The Cloud of Witnesses
(Hebrews 12:1-2, 22-24)
When I asked my son, David, to create this site for my writing, I presented the theme that Christ suffered so that He might fall into the ground and die, to the end that He, as a seed sown, would be resurrected, and bear much fruit that being many sons like Him. David found two paintings in the public domain, parts of which form the banner of this blog site. The second frame depicts the cloud of witnesses. It is written that Jesus Christ is the first-born among many brothers. Many of these brothers, and sisters, have already gone before us and now rest with the Lord waiting for the transition from this age to the new heaven and new earth.
Who are these brothers? Jesus defined them as the ones who know the will of God and do it. I imagine Him gesturing to the twelve and the company of women who ministered to their temporal needs. Our bodies need each other’s care. Jesus’ extended company of disciples included more than the twelve men. Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus are disciples, as are the two on the road to Emmaus, and Mary who was first to meet Him after His resurrection. We should also recognize that His mother, Mary, is among this company as she was present with the 120 in the upper room when the church which is His body was revealed in the earth.
In the reference from Hebrews, we read that we have come to this company. We are already there by the Spirit, seated with them, with Christ, in heaven. The completion of this is waiting before us in time but it is a present, eternal reality. It can be known now according to wisdom and revealing by God’s Spirit. Eternal life is not something only future, waiting for us. It is to be received now by receiving Him. We do this on a continuing basis, pressing in to know Him.
As is written to the Hebrews, the cloud of witnesses includes Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and a host of others who were faithful in the days of the Old Covenant. For some that phrase “old covenant” is offensive. I sense that people who are offended by that are still living under law, not under grace. I repeat what is written, the law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one compares with Him. Since the greater, Christ Himself, has been revealed, let us fix our eyes on Him. If we do this asking the Spirit to reveal Him daily, our transformation is certain. He desires it to happen more than we do.
I often do not eat until afternoon and I enjoy a cup of coffee. I will frequently say “good morning,” even at 3:00 in the afternoon, saying it’s still morning until I have that cup! And it occurred to me if it’s morning all day long, then every hour is a new beginning. That’s an encouraging thought. Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we are strangers in this land, in this age, journeying from experience to experience of God and His wonders. But let us not limit honor to those of that time. As I have written before, consider Watchman Nee, John Bunyan, Nicolaus Zinzendorf, and more recently, David Wilkerson, Jim Elliot, Kathryn Kuhlman, Ruth Heflin, John Paul Jackson, and Bob Jones (the one of Fort Mill, SC). These have left a rich legacy of lives laid down for Jesus’ sake, and the growth of His body. For all of these I am grateful. All glory to the One, Jesus, who poured His life through them that we might continue on.