ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: UNDERSTANDING PROPHECY III
December 16, 2016
Let’s see if we can cover a continuing picture of the purpose of prophecy. We began this topic a couple weeks ago, and I’d like to wrap it up today if at all possible. We will continue our picture from the 23rd Psalm Adventure the first week of January.
From the very beginning, going back to Adam and Eve’s departure from the Garden, prophecies were given to show mankind the fulfillment of Jesus’ purpose. Any prophecies given along the way were fragments of the Plan.
Human nature is really blind! Throughout history, the Lord has sent His servants to guide and direct His people; to steer them toward His goal and purpose of ultimate union. Yet, whenever people have heard the Word of the Lord, they have grabbed it piecemeal, taking segments of verses of Scripture, taking verses or even chapters out of context.
Context, you see is the whole picture of what Jesus Christ is up to.
Let me draw some examples for you from Scripture so you can understand what I mean.
Consider Moses. After he led the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, the Lord took him – and Israel – to Mount Sinai. Here, the Lord appeared to all Israel in the form of a cloud, in the form of fire, and with a voice that sounded to the people like thunder. Ever wonder why?
Israel had been in bondage in Egypt for roughly 400 years. Generation after generation after generation of people had grown up as slaves, subjected to cruel authority exercised in many generations of Pharaohs who succeeded the Hyksos dynasty (e.g., the Pharaoh in power during Joseph’s era). The mental and psychological preconditioning that takes place in people when they are subjected to slavery for generations warps their whole psyche. It bends and distorts their outlook on life.
(The same thing happens to people who are on government hand-out programs for extended periods. Sorry. That’s some commentary on our bloated government.) Authority becomes iconic. Symbols replace reality. Normal thought processes become subverted and perverted with unreal expectations.
Indeed, this is what Moses had to contend with when leading an estimated six million people out of Egypt. So, with this in mind, the Lord directed Moses to lead Israel to the foot of Mount Sinai to prepare them for understanding His purposes in and for them.
How did He do it? Through signs and wonders. Through prophecy.
At first glance, this sounds wacko! How on earth can prophecy communicate the heart of the Lord and His purposes to a people with a slave mentality? For the Lord, it was simplicity personified. He used signs and wonders to get through the truth-resistant exteriors. He used symbols and icons. He used virtual reality to demonstrate what was to be.
Let me explain.
From the beginning, Jesus Christ has had a Plan for a people who would be His people. The entrance of sin in the earth did not catch Him off guard. In fact, He planned for it. As part of this great Plan, He ordained that a people, who were no people, would be redeemed from sin, overcome it, the devil, and their natural fleshly desires, and become an example for all peoples of the earth of His love, His Plan and purpose.
Israel was integral to this Plan. They were not a cohesive people at this point in time. What better choice, therefore, than to take them, mold them, give them purpose and a vision of the future, and make of them a nation that would rule with authority in the earth!
Again, how do you do that? You start with a vision and a visible image. A temple! The Lord, therefore, took Moses up to the top of Mount Sinai for a total of 80 days in two 40-day periods. While there, Moses was allowed to see into Heaven. The Lord showed him a temple. Now, this temple was not an objective in itself, it was simply a prophecy in picture form.
Broken into three sections, this temple had an outer court with a gate. That outer court represented the place of redemption, the place of sacrifices and burnt offerings. In other words, it was a very real picture of salvation.
Next, was the Holy Place, with the golden candlestick, the altar of incense and the table of showbread. It was a graphic portrayal of the developing of a relationship between the Lord and His people. The golden candlestick represented a people in love with the Lord, giving forth a light that burned from an oil rendered from a crushing process. Thus, the candlestick was, all by itself, a prophecy of what God’s people would go through. I won’t try to go into all of the other representations and their prophetic impact in the Holy Place – at least for now.
Finally, there was the Holy of Holies. It contained the Ark of the Covenant. The Holy of Holies was separated from the Holy Place by a thick veil. The Holy of Holies was prophetic of the intimacy to come between the Lord Jesus Christ and His people – His Bride.
Entrance through that veil was restricted to the High Priest, who was a picture of the Bride of Christ, and he came by invitation from the Lord. The High Priest was prophetic of a people to come – a people who would become kings and priests unto God. They would enter that place of intimacy by virtue of a covenant of marriage with the Lord. They were His, and He was theirs. They were One! Or so the prophecy foretold.
Again, let me reiterate. The temple was a prophecy in the form of an image that would stand in the midst of a people as a living testimony of what was to be. In Moses’ case, he was directed to make a portable copy of the temple for the sake of a people who would be on the move continually throughout the next forty years. The Tabernacle, as it was referred to, was not particularly elegant in outer appearance, but it served exactly the same purpose as the Temple served when Solomon later constructed it.
Neither the Tabernacle nor the Temple were ever intended to become a thing of permanence in the earth. Each simply represented the prophetic promise of the Lord of that which was to come: true, intimate relationship between Jesus Christ and His Bride, His Holy People! The Tabernacle/Temple was a sign to a nation, and to an onlooking world. That this prophetic emblem had served its purpose was clearly demonstrated on the day Jesus was crucified. The veil separating the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was ripped in two, from top to bottom.
It is a sad commentary from history that Caiaphas, the High Priest, disavowed the miracle of prophetic fulfillment, and had the veil stitched back together. Not until Caiaphas was on his death bed did he acknowledge that he had erred, and that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.
However, the vision of the Temple, and the instruction to make a portable copy in the Tabernacle, were not the whole purpose of Moses’ trip(s) into the mountain. Ten Commandments were given to Moses as the foundation of a Law for the children of Israel. These Ten Commandments were – again – a prophecy of that which was to come. The first three commandments were vertical in nature. We refer to them as vertical because they deal exclusively with our relationship with the Lord.
That relationship takes priority over the horizontal, making every one of us subject to God, exclusive of how we relate to each other. In fact, we can say that if the vertical relationship is not in order, the horizontal relationship will likewise be out of order.
The first three commandments were summed up by the scribe who, when answering Jesus, said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.”
The last seven were horizontal in nature. We refer to them as horizontal because each of them deals with the way in which we relate to one another on an earthly or human plane. That same scribe summed them up with, “and thy neighbor as thy self.”
Put the Ten Commandments together, superimposing the seven horizontal over the three vertical, and they form a cross. Once again we have an emblematic prophecy. It foretold Jesus crucifixion and death on the cross, and the end of the Law. Since the purpose of the Law was to bring all to Christ, its purpose was fulfilled in His coming, His death on the cross, and His resurrection.
For those who had eyes to see, and ears to hear what the Spirit of God was saying, the Law of Moses was a picture of human behavior when true relationship with the Lord was established. The Law portrayed the kind of perfection that had existed in the Garden with Adam and Eve, and it foretold a return to that perfect relationship.
Think about King David for a minute. He saw past the Law. He saw its purpose. He saw – and believed – the prophecy that would be fulfilled when it was completed in the coming Messiah. The Scriptures refer to David as “a man after God’s own heart.” Because David saw by Faith and believed with every fiber of his existence, the mercy of the Lord was extended to him over and above the Law. According to the Law of Moses, he should have been put to death for some of the sins he committed, yet the Lord not only had mercy on him, He fulfilled the promise of the coming Messiah in David’s seed.
Both the Tabernacle and the Temple were prophetic pictures – visual images that demonstrated the purpose of Jesus Christ. The Law was given as a prophecy to be walked out in the lives of the children of Israel until its purpose was fulfilled.
There has always been only one Plan. There has always been only one Purpose. Jesus never had a “Plan B” if “Plan A” didn’t succeed. There has never been a chance that His Plan and Purpose would not be fulfilled.
The Tabernacle/Temple testified of Jesus Christ. The Law testified of Jesus Christ. Thus, as we have previously discussed, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Now let me head a different direction with this discussion.
The Body of Christ has been caught in a quandary with the unfolding events of the past couple of years. Leaders within the church world are prophesying doom and gloom. One prominent TV preacher, whose name shall go unmentioned in this discussion, prophesied “blood running in the streets” (to the horses’ bridles?) commencing in March of 2003.
While the Iraqi war certainly had its casualties, we would have to call the war President Bush referred to as “Operation Iraqi Freedom” as one of the most bloodless wars in the history of modern warfare. Fought in record time, this war moved troops, tanks and war machines over a greater distance than any army has ever accomplished in the annals of warfare, taking territory and subduing the enemy. It is not necessary for me to rehash the events of this war, or to get into all the statistics.
Suffice it to say that all the predictions – many of which were based on horrible mistranslations and misapplications of prophecies in Revelation and Daniel – fell flat. Despite the “gloom and doomers,” Iraq is fighting the odds and on the verge of becoming a very free nation – free from ISIS, and a symbol of peace and democracy in the Middle East.
False prophecy has led many of God’s people down the primrose path. The hallmark of the true messenger of the Lord – sent to speak in the “name” or onomaof the Lord – is that the Word is absolutely accurate in every respect.
Consider the Word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah. “For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.”
Who indeed are these “wicked men”? Simply put, they are none other than those who prophesy falsely in the “name of the Lord.” The trap they set for God’s people is to create a scenario that stirs them to busyness and activities which keep them from really knowing the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoying a truly intimate relationship.
The “snares” they set are rooted in Scripture verses, taken out of context, and used to make God’s people engage in fruitless endeavors in the mistaken belief that they are “preparing for events that lie ahead.” The seduction of this use of Scripture is that it causes people who heed these lying prophecies to believe they are walking in the will of God, that they are serving Him, and that there is a long-term purpose. Many are led to believe that they are fulfilling an important role in the Kingdom of God, that what they do will usher in “The Millennium.”
This use of Scripture “catches” (snares) men and women. Because their relationship with the Lord is based on the knowledge of some Scripture(s) instead of the knowledge of Jesus Christ Himself, they are caught in a trap.
There’s no way I’m going to wrap this up today. To do so would turn this into an epistle, so let’s pick this up the week after Christmas and we will wrap it during the last week of December.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is(712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#.For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400.If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!Be blessed in the city, blessed in the field, blessed coming in, and blessed going out!
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