The Clarion, Feb. 2023
There is the saying that love makes the world go round. But in these end times it is hard to find love, for the love of many grows cold. We have become lovers of ourselves.(Matthew 24:12, 2 Timothy 3:1-5). Selfies are a big sign of that. So as believers in Messiah, we must not only let our light shine, but our love. Paul says this in 1 Thessalonians 3: 12-13, “May the Lord cause you to increase and overflow in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Yeshua with all His saints.”
As we celebrate or salute love this month let us consider true love that only comes from God, for God is love as 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”
The Mishkan, the House of Holiness Pt.1
The Mishkan is the Hebrew name for the Tabernacle. We want to take a closer look and see just how the Mishkan plays a part in our lives today, but first I must lay the foundation. We want to start all the way back at the beginning of time, well actually before time. Let’s imagine what it was like before God created. I guess we can’t, but I think it is safe to say that God wanted company. God is love, and if He had no one to show His love toward, then all He could do was love Himself. Well we know that God is not self -centered or egotistical, so God removed a part of Himself, because God is everywhere, to make a home for us, and He called it Earth. He created man in His own image so He could show him love, someone who was holy and set-apart that could co -exist with Him. So God made man in His image, and that image was glorious. Adam and Eve shined like the sun, that is why they did not know that they were naked. They also were immortal, until they sinned, and because of sin the glory went away, and they were now doomed to death. Genesis 3: 24 says, “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”
But God in His great love promised a way for man to return to his right standing with their Creator. Now let’s fast forward to the wilderness, in fact, to Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai was like the Garden of Eden. I know, you have to have a good imagination. But it was, and here is why. Exodus 19:1-6 tells us this,
“In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
In the garden Adam and Eve only had one commandment, and that was not to touch or eat from the Tree of Good and Evil. Throughout the time that they were expelled from the garden, man sinned over and over again, but God found one man, Abraham to make a covenant with, and that covenant was extended to his son, and then his grandson. So we find ourselves here in the wilderness and God now makes a covenant with all of Abraham’s children, who God has turned into a nation. In fact we see here that God betrothes them. If you study the Torah you will see that the wilderness experience is like a Ketubah, which is a Jewish
marriage agreement used still today, that actually protects the bride, by the groom’s promise to care for her. So you say what does this all have to do with the Tabernacle? It’s coming! Exodus 19:7-8 continues to tell us this,
“So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord.”
Well, God did come to meet the people as Exodus 19:10-11 continues. “The Lord also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their garments; and have them ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.”
God wanted the people to consecrate themselves, this means to be set-apart, (holy), and even their clothes had to be clean. God was setting up a situation as close as He could to that of the Garden of Eden. God wanted to once again walk with man in the cool of the evening, but because of the fall of Adam and Eve, man could not really be totally holy and in right standing with God, not just yet, but we will discuss this as we go on. But for now God wanted to bring man as close as He could to Himself. So God set up boundaries to protect them from Himself as Exodus 19:12-14 tells us,
“You shall set boundaries for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall certainly be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall certainly be stoned or shot through; whether animal or person, the violator shall not live. When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.’ So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. He also said to the people, ‘Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”’
No, God was not against women and this too, we will discuss as we go on. So the third day did come and God and the people came together as close as they could. Exodus 19:16-25 goes on to say this, “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud over the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the entire mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with thunder. Then the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the Lord spoke to Moses: “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the Lord to stare and many of them perish, also have the priest who approach the Lord consecrate themselves, or else the Lord will break out against them.” And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set boundaries around the mountain and consecrate it.’” Then the Lord said to him,’ Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, or He will break out against them.’ So Moses went down to the people and told them.”
Wow! What a display of power by God, it makes you wonder what Creation was like. God, the soon to be Bridegroom, has come for His Bride. So, God gives them the Ten Commandments, and these Commandments are explained all through the rest of the Torah. What a day for God and what a day for His people. God gave Adam and Eve one commandment, and now God is giving His people ten. Will they, too, break these ten? Well, it did not take them long as we see with the Golden Calf. What we begin to see is that there are references to different things like the priests, for one, before the tabernacle even existed. But we must
remember that God said to the people in (Exodus 19:6), that they would be a royal priesthood. Do you remember Melchizedek? He too, was a priest in the time of Abraham, a godly priest who had no beginning. Many people existed during the many years up to this point, and these people even though they were pagan , had priests who offered up sacrifices to their gods. So the concept of priests and sacrifices were not new to the people, in fact, God sacrificed two animals on account of Adam and Eve to atone for their sins, and then gave them the hides to wear as garments, (Genesis 3:21). So now that I have laid the groundwork, we are now at the point of the Mishkan. We now know that a tabernacle, or temple, or sanctuary was not a new idea. But to God, He made room for us by removing a part of Himself to create a home for us, and now He wanted to carry on this new relationship with the people by being in their midst. So He wanted them to build a home for Him. God loves us so much that He wants to be in our midst. He wants us to come to Him, and He wants to come to us. We will end with this in
Exodus 25:1-9, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to take a contribution for Me; from everyone whose heart moves him you shall take My contribution. This is the contribution which you are to take from them: gold, silver, and bronze, violet, purple, and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, fine leather, acacia wood, oil for lighting, balsam oil for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece. Have them construct a sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, so you shall construct it.”
We hope you join us next month as we continue looking into the Mishkan
Recipe Corner: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
By A Spicy Perspective
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 10 ounces soft caramels, unwrapped
- 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil and liberally coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the softened butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Turn the speed to low and add the flour. Beat to combine, then mix in the chocolate chips.
- Press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium sauce pot, add the sweetened condensed milk and unwrapped caramels. Set over medium-low heat and stir until the caramels melt, making a smooth caramel filling. Pour the filling over the cookie dough base.
- Drop the remaining cookie dough over the caramel filling in small teaspoons-sized clumps. Bake the bars for 25-30 minutes, until the center is just set.
- Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and allow the bars to cool completely. Then lift the bars out of the pan by the edges of the foil and cut. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- prep time: 15 MINUTES cook time: 30 MINUTES total time: 45 MINUTE
Hebrew Corner: The Month of Shevat
Shevat is the eleventh month on the Hebrew calendar, counting from the Passover. The name like most of all of the names for the Hebrew months come from when they were exiled in Babylon. Shevet means “branch”. The month of Shevet is during January -February on the Gregorian calendar. Shevat finds us turning away from winter and we begin to look toward spring. On the fifteenth day of Shevat is a special holiday called Tu b’ Shevat or as we would say, “The New Year for Trees.” As we look for the trees to wake up from their winter nap and begin to bring forth their leaves, the people in Israel celebrate by planting trees. I guess you could call it earth day or you could take time to remember the third day of creation when God created trees. You could go out and walk in a park or forest and enjoy nature. Maybe even partake in the Tu b’ Shevat Seder. It is like the Passover Seder except it consists of nuts and fruits and grains along with a glass of wine or grape juice. You can find a copy of this on the internet, (PJ Library is a good start). It is a great way to gather the kids and speak to them about creation, our responsibility in caring for the earth that God created. As you go around tasting the different items on the plate there are blessings that are said. Like most of all of the Biblical Feasts and the Hebrew holidays they are all centered around the family. We like to plant trees in memory of loved ones who have passed on. Maybe you may want to start a new family custom in the month of Shevet as we start to come out of our Winter shell and begin to do our own sprouting as the days begin to get longer, and the days begin to get warmer. Here is a blessing that you can pray when planting a new tree. “Blessed are You, God our Lord, King of the Universe, that His world is not lacking anything, and He created in it good creations and good trees for the pleasure of mankind.”
Happy Shevet, Happy Tu b’Shevat, Happy Planting!
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