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Tuesday, December 6 2011
Linen In History And Prophecy
The English word "linen" originated from a Greek word, pronounced line-en, which referred to the flax plant. The Hebrew word that is used in the Scriptures for linen is pronounced shesh-ee; it literally means white, or bleached - referring to the natural color of linen, when compared to other things.
Linen cloth is made from the fiber of the flax plant (the English word "line" originated from the use of a linen thread or cord to mark a straight line), while the seeds are the source of linseed oil. Linen has been used since very ancient times for clothing, paper (including, in more modern times, in paper money), bedding, curtains and burial wrappings - just as it still is today. One of the earliest producers of fine linen was Egypt, as attested by King Solomon.
"7:16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt." (Proverbs 7:16 KJV)
When the Israelites first entered Egypt (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?), they did so under the best-possible circumstances - one of their own, Joseph, had become (see Was Her Name Zuleikha?) the Prime Minister, who was "arrayed in vestures of fine linen" by the Pharaoh of that time (unlike the Pharaoh of four centuries later, in the time of Moses; see The River Of Moses and Ipuwer's Exodus).
"41:41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 41:42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 41:43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:41-43 KJV)
When the Israelites left Egypt at the time of the Exodus, they took all of the supplies that they would need for their journey in the Sinai Peninsula (see Paul's Geography Lesson) - including linen for "raiment."
"12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses [see Moses Of Midian]; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 12:36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required" (Exodus 12:35-36 KJV)
It was from those supplies, including the "fine linen," that the Israelites were able to make their offerings for the establishment of the Tabernacle (see The First Christian Church).
"25:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. 25:3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, 25:4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, 25:5 And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood, 25:6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, 25:7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
The exterior of the Tabernacle was leather ("a covering of badgers' skins"), while the interior was "fine twined linen."
"36:19 And he made a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers' skins above that." (Exodus 36:19 KJV)
"For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints"
The LORD specified very early that His Creation included natural laws about biological purity e.g. "neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee."
"19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee." (Leviticus 19:19 KJV)
The High Priest's garments were made of fine linen, decorated with a hem of embroidered linen pomegranates.
"39:24 And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen [see also Pomegranates]. 39:25 And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe, round about between the pomegranates; 39:26 A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe to minister in; as the LORD commanded Moses. 39:27 And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons, 39:28 And a mitre of fine linen [see also 'Raghead' Racism], and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen, 39:29 And a girdle of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework; as the LORD commanded Moses." (Exodus 39:24-29 KJV)
Linen garments were thereafter worn by those serving at the Tabernacle. Samuel was given to wear "a linen ephod" right from the time that he was a child (see Hannah's Dedication).
"2:18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD [see The Prophets: Samuel], being a child, girded with a linen ephod. 2:19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 2:20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home. 2:21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD." (1 Samuel 2:18-21 KJV)
The Israelite monarchy was established in the time of Samuel. During the civil war for the throne (see The Civil War Kings and Why Didn't David And Saul Fight For Jerusalem?), Saul's troops committed a massacre of priests of the LORD (they "fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod").
"22:17 And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not show it to me.
Saul had earlier attempted to have David killed in battle, by means of proving himself worthy to marry Saul's daughter Michal (see The Wives Of King David). That marriage effectively ended on the day that David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, when "David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod" (David's wives themselves would have been clothed in fine linen).
"15:27 And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen." (1 Chronicles 15:27 KJV)
David was succeeded by his son Solomon (see David And Bathsheba) who traded with much of the known world. From Egypt, Solomon obtained horses, chariots, and fine linen.
"10:26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem. 10:27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance. 10:28 And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price." (1 Kings 10:26-28 KJV)
Like the Tabernacle in the wilderness before it, the Temple in Jerusalem made extensive use of Egyptian linen (see also What Does The Bible Say About Arabs?).
"3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah [see also Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff], where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. 3:2 And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign." (2 Chronicles 3:1-2 KJV)
Solomon eventually became arrogant (he began to think that the blessings were a product of him, rather from the LORD when Solomon obeyed Him) and then a corrupt loser (see Rehoboam's Answer). Solomon's united kingdom would be divided because of it; the northern kingdom of "Israel" (see The Northern Kingdom) would fall because of it; the southern kingdom of "Judah" (see The Southern Kingdom) would fall because of it. As stated by the prophet Isaiah, their "fine linen" of purity toward the LORD had rotted.
"3:15 What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
The prophet Jeremiah was given the same object lesson of corrupted linen "which is good for nothing."
"13:1 Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water. 13:2 So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and put it on my loins.
While exiled to Babylon, which fell to Persia (see Iran's Greatest Leader Was Pro-Zionist), Esther became queen of Persia (today known as Iran), dressed in fine linen, as was Mordecai (see Has Another Haman Arisen?).
"8:11 Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, 8:12 Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. 8:13 The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, and that the Jews should be ready against that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
While in Babylon, the angel Gabriel ("9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation" Daniel 9:21 KJV) appeared to the prophet Daniel, "clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold."
"10:1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel [see also The Royal Eunuchs], whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
Just as seen by Daniel in his day, the Book of Revelation describes angels who will also be "clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles."
"15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
When the Messiah died, the linen Veil of the Temple was torn (see Why Was It Torn?). The Son of God was then wrapped in linen cloths (not a single shroud) according to custom, just as Lazarus had been bound ("11:44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go" John 11:44 KJV).
"27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost [see Giving Up The Ghost].
After the Messiah was resurrected, the linen burial cloths (plural, not a single "shroud") were folded and left in the Tomb.
"20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 20:4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 20:7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." (John 20:3-7 KJV)
Pure linen is symbolic of the "bride of Christ" - those who are truly faithful to Him, in word and deed (see the series of ten studies beginning with The Way To Salvation: Step 1).
"19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 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. 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:6-9 KJV)
On the day of Christ's return, He will be accompanied by a large army of angels, as already described above, "clothed in fine linen." Also clothed in fine linen, as also already described above, will be the "bride of Christ" who will "meet the LORD in the air" (see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin).
"19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
This Day In History, December 6
1421: Henry VI, the last Lancastrian king of England, was born. He was crowned king at the age of 8 months.
1492: Christopher Columbus "discovered" Hispaniola (it wasn't a discovery for the people who were already living there); the island is now divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
1534: Quito, Ecuador was founded by Spanish explorers.
1768: The first edition of Encyclopedia Britannica was published.
1792: During the French Revolution, the Girondists decided to put King Louis XVI on trial.
1862: President Abraham Lincoln ordered the hanging of 39 native Americans for the "Sioux Uprising" in Minnesota.
1917: Over 1,600 people were killed, 9,000 injured, and an estimated $35 million damage from an explosion in the harbor at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Mont Blanc, a French munitions ship, collided with the Belgian relief ship Imo. Sparks from the collision ignited almost 3,000 tons of explosives aboard the French ship.
1917: British troops under General Allenby entered Hebron on their way to taking Jerusalem from the Ottomans during the First World War (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire, The European World Wars and The Balfour Declaration).
1921: The Anglo-Irish Treaty ended the Anglo-Irish War and gave Ireland dominion status in the British Empire as the Irish Free State, but provided for the separate status for the 6 northern counties (Northern Ireland), thus partitioning the country.
1938: Germany and France signed a "treaty of friendship." Germany invaded France a year later.
1941: Franklin Roosevelt approved funds for the development of a weapon of mass destruction, which later became known as the "atomic bomb."
1973: Gerald Ford was sworn in as U.S. Vice-President, following Spiro Agnew's resignation for tax evasion. With the later resignation of Richard Nixon because of the Watergate burglary and obstruction of justice cover-up, Ford became the only man to serve as President and Vice-President without ever being elected to either office.
1975: A $2.3 billion emergency loan to save New York from bankruptcy was authorized.