Tag Archives: glory

Picturing Messiah

Snapshots of Messiah

The Old Testament contains numerous snapshots of Messiah in His many roles and aspects.  The more snapshots we examine, the more comprehensive our understanding of Messiah.  As we explore some details of Messiah, we discover implications for ourselves for it is not only our job to learn about Messiah, but to reflect His glory.  

In this article, we will focus on chapters 15 and 17 of Deuteronomy. The first three verses of chapter 15 command us to forgive debts owed to us.  Our Savior paid our debt in full and does not demand reimbursement.  In our case, the debt each of us owes is far beyond our means to repay.  Our Savior repaid all debts owed to YHVH once for all (Heb 10:12; Rom 8:9-10).  Therefore, we are not to expect payment from our debtors, but are called to forgive them even as we are forgiven and to reconcile just as we have been reconciled to YHVH.  (1 John 1:9; Matt 18:21-35).

Chapter 15, verses 4-11 illustrate the generosity that characterizes Messiah.  Our Savior not only released us from impossible debt, but liberally shares His own treasures with us (Is 55:1-2; Matt 8:16-17; Eph 1:1-18).  We are to do likewise (Matt 10:8) with those who have wronged us.  How generous are we toward our enemies, or even toward those who have not offended us but are needy?  Do we judge the poor, ignore them, or reach out to them?

Messiah rescues us from slavery to hasatan and restores us to the kingdom of YHVH.  As citizens of the kingdom of YHVH, we are to use our freedom to serve YHVH and others just as Messiah has served us (1 Pet 2:16; Gal 5:13).  We cannot reflect the glory of YHVH by serving ourselves, but only by serving others.

The sacrifices described in Deuteronomy 15:23 and 17:1 were to be without any sickness, deformity, or blemish, thus illustrating Messiah.  It is through the most perfect Sacrifice that we who are diseased, deformed and stained with sin, are made whole and perfect by the One who absorbed all our imperfections in Himself and put them to death.  The Israelites were to eat the flesh of the sacrifices for nourishment, but were forbidden to consume any of the blood, which contains life.  We gain little from consuming the life of creatures inferior to us, but we gain everything from partaking of the flesh and blood of the One who gives life to all (John 6:53).

The Israelites were ordered to keep evil from their midst.  This was so serious a matter, that a person found guilty of introducing evil was to be stoned to death.  Messiah warned people to turn from their sins (Matt 4:17; Luke 5:32).  He expelled demons from multitudes of people (Matt 8:16; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41).  When He returns, Messiah Yeshua will eradicate all evil from the earth (Is 25:8; Rev 21:3-4).  We too are empowered and expected to purge all evil from our midst (Jude 1:14-15).

Priests and judges were appointed by YHVH (Deut 17:8-13).  The verdict of a priest or judge was final and orders were to be carried out exactly.  Yeshua did not come as judge the first time (John 3:17).  However, Messiah will return as Judge (Matt 25:31-46; James 5:9; 2 Cor 5:10).  Messiah’s judgement will be final and His orders will be carried out precisely (Is 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-3; Is 9:6-7).  Just as Yeshua came the first time to serve, not to judge, so we must focus on serving others, not judging them.  Our time for judging comes later (1 Cor 6:1-6).  We also are priests (1 Pet 2:9) and Messiah Yeshua is our High Priest (Heb 4:14-16).  Our main job as priests is to worship YHVH and show others His goodness (1 Pet 2:5, 9).

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 describes the selection and appointment of a human king and the guidelines for human kings.  A vivid picture of Messiah as our king emerges from these verses:

  • The king was selected by YHVH Himself (Ps 110: 1-2; Rev 19:11-16). If we have accepted Messiah Yeshua as Lord of our lives, then we are already citizens in His kingdom and are subject to Him first and foremost.
  • The king was a fellow Israelite. Messiah Yeshua is a fellow Israelite (2 Sam 7:12-13; Matt 1:1-17; Luke 3:21-38).  The Israelites were taught some basics of kingdom living and when Yeshua came to the earth He taught and demonstrated Kingdom living.
  • The king should not build up a large stable of horses. In Scripture horses were used for war and could become a false stronghold.  The king should not depend not on horses, but rather on His fear of YHVH (Ps 147:10-11).  Even though Messiah will return on a horse, He does not depend on the horse.  Rather, the horse depends on its Creator, Messiah Yeshua (John 1:1-3).  We must rely solely on YHVH for our strength and protection and avoid false strongholds.
  • The king was not to return or send his people to Egypt (symbolizing slavery and bondage). Messiah came free us from bondage to hasatan (Heb 2:14; Col 2:15).  When Messiah returns, He will place hasatan in bondage (Rev 20:1-3) and imprison him for the rest of eternity (Rev 20:10).
  • The king is not to have many wives, lest he turn away from YHVH. Yeshua has the Bride.  Although many individuals make up that Bride, they are all united by His Holy Spirit and operate as one (echad) (1 Cor 12:12, 27 NLT; Eph 4:3-5; 2 Cor 11:2).
  • The king is to read Torah daily to remain humble and obedient to YHVH. When hasatan tempted Yeshua in the wilderness, Yeshua responded by quoting from Deuteronomy each time.  Yeshua is the Living Torah, the Word of YHVH (John 1:1-5).  We, too, should keep Scripture within our hearts to remain humble and faithful to YHVH (Deut 6:5-6; 2 Tim 3:16).

These snapshots of Messiah give us much to ponder.  Yeshua is our perfect example of how to live and serve in YHVH’s kingdom.  How well do we reflect His glory?

Metal Reflections

living-tabenacles

This is the beginning of a new series (Living Tabernacles) where we will study the Tabernacle in depth. It is exciting to see how each element symbolizes some characteristic of Yeshua.  However, it is more challenging when we examine what each element means for us, for each of us is now a tabernacle of YHVH.   There will be two posts each month for this series.

The building of the Tabernacle involved participation on the part of the Israelites from the beginning.  YHVH showed Moshe the building plans and a heavenly model so that he would understand exactly what needed to be done (Exodus 25:9, Heb 8:5).  Then YHVH gave Moshe a list of items needed for the Tabernacle.  Moshe was instructed to share the list with the Israelites.  They were to take from their possessions in order to have the necessary building materials.  Where did they get the materials in the first place?  From YHVH Himself.  Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow (James 1:17).   Since the Israelites gave of their own possessions and, later on, their time and talents, they had a significant stake in the Tabernacle and in the worship of YHVH.

The list that YHVH gave to the Israelites was as follows:

  • 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.

Every item on the list points not only to Yeshua, but to us who are seeking to become like Yeshua.  Each listed item symbolizes a characteristic of Yeshua and, by extension, should symbolize a characteristic of His followers.  What can we learn from this list?

In this first article we will examine gold, silver and bronze.  Gold and silver are precious metals and, for the Tabernacle, had to be “pure” (Exodus 25:11) and “refined” (1 Chronicles 28:18).  YHVH refines us through fiery trials so that we may be purified.  “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand (Dan 12:10). Gold is symbolic of YHVH’s kingship, glory and holiness and we are meant to reflect His glory and holiness.  Gold is one of the least reactive chemical elements.  When the blood was sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant (made of pure gold), the gold did not tarnish.  When we are sprinkled with adversity, it should not discolor or corrode us.

Silver signifies redemption, which means to purchase back at a cost. Yeshua paid the highest price to redeem us.  The Hebrew word for silver is ‘kesef,’ meaning a very strong desire. According to Strong’s Concordance, the root for this Hebrew word is:

H3700 – כּסף – kâsaph – kaw-saf’ – A primitive root; properly to become pale, that is, (by implication) to pine after; also to fear: – [have] desire, be greedy, long, sore.

Generally, when we purchase something at a steep cost, we expect to possess something of substantial value.  Yeshua “pined after” us so much that He was willing to lay down His life in order to get us back.  Do we pine after Yeshua to the extent that we are willing to lay down our lives in order to follow Him?

Many scripture passages tie bronze to sin and judgment.  The bronze Sea where the priests were to wash was constructed so that they could see their reflections in order to ensure that they did not miss any dirt.  Scripture and Yeshua (the living Torah) are our “bronze Sea” where we can examine ourselves in order to remove any stains or blemishes.  For it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the Law who will be declared righteous (Rom 2:13). For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror— 24 for once he looks at himself and goes away, he immediately forgets what sort of person he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect Torah, the Torah that gives freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts—he shall be blessed in what he does (James 1:23-25)

The bronze altar signifies that YHVH is willing to take our judgment upon Himself, but only if we are willing to repent of our sins.  In the case of King Zedekiah who was not willing to repent, we see that he was carried off to Babylon in bronze shackles (2 Kings 25:i7).  If we are not willing to repent of our sins, we will have to deal with YHVH’s judgment ourselves.

Just as the Israelites offered treasures, time and talent to build a Tabernacle for YHVH, each of us must do the same as we prepare ourselves as fitting tabernacles for YHVH.  We will continue our study of the significance of the elements in the next article in this series entitled Living Tabernacles.

Each of us is now a tabernacle for YHVH.  Yeshua replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them (John 14:23).  The materials for the Tabernacle were costly and of the finest quality.  What does your tabernacle look like?  How are the gold, silver, and bronze reflected in your tabernacle?

Buried Treasure

Finding 1 pearl of great value

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it (Matt 13:45-46 NIV)

 Have you ever thought of yourself as valuable? Have you ever considered your true worth? Do you realize how precious you are?

 After Adam and Eve sinned, they lost their glory. They were stained, no longer perfect. They saw their nakedness and were embarrassed and ashamed (Gen 3:7 NLT). They tried to cover up their loss of glory by using fig leaves sewn together. It was not enough. They were still “damaged goods.”

 Even though YHVH was angry with them for their disobedience and lack of trust, He took pity on them. He slew animals and made temporary coverings for Adam and Eve. The Author of life now had to take back the life that He had given to some innocent animals, so that Adam and Eve could be covered, not just physically, but spiritually.

 Animals continued to be sacrificed to cover the sins of Adam and Eve’s offspring. All of nature suffered right along with humans. The blemishes and stains multiplied, while the glory of creation diminished.

 The enemy must have thought he had accomplished his goal. Surely the perfect Creator would discard the earth and its inhabitants. How could YHVH, Who is pure and holy, accept something so tarnished especially those who had been created in His image and likeness? They were a lost cause, or so the enemy thought.

 However, the all-knowing and all-seeing YHVH was already prepared with a plan to rescue and restore what had been damaged or lost. In due time, YHVH would beget a Son and send this most precious Son to be the ultimate sacrifice for us.  The spotless and blameless Yeshua would be sacrificed for the sinful and guilty.

 Yeshua embraced this role, and willingly sacrificed all that He had, even His own body, to pay our debt and our ransom to get us back. Through Yeshua’s shed blood we are once again restored to glory. Yeshua looked through all the ugliness of our sin and saw something precious, so valuable buried within us that He gave everything that He had to purchase us.  What unseen glory awaits us now that we belong to Him again?

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18 NIV)