Word for Wednesday

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Matthew 7:6

Consider the picture of the altar in the temple, with a offering burning upon it. As the offering is being consumed, the attending priest takes one of the hooks used for tending to the offering, and pulls a piece of the meat off the body of the sacrifice. Carrying the meat with the hook, the priest makes his way out of the temple and casts the meat to one of the hungry half-wild dogs that frequented the streets of Jerusalem. The people watching would be shocked and would declare the act to be blasphemy. They would be angry that a sacrifice offered to God had been tossed to an unclean beast that was never to come into God’s presence. It is highly unlikely that such a scene ever occurred in ancient Jerusalem. But something very near to it is occurring among some who would call themselves Christians today.

Just as the ancient Israelites worshipped God in the offering of sacrifices, the Lord’s people of today worship God in offering the sacrifice of praise, in particular in the partaking of the bread and cup in remembrance of the Lord’s death. Care is taken that those who participate in this holy ordinance are true worshippers, those who have a genuine appreciation for the One Who is being remembered. If some would wonder why we do not open the participation to all who want to do so, we point to today’s text. No more holy or sacred event occurs in our lives than the weekly participation in the Lord’s Supper. Dare we allow participation by the unredeemed or the unappreciative?

There are groups, some claiming even to resemble our Assemblies, that make no restriction on those who would participate in the Lord’s Supper. They leave the determination of whether to participate up to the person. But consider the ancient temple, where dogs were not allowed. Neither were Gentiles, often referred to as dogs by the Jews. No Gentile could enter that holy place and make an offering. But some places today see no connection between the ancient principle and the modern practice. So the dogs are given that which is holy, and God is mocked, and His Son dishonoured. As the temple guards prevented dogs from entering the place of sacrifice, so must we today prevent those with no discernment of Christ from participating in our act of worship.

The dictionary defines casting pearls before swine as giving things of value to those who do not understand or appreciate them. Let us not be guilty of casting pearls before swine by giving that which is holy to dogs. -Jim MacIntosh

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