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THE  NEW COVENANT

 

You have come … to Y’shua,

the Mediator of a New Covenant”

(Hebrews 12:22, 24)

 

BY DON STANTON

CONTENTS

1    THE OLIVE TREE –

      THE PLACE OF PRIVILEGE IN THE PURPOSE OF GOD

            The Holy Root of the Tree – God Himself

            The Nourishing Sap

            The Tree of Life

2    THE OLD COVENANT VERSUS THE NEW COVENANT

            What is the Law?

            What the Law can NOT DO

What the Law DOES

The Promise

The allegory of two women & two sons

What about Unbelievers?

3    THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN MESSIAH, Y’SHUA

God’s Instructions are good

You are dead to the Law

4    MESSIAH THE EVERLASTING FOUNDATION

Why did God wait so long to establish a New Covenant?

The Old Covenant

The New Covenant

5    THE ESSENTIAL ATONEMENT

The Day of Atonement

The Tabernacle – Patterns of the Heavenly Plan

The High Priest

The Altar

The Holy of Holies

The Mercy Seat

The Two Goats & the Scapegoat

The Lord’s Lot

The Rams of the Burnt Offerings

Atonement once for all

The Ministry of Reconciliation

6    THE NEW COVENANT – A NEW AND LIVING WAY

An Everlasting Covenant

A new Temple & the Sh’khinah Glory

The Temple – the Body of Christ

The Ministry of Edification

The Ministry of Worship – Royal Priesthood

The Holy City and the Great Convocation

7    MESSIAH CAME TO FULFIL

Why do we retain the Old Testament in our Bible?

Why are there only 66 books in the Bible?

Why is there so much ritual in the Old Covenant,

      and very little in the New?

What about “Holy Days” and Festivals?

What is the Significance of the Festivals of the LORD?   

      Pesach – Passover

      The Feast of Unleavened Bread

      First Fruits – The Waving of the Sheaf

      Shavuot -  the Feast of Weeks

      Yom Truah -  the Day of Trumpets

      Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement

      Sukkot – The Feast of Booths


#1

THE OLIVE TREE,

AND

THE NEW COVENANT

 

There is quite a lot of confusion amongst believers concerning Israel, the New Covenant and the Hebraic roots of our faith.  There are extremes on both sides.

On one side there are those who have gone overboard; they have become legalistic, regarding themselves as “Israelites,” and believe they must adhere as much as possible to the Old Covenant.

On the other side are those who hold replacement theology (the Church has replaced Israel). And there are others who, although they recognise the endtime prophecies concerning Israel, divorce themselves from “Hebrew roots” and anything to do with “Jewishness.” 

This is the first in a series of articles that are intended to present a Scriptural basis to clarify issues of concern.

While in Sydney recently, I was asked to speak at a church regarding the Old and New Covenants, and about various aspects of the Hebraic roots of our faith.

While the church was experiencing blessing from an appreciation of Old Testament foundations, there was a real concern because of some extreme teachings that were circulating. In particular, a book by a Messianic Jewish woman was causing real concern and division. The book was loaned to me; and I quickly discovered the reasons for concern. Whatever good points had been written, they were being undone by the author’s misinterpretations.

One basic false premise in the book was that the Olive Tree in Romans 11, is “Israel and its rich Jewish culture. This false premise leads to an incorrect, unbalanced understanding of the believer’s life in the New Covenant. 

So let’s look at …

THE OLIVE TREE

 “You, a wild olive, have been grafted in among them to share the nourishing sap from the olive root.”   (Romans 11:17)

Let us first read the passage in Romans:

“I say then, God has not rejected and cast away His people, has He? Certainly not!  .... Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy.

“Now if their transgression has enriched the world, and if their failure means such riches for the Gentiles, how much greater enrichment their full restoration will bring! .... For if their rejection and exclusion from the benefits of salvation led to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? And if the first handful of dough offered as firstfruits is holy, the whole batch of dough is holy also; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

“But if some of the branches have been broken off, while you, a wild olive, have been grafted in among them to share the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.

“You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ Right! But they were broken off because of their unbelief, and you stand only by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you.

“Look then at the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, provided that you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.  And they also, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.

“For if you were cut out of a wild olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

“For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brethren, lest you be wise in your own estimation; a (temporary) hardening has happened to a part of Israel (which will continue) until the full number of Gentiles has come in.”

(Romans 11:1, 11-12, 15-25)

A hasty interpretation of the passage would say – “their own olive tree” means the tree is Israel; and therefore believing gentiles are grafted into Israel.

But the Israelites were not the tree – they were branches.  They were privileged, having had the revelations of God, and God’s provision for atonement under the Old Covenant; but they were neither the root nor the sap. To be sustained as branches, they needed to partake of the nourishing sap.

The Olive Tree represents the Place of Privilege in the Purpose of God.

“Their own olive tree” means Israel’s original place of privilege.

To teach that the Olive Tree is Israel and Jewish culture is ludicrous.  National Israel cannot give us life and nourishment; in fact, Israel disappeared for nearly 1900 years. And neither can the Messiah Y’shua-rejecting religious Israel give us nourishment!  Jewish culture, heritage or Hebrew itself may or may not help our understanding or bring encouragement, but they themselves are not the nourishing sap of the Olive Tree.

Even the true spiritual remnant of Israel - Jewish believers – are not the root of the Olive Tree. They also have been grafted into the Olive Tree, and are brought back into the place of privilege and purpose of God. 

“And they also, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.”  (Romans 11:23)

The Gentile believer’s are not grafted into the Jewish leaves; they are grafted in amongst them.

THE HOLY ROOT OF THE TREE

The Holy Root of the Tree is God Himself, and it is His grace and life that flowed through the Abrahamic Covenant to Israel under the Old Covenant, and that now flows through the Messiah and His Body to all who are brought into the New Covenant.

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, announced the Good News in advance to Abraham: ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU. [Gen 12:3]. So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galatians 3:8-9)

“The nourishing sap from the olive root,” is the Life of the Spirit of the Messiah. And …

“Through the Messiah, Y’shua, the law of the Spirit of Life has set me (and you) free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:2)

Under the New Covenant, Gentile believers are grafted into the Olive Tree – the Place of Privilege and Purpose of God, and they partake of the nourishing Life of the Messiah.

The Old Covenant, given to Israel through Moses, was a temporary provision for that nation until the Messiah fulfilled and brought an end to it. This He did when He established the New Covenant – the new that surpasses, and replaces, the old, for all who have been reconciled to God through Messiah Y’shua’s death at Calvary.

There is therefore absolutely no need or point of a Gentile believer being “grafted into Israel.” Jewish and Gentile believers in this dispensation of grace (the Church Age) are together incorporated into “one new man.”  We are “grafted” into Christ.

“But now in the Messiah, Y’shua, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both groups into one, and has broken down the dividing wall between us by abolishing in His flesh the enmity -the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, His purpose being to create in union with Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body, to reconcile both of them to God through His death on the cross by which He put to death the enmity.”  (Ephesians 2:13-15)

 

IS THE OLIVE TREE SYNONYMOUS WITH

“THE TREE OF LIFE”?

No!  It is similar, but a main difference is that partaking of the Tree of Life means to live forever. (Genesis 3:22. Rev 22:14).  There is no question of being broken off from that Tree!

But it is possible for branches of the Olive Tree to be broken off. The Olive Tree was the place of privilege - but it cannot be assumed that because of the privilege, the Israelites were automatically saved.

It is similar to a young person today living within the privileged position of a God-fearing Christian home. The privilege does not save him, but of course it should be a great influence in bringing him to the Saviour.

But this issue here is not one of salvation; it is a matter of being removed from the place of privilege - of being “placed on the shelf” as it were.

The Olive Tree was heavily pruned after Israel rejected the Messiah. And most Jews have been on the shelf as far as God’s purposes are concerned for the last 1,900 years. But there is new foliage on the Tree throughout this present age, and this represents the “one new man” that lives on the nourishing sap of the Messiah.

“I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and indeed, the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

“But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never ever thirst again. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up into eternal life.” (John 4:14)

The Olive Tree is prefigured by the Menorah – the 7-branched lampstand in the Tabernacle.  (Exodus 25:31-40). The shaft represents the Messiah, the branches on its left and right, are the believers – both Jew and Gentile - who proceed from “His wounded side.” The seven lamps represent the 7-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit.  (Revelation 4:5. Isaiah 11:2)

To recognise the “Jewish” symbolism and typology in the Tabernacle, and in the Old Testament generally, does not mean that we are embracing the Old Covenant Law. Rather, it is an appreciation of the beautiful mosaic of the Messiah throughout the Tanakh (the Old Testament).  Anything that correctly points to Y’shua, and reflects His glorious attributes is truly a blessing.

There is no blessing in going back and trying to fulfil the Old Covenant. Y’shua has already done that – and He is the only one who ever could fulfil the Law.

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfil them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke will by any means pass away from the Law until everything is accomplished.”   (Matthew 5:17-18)

Having fulfilled the Law at Calvary, Y’shua  abolished “the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances,” (Ephesians 2:15), and established a New Covenant. (Hebrews 7:17-19)

And of this particular subject, in the will of Yahweh, I shall write in more detail, in the next chapter.  &


#2

  THE OLD COVENANT

                                 versus

                                     THE NEW COVENANT     

 

“For there is a setting aside of the former commandment because it was weak

and ineffectual – for the Law made nothing perfect - and instead,

a better hope is introduced through which we now draw near to God.”  

(Hebrews 7:18-19)

THE great majority of believers – followers of Y’shua the Way – know well enough that we are not under the Law given to Moses, and that we have been brought into a new covenant which is, in fact, a new dispensation – an age of grace.  But there is often confusion arising from a failure to understand the purpose of the Law, and the differences between the Old and the New Covenants.

Some believers have the idea that we have been justified by faith, and now we must lead a righteous life and be sanctified through trying to keep the Law – or, at least as much of it as seems relevant today.

Recently I was shocked to read an erroneous statement by a Messianic Jewish woman. She wrote that there was no change to the Law – there was only a change in location of the Law. In the Old Covenant it was on stone; in the New Covenant it is on the heart.

The woman, however, makes a distinction between laws, ordinances, precepts and statutes. And while Aaronic sacrifices have become obsolete, she says, the rest of the Law remains intact and mandatory, including food laws, tithing and holy days and convocations.

The basis for making that statement, of course, was a sentence in Jeremiah:

“I will put My Law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.”       (Jeremiah 31:33)

This verse lead this ardent woman to conclude that the Old Covenant Law was also the Law of the New Covenant, and this is what is now implanted in the hearts of believers in Y’shua.

But that cannot be! Let’s look at the passage more carefully:

‘See, the days are coming,’ declares YHWH, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah, not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt - My covenant which they broke - although I was a husband to them,’ declares YHWH. ‘But this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel after those days,’ declares YHWH: ‘I will put My Law (My torah-teaching) within them, and I will write it on their hearts’.”  (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

The prophecy clearly says it is a new covenant. It is not the Old Covenant, and it is not like the Old Covenant. 

Now:- “I will put My Law within them.” The Hebrew word translated “law” here is torah, which has the meaning of “teaching” or “instruction.” Torah is distinguished from the Hebrew words for laws (as in decrees) chok & chakak, and command tsavah, and commandments misvah or mitsvot.

Torah does not have the ring of legal severity that “Law” has; rather, it means something highly desirable, something that brings encouragement and hope through instruction - torah-teaching. In the Messianic 40th psalm, Y’shua expresses delight in the will and torah of YHWH:

“See, here I am! I have come - in the scroll of the book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will, O My God; Your Torah is within My heart.”     (Psalm 40:7-8)  

And this is what Jeremiah is talking about – not a set of commands, but the joy and blessing of God’s instructions and God’s will implanted in the believer’s heart. And the New Covenant (NT) is full of torah-teaching.

It would be wrong to presume, even for Jewish believers, that God’s implanted torah-teaching is the Old Covenant instructions. Clearly the Old Covenant is obsolete, or as the Book of Hebrews says, the Old Covenant Law has been set aside:

“For it is declared of Y’shua our Great High Priest: YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MELKIZEDEK.’ [Psalm 110:4]. For there is a setting aside of the former commandment because it was weak and ineffectual - for the Law made nothing perfect - and instead, a better hope is introduced through which we now draw near to God.”  (Hebrews 7:17-19)

It is wrong then to go through the Old Covenant instructions for the purpose of salvaging what may seem applicable for us. We can profit a lot from the OT, but as Hebrews 7:19 says, there is a “better hope.”

The apostle Paul is emphatic in teaching the superiority of the New Covenant, and the futility of going back to the bondage of Old Covenant law.

“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the Law through the body of the Messiah, that you might belong to another - to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God … But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old way of trying to follow the letter of the Law.”  (Romans 7:4, 6)

WHAT IS “THE LAW”?

The Law is a broad term that covers the precepts, ordinances, statutes, decrees and commands of God that were given to Israel through angels and by the hands of Moses. (Galatians 3:19). The Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) is usually called “The Law.” 

The Law includes precepts and commands that are eternal principles for all people, but it largely embodies a system of governance, behaviour, worship and atonement for Israel. YHWH called it “My Covenant” (Exodus 19:5), and it is commonly called the Mosaic Covenant. Since the ratification of the New Covenant, the covenant given through Moses became the Old Covenant.

There were two earlier covenants - the Noahic and the Abrahamic covenants (Genesis 9:9-17; 17:6-10), both of which are referred to as everlasting (age-lasting) covenants.

The Mosaic covenant was not called an everlasting covenant, although there were some individual statutes such as the Sabbath law (Leviticus 24:8) that were age-lasting for the people of Israel.

The apostle Paul called the Law “holy, righteous and good,” and “spiritual.” (Romans 7:12, 14). God gave the Law, and it had a very definite purpose; it revealed the righteousness of God; it codified the precepts of God; it established worship, and provided a way of atonement – a covering for sin. It also brought warnings and instructions regarding relationships, justice, morality, responsibilities, and living.

“What, then, was the purpose of the Law? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made.” (Galatians 3:19).

“Therefore the Law served as our tutor to bring us to Messiah, that we might be justified by faith.”  (Galatians 3:24)

So the Law became necessary because of men’s transgressions. But it also served as a tutor to prepare people, including ourselves, and to bring us to the Messiah.  And it was to operate until the Messiah came.

As a tutor the Law teaches the holiness and righteousness of God; it teaches that sin brings death; it convicts of sin, and exposes the sinfulness of sin; it shows the need for atonement – to need to have sins covered; it shows the necessity of shedding the blood of an unblemished sacrifice; and all its sacrifices points to the Saviour, Y’shua, the Anointed One – the spotless Lamb of God. The Law also highlights both the necessity for, and the availability of, mercy.

So the Law is good and holy. And yet the apostle Paul says the Old Covenant is a ministry of death and condemnation.

“But if the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stone, was inaugurated with such glory that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its brilliance, fading as it was, how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry of righteousness!”     (2 Corinthians 3:7-9)

Does the Law then kill us? No! It is sin that kills us. As Paul says:

“You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air…”  (Ephesians 2:1-2)

But the Law condemns all who break its requirements, and it proclaims in no uncertain terms, “the soul who sins shall surely die.” Its conclusion is that all have sinned, and that all stand convicted. In this sense it is a ministry of death. But the Law also reveals the mercy of God, and His burden for the salvation of the wicked:

“‘As I live!’ declares the Sovereign Master, YHWH, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back; turn back from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ ” (Ezekiel 33:11)

WHAT THE LAW CAN NOT DO

The Law is not of faith (Galatians 3:12). And in regards to right standing with God, the deliverance from the penalty of sin, and the producing of spiritual life, the law was weak and ineffectual. (Hebrews 7:18).

It cannot justify the sinner

“...a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Messiah, Y’shua, even we have believed in Messiah, Y’shua, that we may be justified by faith in the Messiah, and not by the works of the Law; for by the works of the Law no one will be justified.”  (Galatians 2:16)

It cannot set the sinner free

“… and through Him (Y’shua) everyone who believes is declared righteous - justified from all things, from which you could not be justified through the Law of Moses.”  (Acts 13:39)

It cannot produce the righteousness of God

“… and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in the Messiah, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Philippians 3:9)

It cannot impart life

“Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would certainly have been based on law.”  (Galatians 3:21)

It cannot make perfect

“For there is a setting aside of the former commandment because it was weak and ineffectual - for the Law made nothing perfect.”  (Hebrews 7:18-19)

 

WHAT THE LAW DOES

* It holds people in bondage (Gal 4:3, 7)

* It veils the minds of the hearers (2 Cor 3:14)

* It gives the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20, 7:7)

* It imputes sin (Rom 6:12-13)

* It increases transgression (Rom 5:20. 7:8)

* It places doers under the curse of sin (Gal 3:10)

* It brings wrath (Rom 4:15)

* It brings spiritual death (Rom 7:9)

That is why the apostle says the Law is “useless.” But Paul also says the Law is good for it shows the sinner his condemned and hopeless condition; and this realization should cause the sinner to run to a “city of refuge,” and “to cling to the horns of the altar,” seeking YHWH for mercy, forgiveness, and salvation.

THE  PROMISE

“The Promise” is God’s Word to Abraham,

“And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”  (Genesis 22:18)

The promise was indeed fulfilled through Abraham’s seed – the Messiah.

“Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed. He does not say, ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many, but ‘and to your Seed,’ meaning one; that is, Messiah.” (Galatians 3:16)

“Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us - for it has been written, CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE [Deut 21:23] - in order that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Messiah Y’shua, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14)

The promise was given to Abram some 430 years before the Law. (Gal 3:16-17)

The promise was not to be fulfilled through the Law but through faith (Rom 4:13)

The promised is received through faith in Y’shua the Messiah. (Galatians 3:22)

The New Covenant in reference to Israel is called everlasting (Jeremiah 32:40). And in reference to the Church, it is called an eternal covenant (Hebrews 13:20); and it has everlasting benefits – “eternal redemption” (Heb 9:12), “eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15), and “eternal life.” (John 3:15-16)

WHAT THE PROMISE DOES

* It brings justification  (Gal 2:16; 3:6-9. Rom 5:1, 9)

* It redeems from the curse of sin  (Gal. 3:13)

* It brings freedom  (Gal 5:1, 13. Rom 6:18)

* It makes believers sons of God  (Gal 3:26; 4:7)

* It releases us from the Law  (Rom 7:6)

 

THE ALLEGORY OF TWO WOMEN & TWO SONS

The apostle Paul uses “the Law” to support his teaching that the believer in Y’shua is not under the Law, and the Old Covenant is not for the children of the promise. Paul uses the well-known account of Abraham’s two sons and their mothers as an allegory. The sons were Ishmael and Isaac. The mothers were Hagar and Sarah.

“Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman was born as a result of the promise.

“This is allegorically (symbolically, figuratively) speaking, for these women represent two covenants: the one proceeding from Mount Sinai brings forth slavery; this is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. (“The present Jerusalem” means the Old Covenant which is centered in Jerusalem.)  But the other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free, and is our mother ...  And we brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as it was then, the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the one who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now.

“But what does the Scripture say? ‘CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON, FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AS HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.’ So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.”       (Galatians 4:21-26, 28-31)

The conflict between Ishmael and Isaac underscores the fact, even though the Old Covenant was holy and good, it is not compatible with the New Covenant which is also holy and good; but also brings justification, release from bondage, righteousness, eternal life, progressive sanctification, and ultimate perfection.

It is true that both covenants have similarities; both have one Originator -  God; both came through a mediator; both were ratified by blood; both demand a sacrifice; both have a priesthood; both employ worship; both require holiness; both require mercy; and both require a Saviour. 

But there are also very real differences, and the book of Hebrews, and Paul’s letters, show the Old Covenant was intended to be a temporary system to teach God’s precepts, and to prepare Israel for the Messiah and the New Covenant.

We are now no longer under the Old Tutor

“Therefore the Law served as our tutor to bring us to Messiah, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under the custody of a tutor.” (Galatians 3:24-25)

When you leave school, and hopefully, have success-fully graduated, you are finished with your teacher.  Of course, you still have respect for your tutor, and sometimes you may go back to him or her to check up on some points. But you are no longer under the tutor’s custody. You now go beyond rudimentary education; and you have a new Teacher, the Holy Spirit, who will take you to new levels of understanding and spirituality.

We are no longer under the Law

“If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” (Galatians 5:18)

“Sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

We have died, so the Law has NO jurisdiction over us

“Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the Law), that the Law has jurisdiction over a man as long as he lives? For example, a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he is living; but if the husband dies, she is released from the law concerning her husband … Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the Law through the body of the Messiah, that you might belong to another - to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.”       (Romans 7: 1-2, 4)

We have been released, and now WE serve in

the newness of the Spirit

“But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old way of trying to follow the letter of the Law.”  (Romans 7:6)

We are part of the One New Man

 “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both groups into one, and has broken down the dividing wall between us by abolishing in His flesh the enmity - the Law of commandments contained in decrees and ordinances, His purpose being to create in union with Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body, to reconcile both of them to God through His death on the cross, by which He put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)

The believer does not become part of Israel or the Old Covenant; we are part of Messiah’s Body – the One New Man. Jewish believers, even though they may be part of national Israel, are spiritually in Messiah’s One New Man. They are separated from the Old Covenant through faith in the Messiah. (But this does not mean that they should cease respecting the OT.)

WHAT ABOUT UNBELIEVERS?

Unbelievers have not yet entered the New Covenant, and therefore they definitely need a Tutor to bring them to the Messiah. The New Covenant, of course, is a much more powerful Teacher than the Old because it reveals the plan of redemption more fully, and how it “works,” for the Blood of the Eternal Covenant (Heb 13:20) has been shed at Calvary.
    The Ten Commandments, even though they are the central part of the Old Covenant, still need to be displayed or proclaimed in public today so that sinners might recognise their lost, condemned condition, and then cry out to the Saviour for His mercy and salvation.  

The Ten Commandments, in fact, are all reiterated in the New Covenant, with the exception of the 7th day Sabbath which was a special sign between YHWH and Israel. (Ex. 31:13, 17). But even then, the New Covenant does speak of a Sabbath Rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:9), and we will look at that in a future article.

In the New Covenant, some of the Ten Commandments are expanded by Y’shua; “You shall not murder” now includes, “You shall not hate,” and “You shall not commit adultery,” includes, “You shall not lust.”

The point is that sinners need to know the precepts and commands of Almighty God!

Now, finally, a couple of questions that come up:

Do we have freedom to sin?

No! Our freedom is to live a spiritual life for God, free of the bondage of Law, and free from the accusations of Satan, people, and our own minds.

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” (Romans 6:14)

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

Is the believer now without a law?

No! The believer is not without law; and certainly he must not live a lawless life. Believers are under a new law which is called, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”

“… because through the Messiah, Y’shua, the law of the Spirit of Life has set me (you) free from the law of sin and of death.”  (Romans 8:2)  &


#3

 THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE

IN MESSIAH, Y’SHUA

“The law of the Spirit of Life in the Messiah, Y’shua,

has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

(Romans 8:2)

as we think about the New Covenant, the words of Romans 6:14 usually spring to our minds: “You are not under law but under grace.”

Amen! The New Covenant could be called a regime of Grace. But does this mean there are no commands, no injunctions, and no restraints for believers? Certainly not! Grace does not mean a regime of lawlessness?

In the times of the Judges there was a period of decadency:

“In those days there was no king in Israel; and every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6)

It’s becoming like that in the 21st century, isn’t it?

Israel under the Old Covenant was called to walk in the ways of the LORD, and to do what is right in His eyes. They were called to be holy. (Leviticus 11:44)

The church in the New Covenant is called to walk in newness of life, to walk by the Spirit, to walk as children of Light, to walk in love, and to be holy in all behaviour. (Rom 6:4; Gal 5:16; Eph 5:8; Eph 5:2; 1 Pet 1:15)

Because of the glorious freedom we have in Christ, there is a very real danger of living as though grace gives us a license to walk in our own (sinful) ways. The apostle Paul addresses this question and asks:

“Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” (Romans 6:15)

Tragically, much of the church today is in serious spiritual decline, and a spirit of lawlessness is robbing believers of their true spiritual life in the Messiah.

What is the answer to the widespread lukewarmness, apathy, worldliness, apostasy, and moral decline in many churches today?  Do the churches need a re-infusion of Law; thundering sermons on the do’s and the don’ts for believers?

There are three main types of churches:

1. The church that is free and easy, and where members are encouraged to enjoy, and to do as they please.

2. The church is under regimentation; where members are held in bondage to the laws of the church.

3. The church that seeks to walk by the Spirit in newness of life, as children of Light, and in holiness. It is a church where members seek to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.

Spiritual decline is basically caused by our failure to adhere to the Word of God.

While we have a genuine respect for the Law, for it is holy, righteous and good (Rom 7:12), as New Covenant believers, we recognise we are no longer under the Law, we are under grace.  But we also recognise that our freedom is a freedom from the bondage of the world, the flesh and the devil. It is not a freedom to sin, but the freedom to live in Christ. We are under a new regime – not a regime of lawlessness, nor a regime of regimentation; it’s a reign of grace, righteousness and holiness! It is the regime where the Messiah reigns in our lives. The apostle Paul speaks of . . .

“the law of the Spirit of Life in Messiah, Y’shua.”

This is the “law” for New Covenant believers; and it is not a set of codified commandments. It is the Spirit-filled life which becomes a reality as New Covenant torah – the teachings, instructions, directions, principles and doctrines – are applied and written by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers who have surrendered their lives to the Master.

(As explained in last issue, the Hebrew word torah which is commonly translated as “law,” has the meaning of teaching and instruction; and it is torah -teaching/instruction that is being constantly engraved on the hearts of New Covenant believers.)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Messiah; and He is the Comforter, the Helper, the One who indwells us, fills us, and comes alongside to strengthen us and to produce the righteousness of God in our lives.

The Old Covenant Law holds sinners in bondage under the law of sin and death; but the New Covenant law of the Spirit liberates; it is life-giving, and sets the believer free from the law of sin and death.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah, Y’shua, for the law of the Spirit of Life in the Messiah, Y’shua, has set me (you) free from the law of sin and of death.”  (Romans 8:1-2)

But if we want to be free from the Law of the Spirit of Life, there is another law which we might call . . .

“the Law of sin and discipline”

“Furthermore, we have all had human fathers who corrected us, and we respected them. Shall we not much more willingly submit to the Father of our spirits, and live? For they indeed disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our profit and good, in order that we may constantly partake of His holiness. Now all discipline seems sorrowful rather than enjoyable at the time; but later on it yields its peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.”  (Hebrew 12:9-11)

God has not appointed His children to wrath, but to obtain salvation. (1 Thess. 5:9). But He does not spoil us by letting us go on indefinitely in waywardness and disobedience.

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)

“Remember then from where you have fallen, and repent and do the works you did at first; or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand out of its place - unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5)

If that happens, the unrepentant believer will continue under prolonged discipline, like the prodigal son, until in despair he returns to the Father.  But should he prefer to remain in the hog pits, the Master may decide on an early removal of the unrepentant believer from this present world. This is called a “sin unto death.” It is an ultimate act of divine discipline. (1 John 5:16-17)

GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS ARE GOOD

Victory over the carnal life does not come by an attitude that says; “I’m free, and there are no commandments for me!”

A believer who says, “I don’t need any commands,” will soon be saying, “I don’t need any Bible.”

On the other hand, deliverance does not come through throwing a set of commands at someone, and saying, “Obey these and you shall be free indeed.”

Deliverance comes by the grace - the enabling power of God - and this is channeled to us through the Spirit of the Life of the Messiah, as we follow His instructions.

What I am saying then, is that the New Covenant is not bondage, and neither is it lawlessness; and commands and directions are not out of harmony with God’s love and grace! 

The Old Covenant has 613 mitzvot (commands). And we say, “That’s sad. That’s bondage!”

But it may come as a surprise to know that in the New Covenant there are some 1050 commands and exhortations. And they are good for us!

Someone will protest; “Exhortations are not commands!” Ok, but God’s exhortations are His instructions, and they are not meant to be treated lightly, or disregarded and disobeyed!

Some believers will say, “Oh, there are only three commands we need to worry about; LOVE the LORD your God, LOVE your neighbour, and LOVE one another.”

Well, ok.  But let’s look at these two passages:

“And Y’shua said to him, ‘You shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great command. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commands hang the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

“A new commandment I give you: Love one another! Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35)

Yes, if we loved God with all our heart, soul and mind, we would not need exhortations such as “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33), and, “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice to God” (Rom 12:1), and, “Keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21)

And if we loved our neighbour as ourselves, we would not need commands such as, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone” (Rom 12:17), and, “Render to all what is due them” (Rom 13:7), and, “Do all things without grumbling and disputing.” (Phil 2:14)

If we loved one another as the Messiah loved us, then we would not need commands such as, “Do not speak against one another” (James  4:11), and, “Bear one another’s burdens, and therefore fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2), and, “through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13)

The trouble is that we often fall short of perfect love, and therefore we need the 1050 exhortations and commands of the New Covenant, and the grace to live by them.

But the New Covenant is not a system of commands; and it’s not a determination, under the threat of divine rebuke, to keep a set of laws.

Look, say we decided to try to codify the 1050 and print them in a booklet; and then said, “Here are the commands of the New Covenant. Memorize and obey them, and you will do well.”

While “the 1050” are very valid, and while there is real value in recounting them, to formulate a system of commands would be to bring ourselves under bondage again to a law that we would find impossible to keep – just like the Israelites under the Old Covenant.

It would again bring guilt and condemnation – not from God, but from our own hearts, and from other people who champion the set of commands.

THE DAILY INTAKE OF INSTRUCTION

The fact is that “the 1050” are all part of the New Covenant torah-instruction, and we do meditate on some of them every time we read the New Testament. And as we do so, the Holy Spirit writes God’s instructions on our hearts.

                     “All Scripture is divinely-inspired - God-breathed, and is profitable for teaching, for conviction and reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate and complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”   (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

But “the law of the Spirit of Life in Messiah, Y’shua” is not a list of do’s and don’ts. It is the liberating work of the Holy Spirit that enables the believer to apply the principles of the Word of God in his life, and in every type of situation. It furnishes the grace that enables the believer to live out the torah-teaching that is being written constantly on his heart; it provides the power that brings victory, and it produces continuous spiritual fruit.

So the idea that since we are “not under law but under grace,” we need not pay much attention to the exhortations and New Covenant commands of God, is erroneous and abhorrent. Read the full verse:- 

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

Under law, sin will be our master, as we saw in chapter 2. But under grace, sin will not be our Master, for the Promise brings justification, redemption, and freedom.

This does not mean, however, that we are immediately perfected, or that we will never get tripped up; that we will never sin.  No! The Scripture in fact warns us:

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”                        (1 Corinthians 10:12).

And we are told:

“… throw off every weight, every encumbrance, every hindrance, and particularly the sin that most readily assails, entangles and leeches onto us; and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Y’shua, the Author of the Faith and the One who completes and perfects our faith …”   (Hebrews 12:1-2)

It should be very obvious that commands will not deliver us, and it should be just as obvious that if we neglect New Testament torah-instruction, and do not truly walk in fellowship with God, we will be easily overcome by the sins that leech onto us. Torah, instruction/teaching, is essential today just as it was in the early Church:

“And every day, in the temple and in every house, they kept on teaching and preaching the good news that Y’shua is the Messiah.” (Acts 5:42)

“God has chosen to make known among the Gentile nations, the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Messiah in you, the hope of glory, whom we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man perfect, mature and complete in the Messiah.”  (Colossians 1:27-28)

“Until I come, give attention to the reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching.”  (1 Timothy 4:13)

“Holding fast to the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.”  (Titus 1:9)

WALKING IN FELLOWSHIP

It is the NT torah-instruction that leads us into fellowship with our Master, and that teaches us how to walk in the Light – to walk in the Spirit.

“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Y’shua Messiah … This is the message (torah) which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Y’shua the Messiah, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.

“If we claim that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:3, 5-9)

These verses teach fundamental torah truths that we all should know. But notice the “ifs” in the passage. They imply that we may not always be walking in the Light – in fellowship with the Spirit of Life in Y’shua.

The epistles, therefore, contain much torah, teaching us of our release from the Law, and teaching also the dynamics of the New Covenant.

“YOU ARE DEAD TO THE LAW”

In Romans 7, the apostle Paul uses the following analogy to insist that we have been released from the Law.

“A married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he is living; but if the husband dies, she is released from the law concerning her husband … Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the Law through the body of the Messiah, that you might belong to another - to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God … we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we may serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the old way of trying to follow the letter of the Law.”  (Romans 7:2, 4, 6)

Romans 8 begins by proclaiming our justification and freedom in Christ:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah, Y’shua, for the law of the Spirit of Life in the Messiah, Y’shua, has set me (you) free from the law of sin and of death.”  (Romans 8:1-2)

We have been justified and freed from the law that condemns; but much more, the righteousness required of the Law is produced, not by our human striving, but by the offering of the Son, and the power of the Spirit of Life.

“For what the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness or guise of sinful man to be an offering for sin. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh, the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4)

In the next verses Paul is talking about the unsaved, those who are not “in the Messiah,” when he says “the flesh, the carnal mind, is hostile toward God.” The carnal mind and sinful nature produce spiritual death.

“Those who are walking according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, the sinful nature, but those who are walking according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh, the carnal mind, is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind of the flesh, the carnal mind, is hostile toward God; for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so, and those who are walking in the flesh, the sinful nature, cannot please God.”  (Romans 8:5-8)

And Paul goes on to say to born again believers:

You however, are not in the flesh, the sinful nature, but you are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. But if any one does not have the Spirit of the Messiah, he does not belong to Him. And if Messiah is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”  (Romans 8:9-10)

So because they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, all true born again believers are not “in the flesh.” Their spiritual status is “in Christ” and “in the Spirit.” And the New Covenant is the provision for them to walk in the Spirit.

IF WE ARE NOT “IN THE FLESH”

WHY DO WE WALK IN THE FLESH?

This is a searching question for the believers. The simple answer is because we do not walk in the Spirit!

“Those who are walking according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, the sinful nature, but those who are walking according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”  (Romans 8:5)

Believer, what is our mind set on? The answer is very important, for it is possible to live in a state of spiritual stagnation and death, and waste years of our spiritual lives, while we could be, and should be, in a Spirit-empowered relationship to the Master.

It would be wonderful if all believers always set their minds on the spiritual, and walked under the constant direction of the Spirit! Sadly, many of us seem to have a yo-yo type of spiritual experience. Up and down! We are sometimes in the Spirit, and sometimes in the flesh; sometimes we’re spiritual and sometimes we’re carnal (worldly).

IT’S EASY TO WALK IN THE FLESH

To neglect the instructions of the Word of God is one sure way to start walking in the flesh which is opposed to the law of the Spirit of life.

Unless carnality is confessed, and fellowship restored, this condition will lead to spiritual decline and to the sins the risen Master addressed in His messages to the seven churches of Asia: loss of first love, worldliness, apostasy, deadness and lukewarmness.

Brethren, where are we today? Are we living under the enabling power of the Spirit of Life in Y’shua, or are we still struggling to fulfil the requirements of a system of commands that have been imposed on us, by ourselves, or by others?

A final word from Paul ...

“Stand firm in the freedom with which the Messiah has made us free; and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery … you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.”  (Galatians 5:1, 13)  &


#4

MESSIAH

THE  EVERLASTING  FOUNDATION

 

“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid,

which is Y’shua the Messiah.”

(1 Corinthians 3:11)

“When the tornado passes, the wicked are no more,

but the righteous have an everlasting foundation.”

(Proverbs 10:25)

We all know that Jesus Christ is the Rock of our Salvation, and the Foundation of the church; as the old hymn phrases it …

            The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ the Lord.

            She is His new creation, by Water and the Word.

            From Heaven He came and sought her to be His holy bride;

            With His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

And we know the Saviour’s words:

“And I also tell you that you are Peter (Petros, a pebble), and upon this Rock (Petra, a bedrock) I will build My assembly - My Body; and the gates of Hades - Hell - shall not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18)

Yes, praise Yah, the true church, the Body of the Messiah, is being built on Christ the solid Rock!

            On Christ the solid Rock I stand

            All other grounds are sinking sands.

Messiah, God’s Anointed One, is in fact, the Everlasting Foundation. He is the Foundation for the salvation of “The Redeemed of the Lord” of all ages, for the blood of the Lamb of God atones for the sins of all mankind – from Adam through to the last person who will be redeemed.

“… when this Priest - the Messiah - had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God.”  (Hebrews10:12)

The Messiah is also the Foundation Stone for the perfection of all the set-apart people of God.

 “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

And the Messiah is the Foundation of the eternal purposes of God.

“For in Him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)

“… there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and for whom we live; and one Master, Y’shua the Messiah, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”  (1 Corinthians 8:6)

            Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.

            Let the water and the blood,

            From Thy riven side which flowed,

            Be of sin the double cure. Save me from its guilt and power.

Those words are from a very old song that is still loved by English-speaking Christians everywhere. And the expression “Rock of Ages” comes from an Old Coven-ant prophet …

“Trust in YHWH forever, for in Yah YHWH, is a Rock of Ages - an everlasting Rock.” (Isaiah 26:4)

(“Yah YHWH” – yes, that is what is actually written in the Hebrew text. Yah is the short form of Yahweh.)

So the concept of “God the Rock” came from the Old Covenant:

“For I will proclaim the Name of YHWH. Ascribe greatness to our God, The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just - a God of faithfulness and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” (Moses - Deuteronomy 32:3-4)

YHWH is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer, My God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge and trust. He is my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my High Tower - my Stronghold.”  (David -Psalm 18:2)

When Y’shua the Messiah taught about the wise man building on the rock, He was not talking about any old rock - He was talking about the Rock that is God – the Rock that is Messiah Himself.

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice, may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock. And when the rain fell and the floods came, when the winds blew and beat against that house, it did not fall - because it had been founded upon the rock.”     (Matthew 7:24-25)

Y’shua was speaking specifically about Himself in this encounter with the Jewish leaders:

“When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?’… Y’shua said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER STONE. YHWH HAS DONE THIS, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’ [Psalm 118:22-23]?” (Matthew 21:23, 42)

Those same chief priests fulfilled the prophecy in that they rejected the Chief Corner Stone - the very Foundation of salvation and God’s purposes.

The apostle Peter quotes Isaiah and relates the prophecy to Y’shua the Messiah:

“… you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. Coming to Him, a living stone which, though rejected indeed by men, has been chosen by God and is precious to Him … it is also contained in the Scripture, SEE, I LAY IN ZION A CHOSEN AND PRECIOUS CORNER STONE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES ON HIM WILL BY NO MEANS BE PUT TO SHAME. [Is 28:16]. Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE (or CAPSTONE), and A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENCE.” (1 Peter 2:3-8)

The Scriptures thus declare Y’shua as the fulfillment of the prophecies about the Rock of Ages. And that’s why we used to sing the chorus in Sunday School:

            Build on the Rock, the Rock that ever stands

            Oh build on the Rock, and not upon the sand.

            You need not fear the storm, or the earthquake shock;

            You’re safe for ever more, if you build on the Rock.

 

WHY DID GOD WAIT SO LONG TO

ESTABLISH A NEW COVENANT?

“Y’shua has become the Guarantee of a better covenant.” “Now He, Y’shua, has received a ministry which is much more superior and excellent, just as the covenant of which He is Mediator is superior to the old one, and which has been founded on better promises.” (Hebrews 7:22; 8:6)

As the Scriptures make it very clear that the New Covenant is superior, excellent, and better than the Old Covenant, and everlasting, a question comes to mind: Why did God wait so long to bring in the New Covenant - the “new and living Way”? Why didn’t He go straight for this better covenant with Moses rather than initiating the Old Covenant? Or better, why didn’t God become man and die for the sins of the world while Adam and Eve were alive – before the world became more evil?

Was it a question of God trying to figure out which way is best – experimenting with one covenant after the other? No! No! The omniscient, omnipotent God knew exactly what the results of every decision and action would be.

These questions are like asking, Why did the Almighty create the angel Helel (Lucifer) when His omniscience knew full well that Helel would become Satan? Or why didn’t God sentence the devil to the lake of fire the very day he deceived Eve and Adam?

The answers to these questions is that the infinite Wisdom of the Almighty has an eternal purpose – a purpose which was a mystery hidden from demons and men down through the ages; and it is a mystery today to those who do not have “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,” and even to believers who have not been deeply taught in the Word of God.

The apostle Paul explains:

“To me, the very least of all God’s set-apart people, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of the Messiah, and to bring to light what is the administration – the plan and purpose, and the working out of the mystery which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things through the Messiah, Y’shua. His purpose is that now, through the Church – the Ekklesia, the universal body of those who are in Y’shua the Messiah, the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.  This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Y’shua the Messiah, our Master.” (Ephesians 3:8-11)

Awesome words! And God works out all things in His wisdom, and in His own time.

The Scriptures speak of “the consummation – the end of the ages,” the “fullness of time,” and “the appointed time.” God has planned the ages, the dispensations.

“You yes You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for the time to show favour to her, the appointed time, has come.” (Psalm 102:13)

“When I choose an appointed time, it is I who judge uprightly.” (Psalm 75:2)

“Look! I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of indignation – wrath; for the end will come at the appointed time.”                 (Daniel 8:19)

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that He might redeem those who were under the Law, and so that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

The Messiah has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by His sacrifice of Himself … the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not bearing sin again, but for the deliverance of those who are  eagerly waiting for Him.”                      (Hebrews 9:26-28)

“For when we were still weak, the Messiah at the right time died for the ungodly.”  (Romans 5:6)

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”                     (Romans 8:28)

THE VARIOUS COVENANTS

In the Old Testament there are many examples of covenants between people such as Laban and Jacob, and David and Jonathan. But there are covenants which God made with men. Each covenant had its own reason – some aspect within the eternal purpose. And each covenant was a solemn treaty.

There was a covenant with ...

                                    Adam                       (Genesis 2:16-17)

                                    Noah                        (Genesis 9:1-17

                                    Abraham                  (Genesis 15:18)

                                    Isaac                        (Genesis 26:1-5)

                                    Jacob                       (Genesis 28:13-22)

                                    Israel                       The Old Covenant  (Exodus 19:5; Ex 24:6-8)

                                    Levi                          (Malachi 2:4-10)

                                    Phinehas                  (Numbers 25:11-13)

                                    David                       (Psalm 89:3, 28, 34)

  THE OLD COVENANT

The Old Covenant was the major treaty in the OT, and it was limited to the people of Israel, and to those who joined the nation. The purpose of the Old Covenant was to teach the precepts and holiness of God, the need for atonement; and to bring the people to the Messiah.

“Therefore the Law served as our tutor to bring us to Messiah, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24)

We know that the blood of bulls and goats could not purge men of their sin; but those sacrifices were necessary to provide a covering until the Messiah took the sin of the world on Himself, and made atonement for all mankind.

Believers under the Old Covenant were saved through faith, according to the promise given to Abraham.

“For what does the Scripture say? ‘AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ [Genesis 15:6]. Now to one who works, wages are not counted as a favour, but as a debt or obligation. But to one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: ‘BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE  LAWLESS  DEEDS  HAVE  BEEN  FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD (YHWH) WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT’.”  [Psalm 32:1-2] (Romans 4:3-8)

Through the Old Covenant God taught Israel about Messiah, and about heavenly, spiritual things. It may have been like “seeing in a mirror dimly,” but the priesthood, the ministry, the rituals, the sacrifices, the festivals, the tabernacle and its furnishings all provided pictures of the Messiah.

These priests serve in a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary. That is why when Moses was about to build the tabernacle, he was warned: ‘SEE TO IT THAT YOU MAKE EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN YOU WERE SHOWN ON THE MOUNTAIN’.” [Exodus 25:40] (Hebrew 8:5)

“It was necessary, then, for the earthly copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the actual heavenly things themselves required better sacrifices than these. For Christ, the Anointed, did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands - a mere copy of the true one. He entered heaven itself, now to appear in the Presence of God for us.”  (Hebrew 9:23-24)

WHY STUDY THE OLD TESTAMENT?

While the New Testament believer is not under the Old Covenant, the Tabernacle and its system of worship is a mosaic of heavenly realities that exist in the Church of the New Covenant.

By studying the Old Testament in depth, we are not returning to the Old Covenant, or placing ourselves under the Law. No! When we have been set free from the Law, why would we want to go back into bondage?  But inasmuch as the Law is called holy, righteous and good (Rom 7:12), and as it is a tutor to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24), we can learn much of the Messiah and the heavenly realities through the OT patterns.

I do not know any Christian, not even the most anti-Jewish, anti-Hebrew zealots, who say we should not study the Old Testament.  It is indeed the largest part of our Bible - the Word of God.  But I know some who seem to depreciate the Old Testament because it is “Jewish.”  Some despise the Old Covenant because it is obsolete. And indeed, it is obsolete, but it is clear that God has retained the Old Testament as part of His Word – so that we might learn from it.

Should we reject Isaiah 53 because it was written by an Old Covenant Israelite?  Should we say that the prophets of the Old Covenant have nothing to teach us?  Should we reject the Messianic passages, and the prophecies concerning the endtimes, because they were written by Old Covenant writers? Should we pass over the Tabernacle because it is “ritual”? Should we shun the festivals of the LORD because they are “Old Covenant,” and not see how they are all fulfilled in Y’shua?

A study of the Old Covenant should help us to more deeply appreciate the superiority of the New Covenant.

The writer of the New Covenant Epistle of Hebrews seems unable to explain the New Covenant except by relating it, and contrasting it, to the Old Covenant. In fact, in his treatise, he quotes 54 verses from the Old Covenant to support his teaching on the New Covenant.

One main blessing we receive by studying the Old Testament, along with the New, is that we discover the intrinsic revelations of the Messiah in both Testaments that attest to the unity of the whole Bible. In both the OT and the NT, we learn of the manifold glories of Christ, even though … “for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

THE NEW COVENANT

(Hebrews 8:7-13; 9:11-20)

Why is it called the New Covenant?  Firstly, to differentiate, and to contrast it to the Old Covenant; for the New is not an extension of the Old. It is totally new, even though there are many similarities, and some of the precepts of the Old are repeated in the New.  Secondly, because it is an everlasting covenant - permanent, and it is so much wider in its compass – it reaches to the uttermost parts of the world, and offers salvation to all mankind.

“When He speaks of “a new covenant,” He has made the first covenant obsolete; and whatever is becoming obsolete and ageing is ready to disappear - to be dispensed with altogether.”  (Hebrews 8:13)

The Old Covenant had an outward ritual and regulations, and was passing away; the New Covenant is everlasting, and calls for a spiritual participation in its realities which are foreshadowed in the Tabernacle. And now, to list the most obvious of the ….

REALITIES OF THE NEW COVENANT

1     It is a Blood Covenant  (Luke 22:20)

2     It is an Everlasting Covenant   (Hebrews 13:20)

3     It has an Altar  (Hebrews 13:10)

4     It has a Sacrifice  (1 Corinthians 5:7)

5     It has a Priesthood - a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)

6     It has a Tabernacle / Temple  (Hebrews 8:1-2)  (Ephesians 2:20-22)

7     It has a Holy Place  (Hebrews 10:19-20)

8     It has a Great Priest (Hebrews 10:21)

9     It has a Mercy Seat  (Hebrews 4:16) 

10   It has a True Worship  (Philippians 3:3)   (Ephesians 5:18-19)

11   It has the Sh’khinah Glory  (Hebrews 2:9)

12   It has a Law   (Romans 8:2)  (James 2:8)

13   It has a Public Identification Ordinance  (Matthew 28:19)

14   It has Manna from Heaven (John 6:32-35)

15   It has a Remembrance Ordinance  (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

16   It has a Great Convocation   (Hebrews 12:22-24)

17   It has a Sabbath Rest   (Hebrew 4:9-10)

18   It has a Ministry of Service  (Ephesians 4:11-12)

19   It has an Established Spiritual Kingdom  (Colossians 1:13)  (Acts 28:30-31)

20   It has a Holy City   (Revelation 21:2)

21   It has many other features which are pictured in the Old Covenant, including ...

            A Rod  (Divine discipline - Heb 12:5-11)

            Seven Lampstands  (Rev 1:20)

            The Sevenfold Holy Spirit  (Rev 4:5)

            A Veil (Heb 10:20)

            An Ark of His Covenant  (Rev 11:19)

            Seraphim  (Rev 4:8. compare Isa 6:2-3)

            A Commission  (Matt 28:19-20)

            A Promise  (Matt 28:20)

Does all this mean the New Covenant is a model of the Old? No! It’s the other way round – the Old Covenant features are models of the Heavenly and Divine realities that are features of the new everlasting covenant.

We will study some of the Patterns and the Realities the next chapter.   &


#5

 

THE ESSENTIAL ATONEMENT

 

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us

and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 

(1 John 4:10)

“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God

through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled,

we shall be saved by His life. And not only this,

but we also exult in God through our Master, Y’shua the Messiah,

through whom we have now received the atonement – the reconciliation.”

(Romans 5:10-11)

A simple definition of atonement has often been given as - “at-one-ment” – that is, the making of peace between a holy God and sinful men, so that they are “at one.”  Atonement does mean reconciliation, but it is not simply a matter of saying, “Lord, I’m sorry!” and expecting Him to simply forgive us just because of His love. And there is much more to the word “atonement” than forgiveness.

God is indeed full of love, and He does love the whole world; but He is also absolutely holy. Atonement must fulfil the righteous judgment of God against sin; it must deal with sin; it must turn away the righteous anger from the sinner; it must provide a basis for God to acquit sinners and to reconcile them to Himself; and it must furnish a divine remedy for the terrible curse and affects of sin. 

In the Old Testament, two Hebrews words are translated as atonement: kipurim meanings “coverings,” and kafar meaning “to cover.”  The need of the people of Israel was to be covered from the penalty of their sins. Sins had to be confessed, atoned for, and carried away.

In the New Testament the words ‘propitiation,’ ‘reconciliation’ and ‘atonement’ are used, sometimes interchangeably by various translations. In a couple of places ‘Mercy Seat’ is used instead of propitiation.

Some translators do not like the word propitiation because they feel it suggests appeasement - a pagan meaning - “appeasing the anger of the gods” or “buying their favour.”  But the meaning of ‘propitiation’ in the Bible does not carry that concept. Rather it means that a just punishment of our sins must be secured, and justice must be satisfied so that God can cover us with His righteousness. Propitiation means that God has a totally adequate and righteous ground to act in grace, mercy and forbearance.

Because of the atonement, instead of consigning the human family to the Lake of Fire, God is able to save and restore in His sovereignty. Because of the atonement, God is justified in causing His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sending rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. But the atonement furnishes a warrant for the ultimate eternal expulsion and punishment of the evil one, his fallen angels, and unbelievers – those who reject God’s provision.

We are talking here about the Atonement that the Messiah has accomplished at Calvary.

“My children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father - One who pleads our cause - Y’shua the Messiah, the Righteous One; and He Himself is the propitiation - the atoning sacrifice for our sins; and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)

“For this reason it was essential that He be made like His brethren in every respect, in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest in things related to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”  (Hebrews 2:17)

Without a perfect atonement there can be no forgiveness, and no reconciliation. That’s why I refer to it as The Essential Atonement.

The need for atonement goes right back to the Garden of Eden. After both Adam and Eve disobeyed His one prohibition, God provided garments of skin to cover their sin and nakedness. Yes God provided that first sacrifice; and Adam came face to face with the first physical death - the grim reality that in order to be reconciled to the holy God, and to be clothed in His Presence, a lovely animal needed to lose its life.

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

At the heart of the Old Covenant was the essential need and provision for Atonement.  The most important day on Israel’s calendar was Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement.

Yom Kippur literally means the “Day of Coverings.” It was the most solemn day of the Biblical year. It was on that day that Israel received covering for their sins of the past year. If there was no atonement made on that day, the nation would live under the condemnation of God.

“And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, ‘On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month, Tishrei, is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall afflict yourselves by fasting in penitence and humility, and bring an offering by fire to YHWH. And you shall not do any work on this same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before YHWH your God. If there is any person who will not afflict and humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people’.”   (Leviticus 23:26-29)

The way of atonement was a complex system which many of us may look on as simply ceremonial ritualism.  And ritual it was – ritual is something that is repeated again and again in the same way. But the events of the Day of Atonement were not light, inconsequential rituals. Every detail was prescribed by God, and for a reason - for instruction, both for Israel, and even for us who live in the New Covenant.

These priests serve in a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary. That is why when Moses was about to build the tabernacle, he was warned: SEE TO IT THAT YOU MAKE EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN YOU WERE SHOWN ON THE MOUNTAIN.” [Exodus 25:40] (Hebrews 8:5)

The Old Covenant system of atonement was not simply a “custom,” or a primitive superstitious practice. It pointed to the perfect work the Messiah;  it shows us that Messiah’s work of atonement was absolutely essential; it helps us to understand more clearly why Y’shua needed to die as a Sacrifice; it helps us to understand more deeply what was involved in the Atonement that Messiah accomplished at Calvary.

A news item from the US recently said about 2/3s of evangelicals doubting that Jesus is the only Way – is a case in point.  Many “believers” evidently have a very deficient view of man’s condition, and a very deficient appreciation of the atoning work of the Saviour. 

In earlier generations there was a much greater interest, and in-depth teaching, on the Tabernacle and God’s redemption program. Today such in-depth teaching seems to be sadly lacking.

 

 

THE TABERNACLE

PATTERNS OF THE HEAVENLY PLAN

The ritual of atonement, as recorded in Leviticus 16, required a Tabernacle, a High Priest, Holy Garments, the Sacrifice of a Bullock, a Goat and a Ram, an Altar, a Holy Place, a Mercy Seat, Coals of Fire, Sweet Incense, and a Scapegoat.

All of these things are pictures of spiritual realities.

“These priests serve in a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary.”  (Hebrews 8:5)

Although the Tabernacle and its rituals foreshadow the work of the Messiah, Y’shua, in every way, is so much more superior to all of it.

YHWH commanded: “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may tabernacle (dwell) among them. You shall make it exactly according to the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings that I am going to show you.”  (Exodus 25:8-9)

For the holy God to dwell among men there must be a meeting place – a place where atonement and reconciliation take place. The Tabernacle was the appointed place at that time; and it was the very centre of the life of Israel. 

The Tabernacle prefigured the Messiah. In His incarnation, Y’shua was, and still is, the Tabernacle of God. He is our meeting place in our “wilderness.” And He is the One who tabernacles with us.  He is the true centre of the church.

 “A body You prepared for Me.”… “The Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we saw His glory,” and “all the fullness of YHWH El Shaddai was pleased to dwell in Him.” (Hebrews 10:5; John 1:14; Colossians 1:19)

“You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God … and to Y’shua the Mediator of a New Covenant.”               (Hebrews 12:22, 24)

THE HIGH PRIEST   

The High Priest was to be a Mediator between man and the holy God; and he was to minister to the people as God’s representative. For this reason he was to be “holy unto God.” 

The high priest was consecrated to the holy service of Yahweh El Shaddai; and he wore a “holy crown” - a turban with a gold plate attached to it, with the words engraved on it, “HOLY TO YHWH.”  (Ex. 28:36- 37, Lev. 8:9.) 

After bathing and purifying his body, the High Priest was to wear holy garments. (Lev 16:4). 

The Hebrew words for “holy,” kadosh and kodesh, basically mean “set apart” – that is, sanctified to God, and consecrated to holiness. 

Aaron, set-apart, washed and clothed in holy garments, typified the Messiah in His intrinsic holiness. In His work of atonement, Y’shua our High Priest was totally sanctified.

“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:19)

Aaron, however, was a transient priest ministering over a temporary worship and atonement system. And although Aaron’s role foreshadowed the Messiah’s far greater ministry, Y’shua fulfilled the ministry of everlasting atonement, not as a high priest of the order of Aaron but of a higher order – the Order of Melkizedek.

Melkizedek was a king-priest, a worshipper of the Most High God, and he had no recorded beginnings or endings, which symbolizes “an endless life.” Y’shua is in reality the eternal King and High Priest.

“And we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, a hope both firm and secure, and one which enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,      where Y’shua, our forerunner, has entered on our behalf, having become High Priest forever after the order of Melkizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20)

“And the point becomes even clearer when another priest arises in the likeness of Malkitzedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a law concerning physical descent, but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared of Him, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MELKIZEDEK.” [Psalm 110:4] (Hebrews 7:15-17)

“… we have such a great high priest, Y’shua, ministering over the household of God.” (Hebrews 10:21)

And “we have such a High Priest who has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. There He is a minister in the inner sanctuary of the true tabernacle which was set up by YHWH, the LORD, not by man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2)

  THE ALTAR, AND

THE SACRIFICE FOR THE HIGH PRIEST

The High Priest first bathed and put on the holy garments, and then offered a bullock as a sin offering for himself and his family, at the brazen (bronze) altar which was in the court of the Tabernacle.  The altar was like a hollow box made of Shittim (acacia) wood overlaid with brass. In the centre of the box was a brass grate. Shittim wood is a hard indestructible wood that grows in the Sinai.

The wood of the altar represented the humanity of the Messiah who is described as “a root out of dry ground.” (Isaiah 53:2). The brass covering the shittim wood symbolizes the fiery, divine judgment of God. Y’shua’s humanity withstood the fiery judgment of the crucifixion, and proved indestructible by His resurrection from the dead.

The altar is where the animals of sacrifice were slain, and where the burnt offerings were completely consumed by fire.

Y’shua offered Himself up as a sin offering, and as a burnt offering, on the Cross of Calvary so that He might reconcile men to God.

“He does not have the daily necessity that the Aaronic high priests had, of offering up sacrifices, first for their own sins and then for the people’s sins, because Y’shua offered Himself once and for all as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.” (Hebrews 7:27)

 “For all the fullness of YHWH El Shaddai was pleased to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven; through Him, I say, having made peace through the blood He shed on His cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)

“The blood of His cross” speaks of the atoning work accomplished by Christ when He endured the divine wrath on the cross, and “gave His himself as a ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:6)

  THE HOLY OF HOLIES

Next the High Priest took a fire-holder filled with burning coals from the altar, and a bowl with two handfuls of sweet incense, and went into the Tabernacle.

As he entered the holy of holies he poured the incense into the fire-holder, and this emitted a thick, fragrant smoke that filled the room and shielded him from the Sh’khinah – the manifest glory of God which appeared in a cloud between the wings of the gold cherubim, and over the Mercy Seat - the gold lid that formed the top of the Ark of the Covenant.

The finely-ground sweet incense expresses the fragrance of the Messiah’s Presence and the sweet odour of His most precious sacrifice.

THE MERCY SEAT

The High Priest returned to the altar and took some of the blood of the bullock in a bowl and entered the Holy of Holies again, to sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat and in front of the Mercy Seat, seven times. (Seven the perfect number, spoke of the complete atonement.)

The Mercy Seat typifies the Throne of God which is transformed from a Throne of Judgment to a Throne of Grace when it was sprinkled with the atoning blood.

The High Priest was also to put blood on the four horns on the corners of the Altar of Incense which was in front of the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies.

After having satisfied the claims of the Divine Nature and the Throne of God, the High Priest was counted worthy to represent the people and to make atonement for the whole congregation of Israel.

The Messiah, in fulfilling the sacrifice of the High Priest for himself, did not need to atone for His own sins, for He was without sin.  But He needed to satisfy the claims, the requirements of the holy God – that He was totally and spiritually adequate to make atonement for mankind.

“And such a high priest meets our need perfectly - One who is holy, innocent, undefiled, set apart from sinners and exalted above the heavens. He does not have the daily necessity that the Aaronic high priests had, of offering up sacrifices, first for their own sins and then for the people’s sins, because Y’shua offered Himself once and for all as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.”  (Hebrews 7:26-27)

No one else was allowed to go into any part of the Tabernacle on the Day of Atonement while the High Priest was officiating. He alone made the atonement.

Y’shua, alone, accomplished the atonement at Calvary. There was no co-redeemer to help Him. And all the priests of the church age cannot add one iota to the full and perfect work of the Messiah.

“There is one God, (YHWH El Shaddai), and one mediator between God and men - the Man, Y’shua the Messiah.”  (1 Timothy 2:5)

Messiah is the Mercy Seat - the place of propitiation.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption which is in the Messiah, Y’shua, whom God set forth as a propitiation - a mercy seat* to make atonement by His blood through faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance, God had passed over the sins previously committed; to demonstrate, I say, His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Y’shua.”  (Romans 3:23-26)

(* JN Darby and Robert Young both use “Mercy Seat” instead of “propitiation” in this verse. The Greek word is hilasterion, the same word as used for “Mercy Seat” in Hebrews 9:5.)

Because the Messiah has entered the Holy of Holies in Heaven as our Mediator, our Redeemer, our High Priest, every true believer can now draw near to the Throne of Grace, which is to us, the Mercy Seat.

“But when Christ, the Messiah appeared as High Priest of the better things to come, and that are now here, He entered into the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with human hands, that is to say, not of this material creation. He entered once and for all into the Holy of Holies in Heaven. And He entered, not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of His own blood, having secured eternal redemption for us.”        (Hebrews 9:11-12)

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Y’shua - by a new and living way which He consecrated and opened for us - a way through the curtain, that is, through His flesh - His torn body, and since we have such a great high priest ministering over the household of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

“Let us then approach the Throne of Grace with full confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:16) 

THE TWO GOATS

 

THE SACRIFICE FOR THE PEOPLE

 

Back out in the court, the High Priest would now take two goats from the congregation for their atonement. One was to be slain, and the other was to be sent out as a Scapegoat which symbolically carried Israel’s sins away to oblivion in the wilderness. 

After lots were cast to determine which of the two goats should be slain, the scapegoat was turned to face the people until the time for the transferal of sins. This is a beautiful type of Y’shua who was brought forth by Pilate and stood before the people as He was about to be led outside the camp, bearing the iniquities of the people.

The first goat was then slain as a sin offering.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“Surely He has taken up our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted ... YHWH has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”  (Isaiah 53:4, 6)

The High Priest took some blood of the goat into the Tabernacle and sprinkled it seven times in the same manner as he did with the bullock’s blood – on and in front of the Mercy Seat, and on the horns of the Altar of Incense. This was to cleanse, not only the people, but the Tabernacle itself, and the Altar of Incense from contamination of Israel – necessary because the Tabernacle was in the midst of sinful people.

The congregation of Israel waited outside for the High Priest to come out. They were greatly relieved when he finally came out, with hands lifted up, to indicate that God had accepted the atonement.

But the ceremony was not over yet.  The High Priest had to go to the Brazen Altar where he mixed some of the blood of the bullock and of the goat in a basin, and with his fingers, sprinkled it on the four corner horns of the Altar of Sacrifice, to cleanse it also.

   THE SCAPEGOAT

The word scapegoat is azazel in Hebrew which comes from two words – “goat” and “depart.” It denotes the idea of “entire removal” – the removal of Israel’s sins. The High Priest placed his bloodied

hands on the head of the Scapegoat, confessing all the sins of Israel over the past year, and thus symbolically transferring them all to the goat.

The Scapegoat, bearing all their sins, was then led away into the wilderness – a place where they could no longer be found. Like, “the depths of the sea”:

“He will again have compassion on us; He will tread down our iniquities. You will throw all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19)

“The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”  (Leviticus 16:22)

Some people teach that the scapegoat is a type of Satan, and that it is he who carries the sins of the people away into the wilderness - the lake of fire.

But no!  Satan has no part in the Atonement! That idea would mean that Satan finally removes the sins of mankind, and completes the work of redemption. No!

The significance of the two goats is fulfilled by the Messiah. The great preacher, C H Spurgeon, refuted the idea of Satan being the scapegoat. He explained that the first goat was slain to make atonement; the second goat represents the effects of the atonement - the complete removal of sin.

“He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by His sacrifice of Himself.”  (Hebrews 9:26)

Christ’s sacrifice paid the penalty of sins, cancelled out the certificate of debt against us, triumphed over Satan, and totally justified all believers by His resurrection. (Read Colossians 2:13-15)

“You know that He was revealed in order to take away our sins; and in Him there is no sin.” (1 John 3:5)

Another great old time Bible teacher, C H MacIntosh, wrote:  “The two goats on the day of atonement give the double aspect of the one act (Christ upon the cross). In the one we see God’s glory maintained; in the other, sins put away. The one is as perfect as the other. We are as perfectly forgiven as God is perfectly glorified by the death of Christ.”

And how many sins of Israel did the scapegoat take away? All! And Y’shua the Anointed One (not Satan) took all our sins away. All of them!

“And He Himself is the propitiation - the atoning sacrifice for our sins; and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

All our sins are covered by the Atonement that was accomplished through the death of the Son of God. And all that is left for sinners to do to receive the forgiveness, cleansing, and covering - the salvation that is available in the Atonement, is to believe that Y’shua is the Anointed One, the Saviour, and receive His finished work on their behalf. The Gospel is summed up in Paul’s words:

“The Messiah died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). And “the Word of faith which we are proclaiming is: if you confess with your mouth Y’shua as LORD (your Sovereign, Heavenly Master), and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)

This is the positive Gospel for all today – Gentiles and Jews alike. And the Jews need to realize that although the sins of the people of Israel were covered and symbolically removed, those sins were not taken away actually and completely until the Messiah came. The writer to the Hebrews declared clearly:

“It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”                      (Hebrews 10:4)

The question comes up: “Why did God prescribe animal sacrifices when their blood could not actually take away their sins?” The answer is that a blood sacrifice was required because “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

After the first sin, in the Garden of Eden, God demonstrated that the penalty for sin was death. Adam and Eve died spiritually the very day they sinned; and then an animal needed to die to provide a covering for them, and to reconcile them to God.

Then God demonstrated to Cain that a blood sacrifice was required – the produce of his own works was neither acceptable nor adequate to deal with sin.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”  (Leviticus 17:11)

The shed blood means the life is given – the penalty has been paid.  From Eden, and right down through the Old Covenant until Calvary, animal sacrifices provided a provisional covering from the wrath of God because of sin.

The Old Covenant atonement meant that believing Israelites were “covered,” year by year, because they availed of the provisions God had outlined for them in the sacrificial system. But their actual forgiveness was on the basis of the “the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.” The actual propitiation - the wiping out of their sins took place when the Messiah made everlasting atonement through His death at Calvary for the sins of all mankind of all time.

Now, while we see the wonders of salvation that are available for us all as sinners through the sacrifice of the Anointed One, let us not fail to see the most important significance in the Atonement. Look at this:

THE LORD’S “LOT”

“Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for YHWH and the other lot for the scapegoat. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for YHWH fell, and make it a sin offering.”  (Leviticus 16:8-9)

The goat that was slain was for YHWH; the scapegoat was for the people. In the two goats we have two aspects of the atonement. First, the LORD’s lot – the goat that was slain as a sin offering, foreshadowed the death of God’s Anointed One - the sacrifice that satisfies the holiness and justice of God and that glorifies Him in all respects regarding the judgment of sin. It represents the judgment of the sins of the world. It foreshadowed the tremendous work that perfectly vindicated the majesty, the truth, holiness, and character of God.

Secondly, while the scapegoat indicated a removal of the sins of Israel, it foreshadowed the efficacy – the effectiveness of Messiah’s sacrifice in dealing with the condemnation and guilt caused by sin, and its power to justify everyone who by faith puts his hands “on the head of the Scapegoat.”

After the Scapegoat was led away, there was one more important work to complete the Day of Atonement. The fat of the bull and goat that had been sacrificed as sin offerings was burned on the brazen altar, but the carcasses of the animals were taken and burned outside the camp.  

In fulfilling the sin offering Y’shua the Messiah was taken out of the city to be “burned” - the fire of the divine judgment fell upon Him.

“For while the high priest brings the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as an offering for sin, their bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Y’shua also suffered outside the city gate in order that He might sanctify the people through His own blood.”    (Hebrews 13:11-12)

The next verses present us with an exhortation to go outside the camp with the Messiah.

“Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach - sharing the contempt, abuse and shame He endured. For we do not have a permanent city here, but we seek the one that is coming.”  (Hebrews 13:13-14)

Oh it is indeed a mercy if we live outside the camp – separated from all that rejects our blessed Lord and Saviour.

THE RAMS OF THE BURNT OFFERINGS

Accompanying the bull and the goat sin offerings, a ram was sacrificed as a burnt offering. 

The term “burnt offering” comes from the Hebrew word olah, meaning to “ascend upwards.” The whole of the offering was burned completely on the altar, as the name indicates. Its smoke ascended to God and represented the fullest form of consecration and worship. On major festivals and new moons in Israel, burnt offerings were offered day and night as a perpetual sacrifice.

“If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will* at the door of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before YHWH.”  (Leviticus 1:3. *KJV)

The burnt offering foreshadows the Messiah consecrating and offering Himself for the perfect accomplishment of the will of God.

Y’shua shrank from becoming the sin-bearer, but He was totally committed to glorifying the Father and fulfilling His will.

In the sin offering the Messiah’s life is taken from Him. (Acts 8:33). 

In the burnt offering, Messiah voluntarily gives His life.

“No one takes it from me but I lay it down of myself.”  (John 10:18)

ATONEMENT ONCE FOR ALL

Messiah’s atonement means that believers of all ages now have, not only a status of “sins covered,” but they have a permanent status of “totally justified.”

“We have been sanctified through the offering once for all of the body of Y’shua the Messiah. Day after day every priest performs his duty, again and again offering the same sacrifices which can never take away sins; but when this Priest - the Messiah - had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. ... For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”  (Hebrews 10:10-12, 14)  Read also Galatians 2:16.

Y’shua fulfilled the realities of what was foreshadowed in the Tabernacle, the incense, the sacrifices - the sin offering, the burnt offering, the scapegoat, and also the role of the High Priest.  He fulfilled the sacrifices as well as the role of the one who carried out the sacrifices.

Yes, all the Tabernacle ceremonies and features were pictures of the heavenly and divine, but Y’shua and His atoning work is the real thing – the everlasting realities that God had in store for believers.

“But when Christ, the Messiah appeared as High Priest of the better things to come, He entered into the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with human hands, that is to say, not of this material creation. He entered once and for all into the Holy of Holies in Heaven.

“And He entered, not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of His own blood, having secured eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a burnt heifer sprinkled on those who have been defiled, is sufficient to sanctify for the purification of the flesh so that they become ceremonially clean, how much more will the blood of the Messiah, the Anointed - who by virtue of His eternal Spirit (His eternal divine personality) offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God - cleanse your conscience from dead works, so that we may serve the living God!

“For this reason - His sacrifice - He is the Mediator of a new covenant. Because a death has taken place which redeems people from the transgressions committed under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.”  (Hebrews 9:11-15)

“For Christ, the Anointed, did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands - a mere copy of the true one. He entered heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor did He enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Holy of Holies every year with blood of other creatures; for then He would have needed to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But as it now is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by His sacrifice of Himself.”  (Hebrews 9:24-26)

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION

Reconciliation is not simply one person saying, “I’m sorry,” and the other saying, “I am sorry also.”  That may be fine if you have had a tiff with a friend, or family member. Atonement is not a simple matter of patching up your differences.

For reconciliation with our Almighty God, we need a Sacrifice, a High Priest, a Mercy Seat, and an Atonement. But we do not have to wait for the 10th of Tishrei in October to avail of the Mercy Seat. Atonement has already been made; the Mercy Seat in Heaven has already been “sprinkled.” This whole Age of Grace is a time when a sinner can personally receive and enter into the realities and blessings that are available through Messiah’s perfect work of Atonement.

All a person needs to do is to believe in, and receive Messiah’s sacrifice on his behalf, and to identify himself with the risen Saviour who takes away our sins.

And now, each one of us who own Y’shua, Jesus, as our Saviour and Master, must permeate our thinking, and our lives, with the message of Atonement, for this is the main ministry given to us.

 “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Y’shua the Messiah, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was personally present in the Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men’s trespasses against them; and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Messiah; it’s as though God was right here personally appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of the Messiah; be reconciled to God! He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

To reconcile men to God means teaching them of atonement – of how they can be reconciled through the Saviour’s perfect sacrifice. They need to know of their terrible lost estate if they are not included in the Atonement, and why Y’shua alone can save them.

I do not mean to say that we have to teach all the details of the shadows in the Tabernacle to seeking souls. The Gospel should not be presented as a complicated system. As I quoted earlier, the Gospel is ...

“The Messiah died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

And “if you confess with your mouth Y’shua as LORD, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  (Romans 10:8-10)

But young, and older believers, need to be taught so that they have a deep appreciation of the wonders of God’s provision and salvation through the Atonement.

Such appreciation must include an understanding of the awfulness of sin, and that God does not simply overlook it. Sin was atoned for at tremendous cost. And our appreciation must have a high value of the perfect plan and purpose in the Lamb of God that was slain at Calvary; that God is absolutely vindicated and glorified through the atonement which righteously dealt with sin and the evil one, and at the same time enables Him to extend grace to all.

Christ has for sin atonement made,

I am redeemed, the price is paid;              

What a wonderful Saviour!

I praise Him for the cleansing blood,   

That reconciled my soul to God;    

What a wonderful Saviour!         

         

He cleansed my heart from all it’s sin,  

And now He reigns and rules therein; 

What a wonderful Saviour!

He gives me overcoming power,       

And triumph in each trying hour;  

What a wonderful Saviour!

 

What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Jesus!

What a wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord!        &


#6

THE NEW COVENANT -

A NEW AND LIVING WAY

 

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Y’shua - by a new and living way which He consecrated and opened for us - a way through the curtain, that is, His flesh - His torn body, and since we have such a great high priest ministering over the household of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled and cleansed from a guilty conscience, even as our bodies have been washed with pure water.”  (Hebrews 10:19-22)

IN THE Old Covenant we have patterns and pictures of spiritual and eternal realities. The Law itself was a tutor to bring us to Christ as it brings conviction of sin so that we turn in faith to the Saviour. (Galatians 3:24). The Law however, cannot bring anyone to perfection; and the Old Covenant was set aside so that we might live in the New, in the power of the resurrection of Christ.

“For there is a setting aside of the former commandment because it was weak and ineffectual - for the Law made nothing perfect or complete - and instead, a better hope is introduced through which we now draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:18-19)

“Just as Messiah was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Let’s now meditate on some of the realities of this “New and Living Way.”

The New Covenant is an Everlasting Covenant

It was promised through the prophets, (Isaiah 55:3; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 37:26), but it was brought into being only through the blood of the Great Shepherd, Y’shua the Messiah.

“Now may YHWH SHALOM, the God of Peace, who brought Y’shua our Master, the Redeemer and Great Shepherd of the Sheep, back from the dead in the power of the blood that ratified the everlasting covenant.”                 (Hebrews 13:20)

God’s provisions in the everlasting covenant include eternal life (1 John 5:13), everlasting redemption (Heb 9:12) an everlasting inheritance (Heb 9:15), everlasting consolation (2 Thess 2:16), eternal glory (2 Tim 2:10, 1 Pet 5:10), and Presence of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit with you, and in you, always and forever. (Matt 28:20; John 14:16; Rom 8:9-11).

I remember singing years ago: “Only a sinner saved by grace.” Well, before being saved we were indeed, condemned sinners. But having been saved by grace we are now much more than a “saved sinner.” In Christ, we are a new creation; we are part of the Temple and Body of the Messiah; we are heirs of the Father, and heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5) – and it’s all by grace.

The New Covenant has established a New Temple of the LORD

Individually, the believer is a temple of God (1 Cor 6:19), but believers, collectively, are a corporate temple, a dwelling place of God.

“For we are the temple of the Living God. As God has said, I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY WILL BE MY PEOPLE.”  [Ezekiel 37:27]. (2 Cor 6:16)

“You are fellow-citizens with the set-apart people of God, and members of the household of God, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the Messiah, Y’shua Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy Dwelling Place (temple) in YHWH the LORD; in whom you also are being built together into a Dwelling Place of Elohim, God in the Spirit.”   (Ephesians 2:20-22)

In this passage, the Temple of God is likened to a building that is being constantly extended; it is a residence for God.

The Sh’khinah Glory in the New Temple

The purpose of a temple is to be the dwelling place of God. The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle in the wilderness was the residing place of the Sh’khinah Glory - the manifest Presence of God. And so also was it in Solomon’s Temple on Mount Moriah.  The glory filled the temple. (2 Chronicles 7:2)

And the New Covenant Temple is now the dwelling place of the Sh’khinah – “Christ in you the Hope of Glory – the Assurance and Foretaste of eternal glory.”  (Colossians 1:27)

And He, the Son, is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His very being and nature, and He upholds all things by His powerful word.”  (Hebrews 1:3)

“For it is God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts for the enlightening of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Y’shua the Messiah. And we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.”  (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

The Temple is also the Body of Christ

The Body of Christ, which is the Temple, is made up of millions of believers; all are members of the Head, Y’shua, and they are also members one of another.

“For as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of that one body, though they are many, are one body, so also is the Messiah.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so in Messiah, we who are many, are one body, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:4-5)

In a building, a brick can’t do without the mortar, and a door handle can’t do without the door, and the sink can’t do without a drain. And in a body, a finger can’t do without the hand; the bones can’t do without the joints, the heart can’t do without the blood, and the muscles can’t do with without the ligaments. 

The head is undoubtedly the most important part of the human body, for the brain gives directions to every part of the body. Likewise, Christ is the Head and Director of all of His whole body; and He alone is the Head. The Body is not made up of many heads. The members of the Body are more appropriately described as body cells.

In building His Body, Messiah intended that every member has an appointed place, a function, a responsibility, and should have an effective involvement in what we may call “Body Ministry.”

“… speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the Head - the Messiah, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by that which every joint supplies, according to the effective working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)

The Ministry of Edification

For the purpose of building up the Body the Messiah has placed overseers, elders and attendants (mature leaders) amongst His people with specific functions.

“And He gave and placed some members as apostles (emissaries, sent-ones), some as prophets (inspired proclaimers of the testimony of Y’shua - Rev 19:10), some as evangelists (preachers of the Gospel), and some as shepherds (pastors who care for the sheep), and teachers, for the perfecting of the set-apart believers, for the work of service, for the building up of the body of Messiah.”  (Ephesians 4:11-12)

In the New Covenant there is no distinction such as in the modern practice of “clergy and laity”; there are no “lords and commoners”; and there are to be no bosses lording it over the flock (1 Peter 5:3). All believers are sanctified – set-apart, and anointed for their God appointed place of Body ministry. (1 Cor 1:2.  John 2:20).

“But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” (1 Corinthians 12:18)

The building up of the Body requires more than the dedicated service of a single leader, or even of several elders. Every believer is to play a part; in a very real sense, every believer is to help shepherd and to build up the Body by encouraging, helping, praying, serving and ministering in a multitude of ways.

But there is more to it than “building yourselves up in your most holy faith.” (Jude 20).  There is …

The Ministry of Worship

To worship in spirit and truth is to glorify El Shaddai. And this is one main purpose for which we were created, and have been redeemed.

“Everyone who is called by My Name whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, yes, whom I have made.”  (Isaiah 43:7)

He who offers praise glorifies Me.”  (Psalm 50:23)

“For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in the Messiah, Y’shua, and put no confidence in the flesh.”  (Philippians 3:3)

The ministry of worship is not simply for “the worship team,” it is for every believer. And it is not a matter of how good your vocal chords are; the true worship is praise and adoration expressed from the heart.

“Be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; singing and making songs of praise in your heart to the LORD.”  (Ephesians 5:18-19)

We are a Royal Priesthood

The New Covenant differs in many ways to the Old Covenant, but here is one very obvious, and blessed, difference. In the Old, only men from the Tribe of Levi could become priests. In the New Covenant every believer (whether male or female) is a priest unto God; and we are a very special type of priest; we are royal priests for we are members of the Messiah who is our King and our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). And Y’shua’s priesthood is not according to the Mosaic line; it is of a different order:

“He says in another psalm, YOU ARE A PRIEST FOR EVER, ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELKIZEDEK (Mal-ki-tze-dek)’.” [Psalm 110:4]  (Hebrews 5:6)

And the privileged position of every born again believer “in Christ,” is also that of a royal priest.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

The “ROYAL PART” is that as the Body and Bride of the King of Kings, we are called to reign with Him during the Millennium, and also throughout eternity.

“Blessed and holy are those who have a part in the first resurrection; the second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)

“The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdom of YHWH our LORD and of His Anointed – the Messiah; and He will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)  

“There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His bond-servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because YHWH the LORD God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”  (Revelation  22:3-5)

The preparation for our future participation in the King’s reign is going on right now, and because we are going to reign with Him, we are encouraged to patiently endure the pressures and battles of this present life.

“If we endure, remember we will also reign together with Him.”                         (2 Timothy 2:12)

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is a crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Master, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have loved and longed for His appearing.”  (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

The “PRIESTHOOD PART” is that in fellowship with our Great High Priest we have, not only the ministry of worship, but also a ministry of intercession.

“For through Him (Messiah) we both, Jews and Gentiles, have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18)

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Y’shua - by a new and living way which He consecrated and opened for us - a way through the curtain, that is, His flesh - His torn body, and since we have such a great high priest ministering over the household of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith …”                         (Hebrews 10:19-22)

“I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a calm and peaceful life in all reverence and seriousness. This type of prayer is good, and is approved by God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

“Praying in the Spirit at all times, with every prayer and supplication. To this end, keep alert and watch with all perseverance, interceding for all the set-apart people of God.”  (Ephesians 8:18)

The Holy City and Great Convocation

Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Festival convocations of Israel were all great realities in the life of ancient Israel, and they were foreshadows, in miniature, of the heavenly and eternal realities of the New Covenant.

Here is a description of the grandeur of the New Covenant city and the great heavenly convocation:

“And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2)

“And I looked and saw a Lamb that appeared to have been slain, standing in the centre the throne and among the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders ...  And they sang a new song:

You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You have redeemed us to God out of every tribe, language, people and nation. You have made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign over the earth.’

“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was thousands of thousands - myriads and myriads - millions. And they were saying with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom, and might and honour and glory and blessing.’

“And I heard every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and everything in them, saying:

“To the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honour, and glory and power, for ever and ever’.”   (Revelation 5:6, 9-13)

This is the glorious convocation in which we may participate right now, in spirit, and in which we will share, in our glorified bodies, in the future ages.

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God; to myriads of angels, to the Universal Assembly, to the Ekklesia - the corporate body of ‘The Firstborn’ who are enrolled in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect; and you have come to Y’shua the Mediator of a New Covenant and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of mercy - a more gracious message than the blood of Abel which cried out for vengeance.”  (Hebrews 12:22-24)

This will be the ultimate “King of Kings Festival”; our Pesach, Shavuot, Succoth - our Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles all in one, as Yahweh-Y’shua is worshipped, exalted and magnified eternally.

In the meantime, while we watch, and wait, and occupy till He comes, we have …

A BLESSED REMEMBRANCE

“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you; that the Master, Y’shua, on the night when He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’

“In the same way, after supper, He also took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Master’s death until He comes.”   (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

The Saviour introduced The Remembrance during a Passover meal. The matzah (unleavened bread) represented His body. And Y’shua was the true bread from heaven.

 “Then Y’shua said to them, ‘I tell you the truth; Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world’ … ‘I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty’.”   (John 6:32-35)

But Y’shua was also the Lamb of God, and His body was “broken” at Calvary for the redemption of all who believe in Him.  So “breaking the bread” reminds us of His sacrifice on our behalf.

The “fruit of the vine” (Luke 22:18) and the cup represents the blood of the Lamb which cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7), and also ratifies the New Covenant (Heb 13:20).

“… after they had eaten, He took the cup, saying, “This cup represents the New Covenant ratified by My blood which is to be poured out for you.”            (Luke 22:20)

So both the bread and the cup must cause us to remember the redeeming, atoning work of the Lamb of God for us on the cross. The bread reminds us of the Living Bread on which we may feast in a spiritual sense. And the cup reminds of the joy of new life that we have in Christ, in the New Covenant.

Many assemblies and churches faithfully maintain a regular “communion” observance, but sometimes “the Lord’s Table” becomes a short ritual – no longer a meal, but a mini snippet.

It can be refreshing for a family or home group to have the Remembrance during a relaxed meal time, like the small New Testament groups did – meeting in homes.

“They continued steadfastly, in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers … and they were breaking bread from house to house, taking their meals with gladness, and in simplicity and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Master was adding to the assembly daily, those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42, 46-47)

The early believers were having a lot of fellowship, and were building each other up in their holy faith. They were growing and evangelizing daily.

The New Covenant set people free, and set them on fire for God. And this was the blessed new emphasis – preaching the Gospel worldwide.

The emphasis in the Old Covenant was on teaching and instructing; and Israel, of course, was to be a witness to Yahweh amongst the nations.  But the New Covenant emphasis is on teaching and preaching the Good News, and being Messiah’s witness to the uttermost parts of the earth.

The Master’s Great Commission was given to believers of the New Covenant. So brethren, let us press on to fulfil that Commission:

“And Y’shua came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) 

AMEN!    &


#7

MESSIAH CAME TO FULFIL

THE LAW, THE PROPHETS, THE TYPES, THE FEASTS,

AND THE ETERNAL PLAN of REDEMPTION

“Y’shua said to them,

‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me,

and to finish His work’.” (John 4:34).

“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify You ...

I glorified You on earth; I have accomplished the work which You gave Me to do.”

(John 17:1-4)

A question that once weighed on my mind was ...

AS WE ARE UNDER THE NEW COVENANT,  WHY DO WE RETAIN THE OLD TESTAMENT IN OUR BIBLE? 

The simple answer is because both the Old and the New Testaments are the Word of God.

The apostles had no New Testament, and they fully accepted, and referred to the Tanakh (the Old Testament) as the Scriptures – the Word of God.

Paul wrote to Timothy:

 “From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures (The Tanakh) which are able to make you wise in respect to salvation through faith in the Messiah, Y’shua. All Scripture is divinely-inspired - God-breathed, and is profitable for teaching, for conviction and reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate and complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”   (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

That should be enough to convince the believer that the Old Testament is divinely-inspired, and is essential for our understanding and growth in our spiritual lives.

We are indebted to the “Jewish Bible” for important historical records from the creation to the birth of the Messiah, and for valuable background to our faith. But much more! The Messianic prophecies in the OT confirm Y’shua as the Messiah.  The prophecies concerning the endtimes and future are also invaluable. Moreover, our civil law has for centuries been based on the ordinances and precepts of both Old and New Testaments.  And the promises and blessings in the Old Testament we would never like to discard! So to ignore or downgrade the Old Testament would simply add to our own detriment.

Another unanswered question in my mind, was …

WHY ARE THERE ONLY 66 BOOKS IN THE BIBLE?

The O.T. has 39 + N.T., 27 making a total of 66. But for a compilation of books that are the divinely-inspired Counsel of God, these numbers do not seem to be complete!  Why not, say, 70 books?

(In Scripture we see the significance of 70. Moses appointed seventy elders - Numbers 11:16-25; seventy ‘weeks’ were appointed for Israel - Daniel 9:14; Y’shua appointed seventy disciples - Luke 10:1, 17).

Then, I learned that the Bible is, in fact, composed of 70 books. 

The Book of Psalms is actually five books, although they are not usually printed as separate books.  The five books have been clubbed together, evidently for convenience. The divisions are shown, however, in most of our Bibles.  

Book One:      Psalms   1   –   41

Book Two:     Psalms  42   –  72

Book Three:   Psalms  73   –  89 

Book Four:    Psalms  90  – 106 

Book Five:     Psalms 107 – 150

Now another question that used to concern me …

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH RITUAL IN THE OLD COVENANT,  AND VERY LITTLE IN THE NEW?

I have come to realise and appreciate that the rituals were shadows and types of the Messiah and His redemptive plan. Now, since the Messiah has come, there is little need for rituals, for we have the realities. But we must confess that there are quite a few rituals practiced in the NT church – many of them without scriptural warrant.  Some rituals are not wrong – they are simply our modus operandi – the way we work and express worship and remembrance.

In the Old Testament, many of the rituals were essential for remembrance, and for spiritual edification.  Likewise in the New Covenant. But what is wrong is to accept and practise rituals for rituals’ sake, or simply to imitate someone else’s practices.

The terms of the Old Covenant which were binding on Israel, are not binding on the church because Messiah “makes all things new.” (Rev 21:5). And in Messiah “all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

Then what did the Master mean when He said:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke will by any means pass away from the Law until everything is accomplished.”  (Matthew 5:17-18) ?

Does He mean the Law will continue to the end of the world? No, His words indicated that the Law would be annulled when it was fulfilled. And when Y’shua, the Pesach Lamb of God, completed the work of atonement and redemption, He proclaimed victoriously: It is finished!”  (John 19:30)

That is when He made us alive in Him, and “cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us … having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15)

“For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes in Him.”  (Romans 10:4)

“And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. …  If then the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  (John 8:32, 36)

But does “free” mean we now have freedom to do whatever we want? No! It is freedom to live unto God by His grace - in the power of Messiah’s resurrection.

We are not lawless! Many of the principles and guidelines of the Old Testament are repeated in the New. And the New Testament itself has some 1050 exhortations and commands.

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not present the members of your body as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”                       (Romans 6:12-14)

In the New Covenant we are under a higher law ...

“… for the law of the Spirit of Life in the Messiah, Y’shua, has set me (you) free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness or guise of sinful man to be an offering for sin. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh, the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.”   (Romans 8:2-4)

So this brings me to one more question ... 

WHAT ABOUT “HOLY DAYS” AND FESTIVALS?

The children of Israel were obliged to keep Shabbat - the Sabbath –  and the seven annuals festivals  - THE FEASTS OF YHWH. 

Most Christians celebrate two festivals – Christmas and Easter, and they feel they should attend church for communion and worship on Sundays if possible.

More traditional churches observe the fast of Lent, Pentecost, All Saints Day, and some extra “holy days.”

Some of the “Christian” special days have no Scriptural basis, and some have aspects that are pagan in origin.

The apostle Paul, who has more to say on church practices than other writers, seems to encourage the observance of spiritual events.

“Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new batch without leaven - because in reality you are unleavened. For our Passover Lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed for us. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old yeast, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

This was the 8-day season of Unleavened Bread including Passover that Paul was referring to.

On one occasion Paul was hurrying to be in Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 20:16). In First Corinthians Paul wrote, “Let us celebrate the feast (Passover),” but in Romans, he declares that believers are not bound by special days!

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Master is able to make him stand. One man regards one day as more sacred than others; another man regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes one day as special, does so to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.  (Romans 14:4-6)

All the festivals of the Old Covenant looked forward to their ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah. And indeed, Y’shua fulfils them all.

The festivals are not mandatory for the church, but we can learn a lot from them.  And if one desires to observe and enjoy the Festivals of YHWH – by remembering and celebrating the work of Messiah, he is free to do so, and is encouraged to do so.  (2 Corinthians 5:7-8).  But the New Covenant does not arbitrate for, or against, special days. 

 

WHAT ARE THE FESTIVALS OF THE LORD?

In Leviticus 23 we read of THE LORD’S APPOINTED TIMES. These times were the weekly Sabbath, and the seven annual convocations (festivals or feasts, but one was a solemn day of humility).

These times were appointed for, and mandatory for, Israel. All Jewish males were required to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year to appear before the LORD. Usually their whole families would go with them, and they were very joyful occasions as the people enjoyed immensely going up to Zion, the City of God.  And it was possible for most people as it was no more than 5 or 6 days journey on foot from the most remote parts of Israel to Jerusalem.

Today, Pesach is very special to Jews all over the world, and all the hotels of Jerusalem are packed with privileged Israelites from around the world, for the Passover week. But for many Jews in the Diaspora (outside Israel), a journey to Jerusalem is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – as it is for most Christians.

It’s just as well that visits to Jerusalem are not mandatory today; there would not be enough planes to carry everyone, and not a fraction of the hotels needed to accommodate them!

Let’s look at the festivals and see their significance for believers today. We read about them in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28 & 29. The first three are in the first month of the Biblical calendar - Nisan.

1. PESACH - PASSOVER.  14th Nisan  (in March-April)

Pesach commemorated God’s great deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. The roots of the Pesach lamb and Pesach meal are in Exodus 12.  The name comes from the fact that on the night that Passover was established, the Angel of Death moved over the land of Egypt slaying the eldest child in each Egyptian family. The Israelites were spared because they obeyed God’s command to slay an unblemished lamb and to apply its blood to their front doors. When the Angel saw the blood he “passed over” that house.

Israel was commanded to observe the ordinance of Passover perpetually - forever.  (Exodus 12:24-25)

The significance of Pesach for the believer is REDEMPTION. “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed” for us. (1 Corinthians 5:7)

“For you know that it was not with perishable things like silver or gold that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of the Messiah, a Lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

 “The Lord’s Supper” of which Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 11:17-28 clearly has its origin in Pesach, for during the Passover meal ...  Y’shua took bread ...

“and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper, He also took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Master’s death until He comes’.”  (1 Corinthians 11:24-26)

In this passage Paul is concerned about the event rather than the day. He makes no specifics about when, or how often, the “breaking of bread” should take place.  The early Christians evidently celebrated the “breaking of the bread” during their fellowship meals.

The “breaking of bread,” like Pesach, is a remembrance occasion.  Pesach looks back to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. The “breaking of bread” looks back to Calvary and the believer’s deliverance from spiritual Egypt – the kingdom of darkness.

2. THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD

      15th to 21st Nisan (falls in March-April)

This seven-day season began on the day after Passover. It was a period when no leaven was permitted in the homes of the people. Leaven in scripture represents sin or evil, so the removing of leaven signified the removal of all defilement from Israel. These eight days were to be a time a renewal and commitment to the ways of the LORD.

The significance of this season of the Lord, for the believer, is HOLINESS TO THE LORD. The command is in the New Covenant as well as the Old … 

“YOU SHALL BE SET-APART (HOLY), FOR I AM SET-APART (HOLY).”  (Leviticus 11:44.  1 Peter 1:16)

The sanctifying work of the Messiah is constantly operating and producing holiness in our lives. But we, like Israel, are called to remove sin from our lives and homes. And more, we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. (Romans 12:1-2)

It would be tremendous if all churches today had a special season of ministry at least once a year, with the theme of holiness, sanctification, surrender, and walking in the Spirit. Selah!

“But now having been freed from sin and having become servants of God, the fruit and benefit you receive is in sanctification; and the outcome is eternal life.”  (Romans 6:22)

3. THE WAVING OF THE SHEAF – FIRST FRUITS

This falls on the day after the Sabbath which follows Pesach – so it was always on the first day of the week (Sat sunset to Sun sunset).  It involved the waving – or presenting - of a sheaf of the first fruits of the barley harvest to the LORD.  It expressed thankfulness to God for His provision, and it acknowledged His Hand of blessing on the crops of the land.

The significance for the believer of the Waving of the Sheaf on “first day of the week” is the RESURRECTION of Y’shua the Messiah.

“Messiah has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For just as all through union with Adam die, so all who are in union with the Messiah will be made alive, but each one in his own order. The Messiah is the firstfruits; then those who belong to the Messiah, at the time of His coming.”   (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

And of course, Y’shua rose from the dead on the first day of the week – sometime after sunset on Saturday, and before dawn on Sunday morning.

So the significance of this event, is …

I serve a risen Saviour; He’s in the world today.

And more …

“God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with the Messiah - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly realms in Messiah Y’shua.”      (Ephesians 2:4-6)          

We are “in Christ” and are called to walk in newness of life.  (Romans 6:4)

4.  SHAVUOT  - THE FEAST OF WEEKS  -  (PENTECOST)  (falls in May-June)

The fourth festival, Shavuot falls on the 50th day after the waving of the barley sheaf. The Greek word Pentecost means “fifty days.” Shavuot means “weeks.” It occurs in the third month, Sivan (May-June), but the date is variable. It depends on the waving of the sheaf during the week of Unleavened Bread.  So it also fell on “the first day of the week.”

Shavuot was a wheat harvest festival and a holy convocation. Two loaves of leavened bread were presented to the LORD.

The Jews have a tradition that Shavuot was the day when God gave the Law at Mt Sinai, and the two loaves represent the two tablets. Exodus 19 indicates that Israel arrived in the wilderness of Sinai in the third month (Sivan), but there is no scripture to support the belief that the Law was given on Shavuot. 

Prophetically, Shavuot looked forward to THE HARVEST – THE FIRST FRUITS (the formation of THE BODY OF MESSIAH) which was the result of the Messiah laying down His life. As Y’shua said:

“I am telling you the truth; unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone - all by itself. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.”        (John 12:24)

“As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied. By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify many, as He will bear their iniquities.”  (Isaiah 53:11)

“Having purposed, He brought us forth by the Word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.” (James 1:18)

The two leavened loaves typify both Jewish and Gentile believers presented together, to God. The leavened bread indicates the church is comprised of redeemed sinners who will not be sinless until the Saviour returns. (1 John 1:10)

The formation of the Church happened exactly on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost) when the Holy Spirit came to indwell and unite the believers in one Body.  (Acts 2)

The Waving of the Sheaf and Shavuot are inextricably linked. Christ the firstfruits of the Resurrection, and the Church, the redeemed firstfruits of Y’shua who is “the Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11:25)

The last three appointed seasons were in the seventh month – Tishrei.  (They fall in Sept-Oct.)

5. YOM TRUAH – THE DAY OF TRUMPETS.  1st Tishrei.

The first of Tishrei is also called Rosh Hashanah (New Year), as this day begins the new year of the civil calendar. The Biblical new year, however, began on 1st of Nisan. (Exodus 12:2)

The Biblical festival was the day of blowing trumpets.  The exact reason for this day is not given except to say that it was “a reminder.” In Israel, trumpets were blown on feast days, and for special occasions, including, coronations, processions, announcements, warnings, awe, the Day of the Lord, and the preparation for war.

A general Jewish explanation is that the trumpets on this day called the people to prepare for the Day of Atonement which would occur on the 10th of the month. The 1st to 10th were called “days of awe,” and “days of penitence.”

For the believer Yom Truah foreshadows the great prophetic event - the coming of Messiah, with the sound of trumpets, to gather His Bride to the Father’s House and to the Marriage of the Lamb.

“For the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. Then the dead in Christ - those who died in union with the Messiah - shall rise first. Then we, the living believers who remain, will simultaneously be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air. And so we will be with the Master for ever.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

6. YOM KIPPUR – THE DAY OF ATONEMENT                                                                       

      10th Tishrei. (falls in Sept-Oct.)

Yom Kippur is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar.  It looks back to the old dispensation when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies on this day, with the blood of the bull and the goat, to make atonement for the sins of the people committed over the past year. Kippur comes from the word “covering.”

This is a day when the people are obliged to humble themselves and to “afflict their souls.”  The Scriptures do not call it a fast day, but by the time of the second temple, fasting became common on Yom Kippur.

For the believer, atonement has been accomplished, once and for all, at Calvary.  Read Romans 5:17:

“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Master, Y’shua the Messiah, through whom we have now received the atonement – the reconciliation.”

“He (Y’shua) does not have the daily necessity that the Aaronic high priests had, of offering up sacrifices, first for their own sins and then for the people’s sins, because Y’shua offered Himself once and for all as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind.”  (Hebrews 7:27)

“But when Christ, the Messiah appeared as High Priest of the better things to come, and that are now here, He entered into the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with human hands, that is to say, not of this material creation. He entered once and for all into the Holy of Holies in Heaven. And He entered, not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of His own blood, having secured eternal redemption for us.”                    (Hebrews 9:11-12)

Christ has for sin atonement made,

HalleluYah! What a Saviour!

For Israel, a day is coming when their eyes will be opened, and they will enter into the blessing of the atonement that Y’shua has made.

“In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness.”  (Zechariah 13:1)

The significance of Yom Kippur for the believer is that we now have the privilege to come into the Most Holy Place in Heaven through Y’shua our great High Priest because He has made atonement.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Y’shua - by a new and living way which He consecrated and opened for us - a way through the curtain, that is, through His flesh - His torn body, and since we have such a great high priest ministering over the household of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”   (Hebrews 10:19-22)

7.  SUKKOT – THE FEAST OF BOOTHS

       15th to 22nd Tishrei.

This is an eight-day season which is also called The Feast of Tabernacles. It looks back to the wilderness journey when Israel lived in booths (or tents). But the festival has a prophetic theme. It looks forward to the time when “the tabernacle of David” will be raised up, and it also looks ahead to the kingdom age when Messiah will sit on David’s throne and rule the earth with a rod of iron, and when Israel dwells in safety. It anticipates the time when God will once more tabernacle – dwell - amongst His people. (Ezek. 37:26-28)

The tragedy is that when God tabernacled in Israel, in the Person of the Messiah, most of the leaders of the Jews did not recognise Him, but rejected Him. Y’shua was indeed the true temple of God, and was filled with the Sh’khinah  - the glory of God.

The significance of Sukkot for the believer is real; every believer is a tabernacle, and God dwells in them.

“Do you not know that you are a Dwelling Place (tabernacle) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  (1 Corinthians 3:16)

And there is this glorious prophetic significance of Sukkot – the Millennial and the Eternal reality:

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘See now, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and YHWH Elohim Himself shall be with them - their God.”  (Revelation 21:3)

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom, and might and honour and glory and blessing.”  (Revelation 5:12)   

Amen, and Amen!!   &

 

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