Baptism & Ancient Fabrics

Although much has been made about the meaning of the Greek word baptizo, very little attention has been given to its cultural usage – primarily in the ancient fabric industry. This really is a shame since there is much to learn regarding baptism just by learning about the culture in which this word was mostly used.

The Greeks dyed fabric much like we do Easter eggs today. Photo by Christian Kadluba via

The Greeks dyed fabrics by immersing them in colored liquids for long periods of time until the fabric clearly identified with the color in which it was immersed. What a great spiritual truth can be found here when we remember that when we got baptized we identified with Christ. For a detailed article on this please read the following:


Tour of the Tabernacle 3

When Adam was in the garden, God came down to man, and when man sinned, it was man that turned his back on God! The fellowship of God with man was severed! Yet God still desired fellowship! It was God in Genesis 3 that came looking for Adam! And it was God who came looking to dwell once more with man in Exodus 25. “Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.”

Walk with me around to the other side of this tent. This tabernacle that you see here was the first dwelling place among men since the Garden of Eden, and it’s interesting to note that it was a temporary shelter. God designed a temporary dwelling place! And when the tabernacle was finished the “glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” In this so simple of an act, God moved in and dwelt with man! But this dwelling place was temporary.

After the tabernacle, God chose to dwell in Solomon’s temple! In 2 Chronicles 7:1 after Solomon had finished dedicating the temple the Bible records, “and the glory of the LORD filled the house.” But this dwelling place was temporary.

After Solomon’s temple (in all of its beauty) was destroyed by the Babylonians, Zerubbabel came to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple as God commanded, and God was in this! But this dwelling place was temporary.

After Zerubbabel’s temple, King Herod built a temple of magnificent size! Compared to Solomon’s temple, Herod’s temple was far bigger and far more costly – but God was not in this temple, because God did not order this temple to be built. Besides, the Bible states clearly that God’s temple was already here in the very person of Jesus Christ, and the glory of the Lord filled this temple!

II Corinthians 5:19, “…God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…”

Colossians 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

Christ Himself said in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” You see, though this was the God-Man, the temple of His body was only a temporary dwelling place for God. After Christ was crucified, buried, and arose again from the dead, he ascended up into heaven, but not without leaving us a new dwelling place! Of course, God’s new dwelling place is in the hearts of believers! My friends, can we not see the heart of God as he was drawing nearer and nearer to the heart of man!

Galatians 4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

I Corinthians 6:19, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you…”

But this dwelling place is also temporary – until this tabernacle of flesh is dissolved. Then God will establish himself an eternal dwelling place!

II Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

What began with God coming down to dwell with man will soon end with man going up to dwell with God! And the very first type of this promise was this tabernacle that you now see.


Tour of the Tabernacle 2

The tabernacle was a type and a picture of Jesus Christ!

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

No wonder why Creation is given so little attention while the tabernacle receives so much more! Creation only gives glory to God, but Christ is the Glory of God! Hebrews 1:3, speaking of Jesus Christ, says,

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person!

Creation is no match for Salvation, and though Creation on the outside displays its wonders to us, it moans before God. But the tabernacle has not the display of beauty on the outward appearance. In fact, Isaiah 53:2-3 says,

…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Yet on the inside of this ugly tent that you now see, there is beauty that cannot be told of: from the Golden Candlestick, to the Golden Table of Shewbread, to the Golden Altar, and indeed, to the Golden Ark of the Covenant that no man could even look upon!

But before we go inside to see the spectacular furniture, let us walk around the outside of this tabernacle for a moment and observe a few things. Notice that this tabernacle was a tent. As a matter of fact, the word “tabernacle” means a dwelling…a tent. This tabernacle was an earthly, temporary, residence. Hebrews 9:1 describes it as a worldly tabernacle. It was made of perishing materials which belong here to the earth!

You see, this tabernacle is a far cry from its cousin, the temple, and while both of these places pictured Christ, they represent 2 completely different aspects of Jesus’ ministry: The Temple represented Christ when he comes the 2nd time, but the tabernacle represented Christ when he came the 1st time on Christmas night over 2,000 years ago!

  1. After all, it was the Tabernacle that was made first, then the temple. The tabernacle was temporary, and when Christ came the first time, he was here for only 33 some years, and while he was here, he abode not in 1 place.
  2. But the temple was permanent. And when Christ comes again, he’s here forever!
  3. The tabernacle was erected by a prophet, and when Christ came the first time, he held the office of a prophet.
  4. But the temple was constructed by a king, and when He comes the second time, He will be King of Kings!
  5. The #5 is prominent in the tabernacle representing grace, and when Christ came the first time, his ministry was all about grace.
  6. But the #12 is prominent in the temple (#12 is the # for governmental perfection), and when he comes the second, he’s here to rule the kingdom.
  7. The tabernacle was built in the Wilderness, and when Christ came the first time, he was born in a manger, raised on a carpenter’s bench, ministered with nowhere to lay his head, and when he died, he was laid in a borrowed tomb.
  8. But the temple was in Jerusalem, the city of kings, and when he comes again, Sound the trumpet! Lift up your voice and sing! Look to the throne of Grace and worship and the King of Kings!
  9. The tabernacle was mean, humble, and unattractive on the outward appearance. And Christ, when he came the first time, had no beauty, no form, and no comeliness. He was veiled in flesh.
  10. But the temple was magnificent, and when he comes again, Christ will be exalted!

In the book of Revelation you do not find the words meek or lowly; humble or obedient; but instead, you find the Apostle John saying in Revelation 5:11- 12,

… Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see!


Tour of the Tabernacle 1

In 2010, Holly and I went on a tour of the Holy Land! Our tour guide would hold a large sign with our group number on it, and we would follow him from site to site. Some of our favorite places were, of course, Calvary and Gordon’s tomb. The Sea of Galilee was very neat, and Masada was spectacular. But one place, we were not able to see was Mt. Sinai. So, if you will, put on your hiking boots, grab a walking stick, and climb the steep and rugged terrain of Mt. Sinai with me and eavesdrop as the LORD commands Moses concerning the tabernacle.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. (Read Exodus 25:8-9)

Now watch your step as we descend this holy mount; I would like to take you to the tabernacle as designed by God. There is so much precise detail concerning the Tabernacle in these chapters that it is the single-most described object and subject in the entire Bible! In relation to Creation, 2 chapters of the Bible were written to detail all of Creation including the earth, skies and seas with all of their inhabitants, but … 50 chapters of the Bible were devoted to the Tabernacle that we have just heard and now see! In God’s plan, it took 6 days to create the heaven and the earth, yet it took 40 days to instruct Moses concerning this tabernacle and all that should happen within it. We marvel at the wonder and beauty of Creation! Look to my left and see the Mediterranean! Look behind you and see the cliffs and mountains by the Arbel Pass! Look to my right! Behold, the well-watered plains of Jordan! How beautiful the world is! How many of you have seen the:

1. Grand Canyon – 277 miles long/ 18 miles wide/ 6,000 feet deep

2. Niagara Falls – Vertical drop of more than 165 feet/ 225,000 cubic feet per second

3. Yellowstone National Park – 3,468 square miles of volcanoes, geysers, lakes, canyons, rivers, valleys, and all kinds of wildlife

4. Colorado Rockies – Mountain Range with several mountains over 14,000 feet

5. Carlsbad Caverns – over 119 known caves beneath the earth’s surface

6. Northern Lights of Alaska

7. Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

8. Redwood Forests of California

Indeed, even our own country is breathtaking! We marvel at God’s creation! But now we stand before the tabernacle. There is no splendor on the outside! There is no beauty to behold. Those walls that you can see are 7 ½ feet high, and they are only made of white linen. The top of the inner tabernacle that you can see is made of that tough and ugly badger’s skin. It’s the same kind of skin that all the ordinary tents in the Israelite camp are made of. So then, why did God give so much attention to this? Why did God give so much detail concerning this rather unusual tent in the wilderness? Because this tabernacle that you see was a shadow of the Messiah that should come.


A Journey Through James Post 3 “Nazareth, Home of the Just”

Journey Through JamesAs mentioned earlier, James was the oldest son of Joseph and he lived much of his early life in Nazareth. There is much we can learn from this historical fact. Around 100 years before the birth of Christ, a small clan of Davidic descendants migrated back to Israel from the Babylonian exile. They formed two small villages on either side of the Jordan River: Kochaba, which means village of the star, and Nazara, which means village of the shoot. These descendants of David were very Messianic, believing that Israel’s deliverer would indeed come from their ranks. They refused to marry outside of the Davidic line and they kept very detailed genealogies. Those found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were doubtless provided by members of Christ’s extended family in Nazareth.

The village became synonymous with this religious sect. Given that archaeological discoveries have determined it was no larger in population than 120-150, it is safe to assume that many of the families were related, and thus a close-knit community.

The Hebrew word netzer means shoot. The significance of this word comes from Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 11:1. The prophecy of Isaiah was greatly esteemed in this village, the importance of which cannot be overlooked when studying Luke’s account of what took place in its synagogue. James undoubtedly was a zealous follower of this group. For more information and details on the historical context of both Jesus’ and James’ upbringing , please sign up for A Journey Through James at


A Journey Through James – Post 2 “The Dispersions”

Journey Through JamesWhen addressing the recipients of his epistle, James uses a very interesting term, one very familiar to his audience: the Diaspora.Since the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, the Jewish people had  been scattered throughout many countries; the Jews often referred to  this as the Dispersion. Much of the longing for a Messiah came about as   a direct result of this scattering. But James had something more in mind when he coined this term. His audience was more than just Jewish; they were Jewish believers; 19 times in his epistle, James calls them brethren.

Acts 8:4 tells us that due to severe persecution, many of the early Jewish Christians were scattered abroad. James, as a leader of these people, wrote this epistle as a handbook for practical, Christian living to help them in their trials. Just as the first dispersion prepared God’s people for Christ’s first coming, so too this second dispersion had created within the hearts of God’s people a longing for His return.

James also wrote this epistle with the knowledge that these Christians would form the foundation of the Gospel in the communities they had relocated to and many would be leaders in their local congregations. Thus the epistle of James provides a clear foundation both for the practical, Christian life and for the potential Christian leader.

Journey Through James

Interested in learning more? Firebreak University offers the course “Journey Through James.”

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Just, Like His Father

Journey Through JamesJames, the author of this epistle, was someone very familiar with the Lord Jesus Christ. Being the eldest son of Joseph, he grew up in the same household as Christ. The Scriptures tell us very little about Joseph, James’ father. In the account of Christ’s birth, Joseph is described as a just man (Matthew 1:19); the Greek word dikaios is translated both as righteous and as just. Today, the term just is used almost exclusively to describe someone’s decision making i.e. a just judge.Throughout the Christmas story, Joseph consistently made the right choices no matter how hard or difficult the decision was. The same can be said of his son James as well. He was known throughout Jerusalem as a righteous and devout man. Many called him James the Just. Historians tell us that when forced by the high priests to renounce Christ as the Messiah in front of the large crowds that had gathered for the Passover, James refused, deciding to use the opportunity to reaffirm his faith in the Lord Jesus as the Messiah. It led to his martyrdom. Another right decision in the face of difficult circumstances -just like his father, I guess you can say that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Journey Through James

Interested in learning more? Firebreak University offers the course “Journey Through James.”

Learn more about “Journey Through James”