This is Christmas, a season of generosity and gift-giving celebrated in many nations and cultures. Did you know that you have been gifted to Heaven? If not, no worries, I did not either. I do now and that’s the purpose for this post. We are created in the image of God, made with very great care to be given to a very worthy recipient.
The very first Christmas gift came from Heaven. When Jesus, the Arm of the Lord was revealed on earth, many did not recognize Him; He simply did not look like the conquering King that they expected. Instead, He came humbly as a sheep to be slaughtered for us so that we could be presented as a gift to the Father. And He gave us His precious Holy Spirit. This Gift-giver has to be the most generous gift that never stops giving. As often as we unwrap provisions of His love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy, there is always more.
Jesus is not only the sheep, but He is also our Good Shepherd. We have a destination, a special place where He joyfully and proudly presents each of us as a gift of the highest value. Where is this place? Eternal Life. How do we get there? Read on.
The Ears of our Heart
The race we run has many signposts and sometimes we will need to shift gears or change direction. However, the footpath to Eternal Life cannot be found without a Guide who knows the Way. Like sheep, we must simply follow His directions.
It is not necessary to receive a “thus saith the Lord” word from a prophet to hear from the Lord and be led by Him. The Holy Spirit speaks in so many different ways – Scripture, sermons, circumstances, through dreams and visions – even by stars and angels as He did that very first Christmas. He understands us and how little we know.
Although visions (like floating TVs or holograms) are hard to miss, we have to be careful to not dismiss them as overactive imaginations. We can learn God’s parabolic language to understand our dreams. However, there is a more subtle way that we all hear from God, often without realizing it. Information or an instruction comes as a sudden incongruent thought. What we hear, often a single word or a very short sentence, aligns to the written Word of God and is usually the answer to a question.
As I awakened one morning, I “heard” a thought from my heart: The Work of the Tabernacle. It did not come from my mind because I was not thinking about it. Now I am grateful I did not discard it. Last month I wrote about Jesus the living Tabernacle who invites us to dwell in His House (the Holy of Holies) within our heart. But there is so much more.
The Work of the Tabernacle
As I pondered The Work of the Tabernacle, I recalled that work is not so much about busyness, as it is about believing:
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6: 27-29)
Jesus also said, 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)
So, what do sheep do? His sheep enter by the Door, hear Him, respond to His Voice, follow Him, trust Him, discern and steer clear of strangers, cling to Truth, stay in His protection, and accommodate others that He brings to the sheepfold. This Door leads to the Holy Place (Exodus 26:36).
The earthly Tabernacle was a sketch of the original in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5) and God gave Moses specific instructions regarding the design of the furnishings starting from the innermost room (Exodus 25). I noticed that the furnishings were installed (in the Holy of Holies and then in the Holy Place) in the same order (Exodus 40).
The Ark of the Testimony (or Covenant)
The first piece installed (in the Holy of Holies) was the Ark of the Testimony, covered by the Mercy Seat of pure gold representing the Throne of the Father surrounded by cherubim. Inside the Ark are the provisions of Our Daily Bread sent from Heaven (manna), the Eternal Priesthood which never fails to atone for us (Aaron’s budded staff), and the Law fulfilled for us (The Ten Commandments on 2 stone tablets). These items are hidden (in the glory of His love) to be fully revealed in Jesus Christ at the appointed time.
If you can accept this, the Ark is a dimensional portal – it connects two different dimensions: earth and Heaven.
The Altar of Incense is the furniture closest to the Ark, but it was not the next piece to be installed. Instead, it was the last of the three furnishings in the Holy Place.
After the Ark, the Table of Shewbread was installed. On this table were two rows or stacks of 6 loaves which represented the 12 tribes of Israel always displayed before God. This bread, called the Bread of Presence, was consumed by the priests and represents the Communion with Jesus the Bread of Life (sent from Heaven) and His Body. It is the Word of God.
For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread (I Corinthians 10:17).
This Bread is special. When eaten, it causes the sheep (those who belong to Him) to believe in Jesus, to hear His Voice and to follow the Good Shepherd who became a sheep (Lamb) for us.
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled (John 6:26).
Jesus had just multiplied the loaves and fed His followers Bread from Heaven.
Why two stacks of 6 loaves? Perhaps because the number 6 represents man. In Christ, Jew and Gentile (the other sheep) are brought together to form one bread, One New Man (Ephesians 2:15).
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16).
Directly across from the Table of Shewbread is the golden Lampstand. With seven lamps continuously lit, it represents Jesus the Light of the world and the Seven Spirits of God which rest on Him. They are the seven Eyes of the Lord which search the Earth and they manifest as seven colors of light seen in the rainbow. These colors and combinations of colors are seen in spiritual dreams. Heaven’s Dream Messages by fellow blogger Jenny, offers several postings on the meanings of colors.
Revelation and discernment are found at the Lampstand (prophetic messages, Scripture, dreams, encounters). When Sheep bypass the Shewbread on the way to the Lampstand, the “revelation” can get flaky. It may find fault with other sheep and create disunity as it lacks the discernment of the Body of Christ.
The last installation in this chamber is the Altar of Incense. This is the place of intercession that bridges Heaven and earth. Here, prayers of the saints are offered in the pattern of our own great Intercessor (Jesus Christ), and release a pleasing fragrance to the Lord, the Fragrance of Christ which leads to Life.
True intercession begins and ends with God’s perspective. If we bypass the Lampstand on the way to the Altar of Incense, we may find ourselves praying from our own will and understanding instead of the revelation of “Thy will be done” (God’s will).
Paths of Righteousness
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me (John 6:37).
To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out (John 10:3).
Jesus said, 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).
The order of installation of the furniture creates a pathway that leads us back to the Holy of Holies. Our Father in Heaven draws everyone to Jesus. Those who come to Jesus are called out by name. We do not choose Him. He chooses us: to enter through the Door to be saved and to follow His lead on Paths of Righteousness. Then He gifts us back to the Father, in Himself. The location is at the Mercy Seat- the designated meeting place of God with man, where Jesus the Lamb of God, our High Priest, sprinkled His own Blood to atone for us.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (I John 5:11).
The Work of the Tabernacle means so much more now than I ever imagined. Let us trust and believe in Him as we recognize the immensity of His Love for us. We have been presented as blameless before the Father in Eternal Life as His Christmas present, and we are hidden in the Ark, under the Shadow and the Protection of the Almighty (Psalm 91). Wow! Amen!
Thank you so much for reading. Have a blessed Christmas!