Archive for April, 2009

Putting on the VeilTherefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech– unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 2 Corinthians 3:12-13

Christians, unpurposefully perhaps, spend an awful lot of time attempting to convey how godly we are. We can find a little comfort in knowing that we are in good company, for Moses was guilty of the very same thing. Out of context we might be persuaded to believe that Moses veiled himself in an act of humility, but God through the Apostle Paul reveals the issue with Moses was actually pride—Moses did not want anyone to see his diminished spirituality.

A Fine Line

When we utter to another, “I have been praying for you, ” is it really about them or about telling them that we pray? Similarly when we declare, “I was fasting and the Lord revealed something to me, ” is it about the revelation or the fact that we fast? The truth just might be that we want others to know how saintly we are to cover up how saintly we are not. We wear our spiritual endeavors as a veil, akin to Moses, so that no one might know the reality of our fading glory. Sadly, the embellishment becomes routine and we likely do not even recognize the behavior having bought the lie.

To make matters worse, when we project a bogus façade, it could cause others to feel inadequate in their faith walk. A believer might look at us in our amped-up spirituality and surmise, “I can’t keep up with that! I’m no prayer warrior, I’m no faster, I’m no wonderful worshipper!” How dare we do that to another believer. A veil is nothing more that a false, legalistic barrier between them and their walk with Christ. We need to remember that Jesus took away that obstruction.

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom… Matthew 27:50-51

This One’s for Me

We all may be culpable, but please know I choose to blog on this particular issue today because my spirit was convicted– this is a message I need to receive…again. Lord, let me remember that You are and I am not, that You are wonderful and worthy and I am not, and if there is any glow about me it is solely of You. Let me always be a reflection of Your glory, lest I give someone the impression it is me and lest I hinder the spiritual growth of another.

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Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them. Exodus 26:1Every Single Thread…

The Tabernacle was of course a actual structure built for an exact purpose and a specific people, but as we examine the construction piece by piece; thread by thread as it were, we see a depiction of Christ Jesus emerge. If there were but a few parallels, it might suggest mere happenstance, but the fact that the entire edifice and its furnishings speak practically and prophetically of Jesus is most assuredly a God-thing.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39

Jesus the Tent

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

In the Gospel of John we discover our first clue. Inspired by the Father he wrote that Jesus became flesh and dwelt with us. The word ‘dwelt’ is key to us because in the original Hebrew text that word is translated ‘to tabernacle’ or to ‘tent with’. Again, if this was the only allusion to the Tabernacle itself, we might say in unison, “Coincidence!” but this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Graciously, as we unravel the Tabernacle we discover that it not only points prophetically to Jesus Christ, but also to us–what is true for Jesus is true for those positioned in Him.

Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:8

Colors of Jesus

There were actually four layers of the Tabernacle’s outer wall, each layer having individual characteristics pointing to Jesus. We will focus on the innermost wall—the side that is seen by those who find themselves inside the Tabernacle. It consisted of four colors: white, blue, purple, and scarlet.

Throughout the Bible we stumble on attributes associated with those colors: white linen speaks to righteousness, blue to heaven, purple to royalty, and finally scarlet to sacrifice. The number four also speaks to the four Gospels of the Bible and they tackle those very qualities of Christ. Matthew speaks to Jesus the King (purple), Mark to His being the suffering servant (scarlet), Luke to His righteous humanity (white), and John to His deity of Heaven (blue).

Jesus the Worm

Jesus said that, not me.

But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. Isaiah 53:6

I only repeat it here because it is paramount to developing and explaining the typology. Going back to the old Hebrew language we learn that the word for worm is ‘tolaith’ and further research reveals that it has a dual meaning–it is also defined as scarlet. It is not difficult to figure out why– the tolaith worm was ground-up to produce the scarlet pigmentation, thus the reason for the twofold definition, but it is in understanding this worm’s way of life will can appreciate Christ’s use of this expression for Himself.

The worm when giving birth affixes itself to a tree and in the act it dies and the infant worms feed on the flesh. As you might imagine, a bloody red stain is left behind. But then an odd thing occurs—in three days that red spot has dried out, turns white, flakes off and flutters to the ground as snow. I cannot help but think that was the exact image Jesus had in mind when He chose to identify Himself with the tolaith.

“Come now, and let us reason together, ” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

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“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower–and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. 3And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold. Exodus 25:31-36Some fixtures within the Tabernacle were constructed of acacia wood covered with gold, the wood speaking illustratively of Christ’s humanity and the gold His deity. First notice that the lampstand is made exclusively of gold. As we go through each verse and each word in some cases, we further see the significance and prophetic picture being depicted of Jesus Christ and our life in Him.

Pure Gold, Beaten into Form

The pure gold speaks of both deity and perfection; two qualities found only in our Lord. The lampstand was not pieced together, but strenuously beaten and stretched from one source in much the same way Jesus was beaten and stretched out for one singular purpose.

He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

One Lamp–Six Branches

We cannot picture this lamp with it’s one main shaft and six branches without calling to mind the image Jesus Himself gave us in the Gospel of John.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Out of the Side

The branches come out of the side or main shaft of the lampstand. If we think back to Genesis we remember that in the Garden of Eden, a rib was taken from Adam’s side in order to create for him a bride.

Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Genesis 2:22

Now Consider that Jesus is the Last Adam…

And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45

And He Also Takes a Bride

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2

And We Too Were Birthed From His Side

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. John 19:34

But What About the Almonds?

I just learned today that in the middle east, the almond is the first tree to blossom and also the first tree to bear fruit. Keeping with the typology and prophetic illustration, Jesus is our first fruits.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20

“…All of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold”

This is likely the most exciting aspect of the picture—as one piece in Christ, we are seen as gold too. Consider these three coupled passages…

For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness…so we, being many, are one body in Christ… Hebrews 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; Romans 12:5

So We’re Beaten Too?

Understand the implication and see it for the good news it truly is. As Christ’s light most folks do not pay heed to us when things are going well. However, when things start to go sour, then people take notice. “How will ‘Joe-Christian’ fair this storm, ” they likely ask. It is in our misfortunes that we can shine brightest. It was that principle the writer was referring to in 1 Peter 3:14-15 when he wrote…

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you… 1 Peter 3:14-15

So Who Is the Light of the World?

After all Jesus said in John 8:12 that He is the Light of the world and then in Matthew 5:14 He proclaims that we are the light of the world. Which is true? Well since Jesus cannot lie, they are both true. Likely the best correlation we can make is the idea of Jesus being the greater light, as our sun is the greater light. We then would be the lesser light, or in this case the moon. The moon does not have any light of its own, but reflects the light of the son. We are light; reflectors of the Son’s light lest the world gets between the two of us.

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And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it. Exodus 25:8-9As we read about God’s plan to Moses for His Tabernacle, we will come to learn that the Tabernacle itself has three basic components: the courtyard, the holy place, and the Holy of Holies. In our examination of these parts and their accessories, we can see that they also illustrate three distinct levels that pertain to our life in and walk with Jesus Christ. It is vital to remember that at any level and as it relates to the typology, anyone in the Tabernacle is saved; i.e. a born-again believer.

Level 1

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8

This first level speaks to the person who is saved and is in the courtyard. We recall that the outer courtyard is where the brass altar for sacrifice and the brass laver for cleansing were—constant reminders. In the altar and the laver there is an understanding and receiving: Christ has died for our sins at the altar and there’s an assertion of faith at the laver in our baptism. It is not uncommon for those in the courtyard to aspire towards another level—the option of Christian service.

Level 2

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… 1 Peter 2:9

Level two is within the tent, a place with two compartments, the biggest portion of which was called the Holy Place. The Holy Place is the place of Christian works and the tools of the trade are contained within: the table of showbread, the lampstand, and the incense stand; each one representative of a kingdom building endeavor. In the bread we see His Word which we freely partake and distribute. In the lamp we are light that we might go forth and shine with divine intention. And as fragrant incense we may pray intercessorily as Christ Jesus does for us. In the observance of Christian service we may find ourselves longing for level three.

Level 3

“But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

Jesus would say to us (as He said to Martha) that level three; that is at His feet, is the best and most highly desired place to be. We would agree. As we read the account of Mary and Martha we see all three levels represented there. Lazarus, Martha and Mary’s brother is not mentioned in the story and suggests he is in the courtyard—a good place to be, but clearly not the best place to be.

The illustration clearly shows Martha caught up in her level two position. Again, not a bad place to be–more rewarding that hanging out in the courtyard, but still not the best place to be. It is obvious to us all that Mary has acquired the best place—at the feet of Jesus, absorbed in just being in His presence—the Holy of Holies.

Finest Choice, But the Least Chosen

As a result of our flesh and the world’s influence I suppose, we falsely believe that as Christians we start at level one and work our way towards level two and then ultimately to level three. God would tell us we have it all backwards.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit…Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom….Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. John 19:30; Mark 15:38; Hebrews 4:16

There’s God’s formula—because of His Son’s finished work on the cross, we have direct access to the Holy of Holies and can boldly approach Him. It is from this position we are free to move about; between Christian service and courtyard respites. In the Father’s plan there is no striving towards higher levels—we start out at the best possible place—at the feet of Jesus. If we find ourselves involved in procedures and processes believing we can climb higher and higher spiritually, we need to stop. The highest position we can achieve has already been provided for us and all we need is enter into His presence. We are not level-ones working upward; we are level threes moving freely about the Tabernacle as He guides us.

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And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. 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. Exodus 25:16-17I Barely Know Where to Start?

To say that the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant are symbolic illustrations that prophetically lend themselves to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is an understatement of biblical proportion—no pun intended. Every element and every detail point toward and speak directly of Jesus Christ.

Consider the Tent

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

I do not pretend to know why God did the things He did or why He continues to do the things He does, but still I ponder, ‘why a tent?’ I didn’t realize until my Bible study today that man’s conception of a tent transcends time and culture. We can benefit from the fact that the word ‘dwelt’ (from the John 1:14 verse) in the Greek means; to tabernacle, or ‘tent’ with, so in both the Old and the New Testaments we have this depiction of Jesus tenting among us—one prophetic and one fulfilled. But there’s more…

The Tabernacle was an impermanent, wilderness quarters, humble outwardly, but inwardly ornate. It was both God’s dwelling place and meeting place among men. In obvious parallelism Jesus was among us temporarily in this our wasteland, an outwardly unassuming man, yet inwardly perfect. His name literally means, ‘God with us’ and He is the sole intermediary between us and the Father. His Word bears witness to these facts—mull over this biblical anthology:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel… He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him…Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head…let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them… For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me… Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:2; Matthew 8:20; Exodus 25:8; 1Timothy 2:5; Psalms 101:6b

The Wood

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. Exodus 25:11

Wood in the Bible often speaks to our flesh; the pulpy part of our existence and gold speaks of deity. If the Ark is a picture of Jesus Christ (and it is), then we have in it a depiction of a man covered in deity—there is only One who fits that description. The fact that the acacia tree has thorns and its sap is used medicinally to heal can only add more detail to the portrait.

The Good News

And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. 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. Exodus 25:16-17

The Testimony spoken of here is the Law; the Ten Commandments. God directs Moses to put them inside the Ark. The covering; the ‘Mercy Seat’ is not embellished timber this time, but pure gold. See the picture—the Law is covered by mercy. We are not in the Law, but in Christ. The Law is covered by Jesus and if we are in Him we robed in His righteousness, not by any effort on our part, but by the work He has done.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness…For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Isaiah 61:10a and Ephesians 2:8-9

Is there any significance in knowing these things? Absolutely. Once it is understood that the entire Bible, both Old Testament and New, point directly to Jesus Christ, we are better equipped to understand and share that which we believe and in Whom we profess our faith.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39

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Now He said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar…Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there… Exodus 24:1 + 12Worshipping From Afar

Those who know Jesus as Lord can theologically appreciate the reality of our capacity to approach Him boldly whenever and wherever we want. However, it is also true that despite that awareness, very often we still may feel afar off and distant from God. We may glean from the Father’s dialogue with Moses that our proximity to Him does not have an effect upon His nearness to us. Too frequently we have this sense that our emotional condition regarding our spiritual position is somehow relevant to God; in other words, God will be aloof if He perceives in us an emotional distance. Nonsense. The good news is that God’s relationship with us is not based on our emotions–regardless of what we may or may not be feeling, God will be there. To believe otherwise is to give credibility to the lies of satan.

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. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 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 14:14

Be There

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there…” (Exodus 24:12). At first when this passage is read it sounds as if God is being redundant—“Come…and be there, ” but there is significance in this verse with which almost certainly everyone can identify—being in His presence, but not being there. We might suppose that God is addressing the emotional detachment issue we just visited, but this is not the reason for God’s admonition. Here, God is attending to the other end of the emotional spectrum.

Moses is about to partake of God’s glory and the reminder is that he not be distracted by His magnificence, His splendor, or His grandeur, but to stay focused on Him—“Be there, Moses.” The application for us is found in our propensity to occasionally become caught–up in Christian peripherals; the structures, the worships, or the hyped emotions, and loose sight of Jesus Christ. We are reminded to not just come, but to be there, for He alone is worthy.

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Revelation 5:11-12

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So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. “I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beast of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land. Exodus 23:25-30

“When is my life going to get better?” a new-believer asked me recently.“What if it doesn’t…Is Heaven enough?” was my reply.

There is an expectation on the part of God for us to ask questions of this type. This is reckonable because, as we read our Bibles, we see that He has blessed us with the answers to our questions before we have asked them. The key to spiritual comprehension; i.e. receiving the correct answer to our specific inquiry, is to examine what the Lord has to say on the matter as a whole—contextually, otherwise there will likely be misunderstandings.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7

The truth of the matter is that God will bless us when we commit ourselves to serving Him and for some, those blessings may only be made manifest once they cross over form this life to the next. God is very clear that although our sins have been washed cleaned by the blood of Christ, there are still earthly consequences for iniquity. This must be so because our God is a God of order. Could you imagine if the two billion people who call themselves Christian were suddenly released from their punitive responsibilities? There would be worldwide anarchy contrary to what God has established

“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7

There is a godly process to restoration. The doctrine being established in Exodus 34 maintains that our behavior (good or bad) will have an affect on generations to come. If a father is an alcoholic (for example) and repents towards Jesus after his children have grown, there is still going to be an inevitable residue left upon his family. God is not saying those kids are cursed, but affected—there is a difference. The ‘reaping and sowing doctrine’ does not disappear merely because we have given our hearts to Jesus. In actuality it is the ‘reaping and sowing doctrine’ that declares (by God’s grace) we can sow anew and reap afresh.

Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land. Exodus 23:30

An Explanation

God does not always offer explanations for His actions, so when He does we need to pay very close attention. Exodus 23:30 outlines a process by which we might grow spiritually and faithfully; a process that requires His perfect timing. Any attempt to circumvent His timing can only result in a deficiency in the blessing or perhaps even demolish the opportunity all together. The bottom line is that God is not making us to wait as retribution for behavior past, but so we ‘increase’ as a result of His perfect work in us. If God’s provision in this regard were instantaneous, the transformation in us would likely never come to pass. And do not be fooled into thinking this is just about patience…

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

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“You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. “If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest. If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down. For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious. Exodus 22:22-27Why the Law of Moses?

Saying that post-exodus Israel was a lawless society might be overstating the situation, but regardless, God set forth to establish regulations for His people where before none had officially existed. Prior to these institutions, there were no official policies regarding victim’s rights and restitution and every man was simply doing what they considered to be proper in their own eyes—sometimes justice was fair and sometimes it was not. By the establishment of and adherence to these laws, a certain degree of equity could be guaranteed.

But There is More

While the implementation of these devices served a specific legal purpose, they also were the vehicle by which God could begin to establish biblical models on a grander scale. Prior to this, concepts such as mercy, grace, and restitution were left up to individual interpretation. God was laying down the ground work for what these things looked like from a heavenly perspective.

Perhaps the most significant lesson being taught here is that the compensation we remit for the offenses we commit tender only partial restitution at best. The ideal that is being sketched-out by God is that full restitution can only come from one source ultimately, His Son Jesus Christ. By introducing His people to this notion now, when Jesus is offered as the propitiation for our sins the concept would not be unfamiliar.

“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2

God’s Priority

As I was going through Exodus 22, one particular passage jumped out at me—the one I featured at the beginning of this blog. It leapt off the page because it is the first of these regulations that God shifts gears, so to speak. Prior to verse twenty-two, the guidelines focused upon how victims were to deal with offenders interpersonally and visa versa, but when the victims are orphans and widows, God will take exceptional interest. God declares in their affliction, “(His) wrath will become hot, and (He) will kill you with the sword…”. Looking around the world today, it would appear that the Christian community has not taken this pronouncement of the Lord very seriously.

I raise that issue not so much as a rebuke towards the Church, but rather as a reminder for her. God is very adamant about His position regarding how believers are to respond to those who are unable to help themselves. Griping about our obligation to the poor or debating the issue of why some find themselves mired in poverty is not a part of God’s solution. The Law of Moses should serve to put each of us in the position of the victim and then ponder how it is we would want to be treated. Mercy and grace ought to be the two attributes that always rise to the top.

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Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Exodus 20:19It Doesn’t Make Any Sense

The nation of Israel has just beheld the most magnificent, the most incredible, the most extravagant, divine display the world has ever seen and their reaction is bizarre to say the least. “Moses, ” they basically said, “God was cool and all that, but next time we would prefer to speak with you.” What? Did we hear them correctly? We cannot even begin to imagine such a peculiar scenario…Or can we?

I Don’t Wanna Die

Therein lies Israel’s reasoning. It was not God’s audible voice that scared them to death, but rather the things He had to say—God had given them the Law; the Ten Commandments. The very moment it was heard every person was convicted by their sin—the Law had done exactly what it was designed to do. God might as well have held up a huge mirror and said, “Lookie here…this is what a sinner looks like.” In light of that, we can scarcely blame Israel for not wanting to see that reflection; no wonder they would rather speak with Moses than God.

Nothing Has Changed

Our similarity to Israel in this regard is predictable. Too many Christians are attending feel-good churches, led by feel-good pastors, who only talk about a feel-good Jesus, just so they might feel better about themselves. Teachings regarding sin, separation, and hell can only lead to one place inevitably: ‘dying-to-self’ and nobody wants to go there, “lest we die.” Somewhere we have latched onto the false notion that if we hide from God we are somehow hidden from Him—an inane gesture on our part. The truth of the matter is that the ruse is ours alone–God cannot be deceived.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13

The Whole Story

The standard reflected by God’s Law exposes every man for the sinner he truly is and avoiding it or God cannot negate that reality–evasion only prevents us from learning the solution to our sin problem—the solution found in Christ Jesus alone. Ironically, it is in our turning away from God that a person truly dies.

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

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And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning…Exodus 19:11 + 16Feast of Pentecost

I copied this blurb from a website called JewFAQ Blog, more specifically from a page on the site referred to as ‘Judaism 100.’ I cannot attest to its accuracy, but needless to say I found it interesting.

Shavu’ot, the Festival of Weeks (*Feast of Pentecost), is the second of the three major festivals…Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah (the Law) at Mount Sinai…Passover freed us physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavu’ot redeemed us spiritually from our bondage to idolatry and immorality. Shavu’ot is also known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day; however, Shavu’ot has no particular similarity to the Christian holiday of Pentecost, which occurs 50 days after their spring holiday.”

No Similarity?

The notion that there is no particular similarity is illogical, given the scope of the Bible in its entirety. The historical event that occurred on Mount Sinai—the giving of the Law, is a picture of what was to come in the receiving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in Acts chapter two. The parallels we can draw between these two events are extraordinary.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4

As we read through Acts and Exodus 19, we can see that these two events are replete with similarity. God makes an appearance at both these events and we see smoke, we see fire, we hear His voice as a loud trumpet, and (by the power of the Holy Spirit) the speaking in tongues. Did you know that the Rabbis to this very day proclaim that when God spoke on Mount Sinai He did so in seventy languages? Amazing!

However, the most significant parallel is the one where we see the most dissimilarity. It is noteworthy because in their relationship—the combining of these two historical events, we see the Gospel message come full spiral. Understand that when the Law was given at Mount Sinai it brought death, for in it was a maxim that no man could achieve.

So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. Exodus 32:28

But in the receiving of Christ Jesus, the yoke of the Law was broken and those who believe have life everlasting.

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. Acts 2:41

When the Law came down off the mountain, three thousand perished, but on the day the Holy Spirit came upon Christ’s disciples, about three thousand lived like they have never lived before! The Law destroys and Jesus saves—the contrast of those certainties binds these accounts not as one, but as an illustration pointing towards the redemptive course found in Christ alone. It is not a circle we navigate, but rather an escalating spiritual-spiral we traverse, one that takes us past places we have seen while simultaneously towards what lingers ahead.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

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