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Friday, December 30, 2016

Swaddling Cloths
     So I heard about this article on the radio one day and as I pondered it all of these other texts and thoughts rushed into my head so I thought I ought to write them down.  The article basically talks about how new born lambs, that were going to be the sheep meant for sacrifice, were wrapped up in these strips of cloths to protect them from getting hurt because the sacrifice had to be without blemish.  “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:” Exodus 12:5 KJV Have you ever watched something, anything being born? It is a filthy bloody mess.  These cloths, I imagine, since they were used on newly born sheep, became blood stained, and were potentially still filthy.  Since Mary had baby Jesus in a barn and since they were poor it could be reasonable to assume that Mary and Joseph had found these cloths in that barn. “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:7 KJV
     Two thoughts popped into my head at this thought.  The first, was that the shepherds would then know exactly what this “sign” was. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:8‭-‬12 KJV‬‬ Jesus had come as our sacrifice and would take away our filthy rags by taking them upon Himself!  The second thought then, was of course, about our sins being as those filthy, bloody rags. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”  Isaiah 64:6 KJV
     So then I got to thinking about our filthy rags and God’s promises to give us His robe of righteousness  and more texts and stories from the Bible started coming into my mind.  Like this one in Ezekiel 16:3-10 “And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.  And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.  None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.  And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.  I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.  Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God , and thou becamest mine.  Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.  I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.” Ezekiel 16:3‭-‬10 KJV ‬‬ A friend of mine suggested an edit which I thought to put here: It deals with the birthing process, The baby is kept in the womb, in a liquid filled sac of amniotic fluid.  This symbol Jesus uses when talking to Nicodemus about being baptized.  John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." And so our example: born of a woman and of the Spirit was also baptized.  Matthew 3:13 "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.14 But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
     Then this story also came into my mind. “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:   And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.   Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.   For many are called, but few are chosen.”  Matthew 22:11‭-‬14 KJV ‬‬ “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”  Revelation 3:5 KJV
     But the stories just kept popping into my head; because not only did Jesus take our sinful rags and give us His righteousness but also when Jesus died something else amazing happened: “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:  He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,” Matthew 27:57‭-‬59 KJV‬‬  This verse took us all the way from our filthy rags, to Jesus robe of righteousness, to Jesus being able to be our high priest.  Jesus our sacrifice, His broken and bloodied body wrapped in fine linen!  “And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.  And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.  And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:  And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.”  Exodus 28:39‭, ‬41‭-‬43 KJV‬‬  “No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.” So the High priests were supposed to ONLY where linen.    Leviticus 21:21 KJV  “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” 1 Peter 1:19 KJV
     So at the moment of Christ’s death on the cross His work as a sacrifice was over and He was wrapped in fine linen.  He became eligible to be our High Priest!  Now we could receive forgiveness for our sins.  Now we could freely receive Christ’s robe of righteousness!  “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.” Revelation 19:8 KJV   “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”  Revelation 7:9 KJV  “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  Revelation 7:13‭-‬14 KJV‬‬
     One little verse in scripture, about the shepherds finding a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths gives us the entire story of redemption! “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 KJV

Luke 2:8-12