LETTERS TO AARON
(The continuing series of a father's wealth of Bible understanding regarding true worship and his desire to pass a legacy to his son, Aaron. In the belief that life in Christ passes through three phrases: childhood, young man and elder. Aaron's father has reached eldership and with it the manifestation of mature faith.)
May these installments be a blessing. If so, you may email Philip at email@example.com.
There is more to learn about true worship as one enters into the tabernacle and into the holy place.
The table of shew bread and the golden altar of incense and the menorah (or golden candlestick) are within that holy place. The veil of the temple separated the holy place and the holy of holies. At the death of our Lord Jesus the veil was torn from top to bottom in the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45). Jesus opened the way, through the veil, to the ark and the mercy seat for us to minister under the New Covenant.
Entrance into the holy of holies under the Old Testament was permitted only once a year, on the Day of Atonement by the high priest. The Covenant now has been changed and the priesthood also is changed. We now approach the holy place and the holy of holies as priests, after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110). Although these two priesthoods physically function differently the spiritual guide lines we follow are the same as those of the Levitical priesthood.
We are not instructed to physically enter the Tabernacle, or put on vestments or build a temple along with its instruments and furniture. Our Temple was long ago built in the unseen (in the heavenlies). Our priesthood is to stand before the Lord to minister unto Him in spirit and truth. Although the outward structure of these two orders of priesthood are very different, both were ordained of God to touch the same things (both the physical as well as the spiritual in the unseen tabernacle). The similarity of the order of Aaron and the order of Melchizedek is remarkable.
We now come to the holy place. This is the inner court which is directly in front of the golden altar or the altar of incense. Prior to entering, we obtained fire from the brazen altar. Now we approach the golden altar burning the holy incense. It produces a cloud in the holy place. (As I said, the incense in concert with the sweet smelling savor issuing from the brazen altar is meant to produce an atmosphere suitable for the Most High).
In Revelation 8:3-5, John saw an angel standing at the altar of incense in Heaven. This angel cast the censer from the altar into the earth, causing great upheaval. The prayers of the saints for judgment were answered.
(Note: Those who are against speaking with other tongues will come to this altar at a distinct disadvantage. In I Corinthians 12 and 14 the apostle Paul discusses the gifts of the Spirit. In the 14th chapter he draws a line between speaking in tongues in public and in private. Paul set out different rules for each arena. In private, where speaking with other tongues is an aide to our prayer life avoids the confusion it may cause in public. Private prayer language does not have the controls found in public tongues.
Even with Paul's teaching, in I Corinthians, confusion is still associated with the subject of the gifts of the Spirit. Paul encouraged those who speak with tongues, and it should give pause to those who don't speak with tongues and those who are opposed to it. Remember we are entering the realm of "spirit and truth" when we come to the heavenly altar of incense.)
Not being able to pray with other tongues limits one to only offering prayer and praise with one's understanding. Since we are three part beings, spirit, soul, and body (I Thessalonians 5:23), if we do not pray with other tongues, we are limiting ourselves to what know intellectually. We will be at disadvantage because, whether we know it or not, we will be depriving our inner man of using his abilities to touch the Throne. The development of ones inner man, in allowing his capacities to be exhibited, has a direct effect on every area of life. To allow ones spirit to remain dumb in the presence of God is a travesty; regardless of how logical and entrenched one's doctrinal stand. Not nurturing and developing one's spirit, which is the only part of ones being designed by God to fellowship with Him is illogical, at the very least.
For if I pray in an unknown tongue my spirit prayeth, but my understanding
is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the
I will sing with the spirit a, and I will sing with the understanding also.
align="center">I Corinthians 14:14-15
Continuing in the Temple:
Now that we are within the tabernacle, our attention is turned toward the menorah or candlestick. As mentioned before, every morning a priest would dress its lamps and filled them with oil. In the evening he would light the lamps.
II Corinthians 4:4 speaks about the minds of those who don't believe being darkened. The light in which one walks seems to be proportional to the extent to which one believes. It is possible for an undeveloped believer to have light on some subjects but be effectively blinded where he doesn't believe. This condition of blindness is natural to an unbeliever. What is revealed in the Corinthian passage is a part of the law of faith (Romans 3:27). For a believer, the extent to which he believes will determine into which area of his life the light of the kingdom of God will shine. As I just demonstrated in speaking about the altar of incense, those who have rejected or marginalized speaking with tongues, and the gifts of the Spirit, are at a disadvantage in perceiving the menorah. Why is this so? It is because the candlestick is a place of the light in the Spirit of God. And having rejected light on any part of the Spirit realm brings darkness in those areas.
The entire Temple is a place of the gifts of the Spirit. One can't stand before the menorah and expect the light of God to flow into any area closed off by him through unbelief. Regrettably, beside the issues of the gifts and tongues, there are areas too numerous to address where the human mind and petty doctrines have closed off one from the light of God.
Apostle John was in the Spirit when he saw the Lord Jesus standing before the seven lights of a golden candlestick in Heaven and he heard the Lord speak forth light (Revelation 1:2-3). The number seven is said to be God's perfect number. Revelation 1:4 speaks of the seven spirits of God.
Our discussion is now stopped at the menorah. Whether it was a single candlestick wrought for the tabernacle or the ten pronged one Solomon was instructed to construct for the temple or an unrevealed number in the place of worship in Heaven, we know the pattern for the menorah is the same. The Hebrew word menorah means chandelier or candlestick as it is translated into English. There are clues as to its purpose we can see by simply in looking in on its construction as an instrument of light. A menorah for the place of worship always had a central shaft with three branches on each side of the central shaft, totaling seven individual lamps. In the physical tabernacle the seven flames of the candlestick would not continue to burn until morning (I Samuel 3:3). In the Temple in Heaven, the oil never ceases to flow into the lamps for the menorah burns eternally.
Revelation 1:4 speaks of the seven spirits of God. John even saw Jesus as the Lamb who has seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God. These "are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth (Zechariah 4:10)." Throughout the Old Testament, we see a total of seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. All seven of these gifts are also in the New Testament, with the addition of tongues and interpretation of tongues. In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus quoted a prophecy about Himself from Isaiah 61:1-2 that begins: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me." Also, in Isaiah 11:2-3 is another prophecy concerning Him that starts out in a similar fashion, "The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him." Even though both references are about Jesus, He quoted only the first part on the prophecy in Isaiah 61.
When the quote from Luke is taken together with the verses from Isaiah 11, a striking parallel between the menorah and these two prophecies emerges. The candlestick has a central shaft with six branches, three on each side of the center shaft. Both of these prophecies have the central shaft of "the spirit of the Lord is upon me" with the six gifts of the spirit branching off from the central shaft of the Holy Ghost. All of these have their origin in the Spirit of God; they branch off only from him.
In I Corinthians 12:4, Paul said: "There are diversities of gifts" and then he lists nine gifts of the spirit. Paul adds another five gifts in Romans 12:5-8 and he mentions five more in Ephesians 4:11. Rejection of these nine gifts of the spirit set one on the road to having one's understanding darkened concerning the diversity of the Spirit's gifting.
What one doesn't see in the spirit realm can be costly. Take for instance the case of the high priest Joshua (Zechariah 3). I have mentioned, it was revealed to the prophet Zechariah, by a gift of the gift of discerning of spirits, that Joshua's true spiritual priestly garments were covered with filth. Until that revelation came, there were things Joshua could never have known. There was a status quo, "a normal spiritual life" for Joshua until that day. He didn't know the filth Zechariah saw on his priestly garments was used by Satan to gain access into the ministry of Joshua. He didn't know that Satan's dark presence at the throne of God obscured the almost unimaginable access, power, and place he already had--by virtue of his office of high priest. When the old filthy vestments were replaced with new clean ones, Joshua's "normal spiritual life" was changed forever. With Satan and his filth vanquished in our natural thinking our "normal Christian lives" are changed forever! Whether one changes his thinking to agree with the Lord or not, the abundance of what is reserved for him in the unseen is still there. The simple choice of whether or nor to change our garments will determine what he perceives to be his identity in the spirit realm. This is a choice with immense consequences. With one choice, we are numbered among the disadvantaged. With the other choice, we stand with the privileges of a son in the kingdom of our Father.
To minister before the Lord at the menorah is to stand at a place of light and have the gifts of the spirit. Should darkness remain in us and the filth of this world upon us, then we are limited regarding the depths of the treasures of God we can plumb while standing before the candlestick.
Ministry as Worship:
We need to understand that ministry is worship as much as that which occurs at the altar of sacrifice. It is possible to only visit the candlestick and experience the knowledge and light of the Spirit of God that constantly emanates from its seven lamps. As I just said, the candlestick has to do with the light of God and of the Spirit of God. The menorah is a place where the light of God is resourced.
The Table of Shew Bread: As Worship and Covenant
We now come to the last point in the holy place, to the golden table of the shew bread. What happened here is as much worship as those things that were ordained to occur at any other place in the tabernacle. In Exodus 25:23-30 and Leviticus 24:5-9, we have the instructions for the building of the table and for the preparing and replacing the loaves of shew bread on the table. There were to be twelve loaves of shew bread baked each week (one for each tribe of Israel). Every Sabbath a priest was to remove the old loaves and replace them with the fresh ones.
The center reference of my Bible says shew bread means "the bread of presence." Leviticus 24 says the shew bread was a memorial before the Lord for the tribes of Israel and a special covenant unto itself.
(Before I go further in discussing the table of shew bread, we must realize that in order to understand the shew bread one must have some understanding of covenant.)
I don't intend to fill your mind with details. To understand the table of shew bread we must what was being said and how it was understood by those to whom it was written.
Our western culture does not understand covenant. We understand contracts and lawyers but not covenant. Covenant has its own terms or words. (Remember, remembrance, memorial, and to shew mercy and to shew kindness are covenant terms. Action is required from a party to a covenant who is brought into "remembrance" The whole chapter of II Samuel 9 is an account of David remembering his covenant with Jonathan after the death of Saul and Jonathan. David saw action was required on his part in honoring his covenant.
In a search of the kingdom David located Jonathan's son Mephibosheth in order that he might shew Mephibosheth covenant kindness. David restored all that was Jonathan's to Mephibosheth. And since he was lame since childhood, David placed a servant of Jonathan over the estate. David treated Mephibosheth as one of his sons [to live in the king's palace and eat at his table].
In Exodus we read "the Lord remembered His covenant with Israel" and delivered them from Egypt in answer to their cry. He is God. He was aware of the plight of Israel and their bondage in Egypt. Not only was He aware of their present situation, but He told Abraham that His people would be ill-treated in Egypt for four hundred years (Genesis 15:13). The western mind equates remembering with being made aware of something. In His omniscience, there never was a moment during this time that the Lord was not aware of what was happening to His people. They only cried out after they ran out of human solutions. In those four hundred years they had become well acquainted with Egyptian ways and adopted the Egyptian culture.
At the end of those four hundred years it was time for the Lord to move them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. It was time for God to judge Egypt. It was time for the Philistines, who were in the land the Lord had promised to Abraham, to be judged. Both of these had filled a cup of indignation until it overflowed. [The pot was boiling, Jeremiah 1:13-14]. Their bondage in Egypt became unbearable. Nothing was working. Finally, the only place left to turn was to God. He had always been willing to move. He even knew how long it would take them to come to the point of considering bringing Him into their "remembrance." But until now, they had not been willing to abandon all other sources of help. [Human nature is a strange thing.] One would rather do almost any thing other than to require God-action based on covenant. Requiring action from God? Isn't that arrogant and unthankful? No, not if a covenant is evolved. The Lord had willingly entered into covenant with Abraham. And part of the deal was that Abraham's descendants would possess the land of the Philistines. God had obligated Himself.
It was time for this part of the deal to go to the closing table. The Lord would no longer allow the blessing of Abraham to flow into their existence in a place of bondage. He had a bigger agenda in mind. The moment had come to deliver them from Egypt, not to continuing to bless them in Egypt. The grace and provision of God had been sent ahead of them to the Promised Land. It was no longer the will of God for them to be in Egypt. It was"Time" for Him to fulfill His promise to Abraham. It was time to move.
Like Elijah's brook that dried up--there was a new place called out for them. They had best catch up with their supplies. Their supplies were no longer being sent to Egypt like they had been for the last four hundred years.
The Lord met a problem. This was a covenant and if He was ever going to be able to move on their behalf they were going to have to ask Him to Remember His covenant. Their motive in asking was wrong, but their timing was right.
In Exodus 3 it says, 'the Lord saw their affliction and He heard their cry and He 'remembered' His covenant.' Action was now required on the part of the Almighty to fulfill the promise He made under His covenant. Once He got involved, the rest was history.
One Greek word that is translated "ask" in the King James Version of the Bible is "aiteo." Aiteo [Strong's reference: 154] means ask, but not in the sense we normally think-- that of making a request. 'Aiteo is a demand of something due [Strong's reference: 4441]'. Before this time the children of Israel had never made a demand of what was due them under the covenant. We know what happened when they did.)
How does our understanding of covenant or the lack there of, effect what we can experience in our ministry at the table of shew bread? When I get to the table of shew bread at the end of this part of the letter you will understand. Under the New Testament we have a right to make demands on the Lord in areas
that most of have never dreamed of. Placing a demand on him when it comes to our basic rights is not arrogant. His power is constantly flowing toward us to make it possible for him to fulfill his covenant. This power is already on and our bank account has been filled with more than enough money.
God has established an individual account in our name. Our making a demand on his power is just like would make a demand on the power company. If we have an account (which we have) and the bill has been paid (which it has been) we just flip on the light switch. No one would ever say that someone arrogantly turned on the lights.
The Lord's Supper
Another area where we need to learn to make a demand on the Lord is when we observe the Lord's Supper. My concept of the Lord's Supper was forever changed, when I understood the significance of two things. The first one was Jesus use of the word "remembrance" in instituting it. And the second one was the way in which he observed the Passover that night as He established the Lord's Supper as an ordinance in the Church. He put His broken body first (becoming our Passover) and His shed blood second (establishing the New Covenant). As I have already said, Jesus, as the prophet Moses said, would be like him and would come after him (Deuteronomy 18:15). Jesus was like Moses in that He delivered the people, brought them into covenant with God, established the priesthood, and built the place of worship. People under the Old Testament were delivered at the Passover..
In preparation for the Passover, the Lord told Moses, "against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment, I am the Lord (Exodus 12:12)." The first Lord's Supper was celebrated on the Passover. This was the night the Lord, through Moses, delivered the people from Egypt. Moses, as the first prophet, carried out prescribed duties.
Step one in the task of Moses and Jesus as prophets was to deliver the people. With His broken body Jesus finished the first of the requirements necessary to be called the second prophet. That night He brought us under deliverance by the Passover. He became our Passover lamb (I Corinthians 5:7). He began our deliverance when He said, "Take eat: this is my body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me (I Corinthians 11:24)."
Again, the order of things the second prophet was to accomplish is as follows: 1) delver the people; 2) bring them into covenant with the Lord; 3) establish the priesthood; 4) build the place of worship. On the night of the first Lord's Supper number one (our deliverance from Satan) was now set into motion. Once that was accomplished, the second thing to be accomplished came to the fore. That night He established the covenant when He said, "This is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as ort as ye drink it in remembrance of me (I Corinthians 11:25)." But how does the use of the covenant word "remembrance" tie in with the Lord's Supper? And how does Jesus use of this word have any bearing on where I started out? My answer to the first question will lead into the answer for the second one.
Had the Church been better taught, I would have no reason to explain all of these things. Because the disciples were Jews they understood covenant. Unlike modern day westerners, the Jews knew exactly what the Lord meant when He said that the shew bread was ever before Him as a "memorial" of them and of His covenant with them.
Although the Spirit later gave them revelation of what had been set into motion at that night, the disciples fully understood all of the covenant concepts Jesus was using. When we hear these things, we attach meaning to them that our society places on them. In the process our understanding and our interpretation of what is said falls woefully short of what the Lord really said.
Let's recall that in a covenant, a response is required by a party in the agreement who is brought into remembrance. First, I will show you what I have learned about observing the Lord's Supper in the light of covenant. Then I will take you to what the Spirit has shown about what happens at the table of shew bread. There are principles that must be in our minds if we are to bring the Lord into "covenant remembrance" for Him to act on our behalf. This is what the table of shew bread is all about. Its setting, along with that of the Lord's Supper, is a covenant setting and cannot be understood outside of covenant. Remember the Lord, of His own free will, entered into a covenant with us. Therefore, He is eager to lose the power that constantly follows out of His Throne into every area that concerns us. He sees out plight, but He has obligated himself act on our behalf based our placing a demand on Him based on His covenant with us, not based on our need.
In the light of all I have just said, let us review the normal observance of the Lord's Supper. Having received the bread and the wine, some minister will normally begin to teach about the attitude by which one should approach this time. Next, he usually will finish preparing the people with some of what the apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 11. Finally, the whole church will be led in time of personal introspection and then in partaking of the bread and wine.
I follow a different path, I do not look at the Lord's Supper as a time for me to remember and refresh my memory about what Jesus accomplished through His broken body and His shed blood. I do not approach these times to make myself or the Lord aware of what He has done. I come to ask the Lord "remember" the covenant. First, I call to mind that bread is His broken body as He became the Passover lamb. When His body was offered as a lamb, He broke the hold Satan had on me. He delivered me from my relationship with the one who formerly owned me. Then as I take the bread I remind Him that many things still linger in my life as a result of the bondage Satan once held. This leads me to make a demand on the Lord by bringing Him into remembrance of His covenant. I make a demand on His constantly flowing power to flow into my life. This is the same power the Father employed when He raised Jesus from the dead and brought Him out of hell to be the first born from the dead. I don't just want to be legally free from Satan. I want to have the constantly flowing power of God to be coming into my being until all of the ground within me is cleared out. I want his power to flow until nothing can be found in me that a result of my former bondage to the kingdom of darkness.
When I have caused Him to "remember" He is allowed to follow Moses and manifest more of my deliverance from Satan. When the minister reads out of I Corinthians 11 about the broken body and shed blood of the Lord, the things that are normally taught during these times do not course my mind. I look at my approaching the bread and the wine as a time under the covenant to bring the Lord into "remembrance."
I remind myself that under the Old Testament the children Israel were servants. The terms of their agreement said what they would do. The tenor of their arrangement was like this, "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not." It could be said, "the onus was on them." The New Testament says what God will do and what we will become as a result. He has placed the onus on Himself under the New Covenant. In Jeremiah 31, He likens both our arrangement and that of the Jews to that of marriage. He delivered both the children of Israel and us, that he might bring us into a marriage covenant with Himself.
As I take the bread and the cup I say something like this, "Lord 'remember' that You have set me free from the kingdom of darkness; "remember" You forcibly removed me from the abusive relationship I once had with Satan; "Remember" You have not brought me into a relationship like I had with Satan, "remember" Ours is a marriage covenant; I bring You into "remembrance" of
all You said You would do and all I would become under my covenant with You; "remember" that I come to You at this Lord's Supper having abandoned all other sources of help except You and what You have said You would do under the New Covenant." The thought process that courses between me and the Lord is usually within this frame work. During the Lord's Supper I have called on Him to remember. In those times I receive an assurance of His love and a sense of His constantly flowing power coming into my life. I know He has "remembered His covenant".
Shew Bread Worship
Once we understand covenant, we begin to have a revelation of the significance of approaching the Lord at the table of shew bread. There is a covenant memorial placed on this table we are about to attend to the business at hand, which is the priesthood. Our only blessing flows out of His presence when we stand before the Lord to minister unto Him. More of this blessing will be unveiled to us as we now come to this table with a deeper understanding of covenant.