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An in-depth commentary/study on the second book of Corinthians
Category - Bible Commentaries
In Paul’s discussion of Christ as the light of the world, he compares the light of His glory and transfiguration on the Mount to the glory that resides in the heart of every true believer. Christ Himself was full of light, but most of the time His flesh veiled that light. Hence, Heb. 10:20 speaks of “the veil, that is, His flesh.”
Veils always hide the light and the glory. Christ’s veil was removed only for a short time on the Mount of Transfiguration, that is, Mount Hermon (Matt. 17:1, 2). That same glory is in us as well, but, as with Jesus, it too is hidden by veils of flesh.
2 Corinthians 4:6, 7 says,
6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.
The light is a “treasure in earthen vessels.” Paul was alluding to the story of Gideon, who defeated the combined army of the Midianites, Amalekites, and the children of the east using a trumpet, an earthen vessel, and torches within those pitchers. Judges 7:19, 20 says,
19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
This is a prophetic picture of the overcomers, who are represented by just 300 men out of 32,000 that had joined the army originally. These overcame the enemy through the pattern of the feast days: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. First, they blew the trumpets, then they smashed the earthen vessels (i.e., the flesh), and then the light of the glory of God shined forth, defeating the enemy.
So Paul says that “we have this treasure [light] in earthen vessels.” Our earthen vessels, which currently veil the inner light, will be broken when the Day of Atonement is fulfilled. In the full sequence of prophecy, the dead will be raised at the blowing of the trumpets (Rosh Hoshana), followed by the removal of the veil hiding the light of Christ in the living overcomers on the Day of Atonement. Then the light of Christ will shine forth through the feast of Tabernacles, as the sons of God are unveiled and brought to birth.
Paul was well aware of the prophetic significance of the story of Gideon. That story does not focus upon the earlier feast days (Passover, wave-sheaf, and Pentecost). Instead, it is a story of the second appearance of Christ as He manifests through the unveiled overcomers. Paul described this in more detail in 2 Thess. 1:10-12, saying,
10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed… 12 in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is not to say that Christ’s personal (distinct from us) presence will not appear on earth. Jesus Christ will certainly come to earth. However, most people will probably not see Him personally until later, for their Old Covenant eyes will still be veiled and their hearts will remain afraid of His glory. Hence, they will have to see Christ through veils, that is to say, through the flesh-veils of the overcomers until such time that the Old Covenant veil is removed from their eyes.
In other words, if men want to see Jesus, most of them will have to see Him by viewing the overcomers who manifest His presence through fleshly veils. Jesus alluded to this principle in John 14:8, 9,
8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’”
Philip did not realize that he had already seen the Father through the veil of Jesus’ flesh. So also will it be in the Age to come, when the body of Christ—the overcomers—manifest the glory of God through veils of flesh.
When the feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled, those who have been begotten by God (Passover) and who have matured spiritually (Pentecost) will be brought to full birth on the first day of Tabernacles. Christ, their Head, will then come from heaven in order to make a complete body that is eligible for priesthood, because a priest cannot minister if he has no head. Once the body is complete, then this corporate priest can be presented to the Father on the eighth day, according to the law (Exodus 22:29, 30).
This eight-day feast of Tabernacles allows time to consecrate the overcomers to the priesthood, as seen in the pattern of Aaron’s consecration in Lev. 8:33 and 9:1. The eighth day of Tabernacles will see the sons of God presented to the Father, consecrated to the priesthood, and then manifested to the people on earth (Lev. 9:4, 6).
Hence, the order of events which fulfill the second set of feast days will begin with the raising of the dead overcomers at the feast of Trumpets. These will then be present and alive on earth, but they will have to wait for the living overcomers of that final generation to be brought to birth on the first day of Tabernacles. On the first of Tabernacles, the overcomers from the past will be able to unite fully with those of the present into one unified and perfected body.
Then in the middle of Tabernacles, Christ the Head will come to join the complete body, so that the perfected body can be presented faultless to the Father on the eighth day of Tabernacles. Then this body can return to earth on the same day to be manifested sons of God—manifested to the rest of the people on earth.
Yet because most of the people on earth will still be in a state of fleshly fear, the manifested sons of God will have to follow Moses’ example, putting, as it were, a veil over their faces. In other words, the glorified overcomers will put on the appearance of human flesh in order to allow others to approach them without fear. Most people, as long as they remain bound by an Old Covenant perspective, will see the glory of God through veils. It will be the responsibility of the overcomers to share the good news of the New Covenant, so that ultimately, they may see the full glory of God without fear.
This ministry of life will continue for a thousand years, as Rev. 20:6 tells us. During this time, the overcomer-priests will have access to both sets of priestly garments: wool and linen. The woolen garments represent the physical bodies in which the priests must minister to the people in the outer court. The linen garments represent the spiritual bodies in which the priests must minister to God in the sanctuary in heaven.
Ezekiel 44:16-19 prophesies of these two garments. While the prophecy is set forth in Old Covenant terms that were understood in that time, it is actually a prophecy of the future New Covenant Kingdom. Just as the priests in Ezekiel’s day had access to both linen and woolen garments to minister in the sanctuary and in the outer court, so also will the overcomer priests have access to both physical and spiritual garments.
One of the purposes of the feast of Tabernacles is to consecrate the overcomers to the priesthood, so that they may minister in both realms, heaven and earth. They will then be able to move between heaven and earth at will, appearing or disappearing by changing clothes, even as Jesus did after His resurrection. (See Luke 24:31, 36.)
At the present time, those who have this treasure in earthen vessels already possess the light of Christ within them. With very few and temporary exceptions, that light remains veiled by our flesh—that is, our fleshly garments. Even Jesus Himself remained veiled except on just one occasion, when His glory appeared unveiled to three of His disciples on the Mount.
The great unveiling was depicted by Gideon’s army that broke the earthen vessels to reveal the light. This is the main event of the Day of Atonement, the day of repentance where the flesh is breached. We do not know precisely how this will occur, since we see only types and shadows in the prophecies. However, we do know that there is an appointed time for all things prophetic.
The present affliction is a long-term breaking of the earthen vessels, designed to reveal the glory of the light within the overcomers. So Paul says in 2 Cor. 4:8-12,
8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.
This is Paul’s understanding of the meaning of Gideon’s earthen vessels which, when crushed and broken, reveal the light of Christ in us. We do not have to wait for the historic fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. We are already experiencing this now on a personal level, Paul says.
We die daily to the flesh, and the world assists us in this by its persecution. We endure these things, knowing that it takes death to manifest life. By entering into the death experience of Jesus, we also enter into His resurrection-life experience. The same principle seen on the level of personal experience will be manifested in the collective body when the feast days are fulfilled on a historic level.