Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
The Kingdom, Part 7
Yesterday we began our study of the inhabitants of the Kingdom. We noted the popular trend of people taking 'selfies', including group selfies as a means of identifying with their friends. The questions were posed, "I wonder what our selfies with Jesus would look like??! Would we be recognizable as belonging to Him; are we seen identifying with Christ? " It was noted that Jesus used parables (e.g., the Sheep and the Goats; the Wheat and the Weeds; and the Fish Net) to explain the difference between those who belong in the Kingdom and those who do not: some may appear (or even proclaim) to be part of the Kingdom realm, but looks can be deceiving. The concluding thought was that we need to be sure of our own standing in the Kingdom before we can invite others to join us.
Throughout history markings have been used to signify different things, such as lepers in Europe were required to wear bells to announce their presence; popular clubs use hand stamps to show who is able to enter or re-enter if they leave the premises; personal property may be identified via a mark or a serial number (e.g., on computers or TVs); companies issue I.D. badges, which indicate the employee is authorized to enter; and As we continue exploring our own status in the Kingdom, I am reminded of a phrase that Heidi Klum, model, fashion designer, & TV host uses, "...one day you're in and the next you're out." Our salvation is not so tenuous; but, like the Israelites, if we rebel and pull away from following Christ that would leave us in a backslidden state. If we remain backslidden, would that mark us for hell--described as 'absence from God' by many?
But what would mark us for heaven? As we get closer to Easter, it's natural to think about Passover, which was observed to mark the Passover meal that occurred the night before the Israelites triumphantly left Egypt. In the 12th chapter of Exodus the first Passover was initiated and was tied-into the final plague that God visited on Pharaoh and his people. The first-borns of people and animals would lose their lives on that dreadful evening. But God gave the Jews specific directions about preparing a lamb for their supper that evening, and they were instructed to take some blood from the lamb and, "put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs....This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. (Ex. 12: 7, 11-13, NIV). Thus, the Israelites were marked (via the blood on the sides and tops of their doorframes) as set aside for God and for His protection.
To be continued...
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)