No entering the gate clothed with sackcloth
Esther 4:2 -
And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth.
Though this scripture is from the book of Esther and about the historic events which led to the festival of 'Pur', I will not like to get into it. Nor will I take the event similar to that which is about to happen in the future wherein the plans of the Prince of Tyrus [term used for Lucifer (King) and his beast (prince) the name Tyrus / Tyre in Hebrew means 'harden pebble'] to destroy the Children of God, gets turned around and the gallows made for them lands up on the noble of Tyrus [in Hebrew 'Hiram' the ruler of Tyrus / Tyre] and his team.
I am led to meditate on the restriction of entering the King's gate with sackcloth.
Jesus in His parable about the Kingdom of God being like a King getting his son married, also had the similar restriction on the invitees, wherein no one was allowed to enter with any other type of clothing other than which was provided by the King.
Putting on sackcloth or putting ash on one's head represents repentance. These things were done in the Old Testament and I do not recollect any such recorded in the New Testament. It is not because of Old Law (Covenant) and New Law (Covenant) but it is to do with hope.
In the times before Jesus the grace of God was never a guaranty. The grace of God was available as and when God desired and taken away as a when God wished. This was because the people were connected to Adam (who was as man, son of God - had the image of God in him before sin came into him) from whom grace was taken away. But we who are in Jesus Christ (as man son of God - has the image of God in Him) are assured by God that grace will never be taken away, therefore putting ash on the head or sackcloth on the body means rejecting the grace of Jesus Christ.
It is not that we do not sin or need to repent in sin. When we sin we need to immediately repent (not just be aware we have done wrong but also make our minds not to continue in or doing the wrong) and have confidence that our God has forgiven us. Continuing in repentance means either we are unable to approach God or do not have faith that He will forgive us.
Even in the prayer 'Our Father' which Jesus gave us as an example to teach us to pray, has the words 'forgive our trespasses'. The word 'forgive' if correctly translated (which cannot be perfectly translated in English since the English language has not word to substitute it) will land up as 'forgave us, forgives us and will forgive us' for this word is in a [Aorist] tense which is past, present and future at the same time.
A person truly baptized in Jesus Christ will never put ash on the head due to the sins of his ancestors nor even for his own sins, for God is now our Father and we can now approach Him with confidence.
Putting ash was as remembrance of the curse on Adam that he would go to dust, but we who are in Jesus Christ will live even though our body may go to dust, we still live, for we are not people of flesh but of spirit and the curse for us is broken. When we die our body may go to dust but we do not for we live, because He lives.
So let us start believing in our merciful Heavenly Father Who has assured us permanent grace through Jesus Christ and after truly repenting let us cast off our sackcloth and clear our head of ash forever and let us cover ourselves with robes of righteousness and truth of Jesus Christ and enter the King's Gate.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord Jesus, You came as man and became an eternal sacrifice for us, all our sins You took on You and washing them away. By your sacrifice and Spirit, You cover us with your righteousness and truth. Lord Jesus, help us truly repent when we wrong but also remind us that by continually repenting is rejecting You and your grace. Even the greatest of sins You have taken off all who take refuge in You. We are rooted to the vine which is You and are not connected in any way to the vine Adam...
We make this prayer in Your mighty Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scripture ]
1 Chronicles 17:11-15
11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee [Jesus Christ], which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his [Jesus Christ] kingdom.
12 He [Jesus Christ] shall build me an house, and I will stablish his [Jesus Christ] throne for ever.
13 I will be his father, and he [Jesus Christ] shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him [Adam] that was before thee:
14 But I will settle him [Jesus Christ] in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his [Jesus Christ] throne shall be established for evermore.
15 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive[Aorist tense] us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
1 The word of Jehovah came again unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art man, and not God, though thou didst set thy heart as the heart of God; -
3 behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that is hidden from thee;
4 by thy wisdom and by thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures;
5 by thy great wisdom and by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thy heart is lifted up because of thy riches; -
6 therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because thou hast set thy heart as the heart of God,
7 therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness.
8 They shall bring thee down to the pit; and thou shalt die the death of them that are slain, in the heart of the seas.
9 Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou art man, and not God, in the hand of him that woundeth thee.
10 Thou shalt die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord Jehovah.
11 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou wast in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was in thee; in the day that thou wast created they were prepared.
14 Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth: and I set thee, so that thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till unrighteousness was found in thee.
16 By the abundance of thy traffic they filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore have I cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I have cast thee to the ground; I have laid thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 By the multitude of thine iniquities, in the unrighteousness of thy traffic, thou hast profaned thy sanctuaries; therefore have I brought forth a fire from the midst of thee; it hath devoured thee, and I have turned thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the peoples shall be astonished at thee: thou art become a terror, and thou shalt nevermore have any being.
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