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Pastoral Letter 26 Mar 2017

At the close of each worship service (in most Bible-Presbyterian churches), not only does the ordained minister pronounce the benediction, we have the practice of singing the benediction worded according to Numbers 6:24-26, “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”

This beautiful gem of Scripture has been called “The Lord’s Prayer of the Old Testament.” The benediction is a blessing which was to be pronounced by the priests during worship in the Temple. It is a pronouncement by God’s appointed servants upon His people. God called Moses to give these beautiful words to Aaron for him to repeat to the people as His blessing to them (Num 6:23). It is a guide for Aaron to bless the people. Therefore it is not a prayer to God but a pronouncement of blessing upon God’s people. God specifically gave this calling to Aaron and his sons. As such, not every believer should do it but only the ordained minister (in our modern day context) of the gospel of Jesus Christ is permissible to give the benediction at the worship service or at any spiritual gathering of God’s people.

The benediction begins with the Lord’s blessing and keeping of His people. This is the promise of protection and care by God. The picture of God’s face shining and turning upon us indicates His pleasure and delight in us. It is not an angry look or as if His wrath is burning against us. It is His smiling face shining brightly with sweetness, love and compassion. The precious blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus that was shed on the cross has forever washed away our sin that once upon a time stood between us and God. Now that it is forever removed, we stand justified as saints because of Christ. We are a blessed people to be kept by God forever. His face continues to shine upon us in great delight. O how blessed we are! May God be pleased to bless us each time we receive the benediction. Amen.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dennis Kwok