Monthly Archives: July 2017

Final Reflections

This is the twelfth and final article of our Living Tabernacles series, where we study the Tabernacle in depth. It is exciting to see how each element symbolizes some characteristic of Yeshua.  It is also challenging when we examine what each element means for us, since each of us is now a living tabernacle of YHVH [Yehovah].  YHVH is building His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  Our King reigns from His throne and also pronounces judgment from there. 

The last article focused on the Bronze Laver that was used by the priests for cleansing themselves.  We also talked about us as His kingdom of priests today, still needing to cleanse ourselves by the “water of the Word”.  We recalled that the Word is both the written Word in YHVH’s Scriptures as well as the living Word in the person of Yeshua our Savior.

In this article, I want to expand on these concepts, looking both backward and forward into the various ways that YHVH wants us to come into His presence.  Before we leave the Tabernacle, though, it is important to know the meaning of the Hebrew word for Tabernacle, Mish’kan.  The root of this word is shakan, which means presence.  Combined with the prefix “M”, Mish’kan means “In His Presence”.  We know from Scripture (Exodus 40:33-38) that the “cloud of His presence settled on it and the presence of YHVH filled the Tabernacle”.

When we go forward from the Tabernacle, we see that Solomon’s Temple included the Bronze Laver (see 1 Kings 7:23-30).  This “laver”, however, was so large it was referred to as the bronze (or molten) sea.  It was about 8’ high and 15’ across, and was supported by 12 statues of bulls around the outside.  To enhance its lavish appearance, 10 wheeled bronze laver carts surrounded the structure, each very ornate, with images of lions, oxen and cherubim carved into the side panels.

The decadence of this bronze laver was not specified in the original Temple plans that YHVH gave to David, but we can only assume that Solomon wanted each of the implements to be grand and larger than life to further glorify YHVH.  On the spiritual level the grandeur of Solomon’s laver emphasizes our need to cleanse ourselves before coming into the presence of YHVH.  The awesome presence of YHVH in the glory cloud was constantly over the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies within the Temple.  While Solomon’s Temple and all its implements are amazing, we learn even more about YHVH’s original desire to meet with us when we go back before the time of the Tabernacle.

Before the Tabernacle, we see that Moshe originally met with YHVH in the Tent of Meeting out in the desert (Exodus 33:7-11).  He had to construct this tent outside of the camp because of the idolatry (golden calf) of the Israelites at the foot of Mt Sinai.  In Hebrew, this tent was called the Ohel Mo’ed, which literally means the appointed tent to meet with YHVH, or the tent of His presence.  Before Moshe and the Israelites built the Tabernacle, YHVH had said to Moshe that His presence would not go with them when they went up into the land, because if He did He would surely destroy them (Ex 33:5).  At this point, the people grieved deeply and repented for their sins.

Then, as YHVH always does because of His incredible grace, He relented and said that He would indeed go with them, and be present in their Tabernacle once it was built.  In the meantime, though, because of Abba’s passionate desire to meet with His people face-to-face, he agreed to meet with Moshe and any others that would remove their jewelry, humble themselves, and approach Him at the Ohel Mo’ed outside the camp (Ex 33:5-7). (Note: we do not know from Scripture whether their jewelry was openly idolatrous (had symbols or images of pagan gods) or if it was just reminiscent of the jewelry they had used in a sinful way when they gave it to Aaron to create the golden calf.)

So, whenever Moshe set up the Tent of Meeting, YHVH’s glory cloud would come down and rest on top of it, and the people fell down prostrate at their tents and worship the glory of YHVH (Ex 33:8-10).  In YHVH’s infinite mercy, He allowed anyone who was willing to come out to the Ohel Mo’ed and share in His glorious presence with Moshe.  When I compare this to the glory of the Tabernacle or even the Temple, I would prefer to be face-to-face with YHVH’s glory at the Ohel Mo’ed any day of the week – this was an opportunity to meet with the Creator of the universe one-on-one – wow!

Moshe was a prototype of Messiah Yeshua when He opened the way for the people to return to YHVH’s presence.  Just as Moshe set up the Ohel Mo’ed and opened the “tent-flap” so that He and others could meet with YHVH, Yeshua has torn the veil and opened the way for us to enter the Holy of Holies and meet with YHVH face-to-face.  It would have been enough (dayeinu) for Yeshua to die for us, but then He sent us YHVH’s Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) who now lives inside of us, as we are now the Tabernacles for His presence to be with us always.

Finally, since we are YHVH’s kingdom of priests, He has supplied us with everything we need to minister to Him.  He has given us His whole armor to protect us from the fiery darts of the enemy, and the sword of the Spirit, which is His Word, living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.  We now have the privilege to meet with YHVH in any time and place – we are His Tabernacle [Mish’kan], and we carry His presence with us at all times.  Let’s give Him our praise at all times, spend time with Him, get into His Word and use it for His glory – Amen!

Clean Reflections

This is the eleventh article of our Living Tabernacles series, where we study the Tabernacle in depth. It is exciting to see how each element symbolizes some characteristic of Yeshua.  It is also challenging when we examine what each element means for us, since each of us is now a living tabernacle of YHVH [Yehovah].  We are posting two articles each month as part of this series. YHVH is building His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  Our King reigns from His throne and also pronounces judgment from there. 

This article focuses on the significance of the Bronze Laver (basin) that YHVH instructed His people to build and place between the Brazen Altar of sacrifice and the Tabernacle. In Exodus 30:18, YHVH [Yehovah] said to Moshe: “You are to make a basin of bronze, with a base of bronze, for washing. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it” [CJB].

In verses 18-21, YHVH explains to Moshe how this basin is to filled with water and used by the priests for washing before they come into His presence and before they bring sacrifices to the Altar: “Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and feet there when they enter the tent of meeting — they are to wash with water, so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by burning an offering for Yehovah, they are to wash their hands and feet, so that they will not die. This is to be a perpetual law for them through all their generations”.

To help the priests see their dirty places more clearly, YHVH also instructed the Israelites to embed mirrors into the bronze laver: “Bezalel made the bronze washbasin and its bronze stand from bronze mirrors donated by the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle” (Ex 38:8).  Since YHVH wants us to come before Him without spot or blemish (as in Ephesians 5:27), the bronze mirrors from the women helped the priests to clean up those physical spots that would keep them from full immersion into YHVH’s presence.

These instructions that YHVH gave to His people show the importance He places on purity.  When His people come before Him to minister to Him, they are to be “clean”.  So, what does Yehovah mean by clean in this context?  He has given us many examples of cleanliness in the physical world, such as His instructions to the priests to wash themselves before coming into the Tabernacle or Temple, for His people to eat clean instead of unclean foods, and to cleanse ourselves after touching a dead body or being healed of leprosy.

However, these are only physical object lessons that point to His more crucial message that we need to cleanse and purify our hearts and minds before coming into His presence, as in Psalm 24:4: “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up their soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully”.  The importance to YHVH of purity of hearts and hands is also shown in Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” and James 4:8: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded”.  After David committed his most flagrant sins, he cried out to God in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me”.

Aaron and his sons were the appointed priests for the whole nation of Israel, but we know that all of YHVH’s children are to be priests ministering before Him, as in Exodus 19:6: “And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation”.  Yeshua said in Revelation 5:10: “And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God”.  We know that we are to come before YHVH’s throne and into His presence, as in these Scriptures in Hebrews:

  • Hebrews 4:16 – “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most”; and
  • Hebrews 10:22 – “…let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him…

Now that we understand that we are to be priests before YHVH, be cleansed, and come into His presence, how do we go about cleansing ourselves?  First, look at the second part of the verse from Hebrews 10:22: “For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Messiah’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water”.  While it is true that Yeshua’s blood has saved us from our sins, we still need to be cleansed and made holy by “the washing of water by the word(Eph 5:26)

In James 1:25 [NLT] it says: “But if you look carefully into the perfect law [Torah] that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it”.  So, YHVH says that we are to study the Torah (the Word of YHVH) and follow what it says.  The living Word is Yeshua.  As it says in John 1, verses 1 and 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us…”.

The Word of God (both written and Living) is our water of cleansing – it is His will for us to spend time every day soaking in His Word, being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and being cleansed in our souls so that we can constantly draw closer and closer to Abba and His precious Son, Yeshua.