A Sanctified Nation
Samuel Lesson #151
October 23, 2018
“Father, we are so thankful that You have provided a grace solution for every problem we face in life; a grace solution for the greatest problem we’ll ever face, which is our sin. Jesus Christ died for our sin, paid the price as our substitute, and all that is necessary is simply to trust in Him, believe in Him and we have eternal life.
And for ongoing sin in our life all we must do is just admit or acknowledge our sin to You and instantly we are forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness.
Father, we are thankful that we can be restored to our walk with the Holy Spirit. We pray that You would continue to challenge us by Your Word to grow, to mature, to learn to live a life that is a focus of worship and spiritual service for You.
Father, we pray for this nation. This is a dire time in this nation’s history. We have many forces that are anti-Christian and anti-Bible. They are anti-God. And we pray that You would restrain those forces of evil.
We know that Satan is behind them, that he is the ultimate enemy based on Ephesians 6:10–13. We know that behind these human enemies there is a dire enemy of truth and that is Satan, the father of lies. Father, we pray that he might be restrained in this election and that You would restrain those who would seek to overturn the Constitution and attack biblical truth.
The anger, the enmity, and the vile, bitter statements that are made on the Internet and in person by so many people who are so filled with anger toward Scriptures is something we have rarely, if ever, seen in this country.
And Father, we pray that we as believers can respond in grace and kindness, and that we can be a light to these evil, perverse people; may the wicked, ungodly people, recognize they have been deceived by the great deceiver, and that we are used by You to bring the light and life into their lives. We pray that we might be used in such a manner.
And Father, we pray for the protection of our president and all those in the upper echelons of government. We pray that You might use this election to even strengthen those in the government that understand the truth, that we might continue to have our liberties protected to proclaim the truth of Your Word, to teach the gospel, to support Israel, and to send missionaries throughout the world.
We pray that You would strengthen us in terms of these objectives. And Father, we thank You now that we can come together to study Your Word, and that You would open our eyes to the truth and how it applies to our own lives. And we pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
I want to begin by reminding you of a certain verse. But first, what we’re focusing on with Israel as we look at Exodus 24 tonight, and that which follows, is that God has decreed, determined, and called Israel to be a kingdom of priests.
We talked about this last time. To be a kingdom of priests they have to be set aside for service to God. That is what it means to be sanctified, what it means to be consecrated—to be set apart for that service.
We started with Exodus 19 showing that they have not yet been sanctified. God appears on Mount Sinai, there’s thunder, there’s lightning, there’s earthquakes. All of this is gloom; it’s frightening.
Then as they are being sanctified, set apart as a nation for His service, they’re not experientially sanctified—there will be many, many sins that will come, but they are positionally sanctified.
Then we’re going to see this transition that occurs by Exodus 24.
Part of the Mosaic Law is quoted in 1 Peter 1:15–16 and it reads, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy for I am holy.’ “
This is taking an Old Testament command, it’s in the Mosaic Law, but it is now applying it directly to Church Age believers. This takes us back to this whole set of words that are so poorly understood in modern Christianity. Even 100 years ago they were often misunderstood.
The word “holy” means to be set apart to the service of God, to be distinct, to be unique. This is true for both the Old Testament word; the verb was qadosh, in the New Testament its HAGIAZO.
Sometimes it’s translated as consecration, which is another even worse term today because that’s so unfamiliar. It’s not a term that people use very much. “Sanctify” and “sanctification” are terms that are less used but the word “consecration” has entered into the vocabulary of the church and is just a word that means to be holy.
The center syllable there, consecrate, that starts “secrat”, comes from the Latin word sacred. It’s the Latin translation of HAGIAZO; it means to be set apart.
You have one word “consecration”, which is based on the Latin, and another word “sanctification”, which is based on another Latin word. These two terms are both related to being set apart.
There is a hymn I want to draw your attention to, “Take Time to be Holy.” I’m not as excited about some of the verbiage here. It was written originally as a poem and was not set to music for some time. William Longstaff wrote it. He was an Englishman who served as a deacon. He was the treasurer of the Bethesda Free Chapel in Sunderland, which was a port city in northeast England.
His church hosted the very first meetings of Dwight Moody in England. Moody was the major international evangelist of that time. His music leader was Ira Sankey, and Longstaff became very close friends with both of them.
This is right in the heart of what became known as the revivalist era, and the growth of Holiness Theology in the late 19th century, so there are certain overtones of that in some of these hymns. But the core idea of this hymn has great value for us today. Think about it this way, if this was true in the 1880s, how much more true it is today.
The hymn begins, “Take time to be holy.” Sanctification isn’t something that happens quickly.
In fact, when we look at this command in 1 Peter 1:16, that we are to be holy, that is something we have to plan, we have to think about, we have to understand. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not a one-shot decision.
This was the problem with what became known as Holiness Theology: you make a commitment, you walk the aisle, and you dedicate your life to Christ—this sort of a one-shot deal—and after that you’re sort of on a higher plane of Christianity. And that’s not biblically true; it is a lifelong process. Being sanctified experientially is distinct from being saved; it comes after.
It has always been confusing in the history of the church, that salvation, or justification, is totally distinct from experiential sanctification. We are set apart to God positionally in Christ when we are saved through the baptism by the Holy Spirit.
But spiritual growth is something that is incremental. It’s long and slow. Sometimes it’s three steps forward and two steps back. It takes a long time and we are constantly struggling with the sin nature, the lusts of the sin nature, as 1 Peter 2:11 says, “which wage war against the soul.” There is this internal battle, this internal warfare that takes place in our soul.
He brings out such key themes in the lyrics that he wrote. He says, “Take time to be holy, speak oft with the Lord.” Prayer is a critical part of our sanctification. Not quick prayers, but thought-out, conscientious prayers modeled on psalms, modeled on Paul’s prayers in the New Testament.
Where we think through what it is that we are praying, spending time rehearsing the attributes of God. Taking time thinking through who He is and what He has done. That’s part of adoration.
I have this acronym, CATS, that’s Confession, then Adoration—or praise, then Thanksgiving, and finally Supplication: either intercession for others or making requests for ourselves.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul says, “Pray without ceasing.” In the second line of the first verse Longstaff writes, “Abide in Him always.” He recognizes that abiding in Christ is not an absolute.
This is what Lordship salvation teaches, that if you’re a believer, you automatically abide in Christ. They’ve confused experiential sanctification with positional truth. We are to “Abide in Him always and feed on His Word. Make friends of God’s children …”
Loving one another as Christ loved the church, serving one another. The next phrase, “help those who are weak, Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.” That’s where it gets a little weak, in that line.
But then he says, “Take time to be holy the, world rushes on;”
If they thought the world was rushing by in the 1880s, he would not know what to do today. We are so overwhelmed with so many things that we have to get done yesterday that it is very difficult for us to shut down, and to be quiet, and to think, and focus our thoughts on Scripture and on our spiritual lives.
Yet that is essential if we are truly going to understand and metabolize, make part of, assimilate into our thinking, the Word of God. It takes time; we have to be thoughtful about it.
As he says in the next line, we need to, “Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.” That doesn’t mean going into your prayer closet.
That was a mistranslation in the King James Version, but it’s that fact that we walk with the Lord. There is a relationship that is taking place there, a communication between our Lord and us. “By looking to Jesus.”
You can’t look to Jesus if you don’t know who Jesus is. If you don’t know what Jesus taught, if you don’t understand the Gospels, if you don’t understand Christology, then you can’t look to Jesus.
So many Christians say, “Oh, I love Jesus, blah, blah, blah.” But the Jesus that they know is just an idol or figment of their imagination that they’ve created.
We have to know who Jesus is, because that’s whom God is conforming us to.
It is sad that there are so many Christians that have this false view of Jesus, and they try to emulate this false view of Jesus in their lives.
The Holy Spirit is just kicking them, and spanking them, over and over again. He is trying to get them to conform to the biblical Jesus, which is 180° opposite this sweet little idolatrous Jesus they’ve created. So, they have all kinds of trauma in their lives. These words are words that we need to pay attention to.
This is what Peter is getting at in 1 Peter 1:15–16. We are to be holy. It takes time. This is exactly what we’ve seen in our study in Exodus.
We looked at Exodus19 to set the stage on this. It took two days, and on the third day they are going to go to the mountain, not onto the mountain, but come to the base of the mountain, and God will speak to them.
It took more than two days for them to be spiritually prepared for this encounter with God on the mountain.
This occurred down in Sinai. The traditional location is at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, but many scholars who are working out the details think that it was somewhere north of there.
Some even suggest it was all the way to the far north. I’m not sure. There are so many issues in that debate I’ve never had time to get into those fully.
We reviewed this last time, that God prepared them and by that, He reminded them what He had done in delivering them from the Egyptians.
Once He reminded them of His grace in delivering them, He then charged them to obey Him, and that He was going to make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. He’s calling them to obedience.
Then we saw that they did respond in obedience and they agreed to follow the Lord. This will happen again when we get to Exodus 24, but that doesn’t mean they were perfectly obedient.
We know the Exodus generation certainly wasn’t obedient. They were rebellious and they were stubborn. They grumbled and they complained. They basically became a type of the carnal, rebellious, believer that is not following the Lord.
But this shows that this generation is a generation of believers, not unbelievers. You have these Reformed covenant theologians coming in with their works-based understanding of grace; they introduce works through the back door. They say, “See, they couldn’t have all been saved because of the way they lived afterward.”
As far as they were concerned, how a person lived determined whether it was real faith, or not.
“All the people” the Holy Spirit tells us in Exodus 19:18 answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.”
They all understand, they are all believers; they have all applied the blood to the doorposts at the Passover.
Just like you and I, you can be a believer and one day we’re saying, “Lord I’m going to do everything You want me to do,” and 10 minutes later we’re just as disobedient as they were.
That’s why we need grace, and that’s why we need 1 John 1:9, which I’ll be talking about as we go forward. I get questions on this quite frequently. “Are you really sure? Why do we need to confess sin?”
I’ve heard so many people say we don’t need to confess sin. You go to 1 John 1:7, where John writes, “and the blood of Jesus His Son continuously cleanses us from all sin.”
And people go there and say, “See, because we are saved we are continually cleansed of all sin.”
That’s justification, our position in Christ. If that statement means we don’t need to confess sin to be cleansed, then why, two verses later, two sentences later, does 1 John 1:9 say, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”?
Cleansing is predicated on confession in 1 John 1:9. But if we are automatically cleansed by the death of Christ in 1 John 1:7, then verse 9 is not only redundant, it is unnecessary and contradictory.
Verse 7 talks about justification and the position in Christ that occurs in phase 1 of salvation, and 1 John 1:9 talks about phase 2. We have to distinguish between justification verses and sanctification verses.
In Exodus 19:8 they commit, they agreed to follow the Lord. That is the starting point of worship.
The next thing that happens is that they see the presence of God. It’s a visible presence and it’s in very dark terms.
God comes to them in a thick cloud in Exodus 19:9. He doesn’t speak directly to the people. He speaks through an intermediary, the mediator Moses.
Exodus 19:10, God tells Moses to, “Go to the people and sanctify them [we’ll update the translation a little bit] today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments.”
They have to be cleansed physically. They’ve got to take a bath, wash their clothes. They have to go through this ritual cleansing, and it’s going to take them over two days to be prepared.
It takes time to be holy; it takes time to be prepared. It is not something that just automatically happens in terms of our spiritual growth.
Exodus 19:16, “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.”
God descends upon the mountain and there’s fire and smoke, and there’s an earthquake.
This would have been extremely scary and frightening for everyone, including Moses. Even he is scared when this happens. This is a full audiovisual sensory experience.
When the blast occurs, Exodus 19:19, “Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.”
The people are hearing the voice of God. God comes down on the mountain; Moses goes up to meet Him.
This is what the writer of Hebrews says about this, talking to Church Age believers, reminding us in doing a comparison between our experience and that of Moses and the Israelites.
Hebrews 12:18–19, “For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire [Mount Sinai], and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them.”
That’s what happens, they hear the sound of God and see the presence of God, and it’s like Isaiah when we studied in Isaiah 6:5. Isaiah sees the presence of God and he falls on his face and he cries out, “Woe is me, a man of unclean lips.”
This is an understanding of worship when the sinner is confronted with the righteousness of God. So, the people begged that God would not speak to them anymore, because this is a direct challenge. It is convicting in the very soul.
Hebrews 12:20 goes on to say, “(For they could not endure what was commanded: [and he goes on to quote] ‘And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.’ ”
Remember, they weren’t supposed to touch it.
Hebrews 12:21, “And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.’)” Now that’s not in the Exodus account, but this was revealed to the writer of Hebrews.
Then he says, but our experience is not like that, Hebrews 12:22, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God.”
This used in an allegorical sense. The Scripture does use allegory at times, but it is obvious from the passage. It talks about Mount Zion as the “city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,” contrasting the experience of the church with that of Israel.
Then we see that God gave them the commandments, the ten words, in Exodus 20. In Exodus chapters 21–22 there is an explanation of this covenant, what the details of the covenant are, that goes down through Exodus 23.
Having read or heard the covenant, now it has to be written down, and the people are going to enter into, they are going to accept, this contract with God. There will be a celebration that occurs at the foot of Mount Sinai.
In contrast to what we saw before: they are scared to death, they are trembling. It’s dark, there’s lightning, thundering, and now there is joy. There is celebration and the cloud is no longer on Mount Sinai. There is no longer thunder and lightning.
Why? Because peace has come between them and God. It is a picture for us of what happens at salvation.
We have as it were key elements of worship that occur in Exodus 24. First of all, we see a call to worship as God invites Moses and the leaders to come up to the mountain to worship.
Exodus 24:1, “Now He [God] said to Moses, ‘Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu …’ ”
Who are they? They are two of Aaron’s sons.
“ ‘and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar.’ ”
They are the leaders and they are to come up, but they are not to come all the way up. They are to worship from afar. This describes what is happening here as worship, which is what we are studying.
We see that there are specifics that God gives to describe what is appropriate worship and what is not appropriate, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.
What we learn as we go through these accounts is that when you have unacceptable worship at the beginning of this dispensation, God will take their lives.
That’s what happens with Abihu and Nadab. They bring unauthorized incense into the holy place and God strikes them dead.
He didn’t do that every time, but He did it at the very beginning of the dispensation, just like He did in Acts 5:1–10 with Ananias and Sapphira. They dropped dead because they were lying to the Holy Spirit. This is how God operates at the beginning.
He calls the spiritual leaders up on to the mountain, but they cannot come too close. Moses is able to go directly into the presence of God.
Moses, in his unique role as the leader of the people, as the mediator, functioning in many ways like a priest—he is a prophet and a priest and he’s not a king. But he is their leader, so he is able to go into the presence of God.
Moses alone comes up and can come near to God representing the people. Again, we see that worship is an obedient response to the call of God.
Whether it’s through a theophany where God appears, or whether it’s through the revelation of His Word, either inscripturated or vocalized through a prophet, it is still responding to the sound of God.
In Exodus 24:3 we read, “So Moses came and told the people the word of the LORD and all the judgments.”
As he does this, he is going to give them the words, the dabarim. Dabar is the Hebrew word for “word”, and the Ten Commandments were called the “ten words”, the “ten dabarim”.
“Moses came and told the people all the commands of the Lord and all the judgments.” That’s the decisions and applications of the commands.
He does this in this covenant ceremony to bring it to the people, and to say, “This is what God expects. This is the contract God is entering into with you. Are you willing to accept it or not?”
And once again, echoing what they said in Exodus 19, “And all the people answered [all the people, not some of them] with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the LORD has said we will [we are willing] to do.’ ”
The phrase that Moses uses where it says he “told” them means to enumerate or to count them.
It’s the word safar, which later has to do with the soferim, or counting words. That was a term used for the scribes because they counted the words in the Old Testament.
You have the response of the people and this is worship—how we respond to God.
So, what does Moses do?
In Exodus 24:4 we are told, “And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve standing stones as pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.”
This is where there will be a sacrifice, and this sacrifice is going to be the sacrifice for the covenant.
We are going to make some interesting applications here in just a minute, so you need to pay attention closely to what I’m saying here, what is going on here.
You have these twelve standing stones as pillars that are set up to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. That’s very typical in the ancient world. They would set up these stones, stand them up on end, to mark boundaries, and to mark special sites for a memorial. In sanctuaries they would set it up to represent God.
These twelve standing stones are representing the twelve tribes of Israel. This altar is being built, and the sacrifice is to lay the groundwork as it were, the foundation, for the covenant between God and Israel.
This consecration takes place in Exodus 24:5, “Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.”
Here we have two kinds of sacrifices that are being identified. There are three that you find at the beginning of Leviticus. I’ll take some time to briefly review all the sacrifices a little later on.
Anytime a Jew would come to worship at the tabernacle, later at the temple, they would have to bring three sacrifices. Worship cost you something.
First of all, you had to bring an animal, a bull or a goat, or if you are very poor, a bird, for a burnt offering. And it was burned up completely.
A bull would be part of your herd. This is a valuable animal and so it’s costing something. You bring this; it’s all burned up, everything goes.
The picture this presents is that your life is totally dedicated to the Lord. That’s the sense of the olah: everything goes up in smoke.
The second sacrifice that you would bring would be the trespass, or sin, offering. That is to represent the fact that your sin has been dealt with by God.
The third is the fellowship offering, the peace offering, which demonstrates that now that sin is not an issue, you come together as one with God. These are laid out in the first three chapters of Leviticus.
Here you have no sin offering, that’s been dealt with already. This is a feast between those who have peace with God and God. It is a celebration, and with the peace offering they eat, they will partake of the offering.
That’s important because even today, in the near East, it is important that if you have some sort of breach in a relationship, you’re not invited in the house. You don’t eat the meal with somebody.
Eating a meal with somebody indicates that there is a fellowship, a peace between the two people. It signifies forgiveness.
When Jesus is eating with the tax collectors and the prostitutes, the Pharisees get their knickers in a knot over the fact that that Jesus is eating with them. They understand that eating with them as a sign of forgiveness, and a sign that there is peace with them.
This runs completely counter to their whole legalistic theology. How can He eat with tax collectors and with sinners?
This is all part of this imagery. This is a picture of the sanctified people, positionally, who are now sitting down, and they are having a celebration of peace with the Lord.
In Exodus 24:6 we read, “And Moses took half the blood ...” He is sacrificing animals and he has these basins that he collects the blood in. And he took “… half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.”
That is signifying that the altar is sanctified and that this represents the substitutionary aspect of this sacrifice.
We’ve had the call to worship, we have had the response of the people in worship, the “yes we will do all the words have been commanded,” and then you have a proclamation of the Word.
We had seen that this is part of worship going back to the idea from the end of Genesis 4, calling on the name of the Lord. It is making proclamation about who the Lord is, what He is. So proclamation is very much part of worship.
After Moses has written all of this down, Exodus 24:7, “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.’ ”
How long do you think this took? This isn’t like an American evangelical church where we come in at 10 o’clock and want to be out at 11 o’clock. This took a long time.
This is a process and it took time to have the animals ready: to kill the animals, and then to read the Book of the Covenant out loud. We read ten, fifteen, sometimes twenty verses in responsive reading.
If I read the Mosaic Covenant to the congregation how many people would respond. And they stood up for it. This has been standard in the synagogues. In fact, eventually we’ll talk a little bit about worship in the synagogue, but in the synagogue there were only benches.
Some of you have been to the mock up synagogue at the Museum of the Bible. Others of you have been to the synagogue that had been restored in Capernaum.
Last year we went to the remains of the synagogue in Magdala where Mary Magdalene was from. We saw that they had benches for the elderly, but everybody else stood through the whole service. And their service was not a quick little hour like we have.
They had great discipline; they had an understanding of the seriousness of what worship was all about and what they were doing.
“Then Moses took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people.” And then there’s a response, “And they said, ‘All that the LORD has said we will do and be obedient.’ ”
We know that it’s not long before they are sinning, and they are disobeying God, and all these other things. But for right now what we see is that they have made this commitment.
Like us, on our best days, “Lord we’ll do everything You say.” Thirty minutes later we’re not doing that. But that is us on our best day, and that is how they were.
Exodus 24:8, “And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people …”
This symbolizes the fact that this sacrifice has been on their behalf, and is applied to them, and therefore they are set apart to the service of God on the basis of this covenant.
They are positionally a kingdom, a holy nation, and a kingdom of priests. But it will take time to be experientially consecrated, or sanctified, by the Lord. So, he sprinkles this on them, and he says, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.”
This is really important. This is one of three verses that our Lord puts together when He is in the Upper Room at the Lord’s Table.
In this instance there’s the sprinkling of the blood, which represents the sacrifice, which is the sacrifice for the covenant. I don’t have time to go through all of this, but a sacrifice doesn’t inaugurate the covenant.
There are covenants without sacrifices in the Old Testament. There was a covenant made between Abraham and Abimelech, who was the ruler of the Philistines. They entered into a covenant over the wells near Beersheba, but there’s no sacrifice. They just enter into that covenant; they swear an oath. That’s what initiates the covenant.
In Numbers 25:12–13 there’s a covenant between God and Phinehas who is Aaron’s grandson, so that the line of the priesthood will not depart from him. This is the priestly covenant, the covenant of the high priest and there’s no sacrifice. There is a sworn oath there as well.
What we see here is that when Moses makes this statement, “This is the blood of the covenant.” That’s the sacrifice that is the foundation for this covenant. This is one of three verses our Lord cobbles together at the Upper Room.
Matthew 26:28, in the Upper Room, He says, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
“This is the blood of the covenant …” That language comes from Exodus 24:8.
The idea of a new covenant, not the covenant with Moses, comes from Jeremiah 31:31, which is the foundational passage for the New Covenant. It’s the only passage in the Old Testament that uses the term New Covenant.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”
It is not a covenant that is made with the church. It is not made with Gentiles. It is made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
In Hebrews 8 the writer of Hebrews quotes this, but he doesn’t change the language. He doesn’t say, “I will make a new covenant with the church.” He still reiterates that it’s with Judah and Israel. It is not with the church at all.
There is no basis for making a new covenant with the church. The New Covenant is with Israel, and all of the things that are said about this New Covenant, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the fact that you will need to teach your neighbor, all these things are similar to the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age, but they’re different. They are not the same.
What’s happened over the centuries is that so many people say, “Well, this is similar to that, so it must be the same thing.”
No, they’re not; they’re very different. When you read through all these other New Covenant passages that don’t use the term New Covenant, but they are speaking about this covenant that is put into effect when God returns.
It is at that time that this New Covenant goes into effect, and there will be a distinctive work of the Holy Spirit among the Jews in the Millennial Kingdom that is similar to but very different from that which the Church Age believer experiences. Jesus picks up the phrase the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31:31.
And He says, Matthew 26:28, “My blood is shed for many.”
Where does He get that language? He gets that language from Isaiah 53:11–12. This language of “the many” is used several times in Isaiah, but in Isaiah 53:11–12 it says, “By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many.”
That is the Messiah; He will do that which will be the basis for justification for many. Contextually “the many” here refers to Israel, but it is expanded in other passages in Isaiah to include the Gentiles.
How will he justify many? “For He shall bear their iniquities.”
In Isaiah 53:12 we read, “And He was numbered with the transgressors. And He bore the sin of the many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Jesus is cobbling portions of these three verses together to emphasize what is about to happen on the Cross. By His work on the Cross He is going to lay the foundation to justify many.
Matthew 26:28, “which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
Jesus didn’t say it’s the blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many to establish the New Covenant. He doesn’t say that.
It is the blood of the New Covenant because it is the sacrifice that will be the basis for the New Covenant with Israel and Judah in the future kingdom. But His death on the Cross does more than simply establish the basis for the future New Covenant.
His death on the Cross provides the basis for justification and the forgiveness of sin. The Cross accomplishes, let’s say, five things, and two of them relate to something future when God establishes the New Covenant with Israel in the coming kingdom.
As Daniel states in Daniel 9:26–27, that it will bring an end to transgression. That is the transgression of Israel. That doesn’t happen until the New Covenant comes into effect.
But then these other aspects of Christ’s death on the Cross apply to Gentiles, apply to the church today, and are part of that distinction between Israel and the church.
So, just put that in your mind. We’ll get back to these topics a little later on when we’re talking about the Lord’s Table and the New Covenant.
Exodus 24:9, “Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel.”
What did they see?
Exodus 24:10, “The saw the God of Israel.”
This is phenomenal. They couldn’t make out much of anything on the mountain in Exodus 19 because it was covered with smoke, and thunder, and lightning. But now it’s a clear day.
See, the contrast between before they are set apart and after they are set apart?
Exodus 24:10, “They saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.”
They are seeing the brilliant blue sky up there and they’re seeing through this translucent foundation, or pavement, the throne of God. They don’t see God directly.
This is not any different from what we read in Revelation 4:6 where John talks about the throne of God. He sees the throne of God when he’s taken to Heaven at the beginning of Revelation 4, and he sees the throne of God and he says, “Before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal.”
That is like what we’re talking about here. It says it’s a sea of glass like crystal. You can see through that. It’s got this beautiful blue hue.
“And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and back.” They were worshipping God.
What they are seeing, they are given a vision of the third Heaven in its clarity through Mount Sinai. There’s an intersection of this dimension with the dimension of the throne of God.
Exodus 24:11, “But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand.” He doesn’t bring judgment upon them because of what they see.
“And they saw God, and they ate and drank.”
They have a meal. The whole idea of the Passover meal, and the fellowship meal, the meal with the peace offering, the Lord’s Table, all of this pictures the harmony with God, the peace that occurs with God. It’s all a picture of what God has done to open the way for man to have fellowship with Him.
At this point Moses goes up into the cloud. Aaron and the others stay behind. All of this is used as a picture of fellowship with God.
What happens next, when we get into Exodus 25–26, is that it starts to talk about the tabernacle. This flows out of what has happened with the covenant; because this covenant has occurred, because there is peace with God, and this is celebrated by this meal where they eat and drink, and that symbolizes fellowship with God, God can now dwell in their presence.
The word for dwelling in Hebrew is the verb shakan. It means to live somewhere or to dwell somewhere.
In Hebrew if you want to make a verb a noun or a participle you put the letter “m” at the beginning of the word.
So, it comes across as mishkan. Mishkan is the tabernacle and it means to dwell somewhere.
The word shakan comes across in a number of different languages. In Greek the noun is SKENE, the verb is SKENOO. All of this is to ultimately picture Jesus Christ and His Person and His work.
John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
God dwelt among the Israelites in the Old Testament in the tabernacle. The Greek word for dwelt in 1 John is SKENOO from SKENE, which is related to the Hebrew word shakan. It’s the same consonants, skn. This pictures God’s dwelling among the people.
I want to point out a couple things as we get started. We can’t cover all of this tonight, but I want to get started on this.
This is the picture of the mishkan, the tabernacle, in the Old Testament. What I want you to see from this visual representation here, from this picture, is it shows the wall around the tabernacle, and it shows encamped all around the tabernacle the tribes of Israel.
They were all organized so that each tribe had its specific place in relationship to the tabernacle. Inside the curtain, the wall surrounding the tabernacle, you have the holy place, the holy of holies itself.
You have the picture of the pillar of fire. Out in the courtyard you have depicted the laver and the burnt offering going up on the altar.
What do you see here visually? What you see here is that God is set apart from the rest of the nation, from the rest of the people.
The land where the tabernacle sits is holy ground. It is set apart to God. That which goes on inside the wall of the tabernacle is not like what goes on anywhere else in the world.
This is part of what we keep seeing in worship, that when we come into the presence of God this is unique. This is distinct. This isn’t like any other time, any other place in the world.
We have lost that in our modern evangelical culture. We have become very relaxed with God, very casual with God. Coming to church on Sunday we all get together. We have a good time. We laugh and we joke all the way up to the point that the service begins.
In historical times, from the early church on, once you came together to worship on Sunday it was a time when people would be quiet and they would reflect.
Some of you may have noticed this, some of you may not have, but for a while we were hosting a Korean church that met here on Friday nights.
The pastor of that church would come here, usually on Thursday night, sometimes on Tuesday night, and he would come here early and he would sit back in the back corner here.
If you got here early enough and saw him, sometimes he was kneeling, but he was always in prayer for thirty minutes or so before the service started. Korean Christians take their worship extremely seriously. They look at us as being very casual with God.
Another thing that we did, for about a month before they found a place they could use 24/7, is that they would come in here in the morning for prayer.
Sometimes they would have five or ten people, depending on their schedule. They would come in here about 5 o’clock in the morning. They didn’t turn on the lights. They didn’t do anything else, they would come in here and they would just sit and pray for two hours until 7 o’clock every morning to start their day.
I don’t know about you but I think that many American Christians have trouble praying for two minutes early in the morning. They want to get their day going. They want to get caffeine in them and all of these other things.
That Korean tradition really does represent more of historical Christianity than what we do. In the early church they were in smaller communities, they lived close to the church. They could easily go down and go into the church and pray. That was very, very common.
Much of the time we don’t live near churches, and for security reasons we don’t leave the doors unlocked. And for many other reasons it is just a different environment.
The challenge here isn’t to do it like they did it, but to think about the seriousness of our personal worship with God. This is not to be an afterthought in our lives.
The visual image here is the tabernacle, the place where God dwelt. Where does God dwell today? He is in each of us. The tabernacle is set apart from whatever else goes on in the world around it.
This is a picture of [a model of] the Tabernacle in the Wilderness that has been set up in Israel. Some of you have been to Israel. We’ve gone there the last couple trips, in 2014, and then this last year.
It’s interesting, the grandfather of the man who is still associated with this [this man will be speaking at the Pre-Trib Conference this year], was an SS officer who was involved in the Holocaust. After World War II he was saved and he reared his family as believers and he came to love the Jewish people.
When his son became an adult, they built this tabernacle and they traveled around Germany and Austria and Europe, and they would put this tabernacle up somewhere.
People would come and ask, “What is this?” And they used this as a witnessing tool all over Europe. When, the son [I think] started having health problems in the 90s they worked out a deal with the Israeli government, and they found a group that would oversee it and they donated it to Israel.
It has been set up here ever since down near Timna. This is a great visual. It shows you that this is an area that is unlike anything around; it’s very distinct.
We see this outer area, there’s only one way in, and that depicts the fact that there’s only one way in to God. And for the visual that we’re going to see is if you walk through the entry, what is the first thing that you encounter?
In fact, when you walk through, if you’re looking at the holy place what prevents you from looking at the holy place directly, where God dwells, is the bronze altar. Something has to happen on the bronze altar before you can get past it and get to the presence of God.
Slides 30, 31
These are just some visuals to represent how this is set apart. You just can’t come into the holy place from any direction anyway you want. God has determined how that is to take place.
This is a look from ground level. From the outside at ground level it looks pretty average.
I think this pictures the Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to Isaiah 53 had nothing special about His appearance. He didn’t stand out. He wasn’t any more attractive than anybody else. He just looked like every other human being. This is what the tabernacle looked like. That’s what Isaiah 53:1 says, there’s nothing about Him that drew our attention to Him.
Slides 33, 34
We see the courtyard here. We see the activity depicted in this upper picture with the brazen altar and the laver.
Here we have a picture of a map of the inside of the holy place. Basically, you have the courtyard. You have an opening at the entry that is about thirty feet, the whole distance is about seventy-five feet, and you have this thirty-foot entry.
That leaves about twelve and a half feet on each side. You come in and you can see that there’s just a direct line.
In this depiction they have the laver off to the side. We don’t know. How many of you think that the laver is round? Everybody knows this is a trick question.
There are no descriptions of the laver in the Scripture. It doesn’t tell you how big it is. It doesn’t tell you what shape it is.
It could have been a rectangular shape that stretched all the way across the tabernacle from one end to the other. There’s nothing that tells them how it was to be built.
This just gives us a schematic. We are out in the courtyard. It’s all about cleansing, positional cleansing, at the altar for sacrifice.
Then there is experiential cleansing for the priest because he washed his hands, and he washed his feet, all this imagery.
When the priest is first brought into the priesthood, just anointed as a priest, he is washed from head to foot.
He’s given a bath to picture his salvation, complete cleansing. After that he only has to cleanse his hands and his feet.
This is what Jesus is talking about in John 13:10 when He says, “all of you been cleansed, but now you just need to wash your feet.”
It’s that same picture. We sin and we get contaminated so there has to be this cleansing.
This is the picture showing that you walk through the gate and this is what you see. Before you can get to the tent you’ve got the altar, and you’ve got to get past that. That blocks the way.
The altar had a ramp because it’s hard to get up high enough with the bull, with the goat, to put it on the grate where it would be burned up.
There’s nothing under it. This is acacia wood, which is very hard wood that is less susceptible to rot and mildew. That pictured the humanity of Christ, and the bronze depicts His deity.
It’s going to be gold later on but out here it’s bronze. Why? It’s depicting that He can withstand the heat of the judgment.
You have the horns on the altar that had blood put on them, and that would also be used maybe to tie the sacrifices down. Underneath it’s just soil so that all the ashes and everything would fall through.
Here you have the priest taking care of the altar and the sacrifices and taking care of the fire.
Then the priest goes to the laver. Like I said, no description of the laver, but that is one way in which it is depicted.
This is another; there are quite a few different ways in which this is depicted. It’s cleansing, but you had to be careful.
Most of the pictures that we have don’t do justice to this. You had to have these various utensils because if you just dipped your hands in there what would happen? You’re contaminating all the water.
There were special pitchers that were used to dip the water out. You would pour it on your hands, and then pour it on your feet.
You would have to bring the water. Think about that, you’re in the desert. Where are you getting all this water? This was a lot of work.
Here’s another depiction. The water would come out through a spout on the side.
This is all built to proper size. This was in was in 2014 and shows you something about the size of the lavers. They depicted it as being round.
We will stop there tonight and next time we’ll come back and begin to look at the tent of dwelling inside.
The point I want you to get from all of this is how it’s all about separation, sanctification, consecration, being set apart to the service of God.
And that’s what we’re called to be, “to be holy for I am holy.”
Be set apart to Me because I am the one-of-a-kind, distinct Creator God of the universe.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study, to reflect, to come to a greater understanding of who You are. For that is the basis of our worship, to understand Your majesty, to understand Your immensity, to understand Your omnipotence, and Your greatness and all that You have done to save us and to bring us into an intimate relationship with You.
That we are to respond in gratitude and thankfulness, giving our lives to serve You. And Father, we pray that we might be responsive to this challenge. In Christ’s name, amen.”