“Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die” Leviticus 16:12-13
Old Testament Shadow
New Testament Reality in Jesus and the Church
On the Day of Atonement the High Priest brought a golden censer full of fire and a handful of incense into the Most Holy Place. He put the incense on the fire in front of the Ark so that the cloud of incense covered the mercy seat. He then sprinkled the blood of the sin offering upon the mercy seat.
The mercy seat is a picture of Christ Himself. The sprinkled blood points to Christ’s shed blood. The censer of incense is significant of Christ taking the prayers of His people within the veil to God’s presence, on the basis of His shed blood. Read also Revelation 8:1-5
Incense is simply an Old Testament shadow or type of prayer and intercession. God is no longer interested in the shadows or types, but rather in the eternal realities to which these shadows point.
He is extremely interested in the prayer and intercession of His Church. For the life of a believer to be truly saturated in prayer is well-pleasing to God.
“Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18
Strange incense – speaks of false worship, ie trying to come to God in a way other than through Christ.
Strange fire – speaks of self-effort, works of the flesh. Holy fire comes from the Holy Spirit, it is from Him and initiated by Him – all other fire comes through the flesh. God Himself lit the fire on the altar in the Tabernacle of Moses.
“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” Leviticus 9:23, 24
This fire on the altar was kept burning at all times and this was the fire that was used in the Golden Lampstand, the Golden Altar and the Golden Censer. Any other fire than the fire from the altar was “profane fire” and spoke of man’s efforts, something that man initiated rather than God.
Our prayer life and our work for God must come from the fire of the altar – that is it is through the power of the Holy Spirit as we put our faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. We do not want to offer God profane fire. Lord we ask for a fresh revelation of the cross of Christ.
Lord we repent if we have ever offered You profane fire. Forgive us Lord. Help us to be led by Your Spirit and to pray in the power of the Spirit only. We love You Lord and want to lay down our lives on the altar as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable for this is our reasonable worship.
Paul was under house-arrest in Rome for two years. Chained to a prison guard, he couldn’t leave his own home.
“The Rise of A.I.” acrylic and gouache
During his home-imprisonment he asked the Church to pray for him :
“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly as I ought to speak” Ephesians 6:19, 20 (emphasis mine)
Paul couldn’t go to church, he couldn’t street-preach, he couldn’t go to Synagogue. Paul was physically restricted as soon as he arrived in Rome, and that’s how he stayed for two whole years. But in it, in this very situation Paul was asking for prayer to be able to speak forth the gospel boldly.
Do we think Paul’s situation caught God by surprise? Do we think He did not know that Paul’s arrival in Rome would be under hard circumstances? That His man would not be free to move about as previously? No – it was in to this very situation that God brought Paul, and thus the gospel, to Rome.
At that time Rome was becoming the centre of the world’s wealth. The art, the artists, the architects were moving there as it became recognised as the world’s most cosmopolitan city. This place was of diverse culture, containing many different beliefs and ideas. In some ways it was advanced, as in the case of women’s rights. It was to this worldly city that God chose to send His man, chained and bound to one small house.
God’s strategy to evangelise a whole city was through a man bound to his own home.
Paul may have been restricted, but never is the Gospel of Jesus Christ restricted!
Never will it be restrained.
God still used Paul, even chained to a prison-guard, unable to leave his own home. One man, in one house, but in that one house God brought revival to Rome.
“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” Acts 28:23
Do we think this Covid-19 pandemic has caught God by surprise? Do we think He had no idea all the churches would be shutdown and outlawed? Of course He knew. And it is into this very situation that He has called us.
The gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped, no matter if our church buildings are shut. The gospel will go forth.
The gates of hell will never prevail against His Church! It’s time to recognise that this is how God has chosen to use us for this season. God’s plans are not being stymied by the enemy, God is still Sovereign and from the Throne He has decreed that right now this is how His church will go forth.
Without high-tech sound systems, church buildings and programs, once again from the simplicity of our homes! Prayer with our families, Bible studies online, prayer in the closet. Could this be God’s plan…?
We have the internet, social media, telephones. We can walk around our neighbourhoods, dropping leaflets in letterboxes. We have many ways we can answer God’s call from our homes:
““Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Who will join me in saying “Here I am Lord, send me!”
“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” Acts 28:30,31
Most Christians are aware that we are justified only by grace through faith, yet a lot tend to mix Law and Grace in sanctification.
That is, they believe that once they are saved by grace, they then need to keep to some sort of code of conduct to remain saved, be it the Ten Commandments, their own set of rules or their church’s. The church where I grew up had written rules and regulations for everything under the sun. There were also unspoken rules that everybody knew, such as, getting to both services on a Sunday was a must, otherwise you would be considered weak in the faith by everybody else.
Thus often a Christian is still under the Law even though he can easily quote “I’m not under law but under grace”.
We need to understand that Law and Grace are two complete systems in themselves, and they are mutually exclusive of each other. You cannot be under both Law and Grace at the same time, neither can you mix Grace with Law. This was the error of the Galatians. But what did Paul say to them :
”O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Galations 3:1-3
Under grace our acceptance with God is based on the fact that we are in Christ by faith and He is acceptable to God. How we live after being saved is also by grace. He saves us and He sanctifies us, there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. We live now not by rules and regulations but by a new principle : the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:2)
That means that Christ lives His life through us. It is His righteousness , not ours.
”and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness , which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” Philippians 3:9
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-3
In the presence of the awesome holiness of God, Isaiah’s sinfulness was utterly exposed. He stood naked before a Holy God.
“ So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5
In the presence of God, our true state is exposed, just as Hebrews 4:13 says:
“And no creature is hidden from His sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
Where we once considered ourselves as pretty ok or good enough, in the light of the glory of God, we see ourselves as we really are: sinful, sinners and deserving of hell. I had this experience myself when I met the Lord. For six months afterwards I felt the weight of my sin and sinfulness. No matter how often I repented I couldn’t get rid of it.
In this place Death is certain, there is no way we can stand before a holy God. Yet it is here that the Altar comes into operation.
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs
from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.” Isaiah 6:6, 7
The Throne of God in His holiness does not operate apart from the Altar. It is by the Altar that we can make our approach to God, and it is by the Altar that His Throne reaches out to us in grace.
“The throne, in all its wonderful power, moves by way of the altar”. T Austin Sparks
Grace works only through the shed blood of the cross (ie. altar)
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:11-14
It is on the basis of the shed blood of Christ that we can now come in to God’s presence, and there is no other way. After carrying my guilt for six months the Holy Spirit showed me that it is through the shed blood of Christ that my sins are forgiven and my guilt removed. Once I received that revelation I knew I was forgiven and ‘the burden of my heart rolled away’.
Because of the shed blood of our Saviour, the throne of judgement becomes the throne of grace to all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16
The Contents of the Ark & How They Reveal Christ
There were three items contained in the Ark: the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the unbroken tables of the Law.
These items reveal not only Christ’s work, but also His very Personhood.
The Golden Pot of Manna: reveals Christ as Prophet
The Manna in the wilderness was sent from heaven to feed God’s people. Christ Himself is the true Bread of heaven, sent to feed the world.
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32, 33
He not only is the Bread of Life, but He also gives bread ie. The Word of God, to others as Prophet.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14
Just as Aaron presented the blood of the atonement before God and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat in the Tabernacle of Moses, so too has Christ, as our Priest, presented His blood before the Father in heaven and sprinkled it on the mercy seat there before God. (see John 20:17 & Revelation 11:19)
Aaron’s rod budded and blossomed as proof that God had chosen him as High Priest in Israel (see Numbers 17). The life which sprang from his dead rod is a picture of the resurrected Christ Himself. Christ’s resurrection proves He is God’s chosen priest on behalf of sinful humanity.
The Tables of Law: reveal Christ as King
These were the two unbroken tables of Law. The first two were broken by Moses when he found the people in the sin of idolatry. These are a picture of humanity’s constant breaking of God’s law.
However the second set of tables were not broken, representing the one Man who never broke God’s law – Christ. These tables of law were constantly in the midst of Israel as the standard God required. This is a picture of Christ as the holy standard. He is the law-giver and the law-keeper. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Yet these tables of Law were under the blood. The blood-stained mercy seat was above the Law and it was through the blood that God beheld the Law.
As we consider the timeless truths contained in the Tabernacle of Moses, let us be reminded that the way is open now in to the Holy of Holies for every believer in Christ. No longer do we have to stay outside in the outer court, we are welcome to enter into the place of fellowship and commune with God around His table. But let’s not stop even there, let us go on into that most intimate place with the Lord, the place of worship in the Holy of Holies.
“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, …” Hebrews 4:16
Because of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, we are able to approach a high and holy God, the God of Israel and know that He is delighted with us when we come to worship Him. Let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, let us seek Him and spend time with Him, because the way through the Veil has been made at the expense of the Son of God’s life. This is no trifling matter, but one of great importance and privilege. Let us not squander so great a privilege but go in to the presence of the King and meet with Him there at the Mercy Seat.
Through the Veil, once a year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holies.
Hands shaking slightly, trying not to spill the precious blood he carried with him in a vessel, the High Priest slowly pulled back the Veil. Immediately the brightness of the light from behind the Veil pierced through the opening. He was standing in the Holy Place, the place that was lit by the seven lamps of the Golden Lampstand: the place where the gold panels on the walls caught the light of the Lampstand and the whole room shimmered around him. Yet the light that emanated from behind the Veil caused even the shimmering gold light around him to seem dark in comparison.
The radiance was almost palpable and it made him shake in fear. The awesome presence behind the Veil was almost too much to bear.
How can we even put into words what the awesome Shekinah presence of God would have been like for the High Priest as he approached the Throne of God?
“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:34
The Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies was the place of the awesome presence of God. It was the place where He dwelt amongst His people, above the mercy seat, in between the Cherubim.
“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim…” Isaiah 37:16
It was a place of infinite holiness, the Throne of God’s majesty. It was the place where none could enter, except the High Priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement, and not without blood.
From the sunshine of the Outer Court with its Brazen Altar and Brazen Laver: the place of judgment for sin, to the Holy Place which shimmered in the light of the Candlestick with its gold furniture: the place of fellowship with God. Now to the Holy of Holies: the place that had no natural light and no lamp but was the brightest by far, and lit only by the glory of God Himself. This was the place of worship.
“…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light…” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16
Here we stand finally before the most majestic piece of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses: the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark of the Covenant, or the Ark of the Testimony
The Ark was the most majestic item of furniture in the Tabernacle. This item not only speaks of Christ’s work in atonement, but of who He really is, ie His Personhood.
The Ark was a box made of Acacia wood, overlaid with gold. It measured 2.5 cubits in length, by 1.5 cubits in width and 1.5 cubits in height.
“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around…. And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.” Exodus 25:10-16
The Ark was the same height as the grate on the Brazen Altar. More on this later in the article.
This was the first piece of furniture, the very first item that God told Moses to make.
“In the beginning God…” Genesis 1:1
God begins with Himself, the place of His presence, because without Him all else is meaningless religion and ritual.
Once again Acacia wood of the Ark, overlaid with gold, reflects the dual nature of Christ, the God-Man: the incorruptible acacia wood, His sinless humanity; and the pure gold, His deity.
The Mercy Seat
On top of the Ark was the Mercy Seat. It was sculpted of pure gold, with two Cherubim facing each other, wings outstretched. The Mercy Seat covered the tablets of the Law which were contained within the Ark and was from where God met with Moses and spoke to him.
“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:17-22
It is of divine importance that the altar where the blood was shed was the same height as where the blood was taken and sprinkled before God.
This is because the Ark of the Covenant was the earthly seat of God’s glory, His majesty and Almightiness. But more than that even, it was also the Throne of His holiness. God is not only a potentate upon His throne ruling in absolute majesty because of His loftier position to all of creation, but He is the One who also has made a way of redemption from sin. He is our Creator and He is our Holy Redeemer.
“Something has been done in relation to sin, which establishes that throne in holiness, and gives that throne a right, the right to judge sin. It is not just the judgement of men as creatures under the hand of an Almighty God. It is the judgement of a sinful state under a holy state” T Austin Sparks
God is ruling from His Throne in Holiness and Righteousness. The basis of His judgment is within the contents of the Ark: The Law.
To come into His presence is to meet the divine judgment of the Ten Commandments written on the two tablets of stone. Since we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, this means certain death, for the “wages of sin is death”. None can stand before the utter holiness of God.
Yet God in His mercy has provided a way. Over the top of the tablets of Law is the golden Mercy Seat.
The Mercy Seat is a Picture of Christ Himself
The two Cherubim facing inward toward the mercy seat is a picture of the Godhead (or Trinity). All of one piece of gold, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit facing towards the Mercy Seat, which is a picture of God the Son, Christ Jesus.
The word used in Hebrews 3:24 for “propitiation”
(“…Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith…” )
is “hilasterion” and is translated as “mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5 : “and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat…”
So the same word is translated both as “propitiation” and as “mercy seat”.
“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world… In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 John 2:2; 4:10 NASB)
Jesus Christ is the Mercy Seat, “the place of propitiation, or satisfaction, for our sins.” (Theodore H Epp)
Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would take the blood of the slain animal behind the Veil on the Day of Atonement. He would sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat in the presence of God.
“He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins…” Leviticus 16:14-16
Because the Cherubim faced inwards towards the Mercy Seat, they were constantly looking upon the blood. The holiness of God and the demands of the Law meant that to enter the presence of a holy God meant certain death for the wages of sin is death.
But the blood proved that someone had died for the broken law. The death had to be an innocent substitute, someone who had not broken God’s law. The death of the animal foreshadowing, of course, Christ’s substitutionary death for sinful humanity. This blood was what expiated the sin of Israel, because they could not meet the requirements of the Holy Law within the Ark and ultimately it was in Christ that justice received full payment. . It was the blood-stained mercy seat that expiated God’s wrath against sin and meant that the High Priest could enter His presence, with the blood of the one who had died for sin.
To Remove the Mercy Seat Meant Certain Death
Therefore to remove the mercy seat meant certain death. In 1 Samuel 6 the people of Beth Shemesh looked into the Ark after the Philistines returned it. Removing the blood-stained mercy seat meant literally that mercy was removed and thus they were exposed to the Law and God’s judgment against sin. The result was that God struck 50,070 men dead, because the “wages of sin is death.”
This foreshadows Christ as our Mercy Seat. He met the demands of the Law of God and His blood was shed in our place. To attempt to approach God apart from the work of His Son means certain death as our own righteousness is as filthy rags compared to His holy standard. There is only one way into the Holy Place, the place of God’s Throne and that is to first come to the Brazen Altar, ie the cross.
Jacob’s life in the Old Testament is a picture of dispensational truth. As we know, his life was far from perfect, yet God still used it to teach us some eternal truths about God’s program for both Israel and the Church.
Remember: The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed. The New Testament sheds light on the Old Testament. And the New is concealed in the shadows of the Old – it is hidden, but it is there for those who like to search for hidden treasure.
God’s Program: Israel & The Church
Christ came the first time to Israel and was rejected by those He came to save
They have been set aside for a time
He is now calling out a Gentile Bride, the Church
After she is called out, He will return again to Israel
This time He will be their Saviour, Deliverer and Lord
Then He shall establish His kingdom on earth
And every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord of all
God made a covenant with Abraham:
“Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:15-18
Then the covenant was confirmed to Isaac and Jacob
Abraham —› Isaac —› JacobIsrael
(God changed Jacob’s name to “Israel”). Israel had 12 sons, which became the 12 tribes of Israel: Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Isaachar, Judah, Levi, Mannaseh, Naphtali, Rueben, Simeon, Zebulun
God’s promises were made to Israel
Sometimes the Church forgets that the New Covenant was made to Israel & Judah:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, whenI will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34 (emphasis mine)
But Israel rejected their Messiah, as prophesied in Isaiah 53, so God turned to the Gentiles
““And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Isaiah 49:5, 6
“I will call them My people who were not My people and her beloved, who was not beloved” Romans 9:25
“Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” Romans 11:25
So now the Gentiles are being brought in to the New Covenant that God made with Israel. As Gentiles we are as branches from a wild olive tree, being grafted in to the Jewish olive tree, ie the New Covenant that God made with the House of Judah and Israel. We are grafted in by faith in the Messiah Christ Jesus. (see Romans 11:16-24). By faith He is making “one new man”, that is His Bride/the Church, from both Jew and Gentile believers.
“He is For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:14-16
However God has not finished with Israel “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jer 31:3
Which leads to …
Jacob & His Two Wives
Jacob here is a picture of Jesus Christ:
The Type : Jacob
The Anti-Type : Christ Jesus
Jacob chosen by God, even though 2nd born son
Christ is the Second Adam
Esau forfeited his birthright, it passed to Jacob
Adam forfeited his birthright. God sent the second Man who is to receive the birthright of the firstborn Son of God: ie the dominion of the earth
Jacob was hated by his brother Esau
Christ was hated by His brethren
He was driven in to exile in a far country
Jesus left His Father’s house and came to earth
Jacob was treated badly in a far country, became as a servant
Christ came as a bond-servant in human form and was crucified
He married a bride in a far country
Christ purchased His bride with His shed blood in the far country ie the earth
Then returned to claim his possession / inheritance
Christ will come again to claim His possession/ inheritance, the earth
Jacobs Two Wives, Rachel & Leah
Jacob chose Rachel first. He laboured for her. But at the end of his labour he didn’t receive her, he received a different bride, Leah.
He then served 7 more years for Rachel.
But second bride Leah was fruitful and bore Jacob many children. Rachel was barren: until she cried out to God in distress.
Jacob chose Rachel first but she was set aside for a time while Leah bore many children and took her place.
Rachel = Israel
Leah = the Church
Israel today is barren and the Church is fulfilling the purposes of God. However when the Church is taken up in the rapture, then the Lord will deal with Israel again, in the Tribulation. It is when Israel cries out to God in distress that she will too become fruitful and many will turn to Jehovah through the instrument of Israel.
“…that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Israel); for this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins’.” Romans 11:25-27
Give me the old-fashioned power of the blood, that old rugged cross and the exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord and there’s nothing that can stand in my way as a blood-bought child of God.
The old fashioned power of the Blood of Jesus Christ is still there on the mercy seat in Heaven before the Father. It has never been removed, it has never lost its power and it never will.
But the devil doesn’t want the Church to know the power of the blood. In particular there has been a sustained effort to cover it up over these last few decades. So let’s have a look at it.
What power does the Blood have?
What gives the Blood its power?
And how can we experience the Blood’s full power in our lives?
The Power of the Blood of Jesus
Peace is made between man and God Colossians 1:20
“and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
Forgiveness of sins Colossians 1:14
“in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Eternal Life John 6:54
“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Satan is Overcome Revelation 12:11
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
Continual Cleansing from all Sin 1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Set Free from bondage to a Guilty Conscience to Serve God Hebrews 9:14
“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Liberty to Enter and Remain in the Holy of Holies of God’s Presence Hebrews 10:19
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,”
What Gives the Blood its Power?
Like the old hymn says “There’s power, power wonder-working power in the Blood of the Lamb”…
The Blood of the Lamb surely has power even now. We can testify to its power to cast demons out of people, save people and set them free..
But it is the power of the blood of the Lamb.
Jesus Became the Lamb of God
Not a mighty warrior, a conquering superhero, but a Lamb. A lamb has a meek and humble disposition. A lamb doesn’t fight. A lamb is led to the slaughter quietly, a lamb doesn’t protest.
It is the power of the blood of the Lamb
“So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev 7:14
Jesus became the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world. He was the final Lamb in fulfilment of all those thousands of lambs in the Old Covenant that were killed on the altar for man’s sin.
He literally became the physical Lamb as an atonement, but it was more than that.
The Disposition of the Lamb
He was also the Lamb in disposition. Jesus was meek and unresisting. In total submission to the Father He allowed man to do whatever they wanted to Him and He didn’t fight back, He didn’t resist, nor protest. He yielded the whole time, even to death.
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phil 2:8
“He’s not merely the Lamb because He died on the cross, but He died on the cross because He’s the Lamb.” Roy Hession
Hebrews 9:14 says “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God…”
Truly Christ was so humble that He offered Himself to God as the Lamb, willing to do whatever the Father wanted.
It was because of this disposition of utter self-denial, of the complete surrender of the Lamb and of His deep humility that God exalted Him and gave Him the Name above every name.
So we see how valuable this disposition is to God. This was the disposition He was after when He created Adam. But Adam rebelled against his Creator and took the path of Self instead. Thus all mankind has followed Adam down this path of Self and rejected submission to our Creator and God. This is the essence of sin: self and pride.
But God found that disposition in one Man: the Man Christ Jesus.
And His shed blood is the ultimate expression of this humility.
“It was because the shedding of His blood so supremely expressed this disposition that it is so utterly precious to God and so all-availing for man and his sin” Roy Hession
How can we Experience the Blood’s Full Power in Our lives?
Just as the shed blood’s power comes from the Lamb’s disposition, so too in our own lives, the power of the blood becomes available to us as we follow the Lamb and partake of His divine nature.
Just as He submitted fully to the Father’s will and yielded up His life to Him, so we too can know the full power of the Blood as we submit to the Father, willingly and quietly obeying His will, laying down our own wants, desires, rights and ambitions. As we offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him, He fills us with His Spirit and the disposition of the Lamb becomes ours.
Lord, help us to truly submit to You. To lay down our life for you as You lay down Your life for us. As we do, fill us with your Spirit and may the fruits of the Spirit, such as meekness, gentleness truly become evident in our lives. We thank you for becoming the Lamb who took away our sins, may we become lambs now and follow You wherever you go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
*Based on teaching from Roy Hession’s book “The Calvary Road”
The Gate – the entry point into the Outer Court of the Tabernacle
The Door – the entry point into the Holy Place; and
The Veil – the entry point into the Holy of Holies
It will come as no surprise to the student of the Word that each door represents Christ Jesus Himself, He whom called Himself “the Door”.
“I am the door, whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:9
It’s all about Jesus. The study of the Tabernacle is simple when you realise it is all a testimony to God’s beloved Son. It is also a teaching tool He has given us to show us many wonderful truths about Christ and about us, the Church.
Now we will look at the Door, which was the barrier between the Outer Court of the Tabernacle and the Holy Place.
Contrast Between the Door and the Veil
Provided access to fellowship with God
Provided access to worship of God
No Cherubim embroidered on Door
Cherubim embroidered on Veil
Door held up by 5 pillars
Veil held up by 4 pillars
Set in brass sockets/foundations
Set in silver sockets/foundations
Door for entrance into the Holy Place
Veil to keep out from the Most Holy Place
Materials of the Door
The Door was made of woven blue, purple, scarlet and white fine linen.
Five pillars supported the Door. These were made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. The sockets for the door were made of brass.
Significance of the Materials
God specified the exact materials and proportions to Moses that were to be used in the Tabernacle, in order to convey eternal truths to us:
The Five Pillars
Acacia wood overlaid with gold is such a beautiful picture of Christ. The incorruptibility and earthliness of acacia wood signified His incorruptible (sinless) human nature and the gold signified His heavenly divine nature. Both God and Man in the one Person.
So we see that the five pillars point to Christ.
“He….upholds (the door) Himself as He invites every qualified person to enter for priestly privileges.” Portraits of Christ in the Tabernacle, Theodore H Epp.
Five is the number of grace.
In the Outer Court brass is the main material used, as seen in the Brazen Altar and Laver (brass signifying God’s judgment). However in the Holy Place it is a very different case. Gold is used extensively in the Holy Place and here, in the pillars of the Door accessing the Holy Place, we see for the first time the use of gold.
White fine linen- a picture of Christ’s righteousness
Blue – His heavenly nature
Scarlet – His sacrifice
Purple – His Kingly nature
The Brass Sockets
Brass always signifies God’s judgment and is used only in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle.
Remember that we are at the point in between the Outer Court and the Holy Place. So while the five pillars point to Jesus in His dual-nature of God and Man, they also point to judgment (brass) and grace (five). There was only one place where God’s judgment and His mercy/grace met – and that is the cross of Jesus Christ.
As we saw in the study of the Brazen Altar, Christ took the judgment for our sin upon Himself at the cross. So now as we pass through this Door into the Holy Place we see once again that the only way to enter fellowship with God is through the atoning work of His Son at Calvary.
“I am the Way…..No one comes to the Father but through me.”
To approach the Father is only possible through the one Door, Jesus Christ.
The Purpose of the Door
Imagine standing at the Brazen Altar or the Laver in the Outer Court and looking up at this Door. The brilliant colours of the fabric intricately woven together, the sunlight catching the light on the gold of the pillars holding up the fabric. Surely the beauty of that door would have caused the average Israelite to catch their breath and wonder what was beyond. The gold hinted at the beauty of the fellowship available to the priests beyond the door.
But the average Israelite would never enter the Holy Place. The door shut off the Holy Place from the Outer Court of the Tabernacle. While the Israelites were free to come into the Outer Court to bring offerings, it was only the priests who were allowed to enter the Holy Place to minister to the Lord and for fellowship with Him.
Primarily though, in contrast to the Veil, the Door was a place of entrance, but only for those qualified – the priests.
Twice daily the priests entered the Holy Place through this door to tend the lamps of the Golden Lampstand, to burn incense on the Golden Altar and to eat of the bread from the Table of Shewbread.
However today we are in the New Covenant and the Bible says that all believers today are a “royal priesthood” (1Peter 2:9).
So we now have the privilege of entering through the Door (Jesus Christ) into the presence of God for fellowship. Once our relationship has been established through our faith in the finished work of Christ at Calvary (the brazen Altar) and we have been cleansed by the Word (the brazen Laver) we do not have to stay shut out in the Outer Court wondering about the beauty of the Holy Place. We each have the privilege and responsibility of entering into fellowship with God in the Holy Place. We each have the joy of moving onward from the brass (judgment) of the Outer Court, where Jesus took the judgment for our sins, and into the gold of getting to know our wonderful Saviour.
The priests daily entered into the Holy Place for fellowship with God. It may be asked – do we also enter the Holy Place daily for fellowship with God?
Are we still out in the Outer Court or have we moved forward into fellowship with God?
The next few posts will be focussed on the furniture of the Holy Place and the wonderful truths they convey:
Jesus compared the days we are living in to the days of Noah. He said:
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39
Just as in Noah’s day, there was a day appointed for judgment, so it is today. This time however, it will not be by flood, rather it will be by fire.
“For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.… But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? “ 2 Peter 3:3-12
Get on board the Ark now! Take your friends and your family with you. Make sure you are safely within the place of refuge and flee from the wrath that is to come!
Of which Ark do I speak of nowadays? This Ark is not made of gopher wood, no it is Jesus Christ Himself. The Ark of Noah is a picture of Christ and points to Him as the refuge from God’s coming judgment.
The New is in the Old Concealed, the Old is in the New Revealed.
The Shadow of the Ark
The Light of Jesus Christ
There was only one Ark. One boat. One way to escape the coming judgment.
Likewise there is only one way of salvation.Jesus said “I am the Way….no man comes to the Father but through me.” Forget religion, Christ is the only place of refuge from the coming Day of the Lord.
The Ark was planned by God not by Noah
The plan of redemption was foreordained by God to meet the judgment of sin and to make provision for the safety of the elect
Whilst God planned and designed the Ark, He commissioned man to build it.
This is a picure of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Saviour must have a human body and nature as well as the divine. God came in the flesh of man through the virgin birth.
Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord”
We are saved by grace through faith in Christ
Noah believed God’s Word that there would be a flood on the earth, even though there was no evidence of this. Previously the earth had been watered by a mist coming up. Noah received God’s Word of a coming deluge by faith.
We also received Jesus Christ by faith in God’s word. “…Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls”. 1 Peter 1:8
The Ark had only one door. There was only one way in.
Jesus is the only way in to the Father. Jesus said “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved….” John 10:9
The door had no dimensions given
No matter how great a sinner may be, there is room for him through the door – Jesus Christ
The Ark had three levels
This could be a picture of the Tri-unity of the Godhead.
There was only one window in the Ark. It was in the flat roof of the boat and about 18”x18” and covered by a hatch. Noah and his family could only look Heaven-ward out of the window
God wants us to be looking upwards to Him, rather than being overwhelmed by difficult circumstances.
God told Noah to “pitch (the Ark) within and without withpitch” Genesis 6:14. This is the only place in the Bible where “pitch”, a bituminous substance, is translated as “kapher”. “Kapher” everywhere else in the Bible translates as “atonement”. It means a covering. Lev 17:11 says “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls”. This word atonement in this verse is the same as the word translated as “pitch” in Genesis 6:14
It is because of Jesus Christ’s atonement for our sins at the cross, that we have a way of escape from what is coming upon this world. He took our place on the cross and shed His precious blood in order to make atonement for us. Once we are in Him His blood covers us and keeps us safe. In Him there is perfect peace and safety which is apart from this world.
God invited Noah and His family into the safety and refuge of the Ark. “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark…” Genesis 7:1
God still invites us today into the safety of Christ, “Come unto me all who labour and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest…”
God told Noah to make rooms in the ark (Genesis 6:14). Rooms here is translated as “a nest”. God provided comfort as well as safety within the Ark.
Jesus said: “In My Father’s house are many mansions:….I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
God Himself shut the door to the Ark“And the Lord shut him in” before the judgment began.
Whilst the door is open all may enter in. However one day soon the door will be shut and the age of grace will finish. Then the time of judgment will begin.
“By faith, Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” Hebrews 11:7
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