|From the Pastors Desk|
|Tabernacle||God's Eternal Purpose||Lesson 4|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|June 17 2001||Bible Lessons
We are going to cover a lot of territory in today's lesson. We will see many facts that we'll not take time to establish from Scripture. I will be using several words that all refer to the same truth. I will interchange the terms of contract, covenant, eternal plan, program, etc.
These terms, as used in this lesson, have very similar meanings. Some of these terms will later be modified because of the segment of humanity to whom they are directed. If we can see some of these basic facts, it will be helpful in this lesson and many lessons to come.
Every detail of the Tabernacle and its service, which includes the Law, are small parts of a whole. NO one part stands alone! Each detail is totally dependent on, and integrated with every other detail.
As a totality, the Tabernacle and its service compose a contract or "covenant" by God with Israel that has implications to all peoples of the earth. The understanding of this contract comes by observing the ordinances, services and structure of the Tabernacle as a whole.
The purpose of the Tabernacle, Law and its Levictial priesthood had two main aspects:
The Tabernacle, Law and its service, as a whole, was given by God to the nation of Israel as a covenant or contract in "picture form". The fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant has ramifications to all families of the earth, but the observance of that covenant, its ordinances and ritual were never enjoined on other nations.
Other nations were even excluded from the ceremonies and rituals of the Mosaic Covenant. The performing of the rituals and the service of the Law was exclusively the responsibility of the nation of Israel.
The "requirement of the Law" is the same "requirement" that MUST be met by any person, in any age or any nation, if they are to be in the presence of God. That requirement is absolute righteousness, and only God has such righteousness. We will see that "requirement", and how it can be fulfilled within a person as we continue the study.
For our study at this present time, it is very needful to see these two facts:
If these facts are not firmly established in your mind, the Tabernacle and its service will remain a mystery. Not only will the Tabernacle and the Law remain a mystery, as you seek to comply with the Law's commands, you will become a SLAVE to the Law's rituals, and CANNOT experience the grace of God. Even if you have experienced the saving grace of God, you will, as the Bible states, "fall from grace", if you attempt to obtain that requirement of the Law by observing the rituals of the Law.
We will take time to firmly establish these facts from the Word of God, throughout this series. This Mosaic covenant is a part of, and an extension of a contract made by God with Adam in the Garden, for benefit of all of Adam's descendants.
Notice that in this contract by God, there are three distinct divisions or personages addressed, and another group that does not stand out as clearly:
As with MOST prophetic pronouncements given in the Word of God, the reader or hearer needs more information than is given in the prophecy, to have a clear understanding.
It cannot be said too often. That is
exactly WHY it is so important to
see each prophecy or portion Scripture in light
of the whole prophetic Word. By just reading this portion, without
careful comparison with the rest of Scripture, one would be tempted to conclude:
(2) That God is simply stating that all descendants of the woman, and any future snakes would be enemies.
If these were the gist of the statement, then it would be a false statement. Either one of the above conclusions or any similar to them would be a tragic mistake.
We know from the totality of Scripture that this passage is not a reference to the many descendants of the woman and the serpent. INSTEAD, the two parties, referred to in this prophesy were present and very attentive to the giving of the covenant.
The seed of the serpent has reference to Satan, and the Seed of the woman is a reference to Christ through the Virgin Birth. Satan would "bruise" the heel of Christ, and Christ would "bruise" the head of Satan.
At first glance, the "bruising" of one another would not seem to be a serious matter. It simply sounds like a typical heavy weight boxing match. However, when the analogy of the term "bruise" is looked at closely, this statement carries with it more than is seen on the surface.
A "bruise" on the heel is painful, but would not be destructive, and that's what happened on the cross. Satan's "blow", of physical death on the cross, was only a "bruise to Christ's heel". Certainly, the cross was costly and painful to the Godhead. BUT through that "bruise" came victory over sin and Satan along with the redemption provided for mankind!!
However (so I'm told by those who should know), a "bruise" to the head of a snake, even though not fatal at the time, will ultimately produce death. (I've never personally checked that out. When I am confronted with a snake, I try to chop its head off, not just inflict a bruise.)
A bruise to the head of Satan was what happened on the cross. Not only did the cross provide eternal redemption for the human race, it struck the death blow to Satan. Because of that "bruise" to the head of Satan, he will, in the future, be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity.
That, in a "nut shell", is the base contract made by God with all humans through mankind's federal head, Adam. All other time based Biblical covenants are given as an extension of this contract, or they are given as a vehicle by which the details of this contract can and will be carried out. As we will see later, this covenant made with Adam and therefore to the human race, is part of an Eternal Covenant made by God with Himself, BEFORE the worlds were formed.
By the way, the "curse" given in the Garden was not the punishment for sin. The curse was given by God to produce hope and anticipation for the completion of the redemptive program. The punishment for sinning was Spiritual and physical death.
When God "cursed" the ground, He said He was doing it for the sake of, or the good of mankind. Notice the wording in
One divine commentary on this very fact is seen in....
The Holy Spirit, through Paul in this great chapter, gives us insights into many aspects of God's eternal plan. Not the least of those insights is the fact that the "curse" was pronounced by God on the creature and creation after the sin of Adam. He said that this "curse" was placed on both, so there would be hope and earnest expectation for the completion of the redemption program.
One aspect of the hope referred to here, is a reference to our "adoption", the redemption of the body, not the New Birth. I'm sure there were many reasons for the curse. However, one reason was so we would want to, and would look forward to the completion of that promised Seed of the Woman. The completion of this promise had its beginning at the Virgin Birth, and will continue for all eternity.
Without carrying this further, it is easy to see the reason for the curse when we take a look at our natural inclinations. If we are not hungry, most generally, we don't eagerly wait for the next meal (Now, some people are different, for example teenagers...). If we aren't tired, we don't generally eagerly anticipate bedtime. When we are rich and healthy, we have a tendency to trust our riches and health, rather than trusting God for our next breath.
Likewise, if the earth had been left in the Garden of Eden condition, and mankind had all they desired and needed, we would, more than likely, not be eagerly waiting for our "adoption", the redemption of the body provided in God's redemption package. Let me tell you, the older you get and the more you "groan within yourself", the more eagerly you wait for the redemption of the body!!
The major thing I want us to see from this, is that God made a contract with mankind right after that first sin. That contract said that He would miraculously provide a redeemer, Who would put an end to the enemy of the soul through great cost to Himself. As we compare Scripture, we see that this contract was prepared even before He spoke the words in the Garden.
We were chosen "in Him" before the foundation of the worlds to be holy...., and He predestined us
to the adoption as sons. We just
looked at the adoption in
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
The final aspect of this contract, by God with mankind, is yet in the future. It is important to see this very clear fact. Sad to say, some refuse or just fail to accept this truth, EVEN though it is clearly stated that it takes place in the future.
If we don't harmonize all Scripture concerning this transaction of adoption, we will be carried away with the "wind of doctrine" that states our adoption and salvation are one and the same. Being bound by such improper and non-biblical teaching prevents a person from moving deeper into the truths of God in this matter of the redemption contract.
God's contract for the redemption of mankind started before the worlds were formed, and will not be fully completed for all eternity.
The contract was made by God and will be fulfilled by God. No part of it will or can be fulfilled through depraved human effort. Therefore, God has revealed the total contract in phases. As a general rule, only the part of the contract that was to be fulfilled in any one age was revealed in that age.
However, there were prophetic utterance given years before the fulfillment of some aspects. Even so, those prophecies cannot be fully understood until that aspect of the contract is revealed or fulfilled.
Even then, to have a clear understanding of that fulfilled prophecy, it must be compared and harmonized with the aspects of the covenant already revealed. We call this the progressive revelation of God. All of the progressive phases of this contract are dependent on each other phase for understanding.
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
This passage is a good example of the truth that we can only fully understand a prophecy after its complete fulfillment. We are the Children of God, right now. That we know. However, in the future we will be something even more. That we don't know.
We don't know "what we shall be", because it has not been revealed, in this age. BUT when Christ is revealed, in the next age, we will be like Him, and understand what is unclear in this age. We will have this knowledge and understanding because we can compare all that is revealed now with what will be revealed in the future. When this future event takes place, we will have complete understanding by comparing what has been revealed in the past with what is being revealed at that future time.
In reality, the full and complete understanding of this eternal covenant cannot become a reality until ALL aspects are given and fulfilled. In the mean time, we must live by faith. Therefore, the revelation of God is accumulative.
Even though the revelation of God's plan to mankind is progressive and accumulative, all aspects of that plan, including the provision for its fulfillment, had already been arranged by God. This took place before any of that plan was revealed to mankind. In actuality, all things needed for the fulfillment of these things were in place even before the worlds were formed.
Therefore, please understand! When I speak of the continuing or progressive giving of the different phases of God's eternal contract or covenant, I am in NO WAY inferring that God changed His plan, or had to add to it because of the actions of mankind.
To the contrary, God works His plan in spite of mankind's actions, and because of them. We have a God, and He has a plan that is BIGGER than any action of mankind. Nor is His plan conditioned on the actions of mankind.
In all the progressive revealing of His plan for mankind, God uses natural elements, and humans to carry out most of the earthly aspects. According to God's Word, those who participate, by faith and obedience in His plan, will receive rewards and blessing. For those who choose to go contrary to God's plan and do their own thing, they will receive judgment and cursing.
We have covered a good many facts, in this lesson. Many which we did not take the time to carefully establish from the Biblical text. That is not my normal manner of teaching. However, I felt it was needful to present these things as a "lump sum", and detail them later.
We must understand that the Tabernacle, the Law and the Levitical priesthood are all part of a contract made by God. God's contract is not spelled out in legal jargon, but instead in types, symbols and participation.
God's contract was not given with the intent that those receiving the contract must fulfill it. Instead, it was given so that those who observed and participated in the ritual of this Mosaic Covenant might, by faith, put their trust in the One Who would fulfill that contract.
This contract with Israel, called the Law, was to be fulfilled in its entirety by God! The ONLY One Who could fulfill it!!!! Any participation by humans in the ritual of the contract was to establish and strengthen their faith in the fulfillment of the contract, and in the One fulfilling it.
We must also remember that the Mosaic covenant is only a small part of a much broader and eternal contract by God. Not only is the Mosaic Covenant a small part of God's Eternal Covenant, this covenant, given to Moses, was a temporary aspect of that Eternal Covenant, and would cease to be in force when it was fulfilled.
Please keep in mind, that many aspects and requirements found in the Mosaic covenant, are also a part of the overall Eternal Covenant, for all people. Therefore, within that scope, many of the general blessings are also effective to those who are not "under" the Law, as well as those participating in the Law.
Romans 2:13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)
The Law is a "reflection" of how God's righteousness should look and act in one who is walking by faith. Please don't let that fact slip from your thinking. From the Garden of Eden to the New Heaven and Earth, ALL righteous humans HAD to walk by faith. Some who walked by faith had far less information on which to base their faith than we do.
A Believer must walk by faith, whether that person is a Jew under the Mosaic Law, or Gentile who never received the Mosaic Law. A person responding, by faith, to the "reflection" of God's righteousness will receive the blessing associated such action, whether that "reflection" be seen in the Mosaic Law, nature, the conscience of the soul or the New Testament. There were certain blessings promised to those participating in the Mosaic Law that no other group of humans can receive.
Once this Mosaic Law or contract was fulfilled and completed, it was no longer in effect. Therefore, those special blessings, attending its participation, are no longer valid. The completion or fulfillment of the Law, in no way effects the blessings that are part of the greater eternal contract, or God's eternal plan. More on all of this later in the series.
This contract made with Adam after mankind's fall, was with all of the descendants of Adam, including the descendants of Abraham, commonly called the Jews. The seal of this contract with Adam was the shed blood of animals that gave their lives so that Adam and Eve could have a sacrifice for their sins, and a covering for their sin caused nakedness.
This seal of the shedding of blood was true in the Adamic Covenant, in the Noahic Covenant, in the Abrahamic Covenant, in the Mosaic Covenant, and it is true in the New Covenant. This sacrifice of life by an animal (except New Covenant) that had no part in the sin, demonstrated both the "wages of sin", and how those wages were to be paid.
There is a great deal in the Adamic Covenant. However, for our study we
need to see only one aspect of it. Let's review that aspect found in
"I (God) will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman (Eve), and between your seed (Satan) and her Seed (Christ); He (Christ) shall bruise your (Satan's) head, and you (Satan) shall bruise His (Christ's) heel."
The Jewish nation was chosen by God, so that through them might come the "shadow" of Messiah, or the Mosaic Code. Also, through that nation was to come Messiah, Himself.
The Jewish nation was chosen by God to be the penners, and the custodians of the Law, the shadow of better things to come.
Romans 3:1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
These custodians of the Law did not live in the precepts of that law. Nor was their participation in its ritual through faith in the Messiah, Who was to come and fulfill it. Instead, these custodians of the Law felt that because they had the Law in their possession, they did not need to have the requirement of the Law (righteousness) in their hearts through faith.
If only they had stopped to think!! Abraham was justified, and that justification took place over 400 years before the Law was given. Therefore, if justification came by the Law, then Abraham could not have been justified. Since Abraham was justified before the Law, they should have realized that simply possessing the Law, without faith, could not make them just before God.
This very fact is one reason Christ told the Jewish leaders, of His day, to search the Scriptures. Those very Scriptures (the Old Testament) testified of Christ. Instead of searching the Scriptures to see Who their Messiah would be, they tried to modify those Scriptures so the Law would be relevant to the needs of the people of that day. How very, very sad!! The Scriptures do not need ANY modification for them to be exceedingly and eternally relevant for any person in any age!!! Including the present age.
Please allow me to close this study with some Scripture without human comment. Apply the truths learned, and compare these with other passages for a fuller understanding.
The Old Testament Jews failed to worship in spirit and truth. As a result, they lost their reward and received punishment. The requirements for worship have not changed. We too are to worship God in spirit and truth. No, not in a tent Tabernacle in the wilderness, BUT in the Temple of the Holy Spirit within our bodies.
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001|