Tag Archives: righteousness

Material Reflections

living-tabenacles

This is the second article of a new series (Living Tabernacles)  where we study the Tabernacle in depth. It is exciting to see how each element symbolizes some characteristic of Yeshua.  However, it is more challenging when we examine what each element means for us, for each of us is now a tabernacle of YHVH.  There will be two posts each month for this series.

In the first article in this series, we studied the significance of the metals used in the Tabernacle:  gold, silver and bronze.  In this article we continue examining the list YHVH gave to Moshe itemizing the components He desired to build His Tabernacle.  We will cover the items listed in verses 4 and 5 of Exodus 25: colored threads, fine linen, goat hair, ram skins, fine goatskin leather and acacia wood.

Thread is interwoven throughout the material just as the spiritual significance of these threads should be interwoven throughout our lives.  The scarlet thread symbolizes cleansing, purification, sin, riches, a marker, and/or clothing of a valiant man.  We know what “valiant Man” has died for our sins, cleansing and purifying us.  He still wears those markers on His hands and feet.  He has gained for us untold wealth.  In Him, we must root out the sin that is interwoven in us, so that His cleansing and purifying may permeate every part of us.  We are abundantly wealthy in Yeshua and we wear His mark on us (Rev. 7:2-3).

The blue thread symbolizes holy covering, heavenly, holy service, chastening and water (Spirit).  We are no longer naked in our sin (Gen 2:25, Is 47:3), but are covered with Yeshua’s righteousness.  Yeshua came down from Heaven for the express purpose of establishing (or perhaps re-establishing) YHVH’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  Yeshua baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit fills us, chastening, strengthening and preparing us for holy service to YHVH.

The purple thread symbolizes royalty and riches. The Roman soldiers placed a purple robe on Yeshua during his trial in order to mock Him.  Little did they realize that Yeshua, above any other human, is entitled to wear the color of royalty.  Yeshua is our King and High Priest.  We are a royal priesthood and adopted children of YHVH.  Our wealth is in Messiah Yeshua, for without Him we have nothing and with Him we have an abundance of treasures.

The fine linen spoken of in Exodus 25 is the Hebrew word bad.  The word is from a root which means “separation”.  The Hebrew word for holy is kadosh which means to be set apart.  The fine linen worn by priests indicated that they were set apart to YHVH. YHVH is set apart and we are called to separate ourselves from the world and be dedicated solely to YHVH.  Our clothing must be the fine linen of Yeshua’s righteousness (Rev. 3:18), for without it we will not be welcome at the wedding of the Bridegroom (Matt 22:12).

Goat’s hair is used in Bedouin camps today for tents, tent ropes and rugs.  Goats’ hair cloth is able to stand the hard usage of a frequently shifting encampment.  We must be resilient enough to follow our Leader wherever He takes us.  Goatskin leather was used as a covering for the Tabernacle.  Yeshua is our spiritual covering.  With Yeshua’s covering, we are able to withstand many trials and persecutions.

On Yom Kippur, two goats were selected and lots were cast for them.  One goat would be sacrificed for the sins of the people and the second goat would bear the sins of the people and be sent out of the camp and into the wilderness, signifying how YHVH has removed our sins far from us (Lev 16).  Yeshua is both the sacrifice that atones for our sin (Heb 9:26) and the One who carries our sins as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).

Tanned lambskins were also used to cover the Tabernacle.  Some versions translate this word as badger skins, but this is unlikely since badgers are considered to be unclean animals.  The skins of lambs have significant spiritual relevancy since Yeshua is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29) and Yeshua is a covering for us.  Some versions translate the tanned lambskins as lambskins died red.  The blood of Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, covered His skin as He hung on the cross.  His blood now covers us.

When Adam and Eve had sinned, they realized that they were naked.  YHVH made the first animal sacrifice on their behalf and clothed them with the skins of the animals signifying a much greater and more effective covering to come (Gen 3:21).

The acacia tree mentioned is likely the gum-arabic tree.  It is a gnarled and thorny tree.  Acacia trees are plentiful in the wilderness where the Israelites traveled.  Acacia wood is not desirable to insects and is virtually indestructible.  Was the cross made from acacia wood?  Possibly, but we have no proof of the type of wood used by the Romans in Jerusalem for crucifixion.  We do know, however, that Yeshua, even though He died, is indestructible.  Was the crown of thorns woven from acacia thorns?  We do not know for sure. The tree is formed much like an umbrella, just as Yeshua’s sacrifice provides us protection from the sentence of eternal death.

What is the significance of all the wood being overlaid with gold?  The acacia wood is gnarled and crooked signifying the twistedness of sin and evil.  The long thorns are menacing.  Yeshua willingly allowed Himself to be beaten beyond recognition.  He wore a crown of thorns and was humiliated and despised.  However, the reward He has reaped for Himself and for us is eternal glory and untold riches.  What appeared to be a disgrace and defeat, has turned into triumph and victory beyond measure (Rom 6:4).  Yeshua now wears a crown of unsurpassable glory.  On our own we are defeated, but in Yeshua we are victorious!

As we reflect on these materials, let us, living temples of the Holy Spirit,  be transformed into the image and likeness of YHVH, reflecting His glory.

Life in the Rock

for they drank froim the Rock

In a previous blog (Tzur Chayeinu-Rock of Our Lives, March 12, 2016), we began a study of rocks and stones in Scripture.  We discovered that rocks can have either positive or negative connotations.  Stones and rocks had various uses in Scripture including memorials of visions or significant events and witnesses to covenants. The most important Rock in Scripture is Yeshua, who produced the most significant event in our history and is the Mediator and Guarantee of our most important covenant (Matt 26:28, Heb 7:22).

A comment in the New Revised King James Bible led me to explore the word tzur further.  I learned that not only is this word for rock or cliff a noun, but it can be a verb as well.  I did not have to search long before I uncovered a treasure trove of meaningful information and symbolism.  One cannot plunge anywhere in Scripture without encountering a bottomless depth.  My exploration produced a wealth of pictures or images of our Rock, Yeshua, and the numerous roles He has in our lives.  Each of these Scripture references uses the word tzur or a variation of it.

Yeshua (YHVH) is our Origin, the Rock from which we were cut (Is 51:1).  We see a clearer picture in Deuteronomy 32:18.  You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth.  YHVH not only created us, but He gives us a new birth in Yeshua.

Yeshua is our Defender.  A tzur is not only a mountain or a cliff, but it can contain caves or enclosures where we can hide.  One of the definitions associated with tzur is “to enclose or barricade” (Song of Songs 8:9; Ps 139:5).   David hid from the Philistines in or near a cave (1 Chron 11:15).  Although the cave and rock were physical structures that David used as a stronghold, David discovered that his only true stronghold is YHVH (Ps 18:2, 27:1, 5).  In Daniel 2:45, we see that the Rock that destroys the other nations is hewn from a mountain, but not with human hands, signifying Yeshua.  Our Rock trains us for battle (Ps. 144:1, 2 Sam 22:35).  Our Rock besieges our enemies and even us, when He needs to punish us or bring us back (Ex 23:22, Is 29:2).

Our Tzur is our Atonement (Ps. 62:6).  It is appalling how quickly we can forget Yeshuas sacrifice for us, yet we do, just as the Israelites forgot the Savior who rescued them from slavery to the Egyptians (Deut. 32:5).  Perhaps that is one reason for circumcision.  The instrument to be used was a sharp (surim) knife (flint) (Joshua 5:2-3).  The males were to be cut in a vulnerable area of their bodies, causing them much pain, just as Yeshua made Himself vulnerable to severe pain at His crucifixion.

Yeshua, our Rock, is our Righteousness.  Everything He does is perfect and everything He does is just and fair (Deut 32:4).  In Judges 6:21, we have a picture both of YHVH accepting sacrifices offered to Him as well as the perfect sacrifice of Yeshua (the meat and the unleavened bread).  YHVH is perfect holiness and righteousness (1 Sam 2:2).

Finally, our Rock, Yeshua, is our Eternal Life.  My favorite Scripture in this study is the picture presented in Exodus 17:6.  I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.  Yeshua, our Rock, was struck on our behalf and out of Him flow rivers of living water.  Yeshua Himself provides eternal life and is Life (John 11:25). With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (yeshua) (Is 12:3).  Yeshua invites us to come to Him to drink (John 7:37).

Although I have always been attracted to mountains and cliffs, I will now look at them with a new appreciation as I reflect on our most important and awesome Rock.  This article barely skims the surface. I encourage you to search for yourself in the treasure trove of Scripture perhaps beginning with Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew 6696 and 6697.  You will be greatly rewarded for your efforts.

Pursuing Righteousness

Righteousness2Yeshua took on our sinfulness so that we might have His righteousness (Rom 5:6, 10; 8:1). He became like us and put to death all that is wrong in us, so that we might become like Him and share in His glory. We have heard words similar to this many times, perhaps so many times that we no longer pay much attention to them.

How much have we taken on the righteousness that Yeshua offers us? Just how like Yeshua are you? I ask myself this question from time to time, especially in moments when I’ve caught myself being very much unlike Him. It is good to spend time in Scripture and in prayer searching for the righteousness of Yeshua.

What has Yeshua revealed to us about Himself? For one, He has a unique relationship with His Father (Matt 11:27, John 6:46). He came to reveal His Father to us, so that we might call His Father our Father (John 17:24-26). Are we growing in our relationship with our Father? When did we last introduce someone to our Father?

Yeshua loved others into the kingdom (Mark 2:17, Luke 15:2). He reached out to others whom many would go out of their way to avoid. He did not approve or encourage sinfulness or join in the wayward lifestyles of others, but He saw the person who needed love, forgiveness and encouragement. He saw the potential in sinners that was not obvious to others, just as He sees the potential in us. Are there categories of people that we avoid? Have we written them off as hopeless? How can we love them as Yeshua does?

Yeshua interceded for others and continues to intercede for all of us (Rom 8:34). Do we pray for others even when it is not comfortable or convenient? Do we pray for others even when it seems hopeless? Do we spend some of our nights in prayer with our Father as Yeshua did?

Yeshua taught others in large groups, but also in one-on-one encounters (Matt 5-7; John 3-4). We may or may not be called to address large crowds, but we all have opportunities with individuals. Are we tuned in to catch those “teachable moments” and act upon them as Yeshua did?

Yeshua was totally guided by the Holy Spirit, and therefore always did His Father’s will, not His own will (Matt 4). He saw what His Father was doing and He did the same (John 5:19-30). Are we so spiritually tuned in that we can see our Father at work? Are we doing the works our Father does?

Yeshua paid a heavy price so that we could share in His righteousness. What price are we willing to pay to pursue that righteousness?