Month 7:21, Week 3:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year 5935:192 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 18 October 2011
Sukkot 2011 VII
Hidden Secrets of the Mishkan III
Continued from Part 6
Shalom and welcome to the last day of Sukkot prior to the final sabbath assembly of Shemini Atseret tomorrow. This will be the last study on the Mishkan (Tabernacle) for now and I confess it is hard to know how much of what to share. Since my short study of Asher yesterday was so much enjoyed I may, if there is time, include another tribal study today.
More than anything else, Sukkot is about your identity. By the time you reach Sukkot in your spiritual development, the following words will have absolutely no meaning for you whatsoever:
A person who is in spiritually the Holy of Holies has died to self and lives only for Messiah. This does not mean that his self has ceased to exist or been annihilated, as is taught in eastern religions, but that it occupies a servant position. Some of these 'self' words, like self-esteem, are icons of humanism and atheism. Everyone is scrambling to get self-worth. However, our only true worth is in the Ono who created us. To be a believer you substitute self-esteem for Christ-esteem. The Altar of Incense in the Holy Place was not placed there so that we could worship self (in pantheism, which teaches that man is God, God-worship is self-worship) - if self-worship had had any part of Yahweh's system the Mishkan would have been full of mirrors, as in the Mormon Temple's 'Celestial Room' - the Altar of Incense is there to remind us that all prayer is to be Yahweh-directed through Messiah and all praise is to be Yahweh-directed through Messiah, and our music is to be directed to be Yahweh-directed through Messiah. To enter Yahweh's Mishkan is to declare your full ownership by Him.
- 1. Self-respect
- 2. Self-will
- 3. Self-awareness
- 4. Self-protection
- 5. Self-esteem
- 6. Self-worth
- 7. Self-absorption
- 8. Self-aggrandisement
- 9. Self-centredness
- 10. Self-consciousness
- 11. Self-control
- 12. Self-discipline
- 13. Self-government
- 14. Self-defence
- 15. Self-help
- 16. Self-indulgence
- 17. Self-justification
- 18. Self-ishness
Self belongs to the Outer Courtyard of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). That is the domonion of self, unbounded by any kind of sukkah or canopy, though held in check by a fence. Hell is the abode of those who worship self. And yet it is true to say that, a self must first properly form and crystalise out before it can be given (freely) to Yah'shua (Jesus). It is not the business of any human being or state to crush another's self. We all have a self, an ego, a sense of 'I'. That is important. Every child needs to grow into their true self. However, a self without Messiah is a self without an identity. It is an orphan.
What do we mean by 'identity'? An identity is the state of having unique identifying characteristics, that by which we are recognised. Everyone is different. At birth we have a character consisting of identifiable characteristics. These characteristics are what makes us all individually unique. Yahweh purposefully made you and me totally different from everyone else. So when I talk about dying to self I am not talking about some Nirvana state whereby we lose all those identifying characteristics. Dying to self is about submitting self to the complete rule of Messiah from whom we obtained our identifying characteristics and from whom we maintain a continuing identity. That is what Scripture means when it talks about being IN Messiah. We are defined, enhanced and amplified by the sum-total of the Divine Nature which surrounds us by virtue of our being IN it. Thus a person standing in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) is defined and identified by the dimensions, structures and implements that are within that Mishkan (Tabernacle). Every object within it - the Ark of the Covenant, the Menorah, the Table of Shewbread, and the Table of Incense - defines us if we are truly submitted to Yahweh. And if we are not truly submitted to Yahweh, then we are not in it properly. Just as the Brazen Altar of Sacrifice and the Brazen Laver define whether we enter the Holy Place or not, so the Menorah, Table of Shewbread and Table of Incense define whether we are in the Holy of Holies or not. How we present ourselves at the door connecting the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to the courtyard, determines whether we enter the Holy Place; and how we present ourselves at the veil of the Holy of Holies determines whether we enter the Sukkot anointing or not.
Self as an independent unit of being cannot exist in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and those who insist that it have any degree of independent life of its own soon find themselves out in the courtyard again awaiting their turn to be further cleansed and purified in the Brazen Laver. To do that requires re-committal and dedication. And to understasnd dedication, which I want to talk about next, you have to understand that the layout of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) is also depicting the process that leads to full marriage. For just as the journey to the Holy of Holies by the talmid (disciple) is his allegorical marriage to Messiah begins with Dedication (Arab) in the Courtyard, continued with Betrothal (Aras) in the Holy Place, and culminates in Full Marriage (Onah) in the Holy of Holies, so the symbolic journey through the Mishkan (Tabernacle) is also the same process in which a woman is properly married to a man, the former being a reflection of the latter - the processes are identical. The Mishkan (Tabernacle), therefore, is the blueprint of a true Messiah-centred marriage and defines whether it is eternal marriage or not. For it is not simply a question of whether you 'love Messiah' and 'love your spouse' or not but whether you love them according to the tavnith (pattern) of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) because of the Heavenly Mishkan (Tabernacle) that true believers inherit. And that would seem to be another good incentive to understand how the Mishkan (Tabernacle) works.
Let us now turn to the dedication of the Mishkan (Tabernacle):
As pilgrims and strangers in this world (Heb.11:13) we too - our bodies or "tents" (2 Cor.5:1,4; 1 Pet 1:13) - are 'on the move' and need to go where Yahweh wants us to go, and when. Only if we are properly dedicated to our Master, as His possession, can we ever hope to do that, or the flesh will lead us here and there where we cannot always be protected. Self must be in the passenger seat of this vehicle with Messiah in the driver's seat.
"Then Aaron (the Cohen Gadol/High Priest) lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the mishkan (Tabernacle) of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of Yahweh appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before Yahweh and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces" (Lev.9:22-24, NKJV).
"[Moses] set the [brazen] laver between the mishkan (tabernacle) of meeting and the altar, and put water there for washing; and Moses, Aaron, and his sons would wash their hands and their feet with water from it. Whenever they went into the mishkan (tabernacle) of meeting, and when they came near the altar, they washed, as Yahweh had commanded Moses. And he raised up the court all around the mishkan (tabernacle) and the altar, and hung up the screen of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the mishkan (tabernacle) of meeting, and the glory of Yahweh filled the mishkan (tabernacle). And Moses was not able to enter the mishkan (tabernacle) of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of Yahweh filled the mishkan (tabernacle). Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the mishkan (tabernacle), the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of Yahweh was above the mishkan (tabernacle) by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys" (Ex.40:30-38, NKJV).
To get this right, we have to start right, and so we begin with the dedication, deciding to whom we belong. As instruments of Yahweh, we must always know our place and our purpose to be fruitful. Every part of ourselves must be dedicated and consecrated to Him, no area of our lives being left out. It boils down to whether we are owned or not. And it is the same in respect of a husband's ownership of his wife and to what she is dedicated and consecrated. A wife in Messiah is dedicated and consecrated to the dedication and consecration of her husband, which should in turn be to Messiah so that she too may be thus dedicated and consecrated.
The Mishkan (Tabernacle) did not dedicate itself but must be dedicated by one that is greater in toqef (authority) than it is. We cannot, therefore, dedicate or set-apart ourselves! Husbands can therefore only be dedicated, consecrated and set-apart by the One who chose us in the beginning - we are dedicated to Yahweh by Messiah Himself! Similarly, a husband dedicates his wife to Yah'shua (Jesus). This is the divine tavnith (pattern) that constantly repeats again and again throughout Scripture. Anyone who attempts to dedicate him- or herself is therefore putting him- or herself in charge, and that is impossible for entrance into the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
The same tavnith (pattern) applies when it comes to priesthood ordination. Under the Old Covenant only those of the Tribe of Levi could serve in it once they were properly submitted to Yahweh in divine tavnith (pattern). In the Melchizedek Priesthood of Messiah, only those born of a certain spiritual line may serve in it. Aaron, the Cohen Gadol (High Priest), and his genealogical line, is a type of Yah'shua (Jesus) and His spiritual line. Only those who have been born again of Yah'shua (Jesus) and who have entered the covenant at Shavu'ot are eligible to serve in the Melchizedek Priesthood, over which Yah'shua (Jesus) is Cohen Gadol (High Priest). Therefore only the "New Man" (Eph.2:15; 4:24; Col.3:10), perfectly submitted to Messiah, may serve! Yahweh reacts with severe displeasure to anyone who seeks to apporach Him out of tavnith (pattern) or who try to make themselves cohenim (priests) on their own initiative and in the power of the self - the flesh - that self-righteous man. And so it is with the wife who seeks to put herself in a place of toqef (authority) in a family when she has not been granted it by her husband, and who acts out of tavnith (pattern). Those who seek to act out of tavnith act in the spirit of Korah - of rebellion - and are an abomination in the eyes of El Elyon (the Most High).
Dedication preceeds bethrothal and full marriage. Get the dedication wrong - establish the expectations of the sought-for marriage on a false foundation of wrong principles and non-Mishkan (Tabernacle) tavnith (pattern) - and the marriage will be unstable and inpermanent, for Yah'shua (Jesus) will not be properly in the centre of it, however much His Name is 'claimed'. So it is with our relationship to Yah'shua (Jesus) and to Yahweh. There is no passage into the Holy of Holies, and into the Sukkot Glory, without a proper dedication.
Just as we should not be choosing our marriage partners but letting Yahweh do the choosing (our part is to say 'yes' or 'no'), so no man can choose to enter the Priesthood.
Aaron was, of course, far from being without weakness. He joined in his sister Miriam's revolt against Moses, and in Moses' absence on Mt.Sinai, gave approbation to idolatry. On both counts he repented. However, His calling and toqef (authority) were not functions of his success or failure to operate in his office but of Yahweh's irresistable will. It is the same for those called into the ministry today as of every husband and father. Aaron's strength, virtue and qualification lay in the fact that he, like Messiah, did not seek glory in his position!
"For every Cohen Gadol (High Priest) taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to Elohim (God), that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also beset by weakness. Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by Elohim (God), just as Aaron was" (Heb.5:1-4, NKJV).
As should be obvious, there is a very clear distinction between Father and Son revealed in the tavnith (pattern) of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). They are not co-equal as Roman Trinitarian formulations make them out to be. As Aaron was a "man taken from amongst men", so also was Yah'shua (Jesus) - which is why He had to become a man too, of our own flesh and nature. If Yah'shua (Jesus) had not truly become a man - of the same stuff as Aaron - He could not have been our Cohen Gadol (High Priest). Therefore beware of the fringe messianic heresy (see #XVI) which claims Yah'shua's (Jesus') body was made of some other substance than our own earthly dust.
"So also Messiah (Christ) did not glorify Himself to become Cohen Gadol (High Priest), but it was He who said to Him: 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You." As He also says in another place: 'You are a cohen (priest) forever according to the order of Melchizedek"; who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by Elohim (God) as Cohen Gadol (High Priest) 'according to the order of Melchizedek'" (Heb.5:5-10, NKJV).
Had Yah'shua (Jesus) not become a true man like you and I, He could not have become our Cohen Gadol (High Priest) and our Salvation. Yah'shua (Jesus) learned obedience as a man (whilst remaining Elohim/God) through His suffering, as must we. The false orthodox doctrine that 'God' took on 'different forms' (as, for example, in United Pentecostalism), denies this tavnith (pattern) because it is claiming that Yah'shua (Jesus) did take on this honour of His own will, which is impossible. Thus the tavnith (pattern) of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) removes with one devastating swoop the modern coheadship heresy of both Trinitarianism and liberal ideas about human marriage.
There can be no Sukkot anointing without this emet (truth) firmly in place. Without it, the veil between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place remains as a brass wall against those who commit this sacrelege in the Son's Set-Apart Chamber. That is why we, in this ministry, can never admit it, because if we did, it would destroy all we stand for. And we stand - unapologetically and unreservedly - for the pure emet (truth) of Sukkot (Tabernacles). If we wanted to stop at Shavu'ot we would have packed up long ago and joined any number of congregations or ministries. But we cannot and shall not. We are standing for an unadulterated emet (truth) that by the by will attract all the firstborn of the House of Israel.
Therefore I must make this warning in sobriety - even though this is the Festival of Our Simcha (Joy) - do not turn Yahweh's gifts and grace into objects of sorrow, remourse and failure in the hands of self-will and disobedience, for these are the principle stumbling blocks of those who want to come up to Sukkot on their own terms, taking matters into their own hands. Many a self-willed man and many a self-willed wife has been crushed on this particular rebellious rock of divine offense and have been excluded from the highest glory because of it.
I promised I would end today with an examination of another tribe of Israel. I am hard-pressed to do this in the short time we have left. So I thought that since we are in Sweden, and as I believe this tribe to be mostly located in this country, and since I have spoken about it before in any great detail, I would choose NAPHTALI.
We have not had time this conference to discuss the Breastpate of the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) which was decked in 12 precious stones, one for each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The last one - jasper, a multi-coloured quartz - represents the Tribe of Naphtali. In many ways, it is an 'unfortunate' name because of how the boy came to receive his name - Rachel, unable to bear children, competed or 'wrestled' in a conniving, scheming way with the highly fruitful Leah by persuading Jacob to marry her maid Bilhah, so that she could get ahead in the progeny stakes. However, we would be wrong to just draw a negative conclusion from this, for Rachel was also wrestling with Yahweh. In her intercessory prayer, Rachel was eventually heard and given Joseph.
"And Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, 'With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.' So she called his name Naphtali" (Gen.30:7-8, NKJV).
Naphtali therefore becomes an important picture of successful intercessory prayer that reminds us of the great High Priestly prayer of Yah'shua (Jesus) in John 17 - a prayer of great travail and suffering, a prayer offered in Gethsemane with sweat and blood. The Saviour interceeds but He also prevails:
Sitting in front of the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place in thr Mishkan (Tabernacle) is the Altar of Incense - it is where Naphtali is! Moses too had to interceed, wrestling in deep prayer, twice for the continued existence of the nation Israel (Ex.32:32 & Num.14:17; Dt.9:26) and once for the life of his rebellious sister Miriam (Num.12:13). Samuel too had to wrestle for Israel (1 Sam.7:5) as did David (1 Chr.21:17). Thus Naphtali teaches us that we will not prevail until we have learned how to enter into intercessory prayer at the Table of Incense. We do have help, though:
"For what the Torah (Law) could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, Elohim (God) did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the Torah (Law) might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Ruach (Spirit)" (Rom.8:3-4, NKJV).
"Therefore [Yah'shua/Jesus] is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to Elohim (God) through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb.7:25, NKJV).
Obviously we do not wrestle with thin air but against principalities and powers sent by the Enemy to destroy us:
"Likewise the Ruach (Spirit) also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Ruach (Spirit) Herself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom.8:26, NKJV).
And the enemy is bolder than ever before as the children of men succumb to ever more wickedness. Our night skies are filled with the eyes of Lucifer - we had nine of them one night here, and on the day I was the most ill, one was twice as close as we have ever seen them. We need to take a closer look at the way Yah'shua (Jesus) handled the Enemy if we are to prevail through spiritual wrestling like the name of our ancestor Naphtali. Jacob wrestled in his own strength until his hip got dislocated. Only when his own strength was exhausted did he really start clinging onto the malak (angel) in the same we we are supposed to be clinging on to Yah'shua (Jesus), and wives to husbands just as Mary clung to Yah'shua (Jesus) in the Garden before His first Ascension. We must learn from this, as Paul did, that only "when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor.12:10, NKJV)
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph.6:12, NKJV).
One thing that I have particularly noted about the Swedes is that they are, for the most part, very gentle in speech, a trait I find very attractive. Here, under the inspiration of the Ruach (Spirit), Jacob describes Naphtali as a "deer" or "hind", a beautiful, graceful animal.
"Naphtali is a deer (hind) let loose; he uses beautiful words" (Gen.49:21, NKJV).
A good wife is described in Scripture "as a loving deer and a graceful doe" (Prov.5:19, NKJV). They are for sure beautiful animals and we have many of them here in the Swedish countryside. Interestingly, both Bridegroom and Bride are likened to deer - full of beauty and grace.
"For who is Elohim (God), except Yahweh? And who is a rock, except our Elohim (God)? It is Elohim (God) who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places" (Ps.18:31-33, NKJV).
Naphtali is the final stone in the breastplate of the Cohen Gadol (Hight Priest) and what better image of the final resting place of the redeemed - the children of the First Resurrection, the 144,000, the 100'ers, the children of Sukkot, than a deer let loose! Yah'shua (Jesus), bound by the grave, came forth victorious. A deer loosed speaks of freedom and liberty. And what more beautiful words can there be than those issued by the Saviour Himself, declaring:
"I am the resurrection and the chayim (life). He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26, NKJV).
Bad words ring out and scatter people. Good words ring out and gather people:
"A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also" (John 14:19, NKJV).
Good words give us hope!
"Do not be alarmed. You seek Yah'shua (Jesus) of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here" (Mark 16:6, NKJV).
You have all heard of the 'Hound of Heaven'. Well, today I speak to you of the 'Hind of Heaven', the Son of Elohim (God) who gives goodly words. And they are good words to the Bride. Why? Because she wrestled and prevailed! The Messianic Community (Church) has gone through suffering and perseverence for centuries but stood faithful in pressure from the powers of both men and devils. In Napthali, she is rewarded with the best words of all:
"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Yah'shua (Jesus), who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11, NKJV).
These are the sweet words to the children of the first and second resurrections, to those of the Holy of Holies (Sukkot) and Holy Place (Shavu'ot), respectively. Those who hear these words will leap as a deer let looose! Whatever you do, don't reject the Messiah, and receive these terrible words:
"Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the simcha (joy) of your master" (Matt.25:23, NKJV; also v.23).
No leaping hind here, but a cringing dog. This is the reward of those in the Outer Court, who refused the Altar of Sacrifice and who refused to be cleansed in the Brazen Laver.
"You wicked and lazy servant...cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness" (Matt.25:26,30, NKJV).
More good words for those who trusted and obeyed:
And why? Because of the Living Mishkan (Tabernacle) Yah'shua (Jesus):
"Elohim (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Rev.21:4, NKJV).
That is what the festivals are all about. That is what the tavnith (pattern) of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) is all about!
"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the mishkan (tabernacle) of Elohim (God) is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. Elohim (God) Himself will be with them and be their Elohim (God)" (Rev.21:3, NKJV).
Naphtali is everywhere in the New Jerusalem:
"O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full of the blessing of Yahweh, possess the west and the south" (Deut.33:23, NKJV).
Why is he everywhere? Because Yah'shua (Jesus) and the Messianic Community (Church) have become echad (one) through much wrestling, and no one colour could ever portray that. That is why Naphtali's stone is multi-coloured quartz (jasper) because the glory produced by wrestling is a many splendoured thing!
"The construction of its wall was of jasper" (Rev.21:18, NKJV).
I pray that this has been a blessed Sukkot for you all, even though there have been trials and tribulations caused by illness and brethren hindered from getting here. Tomorrow we will assemble for Shemini Atseret, the Last Great Day. May you all be blessed by the Cosmic Hind! Amen.
Continued in Part 8