Friday, August 2, 2019

Beyond the Mountain (part VIII)

Preparations to Leave the Mountain
As we know, after the second forty days on the Mountain, Moses descended with the two stone tablets and a glow which indicated to every one in the camp of Israel that he had been in the presence of the Almighty. It seemed that now that the golden calf episode and its aftermath was behind them, that the Children of Israel were willing to take seriously the instructions they had received after Moses had his first encounter with Elohim. However, YHVH was not going to go with them as before (that is, He was no longer going to carry them on the proverbial eagles’ wings; see Exodus 32:34, 33:3). Yet He still desired to dwell in the midst of their tribes, within the nation (ref. Exodus 25:8).  But without there being a tabernacle – a Mishkan -  a priesthood, and sacrifices this could not happen.  A Holy Elohim could not dwell among sin-bearing, stiff-necked people without an arrangement that would satisfy His righteousness.  
YHVH had already left the instructions for the Mishkan with Israel even before the golden calf rebellion. So now, when asked to contribute toward this portable abode the people’s response was tremendous generosity. In fact, some were moved in heart to give so liberally that Moses had to restrain them. And so we read: “The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to YHVH, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which YHVH, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done” (Exodus 35:29).   Following this, the skilled workmen said to Moses: “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which YHVH commanded us to do” (Exodus 36:5). 
At last it seems that YHVH’s called-out ones are on the right track, ready to obey, help and participate with His program wholeheartedly.   When all the individual parts that made up the Mishkan were completed, they were brought before Moses who examined the work and found every article to be exactly as YHVH had commanded (Exodus 39:43).  This may be compared to our own situation with Yeshua being at the helm, preparing each of us to be a part of His national Mishkan of priests! 

There are those among us who, like Bezalel, “have been filled with the Spirit of Elohim, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship” (Exodus 35:31), in order to assist in the perfecting of each part, so that all will fit together and will bear the image of the heavenly.   “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,  for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, for the edifying of the body of Messiah [the Mishkan],  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah …speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Messiah --  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11,14 -16 emphases added). 
Moses was commanded by YHVH to set up the Mishkan on the first of the first month, in the second year after the Exodus.  One cannot help but notice the significance of that day and what followed it.  A whole new chapter in the life of Elohim’s redeemed family was about to unfold.   But first YHVH’s dwelling place had to be intact. Moses anointed it and all its holy articles. He then washed, dressed, and anointed Aaron and his sons.  On the days to come, from the 2nd to the 13th of the first month, each tribal leader brought to the Levites all the necessary sacrifices and offerings required for the dedication of the altar (ref. Numbers 7); one tribe each day.  One would think that the order in which the offerings would have been brought would be according to birth, but surprisingly it was not. 
Judah was first. “His [and all the others’] offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering;  one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense;  one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering;  one kid of the goats as a sin offering;  and for the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year” (Numbers 7:13-17 emphasis added). 
The men who brought the offering for each of the tribes turned out to be, on the next month, the chief tribal officers of the Israelite army (ref. Numbers 10:14-28) that was to lead on, to the mountains of the Amorites/Canaanites.  With the completion of the last tribe’s offerings, on the 13th day, YHVH told Moses that the hosts of Israel were to observe the Passover on the 14th day at evening, according to all its statutes and ordinances (ref. Numbers 9:1-5).
The Passover that was observed on that day was a game changer, just like the one that was honored in Egypt.  But with a difference. YHVH was now dwelling in the very midst of the camp of Israel, and ready to take them into the land and vanquish their enemies by His Mighty Right Arm.
When the Father sent Yeshua the first time, as the Passover Lamb and High Priest, inaugurating a new covenant with Israel and Judah, He changed entirely the dynamics of the spiritual powers and authorities in high places. In this way a complete victory was won for His people (and the entire human race). But just as it should have been in the case of our ancestors, so too now; there has to be an implicit and unreserved trust and obedience to Him who has won the battle, being in full submission to His combative headship and leadership (as an example see Matthew 8:5-10).
For the analogy of Yeshua’s Passover events and their ramification regarding personal and corporate salvation and redemption, we usually focus on the Passover of Egypt. But we also have to take a good look at the significance of this Passover, the one that occurred passed the giving of the Torah, Shavuot and the outpouring of the Spirit of Holiness, as it will take us beyond the Mountain.
Next time we will explore what became a (missed) opportunity for our forefathers, and what is now an even greater possibility and opportunity for us.

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