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To Deck

January 4, 2019

       Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty, Job 40:10.

 

        Here we see the Lord challenge Job to get up out of the ashes and the grossness of his putrifying flesh and garb himself gloriously.  We still use the word "deck" in the same way in the 21st century.  "Wow, you really decked yourself out tonight!"  To deck is simply defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: To clothe in rich or ornamental garments; to cover with what beautifies; to array, attire, adorn.

          We sing of decking the hall with boughs of holly.  In other words, cover the walls with holly branches.  In the 12 places that the King James Bible uses the word, deck is always something more than a normal covering.  It invokes a sense of opulence. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt, Proverbs 7:16.  In most of the cases it is being done by sinners, but in Ezekiel 16:11 the Lord tells Israel that he himself decked her gloriously; I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.  We can hardly expect that the Lord asked Job to dress sinfully.  

       That brings me around to a point I want to make.  When the bible uses the word "deck", it always tells us what the person or object was decked with.  When something is decked with ornaments, the bible says exactly that; And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments, Ezekiel 23:40.

       Sometimes King James Bible believing brethren can be as sloppy in analyzing a verse as the Protestants and Catholics that they so freely criticize.  Back in the 1970s, I was introduced to the tape ministry of Dr. Peter Ruckman.  I will always be grateful to God for having allowed me to see the error in the other versions and the triteness of Neo-Evangelicalism.  Regardless of any faults or virtues that the man may or may not have had, Dr. Ruckman helped me with those two things.   

       In my brief but profitable association with that ministry I encountered many adherents of Dr. Ruckman's teaching.  To this day, I think that some of them were good men of God.  They were not the majority.  I have heard that Dr. Ruckman started with 6 students.  When I was there, there were about 300  attendees and he still had about 6 students.  What plagued Dr. Ruckman for much of his later career were little wanna be Ruckmans who had neither his character nor grace, but instead mimicked his speaking style and ran around with King James Bibles pretending to be something.  

       One of their favorite targets was the Christmas tree.  For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.  They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.  They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good, Jeremiah 10:3-5.  How well do I remember my horror when it was pointed out to me that I had behaved as a pagan my whole life!

      Let's deconstruct those verses.  My friends (and they were my friends) saw two things in those verses.  They saw the word "deck" and they saw the silver and gold.  They instantly thought about Deck the Halls, and they thought about Burl Ives singing, "Silver and Gold".  Oh My!  Chicken little move over!  They were off to warn the world!  My first question to someone still blind enough to associate Christmas trees with Jeremiah 10:3-5 is, have you ever seen silver or gold on a Christmas tree? 

       I'm 64 years old.  I think I have seen well over a thousand Christmas trees in my life and not once have I ever seen one bit of silver or gold on any one of them.  Timothy McVey who writes for this blog did tell me that for a number of years he bought gold White House Christmas ornaments for his mother when he worked in Washington DC.  So far, he is the only person that I have ever known who could identify at least one of those metals being hung as an ornament on a Christmas tree.  As I said earlier, when the bible means to tell us that ornaments were used, it says "decked with ornaments."  When those ornaments are ornaments of gold, it says so.  

       The tree of Jeremiah 10:3-5 is not decked with ornaments of gold nor with ornaments.  It is decked with silver and gold.  Go look at some pagan idols.  They are often carefully and skillfully overlaid with gold.  Those idols were made to be borne about by men.  Go look at processions wherein an idol is being hoisted up for the people to see.  They must needs be borne

       If for some reason you still think that the Christmas tree is what is being described in Jeremiah 10:3-5, and you are aghast that someone actually sang Oh Christmas Tree to it, obey the rest of the verse; Be not afraid of them.   But if you do insist that Jeremiah 10:3-5 is the Christmas tree, quit criticizing Catholics when they see papal authority in Matthew 16:18.  Stop criticizing baby sprinklers who see baptism as the New Testament circumcision in Colossians 2:11.  They're about as accurate as you are; if you squint just right and hold hold your head just so, you can see your own little truth.  

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