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The Scriptorium

Garments of the True King

We wear the garments of Christ. Acts 12

The Right and Only Kinga (7)

Pray Psalm 2.1-6.

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

Sing Psalm 2.1-6.
(Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!)
Why do the nations vainly rage, conspiring together from age to age?
Earth’s kings and all of their counselors stand against the Lord and His Right Hand:

“Now let us cast His yoke below, His Kingdom authority overthrow!
Throw off His Law, reject His Word; no more be governed by this Lord!”

The Lord in heaven laughs in wrath at all who embark on this cursèd path.
His angry Word to them is plain: “Yet shall My King in Zion reign!”

Read Acts 12.1-25; meditate on verses 20-24.

Preparation
1. What was Herod’s sin?

2. What happened after God removed Herod?

Meditation
From the beginning of the Gospel, religious and civil powers sought to silence the Good News, going so far as to murder the Savior, imprison and threaten His witnesses, bring martyrdom upon leaders of the movement, and scatter the believers from their homes and communities.

Every attempt by religious leaders or Roman authorities to put out the flame of the Gospel was like throwing gasoline on a fire. Because no worldly power – civil, religious, or otherwise – can stop the ongoing work Jesus is doing from His throne at the right hand of God (Ps. 110). Herod allowed himself to be called a god. God showed him he was not. Subsequent Roman emperors – for 250 years more – would insist on empire-wide recognition of their status as gods on earth. All of them would perish, and in the fourth century, the empire itself would bow the knee to Jesus.

Jesus is the only true God and King. The book of Acts shows us what to expect wherever He is pursuing His ongoing work. Enemies are converted or removed. Nations and peoples rejoice to believe. Churches pop-up all over the place. Morals change. Love abounds. And though persecution continues, it cannot stop what Jesus is doing, filling the world with Himself (Eph. 4.8-10).

Herod learned the hard way not to try and rob God of the glory due to Him alone. Civil magistrates are God’s servants, and they are appointed to oversee good order in the world (Rom. 13.1-4), not to make a name or accrue honors unto themselves. All rulers – civil and religious – answer to God, in this life and beyond. So do we. We who believe must not allow any puffed up opposition to distract us from our mission or defeat us in our work. Christ is doing His ongoing work through us, and our responsibility – like Saul and Barnabas and Peter and James and all those early believers – is simply to give thanks, rejoice, and obey.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “apparel oft proclaims the man”, which has morphed today into “clothes make the man”.

Herod was an early believer in those rules of fashion. There he was “arrayed in royal apparel” waxing eloquent about the glories of himself (Acts 12.21). Pompous clothing.

Luke had previously written about clothing. In Luke 2 he tells us what the angel told the shepherds: “And this will be a sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (v. 12). This Babe is the Savior, Christ the Lord. Tender clothing.

Then in Mark 9 we are given a description of Jesus’ clothing on the Mount of Transfiguration: “His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” (vs.3) Awesome clothing.

Next we are given a glimpse into Herod’s disturbed use of clothing during the false trial of Jesus: “Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.” (Lk. 23.11) Cruel clothing.

And in Acts Herod becomes the poster boy for the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

In striving for a god’s greatness, he managed to get himself exposed before his subjects. And eaten by worms.

Clothes are not a negligible issue. Their use and misuse are throughout literature—Scriptural and otherwise.

And now, clothing for us, from the true God and King, tailored to cover our sins: “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” (Rev. 7.14). Saving clothing.

And our true God and King, His own clothing goes far beyond mere fabric and fashion. Hear what the psalmist has to say:
“O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.”
“I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”
(Ps. 104.1, 2, 33)

Clothed, covered, and cared for by Christ; in apparel that proclaims Whose people we are!

For reflection

1. What does it mean to “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13.14)?

2. God does not look on the outward person, but on the heart (1 Sam. 6.16). What kind of “clothing” is God looking for on your heart?

3. Revelation 3.14-18: How can we acquire the clothing God wants to see on us?

The Jewish historian Josephus also provides an account of this display, informing us that in an attempted appeasement of the king the people confessed that he was “more than a mortal.” Herod, instead of rebuking the address of deity, enjoyed the adulation—until he discovered the consequence of such blasphemy. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Acts 12.22

Pray Psalm 2.7-12.
Pray for God to advance His Kingdom over all the earth, and to overwhelm with grace and truth all those who oppose His King. Pray for a great revival of true religion and a great awakening to faith in all nations.

Sing Psalm 2.7-12.
(Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!)
Proclaim the message far and wide, that God has exalted the Crucified!
From heav’n He sent us His only Son, Who has for us salvation won!

To Christ the Lord be given all who humbly embrace Him and on Him call.
Be wise, be warned: His judgment comes to break the prideful, sinful ones.

Rejoice with fear in Jesus’ grace, and worship before His exalted face!
Beware His anger and judgment grim: How blessed are all who rest in Him!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

To learn the teaching of Scripture about the role of civil magistrates, and our responsibility toward them, order a free copy of the book, The King’s Heart, by clicking here.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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