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The "Fit" man

Query for the Month

of April 2001

 

Next up-date: May 1st (God willing).

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Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

What does it mean to "be led by the Spirit"?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
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Query:

Leviticus 16:21-22

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities to a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

Who/what is this "fit" man and what makes him "fit"?

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My Answer: Based on Leviticus chapter 16

I believe that the Old Testament ceremonies centred round the altar of sacrifice had three distinct pictures in them.

1) Conversion, or justification

2) Daily living, or sanctification

3) Total cleansing, or glorification

Part of that cleansing was the removal of the sins of Christians onto Satan as depicted in the ritual of the high priest placing his hands on the head of the scapegoat BEFORE leaving the first room of the sanctuary.

He could not handle the goat himself because he remained inside the curtain which separated the first room from the courtyard. Therefore he relied on the actions of the "fit man" who brought the goat to the entrance at the right time, and then led him away to be released alive "in the wilderness".

Leviticus 16:

10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness….[where he is relatively comfortable].

20 And when he has made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he [the fit man] shall bring the live goat: 21 and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness.

22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

The fit man is depicted as being the last one to see Satan (the scapegoat) before the second coming (the reappearance of the high priest in the courtyard which represents the earth). During the whole of the ceremony on the Day of Atonement the "fit"man is holding the goat and waiting for the high priest to show his hands through the curtain. He has to be ready at a moment's notice for there is no time set for this in the ritual. He has some advance warning because he has seen the high priest go in with the blood of the Lord's goat, but since the priest has changed into the white clothes there is no sound to indicate his position inside the building. The appearance of his hands will be the only clear indication.

The courtyard was full of interested spectators during this ceremony on that day, but none of those had any work to do. It all rested on one man.

In literal terms that situation can be transcribed into an earth full of Christians awaiting resurrection, and one last generation waiting breathlessly for their opportunity. Mention of the effect of this is made in the following verses.

Psalm 24:

1 A Psalm of David.

The earth is [now] the LORD'S, and the fullness of it; the world, and they that dwell therein. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? [at the second coming] 4 He that has clean hands, and a pure heart [virgins, Revelation 14:4]; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

6 This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Your face, O [God of] Jacob. Selah. [Selah means, Stop, and think prayerfully on what you have just read].

7 "Lift up your heads, O you gates [of heaven]; and be you lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."

8 "Who is this King of glory?"

"The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle."

9 "Lift up your heads, O you gates; even lift them up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."

10 "Who is this King of glory?"

"The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory." Selah.

In those verses we have the return of the Son of God to heaven after the second coming for the final part of the "marriage" ceremony in heaven, and the calls that the saints who are travelling with Him make to those who guard the gates, and their replies.

Specific mention is made of the "generation" who "seek the face" of the God of Jacob the overcomer. It was Jacob (the supplanter and liar) who gave us the picture of them. When faced with the problem of protecting his family from the feared onslaught of his brother, he sought the Lord in prayer. While he was doing the right thing he was touched by one whom he considered must be his enemy so he fought back. In fact, it was the Son of God (not Satan) who attacked him with all the details of his past life to see if he would give in or stand firm in his faith in his Saviour. This, added to the ongoing accusations of Satan, made his whole life pass before his eyes in a tremendous "time of trouble".

The end result of the encounter was that Jacob was left limping but victorious. He refused to let go against what appeared to be overwhelming odds.

Genesis 32:24-30

24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a Man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him [which is when Jacob recognised his opponent].

26 And He said, "Let Me go [give up], for the day breaks."

And he said, "I will not let You go, except You bless me." [This was NOT a selfish request, but one based on the knowledge that others depended on him].

27 And He said to him, "What is your name [character]?"

And he said, "Jacob [thief - stealer of the birthright]."

28 And He said, "Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel [the overcomer]: for as a prince have you power with God and with men, and have prevailed [because of your helplessness and honesty]."

29 And Jacob asked Him, and said, "Tell me, I pray You, Your name."

And He said, "Wherefore is it that you do ask after My name? [Do you want to be like Me?]. And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place "Peniel": "for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

Hosea 12:2-6

2 The LORD has also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will He recompense him.

3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb [human strength], and [yet] by his [spiritual] strength he had power with God. 4 Yes, he had power over the Angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication to Him: he found Him in Bethel [the house of God], and there He spoke with us. 5 Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial [Jacob’s strength]. 6 Therefore turn you to your God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on your God continually.

In this way, the Spirit of God shows us what the "fit" man is doing! He has Satan's full accusing attention (he's holding the goat), BUT HIS PAST LIFE IS BEING EXPOSED BY HIS OWN GOD AS WELL. Despite the double pressure he holds firm and eventually coerces the devil into revealing himself fully as a rebel and a murderer to all who are watching. That's the job of the 144,000 living Christians. To stand not just against Satan and all his tricks, but against their LORD as well as He also pressures them with remembrances of their past lives in which they will see little good. If they can take both burdens then they can show that faith in the word of God is sufficient for all at any time.

Zechariah 3:1-10

1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest [in this case representing the last generation of Christians] standing before the Angel of the LORD [as the Judge of all the earth, Genesis 18:25], and Satan standing at his [Joshua's] right hand to resist him [accuse him, Revelation 12:10].

2 And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD [God the Father, Jude 1:9] rebuke you, O Satan; even the LORD that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?"

3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments [standing in the judgment with his past record of character publicly on display and not denying it], and stood before the Angel [waiting His verdict].

4 And He answered and spoke to those that stood before Him [the angelic host who were watching, verse 7], saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him [neither do I accuse you, but give you grace. John 8:10-11]."

And to him He said, "Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with change of raiment."

5 And I [Zechariah] said, "Let them [the angels] set a fair mitre [the crown of a prince] upon his head." [Note that Zechariah asks for this in his vision because he feels it is Joshua's due.]

So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the Angel of the LORD stood by [He waited while they did this, as they accepted Joshua’s unique position].

6 And the Angel of the LORD protested [then spoke solemnly] to Joshua, saying, 7 "Thus says the LORD of hosts; If you will [continue to] walk in My ways, and if you will keep My charge, then you shall also judge [lead] My house, and shall also keep My courts, and I will give you places to walk among these that stand by." [Ezekiel 44:15-16].

8 "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you [he is separate from the rest of the Christians]: for they are men wondered at [by the universe]: for, behold, I will bring forth My servant the BRANCH [in them]. 9 For behold the [naming] stone [Revelation 2:17] that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes [the fullness of the Spirit]: behold, I will engrave the engraving of it, says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day, says the LORD of hosts, shall you call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree."

In this vision of the judgment the high priest is not Jesus, for the Son of God is represented as the Judge. The priest pictures the saints of God in the judgment and shows the attacks made on them by Satan. What is NOT shown is the weight of conscience depicted in the attack on JACOB by his Saviour!!

But by putting the two stories together we can get a glimpse into the events of the last days. Those Christians who ignore this plan will crumble under the pressure, but this does not necessarily mean that they will lose their eternal life. It simply means that like Moses, they will fail in that job and will require a resurrection.

Numbers 20:6-12

6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 8 take the rod, and gather you the assembly together, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak you to the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock: so you shall give the congregation and their beasts drink.

1 Corinthians 10:1-4

4 Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them [went with them, margin]: and that Rock was Christ.

9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the Rock, and he said to them, "Hear now, you rebels [an angry speech]; must we fetch you water out of this rock?"

11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice [instead of speaking to Him once!]: and [despite this] the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also [for they were not blame for Moses’ anger].

12 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you believed Me not, to sanctify [illustrate] Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." [You failed to give the right understanding to the people and this will kill you.]

The plan of salvation requires that we recognise that we have "smitten" the Rock when we receive justification, for He must suffer "death" when He takes our sinful natures. But the plan of cleansing for sanctification requires only that we "speak" to Him when we need forgiveness. It does add to His burden, but this part He can render back to Satan on the Day of Atonement.

If we, like Moses, mix up these two very different approaches then we too will need to die and be resurrected no matter how great our "works" for Him. Why? Because we will not know HOW TO CO-OPERATE WITH GOD when the going gets tough.

So what makes the fit man "fit"?

His ability to so grasp the promises of his Saviour that he will not give up even if his Saviour appears to deny them and all the circumstances around him are pushing him into a sinful state!!! Like Peter, he throws himself entirely on the mercy and grace of God and makes no attempt to defend or strengthen himself. In fact, he emphasise his unworthiness and helplessness by lifting up his brethren even though he may have done great things for God. He knows that those actions were all performed by "Christ in him" (Colossians 1:27).

The following story helps to make this point clearer.

Luke 5:4-9

4 Now when He had left speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." 5 And Simon answering said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at your word I will let down the net." [The fish went deep in the daytime, so this was an apparent impossibility.]

6 And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net broke. 7 And they beckoned to their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord." 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken.

Peter was unmindful now of boat or catch. This miracle, above any other he had ever witnessed, was to him a manifestation of divine power. In Jesus he saw One who held all nature under His control and could supply all that they would ever need. The presence of divinity also revealed his own unholiness. Love for his Master, shame for his own unbelief, gratitude for the condescension of Christ, above all, the sense of his uncleanness in the presence of infinite purity, overwhelmed him. While his companions were securing the contents of the net, Peter fell at the Saviour's feet, exclaiming, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

It was the same presence of divine holiness that had caused the prophet Daniel to fall as one dead before the angel of God. He said, "My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength." Daniel 10:8.

So when Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord, he exclaimed, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Isaiah 6:5.

Humanity, with its weakness and sin, was brought in contrast with the perfection of divinity, and Peter and the others felt altogether deficient and unholy. Thus it has been with all who have been granted a view of God's greatness and majesty.

Peter exclaimed, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man;" yet he clung to the feet of Jesus, feeling that he could not be parted from Him. The Saviour answered, "Fear not; from henceforth you shall catch men." It was after Isaiah had beheld the holiness of God and his own unworthiness that he was entrusted with the divine message. It was after Peter had been led to the point of self-renunciation and accepted dependence upon divine power that he received the call to his work for Christ.

That was also accompanied with a severe test. He was asked three times in front of his companions whether he thought he could handle the situation after publicly boasting that he would not deny Christ during His trials. Matthew 26:33-36. After the resurrection the following conversation took place.

John 21:14-19

This is now the third time that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples, after that He was risen from the dead. 15 So when they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, [Do] you love Me more than these?" He says to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love you." He says to him, "Feed My lambs."

16 He says to him again the second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, love you Me?" He says to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He says to him, "Feed My sheep."

17 He says to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, love you Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Love you Me?" [But he didn’t boast] And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus says to him, "Feed my sheep."

18 "Verily, verily, I say to you, When you were young, you girded yourself, and walked wherever you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not [like to go]." 19 This spoke He, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He says to him, "Follow Me."

Thus we see that what makes the fit man "fit" was nothing special. Nothing special to Christians that is. It is a characteristic of all the great men and women of God when they come close to God. What makes the difference for the fit man is that on that day he is the only one capable of doing the work with the goat – all the others just watch - and he does not give up for they are depending on him.

So in the last days all the previous generations of Christians will be helpless in their graves. However, the last generation have taken God at His word and accepted the job given to them with the assurance that they will have all the power needed to fulfil it (Peter’s boatload of fish spoke of the continued support of his Redeemer.) They are NOT superChristians but simply those who will not let Him go no matter what He appears to do to them. Their understanding of His word is such that they know He CANNOT change it, so they live by faith! Malachi 3:6.

Conclusion:

I repeat, what makes the fit man "fit" is nothing special. Nothing special to Christians that is. It is a characteristic of all the saints when they come close to God that they see their own sinfulness and therefore the greatness of His grace. However, because of this the last generation will not give up and enter Satan's "prison house" of death. (That subject is a separate issue.) They determine to "follow the Lamb" wherever He leads them and in this way they do not give up and die.

What makes the difference for the fit man is that on that day he is the only one capable of doing the work with the goat – all the others just watch. In literal terms this means that all the other Christians who have lived, including many of those existing just before the second coming, have either given up their faith or died. One group, however, remains to fulfill God's word.

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Spiritual Dictionary:

The "fit" man:

Leviticus 16:21-22

He is a picture of the final generation of Christians at the second coming. What makes him "fit" is nothing special. (Nothing special to Christians, that is.) It is a characteristic of all the saints when they come close to the Son of man that they see their own sinfulness and therefore the greatness of His grace required. However, because of this the last generation will not give up and enter Satan's "prison house" of death, even when God adds to their burden. (THIS is a separate issue). They determine to "follow the Lamb" wherever He leads them and in this way they do not give up and die.

What makes the difference for the fit man is that on that day he is the only one capable of doing the work with the goat – all the others just watch. In literal terms this means that all the other Christians who have lived, including many of those existing just before the second coming, have either given up their faith or died. One group, however, remains to fulfill God's word and be translated without seeing death into His kingdom.


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