Devotion on Notable firsts of the Bible (Prophecy of Christ as Plumb line), 3 October 2015 Anno Domini
7 Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. 8 And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more.
(Amos 7:7-8 KJV)
Before we proceed to the spiritual application of these verses in Amos, perhaps we should define the meaning of ‘plumb line’ first for those born more than forty years ago. Though the plumb line and plumb bob are used in construction today, many will not recognize it. Here is Webster’s definition:
1 : a line (as of cord) that has at one end a weight (as a plumb bob) and is used especially to determine verticality
2 : a line directed to the center of gravity of the earth : a vertical line
I keep a plumb line and bob in my desk at all times to use as a perfect example of the righteousness God expects of His people. The plumb line ultimately represents the King of Righteousness – Jesus Christ! Simple physics reveals to us that the gravitation pull of the earth points to its physical center core. So a line, attached to a higher base and weighted at the other end with a pointed weight, will always point to the center of the earth (perpendicular to a tangent to the surface circle of the earth.
We read in Isaiah: “16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. ” (Isaiah 28:16-17 KJV) We understand that a line is straight without variation. It is the shortest distance between two points. Righteousness, too, must be perfect; and justice that enforces righteousness is also perfectly straight without variation. Righteousness is the starting point of the line, and justice is its end. So God will measure our righteousness by that perfect line. Perfect righteousness is perfect obedience to the Laws of God. None will be exempt from this principle. Any disobedience to God’s Law (sin) results in death of the offender – “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
The earth itself is measured in lines (longitudinal and latitudinal). All property lines are referenced to specific point on the surface of the earth called ‘landmarks.’ If the landmark is maliciously moved, everyone’s property line will be compromised. But there is one Landmark which shall not be moved – the Landmark of God’s Word – though new revisions of the Bible are attempting to do that very thing. Such revisions and new versions place the revisers in danger of Hell fire, and will deceive millions. (see Rev 22:18-19) God’s Word is that straight line, and the perfect upright standard represented by the plumb line. “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” (Prov 22:28 KJV)
“God’s Law is the primary vehicle He uses to reveal His nature; it defines how He lives. If we want to be in His Kingdom and live as He does, we must obey His law, but obeying God’s law in no way minimizes grace. God revealed Himself to Israel first as Redeemer and then as Lawgiver. He freed His people from their slavery in Egypt before He gave them the standard of His law. Grace precedes law. God gives grace first, but He does not leave His people ignorant of the life that pleases Him, which is revealed in His law.
“The plumb line combines grace and law, and God will test us against both. If we rely on His grace without law, or on His law without grace, we will not pass the test. If either is abused, we will not measure up to the standard.
“Leviticus 19 shows that the revelation of the law is important because it is a verbal description of God’s nature. Our God is a holy God (verse 2), and He expects His representatives to be holy also. But how do we become holy?” Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The plumb line I have in my desk is comprised of a scarlet cord (customarily used by constructionists for easy viewing of the line), and is attached to a weight that is heavy and pointed at the bottom. In order to use the plumb line properly, one must attach the cord to a higher point above the ground where a vertical edifice is desired such as the corner of a building to be constructed. It cannot be attached to a point at which the lower weight (plumb bob) cannot swing free and uninterrupted by contact with the earth or surrounding physical objects. As it swings free, it will eventually center on the perfect vertical. The line and plumb bob will point directly to the center of the earth and thus the line will be perfectly vertical. It is THAT standard by which we shall be judged as people of God. That perfection is an impossible perfection for mortals to achieve, so they need some expedient whereby they can meet that standard. What would that ‘expedient’ be that would enable us to be judged as perfectly righteous?
First of all, we are all guilty of sin – and are deserving only of death and Hell. Secondly, God will judge by that perfect vertical line of the spiritual Plumb Line which the Lord Jesus Christ represents in His perfection and righteousness. When we are measured by that standard, how shall we survive? Thirdly, the wages of sin being death, we need a Redeemer who will pay that penalty on our behalf. It could not have been one like unto us who would suffer for His own sins; but rather someone who is righteous and perfectly innocent of any sin whatsoever. That perfect Person is only realized in the Lord Jesus Christ. Fourthly, we must claim that Salvation offered by His redemptive sacrifice and repent of our sinful ways. Then, we are One in Christ as He is One with the Father, and we are thereby judged by the standard Christ represents and not our own crooked lines.
“Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” (Isaiah 45:24-25 KJV) The beauty and accuracy of this principle is only purely related in that masterpiece of the translations known as the King James Bible! Note: we must claim our righteousness IN Him! We have none of our own. Those who belong to the Lord are not excused from the law, but are justified by GRACE when they have that Law written in their hearts by the ink of love, and not the steel gavel that inscribes that Law on stone tablets.
Men whose labor involve observance of the natural laws of God will have great wisdom to recognize the full meaning and importance of the Plumb Line in the building of a building. They will know that a building must be built upon a firm foundation. For the Christian, that firm foundation is the Rock of Christ. “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Luke 6:48 KJV) and “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor 10:4 KJV) The cornerstone establishes the integrity of the building. What is that Cornerstone? “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” (1 Peter 2:6 KJV) Once we have laid the chief cornerstone, we need sutiable materials for the building to withstand the storm: “7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:7-10 KJV)
Now we have established a firm foundation on that Rock which is Christ; we have laid the Chief Cornerstone which is also Christ; we have gathered the precious building materials which are true believers; and now, we commence to build a perfect edifice with perfectly vertical and upright walls. We use the Standard of the Plumb Line to make the building upright – and that Plumb Line is also Christ. In a word, the Lord Jesus Christ is our All-in-All. “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:11 KJV) Is He YOURS?