Page 4 - March 2018 - Truth & Tidings
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ardens are seen at the beginning   we are responsible for its cultivation. There
               and end of our Bible. They are   should be no clergy and laity. Each believer
        Galso linked with the beginning      in fellowship shares equal responsibility
        and end of the work of our Savior at Cal-  for the maintenance and development of
        vary. Israel is likened to a watered garden   the local church. A properly tended gar-
        by both Isaiah (58:11) and Jeremiah (31:12).   den, or allotment, calls for hard work, and
        Doubtless,  this  is  what  is  depicted  by   God’s husbandry is no exception.
        Solomon when he speaks of “my sister,   As to its provenance, the local assem-
        my spouse” being “a garden enclosed.”   bly can trace its roots back to the day of
        “Ye are God’s husbandry” (1Cor 3:9, KJV),   Pentecost and the birthday of the Church
        would sanction a consideration of the local   in Acts 2.
        assembly as a garden. The Amplified Bible
        says, “You are God’s garden and vineyard   Its Planting
        and field under cultivation.”          Isaiah refers to Israel’s remnant, post-
          The metaphor teaches us:           tribulation, as “the branch of My planting,
          The Bride as a fruitful garden (4:12-15).   the work of My hands, that I may be glori-
        It is barred … to prevent contamination.  fied” (60:21, KJV), and the “planting of the
          “A garden enclosed … a spring shut up, a   Lord” (61:3, KJV).
        fountain sealed.” God has only one garden   We recognize that the planting of an
        in each locality throughout the world; the   assembly is of the Lord, even if human
        local church.                        agency is involved. He superintends the
          The spring “shut up,” is the same expres-  work, but others have been involved in its
        sion as enclosed/barred, and it is sealed.   construction through the centuries. The
        Hence,  the  barring  and  sealing  are  to   garden metaphor is sustained by Paul.
                                             “Paul planted, Apollos watered; but God
        prevent contamination, not to restrict the   gave the increase” (1Cor 3:6, KJV).
        flow of water.
                                               The Lord Himself is the Designer and
           What does this picture of a walled and   Planter of His garden, the local church.
        secured garden convey to us?
                                             Its Privacy
        Its Pedigree and Provenance
                                               This is not a public garden. This garden
          When visiting gardens, we might discov-  is for bride and bridegroom exclusively un-
        er the owner and its history. This garden   til their wedding takes place. Afterwards,
        has two owners. The bridegroom owns it   the friends of the bridegroom are invited
        to enjoy its fruits and fragrances – the bride   to share the feasting and friendship. The
        owns it to cultivate it.             church is not on public display. What takes
          Similarly, the local assembly is both His   place in a local assembly is not for public
        and ours. Paul reminds the Ephesian elders   consumption, but is between the prospec-
        it is “the church of God (local) which He   tive bride and Bridegroom-elect! After the
        hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts   marriage of the Lamb, however, we will be
        20:28, KJV). It is His by purchase price.  associated with Christ in His millennial
          Equally, it is our assembly, inasmuch as   reign over the earth. Then the Church will

        68   TRUTH kTidings   March  2018
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