The Cross of Jesus – part 4 / Week 51 – December 14th

The Cross of Jesus – part 4 / Week 51 – December 14th

 

 

                                                                         According to the Pattern

                                                “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to

                                                come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle

                                                not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not

                                                with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own

                                                blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all,

                                                having obtained eternal redemption.”

                                                                                                Hebrews 9:11-12

 

When Moses went up Mt Sinai to receive the Law of God he was also given a blueprint of exactly how to build the wilderness Tabernacle. This blueprint was in fact a plan that would result in a structure being built on earth that would be a scaled replica, copy or model, if you wish, of a Tabernacle that, too this very day, exists in heaven. According to scripture the heavenly Tabernacle has an altar from which a burning coal was applied to Isaiah’s life in order to cleanse him from sin; it has a Holy of Holies, wherein dwells an Ark and Angels proceed from it as they go out into the world at the bidding of the God of Israel.

 

“Then one of the Seraphim flew to me, having in his hand

                                                a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the

                                                altar. And he touched my mouth with it and said:

                                                               “Behold, this has touched your lips;

                                                                your iniquity is take away, and your

                                                                sin purged.”

                                                                                                Isaiah 6:6-7

                                                “After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of

                                                the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.

                                                And out of the temple came the seven angels having

                                                the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and

                                                having their chests girded with golden bands.”

                                                                                                Revelation 15:5-6

So then, this heavenly Tabernacle is real and it is herein that God dwells in light unapproachable and full of glory (1 Timothy 6:13-16). This is no replica or model; it is indeed the holy House of God’s real presence; the very nerve center of the universe. Thus God told Moses that he was to reflect heaven on earth by building a Tabernacle into which, once built and consecrated by blood sacrifice, would be placed the glory of God’s presence.

And you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its

pattern which you were shown on the mountain.”

                                                                                                Exodus 26:30

 

“Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things

 in the heavens should be purified with these, but the

heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than

these”

                                                                                                Hebrews 9:23

Of note then is the fact that the very events described by the book of Revelation are orchestrated from this glorious heavenly Tabernacle. This the book of Revelation emphasizes time and time again. The custodian of God’s eternal presence and power cannot be fully comprehended because the glimpses we have of it in scripture are just too amazing. It is a ”greater” Tabernacle that rests upon what appears to be a sea of sparkling glass and in the Holy of Holies, upon this sea, is the Ark and a throne of such splendor that no human mind can fully grasp or appreciate this (Revelation 4:1-6). Above all, it is a place of indescribable perfection and holiness. The latter is measured by the character of God which is His glory and Angels constantly refer to this glory by crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty (Isaiah 6:1-3).” There is no unrighteousness in this glorious Tabernacle, not even a smidgen of it and nothing unrighteous can dwell or enter there. Only those who are like God can appear in this holy court! Sadly then for thousands and thousands of years no man ever entered this glorious chamber because all had sinned and had fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But all of this changed in 33 AD when a perfect man once again entered the Tabernacle of heaven and stood before the throne of God and this, all because of His death on the cross! To understand this we must consider the following:

A perfect sacrifice

Immediately after His resurrection Jesus entered the perfect heavenly Tabernacle and there, before God His Father, He placed His blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark.

 “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,

 with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made

with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood

of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the

Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal

redemption.”

                                                                                                Hebrews 9:11-12

This sacrifice became perfect and once for all because it was made by One who Himself was perfect and sinless and who died and rose again as us and entered the heavenly Tabernacle as us. He thus by His blood poured out on the cross, the very symbol of His perfect life, paid the price for our past, present and future sins. This He did for every person on earth (Hebrews 2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15) and if accepted, by real repentance and faith in Him, we too are declared righteous as He is righteous and so, covered by His perfection, we too can enter the very throne room of the heavenly Tabernacle. Indeed we are encouraged to do this boldly!

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we

may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

                                                                                                Hebrews 4:16

Actually, the picture here presented to us by the book of Hebrews is dramatic to say the least because a perfect Man, clothed in blood, stood before the veiled Holy of Holies of the heavenly Tabernacle and then, just as the veil on earth in the “Copy Tabernacle” was split from the top to the bottom, so the eternal heavenly veil was split, in the same way, allowing the Son of Man to enter the very chamber of God’s holy presence! Scripture captures this scene when it states:

Then the temple of God was opened in heaven and the ark of

His covenant was seen in His temple.”

                                                                                                Revelation 11:19

A perfect intercessor

When we boldly approach this glorious throne room, covered by the blood of Christ, to find mercy and grace in our time of need we really do not know how to pray because of the crippling effect that sin has had upon our minds. We tend then to ask amiss but Jesus, by His intercession in that Holy Place, “straightens out” our sincere and misguided prayers by entreating the Father to act on our behalf because His blood makes us perfect before Him. God our Father knows nothing of our weakness but His Son does yet without sin. He is then a faithful High Priest on our behalf! The writer of the book of Hebrews declares:

“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands,

which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to

appear in the presence of God for us.”

                                                                                                Hebrews 9:24

And,

                                                “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who

                                                come to God through Him, since He always lives to make

                                                intercession for them.”

                                                                                                Hebrews 7:25

And,

                                                “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed

                                                through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our

                                                confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot

                                                sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted

                                                as we are, yet without sin.”

                                                                                                Hebrews 4:14-15

Yes, Jesus intercedes before His Father for each one of us every day by making sense of our weak prayers and appealing to God to demand less of us because of our weakness. Paul knew this truth and so penned these words in his letter to the Church at Rome:

“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore

is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes

Intercession for us.”      

Romans 8:34

These prayers of ours are brought to Jesus at the right hand of God by the Holy Spirit who lives in us and has been poured out upon us. He takes our weak and ignorant prayers and brings them to Jesus who by His blood and intercession turns them into what they should be. How blessed we are and what a marvelous encouragement to keep on praying. Again Paul writes:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not

know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself

makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered.

Now He (Jesus) who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the

Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints

according to the will of God”

                                                                                                Romans 8:26-27

We have here a beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit searching our hearts and understanding our sincere prayerful cry but also correcting our misguided perception of what God our Father should do for us. He brings them to Christ, who acquainted with our pain and weakness, presents them to His Father in the way that they would best serve our interests and become thereby an expression of the perfect will of God for our lives! We truly have a wonderful High Priest in heaven. To put it bluntly, we may not like the way our prayers are answered but we must remember that we do not know how to pray and the answer we get will be God’s perfect will for us.

 

These my friends are marvelous truths surrounding the blessings unleashed upon us by Jesus’ death on the cross. The writer of the book Hebrews speaks at length about these and in response to them, in order to appropriate them, calls upon us to:

  1. Draw near to God all the time with hearts that are full of faith and lives that are clean; having been washed with the word of God.
  2. Hold fast the confession of our glorious hope….and,
  3. Be mindful of our fellow believers by encouraging them also and by attending the regular meetings of the faithful.

 

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the

blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for

us, through veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the

house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance

of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and

our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession

of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And

let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner

of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you

see the Day approaching.”

      Hebrews 10:19-25

 

A perfect judge

Given these great and marvelous things Jesus will bring us all into judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10-11). For the believer this will amount to an assessment of his or her life that, once concluded, will determine their place of privilege and function in the eternal kingdom of God (Romans 14:9-13). However, for the unbeliever this judgment will be terrifying as it will unleash upon him, or her, the terrifying vengeance of God (Hebrews 10:26-31). They have twice rebelled against God; once in Adam and secondly by rejecting Christ’s finished work on the cross for them. Now God has no alternative other than to cast them into hell! So, again the writer of the book of Hebrews states:

“And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the

 judgment…”

                                                                                                Hebrews 9:27

                                                “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the

                                                living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable

                                                company of angels, to the general assembly and church

                                                of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the

                                                Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to

                                                Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood

                                                of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”

                                                                                                Hebrews 12:22-24

However, there is also a present judgment flowing over the nations of the world. This judgment, has repentance in mind and the intention to bring the nations to Christ, in order to save them from the great and final judgment that will send Christ rejecters to hell (Revelation 20:11-15). God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), so this present judgment is dispensed by angels who proceed to this holy work from the very perfect and glorious Tabernacle in heaven. Christ’s work on the cross demands that God employ all means possible to retard wickedness in the world and give the people of this world an opportunity to be saved.

“After these things I looked, and behold the temple of the

 tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And

out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven

plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests

girded with golden bands.”

                                                                                                Revelation 15:5-7

Sadly, even as “present judgment” flows over this world men continue to love darkness and will not repent. They twice reject God and thereby spurn His love for them; a love that is so great that it sent His very unique and only Son to the cross for them. So scripture testifies to this by stating:

And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed

the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they

did not repent and give Him glory.”

                                                                                                Revelation 16:9

My friends, the cross towers over history and shines with the grace and love of God in Christ for a sinful world. We cannot escape it and it calls upon us all to embrace it and live out in our lives all that it imparts to us. If we do this we will one day enter a Tabernacle, not made with hands, where eternal life, made real by the very presence and fellowship of God, will be our inheritance. Be assured of this; very shortly Jesus will step out of the glorious Tabernacle of heaven and descend again to the earth to gather His eternal family to Himself. On that Day we will all marvel at His magnificence but His robe will still be dipped in blood! (Revelation 19:11-16)

 

Malcolm Hedding

                                               

 

 

2015Devotional