Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Bronze Laver



For a quick review, we are in the book of Hebrews and are currently somewhere in chapters 9-10, which mention the "earthly tabernacles" of the Old and New Testaments.  We have learned that, prior to the building of the first Temple, the people of God worshipped in a very grand tent called the Tabernacle.  Then, King Solomon, King David's son, was tasked with building the first Temple, a magnificent structure.  That building was mostly destroyed around 587 B.C. when the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and carried the healthiest and youngest Jews off as captives to Babylon.  About 70 years later, work on that structure resumed, and the resulting structure stood for about 420 years, until it was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans.

An interesting point:
The Second Temple was not as grandiose as Solomon's Temple, nor did it contain all of the artifacts of the First Temple.  Although the design of the Temple was the same, some of the key artifacts were lost in the Babylonian raid and never recovered.  One of these was the famous Ark of the Covenant.1  Others included the Urim and Thummim (parts of the high priest's breastplate - - see Exodus 28:30), and holy oil for anointing (Exodus 30:26-29).

In the last post, we studied the significance of the bronze altar, the first Temple feature to "greet" a Jewish man as he entered the Court of Israel (where only Jewish men could enter).

Today, we are going to examine the bronze laver.  See link below to the diagram we've been using:
http://www.jesuswalk.com/moses/images/tabernacle-flow-of-worship-2293x1251x300.jpg

We see God commanding Moses to make this (bronze laver) a feature of the Tabernacle in Exodus 30:18-21 (NET) - - -

17The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 18“You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. 19“Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; 20when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the LORD21“So they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they will not die; and it shall be a perpetual statute for them, for Aaron and his descendants throughout their generations.”

A second interesting point:
This bronze laver, the original one, was made of solid bronze, the bronze having been procured from the hand mirrors of women who served outside the outer door of the Tent of Meeting (the Tabernacle).

He made the large basin of bronze and its pedestal of bronze from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 
Exodus 38:8 (NET)

BUT, when Solomon built the first Temple, the bronze laver (because its dimensions/design were not specified by God, which I find strange since He was so specific about other things) took on much more grandiose proportions!  We read about this in 1 Kings 7:23-26.  (I don't like the HCSB translation, but I am using it here to prevent you from looking up measure conversions like cubits and baths....)


So, to reiterate, this big (YUGE, in the case of the Temple) wash basin stood behind the bronze altar we studied in the last post and in front of the entrance to the "holy place" of the Tabernacle/Temple. Not only were its presence and purpose specified, the rituals associated with it were laid down by God as well.  Only the Levitical priests could wash there and only before entering or leaving the Holy Place. When a priest entered the Court of Israel, he first made a sacrifice (blood, for the covering of sins) and then he washed at the laver to be cleansed for service.  In a similar way, salvation through Jesus Christ must come before we are prepared for His service.

A priest, after washing, could perform other Temple services.  If he were going into the Holy Place, he would first wash.  If he were coming out of the Holy Place, he would again wash at the bronze laver.  In the court of Israel the altar and laver were made of bronze.  The artifacts inside the Holy Place were made of gold.  These items represented the holiness of God.

You may be wondering what parts of their bodies the Levitical priests would wash.  In Exodus 40:11-16, we learn that upon being consecrated as a priest, a man was washed thoroughly, all over, from the bronze laver, after which he was clothed in priestly garments.  This "all over" washing was done only once.  (We Protestants might think of it as an "ordination".)  But, additionally, we are told in Exodus 30:19-20 (NET) - - look back up in this post, at that those verses again - - that the ritual, every-day washing involved their hands and feet only, right?  One commentator has speculated that the hands were washed because they signify their service to God, whereas the feet represented where they went, their lives and ways.2 

Now, like many other items/places in the Old Testament, the bronze laver and bronze altar are types of Jesus Christ.  I borrow shamelessly from source 2 (see Sources), which expresses this beautifully!

As the altar points to the death of Jesus, so the laver points to the life of Jesus. Blood speaks of a life taken and water speaks of life given. The water in the laver speaks of Jesus, the living Word of God that enters us and gives us eternal life. Jesus said that we are clean because of His Word and that the knowledge of God that comes through His Word is eternal life and is described with the exact same terminolgy in the Hebrew as the sexual union of a man with his wife. As the priest would wash his hands and his feet while coming into the Presence of God (gold) and back out into the world (bronze) so we are continually being cleansed from the corruption of this world by the Word of God. When the Jewish leader named Nicodemus came to Jesus to inquire from Him about the kingdom of God Jesus replied, "unless one is born of the water and the Spirit (Hebrew idiom - "born from above") he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Water brings life to the physical world and so spiritual water (the Word of God) brings Gods spiritual life to us.

As a matter of fact, the entire Tabernacle/Temple is a type of Jesus Christ.  I am enjoying this study and pray you are blessed by it as well. We'll continue it, in the next post.

Sources:

1    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Temple

2    http://www.bible-history.com/tabernacle/TAB4The_Bronze_Laver.htm

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Stop Right There!


Once a Jewish man going to Temple stepped through the Beautiful Gate to enter the Court of Israel, sometimes called "the first apartment" or "The Holy Place", the first object to arrest his attention would have been The Brazen (or Bronze) Altar.  It was "front and center" from the entrance - - could not miss it.  A priest would have been waiting beside it to receive animal sacrifices.

The altar itself was "foursquare" in shape and burned all day, every day (Leviticus 6:12-13).  Each side was 7.5 feet long.  The altar's height was 4.5 feet.  (You'll thank me in a moment for saving you from Googling the cubit to foot calculation!)
In Exodus 27:1-8 we can read the specific instructions God gave to Moses about the construction of the altar (all the Temple, actually) when Moses was on Mt. Sinai getting the 10 Commandments and other instructions for the people of Israel.

1“Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubitsa high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide.b 2Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze. 3Make all its utensils of bronze—its pots to remove the ashes, and its shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. 4Make a grating for it, a bronze network, and make a bronze ring at each of the four corners of the network. 5Put it under the ledge of the altar so that it is halfway up the altar. 6Make poles of acacia wood for the altar and overlay them with bronze. 7The poles are to be inserted into the rings so they will be on two sides of the altar when it is carried. 8Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain.  (NIV)

It is important to note that no matter who entered this area of the Temple, they could pass no further until confession of sin was made and the sin was pardoned.  No one was "good enough" to skip this step.  Furthermore, no sacrifice (of time, of money, of anything) accomplished this pardon from the Lord other than the shedding of an animal's blood.  This truth is stated in Leviticus 17:11 below (again, God speaking to Moses):

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you on the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul. (American KJV)

and by the writer of Hebrews (referring to Jesus Christ's sacrificial death):


Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:22 (ESV)

When the animal sacrifice was presented, it represented the sinner.  The innocent sacrifice by laying on of hands took on the sins of the sinner.  Then, the priest slit its throat in a violent manner, demonstrating that the consequences of sin are death.  The animal's blood covered the sinner's sin, until the time for the next sacrifice for the sinner's sin.  The animal's blood foreshadowed the "once for all" sacrifice of Messiah Jesus, the Sinless dying for the sinful...  His cleansing blood is forever efficacious.  It forgives all a believer's sins, forever, something the blood of the animal could never do.  The fact that the Bronze Altar burned 24/7, however, did foreshadow the eternality of the Son's ultimate sacrifice.

The horns on the four corners of the altar were not merely decorative.  They represented a place of safe haven for those seeking safety from pursuers.  In the Old Testament the horns of an animal always signified strength and power.  (See Psalm 89:17 and Lamentation 2:3.) The priests were instructed to wipe some of the animal's blood on the horns of the altar.  In this, not only was God's power represented but also His mercy seen.  A man falsely accused of murder could run to the altar and grab its horns.  If he were innocent, his life would be spared.  (See Exodus 21:12-14.) . This happened with King David's son, Adonijah, and also of King David's general, Joab.

All the utensils used in conjunction with the Altar of Bronze were .... wait for it .... made of bronze!  I won't go into each of them here.  Check out the link under Sources if you want more information about each.  I do, however, want to mention the ashes from the sacrifices.  There was a strict protocol for the disposal of them.  Why?  They were considered precious because they signified not only complete destruction but also God's acceptance of the sacrifice.  They also symbolized purification and cleansing.  You may remember that, when Jewish people were in deep mourning, they would rub ashes on their bodies.  Ashes from the altar were also applied to make the unclean clean again.

For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them.
Numbers 19:17 (NIV)

The Bronze Altar was closely linked to another piece of Temple "furnishings" or "appointments", the Altar of Incense.  Because of this, we'll examine it next in our "Temple Tour".

Source:

http://www.bible-history.com/tabernacle/TAB4The_Bronze_Altar.htm


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Exclusionary Entrances



In our current American culture, it has become "hateful" to exclude people, for just about any reason. Here are some controversial examples from over the past few years:

  • 2012  Augusta National golf club admits first woman
  • 2013  Restriction that prevented U.S. women from serving in direct combat was lifted
  • 2015  Boy Scouts of America admit openly gay scoutmasters
  • 2016  The Obama transgender bathroom fracas

I could cite many more, but I'm sure you get the drift.  Those who object to any group, club, church or other institution excluding people for any reason, even legitimate reasons, are labeled "haters".

The Bible, on the other hand, is an exclusionary book, as we'll see as we take a look at the Jewish Temple in today's post.
In our Hebrews study, which has, for reasons I can't explain, "meandered" more than any of my previous studies here at the RDM blog, we are now going to delve more deeply into the components of the Jewish Temples/Tabernacles, as promised in the post "Dual Citizenship" from a few days ago.

We will begin with the Temple entrances that, whether the Tabernacle was pitched in the wilderness wanderings or either of the two Temples constructed over the hundreds of years before Jesus was born, faced East.  A good question to explore would be, "Why was that the case?"  A second good question would be, "Who was allowed to enter at each entrance, and why?"

For starters, the Garden of Eden was the first "sanctuary", the place where God met with man (Adam and Eve).  The garden was planted, we are told in Genesis 2:8, in the East of the area known as Eden.  This is the first instance we see of "East" having a prominent role in God meeting with man.
When Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden, they were sent out "East of Eden", therefore signifying that moving away from God is to travel East.  If that sounds like "a stretch", consider that when Lot departed from Abraham he went East to the area that became Sodom.

Then, later under the inspired leadership of Moses and Aaron, the Tent of Meeting (again, where the presence of God descended to meet with man) was pitched so that the entrance faced East.  See Numbers 3:38 (ESV)

Those who were to camp before the tabernacle on the east, before the tent of meeting toward the sunrise, were Moses and Aaron and his sons, guarding the sanctuary itself, to protect the people of Israel.  And, any outsider who came near was to be put to death.

When Babylon conquered Jerusalem and took Hebrew captives off into 70 years of exile, the Hebrews traveled East.  In fact, we read in Ezekiel 10 that the glory of God left the Jerusalem Temple to travel with the exiles East to Babylon.

When the Temple was built in Jerusalem, the entrance likewise faced East, toward the sunrise and the city's Eastern gate.  But, let's leave this point of directionality and focus on the "who" of the Temle entrances. There's another important factoid revealed here in the Numbers passage, which became part of the Temple ritual later.  The Temple priests, like their forebears before them, guarded and governed who was allowed access to various parts of the Temple.  In the case of the Tabernacle, no non-Hebrew peoples were allowed entrance.  In the more elaborate Temples to follow, Gentiles were allowed into only the most outer courts of the huge building.  There was a literal "Court of the Gentiles" for instance, which resembled a large outdoor bazaar.  Gentiles could proceed no further into the Temple than this outer court which, it could be argued, was not truly a part of the Temple at all.

Jews could proceed through the first East-facing entrance, the Beautiful Gate, into the Court of the Women.  Jewish women could proceed no further.  Jewish men could proceed on through the next East-facing entrance, called the Gate of Nicanor, into the Court of Israel.  But, only the male Levitical priests could enter the next area, called the Court of the Priests.  It was this area of the Temple which corresponded to the design of the Tent of Meeting.  (Just click the link.)

http://www.jesuswalk.com/moses/images/tabernacle-flow-of-worship-2293x1251x300.jpg

In the graphic of the Temple's Court of Israel, at the link above, the "Enter" designation on the East side --- the entire area pictured here could only be accessed by Levitical priests.  Hmmmm....quite exclusionary, right?

Personally, I am so glad that my Savior reassured me that, regardless of the Temple, He is "the Door", the only door I need to experience joy, forgiveness, restoration and eternal life, beginning here and now.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
John 10:9 (ESV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

When He came, He perfected salvation so as to render the Temple system unnecessary. I do enjoy studying about it, though, because God did ordain the Temple design as a "type" of Jesus Christ's perfect salvation which was to come.  As Hebrews 8:7 testifies - - -

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

Jesus, the Second Adam, in bringing the perfect "second covenant" does not exclude anyone.  No lock on that Door!  He invites anyone to come to Him and through Him for salvation, because eternal redemption is found in none other.  Praise His holy name!


Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_military

http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/448/what-is-the-significance-of-east-in-the-scriptures

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Temple

http://www.friendsandheroes.tv/Temple_in_Jerusalem.html

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

#Proclaim17 Convention Update


I truly enjoy conventions....no, not the grammatical kind, although my family members would charge me with that...
I guess it's in my blood.
My dad was the closest thing to a "national union leader" the aggregated postmasters of this country can (by law) know.  Just a country postmaster, he rose to become the president for many years of one of the two postmaster "associations".  To be accurate, one was a "league" and the other an "association".
He was always jetting off to some postmaster convention or another.  The few times I got to tag along  were absolutely thrilling!
Over the years I've enjoyed and benefitted from reading conventions, conventions dedicated to nurturing the gifted child, curriculum conventions, Bible conventions and so forth.

Today was the first time I had ever attended a religious broadcaster's convention.  Why did I come this week?  Certainly not only because I like conventions, but because I imagined that I'd learn a lot about how to leverage my God-given ministry to be more and become more for the kingdom of God.
And, I did.

One of the things I learned was that I have been underutilizing Facebook, which a couple of the presenters referred to as "The Evil Empire", lol!  What they meant by such a moniker is that, although certain algorithms of FB are onerous, it dominates the social media scene.  I'd be foolish to continue to not put into practice what I've learned.  So, loyal readers, expect to see a RDM Facebook page, coming soon!

A second thing I learned today was that I probably need to get a blogspot divorce.  A friend had a while back recommended I do this; but, I was just so comfortable "dancing with the one who brung me"....
Podcasts.  Podcasts ❤️ LOVE Wordpress, an alternative blogging platform.  They are just a natural pairing.  Blogspot, not so much.  Actually, not at all.  So, look for that to be another change for the near future.

A third thing I learned is that in an area where I am very proficient (Twitter), the religious broadcasting world is woefully undereducated.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the architects of the Digitial Media Day at #Proclaim17 and introduce him to one of the most able Twitter warriors I know.  Hopefully, next year, my friend can participate in #Proclaim18 (or whatever hashtag they will adopt) so that he can share how Twitter can be a powerful piece in a ministry's social media ecosystem.

That's a fourth thing I learned.  I had been breezing along, blissfully content with my little blog and vlog. But, Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper of Lifeway emphasized the danger of such compartmentalizations and the resulting isolation.  Ministries (even minnow ministries like mine) who successfully harness the power of social media build a web of connectivity and interactivity between their various social media platforms.  What a pardigm shift!

And, I learned so much more....which I'll tell you about in my next post.
Teaser:  I met some famous people!  Can't wait to tell you about them!

Lord Jesus, thank you for this minnow ministry you have given to this resplendent daughter.  You didn't give it because I am worthy, but because You are.  And, I have no desire other than that all the glory should go to You, for the amazingly great things You have done.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Minnow Ministry?


When Isaac planted in that land, he reaped in the same year a hundred times what he had sown,
because the Lord blessed him.
Genesis 26:12 (NET)

The context of this verse is a foreign, unfamiliar land, filled with a mostly hostile people.  Because of a famine in his homeland, Isaac was told by God to go live in the country of the Philistines for a while.  Not the most comfortable of surroundings.  Still, Isaac obediently went where God sent him. Following that, he planted where God placed him.  And, then God did what only God can do.  In fact, the Philistines were so amazed at God's blessing on Isaac that they eventually threw him out of the country.  He had gotten too successful for his own good, lol!  What a testimony to Isaac's God!

It surely does feel good to be back in my office chair with this familiar Blogger blank screen in front of my eyes and the Bible at my side.  I do apologize for my 10-day hiatus, something I've not done since beginning Resplendent Daughter in mid-2014.

If you recall from the last post, on 2/16, a surprise was promised.  Well, here it is.


This is the new logo for RDM, and I've trademarked the name (a complicated legal procedure).  That seems like some to be a bold, even foolish move.  It is akin to a minnow applying for the position of whale....in the mind of some. And, make no mistake, by "industry standards", this is a "minnow ministry".

Yesterday at church, I heard some men talking about a woman in her mid-eighties who had visited both of the poles (North and South), with her last visit having been recently.  They were incredulous she'd attempt something of that magnitude at her age.  I wisely held my tongue.  But, privately, I thought, "How wonderful! She and I are kindred spirits."  Both of us want to skid into the end of life on two wheels, all disheveled and exhilarated exclaiming, "Wow, what a ride!"

It is a fact that those who never attempt great things for God certainly never receive them.  In the Scripture verse for today Isaac most certainly would never have gathered in a harvest of 100 times what he planted....had he never planted at all.  I don't know where God wants to take this ministry He has given me, but I for sure do not want to stand in the way of anything He wants to do.  Even more than that, I want to be ready in anticipation of Him doing extraordinary things.  Then, if He chooses to bless this minnow ministry "a hundredfold", so be it.  If not, so be it.

Tomorrow, I'm headed out-of-state for a religious broadcaster's conference.  Your prayers over this trip would mean so much!  Please pray for good health, safe travel, for spiritual discernment and for the connections God wants to be made at that event.   Thanks, and I'll see you in the next post!






Thursday, February 16, 2017

Off-Grid

Hello Friends!

I will be off-grid for the next 10 days, but will have exciting news to share after returning!
I'd appreciate your prayers in the interim.

Blessings,

Gena

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day is special at our house, for a couple of reasons.  First, it is my husband's birthday. And second, it is the day that we adopted our dog, Charlie.  I like to describe Charlie as having been a "Wal-Mart special".

It happened on Valentine's Day afternoon, four years ago.  Younger Son and I had gone to the Wal-Mart shopping center on an errand.  As we pulled into the parking lot he pointed out people milling around an old pick-up truck with a sign on it:  "Free Puppies".  He asked if we could stop and look. Our former dog, Max, had died a few months earlier.  Max had been quite the "handful", and I was not eager to get another dog.  I said, "Maybe on the way out."  After completing our errand, we headed home.  I asked, "Do you want to just stop and look?"  "I guess so," was the reply.

There were several puppies in the kennels, but I was drawn to just one.  As I gathered this Aussie shepherd/blue tick coon hound mix in my arms, I knew I never wanted to let him go.  On the ride home, I've never seen a more terrified dog.  He was drooling from anxiety (a habit he continued for several months).  Hubster was stunned to receive a puppy as a birthday present!  Younger Son had told me at the pick-up truck, "I bear absolutely no responsibility for this!"  Well, Charlie has become a tremendous blessing to all of us.  He is dearly loved.



This family story reminds me of my place in God's family.

4But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"…
Galatians 4:4-6

This is love!  Don't you see how adoption is at the heart of it?  We did not first love God, but He first loved us.  We were "mutts".  We were not His "natural-born" sons/daughters, or His "only-begotten" sons/daughters. We are His through adoption.  Hallelujah!  This is the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who Is The Best Valentine.

But God demonstrated His own love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

There is a rather erotic movie which opened recently.  It is the sequel to an even more sickening movie of similar name which premiered right around Valentine's Day two years ago.  In fact, both of these movies are an insult to true love.

But, God does not merely illustrate or typify love - - - He IS love, in all its beauty, in all its glory. His love poured out on us truly is "the greatest love of all".   You may be facing a lonely Valentine's Day. In fact, the holiday may itself be repugnant because of all the emphasis on romantic love when you are not "there" right now.

Regardless of your present circumstances, on this Valentine's Day, you can reach out and experience God's love.  It is never-ending and always available.  Don't turn away.  Whether you would be reaching out to Him for the first time today for eternal salvation or whether you are already a disciple of Jesus Christ and needing a reminder....He is there for you.

https://youtu.be/Fla6EO07I3E

Happy Valentine's Day!


Dear Father, thank you for the gift of Your Son, Who is Love personified.  Today, I celebrate Your love, which is incomparable.  No one can ever or will ever love me like You do.  To be loved, adopted, cherished, made new by the God of all the Universe is both inconceivable and unfathomable.  I don't pretend to understand what caused you to do what you did for me.  My love for You is paltry in comparison.  Give me a Valentine's heart - - a Christ-like heart. Help me to love more like You do, precious Savior! It is in Your name, Lord Jesus, I pray, amen.