At the center of this journey is the discovery of who we are and who God is and how it all fits together. Of course there are the legacies we leave and the lives we touch. There are the relationships we build and the impacts we have on others. There are the interactions between persons and the familial bonds that are eternal. All of that and more are pieces and parts of this journey we call life. But let me suggest that at the very center is the discovery of who we are and who God is. Identity is so important. If you look way out into some future existence, say 1 million years from now, what do you see? There may be stuff and things and whatever, but in the middle of it all there is you and Him. So shouldn’t we invest in the intimate process of relationally knowing Him now? Shouldn’t we ask Him what He sees in us? Shouldn’t we be pursuing what it means to be in union with our creator? Shouldn’t we be seeking to know what it means to “be Jesus” here and now? I think so.
I am reading Jim Palmer’s book titled “Being Jesus in Nashville.” I would highly recommend it. It will stretch your thinking and expand your heart. Be prepared to laugh and cry and swim in the revelation of simplicity. Yes we are made in His image. Yes we are made to be like Him. Yes we are what Jesus looks like on the Earth. As He is, so are we.
Sometimes the “dots get connected” and “the planets align” and “the revelation hits me.” Yesterday was one of those days. I don’t know if I can retrace the steps, but I will try. When this revelation grips you, you won’t be the same. Still you might find it obviously simple and completely one of those “duh” moments. Maybe I am slow to “see” it but just maybe any revelation from God is seemingly simple because, well, He is in us and we are in Him and we are in union with Him and there is no separation between us and we have the mind of Christ…must I go on? Check out the last post about separation.
We are the Tabernacle of God.
OK, that’s it. I told you it was simple. You have even heard it said and maybe even agreed that we are the “temple of God” (Tabernacle is just the mobile version of the same) but maybe you haven’t pondered the depth of that truth.
How about a quick look at one of the deeper aspects of this basic understanding?
In the center of the Tabernacle was the Holy of Holies. In the center of you is the Holy of Holies. Now I got your attention. In the center of the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant. In the center of the center of you is the Ark of the Covenant. Hold on, it gets better. This Ark was made of wood. Wood is organic, of the Earth. A part of us is organic and from the Earth. Come on “from the dust we came, to the dust we go” kind of thing. But notice the Ark is covered with gold. What is gold without an “l”? God. I couldn’t resist. Still we, the organic part of we, are layered and protected and wrapped in God. Gold is God’s splendor and magnificence and beauty and majesty and value and so much more.
On top of the Ark was the mercy-seat. Check out this post for more info. As a refresher remember the word in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) for mercy-seat is the Greek word we translate in the New Testament as “propitiation.” Yeah, it is a mouthful and a very misunderstood word. How about this verse with the mercy-seat word:
1 John 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (ESV)
So when you come into the Holy of Holies, the deepest part of you, you find the Ark. When you approach the Ark and look at the lid (the mercy-seat), in the polished gold reflection you see your face! The Holy of Holies is illuminated by the Shekinah glory (presence) of God. It was said that the glory of God rested on the mercy-seat in the Holy of Holies…yeah inside you.
OK, in the Ark were the budded rod of Arron, the jar of manna and what was left of the stone tablets of the Law of Moses. This is where it gets really fun. Remember the “Where are my demons?” series? Check out this one for the background. In that post I talked about how we create the demons. They are products of our fallen-nature and dysfunction and pain and suffering and abuse and more. I paraphrased a story by Brad Jersak about his son and where he said demons come from. This is what Brad’s son said to his dad after spending some time with Jesus in prayer.
Dad, Jesus said demons are something that humans create. They come from the ashes of our wars, the tears of our fears and the desire to have something we can’t have. We create them and then they take on a life of their own to torment us.
What do you know about the manna? Remember manna was the food that God provided to the Israelites in the wilderness. One of the “rules” regarding the manna was that they could only gather a days worth (except on Friday). If they gathered more it would go bad and be infested with worms. The Israelites had a real problem with the food issues. They complained all the time about their diet. I believe the manna could be what Brad’s son calls “the stuff we can’t have.” What if the manna represents provision from God but also reveals our desire to have things that we aren’t supposed to have? What if when the manna goes bad (we take it anyway) we are creating a demon? Makes you think a bit doesn’t it?
In a similar way we can see that the budding rod represents our rebellion or our need for structures. In this case they had a “war” of sorts. The story of the budding rod has fire and ashes and all of that. Could it be that the budding rod represents God’s order but when we are desperate for our “structures” and live in rebellion to His, we are creating demons? From the ashes as Brad’s son said.
How about the Law? The Law was intended as a beautiful thing that would guide the Israelites in their journey. It would teach them how to break free from the violent and vengeful way of the rest of the world and live in peace as God-loving people. Instead it was used for fear. When they came to the mountain to receive the Law, they were scared to death, literally. It became a tool to manipulate and exclude and isolate. Instead of a lamp on a hill they became a nation of violence against other nations. Instead of showing the way, they destroyed those who were not like them. Sadly the Law was perfect and good and from God but it was used for fear and retributive justice. Like Brad’s son, the tears from our fears create demons. You don’t have to think too hard or look too far to see the damage that we have done to others in the name of “the Law.” Crusades mean anything to you?
Isn’t that revelation a mind blower? Isn’t is fantastic that a nine-year old kid hears Jesus tell him about where demons come from and it matches the story that God has been trying to reveal about us all along?
Of course these “items” in the “box” (Pandora comes to mind) are covered and protected by Jesus as the mercy-seat. At the center of us is our human nature which needs stuff. God knows that about us and made us that way. Still He has wrapped all that up with Himself. In the center of us is this wonderful dance of Him in us and us in Him. We are in the Ark and He is the Ark. We are the Ark and He is covering the Ark. Our worst nightmares are inside of Him. Our worst nightmares are covered and protected by Him. Even inside the Ark is gold. In the Holy of Holies we are in this amazing blended relationship of glory and Shekinah and gold and Arks and junk and needs and provision and memories and futures. Yay!
I don’t know if this will hit you like it did me. I hope so. Maybe in the next few posts we will take a look at the rest of the Tabernacle and find ourselves? What do you say? When I “see” this I ask myself the most obvious question “who me, really, are you sure?” That is what sonship is all about. That is what it means to know our adoption. That is what it feels like to rest in the arms of our Father. That is what is looks like to see yourself as His child. Yeah, He is that good.