The Sanctuary and the Table of the Lord

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And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

The Sanctuary and the Table of the Lord

Dec. 14, 2005

Sanctuary-sacred place, particularly among the Israelites, the innermost part of the temple at Jerusalem, called the Holy of Holies, in which was kept the ark of the covenant, and into which no person was permitted to enter except the high priest, and that only once a year to intercede for the people. The same name was given to the most sacred part of the tabernacle. (Lev. 4)

A house consecrated to the Worship of God., place where divine service is performed. God's holy habitation in Heaven. Place of protection and asylum, shelter. Holy place. A thing consecrated. (Webster's 1828 Dictionary, Strong's Hebrew Dictionary)

Reverence: A primitive root; to fear; morally to revere; causatively to frighten: - affright, be (make) afraid, dread (-ful), (put in) fear (-ful, -fully, -ing). (be had in) reverence (-end), terrible (act, -ness, thing).

Just the definition of sanctuary reminds me of several scriptures. If God's people want his presence, in the church, in their lives, strong enough to affect those around them, and we should, and I do, definitely, then I need to examine why it isn't like it should be in my own life. Like I've heard it can be. Like I want it to be. Like it will be. For he said ask, and ye shall receive. Seek and ye shall find. Seek his first. And that's what I'm doing, now, by his grace, and thankfully, the drawing of his Spirit. What does the scripture say? We have access into the holiest (Heb. 10 :19), by the blood of Jesus, and consider this: in the definition of sanctuary, it says the ark of the covenant (which contained the law of Moses, the word of God,), was in the Holy of Holies, and if we are the temple of the Holy Ghost, the temple of God, (1 Cor. 3:16, 2 Cor. 6:16), we should have the word of God in our hearts. His word once again walking in flesh. (John 1:14) His word, his life. Not ours. If the law was in the ark, and the ark in the temple, it must be in us. We are the temple now on earth. Also, a house consecrated to the worship and service of God, where divine service is performed. Consecrated. Holy place.

How do we minister to the Lord, what divine service is to be performed? For answers, I turn to the Lord and here is what he says:

Eze 44:5 And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary.

Eze 44:16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.

What does the word minister mean?

Minister: to attend as a menial or worshipper; figuratively to contribute to: - minister (unto), (do) serve (-ant, -ice, -itor), wait on.

He said they shall come near to my table. We need to understand we are what the scripture says we are and we need to be about our Father's business. I speak to myself first and foremost. I am not addressing anyone in particular, other than myself. When I say we, I recognize the need for the Body of Christ, for the Bride to shake off the world, the carnal thinking, and take her rightful position. One of service and worship to the One who is to be adored above all others. That is my heart's desire. I am almost 5 years old in the Lord, and am just now learning these things. And I want to get it right. Scripture says we are the priests of the Lord. (1 Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:5-6). Paul said we can behold him. Be changed.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Now back to Ezekiel.

Eze 44:9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.

Doesn't this mean that those who are not born again have no business ministering, singing or participating in the service at the Lord's house? Shouldn't the sanctuary in the church, the place where worship is offered up, where the Word comes forth from the pulpit be regarded as sacred and should not be touched by those who are not under the blood? Except for the children of the Lord's people, who because the parents are sanctified, the children are clean (1 Cor 7:14) And then only if they show the proper respect for God? And if it's such a serious matter, and he's just such an awesome God, and Holy and Reverend is his name, shouldn't we be teaching our children, commanding our children to respect and reverence this place? And why they should? By telling them how awesome he is, how good he is, and how he deserves our best? And shouldn't we be praying for those we see who do not reverence the sanctuary? Shouldn't we also take the time to pray before we come, and if we are burdened or upset, ask the Lord for help to deal with that before we get there, so we can obey the scriptures and praise him, and focus entirely on him, when we get there, and be a blessing to someone else, not always come seeking a blessing? My pastor used Ps. 134:2 in a service and stressed these points a week or so ago, and it has stayed in my heart. Because I was guilty of not doing what the scripture says always. Recently, I had been much too carnal, letting trials and troubles hinder the praise from my lips and heart that my Lord so richly deserves. Lord, forgive me....................and thank you for shining the Light. Oh, let your word sanctify me, and wash me...and mortify this flesh. I despise it's weakness. I do not want its earthly appetites satisfied. They no longer appeal.

Psa 134:2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.

Psa 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

Psa 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

Lord, if honor and majesty are before you, and strength and beauty in your sanctuary, Lord, help me see that...oh, this flesh must die before I can see you.. didn't you tell Moses no man could look on you and live? Only the pure in heart shall see God. Surely this flesh must be crucified and die before I can behold you through eyes of faith..........and know you as you know me..........share your heart for those around me. Know the plans you have for my children, for their future. Know what you wish for my life. You have a purpose for every life you create. And you said present our bodies a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) that is holy and acceptable and obedience to your word will make it that way. Love for your word makes obedience easier. Love for the Lord makes it easier. And the Holy Ghost can and will burn up the chaff.

Psa 96:6 Honor and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Lev 26:2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

I went back to Lev. 1 here. And in verses 8-9, and throughout the rest of the chapter, I was struck by the scriptures in a new way for the first time. So many times I had skimmed lightly over these, thinking them much too complicated to understand, and that because they pertained to the Old Testament ritual sacrifices, had no application to my life. Praise the precious Lord and the Holy Ghost for not letting me remain ignorant and missing out on a very vital truth. Let me explain: in verse 8, the scripture is laying out the order of the sacrifice. How it was to be placed on the altar, everything with the Lord has a specific order: "And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: (V9) But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water; and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD."
I had read that before and it sailed right over my head. But today, it was like a light went on inside me, that lit me up from the inside, and no longer were these scriptures far off and distant, with no meaning to my life.

The priest laid the parts of the bullock on the altar, the head, and the fat, in order-first the head, then the fat. The inward parts, the guts of the animal were to be washed in water. His legs, too. And all would be burnt by fire on the altar. The head-our carnal mind, our desire to be our own boss. The fat-how weak we are if our flesh is stronger and fed better than our spirit. Our flesh and our head must be killed. Sacrificed on God's altar, before him, presented as Paul beseeched the church, by the mercies of God, in Rom. 12:1 to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Washed by the water of the word. (Eph. 5:26).

It seems here lately, I can't get out of the Old Testament when I read my Bible for very long. But it always directs me back to the New Testament. And vice versa. They are so intertwined. So complimentary and united to one another. The Levitical priesthood is a portrait of the what the saint of God is to be today. All. Not just certain ones. How can I think that me, who always battles the feelings of being so inadequate and insignificant, and unworthy of such an awesome God, go right into his presence and commune with him? What a privilege-and not to be taken lightly. There must be preparation of the heart first. Self-examination. Confession of any sin or any unclean thing, and if needed, repentance. Honest sincerity. He told Ezekiel back in chapter 44 that when the priest came in he must wear only linen, clean, nothing that would make him even sweat. No wool. Thank the Lord for the blood of Jesus to clothe us in his presence. Through faith, in that blood, that is our access.

Who did John and Peter say believers were? And Paul?

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And the burnt offering? By fire? What did John say in Matt. 3?

Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The baptism of the Holy Ghost sounds to me like something necessary to consume our carnal thoughts, and fleshly self-will, to purify our hearts, and minds. To literally burn up the chaff. I was amazed when I looked up the meaning of the word chaff. Literally it means the husk of the corn or wheat which is separated from the grain by being thrown into the air, the wind blowing away the chaff while the grain, which is heavier, having more substance, is saved. It is the shell, the outside shell that contains the wheat and the grain. Our flesh, which contains our soul and spirit has to be destroyed. Mortified. And only the Holy Ghost can do this. Didn't John say I must decrease and he must increase?

Rom 8:13 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.

Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:


Now, what about the table of the Lord mentioned in Ezekiel 44 :16? That they would come near to my table, and minister unto me? What does scripture say about the table of the Lord?


2Ch 13:11 And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him.

What was the shewbread?

bread of the face" or "bread of faces". Shew-bread was unleavened bread placed upon a table, which stood in the sanctuary, together with the seven-branched candlestick, and the Altar of Incense. See Exo_25:23-30, for description of this table.

Every Sabbath, twelve newly baked loaves, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, were put on it in two rows, six in each, and sprinkled with incense, where they remained till the following Sabbath. Then they were replaced by twelve new ones, the incense was burned, and they were eaten by the priests in the Holy Place, out of which they might not be removed.

Oh, wow. As I was reading this, I got stuck, and asked the Lord to help me understand what the shewbread was for, and oh, thank you Jesus, he did. Unleavened bread, placed on a table, twelve loaves, one for each tribe, to be eaten by the priests only. What is unleavened bread? Smith's Bible Dictionary describes it in simple terms:

Leaven. Various substances were known to have fermenting qualities; but the ordinary leaven consisted of a lump of old dough in a high state of fermentation, which was mixed into the mass of dough prepared for baking. The use of leaven was strictly forbidden in all offerings made to the Lord by fire. During the Passover, the Jews were commanded to put every particle of leaven from the house.

The most prominent idea associated with leaven in connection with the corruption which it had undergone, and which it communicated to bread in the process of fermentation. It is to this property of leaven that our Saviour points when he speaks of the "leaven (that is, the corrupt doctrine) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees," Mat_16:6 and St. Paul, when he speaks of the "old leaven." 1Co_5:7.

So the shewbread had to be pure. For the priests. Jesus said he was the bread of God sent down and we must eat his flesh and drink his blood or we have no life in us. (John 6:53) He was the Word made flesh. We must get his word in us. The Priest was to get the bread from God so they could teach the people. The Word of God is the shewbread for us. Peter says in 2 Pet 1:3-5 that God has given us exceeding precious promises that by these we can partake of his divine nature. He's given us all that pertains to godliness and life. But we must receive it. And use it. And let it work the will of God in us. The life of Christ in us. And it will. Effectively, powerfully. Paul told the Philippians in 2:13 that it was God, who worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. When the word is mixed with faith, it works. It accomplishes what God intends for it to do. When Israel complained in the wilderness of hunger, look what God did.

Exo 16:4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

Exo 16:15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they knew not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

Are we not in a wilderness in this world, and isn't God sending his word forth to his people to see if they will listen and obey and trust him? Just like he did Israel? I don't want to walk after the ways of Israel. I don't want to complain and be carnal and never get into the promised land. That is in Christ. He is the promised land for me. His life in me. Resting in him and all he is and he can do. Delighting in him, trusting him to perform his word and keep his promises that if I just believe him, he'll save my family. And do much greater things than that. I want to be completely his, sold out to him, his Bride, who longs for his coming. Who is getting to know him now so he won't be able to look me in the face and say he doesn't know me at the judgment seat. And if I am his Bride, how can I not want to spend time with him alone? How can I not miss his presence and long for his return, long for him to come get me? To be with him?

God knew exactly what kind of bread Israel needed. It kept them strong, flexible, able to move, it did not weigh them down, or cause health problems, as unhealthy eating habits will do. But then they started craving flesh, despising the bread of God. And today in the church, (not the Body of Christ, not the Bride) but the world that is lost and dying is seeing a lot of flesh. Jesus warned the Words he spoke were spirit and life, but the flesh profiteth nothing. (John 6:63).

Exo 16:21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

This tells me that time alone with God, asking for our daily bread, as Jesus instructed in what is known as the Lord's Prayer, (Matt. 6:9-13) esp. v. 11 "Give us this day, our daily bread" , is essential, necessary, early in the morning before the day begins, and the lies of the enemy start getting fired at you, like darts, and people around you start doing things that vex you, and your problems try to crowd in on you. If you have spent time in his presence, getting your daily bread, you will be well-equipped to handle the stress of life in this world, this wilderness. Because the Word of God is powerful. It is our daily bread. And we need it every day. If you are a morning person, great. If you are a night owl, well, it's morning after midnight, isn't it?

Dec. 16, 2005

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