The Spiritual Man #10 – Tabernacles
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
There were three feasts in the Old Covenant during which every adult male was required to make the trip to Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). In all, there were seven feasts, each pointing to different aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry, but three were particularly required. No matter where any man lived in that day, they were required to travel to the city God had chosen, Jerusalem.
The feast of unleavened bread, or Passover, was the first and it remembered the exit from Egypt. The people were brought out underneath the blood of their slain lamb and escaped on foot from Egypt, with great treasure (their “back pay”). It pointed to the coming of our coming Passover Lamb, Jesus on the cross, through whom we have passed spiritually from this world (which Egypt symbolizes), through the doorway covered by His blood (the blood was spread on the door-posts and lintel of the door, hence, passing through the doorway of blood). Through the doorway of Christ, those who are born again of Him can see end enter the Kingdom and Life (John 3:3-5).
The feast of weeks, or Pentecost came fifty days after this (“pente” meaning “fifty”). It celebrated the first-fruits of the harvest. As we know from Church history, when the day of Pentecost had fully come (Acts 2:1), the Spirit fell from heaven, reaping the first fruits of the harvest for Christ. On that day, not only were the 120 in the upper room filled, but 3,000 others were saved on that first day. This is also the fulfillment of John the Baptist’s prophecy that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. While in Jesus’ time all Jews from all the land required to come to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast of the Lord according to Jewish law, today this signifies to us that all believers in Jesus today are to receive the blessings of the true Pentecost, the baptism of the the Holy Spirit as the first disciples did. It is not only the Lord’s equipping with power, but it is His own most precious gift, which He had to die and ascend for, God with us and in us forever. If He had not gone, He could not have sent us this Comforter. Without Him, the Paraklete, we would simply be back to living by a book, and a set of rules. It is a requirement, according to the command of the Old Testament pattern, and there is no New Testament account of Jesus’ believers remaining for any length of time without the baptism of the Spirit. It is, in nearly all instances, depicted as something separate from the initial salvation experience which is by Faith in His Name. It is the power of God, the living Presence of the Almighty Himself, and while the disciples received the Holy Spirit after the ascension as a breath in John 20, in Acts 2 they were baptized in with the Spirit, with fire, and received power. These two separate events depict two separate workings of the Holy Spirit–the first to regeneration, and the second to enduement with power and the fullness of Himself! They are both the Holy Spirit, and while one may not be able to declaratively say which is greater, they are both the work of God in and upon the believer.
The feast of booths, or Tabernacles, was the third mandatory feast. As the Israelites left Egypt, they lived without permanent homes. To commemorate this, once a year all the nation was required to live outside for a week, living in small shelters like they did in the wilderness. This also comes at the end of the growing season and was the fall harvest feast for the Jews. The primary understanding of this feast is the final harvest at the end of the age, when the angels gather first the wicked and then the righteous.
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
1 Peter 5:3
So, as the outer court was about faith, for it is by justification through faith alone, at the bloody altar of atonement, and the washing of the water of the Word, that we are saved. Saved through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Further in, then, the inner chamber, the Holy Place, was about the anointing, the flow of the oil of the Spirit, and about the unity of the Spirit for the body. So, too, in the final place of the Tabernacle, it is about the Glory. For as the progression goes, we go from faith to faith, and glory to glory. It is the glory for which the Eternal is known for, even as Moses cried out his greatest need for the greatest thing he could receive, he prayed, “Lord, show me your glory!” The Glory was the Lord’s manifest presence, but even more so, it is His character, His person, and the perfection of who He is. It is in the glory of the Lord, the perfect Shekinah light of the only Living God, that all is undone, revealed, and made manifest. For, surely, there is no shadow of turning in Him, and in that light, all is made manifest.
Surely, the Glory that shall be revealed through the final in-gathering of the Lord is so great that it required a full seven days of holy days before the Lord in His city.
It was the glory that Lord Jesus asked the Father to restore to Himself in John 17:24, saying “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” This was the Lord’s desire, that He be glorified with this initial glory yet again, that He had had before the foundation of the world, and before becoming man. This glory is the culmination of the plan of God, the demonstration of His divinity, the essence of Eternity, which only He possesses. This is the place of finality in the plan of God, and, in some measure, Peter says that was a partaker of. And, ultimately, at the last, Jesus Himself will return not only in His own glory, but in the glory of the Father, and finish it all.
Now consider what also this last feast entails. This glory, this overshadowing and manifest presence like a cloud is also indicated by tabernacling. We see that even as Peter was a partaker of this glory that is to come, and as we also taste of the powers of the age to come, this feast is fully realized even in the last harvest, but is possessed by the saints today by faith.
For, it is the desire of the Lord is to have us in our entirety, both in that age and in the current time. And, while we look to the great end of the age for the fullest expression, the feast is about being tabernacled with the Lord. Ultimately this is recognized as the redemption of our physical bodies, but we see that Jesus was the fullness of the tabernacle even while on the Earth! What glory He had, He has given to us, and what we have beheld in Him we are becoming. This tabernacling, which we will fully know then but are partakers of now, is the complete indwelling, the complete union and ecstasy of being fully, in increasing measure, united with the Lord.
We live in what could be called a tent, our body, for when the Lord was on the Earth, He “tabernacled” or “tented” among us. Yet, it is the fullest heart of the Father that He not only redeem us, not only sanctify us, but that He, fully and completely, tabernacles with us and is one with us. And, what is begun here, will be completed there, but the fullness of that reality, even as to Jesus Himself, is never denied to us here, whether we see its fullness in our lives or not.
For us today, until the final culmination of the Scriptures when everything is fulfilled, it is His will that He tabernacle within us. He lives in us, and though we have exchanged our filthiness for his holiness in truth and completeness through faith in His Name, we enter in to the inner most chambers so that, with Paul, we can say completely,
I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
These are not mere words or doctrine, but the actual living actual reality of having completely lost one’s own life and of someone else living their life through you, the only one worthy, the Lord Jesus. Eternal God, Son of Man. In whatever measure we find, whether Paul’s or more or less, a tent indwelt, tabernacled with the Holy, divine, living flame of Yah.
So it does remains. Beyond the salvation experience with water baptism and justification through faith, there is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that is for all believers, being our entrance into the inner life of the Spirit and Heavenly life. The first was represented by the outer courts, and this by the Holy Place. Here, rather than the outward acts that the mundane world might be able to recognize, this is the place of the Spirit’s illumination alone. Here, despite what the natural eye might see, we are one body in the Spirit before the Lord, symbolized by the shewbread. The walls are all of gold, with a curtain before and behind. Here it is sanctified by the indwelling Spirit; for that which is born of God does not sin. This second chamber spoken to us of Moses dwells within the first. This too is Christ for just as we enter into His Body through justification by faith, having entered into The Way, when we enter into this dimension of Christ, we are not leaving the former. This which is the inner working of His Spirit, the inner life of His Body, and the illumination of the Holy Ghost in our souls, is the inner work, where our thoughts, motives, and our intentions are. This inner work is reflected then in the outer, where the outer courts brought regeneration through the visible, the later brings forth the fruit and life of the Spirit, visible on the outside, by means of an inward change, the change of the mind, thoughts, will, and emotions of the man. But, we are not done!
This all speaks of Jesus, of course, even as He is the One and Only Temple, in all of Time! Simply because the outwardly displayed portion of the tabernacle symbolized Jesus and His Life and His substitutionary death on the cross, the inner work all the more speaks of Him. Not only in His outward works is He made manifest to us, but in the character of Him as the Truth and in who He was as God upon that Cross. Jesus’ work was more than a mere man on the cross, but a righteous man, holy and anointed of God, and God Himself!
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Just as there was an outer, physical man, the body of Jesus, upon that cross, so too was there a soul and spirit upon that cross. Just as the outward man was crucified upon the cross, so too was the inner man, the man who felt the pain, the mocking, and ultimately, the full weight of the sin of the world and the wrath of the Father in our place. As the outer work, the physical death, is that which the natural light can reveal, so too the inner man is that which is only visible through the light of the Spirit, and that inner work, which was an inner death, brings us life to our inner self. For the whole of the work of the cross brings restoration not only to the soul, but to body, soul, and spirit.
For, just as the outward works (those within the white linen fence of His works) are still visible through the light of the natural sun, the inner cannot be seen except by the Spirit. The things of the Spirit are foolishness to those who are carnal. Not only are they foolishness, they simply cannot be understood by those without the Spirit, for they are spiritually discerned! (1 Corinthians 2:14). As the labor, the efforts, the workings about the brazen altar with its utensils and service are both mandatory and necessary, they lead to and are tied to the inner, for without the outer, there is no inner, and without the inner, the outer would be pointless. The tabernacle itself and the courts are One, and are not separate! Yet, as Paul said, you simply cannot explain things like speaking on tongues to a non-believer, or even a carnal believer, because it cannot be understood without the Spirit.
So, as there is more Beyond the brazen altar, more beyond simply repentance and coming to the altar of God, the cross of Christ, for as which is on the outward acts of man, we understand that this greater blessing is called the Holy Spirit, and His both changing us and coming to live within. It is called the renewed life of the inner man of the heart. For, had God only provided a recourse for our sins, and not our sinfulness, the “bent”-ness of our heart toward sin (“iniquity” means “bent”), how short would be our salvation. In that we not only had sins (plural) which are are actual deeds of wrong action and failure to act, which needed to be forgiven, but our sin (singular), in that we were by nature “sinners”, corrupt in our nature ourselves, God required that we be transformed in our inward self well. Had God atoned only for our acts, and not our nature, providing His blood alone for our deeds and not the cross to put to death our old self, we might be cleansed, but we would not be renewed. But, through the cross, we have not only been cleansed from our acts, but have died completely to the law through the body of Christ (Romans 7:4). We are therefore set free, from both our sins and our sin (our sinfulness), no longer serving the law of sin and death, but rather the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
This complete work of the cross so changed us that Paul writes that we are no longer “mere men” (1 Corinthians 3:4), but, in Christ, we are “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are something totally unique, such as the world had not known before Christ, the Eternal Lord, came.
But, as there stands a further place, a greater revelation, we know that this too is yet an incomplete work if it stands alone. As there remains yet one veil, The Life, we know that there is yet one deeper place where we must go, for all three of these feasts were required for every male in Israel, so that today, to the church both Jew and grafted in Gentile, it would serve as a witness that we must press on to complete maturity, so much as it is given, to know even more fully the Lord.
Peter wrote, as above, of this further place. As the outer courts were characterized by faith, the Holy Place was known by the anointing, the final, innermost, Holiest place, the Holy of Holies, is known by the glory of the Lord.
This glory is the atmosphere of heaven, it is is the realm of His domain and Kingdom. It is the living light, the brightness of His shining into which we have been transferred into (Colossians 1:13-14). This is the realm or the abode of God, for He surrounds Himself with light as with a garment. It is the nature of His habitation, for He is the Father of Lights. It is the brightness of His shining, for the writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as the radiance of the Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His being. This shining is the realm of Eternity, and the realm of ease, as in the temple described by Ezekiel, the priests who served here were required to wear only linen, as those who wear linen do not produce sweat.
This glory is like the overshining of His nature, the direct imputed nature of His being, the splendor and majesty fully representing who He is, which upon merely seeing it, one is immediately imparted with His nature (1 John 3:2). To be touched with this fire is to be instantly, and irrevocably changed, even as God spoke to Moses saying, No one can see my face and live! For, no one can see His glory, and remain in any of their earthly existence and how their life used to be ever again.
This, then, is the fullness of the meaning of Tabernacles. In that day, seeing Him as He is, we shall be like Him, knowing Him even as we are fully known. This is the fullness of the implication of the Tabernacle, that in that Most Holy Place, we might see, and we might behold, and we might abide. Beholding His glory, we are instantly, irrevocably changed.
In that place of His Glory, the prophet wrote in his sixth chapter, Isaiah was undone in his humanity. Forever changed, the Lord provided His own cleansing for the lips of the man, and he became His mouth-piece. If we would but see Him, everything would change. Just one touch from the King changes everything. In an instant, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. And, Peter spoke of this glory that is to be revealed, and said that he, then, was a partaker of. This is the glory of which Paul wrote in Hebrews that we taste now in the church.
It is in this glory that we stand, and shine with His reflected light. It is in His Glory that Jesus asked to be glorified again. It is in the glory that God, in all of who He is, tabernacles with us, makes us complete in Him, and makes us One. No longer two, but one, together with the Lord.
This glory, which is yet to come in the fullness of its consummation at the last great harvest, was celebrated for an entire perfection (a seven-day week). Peter partook, and all believers taste, as Paul wrote in Hebrews.
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
We must be careful not to miss the mark here. All who call upon the Lord shall be saved, and those who through simple trusting in Him are completely His, saved and washed in His blood. Yet, as it was faith that brought us to the Lord, and in faith that we received this precious Holy Spirit, which is Christ, it is faith that brings us on to His Glory, into union, and into the fullness of the Oneness that Jesus prayed for (John 17:11). It was just the divine connection of faith, the first glimpse, and simple trusting, that brought us the fullness of life, but we like babes, understood it but a little, until that time that we had more fully grown.
This third place, then, still speaks of the Lord and His finished work. It speaks of the transforming, perfection of His light, as of Him who is Divine. As the outer courts represented the bloody cross with its sacrifice and the washing with the Word, and the second place also represented the cross with the outpouring of the Spirit and the community of saints, this third place does not depart from Christ but merely looks deeper into His Divinity, and speaks of Him wholly dwelling in us in a completeness so past natural understanding and all that could be comprehended with the natural mind, that it is past finding out, except by the Spirit. And, whether as a taste or a partaking of just a part now, or in the increase of His government and peace, to whatever measure He measures, or whether in its completion in the age to come, we do partake of His glory, and drink of the fullness of His house, and there is no end to the possibilities for Him who believes, right now, even as Christ did, and greater, for He has gone to be with the Father!
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
To understand the Holy Place or the Most Holy, one never leaves the outer courts of the physical death and sacrifice of Christ. Further, one never leaves the Holy place to enter the Most Holy, but proceeds further in, to an even more Holy Thing. The deeper is contained within the former, and yet the deeper is still deeper, so that staying in the outer is not the same as following Him into the further. Moreover, in this last chamber is no other door. What one enters, they must enter in through the only opening, first the outer, then then Holy, then the Most Holy. All who enter Christ through the outer curtain and then enter further into Christ through the inner and innermost, must acknowledge that all is Christ. To progress further does not leave any other truth, but merely sees Beyond, deeper to the internal, and to the Divine, even Christ, the very rock, within the believer.
For it is about His Divinity. This place of communing with the Lord that for a lost and sinful humanity it could not be entered except for once a year, and that with blood. It was so sacred that even a High Priest who was counted not worthy might fall down dead simply by entering amiss. It is about the overshadowing of His Presence, until we are consumed entirely in our own individual selves, taking on only the identity of Him who bought us (Galatians 2:20).
Even as it was not sufficient for a merely physical death, although that was a necessity, it was also not enough for Him in the perfection of His soul as a man to die upon the cross as well. For, He must die as God Himself, which He was, so that being the Perfect sacrifice, the one Eternal act might bring life to all men. It was in both His Humanity and His divinity that He died, not that God died, but that He was fully God when He entered into death. And, it was to this place, the Holy of Holies, that the pure, spotless blood of the Eternal Lamb of God was required to be brought into the true Holy of Holies, namely Christ Jesus Himself. It was to this place, in the work of the cross, that this Precious blood was brought before the living flame of God, bringing the blood of the dust, which contains its life, before the never-ending power of the Almighty, for in the blood was the life, thus bringing the creature fully before the creator.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Thus, just as there is no true spiritual man who does not do the works of the Lord (James 1:23), there was no spiritual redemption without the creature, and the very life of that creature, the physical, being brought before the divine, dirt before Spirit. Thus is the mystery of creation, that God created man, a creature, yet has placed Him above angels, above Michael and Gabriel, and even those that have fallen, the devil himself. Had man never have fallen prey to his subtlety, the enemy would never have had any power of him, so to, we in Christ, are free from all the power of the enemy.
This is the majesty of God’s work, that in jars of clay was hidden a treasure so great that even the angels desired to look into such things. And thus it is demonstrated that it is the works done in the flesh, in the body, that are the most spiritual of them all as it comes to the children of men, whether those deeds unto death, or those deeds done by the Spirit unto life.
Jesus, upon the Earth, was the tabernacle, and walked in the glory of God (John 1:14), with all the fullness of the deity within Himself bodily (Colossians 2:9). As He was upon the Earth, in whatever measure it is available to us, even as it was to Peter who partook of the glory to come, and to the saints who Paul says can taste of this glory, we are called to continue on, Beyond the baptisms of water and the Spirit, unto that living flame, untouched, alone, set apart.
It was in this place that not even the illumination cause by the oil of the Spirit shone, but only the manifest light of the Lord Himself, Spirit itself. Where it could be said that the realm of faith in the outer courts could be likened to the material state we call “solid”, in that it is very concrete, demonstrated, and real in the ways of man, we could think of the realm of the anointing as the “liquid”, where the spirit flows. Yet, here, the glory is likened to a cloud, as to the “gas”, as to the vapor. This is the realm that man cannot control nor contain. No natural ways can know or even perceive this glory, nor can it be channeled, manufactured, nor harnessed for our own use, such as flame. This realm of Eternity, where God dwells alone, invites us now, through Christ, to come.