Grace and Truth

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Suffering: According to the Pattern

th2VB52JDDI have asked God about suffering, especially lately. I have read and studied the Word. I certainly do not know the answer to it all, not even close. But one thing I have noticed is that the Church, in general, seems to no longer teach on suffering nor sanctification.

Why?

In this generation there is so much suffering, look at the situation in Nepal for example.  There are so many trials, battles and griefs that one would logically assume that the Church would be teaching volumes on this subject in order to bring hope, comfort and direction. However the opposite seems to be true. Instead of solid teaching in this area there seems to be a proliferation of the Health, Wealth and Prosperity false gospel.

So I have felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to do a little series on suffering and sanctification. I would like to share with you some of what I have learned through my own hard experiences in order to “strengthen the souls of the disciples, (and) exhort (you) to continue in the faith…” Acts 14:22

According to the Pattern

“That is the strange lesson we all have to learn, and Calvary is the pattern of it from beginning to end. God’s victories look like defeats. It is victory in the unseen realm while one is apparently, absolutely down and out in the visible.” Prayer and Evangelism, Jessie Penn-Lewis (emphasis mine).

The pattern is suffering. And if we are God’s child He will deal with us according to the pattern.

When Christ died on the cross it seemed that evil had triumphed. Isaiah 53:3,4 says:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces

source: mudpreacher.org

source: mudpreacher.org

from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

Through His great suffering and death it seemed that all hope was lost and that Satan had triumphed. But this was only how it seemed in the natural realm. This is how it looked to human eyes. In reality, the cross was the place of Christ’s ultimate triumph over death, hell, sin and the devil. Sinners are delivered from sin, Satan must relinquish a captive, death is overcome and hell loses one more inhabitant – because of the cross.

What seemed so despicable, so contemptible, so utterly humiliating was the place of total and complete victory. As believers our eyes have been opened to the victory of Christ’s death and of course His subsequent resurrection. But to unbelievers the preaching of the cross is still regarded as meaningless foolishness.

Definition of

Definition of “Pattern”: a regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in the way in which something happens or is done

And so is suffering. To the world suffering is meaningless, utterly contemptuous and something to be avoided at any cost. But as Christians, once again, our eyes are opened.  Just as we see Christ’s sufferings were for an eternal purpose, so we need to see that once we are God’s child, so too are our sufferings. We don’t need to suffer for our own sins, Christ has done that once for all, but there is always a purpose to the suffering of a child of God. It is easy just to see the immediate circumstances before us, but God is interested in eternal values.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

And because of the cross, there is always a victory.

Next post…. God’s Victories Look Like Defeats

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Jesus Christ and the Brazen Altar

The significance of the Brazen (or Bronze) Altar is huge.  This post will be followed up by two

source: blingcheese.com

source: blingcheese.com

more on the Brazen Altar, in order to attempt to cover as much as possible its incredible importance and typology.

Firstly the word “altar” means “slaughter place”, “high” or “lifted up”.

The Materials and Measurements of the Altar

In Exodus 27:1-8 God tells Moses how to make the altar:

“You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide—the altar shall be square—and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay it with bronze. Also you shall make its pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze. You shall make a grate for it, a network of bronze; and on the network you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. You shall put it under the rim of the altar beneath, that the network may be midway up the altar. And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. The poles shall be put in the rings, and the poles shall be on the two sides of the altar to bear it. You shall make it hollow with boards; as it was shown you on the mountain, so shall they make it.”

(The material used in both the Brazen altar and the Brazen laver was either brass or bronze, but more likely bronze because it was discovered much earlier than brass.  Bronze and brass are a very similar metal, both made from copper.  Bronze is made from a mixture of copper and tin and is a hard, non-corrosive metal.)

In Jesus and the Tabernacle Materials we looked at the materials used in the construction of the Tabernacle.  We saw that each material was deliberate and represented something important.

Looking at the Bronze Altar, we see it was made from acacia wood overlaid with bronze:

  • Bronze/Brass :             Representing Judgment against sin
  • Acacia wood  :             Representing the incorruptible humanity of Christ

 

God gave Moses the exact measurements for everything in the tabernacle.  Nothing was left to chance or Moses’ own decision.  God specified that the Altar was to be 5×5 cubits wide and long.  It was to be 3 cubits high.  It had 4 horns, one on each corner.

5   is the number of grace, the number of atonement

3 is the number of the Godhead (ie, the trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit).

4  is the number of earth (the 4 seasons, the 4 winds, the 4 corners of the earth) and the creation

Summary:  It is clear that from the materials used in the Altar and its measurements we can see that the Altar represents:

  • God’s judgment against sin
  • Sacrificial atonement
  • Christ’s incorruptible human nature
  • Grace
  • Atonement
  • The Godhead/trinity
  • The whole earth

As noted earlier the word “altar” means “slaughter place”, “high” or “lifted up”.

Jesus Himself said :

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up…” John 3:14

And “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die” John 12:32, 33

When Jesus was crucified He was the offering for sin upon God’s appointed altar – He was lifted up from the earth upon the cross.

The next post will cover:

  • The significance of blood
  • The offerings of the Brazen altar


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Jesus and the Outer Court of the Tabernacle

The Outer Court (or Court of the Tabernacle) points to Jesus

source: ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com

source: ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com

Christ, just as does every part of the Tabernacle of Moses.  In this post we will see the beautiful picture of the holiness and the redemption of Jesus Christ in the walls and gate of the Outer Court.

Exodus 27:9-18

You shall also make the court of the tabernacle. For the south side there shall be hangings for the court made of fine woven linen, one hundred cubits long for one side. 10 And its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets shall be bronze. The hooks of the pillars and their bands shall be silver. 11 Likewise along the length of the north side there shall be hangings one hundred cubits long, with its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of bronze, and the hooks of the pillars and their bands of silver.

12 “And along the width of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits, with their ten pillars and their ten sockets. 13 The width of the court on the east side shall be fifty cubits. 14 The hangings on one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three sockets. 15 And on the other side shall be hangings of fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three sockets.

16 “For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. It shall have four pillars and four sockets. 17 All the pillars around the court shall have bands of silver; their hooks shall be of silver and their sockets of bronze. 18 The length of the court shall be one hundred cubits, the width fifty throughout, and the height five cubits, made of fine woven linen, and its sockets of bronze.

The Materials of the Outer Court

As we saw in Jesus and the Tabernacle Materials every item used in the construction of the Tabernacle had a divine purpose and meaning:

  • The walls of the Outer Court were made from hangings of fine woven linen = the Righteousness of Christ
  • Its 20 pillars and 20 sockets for the pillars were made of bronze = judgment against sin
  • The hooks and bands of the pillars were made of silver = redemption

The Outer Court is a picture of Christ. Christ came in His righteousness as our redemption. He took our place, as a substitutionary atonement in God’s judgment against sin.

The Outer Court and the Law of God.

source: signature9.com

source: signature9.com

The Outer Court is also a picture of the Law of God. The Tabernacle was surrounded by a wall of fine linen hangings. This wall kept the Holy of Holies, where God’s Shekinah Glory dwelt, separate from the outside world. Each person upon approaching God’s dwelling place, the Tabernacle, was confronted by this huge 7.5 foot-high wall of fine linen.

As we know, fine linen speaks to us of righteousness. At the front of the Tabernacle an individual was confronted with the wall of the holy standard of God’s righteousness upon their approach to Him. How could they enter this holy and righteous place? How could they scale this wall of righteousness? How could they get to a holy God?

The Bible says “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” Isaiah 59:2

The sinner is separated from the holiness of God because of the defilement of his sin. The fact is, the sinner cannot approach a holy God in his own righteousness. The Bible says that:

“…we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;” Isaiah 64:6

Just as each person was confronted with the wall of God’s righteousness at the Tabernacle, so this is true of today as well. Each sinner needs to be confronted with God’s holy bible-cover-pagerighteousness – His Law, the 10 commandments, to see that he cannot measure up to God’s standards of holiness. God is perfectly good, perfectly Holy, perfectly righteous. But we are not.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Once we are confronted with His righteousness we see that there is no way to scale the wall into His righteousness. There is no way we can get in on our own.

We are lost, without hope.

But…the Outer Court had a Gate.

The GATE

source: poliges.com

source: poliges.com

“For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver…”

God, in His marvelous grace, has of course made a way into His presence.

But…. there is only ONE way. And that is through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

An individual could only enter the Outer Court through one gate on the east side of the Tabernacle.

The walls were so high that anyone trying to climb over them could have plunged to their death. This speaks of the sinner trying to work his way, or climb his way, up to God. It doesn’t work, for we will never be good or holy enough to meet God’s standards. The way of the flesh only leads to death.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.” John 10:1

But there was this gate and it was the way, the only way, into the presence of God, into Life. The gate had a screen woven of blue, purple and scarlet thread as well as fine linen.

Jesus Himself said: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…” John 10:9 (NIV)

The gate, of course, speaks to us of Christ:

  • The fine linen= His righteousness,
  • The colours = His heavenly nature (blue), His royalty (purple) and His sacrifice (red).
source: catechismway.blogspot.com

source: catechismway.blogspot.com

We see that there is only one way into the presence of a Holy God, and that is through the gate, the Person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Just as none could enter the Tabernacle and approach God from any other way except through the gate, so it is the same today. No one can approach God any other way than through Jesus Christ.

We come through Him, we come through the Gate.

Going through the gate we enter through Him. We come through His righteousness (linen), His heavenly nature (blue), His Kingship (purple) and His sacrifice (scarlet).

Then when a person was in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle they too were separated from the world. This speaks of the holiness of God and the separation of man from the world unto Him.

Upon entering through the Gate, immediately the individual is met with the Brazen Altar.

Next post:   Jesus and the Brazen Altar

Previous post: Jesus and the Tabernacle Materials


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Moses : a Type of Christ

The Old Testament is all about Christ. It really is.Jesus2

 

Don’t listen to those who would put the OT down and say it is over with, it is past. Don’t listen to those who would say OT = “bad” but NT = “good”. It makes up 2/3’s of the Bible and it is all about Jesus.

“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” Hebrews 10:7/Psalm 40:7.

Remember: The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.

 
The NT sheds light on the OT. And the NT is concealed in the shadows of the Old – it is hidden, but it is there for those who like to search for hidden treasure. Looking for the types and foreshadows of Christ in the OT is such a joy. I love discovering Him in the OT.

 

One example is Moses. Moses is such a wonderful type and picture of Christ. His life and ministry foreshadows Jesus in many ways. However One even greater than Moses is here now, in the Person of Jesus Christ. Let’s see how:

 

  • Moses was hidden away in Egypt as a baby for his own protection when Pharaoh decreed that all Hebrew baby boys were to be killed.
  • Jesus was hidden away in Egypt as a baby for his own protection when Herod sought to kill Him.

 

  • Moses, willingly left his royal home and high position in Pharaoh’s palace for the sake of his people.
  • Jesus, the royal Son of God, willingly left the glory of heaven to come to earth for the sake of His people.

 

  • In due course Moses came up out of Egypt and spent 40 years in the wilderness.
  • In due course Jesus also came up out of Egypt. He spent 40 days in the wilderness.moses

 

 

 

 

  • Moses was the deliverer of Israel out of the bondage and slavery of Egypt. He redeemed the Israelites from their hard-taskmasters with the blood of the Passover lamb.
  • Jesus is the deliverer of not only Israel but also of the Gentiles. He has delivered us from our bondage and slavery to sin. He has redeemed us from our hard-taskmaster (Satan) with His very own blood.

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

 

  • Moses interceded for the Israelites when they corrupted themselves and worshipped a golden calf. In Exodus 32:32 Moses offered his own life on behalf of the people. Such was his love for them that he was prepared to take their guilt upon himself and to die for them.
  • Jesus interceded for the whole of humankind, utterly corrupted and gone astray as we were.  Jesus actually did lay down His life on behalf of humankind. Such is His love for us that He did take our sin and guilt upon Himself and was offered to God in our place.

 

  • Moses was mediator of the Old Covenant of Law.
  • Jesus Christ is mediator of the New Covenant of Grace.

“For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

 

This barely skims the surface of the treasures of Christ that can be found in the life of Moses. Have a look for yourself and see what else you can find.

 

God bless!
 


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Jesus and Incense

In Jesus and the Altar of Incense we saw that the Altar itself is a type of Christ, pointing the way to Him.

censerAs the Altar of Incense fore-shadowed Christ, so too the incense offered on the Altar also fore-shadows Him.  This is how:

The Incense

Old Testament Shadow New Testament Reality in Jesus The Church’s Application
It was made of a delicate blend of four different spices. Each spice had to be of equal quantity, exactly balanced. Jesus Christ is the One in whom is perfectly balanced grace and truth, holiness and love, righteousness and mercy. Christ lives His holy life through the Church, as His Body. “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”
Each spice had to be crushed to a fine powder before it was added to the incense. Christ was “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities”. He was smitten, stricken, crushed. His perfect, sinless life poured out. This points to “death to self”, the humbling of the believer.
Salt was added to the incense – salt is a seasoning and a preserver Salt points to the holiness of Christ and the flavor of His life. The Church is the salt of the earth –a preserving agent.
The incense was burned on the altar in front of the Ark of the Testimony. Christ went through the fire of affliction in His sufferings and ultimately His death on the cross. Our faith is tried by the fire of affliction and suffering.
The incense sent up a sweet perfume which entered the veil into the Holy of Holies, surrounding the Ark of the Testimony. Christ’s sinless life of obedience was as a sweet perfume unto God. Christ has entered the veil  and has made the way open for us too through His shed blood. We are now able to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”
Aaron was to burn the incense in the morning and the evening when he also attended the lamps. “As Christ ministers to the Church interceding for His own, He trims the wicks of the lamps and supplies the oil of the Spirit.”(1) We are to pray in the Holy Spirit. “Prayer is the key for the day, the lock for the night” Corrie Ten Boom
No strange incense was to be offered on the altar, nor was anyone to make for themselves the incense. It was to be holy to God. Points to Jesus being the only Way to the Father, there is no other Name under heaven whereby man can be saved. It’s only through faith in Christ that we are saved. We are to have no other gods before Him. We are to pray in Jesus’ Name.
The incense was to be “perpetual…before the Lord”. Points to Jesus as our High-Priest “who ever lives to make intercession for us.” We are commanded to “pray without ceasing”. Our life is to be a perpetual prayer unto the Lord.

 

The Golden Censer

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

 

God bless!

  1. Page 49, The Tabernacle of Moses, Kevin J Conner

 

 


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Jesus and the Altar of Incense

“The New is in the Old concealed, the OId is in the New revealed.”

The Tabernacle of Moses was built as an earthly copy of the true, heavenly Tabernacle. As the earthly, temporal priests ministered at the earthly Golden Altar, (or the Altar of Incense),on behalf of the Israelites, so too our eternal Great High Priest ministers at the true Golden Altar in Heaven, on our behalf.

In New Covenant Hope:Jesus Our Priest we saw that Jesus was made Priest by an oath:

God has sworn and will not relent: You are a priest forever, according to the Order of Melchizedek” Psalm 110:410-1_altar-of-incense

The ministry of the priesthood in the Tabernacle of Moses points to Jesus Christ’s ministry now as our Great High Priest. Understanding the principles concealed in the Tabernacle of Moses unlocks so many wonderful eternal treasures about the One we love, Jesus Christ. It also relates to us as believers in our ministry of prayer and intercession.

 

The Altar of Incense  itself is a type of Christ:

Old Testament Shadow New Testament Reality in Jesus The Church’s Application
It was made of acacia (or shittim) wood. Acacia wood was a very durable, non-decaying wood. Wood points to Christ’s human nature.Non-decaying wood points to His incorruptible, sinless humanity.
 It was overlaid with gold Points to Christ’s Divinity/Godhood
It had four horns on each corner of the altar. Horns are the strength and power of an animal. Points to all power given to Christ in heaven and earth. Points to the gospel of Christ going to the 4 corners of the earth under the authority of Christ’s Church
On the Day of Atonement blood from the Sin Offering was applied to the horns of the altar and sprinkled seven times. It is Christ’s blood that was shed on Calvary (or the Brazen altar) which forms the foundation of His ministry of Intercession. The blood of Jesus allows us to stand before a Holy God and gives power to the incense of prayer.
It had a crown (or moulding) of gold around it. Points to Christ being the King-Priest The Church joins Christ in His King-Priestly ministry as a kingdom of priests.
It was 2 cubits high, making it the tallest piece of furniture within the actual Tabernacle Points to the highest ministry of Christ now on behalf of the Church – prayer and intercession The highest ministry of the Church is also intercessory prayer
It was in the Holy Place, in front of the veil, before the Ark of the Testimony. It was the nearest piece of furniture to the Shekinah Glory of God. Points to Christ’s earthly life of prayer and His ascension to the presence of God in His High-Priestly ministry. Points to the place of prayer being the closest place to the presence of God.

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

Next post….Jesus and Incense