The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Twelve

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming…
The number twelve plays a prominent role in scripture. In the Old Testament, we can understand the twelve drummers drumming to represent the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 49:1-27):
  • Reuben
  • Simeon
  • Levi
(the priestly tribe of Moses, Aaron, Miriam and John the Baptist)
  • Judah
(the tribe of kings David and Solomon, and of Jesus)
  • Zebulun
  • Issachar
  • Dan
  • Gad
  • Asher
  • Naphtali
  • Joseph
(which was divided between his sons Manasseh and Ephraim)
  • Benjamin
(the tribe of Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul)
In the New Testament, the number twelve signifies the twelve original apostles:
The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him (Matthew 10:2-4).
 
  • Simon, renamed Peter by Jesus
  • Andrew
  • James
  • John
  • Philip
  • Bartholomew
  • Thomas
  • Matthew
  • James, son of Alphaeus
  • Thaddaeus
  • Simon
  • Judas Iscariot, who was replaced after the Resurrection by Matthias (Acts 1:15-26)
Let’s look at how the number twelve demonstrates God’s plan for restoration…
Ephesians chapter two tells us how Jesus reconciled Jews and Gentiles into one body:
Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.
 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us (2:11-18 NLT).
 Revelation chapter four describes the apostle John’s vision of the throne room of God:
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads (4:4 ESV).
Twelve of the thrones are occupied by each of the members of the tribes of Israel and twelve by the twelve apostles, each wearing a golden crown.
Notice that John the Revelator describes these not as two groups of twelve, but as one group of twenty-four elders, representing Israel and the Church, seated together, as described by Paul in his epistle to the church at Ephesus above.
Ephesians 2:5-6 tells us, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus (NLT).
Through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, we are united with Christ and seated together with him in heavenly places. This being ‘seated together’ is a sign of Jesus’ finished work at the cross. The vision of the twenty-four elders seated together in the throne room of God signifies that the separation between Jew and Gentile is also finished, and they (and we) are combined to form one body in Christ Jesus. We are reconciled to each other and to God. This also signifies the fulfillment of the covenants in the Old and New Testaments, which is manifested in the appearance of the New Jerusalem in Revelation chapter 21. (Can you find more occurrences of the number twelve there?)
In conclusion, let’s go back to where we began this series, with our partridge in a pear tree…
Remember that in the beginning, in Eden, there were two trees:
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:8-9 NLT).
God provided Adam and Eve with a choice between the fruit of the two trees. From the one, life; from the other, certain death.
On earth after the fall, man and woman kind were enslaved to the consequences of Adam’s choice, until Jesus came, to hang upon another tree:
“Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”
 “What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
 “We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.
 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified
 So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha) (John 19:15-17 NLT).
Because Jesus was willing to suffer and die on the cross, we who receive him may partake of the Tree of Life – with its twelve crops of fruit - in the New Heaven and the New Earth, in God’s eternal kingdom:
Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him (Revelation 22:1-3 NLT).
 And behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be (Revelation 22:12 KJV).
 And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:16).
 Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Eleven

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven pipers piping…
As we saw with the four calling birds on the fourth day of Christmas, the eleven pipers piping are here to glorify God and make some noise! We can picture the eleven pipers as the apostles who followed Jesus after the resurrection – minus, of course, one disciple, Judas the Betrayer:
Here are the names of the twelve apostles:
first, Simon (also called Peter),
then Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee),
John (James’s brother),
 Philip,
Bartholomew,
Thomas,
Matthew (the tax collector),
James (son of Alphaeus),
Thaddaeus,
Simon (the zealot),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him)
(Matthew 10:2-4 NLT).
The eleven remaining disciples were sent out by Jesus to begin the Great Commission:
 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20 NLT).

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Ten

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten lords a’leaping…
 You’ve probably already guessed that the ten lords a’leaping can refer to the Ten Commandments that God gave through Moses, listed in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:1-22. God said:
  • You shall have no other gods before Me
  • You shall not make or worship any idol
  • You shall not take the name of God in vain
  • You shall honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy
  • You shall honor your father and mother
  • You shall not kill
  • You shall not commit adultery
  • You shall not steal
  • You shall not lie
  • You shall not covet
Here are the Ten Commandments given through Moses as listed in the New Living Translation of the Bible, Deuteronomy 5:1-22:
 Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, “Listen carefully, Israel. Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them!
  “The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai. The Lord did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today.  At the mountain the Lord spoke to you face to face from the heart of the fire.  I stood as an intermediary between you and the Lord, for you were afraid of the fire and did not want to approach the mountain. He spoke to me, and I passed his words on to you. This is what he said:
  “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
  “You must not have any other god but me.
  “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
  “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
  “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do. Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.
  “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  “You must not murder.
 “You must not commit adultery.
  “You must not steal.
  “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
  “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
 “The Lord spoke these words to all of you assembled there at the foot of the mountain. He spoke with a loud voice from the heart of the fire, surrounded by clouds and deep darkness. This was all he said at that time, and he wrote his words on two stone tablets and gave them to me.”
 Notice that as with the nine ladies dancing on the ninth day of Christmas that we studied yesterday, these lords are leaping – they are active – and their dancing and leaping symbolize the activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers, who are the Body of Christ and the Church of God on earth.
Under the Old Covenant, which includes the Ten Commandments given through Moses by God, humanity was required to put all their strength into keeping God’s laws under their own power. Although the Holy Spirit fell on, and sometimes remained with, specific persons in the Old Testament, he had not yet been sent by God to abide with believers forever, as Jesus promised:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you [see Acts chapter 2]. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you (John 14:16-18 NLT).
 Jesus’ substitutionary death, burial and resurrection in payment for our sins places believers under the New Covenant, through which we are not under law but under grace:
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14 ESV).
New Testament believers are saved from sin through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his substitutionary atonement for our sins on our behalf, through the grace of Almighty God. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who then performs every necessary work throughout our lifetimes for our sanctification, from the deepest within of our being.
The spiritual, supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit within us produces the Fruit of the Spirit through us and allows us to keep God’s laws in his strength – naturally, organically, through him - so that we do not depend on our own strength for salvation or for works. Under the Old Covenant, God’s laws were written on two tablets of stone. Under the New Covenant, God’s Holy Spirit writes them on our minds and hearts:
But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
 …For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (Hebrews 8:6, 10 ESV).

Building a House: Journal Part 2

Here is what can happen on a nice sunny day. Unfortunately there haven't been many of those since I last posted in August. This is where concrete footers will go for our workshop when we can pour concrete.

This is why we haven't been able to pour concrete. There have been too few sunny days in a row. Footers are essential for a foundation.

 

So we clear more trees. This is called a loader.

It pushes down trees.

Like this. Loader Man is on the move.

Here is where our workshop will go. For awhile it will be merely a pole barn. Eventually it will house my art studio and workshop for my husband who does wood work, blacksmithing and a variety of other things. One day we will post on some of that.

So there are things to be done that don't require perfect weather. This is a rough sketch of what the front of the house will look like.

I made a sink for one of the bathrooms.

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Nine

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine ladies dancing…
Our nine beautiful ladies represent the Fruit of the Spirit, described in the Book of Galatians:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV).
The nine fruit of the Spirit are:
  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Longsuffering (patience)
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness (trust in God)
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control
The activity of the Fruit of the Spirit in the Church – the ladies dancing – can be seen in the nine Beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-12:
  • Blessed are the poor in spirit (Agape/ self-sacrificing love)
  • Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted (Joy; i.e., the oil of joy for mourning, Isaiah 61:3)
  • Blessed are the meek (Peace)
  • Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness (Longsuffering/patience)
  • Blessed are the merciful (Gentleness)
  • Blessed are the pure in heart (Goodness)
  • Blessed are the peacemakers (Faith/trust in God)
  • Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (Meekness)
  • Blessed are the falsely accused (Temperance/self-control)
When we ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to walk in the Fruit of the Spirit, we begin to walk as Jesus walked, and we experience God’s blessings in the Beatitudes:
  • Love -What it means to enter in to the kingdom of heaven.
  • Joy - The strength and comfort of the continual presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • Peace - How to reign in life over arrogance, pride and struggle.
  • Patience - What it means to be fully satisfied in every aspect of our lives.
  • Gentleness - What it means to receive God’s mercy, which makes us gentle and merciful.
  • Goodness - The relief of goodness and a decreasing desire for sin.
  • Faith - The peace that passes all understanding, that can only come through trust in God.
  • Meekness - God’s sufficient grace for every trial.
  • Self-control - Peace and joy, even in the presence of misunderstanding and persecution. 
    Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
    The Beatitudes
    He said:
    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
    Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
    Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
     Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
     Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
     Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven..." (Matthew 5:1-11 NIV).

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Eight

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight maids a’milking…
Because the Church is feminine – the Bride of Christ - the eight maids can be understood to represent the Body of Christ in the Unity of the Spirit, as described in Ephesians chapter 4:
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men” (Ephesians 4:1-8 NKJV).
There is:
  • One Body of Christ
  • One Spirit
  • One Hope of your calling
  • One Lord
  • One Faith
  • One Baptism
  • One God and Father of all
  • One Gift of Grace
And in this light, the activity of the eight maids a’milking represents the working of the five-fold ministry of the church, plus the three-fold benefit for the Body of Christ through the ministry:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13 NKJV).
 The five-fold gifts of ministry are:
  • Apostolic
  • Prophetic
  • Evangelical
  • Pastoral
  • Teaching
The three-fold benefits for the Church are:
  • Equipping for ministry
  • Edifying of the Body of Christ
  • The Unity of the Faith and Knowledge of the Son of God