SHARPENING SHADOWS – THE STEADY EVOLUTION OF THE PROMISED KINGDOM
Three weeks ago I wrote about the invitation given to John on Patmos, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” As we learnt, he went on to see a heavenly scene comprising One that sat on a central throne, twenty-four crowned Elders and four Beasts (likened to a lion, an ox, a man and an eagle). These characters, as we discovered, were a symbolic representation of the composition and organization of the “Armies of Heaven,” the Royal Priesthood of Christ and His redeemed saints, that will “reign on the earth” as “kings and priests” in the millennial kingdom (click here to read KINGS AND PRIESTS).
John’s experience wasn’t a new thing but only an announcement of the next stage in the evolution of a divine purpose that was first unveiled in a similar way. Yes, when Moses was to build the Lord’s Tabernacle in the wilderness, he was charged to “make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Hebrews 8:5; see it?). Moses, in an experience much like John’s, had seen a pattern of the proposed Tabernacle in a heavenly realm, with its materials, dimensions and instruments of service, and was commissioned to materialize the same on the earth! The proposed Tabernacle was to house the Ark of the Lord’s covenant with the nation of Israel.
After their possession of the Promised Land of Canaan, King David discerned something missing. He wondered at how he could be living in a palace “of cedar” while the Ark of the Covenant of his God was housed in a tent Tabernacle made of animal skins (see II Samuel 7:1,2 and Exodus 26:13,14, and compare once again the skins of animals with the beasts that John saw). David’s heart was stirred and he aspired to build the Almighty a befitting Temple, to take the divine purpose one more step forward. But it was Solomon his son that was divinely appointed to build the “House of God” (see II Samuel 7:4-13).
According to the epistle to the Hebrew Christians, the Levitical Priesthood that ministered in that Temple was a shadow of the “better” and present Christian priesthood of Christ and His redeemed saints. It calls Christ the “high priest,” “a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (see Hebrews 8, and also I Peter 2:9). The Lord enjoined the Jews to an understanding of these things when He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). Set in their ways, they were going to do away with Him for such “grievous blasphemy.” But He spoke of the Temple of His body! “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48).
You certainly can’t miss that – not if you have been following my exposition on this blog. The Levitical Temple that was called the House of God and its ministers were only a down payment on the real thing. The true Tabernacle, Jesus Christ, that housed the Almighty God, was not made with the hands of man; it was the product of the Immaculate Conception, the virgin birth. And when it appeared, it was for a short time, to redeem Its outstanding parts. “He is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). After that work of redemption, He ascended, with the promise of a return to reign in power!
Yes, you just can’t miss that! That living Body, the true Temple made without hands that promised a return in power and glory, is one and the same as the all-conquering Stone that Nebuchadnezzar saw, “cut out of a mountain without hands,” a symbolic representation of the Armies of Heaven that will invade planet earth to set up and reign over the promised kingdom! (Click here to read HERE THEY COME.) When It appears the second time, It will be in Its full dimensions, in-built with Its materials and instruments of service, the redeemed saints of the Royal Priesthood! That will be the true Temple of the millennial kingdom! So, truly, the present Christian order of Christ and His saints, which was foreshadowed in the Levitical order, is itself a shadow of yet better things to come in the kingdom!
But there is more to this sharpening shadow of the divine purpose. The apostle Paul wrote of the present Christian Church, “And he gave some, apostles ; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13). As I hinted at in KINGS AND PRIESTS (click here to read) and explain in detail in my coming book THE COMING GLORY (click here for more), these five ministerial offices of the present Church – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher – are actually also a shadow of the five major capacities in which the redeemed saints of the Royal Priesthood will operate in the kingdom, depicted in the Elders, the Eagle, the Ox, the Lion and the Man of the heavenly scene that John saw! Yes, they are the nursery bed of the five areas in which the redeemed saints will wield “power over the nations” during the Millennium! (Click here to read THE GOLDEN PROMISE OF THE KINGDOM.)
In the words of THE KEEPERS OF TIME, another witness that was unveiled last week (click here), these five areas are “leaders and revolutionaries,” “artists and entertainers,” “[industrial] builders and titans,” “heroes and icons” (a brilliant cipher to be decode) and “thinkers and tinkerers.” As I said, it is all explained in detail in my coming book THE COMING GLORY. So keep the faith, and remain posted.
God bless you always.
In His Service,
David Olagoke Olawoyin.