Warm Fellowship in Minnesota, to the Ark, and Back to the Classroom
Last weekend I was in Minnesota (a nice place to visit in winter) for a retreat. Twenty men gathered from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Our time was deep, meaningful, real, and authentic. One man commented on Sunday morning that after hearing each man’s story, he felt he knew the men in this circle, better than all but one of the men in his local church, which he has faithfully attended for over 10 years.
Our format was simple, we sought God together at the beginning of each day, then each of us had the floor for 15+ minutes to share our story. After which the rest of us had 15 minutes to ask questions to learn more about our brother. By the end of 40+ hours together we had connected at a heart level. Thanks be to God.
Back in the Classroom,
I flew home Sunday and on Monday afternoon found myself in Hebrew 102. Yep, I am taking a second semester Hebrew class to learn more about the language of almost 75% of the Bible.
Two years ago, almost to the day (according to my journal), I was reading about the Tabernacle in Exodus. I noticed how much detail there was in every aspect from the ark in the center to the courtyard surrounding it. I also remembered the zeal that David and Jesus had for God’s house. I surmised there must be more here for study and reflection.
Later in 2021 God directed me to find Jesus in the Tabernacle, and I began a series of podcasts on this subject. I thought I could compass this topic in 3 or 4 episodes and then move on. Instead God began opening the Scriptures and we found glimpses of Jesus for 30 podcasts from November, 2021 to July, 2022.
I know that ALL Scripture is inspired and profitable. I also know that the Bible points to and reveals Jesus. Podcast 301 explores John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me.”
I also knew that while God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, the only way to God is through the Son. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
I expected to find Jesus, but was delighted and edified to find each article in the Tabernacle revealing our Savior. Read on for one of my favorite discoveries.
As I began to study, someone introduced me to BibleHub, which is a free resource and a free App. Instead of using only my concordance for my study, I began to research in the original language of Hebrew. What insights I gained. When I began looking into the mercy seat, I expected to find the word Chesed, חֵסֵד, which I learned is found 247 times in the Bible, mostly in the Psalms. It is often translated mercy or lovingkindness and is similar to grace in the New Testament. Instead I found another word that has a different meaning.
In Exodus 25:17 the mercy seat is first mentioned and the Hebrew word is Kapporeth, which means “propitiatory.” I was amazed. Then I saw that the root was Kapher, a verb meaning, “to cover over, to pacify, to make propitiation.” Closely linked is the noun Kopher, which means a “the price of a life, a ransom.” Another expression that many of you will recognize is Kippur, from Yom Kippur, where yom is day and kippur is atonement, or day of atonement. All of these Hebrew words, which emphasize the consonants, has K-P-R.
I kept looking and nowhere did I find a rationale for mentioning the word “seat” when speaking of this gold cover on top of the ark. It is simply, and powerfully, the mercy, the propitiatory, the ransom, of the price of a life.
This “mercy” is placed above the ark, which contains the law. I know some of you are already seeing where this is headed, but I was blessed and amazed to see Jesus so clearly revealed. Jesus is the Word in the ark, and Jesus is the ransom and propitiation covering the ark. Consider John 1:14, “the Word became flesh, and tabernacled/dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In the Holy of holies, at the center of the tabernacle, grace (kapporeth-mercy) and truth (the law) meet in Jesus. More study revealed that the NIV is one of the few English translations which renders kapporeth as “atonement cover.” I also saw this union of grace and truth in Psalm 85:10, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
If you want to listen to the podcast it is #327 and this is the transcript.
As I have been digging into the Word in the past two years, I realized that I needed to learn more Hebrew. It has been decades since I studied this sacred language in seminary and now I find myself eager to become more familiar in this language. So on Monday and Wednesday afternoons I am back in class, currently translating Daniel 1.
After spending so many months seeing Jesus in the tabernacle, as well as learning about the priests who ministered to God and God’s people, my heart was drawn to understand how to be a priest under the new covenant. Since God’s people are called priests in Exodus 19:6, and again 1 Peter 2 and Revelation 5, I have been asking God what the implications are for believers today, particularly me!
With God’s help, I am praying more, seeking more, giving thanks and singing more, all of which are functions of priests in the Tabernacle. Surprisingly I believe the the injunctions in the New Testament, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) are rooted in being a priest.
Peter wrote, “As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
Regardless of what I can say or not say in our present “woke” culture, I can always pray, and believe, and worship, and give thanks. Keeping my eyes focused on God and His Word, applying the Lord’s Prayer in hallowing His name, asking Him to deliver us from evil, and believing Him to have His will done on earth as it is in heaven, continues to inspire me and give me hope. God is ever on His throne and He is working all things for good. By faith, I am standing by Him and cheering Him on till every knee bows and every tongue confesses that His is Lord. Amen.
This is a glimpse into my heart and life, I trust you are also thriving and growing in your relationship with our merciful and faithful High Priest, Who made “propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17)
Life Skills Online Leadership Summit, February 20
I’ll be a keynote speaker on Monday morning, February 20, talking about Deepening Family Relationships Through Godly Communication. Attend for free with their Basic Pass.
Family Devotions Summit, March 11, 2023 in Philadelphia, PA
This is a hands-on seminar equipping parents to lead family worship in their home. Sign up here.
Great Homeschool Convention, March 16-18, St. Charles, MO
Great Homeschool Convention, March 23-25, Greenville, SC
Great Homeschool Convention, April 13-15, Cincinnati, OH
Podcasts: for members of the Holy Priesthood
Here are the six recent episodes
343 Priests Worship
344 Priests do the Work of God and Believe
345 Priests are Humble Resistors
346 Priests Sing Praises, part 1
347 Priests Sing Praises, part 2
348 Priests Bless