Friday, March 31, 2017

Where Earth and Heaven Met, deuxieme partie

Well, I have to keep my high school French sharp, you know.... :) "Deuxieme partie" is French for "part two", which begs the question of why there is a big, golden 7 up there.  But, hang on....

You know how folks will ask, "If you were going to be marooned on a desert island all alone for the rest of your life, and you could take 3 things with you, what would they be?"

I think about that question as I contemplate what God Almighty chose to include in the "furnishings" of the Tabernacle (and later the Temple's) "holy place".  There were only three items.  Are there any indications in Scripture to teach us why He chose those items?  Let's investigate!

First of all, all three furnishings were made of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold, and the accompanying items (such as tableware and coal pans) were made of pure gold.

1.  The Table of Shewbread (aka Table of the Presence)1
"Shewbread" literally means "bread of the face" or bread set out before the face of God.
As one entered The Holy Place, this table was on the right hand side.  (This is the first mention of the word "table" in the Bible. Table is a symbol of communion and fellowship.  More about that in a moment.) On the table were placed every Sabbath 12 loaves of bread, made from the finest flour and unleavened.  They were arranged in two rows of six, on the table.  Each loaf represented one of the tribes of Israel. How beautiful that, even though only Levitical priests were allowed in the Holy Place, all the people of the 12 tribes were represented there before the Lord, by the 12 loaves... Sprinkled over the loaves was the oil of frankincense, which consecrated the bread unto the Lord, essentially making it a grain offering.  At the end of the week, the "old" bread was consumed by the priests and new bread took its place on the table.  Tradition holds that 8 priests would hold hands standing around the table before consuming the old loaves.  Such a sacred communion.
The Table of Shewbread represents our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is through Him, and only through Him, we have communion with our Triune God.  Frankincense was given to Him by the 3 Wise Men, you will recall, as a birthday gift.  No accident, that.  He called Himself the Bread of Life in John 6:35, 51-58.  This table was part of God's "old covenant".  The covenant meal Jesus established with His disciples shortly before His death represents His New Covenant.  That meal represents the believer's eating the "body" (bread) and blood (wine) of Christ on a regular basis to remind us of His sacrifice's all-sustaining and eternal nature.
Bible references to explore:  Exodus 25:23-30; Leviticus 24:5-9.

2.  The Golden Lampstand2
There were no dimensions given for this item.  (Who, after all, can measure the light of God?)
The instructions for making it are found in Exodus 25:31-40.  It was to be made entirely of gold (which caused it to weigh 75-100 pounds) and fashioned by the best artisans.  A strong motif in the design was the flower of the almond tree.  In that part of the world, the almond tree was the first to awake from the darkness of Winter, the first tree to respond to the increased light of Spring.  The lampstand had a vertical shaft, at the end of which was a bowl for the oil.  In addition, there were three curved branches, curving upward, to form 6 more bowls.  All seven were in the shape of the almond blossom.
The seven, tiny bowls, were to be kept burning at all times.  The High Priest was responsible for the care of the lampstand, to ensure its wicks of flax were adequate and that the finest olive oil was abundant, so that the eternal flame burned in the Holy Place (Leviticus 24:3).  There were no windows in the Holy Place.  None were needed.
The lampstand represents the Godhead, and points forward to Jesus.  Zechariah 4:1-4 tells us that this oil represents the Holy Spirit of God.  When the Holy Spirit fell on the believers at Pentecost, He represented Himself as "tongues of fire" over the head of each believer there assembled (Acts 2:3-4).  Jesus referred to Him as fire in Matthew 3:11-12.  And, Paul exhorts us to "not quench the Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5:19).  Jesus often called Himself the Light of the World (John 9:5; 8:12).  And, in Psalm 27:1, God the Father reminds us that He is our Light and our Salvation.  In the Bible 7 is the number which represents completion and perfection.3  Our perfect God, the Three-In-One.

3.   The Altar of Incense4
(Exodus 30:34-38)
It was commanded that this wooden altar, overlaid with gold, be the tallest structure in the room.  It stood about 3 feet tall.  Some of the characteristics of this altar, such as the four horns on the four corners, mimicked the bronze altar just outside the Holy Place. There were coals kept burning on this altar, and they were brought there from the Bronze Altar in a golden coal pan.   As noted in its name, an incense, made of the finest spices and frankincense oil, was burned on this inner altar twice a day. The exact combination of incense is lost to us today.  But, this combo was to be used by no other Israelite for any other purpose.  It was a holy combination, used only for the worship of God on the Altar of Incense.  The High Priest, after he had tended the Golden Lampstand morning and evening, would offer an incense offering on the altar.  In this way, a perpetual sweet smell would pervade the Holy Place. (This fragrance of love and worship expressed the delight of one whose sins had been forgiven!) Additionally, once a year, on the Day of Atonement, after the annual sin offering (Passover Lamb) had been offered, some of its blood would be rubbed on the horns of this incense altar, as the High Priest was proceeding into the Most Holy Place (which we will examine in an upcoming blog).
The golden altar of incense has at its essence worship and praise.  It reminds us of Jesus' current ministry in Heaven, to perpetually intercede on our behalf before God the Father.

Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Psalm 141:2 

In the next post, ... the Most Holy Place!


5   Wiersbe, Warren W., and Warren W. Wiersbe. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete Old Testament in One Volume. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2007. Print.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Where Earth and Heaven Met, Part 1

Thus far, in our exploration of the ancient Tabernacle and Temple, we have studied what can be loosely referred to as "Temple courts" or "porches".  As we move forward, past the bronze altar and the bronze laver, the next feature to command our attention is the centerpiece of the Tabernacle/Temple structure:  the Holy Place and, within it, the Holy of Holies.

Had we been able to see this structure, sitting inside a 7.5 ft. high fence of linen, out there in the Israelite encampment, we may not have been impressed.1  To be sure the structure was large.  Its dimensions were 30 ft. by 15 ft., and 15 ft. high from floor to ceiling.  But, the tent itself did not look very attractive from the outside.  On the inside, well, that was another matter.  Exodus 26 and 36 tells us:

The tent was supported by acacia wood braces, overlaid with gold.  The braces were not solid beams. Each one was sort of like two wooden poles, with crossbars at the top, bottom and middle.  This construction made the 15-foot tall braces more lightweight and also allowed for the innermost curtain that covered them to be seen through the braces themselves.

There were four coverings that went over these braces to form the tent itself.  The innermost one was made of the finest materials, with the finest, most intricate and beautiful design known in the weaving world of that day.  Linen comprised the base fabric, but beautiful threads of blue, purple and scarlet were woven throughout the material.  Figures of angelic cherubim (whose duty is to without ceasing proclaim the holiness of God) were woven into this fine fabric. The dimensions for this covering were specified by God.  The curtain was formed from 20 vertical panels of equal length, coupled together with clasps of pure gold.  Furthermore, the curtain's bottommost edges did not touch the ground.

The covering that overlaid the most beautiful, inner one was woven from the hair of black goats. This slightly larger curtain completely covered the more inner one; it's bottommost edges DID touch the ground.  It was pieced together in a similar manner as the linen covering; but, the clasps holding it together were made of brass.

The next most outer covering was made of ram's skin, dyed red.  Like the outermost covering, which we'll get to in a moment, this one was waterproof.  It was specified to be red, which represents atonement.  Interestingly, there were no dimensions given by God for this covering.

The last of the four coverings, the one visible to passersby, was made of badger skin. No measurements were specified for this one either.  Now, as I alluded to before, badger skin (some say it was the skin of a sea animal, such as the sea cow) was not very attractive.   But, as with most things related to God, of greater importance is the inner, not the outer (Isaiah 53:2, for instance). And, the harder you search the heart of God, the more beauty you will find.

The door to this structure was supported by five beautiful pillars, acacia wood covered with gold, with each pillar sitting in a bronze base and capped on top by a gold piece.  Hanging between these pillars was woven fabric, the same as the fabric described above, in the most innermost curtain of the Tabernacle.  As a reminder, Levitical priests could approach this door after first having made a burnt offering on the bronze altar and then ceremonially washing at the bronze laver, both studied in previous posts.  But, as Christians, Jesus is our Door.  He described himself as such, likening Himself to the door of the Tabernacle, in John 10:7-9 and John 14:6.  Because of His eternal and thoroughly complete sacrifice, we are invited to approach the throne of grace boldly, at any time.  What a blessing!

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

In Part 2, we will look at the furnishings in The Holy Place, the first compartment encountered in this ancient place where Earth and Heaven met.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Safest Place

Spending a few minutes in Ezekiel this morning, I came across in chapter 11 today's key verse, verse 8:

"You have feared a sword; so I will bring a sword upon you," the Lord God declares.
Ezekiel 11:8 (NASB)

In this passage the Israelites were in one of their infamous bouts of disobedience to their God.  They had strayed from His ways, substituting the ways, methods and "ordinances" (vs. 12) of the pagan people groups that surrounded them.  Their rulers and leaders were evil, in this regard.

The rulers' rationalization and justification to the people for doing so was, "If we don't do this the nations around us will ravage and conquer us!"  The bottom line was: they were trusting in their own power and in pagan methods to preserve their safety, instead of trusting in YHWH, their God.

There are many circumstances Satan uses to tempt us to fear.  If He can, after all, scare us out of following God boldly, then he has handicapped our effectiveness for the kingdom of God.

Is there a circumstance, or several, making you fearful today?  What is a Christian's antidote to fear?

And, what does it mean to be "safe" anyway?  Does it mean no harm will ever come to you?

While walking resplendent (according to Jesus Christ's example) yields a life of peace and joy, it is not a life free of challenges and sometimes downright pain.   Why?

Let's tackle these questions.

1.  The Antidote to Fear
Simply, the antidotes to fear are prayer and trust in the One who "holds all things in His hands".  If we trust, committing ourselves and our circumstances to God, we can be certain, absolutely certain, that He will:

  • do what is right
  • guide us
  • be with us through every adverse condition
  • use all of our situations for His glory and the advancement of our kingdom
  • work things out "for our good" (especially when things seem like crap all around us).  (Romans 8:28)

It may not be that He "works things out" the way we'd like, but we can have bedrock, rock-solid trust in His goodness and His sovereignty.
Where is room for fear in that?  No room.  He, and He alone, is our "safest place".

2.   The Answer to Pain
Why must good people suffer?
First of all, there is no one truly righteous, except God.  Christians know this, as it is the first step to becoming a Christian. (Romans 3:10)
But, I'm talking about Christians, those who love God (to the best of their flawed ability) with all their hearts, minds, souls...
Why do Christians, God's family suffer?
Apart from sinful choices which bring suffering down on our own heads, the answer is hinted at in #1 above - - -
All of our life conditions, phases, seasons, circumstances are allowed us so that we can:

  • grow in our faith
  • be drawn closer to His heart
  • become more like our Savior
  • bring about the advancement of the gospel message, be instrumental in "His kingdom come, His will be done" (Matthew 6:9-13)
  • bring Him glory

So, we must not adopt the methods of the Jewish leaders in Ezekiel 11.  Their methods were to be deceived by and yield to worldly strategies and pagan philosophies to solve spiritual problems (such as dealing with fear and pain).  God's solutions trump and are superior to man's (Satan's) counterfeits every.single.time.

The question is: will we, God's beloved people, be bold and fearless, moving forward in faith and courage, to follow our King in all of life's circumstances?  Are we willing to follow Him and His ways obediently, according to the Word of God, no matter the personal cost?  Is the battle worth it?  Is HE worth it?

Yes, and so be it.   I believe He is worth it all.

Heavenly King and Father God,
"Give us wisdom.  Give us courage, for the facing of this hour....for the facing of this hour!"
In Jesus' name, amen.

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:

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.




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".


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 Temple 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.)

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!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

#Proclaim17 Convention Update

I truly enjoy, 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.