THE MESSAGE NOW
Vol. 4, No. 29 – Monday, 29th July, 2019
(Psalm 102:26-28, Hebrews 1:11-12, John 20:6-7)
THE MYSTERIES ABOUT THE ‘FOLDED NAPKIN’
The two very powerful and most persuasive verses of John chapter 20 verses 6 and 7 are apparently obvious in understanding. But however, the mysteries therein contained express vital lessons about Christ that must not be missed by any Christian.
For one, these two verses connect the past to the present and inform us about the future. Indeed, when these two verses are given indepth spiritual analysis, we will understand that the mysteries contained in them combine the duo of wisdom and revelation.
As such, a revelational understanding of these two verses will achieve two successes:
(1) stir up faith in the Christian to enjoy the benefits of Christ’s suffering and death and fully grasp the reality of the power of Christ to reverse negative situations to joyful and positive ones.
And (2) the two verses stir up eternal hope in the christen that Christ has risen from the dead and that Christ is coming back again.
These two verses read as follows:
‘6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,
7 And the napkin that had been wrapped around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself’.
Let the fact be unequivocally settled that Christ arose from the dead on the third day and He, Christ folded those napkins together. The question is why? This question is pivotal because it unravels the hidden mystery behind this action of Christ and leaves Christians with a most powerful and persuasive message.
Understand dearly beloved that in the Jewish tradition, the act of leaving the napkins folded is common. Why? Because the Jewish tradition uses it as a medium of information to the one who sees the folded napkins.
Usually, in the land of Israel (and as a custom of the Jews), when a wife or a house maid brings food to the table for the husband or master (as the case may be), such food is always accompanied by napkins. Should the husband or master eat the food, he leaves the napkins in roughened form or shape. If that husband or master is yet to eat, he will then neatly fold the napkins and leave it on the table. Should his wife or the house maid come around to clear the table and she finds the napkins in a folded form or shape, then she understands that the husband or the master is coming back to eat the food later.
Folded napkins is thus a statement saying ‘not yet done, I am coming back’. As such, that wife or house maid keeps watch and diligently waiting for his return to eat after which she goes on to clear the table having seen the roughened napkins.
What then is the connection here? When Christ arose from the dead, no one was present. But Christ needed to leave a message behind for His disciples who will remember what He had told them about His resurrection and who will come rushing to meet Him on the third day.
Thus by leaving the napkins behind in the tomb and in folded form, Christ was saying that ‘I have risen, but this napkins remain folded because I am returning a second time not as a Saviour to die a second time, but as a husband to take my bride home and as a master-judge to judge the wicked’.
When Christ returns in glory the second time, will He meet you ready as bride-wife or as wicked. Who are you envying? Who are you nursing evil ambitions against? Who have you maligned with evil words and aspirations? Are you preparing for Christ’s second coming? How close are you to your Bible and to prayer?
If this revelational knowledge is the first of the two mysteries about the ‘folded napkins’, what then is the second? This will take us into the prophetic statements of the Psalmist in Psalm 102:26-28. These three verses were further espoused by Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Hebrews in Hebrews chapter 1:11-12.
To start with, Psalm 102:26-28 reads:
’26 They shall perish, but thou wilt endure; yea, they shall all grow old like a garment; like a vesture thou wilt change them, and they shall be changed.
27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
28 The children of thy servants shall continue, and their descendants shalt be established before thee’.
Hebrews 1:11-12 on the other hand reads:
’11 They shall perish, but thou wilt remain; and they will all grown old like a garment;
12 Like a vesture thou wilt fold them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail’.
Understand the somewhat semantic differences but uniformity of meanings and application in the foregoing verses. Juxtaposing John chapter 20 verses 6-7, Psalm 102:26-28 and indeed Hebrews 1:11-12 together, there emerges certain very compelling facts. First, Christ did not perish in the tomb. But His enemies do perish and will continue to perish until they will eventually perish eternally in the lake of fire after His second coming. Or did not the Holy Scripture state in Psalm 16:10 (referring to Christ) that ‘for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor will thou suffer thy holy One to see corruption’? This is a verse of the Scripture corroborating the fact that Christ cannot perish as was enunciated in Psalm 102:26-28 and Hebrews 1:11-12.
Secondly, the reference to ‘vesture’ in the prophetic Psalm, its reiteration in the Epistle to the Hebrews and the ‘napkins’ in the gospel of John, all point to cloths which are ‘folded up’ or ‘changed’ from the wrapped form or shape into a folded position.
The facts of one being ‘vesture’ and the other ‘napkins’ or one being folded interchanged with the word ‘changed’ is merely semantic usage only. It really doesn’t matter.
What matters are the all-important questions of: Who folded or changed the ‘napkins’ or the ‘vesture’ from their original wrapped form and their original positions? Why were they being folded or changed?
The answer to the first question is by no means a mystery. The simple answer is that Christ arose from the dead and folded them up. As to the second question why (referring to the purpose for folding them up), there are two answers.
First is mystery 1 elucidated above (that is, His second coming). Part b of the purpose for folding them up refers to the second mystery. The ‘vesture’ or the ‘napkins’ wrapped around Christ’s head were wrapped for the purpose of the reality of His death and to finally conceal His head and fully confine His head (which is the symbol of His life) in the tomb.
The ‘napkins’ or the ‘vesture’ therefore signified an enemy of His prevention from resurrection. For if he resurrected still with the weakness of death in Him, how would He be able to breathe since the ‘napkins’ or the ‘vesture’ were still in tact?
The message in the mystery of folding up the ‘vesture’ or the ‘napkins’ by Christ is to say, ‘I died for your sins. But I have now risen; and risen in strength, and I have conquered all the enemies of your rising and greatness.
The content of both Psalms 102:26-28 and Hebrews 1:11-12 are to the effect that all storms and situations of life posing themselves to be problems and enemies to the followers of Christ shall be ‘changed’ to glorious ones by the power of the risen Christ.
The question is where do you stand in all of these? Are you on the side of Christ? Or do you have other powers that you depend on? Have greatness been promised to you by Satan, occult or even that witchcraft group?
Remember that only Christ cannot lie and cannot fail. And when it matters most those other powers will not be there to save or succour you.
IN THE END, CHRIST IS TRULY RISEN; AND NO MAN’S UNBELIEF WILL REVERSE THIS REALITY. CHRIST HAVING BEEN CHANGED FROM DEAD TO LIFE NOW HAS THE POWER OF RESURRECTION TO RESURRECT ALL THE DEAD THINGS THAT BELONG TO MAN. YOUR MARRIAGE, DESTINY AND FINANCES SHALL RECEIVE THE DIVINE VISITATION OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION AND YOU KNOW WHAT! IT WILL BE YOUR TURN AND TIME TO SMILE SOONEST.
Question and Answer Section:
Question: What is the current state of your life, body, marriage, destiny and finances? Can the power of Christ’s resurrection do anything to alter, change or even fold them thereby confining them into the waste bin of history so that you can henceforth live a fulfilled life?
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Backslidden – living in sin – needing fresh recommitment (say):
Christ Jesus, You are the Anointed One of the Most High. I come to you today as I am. In your mercy, help me out of my situation. Heal my soul, my spirit, my body, my life and my destiny. I acknowledge you as the only true lover of my soul. Please, deliver me on every side and save me through and through. I promise from the depth of my soul to be yours from henceforth, in Jesus name. Help me now O God. Be my Lord, my Saviour and my all in all from this day. Thank you Lord (read Psalm 54 in closing and pray more).
HYMN: What A Friend We Have In Jesus! Near The Cross
1. O power of the cross of Christ, arise upon my destiny.
2. Where have I missed or about to miss the mark of divine calling, thou power of resurrection, intervene for me today.
3. What virtues have died, stolen, ceased or being delayed in my life from manifesting, O power of Christ’s resurrection, arise upon them and bring them back to life.
4. My turn and time of greatness, appear.
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