, using this analogy from the garments of the High Priest, the Apostle Paul explains to us what true faith is in this way: “Put on the breastplate of righteousness.” He is telling us, in other words, to put on the breastplate of the Truth that God has made us righteous. Paul also told us to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.” By using this example, he is telling us to fight against Satan, to strike and defeat him by having the complete knowledge of the Truth and believing in the Word of God. He is telling us kill off without any hesitation all the evil obstacles that hassle our faith. Those who have pseudo-gospels are the ones who claim to have washed away all their sins even as they only believe in one part, that is, Jesus’ blood of the Cross and His divine attributes as the Son of God. What we must reject and cast aside is precisely this bogus faith.
The faith that believes in Jesus without His ministry of the blue thread is like the High Priest wearing fake garments. Yet in this world, there are so many phony Christians who leave out the blue thread from their faith that we cannot even count them all. However, we put the gospel of the water and the Spirit in our books and bear witness to this gospel that has come by the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen, the gospel in which we believe. Regardless of whether people believe it or not, it is to give them at least an opportunity to read, know, and believe in the Truth that we make our books holding to the exact Word of God. Those who only believe that Jesus is God and that He has washed away their sins by shedding His blood on the Cross are prone to place the basis of their faith on their emotions by deceiving others and even themselves. But we who believe in the Truth know, believe, and preach that it is by being baptized and bleeding to death on the Cross that Jesus, who is God Himself, has saved us perfectly.
Do you now believe that the garments of the High Priest were made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen? Those who have been wholly clothed in holiness are the ones who are wearing these garments made of these five threads. Those who in their hearts believe in the remission of sin that has come by the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen are the true people of faith and spiritual priests who believe that they have truly been saved from all their sins.
There is something that those who have now become spiritual priests can never forget. It is the implication of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen, the shadow of the true gospel. It is with these five faiths that we make the holy garments of the remission of sin, wear them by faith, and come before God. This speaks of our true faith. For our faith that believes in this Truth, God has made our hearts holy, just as He had done so for the High Priest of the Old Testament. By believing in this Truth, we have all become priests before God. We are the royal priests who serve God.
Brothers and sisters, I ask you to have the faith that believes in This Truth, and with this faith fight against Satan and fulfill your priestly duties. And by doing so, I hope and pray that you would all carry out your priestly duties faithfully forever. I say this because if you cease to believe in the gospel of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread and the fine woven linen, your priesthood will be taken away from you. I pray that all of you would become even more faithful priests who please God with your unwavering faith in the genuine gospel. It is my hope that you would all believe in the true gospel until the end, so that you may not lose the gospel of eternal life, defend your faith, and perform your priestly duties forever.