I had been reading the five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) every year for five years and observing the Sabbath, Feasts and Festivals for five years. But as many times as I’ve read the Bible and practiced the Feasts, God never fails to show me new insights every time. This year has been no exception.
I had signed up to speak on the portion of scripture called “Phineas,” Numbers 25-30. Not knowing what I would speak about, I figured there was plenty to choose from. Numbers 28-29 are commonly referred to for teachings on observing God’s appointed times or Holy Days.
As I came to those chapters, I read quickly through the list: The daily offerings, the Sabbath, the New Moon, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost… Wait, the New Moon? When did they start that? Is that one of God’s appointed times? Why have I never observed this day? I decided I had to look into this. (more…)
Reflecting on the topic of my recent blog series about our spiritual journey through the tabernacle, I find it impossible to overlook Yeshua’s portrayal of Himself. The parallels between His identity and the tabernacle are no coincidence.
The tabernacle the Israelites built and carried through the wilderness before entering the Promised Land includes ten pieces that God instructed Moses to arrange inside the courtyard – seven created by man with God’s specific blueprints, and three pieces created by God alone. The first thing we understand from this is that the tabernacle is a combination of God and man, a place where God and man come together, a foreshadowing of both God and man on earth – a foreshadowing of the Messiah, Yeshua. (more…)
To this point in our journey, we’ve progressed from a casual recipient of God’s gift of faith, just barely inside the fence surrounding the tabernacle, to a partner in his business functioning as His very presence on earth, just as the Ark of the Covenant did in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle.
If we are now functioning as the Ark did, what can we learn from the Ark about what God considers representative of His presence on earth? What’s inside the Ark provides us great insight in answering this question.
To this point in this series we’ve see how YHWH has gone to great lengths to create a path for sinful man to approach His holiness – all with the goal of having His children dwell with Him continually. This path has led us through the fence surrounding the courtyard, progressing past each piece of furniture in the tabernacle, into the Holy Place and even beyond the thick, heavy curtain that separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
In this spiritual journey, we’ve entered into a special partnership with YHWH to bring about His will on earth. Now we’re ready to receive new revelation of our role with Him. We’re ready to approach His very presence – the Ark of the Covenant. (more…)
To this point in our series we have progressed through the tabernacle courtyard into the Holy Place. We stand in front of the Altar of Incense participating in the spiritual realm to bring about God’s purposes on earth through intercession.
In the Hebrew scriptures intercession was the role of the prophets and priests. This is a lofty position and a wonderful place to be. But YHWH wants us even closer. However, there’s an elephant in the room: (more…)
Having come through the entrance of the courtyard of the tabernacle, progressing from the bronze altar, to the bronze basin, to the menorah, and then the table of showbread, our spirit and our mind are continually being transformed to be more closely aligned to God’s. We begin to desire more and more of Him.
As we see with His eyes into the spiritual realm, we begin to desire the same things He does. Our heart becomes more compassionate, our mind more discerning. We are filled with faith and want to participate in bringing about His will. (more…)
So far in this series, we’ve seen that through the functions of the tabernacle’s fence, the bronze altar, the bronze basin and the menorah behind the veil of the Holy Place, God has provided us with faith to believe, the payment for our sin, cleansing with the blood of His righteous Son and a transformed mind, illuminated with a spiritual perspective.
Once we get to this point and begin seeing the world around us from our new spiritual perspective, we realize all that’s available to us in the Spirit. We realize God is much bigger than we thought. The world and life in general is not what we thought. It’s a whole new paradigm. (more…)
So far we’ve seen that God has given us faith to enter through the fence of the tabernacle courtyard into His glorious kingdom. We’ve found forgiveness through God’s own Son offered on the Bronze Altar. We’ve taken a good look at ourselves in the Bronze Basin and committed to a new life with God. And now we want more. (more…)
In Parts 2 and 3, we’ve looked at God’s gift of faith that enables us to enter through the fence enclosing the tabernacle, representing His kingdom. We’ve been forgiven because He offered His own Son at the Bronze Altar.
Saved and forgiven – this is a great place to be. Some people stay at this place for years, maybe forever. But God has so many other gifts He wants to provide us to bring us into deeper intimacy with Himself. (more…)
In Part 2 of this blog series, we looked at the first obstacle that separates mankind from a holy God – represented by the fence enclosing the courtyard of the tabernacle. The fence reminds us of how God gives us the faith to believe in Yeshua as the only entrance into God’s kingdom, so that we can accept His invitation of communion with Him.
But our sin keeps us from dwelling in his kingdom, keeps us from living in full relationship with Him. Once we’ve entered into relationship with Him through faith, we become aware of our sinfulness as compared to His righteousness. (more…)
As I stated in Part 1 of this blog series, the tabernacle is a physical representation of the spiritual process that God has created for mankind to draw near to Him and for Him to dwell with us. However, there are several things that separate mankind from a holy God. The first thing that comes between God and man is faith. Until we have faith, we cannot know God. However, what we see as a barrier, God sees as an opportunity for blessing. (more…)
I find that the more I study God’s character, the better He gets. He is awesome, holy and righteous, yet loving and patient with us at the same time. He never stops pursuing us; He desires for us to be in His presence continuously, so that He can reveal more and more of Himself to us. The tabernacle in the wilderness described in Exodus is a place where we see this character in God.
I had always received things from God in terms of their value for others, not fully embracing their value for myself. There had to be a practical reason for everything, including the talents and desires God gave me. As an example, although I wanted to take voice lessons, I found it difficult to get motivated, because I didn’t know what I would do with the singing once I learned how. It wasn’t enough that I just wanted to learn to sing.
One day in casual conversation, I found that a friend of mine spent a lot of time growing bamboo. My first question was, “What’s the commercial market for bamboo?” (more…)
Whenever I heard, “Jesus died for your sins,” I often thought, “What sin did I commit that would deserve death?” I’m a good person; I keep the 10 commandments; I try to love God and love my neighbors as myself. Then I heard, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). So I asked, “Which sins can I die from?”
For a long time I understood this to mean that if I live sinfully, I will live separate from God, not enjoy His abundant life, and maybe eventually die from a destructive lifestyle. All of those are true, but later I asked, “What did it mean to those who first heard it shortly after Yeshua’s death?” (more…)
The Day of Pentecost – we remember the supernatural flames appearing in the room where Yeshua’s followers were gathered. Inside the room, there was the sound of a “mighty rushing wind” and the speaking of other languages they’d never learned. It’s the pouring out of God’s very spirit into mere humans (Acts 2). That’s plenty to celebrate and remember right there. But what’s the purpose in our noting it every year? (more…)
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
I found this verse repeating in my head, so I posted it in a place where I’d see it every day, a place where I typically pray for my friends and family as I’m starting my day. I continued my routine of praying for various people, and the verse stayed on my wall for probably three weeks.
I came to understand the power of this statement: (more…)
On a recent vacation, I decided to try rock climbing on the simulated rock wall. I had never done it, but watched several people in front of me, some succeeding to the top and some quitting part way up. With each one I could, I asked how they did it or what stopped them from finishing, trying to learn whatever might help me make it high enough to ring the little bell at the top, announcing my success.
When it was my turn, the attendant, Alex, roped me up and gave me climbing shoes to help me hold on. I took my first few steps on the holds and knobs. “This is pretty easy,” I thought. But like anything else physical, it got harder as I went along. (more…)
Remember the story in Mark 5 of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years? She touched Yeshua’s clothing and was not only healed, but captured the attention of Yeshua despite the throng of people crowding Him. While obviously a great account of Yeshua’s compassion and supernatural power, this story leaves me with a few questions:
- Why did the woman think if she touched Yeshua’s clothes she would be healed?
- Why did Yeshua feel the power go out from Him when she touched Him and not everyone else who was crowding around?
- And after a wonderful miracle, why was the woman fearful of Him? (more…)
Precisely the point! This year, by Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 19, the youngest Holocaust survivors will be more than 80 years old. For us who were born after the Holocaust and aren’t Jewish, the holocaust may seem like a long time ago. But for the survivors and the families of victims and survivors, the Holocaust is still an open wound.
The youngest survivor today would have been 13 years old at the time. (The Nazis considered children younger than that too young for work and sent them to the gas chambers.) Thirteen is a pivotal age in anyone’s life, but imagine growing up having the Holocaust as your coming of age introduction. (more…)
Not long ago I saw a documentary featuring the gray whale migration from Mexico to Alaska. A mother and her new calf, born just a few months earlier, were passing off the coast of Monterey, California, when they were attacked by a pod of killer whales. The story showed the hunting strategies of the six killer whales and the rare escape of the two grays.
Since an adult gray is far too large for a killer whale to overtake, the baby calf was the prey. The main strategy of the killer whales was to separate the calf from its mother. A brutal struggle went on for hours. With the two grays becoming weaker and weaker, I couldn’t imagine how the two whales would ever rid themselves of the strong and determined predators. (more…)
Passover and Easter usually occur close together on the calendar, and presumably both commemorate the same event. Are they the same or what’s the difference? I assumed Passover was Jewish and Easter was Christian. But what I found surprised me. (more…)
There are seven Feasts or Holy Days commanded in the Bible – four in the Spring, and three in the Fall. It’s true, Jews had been observing these Feasts for 1,400 years before Yeshua’s birth. But what if God set those dates as days He intends to fulfill specific prophecies in Yeshua’s lifetime and His second coming? Wouldn’t you want to know which dates those were? Let’s recount what happened on the Spring Feast dates during Yeshua’s lifetime. (more…)
“A living sacrifice to God” (Romans 12:1). It’s a familiar term, one that’s always in the back of my mind as my position and purpose in God. Then, I unexpectedly learned a deeper understanding of what that actually means and how I can really live it out.
The idea of sacrifice to us today refers to giving something up. But the audience of Paul’s day at the time it was written would have understood it to refer to the temple sacrifices — animals, birds, oil, grains — which were a major part of their life and had been in their history for nearly 1,500 years.
One of the offerings required was a “whole burnt offering” — the Hebrew word “olah” (referred to repeatedly in Lev. 1-6). This offering was used to symbolize that the worshipper had offered himself in service and obedience to God. But what I didn’t know was that the word “olah” was also used to describe bondservants. (more…)