Monthly Bible Reading Plan ~ December ~ Jewish Jesus ~ Discovering our Jewish Roots in Christianity
Hello friends! It has been a while since I have posted, or written anything really, on the blog. Many times, we have the best intentions, but life happens, and if you’re anything like me, you understand what it is like to bite off more than you can chew and stretch yourself a little thin at times.
That was the case for me this past semester. I went in guns blazing taking four courses and let me tell ya, I was not prepared for the level of commitment and time that would be necessary. I promised nothing would come in between myself and my blog, but as you can tell, friend, seminary life definitely did.
While some might say that this is a set back, I feel as though God has prepared my heart for a giant leap forward. As I continue through this season of transition, I am reminded of how much Christ loves me and how God can use any and every setback as fuel for the fire of refinement. There is nothing that God is not prepared for, so in my absence, I pray that you have continued to grow in grace as I have. :)
As I have been growing in faith and maturing in my understanding of this relationship we share with Christ (or religion as some prefer to call it), the Holy Spirit has been urging me to go deeper and learn more of who Christ is and how He lived while operating in His ministry. See friends, this past season I have been learning the importance of roots, and the truth is, many of us are unaware of our roots. We do not understand that we have been grafted into grace.
I believe Paul explains this best when he states, “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree (Rom 11:17 NLT).”
I would encourge you to read the entirety of that chapter to have a more complete understanding. However, my hope is that as we study our roots this month, you would come to understand Christ in a new and profound way! Christ is the vine that we have been grafted into. He is our roots, and if we don’t understand our roots, we will fall over at the slightest gust of wind (setback/challenge). If we are not rooted in Christ, we can easily fall victim to false teachers, false doctrine and false prophets.
Apostasy (to turn away from one’s faith) is running rampant in the church as we search for the latest and greatest moment of worship, looking for an emotional reaction or “touch” from the Lord. For others, they simply come on Sundays to check mark their box and provide themselves the ability to say, “I go to church every Sunday.” But our faith, this relationship we share together with Christ, is more than an emotional response to worship or showing up to the sanctuary.
Jesus did not die on the cross for religion, He did it so that we could have relationship, a true, meaningful relationship with the Father through Him.
Many of the topics discussed this month will be done so weekly, so you will not find every verse. I have titled this Monthly Bible Reading Plan, “Jewish Jesus - Discovering our Jewish Roots in Christianity and to be honest, it may take more than one month to get through all of this. Just as we could not study the entirety of the Bible in one month, it may take more than one month to study our Jewish roots. However, I hope this does not deter you.
To start this study, it is important to note that there are many types (or symbols/symbolism) in the Bible which convey Christ. One of the first types of Christ in the Old Testament is the Tabernacle. Many Christians are not aware that when Moses received the Law (10 commandments), God also provided him with the exact dimensions and specifications for the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle was extremely important to the Israelites because it would serve as a place to not only worship the Lord, but a place to provide sacrifices in order to cover one’s sin as well. This was important for God’s people who had been rescued from Egyptian slavery. Many of them were taught what their owners knew, so many Israelites celebrated false idols and practiced idolatry-not because they wanted to so much as they did not know any better. The Tabernacle and the Jewish feasts (also referred to as festivals) would serve as physical reminders and times that would help the Israelite people learn about who their God is and what He expects from His people.
As we study our the Jewish roots of Christ this month, I pray we all grow closer to the One who is the reason for this season!
Daily Reading: And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. - Genesis 3:21 NLT
Insight: The first sacrifice ever recorded happened much earlier than most would answer if asked. Long before Moses, even before Abraham, the first sacrifice was done in order to cover the shame of those who were deceived, broke the law, and ran away in shame. That’s right, I’m referring to Adam and Eve.
If you are like me, you have skimmed over this verse multiple times, never noticing that in order for God to have made clothing from animal skins, that those animals had to die. Therefore, if we look deeply at this verse, we can infer that this is the moment the first sacrifice or “covering of sin” was made.
This is important to grasp as it also explains why God would not accept the offering from Cain, but did accept the offering from Abel (more on that later).
I say all of this to say that it is important to see that long before the Mosaic Law (10 commandments), God was requiring a blood sacrifice to cover sin. If this was not the case, He would have left Adam and Eve in their fig leaves, but the work of their hands was not enough to cover their shame and sin. They needed divine intervention, just like each of us do.
Prayer: Abba, I just want to thank you today for helping me discover my roots and who I am in you Christ. Thank you God for your amazing plan of salvation and renewal for all mankind. Help me to be a light in this world, a shining example of your love, Father. I thank you Jesus for our relationship, and for your sacrifice so that I can come into the throne room of Heaven and make my desires and prayers known to you. Thank you, Lord, for always listening and teaching me to live as you lived and love and you loved. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Daily Reading: When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. ~ Genesis 4:3-5 NLT
Insight: I always wondered about this. I mean, for years, I never understood why God would accept the work of one man, but not the work of another. It wasn’t until seminary that I learned the reason God rejected Cain’s offering is because it was offered by the work of his own hand. This is different from Abel’s offering for a couple of reasons. 1. Cain expected God to be pleased with his own efforts. However, this was not the case due to reason number 2. God expected a blood sacrifice. Abel brought a lamb. The lamb was created by God. Abel simply needed to feed and care for the animal, but it was God’s creation. Cain, brought a harvest. The only reason Cain had a harvest to begin with is due to his own efforts.
God will never require of us something we need to provide for Him when it does not include Him to begin with. God understands our struggle and need for Him, therefore, when we try to go about life without Him, it is offensive. This is why God responded to Cain’s anger how He did, “‘Why are you so angry?’ the Lord asked Cain. ‘Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.’”
It is clear from the verses above Cain knew what he was supposed to do. We can conclude this because God said, “...if you do what is right.” The only way to know right from wrong, is to be taught, and I believe God taught Adam and Eve about the sacrificial system and they, in turn, taught their sons. This is why God reminded Cain to simply do it like he was taught. There was no need to try something else when the method he was instructed on was tried and true.
Do you find yourself trying to gain God’s approval based on your own works/hands? Do you know that He would much rather prefer for you to hand over all control to Him and allow Him to assist you in ALL that you encounter in life? It is my prayer today, friend, that you would surrender to God everything you hold tightly to. After all, He knows what’s best for us!
Daily Reading: Then God gave the people all these instructions. “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me. “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. “You must not murder. “You must not commit adultery. “You must not steal. “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” - Exodus 20:1-17 NLT
Insight: Above are the 10 commandments. Moses received these on Mt. Sinai when he received the specification for the Tabernacle. It is important to note that as moment arose and laws needed to be added, they were. The entirety of the Mosaic Law can be found in the first 5 books of the Old Testament. The Jews refer to this as the Torah and the many theologians and scholars refer to it as the Pentateuch.
Many people would not expect the Mosaic Law to be a type of Christ, but in a sense, it was. This is because the Mosaic Law shows us one thing...how desperately we need Jesus. Jesus was the only person to fulfill the law with perfection. He never sinned and lived a life of purity through and through. This shows us just how great and perfect Christ was. That is important to understand.
See friend, we weren’t created to become Jesus, but we are expected to learn to try to live according to His standards. God loves us and provided us each with gifts and talents that He wants to use to help others who may be lost, find Jesus. We are not supposed to become Jesus, we are supposed to be relying on Jesus and His strength and wisdom to see us through this life. The moment we begin to think we can be Christ, is the moment we teeter on the edge of a cliff, one in which Satan himself dangling off the edge of before being thrown out of Heaven.
The 10 commandments show us our weaknesses. This is not to get is to deel bad about ourselves, but to showcase the power, wisdom and perfection of Christ. He is our source, the chief Cornerstone.
Did you know that the law was not put in place to condemn you, but to showcase the perfection of Christ, the Son of God? How do you feel knowing that God already knows you don’t measure up, so it’s why He sent His Son to take your place on that Cross?
Daily Reading: The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. Here is a list of sacred offerings you may accept from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece. “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you. - Exodus 25:1-9 NLT
Insight: If you remember, the offerings God is asking for here in the verses for today were given to Israel by the Egyptians upon them leaving after the plagues. See friend, the Egyptians wanted the Israelites gone so bad, they were giving away gold, silver, linen, you name it! This is important to see as God is simply asking for something back that He blessed His people with.
While that is not our main focus, I do not want to spend too much time there, but I believe it is important to note what God expected of the Israelites in order to build the Tabernacle. He clearly says that is must be done exactly accordingly to the pattern He has in mind. This is because the Tabernacle is going to portray something that already exists in Heaven, Christ Jesus!
While the law showcased how badly we fall short and are in need of a Savior, the Tabernacle would serve to show God’s remedy of sin!
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your grand design of grace and salvation. Only you, God, could conceive such a plan and write such a story. We stand in awe of you today and everyday. Help us be a people that showcase your strength, joy, faith, patience, grace, love, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control. We love you Jesus, Amen.
Daily Reading: For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; - Hebrews 9:2 NKJV
Insight: Did you know the word sanctuary means Holy Place? That’s right! And this Holy Place in the Tabernacle was the larger of two rooms. But before I get into all the detail of the Tabernacle itself, let’s take a deeper look at the word Tabernacle itself.
In Numbers 17 it is referred to as the “tabernacle of witness.” In Revelation 15:5, it is called the “tabernacle of testimony.” In Exodus 33:7, it is referred to as the “tabernacle of the congregation.” Since a congregation is simply put as the meeting of individuals, it is no wonder then that the temporary tent used in the building of the Tabernacle we are studying was called a “tent of meeting.”
The Tabernacle was the place where God met with man and man met with God. The big picture here is that Christ allows us to meet with God and for God to meet with us. It is only because of the blood of Jesus that we are found to be righteous in the Father’s eyes. However, we will discuss this in further detail later in this study. If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and read the entirety of chapter 9. It will help prepare you for more information on the specifics of the Tabernacle later this month. :)
Have you learned anything new yet? What’s been most exciting so far?
Prayer: Father, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to grow in your Word together. Please help us to keep our eyes fixed on you today and always. We love you Jesus, and we thank you for all the blessings and favor we have because of your work on the Cross, Amen.
Daily Reading: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. - John 14:6 NLT
Insight: Upon looking at the Figure of the Tabernacle included with today’s reading (pictured below - credited to M.R.DeHaan, author of The Tabernacle), we can see that there was only one entrance in. Not only that, but it is important to note that on the outside of the Tabernacle, outside of the outer court, no one would suspect that there was anything worth having within. This is because of the materials that the Tabernacle and outcourt was made out of (more on this later).
Just as many people thought of Jesus as a regular, everyday man, others saw Him for the Messiah He was. It wasn’t until one was close enough, or in His inner circle, that they came to understand Him for who He really was, the Son of God. Isaiah prophesied this when he said, “...There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” - Isaiah 53:2 NLT
Peter himself said, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” - Acts 4:12 NLT
Just as there is only one way to God now, there was only one way into the Tabernacle when it was the dwelling place of God. This is because it was meant to be a picture of the Christ to come.
Prayer: Father God, we come to you in awe and reverence. We thank you for the wisdom and insight you have provided to us. Please help us to discern your voice throughout this season as we celebrate your miraculous plan of salvation through your Son, Jesus. Thank you for providing both the New and Old Testament to help us discover who you are. We love you, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
Daily Reading: “For the framework of the Tabernacle, construct frames of acacia wood. - Exodus 26:15 NLT
Insight: Some translations call this wood Acacia, some call it Shittim. No matter what you call it, it is important to know that this wood is special for a few reasons. First and foremost, this wood grew sparsely in the desert. It grew in adverse conditions that, to any other tree, would suffocate growth and lead to death. However, Shittim wood was special. It has a special gum within that was known for its healing properties. So, not only was it used to surviving on minimal, it also possessed healing properties.
In this case, the wood represents the man, Jesus. He suffered more than any other human being in existence. Not only did he fast for 40 days and nights in the wilderness, but His entire life was a sacrifice in order to save all of humanity (yes, ALL of humanity)!
So, the framework for the dwelling place of God would be a sanctuary of healing, a place of perseverance and showcase God’s ability to bring glory from adversity.
Before we go any further, I’m going to include a few links to videos I found helpful in helping me understand what the Tabernacle looked like. Feel free to give them a watch. They are about 8 minutes a piece, and are very helpful in understanding what we are going to take a deeper look at next week!
Have you had the chance to watch the videos? What did you find most interesting? :)
Daily Reading: I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, ~ John 10:28 NLT
Insight: The wilderness tabernacle was perfect in conception and there was never any need to change any of the specifications during building. In fact, the tabernacle was the only building ever built on earth that never again needed attention, addition or alteration in any way.
This was the place where God was going to meet with His people, the Israelites. This would be where He would teach them who they were in Him. It would be the place He washed them and made them new. It would be the place that they could atone for their sins and be pardoned.
What seemingly appeared as a regular tent in the middle of nowhere, would be the place where God’s presence would rest. It is important to understand that this wilderness tabernacle was extremely unassuming (more on this later). If an outsider or Gentile were to see it, they would not believe it to be of any importance. However, the Tabernacle was the most inclusive and exclusive place in all the earth when it stood. It excluded every unbeliever, while including every believer. Those who entered from the only entrance on the east side were made completely safe because he was shut in with God Himself!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for washing us and making new. Thank you for sharing your glory and wisdom with us. Father, I ask that you soften our hearts, help us to see with your eyes, love with your heart and trust you with all our being. Help us Lord, we need you Jesus. Thank you for redeeming us. We didn’t deserve it, but you loved us too much to leave us in our mess. God, thank you! Thank you for the Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus, for The Cross. I love you Lord, Amen.
Daily Reading: Make the Tabernacle from ten curtains of finely woven linen. Decorate the curtains with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. ~ Exodus 26:1 NLT
Insight: The innermost covering of the Tabernacle was made of finely woven linen. It was embroidered with cherubim with blue, purple and scarlet thread. If you are like me, it is difficult to envision what this looks like. I have included a photo below to help you envision what this would have looked like.
It was intricately beautiful, fashioned with fine linen, and much more elaborate than the other three coverings of the Tabernacle we will be looking at this week. However, this piece isn’t this intricate just because. The colors of the linen and embroidery used is significant.
White represents perfection and righteousness. Blue represents heaven. Purple represent royalty or kingship. Finally, scarlet represents blood or sacrifice. It is important to remember this particular layer of the Tabernacle covering was only able to be seen from the inside.
For those who are well-versed in scripture and knowledge of The Word, you may already be putting some pieces together. For those who are as naive as I was before I learned more about the Tabernacle, you may be wondering what all this means. Don’t worry, soon, everything will make perfect sense.
Prayer: Adonai, there is no one like you. You stand alone in awe, majesty and wonder. We kneel at your feet in honor of your glorious presence. Thank you Jesus, for your redemptive work. Thank you for being near to the broken hearted and those who may be walking a weary road this season. Father, help us to be a light and shine brightly for you. We love you Lord and we give you all the glory and praise forever, in Jesus name, Amen.
Daily Reading: “Make eleven curtains of goat-hair cloth to serve as a tent covering for the Tabernacle. ~ Exodus 26:7 NLT
Insight: Did you know that a goat in the Bible was a picture of Christ as our sin-bearer. Yep, that’s right!
M.R. DeHaan put it best when he said, “The white linen curtains of which we have spoken, and which formed the ceiling of the tabernacle proper, of course, were underneath these goats’ hair curtains, indicating that our acceptance in Christ and our righteousness and salvation depend upon the substitutionary work of our sin-bearer, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.”
This may be the most important layer of the covering for us to understand because it speaks of our complete salvation and perfect righteousness in Christ Jesus. You aren’t saved because you are better than anyone else. You aren’t saved because God loves you more. You aren’t saved because of all the good things you do. You aren’t saved because you attend church every Sunday and Wednesday. You aren’t saved because you volunteer. You are saved by the precious blood of Jesus! HE is how. If it depended upon us, the law proves to each and every man we don’t have what it takes. But God...Jesus DOES! Can I get an amen?!
Daily Reading: You shall make a [third] covering for the tent of rams’ skins tanned red… ~ Exodus 24:14 AMPC
Insight: The rams’ skin covering of the Tabernacle points to Jesus in the role of a Substitute for sinners. The red color speaks of the blood. However, some of you may have immediately noticed that this layer is rams’ skin, the same animal used to make the clothing for Adam and Eve!
That’s right! From the beginning, God’s plan of substitutionary atonement (pardoning of sins by substitution) was laid out. God has ALWAYS sought relationship with us. He says Himself, “I am sick of your sacrifices. Don’t bring me any more of them. I don’t want your fat rams; I don’t want to see the blood from your offerings (Isaiah 1:11 TLB). This is because even though blood pardoned sin, what God really wanted was relationship, one of intimacy and a closeness to man that only the relationship of marriage can convey.
I may be jumping ahead, but the tabernacle itself, along with all the Jewish feasts and festivals were meant to be a physical representation of what was to come. God wanted people to be able to see and touch and understand what it would look like when the Redeemer of the World would come to save God’s people. Each piece paints a picture.
Daily Reading: ...and a [fourth] covering above that of dolphin or porpoise skins. ~ Exodus 26:14 AMPC
Insight: This last covering is the perfect picture of Christ’s humanity. There is nothing especially beautiful about this. If you can imagine the skin of a manatee, that is what some translations use. Others use badger’s skin, yet others use dolphin or porpoise. The greatest example would be the porpoise as it is the original translation of the word.
This layer was a figure of the fact that Christ’s humanity was all that was visible to the individual standing outside, peering through the one and only entrance. It left hidden to the world the exquisite and indescribable beauty contained within. This final layer represents all that the world is able to see upon looking at Christ, that is until they are born again.
Finally, I would like to point out the significance of God requiring this. It was only because the Egyptians gave them this resource upon the Israelites leaving Egypt that they even had any of this to begin with. If you are like me, you have wondered why this? I quickly thought, well it’s waterproof, that’s why. But it turns out, there is something a little deeper here.
This porpoise skin was used to make shoes. It was what we would consider, shoe leather. So, when God asked His people to let go of this resource for the building of the wilderness Tabernacle, He was essentially telling them that if they would provide them with their shoes, He would provide them with something more amazing that shoes. He would give them the ability to be pardoned and commune with God. In my opinion, it brings to new life, “For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out (Deut. 29:5 NLT).”
Prayer: El Shaddai, oh gracious Lord, we thank you for this day. We thank you for each blessing this day holds and for the ability to share your love and light with others. We thank you for your provision and for each and every gift you have made us stewards of. Help us to remember to steward your gifts and blessings with your Kingdom in mind. Jesus, please guide us today, help us to guard our words and only speak kindness, gentleness, and understanding. Father, we thank you for what you are doing in our lives and we give you all the honor, all the glory, and all the praise in Jesus name, Amen!
Daily Reading: Twenty of these frames will form the south side of the sacred tent, with forty silver bases for the frames to fit into—two bases under each piece of the frame. ~ Exodus 26:19 TLB
Insight: Did you know that this entire Tabernacle sat upon a silver foundation? That’s right! Over 100 blocks (or bases as the above scripture reads) of silver is what the wilderness Tabernacle rested upon. They weighed 100 pounds a piece. This means it would have weighed about 10,000 pounds (or 5 tons) total!
Again, the Israelites were given silver from the Egyptians upon leaving. However, this silver was not returned to God through an offering. This silver was provided to God as a ransom. It was given as “atonement” money. (Reference Exodus 30:11-13, 15)
Every Israelite male was required to give his allotment - no matter how poor, or how wealthy. This is because every male was to atone for his family. Therefore, we can clearly see that silver speaks of atonement, and there can be no atonement without blood.
If we look again at the verse above, it mentions silver to be what holds the frames in place. This means that the foundation was built upon the atoning blood of a substitute. Only those who provided the shekel (Exodus 30:11-13, 15) could be counted among the children of Israel. This is also why David got in trouble for counting the people. There can be no counting without atonement money. But, I digress and this is a lesson for another month. 😆💞
Prayer: Father God, I thank you for this day. I thank you that you hold the whole world in your hands. You know what each and every single person in this world needs, and Lord, I pray that your will be done. Help me to step outside of my comfort zone for your glory. Help me to be a better servant. Help me remember that one of the conditions needed in order to pick up my cross is that I must die to myself. I thank you that you go above and beyond, exceedingly so, to bless me. I notice it, Abba, and I thank you for it. Lord, help me be your hands and feet. I give you all the praise, and all the honor and all the glory in Jesus name, amen!
Daily Reading: Overlay the frames with gold, and make gold rings to hold the crossbars. Overlay the crossbars with gold as well. ~ Exodus 26:29 NLT
Insight: As I mentioned previously, gold is the color of deity. It symbolizes the beauty, awe, and power of God. Gold was not a commodity that many former slaves would own, however, upon leaving Egypt, the Israelites received gold from their former captors. They gave this willingly through offerings, so much so, in fact, that Moses had to ask them to stop bringing it (Exodus 36:4-7).
These particular rings were used to hold the bars that would have joined each piece of Acacia wood covered in gold that formed the walls. Everything within the Tabernacle would have been covered with gold, besides the linen embroidered curtain made of scarlet, white & blue cherubim.
Can you picture it...the glory, the majesty of this place? Are you beginning to see how the Tabernacle is a figure of Christ?
Prayer: Father, I thank you for this day. I thank you that I can come before you in awe and wonder and praise your holy name forever. Jesus, you are my everything. Teach me your ways, Lord, help me be an example of love to others. Thank you for looking out for me & for all that you've done for myself and my family. Lord, we are truly blessed and we know it's only because of your unmerited favor, Father God. LORD, I pray that we would all have an encounter with you today. Prepare the hearts of those who will hear The Word, that their hearts would become fertile soil for a seed to be planted and that the seed would grow exponentially! We ask these things in your name, Jesus, in reverence and awe of your splendor, amen.
Daily Reading: Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. ~ Exodus 26:33 NLT
Insight: If you're like me, it wasn't until you watched the videos (shared in day 6 of this plan) that you understood the difference between the outer court, Holy Place & the Holy of Holies. For me, it was difficult to picture.
The other thing I struggled with was understanding that the veil that separated the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies is not like veils as we know them today. No, it was not see-through and thin like many brides wear today. The veil in the Tabernacle was woven thick into many intricate layers. It would have been impossible to tear! Think of the thickest area rug you have ever seen. Now magnify that thickness about 10-20 times. That's how thick the veil between the two rooms was!
This veil is the veil that was torn from top to bottom when the earth shook and became dark after Christ died. Noticed it was torn from the top to the bottom, and not the bottom to the top. This was to ensure no man could take credit for what only God can do!
Did you know that people tried to fix the veil? Many, many people tried to repair it and sew it back together, but it was impossible. Remember friend, God's will WILL be done.
None of us can stop the will of The Father. It's like a locomotive that's headed straight for us with only two choices in how to deal with it; hop on the train, or get out it's way! What will you choose?
Daily Reading: They shall make an ark of acacia wood: two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. You shall overlay the ark with pure gold, inside and out, and make a gold crown, a rim or border, around its top. You shall cast four gold rings and attach them to the four lower corners of it, two rings on either side. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, And put the poles through the rings on the ark's sides, by which to carry it. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it [that the ark be not touched]. ~ Exodus 25:10-15 AMPC
Insight: I find it interesting that when God began instructing Moses on building the Tabernacle, He started by describing the Ark of the Covenant first. This is unique because it was kept in the innermost room, the Holy of Holies. And no one was allowed inside except the High Priest, once a year.
I always thought how strange it was that God would start there, in the secret place, a place in which not many people get to witness or be involved in. But then again, that is where He begins His good work in us.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. ~ Psalm 139:15 AMPC
Did you catch that? "As if embroidered with various colors," conveys that with the same intricacies God created the plans for the Tabernacle, He created us and His plans for our life!
Prayer: Abba, your goodness has no measure. Your faithfulness stretches to the sky. I am so thankful that you provide me with the same care and concern you have for all of Creation. Help me to be your hands and feet today Jesus. Guide me, I need you. I pray that your will be done, and ask these things in Jesus name, amen.
Daily Reading: You shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony [the Ten Commandments] that I will give you. ~ Exodus 25:21 AMPC
Insight: Did you know that the mercy seat was never sat upon? Yep, that’s right. Along with the Ark of the Covenant, the mercy seat was one of the only 2 items in the Holy of Holies. There were items in the Ark (we will look at this later this month), but the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat were all that was in the Holy of Holies.
It was the dwelling place of the spirit of the Lord. It was where God met with man and pardoned them from sin.
See, after the sacrifices were made, the blood was taken into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest and was sprinkled all over the mercy seat. It was blood that atoned for our sin and pardoned us.
However, I digress. As I mentioned, the mercy seat was never sat upon. This is because the work of the High Priest was never done. The simple fact that the High Priest had to walk on the ground, he was always defiled and dirty, in a sense. This is why sin had to be atoned for and pardoned. This is why there was a laver (lay-ver - more on that later this week).
The most important aspect of the Mercy Seat now is that Christ sits upon it at the right hand of God. HE completed the work. There are no more sacrifices needed. His blood, from His perfect life, completed what you and I never could. It doesn’t just atone for sins and pardon people. It erases sin completely and restores the individual! Now, that’s what I call POWER!
Daily Reading: Also, make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high [for the showbread]. And you shall make its plates [for showbread] and cups [for incense], and its flagons and bowls [for liquids in sacrifice]; make them of pure gold. And you shall set the showbread (the bread of the Presence) on the table before Me always. [John 6:58.] ~ Exodus 25:23, 29-30 AMPC
Insight: The first room of the Tabernacle was called the Holy Place. It's where the table of showbread was located. If you're like me, you struggle to understand the significance. Allow me to help bring a deeper perspective on this topic.
The table of showbread is the place of fellowship. It had golden plates and cups and was meant to be the symbol of the place where we meet with God in fellowship. It is no surprise then that the New Covenant meal would be at a table. Remember, Jesus met with the 12 disciples before He was taken away. He broke bread and called it His flesh, poured a cup of wine and called it His blood.
It reminds me of another scripture as well. “You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings (Psalm 23:5).”
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all you have done for us. Thank you for taking the cup that you wished you could have passed. Thank you for your obedience, for without it, I surely would not be saved. Thank you for the New Covenant and thank you for revealing to us your incredible love for us. We love you, Jesus, amen.
Daily Reading: You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. Of beaten and turned work shall the lampstand be made, both its base and its shaft; its cups, its knobs, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. Six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the lampstand out of the one side and three branches out of its other side; And you shall make the lamps of the [lampstand] to include a seventh one [at the top of the shaft]. [The priests] shall set up the [seven] lamps of it so they may give light in front of it. ~ Exodus 25:31-32, 37 AMPC
Insight: The second item in the Holy Place was the candlestick. We will discuss its significance later, however I wanted to make sure that we discuss the importance of the branches and the use of the candlestick itself.
See, this candlestick was used by the Priest to light his way. Without it, the entire Tabernacle would have been dark. He wouldn’t have been able to see to take a single step in front of him. There were no windows (remember, this is similar to a very large tent and was referred to as the Tent of Meeting). This candlestick was the only source of light.
Can you guess what the branches signify? If you guessed the body, or the church, then you are correct! That’s right. The central shaft of the candle stick represents Christ and the 6 branches represent the body (us). As His blood (and water-more on this later) gushed forth from His side after crucifixion, it signified the churches that would birth fruitful Christians.
Prayer: God, you are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. Coming to know you, and have a relationship with you is so profound and speaks to the depths of my soul. When I feel out of control, you reign me back in. When I feel hopeless, you remind me that you have designed and destined me for purpose. When I feel weak, Lord, YOU make me strong. Thank you for your never ending love, comfort, grace, peace, mercy and joy. There is no one like you, Jesus, and I am so thankful to call you friend. In Jesus name, amen.
Daily Reading: And bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the Tent of Meeting [out where the laver is] and wash them with water. ~ Exodus 29:4 AMPC
Insight: Did you know that outside the Holy Place there was a brazen laver (lay-ver). It was used by the priests to clean themselves. However, it goes much deeper than that. The laver was made of polished bronze. This was not because bronze was the Israelites favorite, no, this was because this was how God wanted it. As it goes, mirrors and glass did not exist in the same form as they do now. The mirrors the Israelites would have used would have been made of the finest bronze and would have been polished to the point where one could see themselves within.
This is the point of the laver, it was meant to showcase sin (conviction-not condemnation), while cleansing of the impurity sin causes within. Again, it is important to remember that the Priests did not wear shoes. Their feet were continually defiled from touching the bare ground while doing the Lord’s work. This is because as long as they are in the world, sin will be a problem, however, God, in all His mercy, figured out a way to help sin not come between Him and man anymore.
Daily Reading: “Using acacia wood, construct a square altar 7 1 / 2 feet wide, 7 1 / 2 feet long, and 4 1 / 2 feet high. Make horns for each of its four corners so that the horns and altar are all one piece. Overlay the altar with bronze. ~ Exodus 27:1-2 NLT
Insight: Many people view the altar as the most important piece and I guess if one wanted to argue, they could make many points to this fact. For instance, many stories concerning atonement begin with the individual in the Bible building an altar before the Lord. This is, after all, the place where son was atoned for. It was where the rams and lamb were killed. It is where the blood was collected. It signifies Christ as our Prophet. It typifies how Christ would come and redeem mankind as becoming their perfect sacrificial lamb.
Did you know that the word altar itself actually means “lifted up.” And if you take a look at the altar, it was lifted off of the ground. This was the first place of substitutionary sacrifice. If we remember, God called Abraham to build an altar and place his son, Isaac on it to be sacrificed. Before Abraham could continue through with it, God provided a ram and Isaac was spared.
What many people do not know is that Isaac is thought to be approx. 30 years old when this took place. Abraham was not tying a child to an altar. He was asking his grown son to lay down and die for the sake of their God, and Isaac was obviously a willing participant since there are no scriptures that say otherwise.
Imagine for a moment, God asking you to sacrifice a loved one for Him? Would you do it? Can you even imagine parting with such a thing and continue to trust that it’s in your best interest to do so? God doesn’t want us to sacrifice our kids, I’m not saying that. But He does want those things we hold on to that take precedence over Him and for some of us, that is our children, especially moms. Many of us have our identity wrapped up in motherhood, not realizing that while it is a lifetime commitment, it does not define who we are.
As we approach Christmas, let me ask you this...what are you holding on to that takes precedence over your relationship with God? Is it TV, children, work, school, social media? How about your love of the world, love of money, or desire to “be somebody?”
Let’s not forget in order to find our life, we must first be willing to lose it, meaning give it all (everything we know) up for The One who can show us who we really are and what we are really created to do.
Daily Reading: For carrying the altar, make poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. Insert the poles through the rings on the two sides of the altar. The altar must be hollow, made from planks. Build it just as you were shown on the mountain.~ Exodus 27:6-8 NLT
Insight: There were two poles put through rings in which people would hold to carry the altar. It is important to remember this Tabernacle did not stay in one location. It was moved continually while the Israelites were in the wilderness. Therefore, in order for the items to not be defiled by human hands, God made provision and plans for how the people would go about doing that.
Today’s reading is rather simple. I just want you all to understand that even these two poles have significance. They represent death and resurrection. This, again, is because the altar is a type of Christ. The altar is the place of conversion. It signifies that point we all come to when we decide to make Jesus Lord of our lives and surrender to His ways.
Daily Reading: “Every morning when Aaron maintains the lamps, he must burn fragrant incense on the altar. And each evening when he lights the lamps, he must again burn incense in the Lord’s presence. This must be done from generation to generation. ~ Exodus 30:7-8
Insight: Incense has long been associated with prayers. We see this throughout the Bible and it begins with the Tabernacle in the book of Exodus. This is because the incense, along with the Ark of the Covenant were located in the Holy of Holies. Why would the incense be there and not the outer court? Because prayers are heard by the Almighty from those who have chosen to accept the covenant terms, making Jesus Lord of their life.
It is not enough to simply call Jesus your Savior, He must also be your Lord. It is only then that we can truly begin to become sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
There are many people who believe in Jesus. If you go to any high school in this country and ask that question, most teens will raise their hand. But if you were to ask if they have made Jesus Lord of their life, very few hands will be raised.
This is the difference between someone who lives for the Lord and someone who knows that He saves, but doesn’t believe He can save them from themselves (whether this choice is made consciously or subconsciously, this is the case).
Again, incense signifies the prayers of God’s people and it is in the Holy of Holies because only those who are truly saved are heard in the throne room of Heaven. Don’t get me wrong, God hears all prayers, but He only answers those who are His children or those who desire to be His children.
If Christ is the intercessor for believers, then we must first be a believer to be heard. There is no way around it. None of us deserve to be able to speak to The Creator, but He has made a way for us to do so, and that’s Christ. Incense, as you have probably guessed, it a type of Christ’s work as our intercessor.
Daily Reading: “Collect choice spices—12 1⁄2 pounds of pure myrrh, 6 1⁄4 pounds of fragrant cinnamon, 6 1⁄4 pounds of fragrant calamus, and 12 1⁄2 pounds of cassia—as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel. Also get one gallon of olive oil. Like a skilled incense maker, blend these ingredients to make a holy anointing oil. - Exodus 30:23-25
Insight: This anointing oil was considered holy and was only used to anoint the priests and the contents of the Tabernacle. It was not to touch anyone or anything else, nor was it to be made or have the recipe shared. This is because of the importance of this oil. It was used to sanctify the Tabernacle, it’s contents and the priests who would be working within.
Long before the Holy Spirit, God made types for us to see His divine plan. For those who believe in coincidence or deja vu, you must know that these things are not real. When you find yourself in either of these scenarios, you may want to look deeper. Divine appointment may be at work. God may be trying to use you, show you something, or get something to you.
This was the case for the Tabernacle. It was meant to be a picture of the coming Messiah. It was meant to showcase to the Israelites who God was and who they were in Him. It was only after someone was saved and confessed God as Lord of their life that they could then be separated and anointed.
So, what has been the most interesting thing you have learned so far? Can you believe we only have one week left?
Daily Reading: In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. ~ Hebrews 9:4
Insight: As mentioned previously, the Ark of the Covenant was the most valuable aspect of the Tabernacle. It specifically points to Christ (as does every other furnishing). However, what you may not know is why the contents of the Ark were what they were. Why manna, Aaron’s staff and the stone tablets of the covenant? Well, in order to answer this, you have to understand the steps it takes to “cut a covenant.”
This concept is unknown to many of us. We do not understand that at one time, in antiquity, one’s word was all there was to ensure that someone would do something they said they would. See, today, we live in a contract driven society/world. Contract and covenant are not the same.
Contract is entering into an agreement with someone but protecting your own interests and security. Covenant is almost the complete opposite. Covenant is entering into an agreement with the understanding that you would have to be willing to give EVERYTHING to that individual, ALL THE TIME. There is no quitting for the individual who had made a covenant. There is no throwing in the towel. There is no giving up. Once in a covenant, the life of both individuals is completely intertwined.
I wish I could go into greater detail concerning this, and maybe I will in a future reading plan, however, there were 9 steps to making a covenant. It was not as simply as signing on the dotted line. Coats were exchanged. Belts were exchanged. Blood was shed. Names were changed. A scar was made. The Covenant terms were discussed. A memorial meal was shared between parties. And a memorial was constructed (tree planted).
The manna is the memorial meal. Aaron’s rod with sprouted leaves is the planted memorial and the stone tablets of the covenant are the covenant terms.
And due to the covenant terms (and man’s inability to obey), sin had to be atoned for using the substitutionary sacrifice.
On this day, more than any other day, it is so important to realize that Christ is who holds the covenant with the Father. We do not understand the level of sacrifice. We, in our flesh and humanity, are not capable of keeping the terms. Therefore, Christ came to earth so that He could keep the terms within those stone tablets and become the Lamb of God, our Redeemer, Immanuel, God with us. He laid down His life in order for us to have a relationship with Him, and therefore, come into union with The Father as well. It is Christ who joined God in the New Covenant and it is us, faithful followers of Christ, who He intercedes on behalf of. Without Jesus, there is no hope for us. His blood covers us. Without Him, we have nothing.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your divine plan of grace and salvation for mankind. Thank you for sending your own Son to die for my wretched life. You looked past my brokeness, Abba and you saved me. Thank you, Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to take all my shame, all my guilt, all my burden to the cross. Thank you for freeing me from the prison that was myself and for leading me on a new path. I cannot thank you enough. I have no gift to give you that is worth what you are deserving Lord, but I offer you my life as a living sacrifice. You can have it all, Lord, every part of my world, and every piece of me-the good, the bad, the ugly, I’m yours. In Jesus name, amen.
Daily Reading: So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. ~ Hebrews 9:11-12
Insight: He secured our redemption forever. HE DID IT. JESUS CHRIST. The reason for the season, He is why we receive blessings. He is why we have been set free. It is not because of what we do, nor is it because of what we don’t do. Our eternal life and all that we hold dear this very moment is because of what Christ did on the Cross. It is not about what we do or don’t do. It is about who we know.
Christ is our intercessor. He is The One who fights for us. He, like God, has many names. He is our High Priest.
I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that He was willing to be obedient, even to death. It is hard for me to fathom being loved that much. I certainly don’t deserve it, but that’s why it’s called grace. It’s a gift none of us deserve, and a love we are unable to fathom.
Daily Reading: Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. ~ Hebrews 9:13-15
Insight: Jesus did not lay His life down so that you could partly believe God. He did not die so that you could get free in one area, but stay locked up in bondage in a different area. Jesus came to bring life ABUNDANTLY. There are thousands of promises made to us in the Bible. Thousands. What are you believing God for? Where do you struggle to believe? Why is that?
Daily Reading: That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. ~ Hebrews 9:23
Insight: The Tabernacle was a physical representation of something that exists in the spiritual. The Bible clearly states this in the verse above. And it also insinuates that Christ’s blood was the far better sacrifice which was necessary.
Maybe you have never realized this before (and I didn’t either until it was pointed out to me), "pardon" is only every used in the Old Testament. It is never again mentioned after The Cross. Just as well, "justification" is only mentioned after The Cross. This is all due to the work of Christ. Because of His perfect sacrifice, we no longer have to sacrifice rams and lambs to be pardoned. The Son of Man came so that we can finally be justified before God.
Prayer: El Elyon, I am so grateful for this life. I am so grateful for your plan of salvation. LORD, help us to remember that our lives can only be free when we make you Lord over them. Help us to not make this life about us, but about serving You. Father, many feel forgotten, overlooked, undervalued and insignificant. Would you speak to them now and remind them that it is YOU, LORD, who determines their worth, not this world. You have given us each such a beautiful gift with the life we have, help us to treasure it and glorify You through it. We love you Jesus, amen.
Daily Reading: The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. ~ Hebrews 10:1-2
Insight: As the Bible states in the verse above, the law was a shadow. A shadow of what? Well, it was a shadow of the perfect life of Christ. It is a picture of His holiness. It is a symbol of just how broken we can become due to sin.
As we wrap up this year, I want to encourage you to look back and recognize where God's hand came through, right on time; how He answered your prayers, and got you through the difficult situation, or continues to walk with you through it right by your side. I encourage you to remember His faithfulness-that no matter what, He did not leave you or forsake you. We serve an amazing God. He is a miracle-working, compassionate, merciful God. Let us leave our regrets at the altar, let's leave our shame, guilt, fear, doubt, anxiety, & worry there too.
If there is one thing I know, it's that we are once again transitioning into a new season, and God doesn't want any of us carrying our garbage from yesterday into our tomorrow (or next year/new decade). Remember who He is. Remember what He's done for you and trust that He will never leave nor forsake you, not now, and not ever.
Daily Reading: Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. ~ Hebrews 10:9-10
Insight: The Tabernacle was the complete picture of Christ and all He represents. It was part of the beginning of God’s redemptive plan for His people. It symbolizes who Christ is in all His different forms and facets. It is my prayer that we would all come to know Him more intimately. If you would like more information on the Tabernacle, I would urge you to read The Tabernacle by M.R.DeHaan. It is a phenomenal read and just filled with tasty morsels that may take weeks to fully digest.
Prayer: Thank you Elohim, for giving us this precious gift of grace and for allowing us to better see and comprehend who Christ is. Help us, Lord, to know you better and on a more intimate level. Help us to remember to keep you first, no matter what this life throws at us. We thank you for your mercy and for your sacrifice Jesus. We love you Lord, amen.
Daily Reading: And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. ~ Hebrews 10:15-18
Insight: Hallelujah for the New Covenant! Jesus is our mediator. He is the One to whom God has made a covenant with, not us. We can offer no perfect sacrifice, but Christ, He could...and He did! It is He who entered into this New Covenant on our behalf. Once we accept Christ’s covenant terms (love each other as you would yourself and love God with all your heart, your mind, your spirit & soul), we are covered in the blood, washed new in baptism and filled with the Holy Spirit to seal the covenant. The Cross is our memorial. The covenant meal we share in is communion.
I wish I could go into more detail. Maybe God will allow that at another time, but for now, I hope this has sparked your appetite for God’s Word and possibly even helped you better understand the use and need for the wilderness Tabernacle.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for such a beautiful year. While there were moments that were not as pretty as others, if I look over the year 2019 through Christ’s eyes, those dark moments are drowned by His perfect light. We are all so blessed to be able to worship God and come boldly before your throne and we thank you for your divine plan of intervention after man allowed sin into the world. Lord, we know that you knew this would happen and we are thankful that, since the beginning of time, you’ve had a redemption plan written for each of us. Lord, we lift us our nation, this state, our family and friends to you. Please help each of us love like you love Jesus, in Jesus name we pray, amen.