Monday, September 27, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PART 8

THE TABLE OF SHOWBREAD

Now that the Golden Lampstand is lit, walk with me to the opposite side of the Holy Place to the Table of Showbread. It is made of the same material that we have become familiar with since starting this study – shittim wood overlaid with pure gold. The shittim, or acacia wood, because of its durability, symbolizes Jesus’ indestructible body while the gold symbolizes His divinity. He was all Man yet all God!

TWELVE
On the Table are twelve loaves of bread – flat cakes set in two rows of six each. This bread is also called the bread of the Presence or the bread of faces. There is much symbolism here, so let’s stop awhile, for here you will have another divine encounter with our Saviour.

This pattern of two rows of six is repeated in the garments of the high priest. On his shoulders were two onyx stones and on each stone the names of six of the tribes of Israel were engraved.
"And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial." – Exodus 28:12. The high priest was a representative of the presence of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah prophesied of Jesus in this way..
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The number twelve represents governmental perfection. There were twelve tribes of Israel, twelve disciples, twelve foundations in the New Jerusalem which had twelve gates and twelve pearls. The high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes on his shoulders.

Jesus, our Great High Priest, bears you and me on His shoulder. He is the Good Shepherd, carrying you when you are weak, or straying. He is your Husband-Redeemer. Lay your head on His shoulder and be comforted. He bore your sins, and bids you to give your burdens to Him. What a Saviour!

BREAD
The priests were commanded by God to eat the bread on that Table. "And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place…" - Leviticus 24:9

When you eat something it becomes a part of you. You can no longer separate the thing eaten from your being. In other words, there is an intimate bond that develops between you and the food.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." – John 6:53-56

Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the Showbread on the Table!

Now consider this…

"And He (Jesus) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” – Luke 22:19

The next time you receive communion, eat the bread knowing that you are receiving the power that is in the Body of Christ Jesus – the Body that bore all your sins. Drink the wine/grape juice knowing that you are receiving everything that the Blood of Jesus always did from the beginning – the Blood that never loses its power; the Blood that cleanses, heals and restores. Now mind you - I'm not talking about a religious ritual that produces no power. I'm speaking of an intense spiritual encounter - one that I have experienced personally - that can manifest in physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Eat His Body, drink His Blood, and watch what happens as that supernatural Body and Blood become one with you!!

The Table of Showbread in Moses’ Tabernacle is an awesome picture of the divine intimate communion that you and I can enjoy with our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ today!!

to be continued...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PART 7

THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND

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. 
Exodus 25:31

You are now in the Holy Place in the Tent of Meeting. There are three pieces of furniture here – The Golden Lampstand, The Table of Showbread and the Altar of Incense. Walk with me to the left side of the Holy Place where the Lampstand is.

This is an awesome structure made of one piece of solid gold and weighing one talent – about 75 pounds! This gold had been beaten and hammered over and over again before passing through intense fire in order to be purified and shaped. This is a picture of our Beloved Christ who endured severe beatings and fiery persecution for our sake.

Notice that the Lampstand has a central shaft with six branches attached to it – three branches on one side and three on the other. Jesus said, “I AM The Vine, you are the branches.” John 15:5.  The Lampstand depicts the intimate relationship between the Lord and the Body of Christ - His Bride. We are joined to Him as one.

God, being the ultimate Strategist, chose to have six branches on the Lampstand, not five or eight. Six is His number for man. Without the main shaft of the Lampstand we, the branches, would be inoperable and ineffective. Jesus Himself emphasized that point when He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4

On the Lampstand were ornamentations of almonds, knobs and flowers. The word “almond” means to wake, watch or be alert. Almonds are symbolic of resurrection. What a beautiful depiction of the risen Christ, and of us coming alive again in Him!

At the top of the shaft and on each of the six branches was a bowl which held oil and a wick. The oil came from olives, and was extracted from the fruit by crushing. Again we are reminded of our Lord’s suffering. Oil is symbolic of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Here it shows you that when you are "crushed" and allow the Holy Spirit to fill and use you, that brings out the best in you.

The Lampstand was the only source of light in the Holy Place. The Lord had commanded Moses to make it so that the lamps would point toward the Table of Showbread.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

He also said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

In making these two statements Jesus was confirming that when you abide in Him and you have the empowering and anointing oil of the Holy Spirit filling you, then you yourself become a light in this dark world, leading men and women to Jesus who is The Bread of Life - Our Showbread.

In Moses’ day the priests were to tend to the Lampstand twice daily, morning and evening, to make sure that the lamps remained lit and never went out. Here too, you are reminded that sweet intimate communion with the Lord daily is vital if you are to effectively reveal the true light of Christ in this world.

As you go through the Lampstand experience keep these Scriptures in mind:

Job 23:10 - But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

1 Peter 4: 12, 13 - Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Matthew 25:1-4Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

John 1:4,5 (Amplified Version) – In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it].

To be continued…

Friday, September 3, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PART 6

ENTER THE HOLY PLACE


There are three portals in the Tabernacle of Moses. The first is the Gate – the only entrance into the enclosure. We have already discussed how beautifully the Gate portrays Jesus Himself. He is the only way in - the only way to the Father.

You have presented your body as a living sacrifice at the Brazen Altar. You have washed your hands and feet at the Brazen Laver, ridding yourself of the impurities and influences of the world. Now you stand before another portal - the door that separates the open-air Outer Court from the covered Tent of Meeting.

Note that only priests could enter through the Door of the Tabernacle and into the Holy Place - the first section of the Tent. The same is true today. It is a place reserved for those who have committed their lives to drawing ever closer to God by meeting with Him regularly and often, and by living a life of prayer, worship and service to Him and to others.

THE ENTRANCE

"You shall make a screen for the door of the tabernacle, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. And you shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold; their hooks shall be of gold, and you shall cast five sockets of bronze for them.” Exodus 26:36,37

This door, like the Gate, is another encounter with the Lord Jesus Himself. Whereas in the first encounter at the Gate, you experienced Him as Saviour, now you are about to interact with Him in a more intimate manner.

This new transition is seen even in the materials used in the pillars that hold up the screen of the Door. Notice that they are made of acacia and overlaid with gold, and that they sit in bronze sockets. You have seen acacia before in the Bronze Altar. It is that durable wood that reminds us of Jesus’ indestructible body which was scourged, pierced and flogged for you and me. You have also seen the bronze fence posts, Bronze Altar and Bronze Laver. Bronze represents judgment.

For the first time, however, you see a new metal – gold. Gold represents divinity. Not only is Jesus represented in the blue, scarlet and purple screen, but in the supporting pillars we also see Him – perfectly human (acacia) yet perfectly Divine (gold), and taking upon Himself the judgment (bronze) that was due us all. Once more you are reminded that in order to get close to the Father, you must come through the Son.

From this point on all the furniture you will encounter will be made of gold. No bronze is allowed in the Holy Place or beyond. You see, there is no such thing as pure bronze. Bronze is an alloy – a mixture of copper, tin and other trace metals. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. There can be no mixture in you as you enter the inner enclosure of your spiritual Holy Place. Do you see why it was important to wash first at the Brazen Laver?

As you look around you notice that the Holy Place is encased by several coverings. Let us examine them.

LINEN
The innermost coverings are linen curtains interwoven with cherubim. Linen represents rest. You may remember that the first time cherubim were mentioned in Scripture was in Genesis 3:23, 24.
“…therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”

Cherubim are guardians. They kept Adam and Eve from returning to the idyllic Garden of Eden where they had enjoyed sweet intimate fellowship with the Lord. I believe that these cherubim, being on the inside of the Holy Place where you are, symbolize how God wants you to guard the treasures that you receive in your spirit during your communion with Him; treasures that enable you to come into a deeper state of rest in Him.

GOATS’ HAIR
"You shall also make curtains of goats' hair, to be a tent over the tabernacle.” Exodus 26:7

In Moses’ day the goat was a sacrificial animal, used on the Day of Atonement. The High Priest would lay his hands on the goat’s head, after which it was led away out of the camp and into the wilderness. This scapegoat signified God's taking away the sins of the Israelites. What a wonderful symbol of Jesus who is our Sacrificial Scapegoat!

RAM’S SKINS
"You shall also make a covering of ram skins dyed red for the tent, and a covering of badger skins above that.” Exodus 26:14

The ram reminds us of a substitute sacrifice. After Abraham willingly took Isaac up to the mountain to sacrifice him as God ordered, the Lord provided Himself a ram caught in the thicket.

The red ram skins are a reminder that Jesus' Blood was the Perfect Substitute given in sacrifice for our sin.

BADGER SKINS
Badger skins are tough and coarse, shielding the precious items in the Tabernacle from the onslaught of rain, wind and sand. Jesus is our Covering, shielding us from the onslaught of the enemy.

These badger skins were also unattractive. Again we see a picture of our Saviour whom Isaiah describes this way…
“He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Isaiah 53:2

Jesus commands you to come often to this secret place, The Holy Place, in Him – away from the noise and clatter of daily routine. It is here in this glorious seclusion that He meets with you and imparts His precious treasures into you.

Don’t rush. Stay a while, and walk with me to the first piece of furniture in the Holy Place – the Golden Lampstand.

….to be continued.
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