The Entrance of Light, Chapter 3, Part 14

Immanuel  Part III

The Levitical Priesthood (LP) system of Atonement that God installed during the Mosaic Covenant period of human history was system that provided limited atonement to a select group of people (one nation) for a limited time period.  It served two primary purposes.  First, the system provided a means for God to dwell with His people.  Second, the physical tabernacle and the system of Atonement were a ‘shadow’, an intended type-ology of a future and ‘superior’ system that was yet to come.

The LP system required a continual replication of blood and burnt offerings in order to provide continual atoning for the sin acts of the people.  The root problem that caused the people to do the acts of sin, their Sin nature that lived inside each person’s ‘flesh’, was not dealt with in the LP system.  Even with the LP system in place, all ‘men’ were still in their ‘fallen’ state.  Sin, the virus, still ruled their human nature.  God lived in their midst, among them, in a tabernacle made by human hands.  But He did not live ‘in’ them.

The Good News was that a change, a divine level paradigm shift was about to occur. In God’s sovereign timing and plan, a superior, an everlasting, an eternal, and new system would be introduced.   It would be called the New Covenant.  The New Covenant would provide a permanent solution to the problem of Sin, the guilt, the penalties, and it would restore the spiritual connection between God and man.  Man would inherit a ‘redeemed’ status.  Man would become ‘regenerated’.  the curse of the ‘Fall’ would be broken forever, and God would not just come to take residence among them..He would come to live ‘inside’ their literal physical bodies.  Wow!!!

Now…only God, in His sovereign plan for how He sees time, how He uses human history to accomplish His purposes…only God knows the why and when of what He chooses to do.  There was roughly a 500 year period between Abraham and Moses… from the time that God made-covenant with Abraham…promising to make a great nation out of his seed and where He gives the LP system of Atonement to Moses….then roughly another 500 year period until He made a covenant with David wherein He promised that a future King would come from his seed that would be a ‘king whose kingdom would last forever’ (2 Samuel, chapter 7).  Isaiah foretold it, Isa 7:14, 9:6-7.  Then it would be another 1000 years from the time of David until the time that God declares it is time for the New Covenant to be revealed.

To set the stage for the New Covenant…I think it is important to literally quote the Apostle Paul from the book of Hebrews, chapter 8 through chapter 10 vs 23.  I choose to quote this lengthy passage because it is the ‘Inspired Word of God..through Paul..to us’ and it is, to me, one of the more powerful and important passages, within one context, in the Holy Sciptures…so read it all please, carefully, letting the truth of it soak into your spirit man.  Paul compares the work and outcome of the Old Covenant’s Levitical Priesthood system to the work and outcome of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant:

Hebrews, Chapter 8 through Chapter 10 vs 23:   The point of what we are saying is this:  We do have such  a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tablernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.  Every High priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.  If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.  They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.  This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle:  “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”  But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.  For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.  But God found fault with the people and said:  “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them declares the Lord.  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.  No longer will a man teach his neighbor or a man his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord’, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.  For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”   Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.  A tabernacle was set up.  In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.  Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and gold-covered Ark of the Covenant?  This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s rod that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.  Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the place of atonement.  But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.  When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry.  But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.  The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.  This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.  They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings – external regulations applying until the time of the new order.  When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.  He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.  The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.  For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.  In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.  This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.  When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.  He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”  In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies.  In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.  Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priests enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.  Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.  But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.  The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves.  For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.  If it could, would they not have stopped being offered?  For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.  But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:  “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.  Then I said ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will, O God.’ ”  First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made).  Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.”  He sets aside the first to establish the second.  And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.  Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.  And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.  Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.

The Entrance of Light, Chapter 3, Part 13

IMMANUEL Part II

Leviticus 16:16 NIV: God said…  “In this way he (the high priest) will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been.”

Leviticus 16:30 NIV: God said … “because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you.  Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.”

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest performed the precise sacrifice and procedural rituals as prescribed by God to Moses to accomplish a ‘total’ cleansing from ‘uncleanness’.   On this day, the main issue at hand is whether God will stay in residence with the nation, or not.  The Sin/sins of the people, their state of uncleanness, the Sin condition that they had inherited from Adam, the sins that they as Sinners committed on a regular basis had built-up over the prior year.  The tabernacle, God’s house, was unclean.  The people, the nation, were contaminated with Sin/sins.  Atonement had to be made for the tabernacle, God’s House, the Most Holy Place, and for the Sin/sins of the nation.   This was a total cleansing as required by God to occur on one day each year ‘so that’ His law of holiness and justice were appeased and satisfied ‘so that’ He/God could continue to ‘dwell’ with them.  (From the beginning to the end of the story of life..it is about a God/Creator and His children.  God’s objective from day one has always been the same.  He is a Father who wants many children and He desires to live ‘with’ them forever.)

After the high priest made atonement for himself and for God’s house, he would proceed to make atonement for the people.   The procedure required the use of two goats.  He would cast lots to see which goat would live and which goat would die.  For the goat that would die, sacrificed for the uncleanness and sins of the people, the priest would symbolically transfer the sins of the people to the goat and then kill it.  He would then initiate the ordinances of blood and burnt offerings and he would take the blood of the first goat behind the curtain/shield into the Most Holy Place where God resided and he would place the blood on the atonement cover of the Ark of the Covenant.  Inside of the Ark were the tablets of stone that contained the Ten Commandments that God had given to Moses, the Law.

God resided above the Ark in the Most Holy Place, His house.  God would look down at the Law and be reminded that the people were rightly judged, that they were Sinners by birth and by choice.  God’s law of holiness and justice demanded that the people be punished and God remove Himself from being in residence with them.  But God was also reminded that He had created and designed a system for reconciling and satisfying the requirements of His Law.

Out of His love as a father for His people…out of His nature of ‘mercy’, he divinely designed the system of Atonement.  And on ‘this day’…the Day of Atonement…God looked down and saw the ‘the blood’ of an innocent third party that was placed on top of the lid of the Ark.  This lid, the cover, was referred to as the ‘mercy’ seat.  God’s Atonement Law said that the blood of the innocent third part would serve to ‘cover’ -over and satisfy the demands of the Law.  (It was an amazing principle…the principle God installed related to sacrificial blood from an innocent 3rd part…God declared the blood to have ability to ‘cover-over’…to appease the law of justice…the mystical principle of blood.)  God’s new and greater Law of the system of Atonement using the main principle of the shedding of blood of an innocent third party, declared that on ‘this day’..’this blood’…had the power to atone and cover-over (cleanse) the sins committed and the state of uncleanness.  And God would accept the blood as an atonement offering and ‘forgive’ the sins of the people and would remain in residence for another year.

The Israelite people were gathered around the tabernacle during the Day of Atonement…waiting…to be forgiven…waiting for the high priest to come out in full view where they could see that he was still alive, that he had carried out the precise rituals in the exact manner…to see that his priestly work had been accepted before God. The people were waiting for the visual illustration that was the next part in the ritual of that great day.

After completing the work inside the tabernacle ‘before the Lord’ in the Most Holy Place, the high priest would proceed to the open air outside of the tabernacle. He would walk up onto a raised platform where all the people could see him…and he would lay his hands on the head of the 2nd goat (the live one) and he would confess over the goat the wickedness and rebellion and sins of the people, symbolically transferring the sins of the people onto the goat.  Immediately he would have a man lead the goat away into the wilderness into a distant and solitary place.  The 2nd goat was called the ‘scapegoat’ and it was used to visually illustrate to the people that their sins had been transferred to an innocent third party and that their sins had been carried away and that God had granted atonement.

(Why did God prescribe the use of the 2nd goat?  Because He wanted His people to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ and ‘know’ of His mercy and forgiveness.  He wanted them to see-feel-know at a personal realization level ‘how much’ He desired to be with them..how much He loved them.   God has always loved His people ‘more’ than they love Him.  If there is just one thing that you could know and learn today and carry it with you in your mind everyday for the rest of your life…know this.. “God loves you infinitely ‘more’ than you could ever love Him.  Although, it is His desire that we love him with all of our heart, mind, and soul.  I pray that once you see, feel, know,and understand what He did for you in the giving of the New Covenant, that you will come to know Him at a new level.)

 

The Entrance of Light, Chapter 3, Part 12

IMMANUEL  Part I

Immanuel…means ‘God with us’.

In our prior posts we established that God created, designed and engineered us to be equipped with a ‘spirit’ so that we would have the capacity to ‘know’ of God so that we could come to have a personal knowledge/relationship with God.  We established that the disobedience of Adam and Eve (the Fall of Man) caused all men, all humanity, to ‘fall.’

The three main catastrophic affectations of the Fall were:

  • Man became cut-off from God. Man could know ‘about’ God, but not ‘know’ God at the internal, spiritual, personal revelation level. Man’s spirit capacity became diminished/limited.
  • ‘Sin, as an alien entity, took residence in the ‘flesh’ of man.  Man became a ‘Sinner’ by birth and nature and by choice.
  • God affixed, assigned a multi-level death penalty to the ‘status’ of being a Sinner.  Man died spiritually at the Fall and all men would face end-of-life physical death. All men would be eternally separated from God while alive in their body and separated after physical death in the after-life.

We also established that in the period of time after the ‘Fall’ that God communicated to mankind that He desired to ‘dwell’ among His people.  He wanted to ‘live’ with His people.  (If you read the entire bible it becomes very clear that God ‘loves’ mankind. He loves people.  He has the nature of a Father.  He created ‘children’ and desires to live with and nurture His children.  His motivation to dwell with His people was  because He loved them.  Exodus, chapter 30, vs. 46..God said to Moses “I am the Lord God who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them.”)

So let’s pick-up the story at about 1450 B.C….where God is telling Moses.. ‘have the people build me a house..so I can dwell with them” (Exodus, chapter 25, vs.8).  God gave Moses the precise schematic for how He desired His house to be built.  In the prior two posts we explained the purity, goodness, and holiness of God and the great dilemma that God faced as to His natural aversion to Sin.  God’s law stated that Sin and the acts of Sin (sins) must always be judged and punished…this was the law of divine justice that worked in tandem with His law of holiness.  God had declared at the Fall of Man that He must have distance and separation from Sin and He declared all men as ‘Sinners’.  God’s laws were irrevocable, thus the great dilemma.  He wanted to live among His people…but the law of His holiness and the law of divine justice were decreed…made their demands…and they had to be upheld and satisfied.  Thus is the divine nature of the laws of God.  They are irrevocable.

But because God is sovereign, answering only to Himself, He has the authority and the power to create new laws that provide terms and conditions that completely satisfy and appease all other existing and ruling laws.  THUS…God created the system of Atonement to appease the law of His holiness and justice.  After God had given Moses the exact specifications for building His house (sanctuary), He told Moses that the only way He could occupy the house was to install the system of Atonement.  God defined the system of Atonement to Moses.  The system consisted of procedures and duties that were to be performed by men who had been ‘consecrated’ to God for this particular and special work.  The men who were chosen for this job were called ‘priests’ and their work was called ‘service to the Lord’.

God chose Aaron and his sons from the tribe of Levi to be the priests.  Collectively they were called the ‘priesthood’ and the system of duties and procedures they were to perform became the ‘ordinance of the Levitical Priesthood.’  It was to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.  (You owe it to yourself to read the dialogue that God had with Moses in describing the size and shape of the tabernacle, the materials, the ‘furnishings’, the types of offerings and sacrificial animals, and the precise details of the duties of the priest.  The instructions were ‘precise’ and ‘exact’ and had divine purpose and intention related to atonement, propitiation, and appeasement. Exodus chapter 35 through the end of Leviticus.  Fascinating.)

The ‘system’ of Atonement was designed by God as a law in itself…a law that was fashioned to satisfy and appease the principles and rules of the law of His holiness and justice. All men had been declared to have Sin living in their bodies, thus all men were not only Sinners by birth, but also/because they were Sinners they chose to manifest the activities of the Sin nature in their human behavior.  It was this ‘problem’ with Sin that separated God from His people.  The system of Atonement ‘atoned’ or covered the Sin and sins of the people.

The daily ordinances of atonement provided for the sins (acts of Sin) committed by the people.  The ‘sins’ ordinances called for different types of ‘offerings’ according to the degree of sin committed.  When the ordinances of sin offerings, guilt offerings, fellowship offerings were performed by the priest on behalf of the person presenting the offering, God would provide forgiveness to that person.  The highest level of atonement offering for the daily ‘sin’ ordinance was the blood of an animal.  In order for God to be appeased, the system of Atonement called for daily sacrifices and burnt offerings.

But for God to remain in residence in the tabernacle, something ‘more’ than the daily sacrifices and burnt offerings would be required.  The Sin condition of the people, their constant state of ‘uncleanness‘ had to be atoned for on an annual basis.  Thus God established a special ‘Day of Atonement’.  It would be an annual event on the 10th day of the 7th month of each year.  It would be a 24 hour period where the people would participate.  God told Moses to say to the people about the requirements for this ‘day’…”do not do any work on this day…because on this day atonement will be made for you, to ‘cleanse‘ you.  Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.  It is a Sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.”  Leviticus 16: 29-31.

It was the most important day of the year to the Israelites.  Every Israelite, man, woman, child, knew what the God of Israel meant to them, His value to them.  He had led them out of slavery in Egypt and through the Red Sea.  He was their warrior God, their protector and had delivered them in battle against every nation that had threatened them.  He clothed them and fed them, He was their national treasure, the crown of their head.  There was no other God like their God.  He caused them to be feared among the other nations.  The Israelites took the Day of Atonement seriously.  They wanted to appease this Great God of theirs so that He would remain among them and continue to dwell among them in His special house.  At any time, day or night, they could simply look to where the tabernacle was located and they could see the actual sign that God was in residence with them.  God caused a cloud to appear during the day over the tabernacle where He lived.  The cloud would fill with fire during the night.  The cloud was always present over the tabernacle to indicate to the people that their God was with them.

God’s manifested presence resided in a small room in the covered portion of the tabernacle.  This room was called the Most Holy Place.  It was a perfect cube, height, length, width, all equaled 15′.   A great ‘curtain’ which served as a ‘shield’ was hung over the entrance to the room.  The ‘shield’ provided protection for the priests and the people and created a ‘divine’ barrier between a Holy God and an unclean people.  God had told Moses to tell Aaron the high priest that he (Aaron) was not to come behind the curtain/shield at any time during the year except on the day of Atonement or Aaron would die.

On the Day of Atonement, after hours of performing the prescribed procedures and duties, the high priest would proceed behind the curtain/shield and stand in the Most Holy Place in the direct presence of God.  As he entered the Most Holy Place he carried three things with him: A censor of burning coals, two handfuls of incense, and the blood from the required animal sacrifice.  As he entered the Most Holy Place he waived the censor of burning incense out in front of himself to create a screen of smoke, a cover, to hide and cover Himself before the Lord ‘so that he would not die.’  As he approached the Atonement Cover he would reach out his hand and sprinkle some of the blood with his finger “before the atonement cover…on the atonement cover…and in front of it..to cleanse and consecrate the atonement cover for the ‘uncleanness of the Israelites.”  Leviticus 16:19.

When the high priest had finished making atonement for the people in the Most Holy Place, he would walk to the outside of the outer court of the tabernacle where he would purposefully be in full-view of the people.  He would walk onto a large built-up area that was akin to scaffolding.  He would place both of his hands on the head of a live goat and confess all the wickedness and rebellion of the people..all their sins..to symbolically transfer them to the goat’s head.  Then, in view of all the people, the high priest would have the goat led ‘away’ to represent to the people that their sins were forgiven and being taken-away.  (Another illustration of the ‘innocent 3rd party concept… symbolically bearing their sins away.)  The people could not see the duties that the priest had prior performed, on their behalf, before the Lord in the Most Holy Place.  The transfer of the peoples’ sins to the innocent third party was ‘so that’ the people could attest to and receive the reality and fact of God’s forgiveness, that God had been appeased, and they could ‘feel’ and ‘see’ their sins being forgiven and taken away. I plead with you to read Leviticus chapter 16 to ‘capture’ the essence of the Day of Atonement.

In the next post we will extend the principle of the System of Atonement of the Old Covenant into God’s System of Atonement in the New Covenant.

The Entrance of Light, Chapter 3, Part 11

New Covenant – Part III – The Law of God’s Holiness

My parents are both deceased.  When I was a child, my parents, specifically my mother, taught me to recite a prayer at meal time: “God is great, God is good, thank you Lord, for this food.”  Of course, I had no sense or ‘understandable’ concept of what I was saying as to ‘what’ or ‘why’ God was ‘great’ or ‘good’.

An incomplete or inaccurate theological view always means that the holder of such view is living life at ‘less’ than ‘full’.  It is like watching a person walk their bicycle down the road because they don’t know you are supposed to sit on the seat and ride it. It is like someone who has a violin and they don’t quite understand its purpose and they use it as a boat paddle.  Such analogies relate to the understanding and design of ‘intention-function-purpose’. Such are we in our ‘working relationship’ with God ‘if’ we do not seek to understand and ‘know’ Him and His ways.

Let’s return to the phrase…God is ‘great’ and ‘good.’  So what does that mean…God is great…God is good?  I hear people say “God is good all of the time.”  What are they believing or seeing when they say that?  The same question is applicable to “God is Holy.”  What does that mean?  Why is it important, relevant, or not?  It is impossible to understand the problem with ‘sin’ or come to understand how to give sin the correct weighted value as a problem until we come to understand God’s value for His own goodness, holiness, and greatness.  You can’t really understand and see the problem with ‘sin’ until you see it from God’s view and God’s perspective.  You can’t understand God’s condemnation of ‘sin’ and His judgment of ‘sin’ unless you can accurately understand the ‘value’ of His holiness, goodness, greatness, and purity. 

In defining the concept of the word ‘pure’ within the most strict definition…how pure is ‘pure’?  Some of the listed definitions for the word pure are: ‘unmixed with any other matter’….’being thus and no other’….’free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes’…’containing nothing that does not properly belong’.  Try to bring to mind something that is ‘absolutely’ pure. Are you thinking of pure gold?  Did you know that even after the refining process, gold is not ‘absolutely’ pure.  The coldest cold, the darkest dark, the purest white, none of these word pictures can really let us see, feel, or understand, what the most ‘absolute pure’ state of something can be.

We have no ‘experience or revelation’ of such and thus we have no framework wherein to form an objective definition.  And this is why we do not accurately assign sufficient weight’ to sin and why we don’t view sin with the same weight, or view, that God does.  And in the same way, this is why we do not understand or assign sufficient weight or value to God’s degree of ‘absolute’ holiness, goodness, greatness, or purity.  And because we do not grasp the ‘absolute’ holiness, goodness, greatness, and purity of God we ‘thus’ cannot fully understand and appreciate His absolute and complete ‘aversion’ to sin.

1 John, chapter 1, vs 5 says “God is pure light and in Him is no darkness at all.”  God is pure beyond what you can conceive as pure. He ‘contains nothing that does not properly belong to absolute pure.’  He is ‘free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes’.   His absolute purity is ‘unmixed with any other matter’…and this is because it is His essential nature to be ‘thus and no other’. It is in the genetics of His ‘pureblood’ God genes.  It is not that He won’t abide sin…it is that He CANNOT abide sin because He is ‘without’ Sin.

His absolute state of pureness means nothing alien or foreign or separate from His own purity can exist in or around His ‘being’.  The sum and whole of God’s presence in His existence in absolute purity is manifest outwardly as God’s ‘glory’.  God’s ‘thing’ is the exaltation and preservation of His glory.  Wherever God is…His ‘glory’ is.  They are one and the same.  In the book of Exodus, chapter 24, God has invited Moses, Aaron, Aaron’s sons, and 70 elders, up to the top of the mountain to meet with God.  God tells Moses this select group “is to worship at a distance, but you (Moses) alone are to approach the Lord: the others must not come near.  And the people may not come up with you.”  So they climb to the top of the mountain and they see the Lord from a distance…”and they saw the God of Israel.  Under His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.”  And then God calls Moses, alone, to come up further on the mountain to meet with God privately.  Vs. 15-17…”When Moses went up on the mountain, a cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai.” 

To the Israelites (at the bottom of the mtn) the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.”  In chapter 33, vs. 18-23, Moses is meeting with God and Moses says “Now show me your glory.  And the Lord said, I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.  But, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.  There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.  When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

God’s glory is the manifestation of His absolute purity, holiness, goodness, and majesty.  In the book of Psalm, chapter 99, vs. 9, King David says “the Lord is Holy.”  The manifestation of God’s glory inspires awe and reverence and the divine term that gives expression to the manifestation of His presence is the term “Holy”.   The essence that radiates out from the ‘all’ of His ‘being’ is His Glory.  We see the ‘attributes’ of God in scripture:  He is all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful, and He is all-sovereign.  But the manifested essence that covers the all of who and what He is..is the Glory of His ‘holiness’.

Thus we have the ‘great dilemma’: An absolutely ‘pure’ and ‘holy’ God wants to live among His people who are ‘infected’ with sin.  God’s absolute pureness is the All of His being…pureness in character, in thought, in actions.  It is not that He chooses to not be impure..it is that He is literally incapable because of His divine nature.  He can only be good, holy, perfect, pure, loving, because he does not have the capacity to not be so.  (Now..you may be already thinking…”man..how fortunate are we that this supernatural supreme being that created and sustains the universe is good and not evil”….and your thinking would be correct….whew!)

So it is not that God will not abide sin…it is that God CANNOT abide sin because His essential nature of absolute purity, holiness, goodness, and majesty cannot co-exist with, dwell with, sin.  Thus it is one of the ‘divine laws’ of the universe…the ‘divine law of His holiness’. The ‘great dilemma is that the absolutely pure Creator desires to live among His impure creatures.  But His divine law of holiness will not allow Him to dwell in or among darkness, at all.  But out of God’s ‘love’ and desire to be with His people, He provided a way to reconcile the problem.  God created/instituted a system and program for reconciling the problem. God created the system of Atonement. God declares it a ‘law’ in itself.

For some reason that is not explained to us in scripture, God elects to implement a temporary and partial system of Atonement in the introduction of the Old Covenant system.  It is not a permanent system that completely takes away the problem of sin that separates men from God.  The best understanding we can come to is that God chose to install the temporary system in order to provide a temporary system that partially reconciled the problem between God and men… AND…. for the temporary system to be an example and model of the ‘governing principles’ of Atonement so that ‘when’ He later would install the permanent system of Atonement, the New Covenant system in the person of God the Son, it would be more clearly understood as to its superior principles and qualities.

As stated in the prior posts, the first system of Atonement was installed during the time of Moses.  The basic idea or principle utilized in God’s ‘atoning’ system was the concept of the blood of an innocent 3rd party being used to provide a propitiation or ‘covering’ to cover-over or make ‘atonement for’ the sin that stood between God and His people.  So God installed a temporary atonement system that provided a way to satisfy the requirements of His divine law of holiness.

The Entrance of Light, Chapter 3, Part 10

The New Covenant (part II) 

It will help you to read Hebrews, chapter 7, vs 11-28, and then all of chapter 8.  In this passage of scripture the Apostle Paul makes the statements that the ‘old covenant system that occurred in the temporary earthly tabernacle was a ‘temporary’ system.  He says that even the high priest of the old system was a temporary mediator.  Paul says the old system was a copy and shadow of the new system provided by and through Jesus Christ.  The ‘old’ was a copy and temporary…the ‘new’ was the ‘original’ and forever.

In Exodus, chapter 25, vs 8, God says “Then have them make a sanctuary for Me, and I will dwell among them.  Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”  Now jump over to Hebrews chapter 8, vs. 5..”They (the priests of the old covenant tabernacle) serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.”  Wow.  The pattern for the tabernacle and the old system was something that already existed in heaven.

Paul spends a lot of time in Hebrews 7 and 8 explaining the difference between the High Priesthood of Jesus in His New Covenant and the priesthood of the priests of the Old Covenant.  Paul says ‘in chapter 7 that under the old system, there were many priests, none of them served forever because they died.  He says because Jesus lives forever..that He has a permanent priesthood.  Paul says that under the old system the priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices but Jesus offered a superior sacrifice…he offered Himself.

Paul says that Jesus, our permanent and forever High Priest, after His resurrection, ‘sat down’ at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven and that He serves (sitting down) in the original, the real, the ‘forever’ tabernacle that is in heaven.  He ‘sits’ because the superior sacrifice He offered was a final work and thus He was ‘finished’.  Now… what was it that Jesus said while he was dying on the cross (?)…’it is finished.’  His position of being ‘seated’ is declaration that ‘it is finished.’  In the Old Covenant tabernacle, the priest’s work was never finished and there was no place for him to sit down.

Paul says that this ‘forever’ tabernacle was not made by man, but by the Lord.  Hebrews chapter 7, vs 22..”Because of this ‘oath’, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.”  A covenant of grace, not works.  A covenant that is identified by believing and receiving as opposed to trying to earn and deserve.

Ephesians, chapter 1, vs. 4, “For He (God) chose us in Him (Christ Jesus) before the creation of the world.”  The High Priest of the New Covenant existed with the Father in Heaven before we were created.  Wow.  Do you see this?  Do you see that if you have believed and received Jesus Christ as ‘your’ atoning sacrifice…do you see that God included you ‘in’ Jesus before you were ever born?  Does this make you feel loved beyond any depth of love that you have every felt or known??  Amazing…just like the song..Amazing Grace.

In the next post we will continue looking at the ‘pattern and principles of the Old Covenant with the system of Atonement.  God provided those in detail so that we would have a ‘pattern’ that was a physical illustration of what the New Covenant would provide.

The Entrance of Light, Chapter 3, Part 9

The New Covenant    Part I

Jesus was crucified during the Passover season.  The ‘Passover’ is mentioned 8 times in the passage in Matthew that describes the hours just prior to the death of Jesus.  Jesus’ life was all-about, totally about, in relationship to…the concept of ‘Passover’ as relates to God’s concept and system of ‘Atonement.’

The system of ‘Atonement’ was the prevailing concept of the final covenant that God would make with mankind.  God the Son was/is the main character of the New Covenant. This final covenant would be a ‘new’ covenant, ‘new’ as denoting ‘more of”, a new addition to a continuing pattern or schematic.  God had introduced, by degree, the concept and principles of Atonement / Propitiation from the beginning of human history with the introduction of the ‘innocent third party’ principle.  He provided a deeper level of His plan/system with the ‘Passover’ in Egypt where Moses, the children of Israel enslaved in Egypt, the 10 plagues, the death angel, the blood of a lamb applied to the doorway, the death angel ‘passing-over’ the houses where the ‘blood’ was applied.  God instructed Moses and the children of Israel to remember the Passover event and celebrate it on an annual basis as a Passover feast.  The key ingredients of Atonement; the principle of using the blood of an innocent third party (a sacrificial lamb), the principle of ‘passing-over’ as relates to the system of ‘atonement’…God burned these propitiatory principles and concepts into the minds of His people as ‘His’ way, ‘His’ law. Remember from the prior posts we established that before the beginning of time, God had designed a total program for the ‘restoration’ of mankind from the consequences that were a result of the Fall of man.  His restoration program provided that He make ‘covenants’ with mankind.  The principle and concept of ‘Atonement’ was the controlling principle of His covenant-ology. So in the season of the Jewish Passover…I mean right in the moment of celebrating the annual feast…Jesus declares that the Old Covenant, the existing Mosaic Covenant and related system and law, was coming to an end…a ‘New Covenant’ was about to be introduced.

Luke says it best in chapter 22, vs 7 NIV   “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread (the day in the Passover Celebration Feast when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed).  Jesus sent Peter and John saying ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’  Then in vs 20 He and His disciples are setting at the table, they just finished eating, and Jesus introduces the New Covenant…vs 20..He takes the cup of wine and says “This cup is the new covenant in MY blood.”  Matthew 26:28 gives the same account.  A ‘New” covenant “in MY blood.” 

Wow.  The disciples understood the law and rules of ‘Atonement/Passover’.  They understood the principle of Atonement and the significance of the blood sacrifice from an innocent third party.  And in that setting, they hear Jesus saying… “I“am going to become the ‘blood’ sacrifice of a New Covenant..for you.  Of course the disciples did not at that moment fully understand what Jesus meant…but over the next few days…everything Jesus had said to them about suffering, dying, shedding of His blood, being raised from the dead, and a New Covenant…would ‘all’ become understandable to them in the demonstrated proof and experience of His crucifixion and resurrection. They would come to ‘personally’ know and experience the New Covenant that was provided for them in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The New Covenant was revealed/prophesied in the Old Testament:  Jeremiah 31:31, Ezekiel 36:24-27.

The New Testament declared Jesus as the mediator of a New Covenant:  1 Corinthians 11:25,  2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:15, 12:24.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, during the time of Moses, God told Moses that He wanted to come and live among the Israelites:  Exodus, chapter 25, vs. 8-9 NIV   “Then have them make Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among them..and make it ‘exactly like this..”  And God prescribed the exact ‘detail’ of how He wanted His sanctuary/tabernacle built, what type of building materials, exact dimensions, interior and exterior decorating, and even specified in precise details the furnishings that would be installed in His tabernacle.  And then God chose one of the clans…one of the tribes of people from among all of the other tribes of the Israelites.  He chose Moses’ brother Aaron and Aaron’s sons.  Aaron and his sons were from the tribe of Levi.  God appoints Aaron and his sons as the first ‘priests’ and establishes the Levitical Priesthood system to oversee the entire system of Atonement that would be carried out in the tabernacle.

God gave precise instructions for how all of the furnishings in the tabernacle were to be used and in what order.  And when the tabernacle was completed exactly as God had prescribed, Moses and Aaron performed the ‘ribbon cutting’, they performed in exact fashion all of the prescribed procedures that God had laid-out to them and when they had performed it all perfectly, God took residence among His people…chapter 40, vs 34 says “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”

God had a special, intimate, relationship with Adam and Eve.  The Genesis account says he walked with them and talked with them.   After God separated himself from Adam and Eve as a consequence of the ‘Fall’..there is no record of His walking with and talking with or ‘dwelling’ with a people group.   He spoke to particular individuals but did not live among people.  And this is because that the imputation of ‘sin’ that Adam and Even imputed to the human race separated God from such level of relationship.   But NOW…with the installation of the tabernacle and the system of Atonement…God came to dwell ‘among’/ with His people.

In the next post, we will look at some of the ‘details’ of the tabernacle as it relates to the principle of Atonement and come to understand why/how Atonement  appeased God ‘so that’ He could dwell among His people.  (God intended, desires, for us to understand all of this OR He wouldn’t have had all of this written down for us.  Are you with me?  The God, Creator of the universe, wrote a book for you and me to read so that we could know how to have a relationship with Him…so that we would know why we exist..why we are here…purpose and intention…which is…to glorify God.  Read the book…know the heart of your God.  In understanding the ‘old’ system/covenant of Atonement..you will come to understand and have deeper appreciation and understanding of the New Testament Covenant we have in and through Jesus Christ.

Experience equals revelation.  If you had never tasted chocolate and wanted to taste chocolate..would you just look at a picture of chocolate and try to lick the picture, or sniff the picture in order to personally experience the taste of chocolate?????..or would you be able to experience what it taste like or be satisfied simply from having someone else tell you what it taste like?  No!  You would go to the chocolate maker and have Him give you His chocolate and you would taste and eat of His chocolate and come to personally ‘know’ what His chocolate taste like.  You would ‘know’ the taste of chocolate from your personal experience.

Next…the New Covenant Part II

The Entrance of Light, Chapter 3, Part 8

The ‘Old Covenants’

Often, people will ask me about my theological position or ‘system’.  Personally, I hold to a view that I refer to as a ‘covenant view’.  I choose the term ‘covenant’ primarily because the majority of Christians understand that the bible contains the Old Testament (Covenants) and the New Testament (Covenant).

I have always thought that a more accurate branding for these titles should be:  The Record of the Pre-Christ Covenants and the Record of the Christ Covenant.  And if you look at the ‘bible’ at face value as to what it is…it is foremost and clearly a story of the covenants that God made with man.  Thus it is theologically accurate to say “God is a covenant God.”

Throughout the bible we see God creating covenants with various individuals or people groups.  From before the world was created, God had a clear agenda, a program.  God created this world and placed ‘people’ on the earth solely for the purpose of filling the earth with His glory by manifesting His glory in and through ‘people’.  In the ‘Fall of Man’, mankind traded the glory of God for shackles and chains…glory was traded for bondage.  The ‘Fall’ was not a surprise to God, like, forcing Him to come up with plan B.  No.  From the beginning of time, God, being completely omniscient, had a plan, a program, and His program included a plan for ‘restoration’…restoration from chaos to perfect order.  God in His sovereignty wanted to ‘own’ and control the components of the plan ‘so that’ He alone would be honored, praised, glorified, and loved for what He did and has done.   And what would become apparent as His plan unfolded, was that His plan was perfectly orchestrated to divine precision exactly within His prescribed timeframe.   God’s plan from beginning to end demonstrates three things:  His sovereignty, His power, His Love.

The Old Testament is the record of the 3 major covenants that God created with mankind ‘prior’ to God creating the 4th and final covenant with man.  These are known to us as:  The Abrahamic Covenant, The Mosaic Covenant, and the Davidic Covenant.  The 4th covenant is referred to in the bible as the New Covenant and although it is presented/foretold to us in the writings of the Old Covenant/Testament, it is fulfilled and explained to us in the New Covenant/Testament.

Each of the ‘old’ covenants had purpose and intention:

The Abrahamic Covenant provided irrevocable promises with ‘future’ fulfillment.  The promises God made were not conditional promises based on the performance of men.  It was an “I WILL” covenant.

The Mosaic Covenant was a ‘conditional’ covenant related to the performance of mankind and it was not an ‘I WILL’ covenant. The time period of this covenant was used to introduce God’s law (10 commandments) and the concept of God living with people through the installation of a priest hood and a temporary ‘appeasement’ system of ‘atonement’. The Mosaic Covenant was the covenant that provided us the pictures and typology of the future and final 4th covenant.

The 3rd ‘old’ covenant was the Davidic Covenant and was an ‘I WILL’ covenant with irrevocable-forever and everlasting promises that stated that the promises God made in the Abrahamic Covenant would be fulfilled in a future Davidic King who would be the King of All Kings of the final, fourth covenant….the New Covenant.  And what is most interesting to me is that the people who inherit the promises of the New Covenant also receive all of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant.

The New Covenant is an ‘I WILL’, irrevocable-forever-everlasting covenant and it fulfilled the conditions that were made in the Mosaic Covenant but were never prior fulfilled by man.  Thus the New Covenant cancelled out, or satisfied God’s conditions of the Mosaic Covenant.

So today, we live under the terms and conditions of the New Covenant but inherit all of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant ‘because of’ what we inherited in the Davidic Covenant. (You can benefit from studying the bible from a ‘covenant’ view and I promise it will help you to fully ‘calibrate your compass’ and maximize your navigation through life.  You can’t fully appreciate and use what you have inherited if you don’t know what it is you inherited.  Thus the question is:  Have you received and accepted the terms of the New Covenant?)