Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Proverbs 31:13 commentary; the bride's work

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

The first time wool is mentioned it is the fleece of wool that Gideon puts out to test the Lord in Judges 6:37. Later, it is used by God as an example of the believers sin washed from the crimson, red bloodiness of their sins to be as white as wool in Isaiah 1:18. An interesting side note for me is how red and scarlet and crimson are set up as contrasts to white as snow. The Biblical contrast is not between black and white but between red, representing blood, and white.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

And again, white linen symbolizes righteousness.

Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

So, that in the following verse it can’t be said that in heaven everyone is going to be a white person, as the controversial Texas preacher J. Frank Norris claimed that he preached to a congregation of black preachers, but that they will be made white as in the color of snow, not Caucasian flesh. Believe it or not these verses have been used by Bible lightweights and racists to “prove” their points about racial superiority when any serious student of the Bible knows differently.

Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

To compare this verse with others, all through the book of Revelation white linen is spoken of. Racists, racialists, and bigots, either black or white, are fools, and can only find justification for their weakness by twisting scriptures and using them for a purpose for which they were not written.

So, back to the Proverb, wool is symbolic of being washed from your sins in Christ’s blood and of being clothed in clean, white linen. It signifies righteousness. The church is only righteous because Christ is righteous. As the moon only reflects the sun and has no light of its own (Job 25:5), the church reflects the righteousness that belongs only to Christ and they have none of their own.

Flax is the substance from which linen is made. Flax was used by Rahab to hide the Hebrew spies in Joshua 2:6. If white linen, the color of wool, symbolizes the righteousness that is found only in Christ, then flax, the stuff from which the white linen of the saints is made, is Christ’s rigthteousness which is the church’s covering and protection from the Wicked One and from the second death.

So, we have wool and flax, symbolizing the white linen of righteousness which covers the church because of Christ. This is something the church seeks.

The church, the body of Christ on earth, is called to do good works.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Pure religion is defined as showing mercy to the helpless and not adopting the ways of the world.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

What constitutes the spot and stain of the world found at the end of the verse in James?

1John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

These are the same three things that tempted Eve when confronted by the dragon, Satan.

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The characteristics of the true bride of Christ are clear. With sins cleansed white like wool, covered in Christ’s righteousness, she seeks to honor Him with her devotion and good works, rejecting the things the world itself admires and extols, always remembering;

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Christ’s righteousness is the white linen the church wears. Each member is to reveal the Spirit of God working through them by the fruit of the Spirit which proves who they are.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The church’s behavior and attitude is laid out clearly.

Romans 12:1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith………..9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16¶ Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

What kind of bride is your church?

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