Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Ark Of The Covenant And Its Contents Are A Parable Of Jesus Christ.


Keeping to our purpose of investigating the Godhead Theolo-gy of the Tabernacle, we must pass over much here, that does not directly lend itself to our mission.  There are some observations that may be made concerning the Ark, beyond the fact that it is made of shittem wood overlaid with gold (a parable of the dual nature of Christ). Chiefly, we will mention this: the Ark (also called the Ark of the Testimony) was a chest that contained certain prodigious items that bear testimony of our Savior. There were the actual two tablets of stone, upon which were written the Ten Commandments; also, a jar of manna taken from the wilderness journey of the Israelites, and, in addition, Aaron’s rod that budded (Heb 9:4). These three items testify of Christ in very clear ways that none can deny: The tablets of stone, on which the Ten Commandments were written, contain the moral law for man, so it is the correct Way for mankind to live; the jar of manna, taken from the wilderness, testifies of the bread from heaven, which is the Truth; Aaron’s rod, that miraculously put forth shoots, even though it was a dead stick, speaks of Life. Did Jesus not say that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)? Moreover, the Law (the Way) testifies of Father God; the Manna (the Truth) testifies of the Son of God; and the Rod that Budded (Life) testifies of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote of Christ, and said: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” —Colossians 2:9.
To come to the true essence of the Ark of the Testimony, and exactly what it was a parable of, we will jump forward to the New Testament writing of the book of Revelation. A survey of a statement from Revelation 2:17 will bring us to a deeper under-standing of the Ark and its contents. Revelation 2:17: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, ...”  The victor (Grk., tō nikōnti, lit. “the one overcoming;” the idea is: not finished, but an ongoing work) is promised an amazing reward, i.e. “ ... will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” This statement appears nowhere else in the Bible; but the meaning is quite clear from its rabbinical association to biblical events. Though the statement concerning eating “hidden manna” is introduced in our holy Scriptures here for the first time, it was a traditional saying of the rabbis. Such phrases are called rabbinical speech. It was part of a manner of speaking common to all public speakers in the arena of popular thought, such as religion or politics. Such statements as this convey a wealth of information with only a few words. The reference is to the “manna” which was placed in a golden jar by Aaron at Moses’ command, and “hidden” in the Ark of the Testi-mony (Ex 16:33 cf. Heb 9:4), beneath the Mercyseat. In the course of time the Ark of the Testimony, with its lid (i.e. the Mercyseat), disappeared from the holy Temple in Jerusalem. There are different traditions as to the vanishing of this most sacred article of the Jewish faith. About the only thing the traditions have in common is roughly the time of disappearance; namely, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (586 B.C.). This was in the days of the prophet Jeremiah, who figures into the tradition prominently.
One story is that prior to the fall of the city, many treasures of the temple were “hidden” somewhere in Jerusalem, presumably on the temple mount. It is thought that Jeremiah oversaw this concealment. This could very well have been the case, since Jeremiah was a priest, a member of the household of Hilkiah. His home town was Anathoth (Jer 1:1). So, he was most likely a descendant of Abiathar (1 Kgs 2:26). Chiefly among the hidden items was the Ark of the Testimony. The “hidden” Ark became referred to by the term “hidden manna.” The Rabbis believed that both the “hidden” Ark and their long awaited Messiah would appear at the same time. Or, at least, the discovery of their Ark of the Testimony would be the signal that their Messiah was immi-nent. Therefore, when the teachers of the law would announce in the synagogues, “Soon, we will eat the hidden manna,” all understood the idiom to mean, “Soon the Messiah will come.” Of course, the discovery of the Ark is intended by the phrase: “eat hidden manna;” but by extrapolation, and the primary message covertly hidden three layers deep in idiom, is the coming of the Messiah—the Son of David.
Christ (which is the Greek word for Messiah—the anointed one) is telling the Church at Pergamos, and the church of God in general: “Messiah has come, and for those of you who are overcoming, the hidden manna is available to eat.” One might do well to associate this with the words of Jesus from John’s gospel, “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. ... Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ... This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever” —John 6:41, 47-51, 58.
John, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, was led to record the above discourse that was given in the Capernaum synagogue (John 6:59). Rarely had Jesus been more straightforward. In the Jewish synagogue, to the Jewish crowd, as he stood in the place of the teaching Rabbi, in the very spot where the “hidden manna” was commonly spoken of for the purpose of arousing the emotional expectation of the crowd to anticipate the arrival of their Messiah, now, before them all, against the backdrop of the miracle of the loaves and fishes (same ch vv5-14), the carpenter from Nazareth says, “I am the true manna which came from heaven. If you eat of me you shall have eternal life.”
Might we be so bold as to suggest: Just as the manna in the wilderness was hidden in the Ark of the Testimony (an earthly chest made of shittem wood overlaid with gold—representing purity), even so, the true “bread which came down from heaven” was hidden in the virgin womb of an earthly vessel, which was truly a pure Ark for the covenant of God—we call that Ark, Mary.
Lest we be the object of ridicule, and even stoning, the obvious must be stated, somewhat parenthetically: The Ark of the Testi-mony was not the object of Israel’s worship. The object of Israel’s worship was He for whom the Ark was but the host, that is: the Shakinah that dwelt on the Mercyseat between the Cherubim. This personal presence of Yahweh was represented by the three testimonies within the chest: 
The Law, which speaks to the Father; 
The Golden Jar of Manna, which speaks to the Son, the    
    bread  from heaven; and 
Aaron’s rod that budded, which speaks to the Holy Spirit. 
All this, in Mary’s pure womb.

The priesthood was expecting the Ark of the Testimony, hidden some 586 years earlier, to be discovered at any moment, Messianic expectation was high. It should have come as no surprise to them, that the Ark was, indeed, discovered in the hill country of Judea, in the home of a priest of Aaron. In fact, it was a daughter of Aaron, Elisabeth, who made the initial find (Luke 1:39ff), “And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” —Luke 1:39-45.
It is more than happenstance that Mary remained in the home of Zacharias and Elisabeth for a period of three months (Luke 1:56). Luke, a Gentile, who was most likely from the city of Antioch of Syria, writes here in a true Hebraic fashion, by recording great truths in a covert manner. He mentions the three months stay in the home of Zacharias, because the Ark of the Old Covenant spent a similar stay, for the same amount of time, in the home of the priest Obededom (2 Sam 6:11 cf. 1 Chr 26:4). The home of Obededom and the home of Zacharias were located in the same place—about 1000 years apart. Such a wondrous event could not have been arranged by human effort—the hand of God was at work here. What could it all mean? The Ark of the Covenant pictures the person and ministry of Christ in a marvelous manner.
The Rabbis had been more right than they knew. The discovery of the Ark, by the daughter of Aaron, signaled the coming of the Messiah, who would come into the world via the womb of Mary. Thus, the contents of the Ark of the Covenant, i.e. the tablets of the Law, the golden jar of manna, and the budded rod of Aaron, that speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, respectively, were robed in flesh, and dwelled 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 one place (John 14:6) He would speak of His relationship with the aforesaid Tablets of the Law, the Golden Jar of Manna, and Aaron’s Budded Rod this way:
“I am the way,” (the Law);
“I am ... the truth,” (the Manna, representative of the Word);
“I am ... the life,” (the Budded Rod). (John 14:6)
The Apostle Paul knew the revelation of this mystery, which was kept secret since the world began; he and the other New Testament writers have made it manifest by the Scriptures of the prophets to all nations for the obedience of faith (Rom 16:25-26). Paul makes a clear declaration of who Jesus is in Colossians  2:9-10, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
The discovery of the Ark and its “hidden manna” (namely, the Messiah) was entrusted to one priestly family: Zacharias; his wife, Elisabeth; and their son, John the Baptist. All three had their lines of introduction. 
Elisabeth announced her discovery upon her encounter with Mary, “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord”  —Luke 1:41-45.
 And Zacharias, upon the birth of his son John, proclaimed: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” (Luke 1:68-69). In these lines, Zacharias spoke of Mary’s baby that was but three months inside her womb. He, further, spoke in harmony with his wife. As Elisabeth called Him her “LORD” (Luke 1:43), so, too, does Zacharias in v76. Speaking now to his son John, he prophesies, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the LORD to prepare his ways;” (Luke 1:76 cf. Isa 40:3). (See Luke 1:43 cf. 3:4.) All students of the Bible, everywhere, and in every age of the Lord’s church, understand Zacharias to be speaking about Jesus—for Whom John is sent to prepare the way. It is plain that this family of Aaron understood the weighty circumstances surrounding the identity of the person being clothed upon with flesh in the womb of Mary, for Zacharias is quoting Isaiah 40:3. It is here that the prophet sees the son of Elisabeth and the son of Mary, and speaks of them in these terms:
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, 
Prepare ye the way of the LORD (YHWH), 
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” 
(Isaiah 40:3 cf. Luke 3:4)
In this messianic passage, concerning John and Jesus, which Zacharias clearly applied to the two, Jesus is referred to as “LORD” (YHWH or Yahweh) and “God.” When Luke uses the Greek kurios to translate both Elisabeth’s and Zacharias’ reference to Jesus, he uses it in the sense of “supreme master,” for it is used in the place of the Tetragrammaton, “YHWH,” of Isaiah 40:3, which is the name of God Almighty, Yahweh. The message is clear indeed—the Messiah, before whose face John would prepare the way, is Yahweh God! 
Concerning the identity of the Messiah as Yahweh, one should consult Old Testament Messianic prophecies. Of particular interest is Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah declares the Messiah to have existence “from everlasting.” The Hebrew word translated “ever-lasting” is ôlâm (Strong’s #H5769), which means: eternity; always; perpetual; used here in the sense of “the days of eternity.”  It is incomprehensible why the Jews, then and now, did not—and have not—accepted their Messiah as their God. For truly, who is eternal but Yahweh?
The parents of John the Baptist had discovered both the Ark and the Messiah. The revelation was yet to come to the son, who, as a priest, was led not to minister in the Temple. But forsaking the Temple, John went into the desert until the appointed time (Luke 1:80). His testimony concerning the “hidden manna” (the Messiah) was this: “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” —John 1:33-34.

John would state the preexistence of the Messiah in these terms: “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose” (John 1:27). And “He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all” (John 3:30-31).  And, further, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” —John 1:29.

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius
Excerpted from the book entitled "Godhead Theology," by Bishop Jerry Hayes. 

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The Furniture of the Tabernacle Was a Parable of Christ


The furnishings of the tabernacle speak loudly of Jesus of Nazareth. It must, because the writer of Hebrews said that it did:  “The Holy Spirit is signifying this, ... 9 which is a symbol for the present time ... 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb 9:8, 11-12 NASB).
The furnishings of the tabernacle were laid out in the shape of the cross. One may think this strange and that we are promoting sensationalism, but the reader is encouraged to remember that Yahweh instructed Moses to make the tabernacle after the pattern he had seen in the mount. This reference is to Mt. Sinai. It is not so much that Moses saw the original tabernacle in Heaven, and was building one on the earth like it. No. What Moses saw in the Mount was Yahweh’s plan of salvation, complete with the Sacrificial Lamb on Golgotha. The tabernacle was, then, designed to depict that revelation (given, by God, to Moses) in symbolic form.

The tabernacle furnishings consisted of the following items:
The Golden Ark of the Covenant, along with its Mercyseat, shown to the far left in the above diagram. It is opaqued to the illustration, because of its representation of the heavenly throne of God; therefore, it is not properly considered in the cross configuration of the other items that relate directly to Christ’s earthly mission (Ex 25:10ff and 25:17ff respectively); 
The Golden Altar of Incense, which is in the Holy Place just outside the veil that separates the Holy of Holies (not shown in the diagram) from the Holy Place (Ex 30:1ff); 
The seven pronged Golden Lampstand against the South wall of the Holy Place (Ex 25:31ff); 
The Golden Table of Shewbread against the North wall of the Holy Place (Ex 25:23ff); 
The Brass Laver of water in the outer courtyard, outside the door of the tent (door of the tent not shown in the diagram) (Ex 30:17ff);
The Brass Altar of Holocaust between the Laver and the entrance to the outer court.
It should be pointed out, at this juncture, that throughout the Tabernacle there is a combination of shittem wood and gold (the gold overlaying the shittem wood).
 We see this in every piece of furniture (except the lampstand) that is within the tent itself,  along with the boards and bars that make up the walls of the tent. This particular combination represents the two natures of Christ. The shittem wood is very strong: insect and rot resistant; it is, therefore,  a perfect type of the humanity of Christ that was sinless and pure. The gold, as has already been pointed out, represents the deity of Christ.
Here, we review the contents of the Tabernacle, and see Christ Jesus in every piece. We keep in our minds that the writer of Hebrews identified the Tabernacle of Moses as the “figure”  (the word he actually used is παραβολὴ, Strong’s #G3805), parabōlē; the English is “parable,” a metaphor: an example about which a doctrine is illustrated; a thing serving as a figure of something else. So, then we come to the Ark of the Covenant.

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius


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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Color Scheme of the Tabernacle Is a Parable of Jesus


“And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; ...  4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, ...” (Ex 25:3-4).

The colors of blue, purple and scarlet (red) are a parable of Jesus. Since it was the Holy Spirit that signified this to be a parable of  Jesus Christ, it behooves us to see the complete Son of God in this particular color scheme. This is seen in the following manner: blue, being the color of the sky (which is associated with Heaven), is the color of His deity; the scarlet (red), being the color of blood, is the color of His humanity; purple (a blending of the color of His deity, i.e  blue, and the color of His humanity, i.e. red) is the color of the God-man (Incarnate Deity). The doctrine of the Dual Nature of Christ is taught in such a way as to maintain the distinction between the deity and humanity. Though perfectly combined and blended together within the one person of the Christ, the two natures are perfectly separate. This is wonderfully presaged in the color scheme of the tabernacle, in that the color of His deity (blue) and the color of His humanity (red) never touch. Blue and red are always separated by the color purple.
 (The color purple worn by Christian bishops comes from here, and is worn to represent to the world the Son of God as the Incarnate God-man.) This is reflected in the three creeds we have reviewed earlier:
The Apostolic Creed
“This Incarnation not lessening His deity, nor altering His humanity; fully God and fully man, consubstantiated.”
The Nestorian Creed
“ ... we anathematize and alienate from all contact with us everyone who denies the nature of the Godhead and the nature of the manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ, ... or one who does not say that the Word of God fulfilled the suffering of our salvation in the body of his manhood. Though he was in him, with him, and toward him in the belly, on the cross, in suffering, and for ever, inseparably, while the glorious nature of his Godhead did not participate in any sufferings, ...”
Creed of Chalcedon                                                                                               

“We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; ... one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the unity, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.”

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Metals of the Tabernacle of Moses Are a Parable of Jesus Christ

The metals used in the tabernacle speak of Christ in a very particular manner. These metals were gold, silver and brass. “And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,” (Ex 25:3). Each type, in turn, addresses a particular aspect of the person of Jesus.

Gold: Exodus 25:11, 17
“And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. ... 17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.”
The Gold of the Tabernacle is a parable of Jesus. Gold, in this instance for its purity and indestructibility, is representative of the deity of Christ. Throughout the Bible, gold is used in worship of Yahweh and pagan gods, as well. One often finds idols made from gold. The Ark of the Covenant being described, here, is no idol; but it is the throne of Yahweh God in the earth, and, as such, is representative of His royal deity. When the Magi visited the Christ child, the first item out of their treasures, as a gift to baby Jesus, was gold. Just as the gold of the Tabernacle speaks of the deity of Yahweh (and by extension, Jesus), so does the golden gift of the Wise-Men reference the Deity that entered our world at Bethlehem.

Silver: Exodus 26:19
“And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons.”
The Silver of the tabernacle is a parable of Jesus, in that it represents Him as the God-man who has come to redeem fallen creation back to God. This is shown in a particular way in that the silver was required from the Israelites as ransom money: “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them. 13 This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the Lord. 14 Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the Lord. 15 The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves. 16 And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves” (Ex 30:11-16, NKJV). In that silver is the metal associated with redemption, and since Hebrews tells us that the Tabernacle and its services are a parable of Christ, we then consider how that through the person of the Incarnation (the God-man), mankind is redeemed by the blood covenant which involves both the blood of God and man. Since His coming into our world involved a condescension for the God of Heaven, this mode of the Godhead (i.e. the Son) is properly represented by silver. The condescension is demonstrated by the descending value of the silver from the gold. How well the Apostle Paul writes about this very thing: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:5-8). Note: The Greek word ἐκένωσεν (ekenōsen: translated by the KJV as “made himself of no reputation,”) in this text, does not mean He stopped being God, only that He laid aside His prerogatives as God in order to experience the things needful to facilitate redemption. The New Living Translation gives a very clear rendering in English: “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,”

Brass: Exodus 26:37; 30:17 and 27:2
“And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them” —Exodus 26:37.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein” —Exodus 30:17.
And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits. 2 And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass” —Exodus 27:1-2.
The brass of the Tabernacle is a parable of Jesus. In the texts above, we see the brass that forms sockets into which the five pillars rest at the door of the tent (Ex 26:37);  we see the brass which makes the Laver for the water, for the washing of the priests (Ex 30:17); we, also, see the brass of the Altar of Burnt Offering, also called the Altar of Holocaust (Ex 27:1-2). From the brass that is less than silver (which, in its turn, is less than gold), we are permitted to see a parable of Jesus the Man.
So much of the time, I fear, we are promoting  the deity of Christ at the expense of His humanity. Here, in the brass (the basest of the metals used in the Tabernacle) we do truly see the humanity of Jesus:  
  • The brass as the foundation of the “door,” to the tent proper, presages the Jesus declaration: “I am the Door;”
  •  “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (NKJV).
  •  If we are to attain to God, it must be accomplished by going through the MAN Christ Jesus. 
  • In the brass of the Laver (made from the mirrors of the Israelite women, and was the place of washing for the priests), we see Jesus the man who became the righteousness of God for all men.  The laver was the place of self-inspection (e.g. the priest washed there). Since the laver was made from the mirrors, self-examination is implied. Worshippers of Yahweh can only do self-examination by comparing themselves to Jesus the Man—not Jesus the God. So, here is the man—represented by the brass—who would be tempted in all points as we, yet without sin. It is to the image of the human Christ that His worshippers may compare themselves and judge their own righteousness.
  • Finally, we come the the outer most item of the Tabernacle floor plan: the Altar of Holocaust. This altar is also called the “Brazen Altar,” because of the brass used in its making. Here, is where the sacrifice is offered and burned. This presages the work of Christ as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. God could not do this. The Sacrifice for the human family must be flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. The services and activity of this brass altar spoke of a Kinsman Redeemer—one from our own kindred.

In the brass (viewed above) is foretold the office of the Son of Man. This work could only be performed by one of our own. Paul would write about it to Timothy this way: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Tim 2:5).

Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius


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Friday, August 5, 2016

GODHEAD THEOLOGY OF THE TABERNACLE OF MOSES (INTRODUCTION)



Jesus said, “Moses wrote of me.” Apart from the prophetic proclamations of Moses concerning the Messiah, there is, also, the Tabernacle of Moses (Exodus chapters 25-40) which the New Testament spotlights as the quintessential type and shadow of person of Jesus Christ and His work of redemption.

Moses gave explicit instructions as to the construction of the Tabernacle. Its importance may be seen in the fact that the Holy Spirit took only 10 chapters of the Bible to cover 2,000 years of human history from Adam to Noah, yet Yahweh thought the Tabernacle so important, He took 15 chapters of the Bible just to detail its construction. This Tabernacle is called the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, the Tabernacle of Moses and the Tabernacle of Witness. It was, basically, a tent designed to house the physical presence of Yahweh. In this chapter, we will investigate the Tabernacle for its Christological teachings.

Hebrews 9:1-12
“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 
6 “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priest went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8. The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:  9. Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 
11 “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” 

The student of the Bible is told in v9 of the above passage that the Tabernacle was a figure for the time then present. The word figure is the Greek word parabōlē, the English is “parable,” a metaphor: an example about which a doctrine is illustrated; a thing serving as a figure of something else. The purpose of the biblical parable is explained by Jesus in Matthew 13:10–11 “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” So it is understood, then, that the purpose of a parable, according to Jesus, was two-fold:  to reveal and, also, to conceal—to reveal to the initiated, but conceal from the uninitiated. The tabernacle and its services were a parable of Jesus Christ.

Purpose for the Tabernacle: That God May Dwell Among His People.
Yahweh was clear enough concerning the purpose the Taber-nacle was to serve. It Exodus 25:8 Yahweh stated, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Sin had severed fellowship between God and His people. The Voice that walked with Adam in the cool of the day, missed that fellowship and longed for its restoration. In the Tabernacle, Yahweh devised a means by which He could be among His people once again, in a manner that foreshadowed a complete fellowship that would be consummated at a later time. The biblical sense of the word Tabernacle is used, most always, for the dwelling of God. Consider the following examples:
  • Exodus 25:8 “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them”
  • Exodus 29:45-46 “And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.”
  • Leviticus 26:11 “And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.”
  • Ezekiel 37:27 “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Compare the above passages to:
  • John 1:14 “And the Word was made 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.”
  • Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
Note to the reader: It is important to follow the progression of the above Scriptures, from the Old Testament Tabernacle (dwelling of God), to the New Testament Tabernacle (dwelling of God).

This mystery was fulfilled in Jesus. Yahweh had the Tabernacle of Moses constructed to provide Himself a dwelling place among His people. This was a parable of Jesus Christ! A parable with services “which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
  
When Jesus was born, Matthew recognized that He was “Emmanuel, God with us.” John had the revelation that “... the Word (God, John 1:1) was made 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.” God was made flesh and dwelt  (literally: was tabernacled) among us (John 1:1, 14). Paul, would later write that “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16). And the Apostle would write further concerning Jesus, Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8 NLT). That for which the Tabernacle of Moses was a parable—Jesus Christ WAS! In concrete fact.

Physical Layout of the Tabernacle Demonstrates God’s Journey to Man and Man’s Journey to God
When constructing the Tabernacle, Moses was instructed, “See .. that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Heb 8:5). (Cf Ex 25:40; Num 8:4; and Acts 7:44 “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.”)
The layout of the tabernacle was: an Outer Court, the Holy place (that consisted of the first compartment of the actual tent), then the Holy of Holies (which was the second chamber of the tent). The holiness of the sections was progressive, and speak of God’s journey from heaven to earth (moving from the Holy of Holies outward to the Outer Court), and of man’s journey from earth to heaven (moving from the Outer Court inward to the Holy of Holies); both are characterized in the very life of Christ. When the Tabernacle is described to Moses, God works from the inside toward the outside. Beginning with the Holy of Holies and its only piece of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant is absolutely the most holiest item of the entire Tabernacle complex, because Yahweh dwelled upon the Mercyseat. The Mercyseat was the actual lid of the Ark. (The Ark, then, is set in contrast to the Altar of Burnt Offering, that is in the Outer Court.) This, most inward, compartment represents Yahweh God in Heaven on His throne (it is separated from all else by a veil, signifying that God dwells in Heaven apart from His people). Moving to the next compartment, we come to the Holy Place. It is here that the priest does most of his work (the Holy of Holies was only entered once each year). Here, God enters into fellowship with His worshippers. The holy place speaks of God coming into the world in the Incarnation: here, is the God/man. Moving from the Holy Place, we come to the Outer Court. This is where the sacrifice is killed; this place speaks of Calvary and the death of the Son of God. Here, the work of the humanity of Christ is accomplished.  Marvel of marvels—God so loved the world that he gave His only (uniquely) begotten Son. We must think on that. If God gave some other then Himself, it would have been a great gift, but He gave Himself, for John 1:18 informs us that Jesus was the begotten God. Now there is only one God (Deut 6:4), so the ONE begotten, must be Him! God loved so much, and desired the fellowship of His people so much, that He came down to us, so that we might go up to Him. It is said that God is love, and it is true. Love, we have been told, is the strong craving for the possession and presence of the object desired. Love (God) craved the possession and presence of the object of His affection, us. So he descended: God became a man; He descended further: the man descended into the animal kingdom and became the sacrificial Lamb; He descended further yet: the innocent sacrificial Lamb became the despicable sin for which It died. So, then, when we say that God came down, we recognize to what extent that is true.
We have seen Yahweh’s journey from Heaven, where He rules as Almighty God, to the world of sinful man, where He took upon Himself humanity, and took that humanity to the cross to die for the sins of the world. Here is the descent, prefigured in the tabernacle layout: Holy of Holies, Holy Place, and then the Outer Court. We see how all this is fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, Who is, first, the God (John 1:1), then the God-man (Isa 9:6), then the man (1 Tim 2:5).

When Yahweh’s journey to man is reversed, the way to God is demonstrated. This is a case of mankind not knowing how to ascend to God, until God came down to him. Coming from the outside world, one enters the Outer Court and comes first to the Altar of Burnt Offering. Here the sacrifice is made. Death, then, is the first thing one encounters. So it is: one must die out to the world he has left behind. It is here, also, in the Outer Court, that one encounters the Laver of Water. This is where the blood from the sacrifice meets the water, a type of water baptism. Moving from the Outer Court, one enters the first compartment of the tent, the Holy Place. Here, there is fellowship with God, and an indwelling of His Spirit in ones life. A certain deification (see on page 230, this work) begins to take place: the more one becomes like his Creator, the more of His likeness and image is taken on. There is a move from here, however, through the Veil into the Holy of Holies, where one finds himself before the throne, perfected and knowing as he is known. Know this, “Beloved, ... it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;”  —1 John 3:2, Amen.

Excerpted from the book entitled Godhead Theologyby Bishop Jerry Hayes. Order the book today from Amazon.


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Apostolically Speaking
☩ David Ignatius