In the religious world, symbols have often displaced the reality which they were intended to represent. How many people looking at a cross actually think of the Savior’s death?
When we gather as an assembly to the name and Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot with natural eyes see the One Who is the gathering Center, but He has left us precious physical emblems that we can see. An emblem is the visible symbol of great spiritual truth. There has been a false teaching, that we need no physical emblems, but the Lord who understands our limitations and forgetfulness, in grace and kindness has left us precious emblems to help us to comprehend the revelation of Himself and His redemptive work.
As an illustration, the water used in baptism is only natural water, but it has great spiritual significance. There are at least six other emblems that should be evident in an assembly when we gather in His name.
The One Loaf and the One Cup
This is evident at the institution of the supper (Luke 22:14-20). We cannot intelligently read 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 without seeing that there is one loaf and one cup. Human reasoning may say that individual cups are healthier, but they are claiming that they know more about our physical needs than the Lord. It cannot be the “communion of the blood of Christ” unless there is a “common cup.”
We cannot claim that the physical table on which the bread and wine are placed is “the Lord’s table,” but it is representative of it. It is a precious emblem of our fellowship with Him and one another. The modern world’s efforts to bring unity among nations and in religion are only satanic counterfeits. True “oneness” is our blessed experience when we meet in His name.
The teaching of 1 Corinthians 5:12 is that an assembly has a “within” and a “without.” The “within” is beautifully seen in our “assembling together.” The word in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” literally means to gather around. This compound word is only found one other time in the NT, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him” (2 Thess 2:1). We will be gathered around Him at the Rapture, and we have now the blessed privilege of “gathering around Him” to remember His death until He comes (1 Cor 11:26).
The Long Hair of Sisters and the Covered and Uncovered Heads
Do these emblems have great spiritual significance? They express one of the greatest truths about the Lord Jesus Christ that has been revealed. God “… raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph 1:20-23). These emblems that seem to some to be unimportant have as their tremendous spiritual meaning the eternal Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the supreme Ruler of the universe, “the Head of all principality and power” (Col 2:10).
Lest we think any of these emblems are unimportant, let us remember their vast, eternal meaning!