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Sunday, May 5 2013

The Porters

"He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life"

"Porter" is now usually defined as "a railroad employee who assists passengers" or "a person employed to carry luggage and supplies." The word originated however from, either or both, the Latin word porto and the Greek word poros, which meant an opening, or a passage. Hence "port" meant a place of entry or departure (the word porous originated from the same root words) and porter originally meant someone in charge of an entry or exit i.e. a gatekeeper.

Bible translations variously use "porter" or "gatekeeper" to translate the original words of the Holy Scriptures that meant a gatekeeper. An example from 2 Kings 7:11 as translated by the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version and the Complete Jewish Bible.

The Flaming Sword

"7:11 And he called the porters; and they told it to the king's house within." (King James Version)

7:11 Then the gatekeepers called out, and it was told within the king's household." (Revised Standard Version)

7:11 The gatekeepers called and told it to the king's household inside." (Complete Jewish Bible)

The first porters, or gatekeepers, recorded in the Bible were "Cherubims" armed with "a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" from the humans who had chosen to make themselves sinners.

"3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken [see Adam and Adamah and Who Created Weeds?).

3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Genesis 3:23-24 KJV)

A substantial segment of the Levites were designated as "porters." The reason that there were many of them was because they were a defense and enforcement branch of the priesthood i.e. "they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them" (see also The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood and Leviticus: The Prophecies Of Christianity).

"9:17 And the porters were, Shallum, and Akkub, and Talmon, and Ahiman, and their brethren: Shallum was the chief; 9:18 Who hitherto waited in the king's gate eastward: they were porters in the companies of the children of Levi. 9:19 And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: and their fathers, being over the host of the LORD, were keepers of the entry. 9:20 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them in time past, and the LORD was with him. 9:21 And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

9:22 All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office. 9:23 So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the LORD, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards. 9:24 In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south. 9:25 And their brethren, which were in their villages, were to come after seven days from time to time with them. 9:26 For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. 9:27 And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them." (1 Chronicles 9:17-27 KJV)

The Ark and the Tabernacle were permanently separated in the time of Eli (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Samuel). After the Civil War (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War), King David brought the Ark to Jerusalem, while the Tabernacle yet existed (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Tabernacle). Porters were in service at both locations.

The Tabernacle

"16:37 So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required: 16:38 And Obededom with their brethren, threescore and eight; Obededom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters:

16:39 And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at Gibeon, 16:40 To offer burnt offerings unto the LORD upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the LORD, which he commanded Israel; 16:41 And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever; 16:42 And with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters." (1 Chronicles 16:37-42 KJV)

The Temple in Jerusalem was built in the time of David's son Solomon. The number of porters greatly increased at that time i.e. "four thousand were porters."

"23:1 So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.

23:2 And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. 23:3 Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. 23:4 Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand were officers and judges: 23:5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith." (1 Chronicles 23;1-5 KJV)

The Levites were further organized into divisions ("courses") in the time of David and Solomon, "the porters also by their courses at every gate."

"8:12 Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch, 8:13 Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles. 8:14 And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded. 8:15 And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures." (2 Chronicles 8:12-15 KJV)

After the separation of Israel into "Israel" and "Judah" (see 1 Kings: From Empire To Divided Kingdom), there were frequent conflicts for the throne. In one such incident, the porters defended the life of a young prince, who was the rightful heir to the throne, after Athaliah, a daughter of the infamous Jezebel, seized the throne for herself (see Athaliah Of Judah).

The High Priest

"23:1 And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him. 23:2 And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. 23:3 And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God.

And he said unto them, Behold, the king's son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David. 23:4 This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you entering on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the doors; 23:5 And a third part shall be at the king's house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation: and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the LORD. 23:6 But let none come into the house of the LORD, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall go in, for they are holy: but all the people shall keep the watch of the LORD. 23:7 And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever else cometh into the house, he shall be put to death: but be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out.

23:8 So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest had commanded, and took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that were to go out on the sabbath: for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses. 23:9 Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David's, which were in the house of God. 23:10 And he set all the people, every man having his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and the temple, by the king round about.

23:11 Then they brought out the king's son, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king." (2 Chronicles 23:1-11 KJV)

When the people of Judah returned to Jerusalem from their prescribed seventy-years exile in Babylon, the service of the porters was also re-established, from their family line that served as porters before them (see Ezra: The Return Of The Levites To Jerusalem).

"2:1 Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city; ... 2:42 The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine." (Ezra 2:1,42 KJV)

Fact Finder: What did the Messiah teach about "gates"?
See The Messiah's Teachings About Gates


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This Day In History, May 5

553: The Second Council of Constantinople began.

1215: Rebel barons renounced their patriotism (the original meaning of patriotism was loyalty to the father; "king" meant father of the kin) to King John of England — part of a chain of events leading to the signing of the Magna Carta.

1260: Kublai Khan became ruler of the Mongol Empire.

1292: Adolf of Nassau was crowned German king. He was deposed in June 1298 by his Habsburg opponent Albert I.

Napoleon 1494: Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Jamaica. He named the island Santa Gloria. All of the four voyages of Columbus to "America" were actually just to the islands of the Caribbean (see the map at Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).

1646: After his defeat at the Battle of Naseby during the English Civil War, Charles I surrendered to a Scottish army at Newark.

1705: Leopold I, Emperor of The Holy Roman Empire, died at 64.

1821: Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France and conqueror of much of Europe, died at age 52 (most historians believe it was of cancer) while a British prisoner on the island of St. Helena after his famous defeat at Waterloo (Belgium) on June 18 1815.

1860: Giuseppe Garibaldi and his "Thousand Redshirts" sailed from Genoa to conquer Sicily and Naples.

1865: The U.S. Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.

1893: The stock market crashed on Wall Street, resulting in the closure of 600 banks, the bankruptcy of thousands of businesses and the unemployment of 15 to 20 percent of the U.S. work force.

1925: High school biology teacher John T. Scopes, 24, was arrested for teaching the theory of evolution in his Dayton, Tennessee classroom (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).

1941: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia returned to his capital after British forces liberated Ethiopia from the Italian invasion forces that had occupied the country since 1935.

1945: British and Canadian troops liberated the Netherlands and Denmark from Nazi occupation.

1949: The Council of Europe was established.

1955: The Federal Republic of Germany became a sovereign state after the Allied High Commission dissolved itself.

1961: Alan Shepard became the first U.S. astronaut in space with a 15 minute sub-orbital flight (i.e. it did not go completely around the earth) in a Mercury spacecraft. The Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space a month before, on April 12, with a 108-minute full orbital flight.

1964: The Council of Europe declared May 5 as Europe Day.

1980: In London, elite British SAS ( Special Air Service) troops stormed the Iranian Embassy, killing 4 of the 5 gunmen who had taken over the building and seized hostages.

2006: The government of Sudan signed an accord with the Sudan Liberation Army.

2010: Mass protests in Greece erupted in response to the austerity measures imposed by the Greek government as a result of the Greek debt crisis.





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