Tag Archives: tabernacle

An Awakened Spirit can Avoid a Dead Body

An Awakened Spirit can Avoid a Dead Body

It all started when I got to wondering about the word “profane” as used in the OId Testament. I had a feeling it meant to dishonor. While this is true, as with most Hebrew words there is a range of interpretation. Not only that, but there are two different Hebrew words that get translated as profane: zur and halal. Zur is the most frequently used word—76 times in the Old Testament, while halal is used only 21 times. Zur in the King James bible is almost exclusively translated as “strange.” But in many modern translations zur is translated as profane. Halal on the other hand is almost exclusively translated as profane.

So, you’re probably asking, “what’s your point?” Well, it’s this, my New King James Bible search of “profane” took me to the “profane” fire offered by Nadab and Abihu. How could their incense offering be profane? The offering was described by the Hebrew word zur—strange. Maybe then it was not the offering, but something more spiritually profound to which the Lord reacted.

Let’s revisit the event and see what might have been at play.
Nadab and Abihu, were the two eldest sons of Aaron, Moses’ brother.
Their tragic story is told primarily in the tenth chapter of Leviticus. The chapter opens describing the young men making an offering to the Lord which had not been commanded by God and which resulted in their death.

In acting as they did, Nadab and Abihu assumed a familiarity with God that was totally at odds with the solemnity of the occasion. They upstaged not only Moses, but also their father, Aaron, the High Priest. Their offering was a spontaneous act which they performed at the conclusion of at least seven days of very intense spiritual significance—the dedication of the priesthood.

Aaron and his four sons were each in their respective priestly garments. They were before the altar in the newly constructed Tabernacle. The sons’ father, the High Priest, had just blessed the thousands gathered to observe the event. The fire of the Lord had spectacularly roared forth and consumed the prescribed offering on the altar.

In their youth and in the exuberance of the event they apparently gave no thought as to how presumptuous and offensive their actions would be to God—how they were drawing attention to themselves and away from their father and from Moses. Their actions diminished the sacred impact of the pageantry of the event—Nadab and Abihu were editing the script—all this High Priest decorum wasn’t necessary, two kids with their own censers could define how you approached and worshipped God.

Their actions profaned, made God common, before the people. The judgment of Nadab and Abihu by God was deserved, swift and just. God did not want another repeat of the Israelites’ faithlessness evidenced at His descent on Mt Sinai the year before. It was there, gathered at the base of Mt Sinai, witnessing the awesome power of God, that the nation vacillated. In the intensity of that experience the Israelites opted to exchange an offered intimacy of relationship with God for one of intercession—as one voice they said, “Moses, you listen to God for us.” Now, in this climactic moment of pageantry in the dedication of the priesthood, God had to quickly, decisively restore His position of holiness, His preeminence and His plan for His chosen.

Although the text does not use both Hebrew words, I make the following distinction. The young men offered a strange, zur, offering, however, it was their inappropriate actions in the circumstance that profaned, made common, were halal to God. Nadab and Abihu attempted to define God in their image—to create a god that He is not—an idol god. Their individual spirit did not perceive God’s spirit—resulting in their dead bodies. God is a jealous God.

There is a tendency today to make God a buddy, a big, huggable bear. Let us not forget that although He loves each of us with a passion and is intimately approachable, He must be respected, esteemed, honored and worshipped. It is best to let Him decide how He wants to present Himself to us in any given situation. I may want the big teddy bear, but in His wisdom, I may need the correction of a father.

When my spirit is awake to His Spirit I will always make better choices, resulting in life for my body.

Led by His Cloud

Led by His Cloud

Remember the Mishkan, the Desert Tabernacle, over which the Cloud of God‘s presence occupied the day and the fire of His presence occupied the night?

It was that Tabernacle, which contained the holy of holies, the ark of the covenant surmounted by the two gold cherubim whose wings embraced God’s presence. Above that Tabernacle, for all to see, was the Cloud. The Cloud which gave evidence of the Lord’s presence within that holy place.

When the Cloud moved, it signaled action, change, leaving the present place, regardless of circumstance. With the moving of the Cloud, so too did His presence. The Tabernacle must follow, preparation for that to happen must be immediately made.

I sense His Cloud now, His Spirit hovering over me, hovering over His presence in the Tabernacle in my heart.

While I’m under that Cloud the anointing of His presence within me is strong. But what happens when the Cloud moves, when a new direction is being shown, when a change is being ordered?

As the Cloud moves, if I do not break camp and follow, the connection between His indwelling presence and His guiding Spirit begins to weaken—peace ebbs, anxiety increases, the warmth of intimacy cools.

And so, with my will I rush to obey, to break camp, to move. I do not want to lose sight of the Cloud, the comfort of His presence, the glory and wonder of my having received that Tabernacle within my heart.

Kennedy Brown
July 31, 2018

The Cloud, the Glory and the Poet

A quandary of majesty from Parsha P’kudei

Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34-35 italics mine

The word “glory” seems so inadequate to explain that daunting, manifested presence of Yahweh into which Moses could not enter.

The Cloud, the Glory and the Poet
When a word fails to adequately convey

As o’er Sinai’s mount by cloud revealed,
You in affirmation the tabernacle sealed.
But twas not the vision of cloud alone
That made so clear Your presence known.

Moses, a proven, mighty man of God,
Could not enter, where before he had trod.
A force unseen−like a mighty gate
Did mysteriously, majestically operate.

What appropriate word can English give
So that this experience one might relive?
“Glory”—the word translators confidently say
Does that rapturous moment of time convey.

Kabowd” is the word in Hebrew we are told.
Yet that too is lacking in descriptive gold.
To the poet there is simply not one word;
Something much deeper must be stirred.

A force so tangible, yet wholly unseen,
Speaks of forces far, far from routine.
Such a force field we’ve yet to discover−
A secret not given man’s mind to uncover.

Where then does the poet need to turn−
From what source can he possibly learn?
There is but one connection to be found:
Ascend with spirit to that heavenly ground.

There in His presence is tangibly met
The Author of that invisible silhouette.
There, words still lacking the poet’s pen,
Will call him back again and again.

The Purpose of Showbread

The Purpose of Showbread
The “face of His presence”

Exodus 25:30 (Parsha Terumah)
And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.

The Torah sets forth in detail the construction of the table the showbread is placed upon in the holy place of the tabernacle. However, we are told little about its purpose, preparation or maintenance. It would seem Yahweh gave us up until 70AD to start thinking outside the “box” of the stone and mortar Temple. I had some metaphorical thoughts on the subject. Let me share them with you.

For whose benefit is the showbread? The best translation I could find says the bread is the “face of His presence.” I do not think then that it is an “offering” for Yahweh, He knows who He is and needs no reminder. It must be for the benefit of His children with whom he chose to dwell in their midst in the tabernacle. It is necessary to see the tabernacle in terms of our relationship with Yeshua−we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (ICor 6:19) Yahweh come in the flesh is the bread of life. Even though He resided above the Mercy Seat inside the Most Holy place−He wanted it understood He is ever present outside the Most Holy place−in effect saying He is our Daily Bread. We, as priests, through faith in the work of Yeshua (Rev 1:5-6), are to maintain His presence−His face before us always.

He provides all the tools (pans, pitchers, dishes Ex 25:29) needed to prepare and keep His presence before us−it is our duty to provide the fresh ingredients for the preparation. It’s like an offering of ourselves to maintain His presence as vital, fresh and visible. It is in effect the exercise of our will that keeps His face before us.

Some commentaries suggest the bread was made of corn. I’m inclined to think, metaphorically, we’re to prepare it from the best grain that’s in season−from the best we have available to us.

How often is the bread made? The Torah doesn’t say. The rabbinical rules said weekly. My thinking is we look at our heart and whenever a fresh reminder of His presence is needed we make a new, fresh loaf. In some situations of stress or temptation it may be many times a day. How fresh we keep his “face” before us is our decision. But His presence is ALWAYS to be visible, vibrant and verifiable.

Kennedy Brown
Gerizim
February 9, 2016