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Archive for May, 2009

Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ’These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth: Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud–that you may eat…For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy… Leviticus 11: 1-3, 44The Typology Continues!

All glory, honor, and praise to our Lord who has woven these magnificent, typological threads throughout His word the Bible. By so doing, our Father in Heaven had created for His people a pictured roadmap, if carefully followed, would funnel them towards Christ Jesus. For Christians, these Levitical writings provide a diagram that unmistakably illustrate our Messiah’s eternal presence throughout scripture and equip us with an understandable message we can share with those who desire to see more clearly.

It’s About Being Consecrated

Where in the bible does it say we are, “In the world not of the world?” I hate to burst you spiritual bubble, but that phrase is not found in God’s word–the maxim is there, but those actual words are not. Probably the closest expression of this godly standard, being set-apart for God, is found in John 17:11a + 16; and 1 John 2:15

Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You…They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world…Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

What is apparent is that the truism is expressed plainly between the covers of the entire Bible. The Levitical text pours more light on this actuality, although it is critical that we use a Bible-filtered, God-inspired eye to perceive it. Using external contradictive sources only serve to muddy the waters and erode God’s gift of faith. If a man’s words cannot be supported by God’s word, then his declarations are worthless.

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3

Hoof and Cud

What spiritual application can we possibly derive from these two attributes? We must keep in mind that God desires His people, including those in these last days who have been grafted in, to be separate. So while it is absolutely true we need not keep these dietary laws, the doctrine attached to them is of great value to the believer. Getting back to our ‘in-the-world-not-of-the-world’ theology, the split hoof speaks to our God-ordained disconnect—the split hoof being a constant reminder. Honestly, there is too much effort being made by the church to assimilate ourselves into the very culture God works so hard to isolate us. If there is to be association it shall always be on God’s terms, not the worlds.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

I found this whole cud-chewing stuff to be particularly interesting. In other parts of the Bible the part of speech in the Hebrew language used to describe an animal that chews its cud is the same for the word ‘meditate’. Is God using cud-chewers to remind us of our need to chew on His word continually? In a word, yup. Again, if we were not finding these parallels in almost every sentence, we might say it is nothing more than coincidence. I do not know about you, but the God I serve does not operate by chance; every move He makes is intentional and designed with a specific purpose—including these barnyard images. It is my hope that as you read His word you would see Christ Jesus in every verse.


 

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An Example to OthersThen Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ’By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ” So Aaron held his peace. Leviticus 10:1-3Why?

Why did Nadab and Abihu do this irreverent deed and why did God kill them for doing it? Many suggest that Nadab and Abihu were drunk (and perhaps they were), but the root of their sin was unquestionably pride. Their behavior, fueled by a flawed awareness of their own self-importance, was arrogant. They had lost their perspective of who God is and where they stood in relationship to Him. It is for this reason God said that He must always be regarded as holy and that He alone must be glorified.

I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another… Isaiah 42:8a

God is Serious

God is very serious about holiness and glory, so much so that He devoured Nadab and Abihu by fire as a perpetual example for us. If mere words had been sufficient, Nadab and Abihu would not have died (for these were things that they knew). We might then ask, “Why does God want all the glory for Himself—is God selfish? This is not the case; God is not egocentric.

God Knows That…

When man gets the glory, or a ministry, or a church, those things will eventually come to disappoint and frustrate us. If we suffer discontentment chances are we have become enamored in the temporary splendor of man or ourselves. God knows these things and this is precisely the reason He demands the glory must be His alone. In Him, no one is ever saddened or dissatisfied.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13


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And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exodus 34:6-7 (KJV)
What We May or May Not Know

When we read ‘LORD’ (in all capital letters) in the King James Version of the Bible, we can know that it signifies the vowel-less spelling of God’s name, YHWH. Some pronounce His name Jehovah and some Yahweh, but the reality is that we just do not know for certain. However, while God does not give us a clear pronunciation for His name, He does make clear the attributes of His name. With immeasurable quantity, God declares that He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, good, true, and forgiving.

“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:14

We all say it, “In Jesus name, Amen, ” but what are we actually proclaiming? Far too often these words of Jesus are taken out of context and many believe that at the mere utterance of His name prayerful requests come to pass. Contextually, Jesus is confirming that when our prayers line-up with the attributes associated with who He is, then and only then are they realized. In other words, at the mention of His name, we assert that deliberate thought has been given to God’s character in each of these areas and that our desire is allied with His desire. I should probably confess now that this is something I need to work on.

…By no means clear the guilty

The words, ‘the guilty’ are not found in the original Exodus 34 text, but added at a later time to make the verse ‘clearer’ to the readers. The problem however is that the meaning is clouded by this addition of this wordage. Understanding that the Lord is finishing a sentence and that He is still referring to Himself, a clearer reckoning of the phrase strongly suggests that He will not revoke the promise He has just made. That truth also helps us to understand the back-half of His remark…

…Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exodus 34:7

What God is not saying is that He will hold our children and our children’s children accountable for the sins we commit. That notion flies in the face of His nature and the attributes that He just declared about Himself! Consider the words of the Lord as recorded by the prophet Ezekiel, paying close attention to the last two sentences.

“What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ’The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge’? “As I live, ” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. Ezekiel 18:2-4

This is a doctrine protracted by Jesus in the New Testament as well. In the Exodus 34 text, our Father is upholding that He will visit us to do whatever it takes to restore us—even to the point of sacrificing His only begotten Son on a cross. This is a generational promise—to visit our children and our children’s children, not to punish, but to re-establish us through His Son Jesus.


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Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. Exodus 33:7-11Moving Day

You gotta love Moses. The Lord just finishes telling him that He will not travel in the midst of camp, so what does Moses do? He moves his tent outside of the camp! Do we all see the lesson in this? As Christians we must be in that place where we can easily maintain our walk with Christ Jesus and if we find ourselves tabernacled where God is not we must re-pitch our tent. Having said that, we know God is everywhere, but we also know that some places are more conducive to an attentive relationship with Him than others.

Intriguing

What I found to be exceptionally insightful (as it pertains to the Exodus passage) is that anyone could have followed Moses, but out of the two or three million people, only one person did—Joshua. Everyone one else opted to stay at home. Israel was intrigued by the spiritual life, but never moved towards it–a behavior we witness today. There is a growing number of people who falsely believe they are in the faith, when all they really are is fascinated by it. Let us recognize that trait and move far, far away from it.

The Competition

…Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus… Hebrews 12:1b-2a

I want us to re-envision *Paul’s race-analogy. Look around…our opponents in this race are not our friends; they are not our brothers and sisters in the faith. The race we run is against our enemies and their goal is not our goal. While our objective is to finish the race, theirs is to take us out of the race by any means possible. As we pursue the finish line, the competition seeks to finish us.

The Relevance of Speed

In this race, speed has no relevance—honestly; we can walk all the way to the finish line. But know this: as we slow our pace evil catches up and if we stop altogether, evil surrounds us. We know (or we should know) that the opposition is powerless; he cannot inflict wickedness upon us, but the closer he is the louder his taunts. Our rivalry is not pleased when we stumble and fall, but when we fail to rise to our feet and complete the race. Our enemy does not want to kill us; he wants us to kill ourselves…and we do that when we accept that which he offers. So whatever the tempo; a crawl, a stoll, or a trot, keep moving towards Jesus.


*I am not dogmatic about it, and although know one knows for certain, I lean towards Paul being the author of the book of Hebrews

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Moreover the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Also take for yourself quality spices–five hundred shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels), two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil…And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests. And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ’This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Exodus 30:22–24, 30-32

Since ours is a God of order, it is essential to recognize that all these procedures are not happenstance, but rather purposeful and prophetic indicators pointing towards the Son, Jesus Christ. The good news is that in so many instances they point to us–that is those who are in Christ, as well. Our Father, in His infinite wisdom, has painted these pictures so that when Jesus came to walk the earth, He would not be foreign to us. Those who do not see Jesus for who He truly is have likely failed to see Him portrayed in these Old Testament texts.

Sweetness

By now many of us perceive that oil (in the Bible) quite often is representative of the work and service of the Holy Spirit. That is certainly the case here. We might have some difficulty seeing our Jesus as ‘sweet’, but unquestionably in His perfected state, He is nothing less. While in some circles that attribute of Jesus may seem clichéd, nevertheless it is an accurate assessment and our jumping-off point for the typology.

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:2

Aaron and his sons…

From our prophetic posture, everything begins to sky-rocket at the mention of Aaron and his sons. Aaron is of course the High Priest, the very picture of our Jesus, the Anointed One (‘Anointed One’ the very definition of the title Messiah). We might then ask if Aaron is a picture of the only One worthy of anointing, how is it his son’s were also anointed? The answer is wonderful, because in his sons we can see a depiction of ourselves–just as Jesus is the Son of the Father, in Him so are we! I would say that is very Good News.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14

Nor shall you make any other like it…

There is only One Jesus. Just as there should be no attempt by man to duplicate this holy oil, similarly there cannot be a duplicate for our Jesus—He is the only One and the only way; He is inimitable! And we should be oh so grateful for the Father’s wisdom in this. If God had made two ways to salvation, in our humanness we would have said why aren’t there three? If He had provided one-hundred ways, we would have asked why not one-hundred and one. The Father kept it simple—there is One way and zero confusion.

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:7-9

A Psalmist’s Perspective

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing– Life forevermore. Psalm 133:1-3

The Lord magnificently weaves the work of the psalmist and our Exodus passage into His tapestry and further illustrates the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ Jesus, and our participation through faithful relationship. Plainly stated, God’s anoitinging runs down hill—it starts at the head, Jesus Christ and adheres to the law of gravity. The only way to receive the blessing is to be linked to Jesus; in order to be touched by the flow we must be attached to the Source.

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:33


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When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD… Exodus 30:12aDoes this passage suggest that a person’s soul–his very salvation can be acquired for a price? Sadly there are some sects that have taken this verse to an inappropriate extreme, teaching that if enough candles are purchased and prayers raised, a soul might be redeemed. This is not the doctrine God is establishing.

The truth of the matter is that salvation can be paid for, but there is only One who can make that purchase—Jesus Christ. And for the record, He accomplished that feat on the cross some two thousand years ago—it is a done-deal. God merely introduced the concept here so that it would not be foreign to us when Jesus accomplished it later on in history.

And they sang a new song, saying: “You (Jesus) are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, Revelation 5:9



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“You shall make an altar to burn incense on…” Exodus 30:1No Coincidences

I do not believe it to be coincidence that this passage was the focus of my Bible study today—the day after the National Day of Prayer. For those of you who participated in yesterday’s event, I hope you do not see it as coincidence either. For myself, it is as if this morning Jesus sited a coda upon last night’s final petition—a reminder of His continual efforts and how privileged we are to do similarly. Picture Jesus Christ as we inspect the Altar of Incense and let us see our reflection in its golden exterior also.

Lord, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:1-2

An altar to burn incense…

This is not the brass altar standing in the courtyard of the Tabernacle. That fixture speaks of both judgment and sacrifice and it is uncomplicated to see it embodying Christ’s finished work on the cross. This altar, located in the Holy Place, is a gold-covered wood device, the likes of which depict our Jesus in both His humanity and deity.

We have an altar (of brass) from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hebrews 13:10-12

A cubit shall be its length…

This piece of furniture is the smallest in the tabernacle—approximately eighteen inches square and three feet high. It brings to mind that although Jesus makes continual intercession on our behalf, it is simply sufficient. He would in fact tell us that the length and scope of our prayers is not what matters, but rather the potency or sincerity of them.

Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

A molding of gold all around…

This molding speaks of a golden crown for our King Jesus, while at the altar of sacrifice a crown of thorns was thrust upon His head. This altar’s rim also had a purpose—to keep the incense on the table so that not one piece (or prayer) falls to the ground. Imagine if this were not the case with Jesus; if He occasionally dropped a prayer, if His intervention for us wavered before the Throne. Our lives are not tough, for a tough life is one where Jesus no longer interceded for us.

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them…Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy… Hebrews 7:25; Jude 1:24

Put it before the veil…before the ark of the Testimony

There is nothing closer to the Ark of the Testimony than the Altar if Incense. That demonstrates for us that there is no way to be closer to the Throne of God then to come before Him in prayer. It is what Jesus does continually and it should be what we do as well.

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:33

Burn incense on it…perpetual incense

As it pertains to Jesus, this speaks of His present ministry of perpetual prayer on our behalf and to us it speaks to our aspiration and purpose in Christ Jesus. Our enemy desires to take us down one-by-one and his efforts towards that end our incessant. No One is more aware of this fact than Jesus and like the Good Shepard, He watches over His flock with persistence and determination unlike any other. Therefore, it is our reasonable service to respond as the Shepard guides us.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31-32

Make atonement upon its horns once a year

Finally there is the blood. There was to be no sacrifice on this altar, but there was to be a memorial. ‘Horns’ throughout the Bible speak to power and there is no exception here. The horns unto themselves possess no power, but they speak to the power of Jesus our Lord. There is also power in the blood—His blood and the ritual here reminds us to be ever mindful of the power of Christ’s sacrifice and that by His act we might have relationship through prayer with the Most High.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15


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