Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pouring yourself out as a drink offering on the Chief Cornerstone

Yesterday I wrote about the foundation stones of the city of New Jerusalem being inscribed with the names of the 12 Apostles, and Jesus being the chief cornerstone (Rev 21:14). I remarked on the verse from Ephesians 2:19-21:

"So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,"

Jesus is the chief cornerstone, the apostles are the foundation, the 12 tribes are the gates, and you and I are each a stone that fits together building the city walls surrounding the glory of the LORD Who dwells there. We are not only His church, His bride, but we are His temple.

Today I want to turn to the cornerstone and talk about the drink offering.

I was thinking about Paul's wonderful final words: "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;" (2 Timothy 4:6-7). Paul said four wonderful things here. In the second verse, the trio of things Paul says He did for the Lord are a model for us: fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith. Good principles for all of us today. But curiously in the first part of the verse, Paul declares he has "poured himself out as a drink offering." Hmmm. What is a drink offering, anyway?

The first time a drink offering is mentioned in the bible is in Genesis 35:14. It is only one of two offerings to be given before the Law was delivered, the other being the burnt offering. We hear a lot about the sacrificial offerings and the sin offerings and the trespass offerings, but not a lot about the drink offering.

In the Genesis verse, God descends and speaks to Jacob. It is in this verse that God changes Jacob's name to Israel and promises certain blessings over him and his descendants. (Gen 35: 9-14). Then God ascends.

In verse 15, Jacob/Israel then sets up a pillar. The Hebrew word for pillar is "something stationary, i.e. A monumental stone."

"Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, 'Bethel'."

Bethel means "house of God". So not only the geographical location was named House of God, but Jacob laid the cornerstone of the house of God that is referred to in Revelation, which shows us the competed house, the City of God- New Jerusalem. The first stone was laid at this moment, actually and metaphorically, and so the cornerstone is our Savior.

Jacob next poured out wine as a drink offering. As mentioned, the drink offering was one sacrifice given prior to the Law. And except for this one time, the drink offering was not meant to be given alone, it always accompanied other offerings.

"In contrast to the Levitical offerings, which all speak of the work of Christ each in a different aspect, the drink offering speaks of the joy in the complement of that work. This explains why the drink offering is not mentioned in the opening up of the book of Leviticus which speaks of man’s approach to God. This approach can only be on the basis of the death of Christ, and so there we have detailed all the offerings except the drink offering, which speaks not of the work or the death of Christ, but the joy of God in the completed work."

The Chief Cornerstone being laid is the beginning of that work, the Apostles who continued that work are the foundation stones, and each believer is a temple stone fitted together building up His New Jerusalem. When the full number of believers has been reached, (Romans 11:25) the City will be finished and we will be raptured to it.

There is much more to the drink offering of course, I am only scratching the surface. Paul's reference to pouring himself out is a good reminder to us, that we need to pour ourselves out. Pouring indicates a steady stream. Not meted out in discrete chunks at a slow pace, with gaps. But a steady stream of continual offering of our life's blood to Jesus. At your life's end, or at the rapture, will you be able to say you are emptied, having fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith? Have you flung yourself on the Chief Cornerstone? Are you pouring yourself out to the Lord daily in a steady stream?

We kiss the Blarney Stone, we touch the Temple stone, we step on Plymouth Rock, kings are crowned on the Stone of Scone, Muslims pray before the Black Stone of the Kaaba, but they are all pretender stones. In each of those stones only a part of the body and soul is given. The Chief Cornerstone is Jesus and the only way to approach Him is by pouring your entire self upon it. It is the least we can do, because He first poured Himself out upon us.

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