The Clarion, March 2023
Well, it is finally March. March gives us the hope of Spring. But God gives us a hope of even better things. Jeremiah 29:11, tells us that God gives us a hope.
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Hope is a good thing. Titus 2:12-13 says, “It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua.” Romans 8:24-25 also speaks about the hope of our salvation. “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” So let’s keep hoping in the Lord for all things.
Mishkan, the House of Holiness Pt.2
We ended part one with 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.”
The Mishkan was not just built any old way, it had to be built exactly to represent the tabernacle in heaven as Exodus 25:40 and Hebrews 8:5 tells us. “You must make the tabernacle and design all its furnishings according to the pattern I show you.” So let’s say first of all this, that Mishkan which was the portable, “dwelling place of God”, did become later on the permanent dwelling of God, known as the Temple. The difference is one big one, and that is that God asked the people whose hearts moved them to contribute the materials needed to build this dwelling for God. God created us in love, and the people had to build this dwelling for Him out of love also. And they did, in fact Moses had to tell them enough, do not bring anymore!(Exodus 36:5-6) But you see, this dwelling also had to be holy. God said, “I am holy (kedushah) and you too will be holy”,
Exodus 19:6, 1Peter 1:16.
Psalm 93:5 says this, “Your statutes stand firm. Holiness adorns your house, LORD, forevermore.”
Exodus 29:4-9 says, “You are to present Aaron and his sons at the entrance of the tent of meeting. You are to wash them with water and take the garments and clothe Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastpiece; you are to fasten the ephod on him by using the skillfully woven waistband. You are to put the turban on his head and put the holy diadem on the turban. You are to take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. You are to present his sons and clothe them with tunics and wrap the sashes around Aaron and his sons and put headbands on them, and so the ministry of priesthood will belong to them by a perpetual ordinance. Thus you are to consecrate Aaron and his sons.”
Exodus 29:35 37 goes on to say, “Thus you are to do for Aaron and for his sons according to all that I have commanded you; you are to consecrate them for seven days. Every day you are to prepare a bull for a purification offering for atonement. You are to purify the altar by making atonement for it, and you are to anoint it to set it apart as holy. For seven days you are to make atonement for the altar and set it apart as holy. Then the altar will be most holy. Anything that touches the altar will be holy.”
Exodus 29:44-46 ends by saying this, “So I will set apart as holy the tent of meeting and the altar, and I will set apart as holy Aaron and his sons that they may minister as priests to Me. I will reside among the Israelites, and I will be their God, and they will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out from the land of Egypt, so that I may reside among them. I am the Lord their God.”
Not just anyone could go inside the Mishkan
Numbers 8:19 tells us this, “I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the sons of Israel, to perform the service of the sons of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement on behalf of the sons of Israel, so that there will be no plague among the sons of Israel by their coming near to the sanctuary.”
Only the sons of Aaron could go into the Mishkan to light the menorah, and place the bread on the altar, and do the incense, and only the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement. So we see that God gave the Levites to Aaron as a gift. So these Levites by families were designated to carry the Mishkan, and all of its furnishing and utensils as they wandered in the wilderness. But even at that, they too, had to be clean as Numbers 8:20-21 tells us, “Thus did Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the sons of Israel to the Levites; according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so the sons of Israel did to them. The Levites, too, purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes; and Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the Lord. Aaron also made atonement for them to cleanse them.”
When David went to move the Ark of the Covenant, he was met with the wrath of God as 2 Samuel 6: 1-7 tells us, “Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David departed from Baale-judah, with all the people who were with him, to bring up from there the Ark of God which is called by the Name, the very Name of the Lord of armies who is enthroned above the cherubim. They had mounted the Ark of God on a new cart and moved it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart. So they brought it with the Ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the Ark. Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord with all kinds of instruments made of juniper wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the Ark of God and took hold of it, because the oxen nearly overturned it. And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the Ark of God.”
What a festive time, why should God become angry? Numbers 3: 10 tells us, “ So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons that they may keep their priesthood, but the layman who comes near shall be put to death.”
David’s mistake was not that he did not have the Levites move the Ark, but that Uzzah was not the High Priest, who was the only one who could touch the Ark. The Ark should have been covered, so that it was not considered something common, and this was not done by Uzzah, and this is why God’s anger was so severe when he touched it. We have learned two things; one, God is about holiness, and two, God is about doing things His way and not man’s. So why is God so particular about things? Because He is holy! In Leviticus 17: 8-9 we see that even when offering a sacrifice it had to be done only in one specific place. “Then you shall say to them, ‘Anyone from the house of Israel, or from the strangers who reside among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to offer it to the Lord, that person also shall be cut off from his people.”
It’s all about purity! You see God is about life, and sin is about death. Life is pure (taharah), and death is impure (tumah). As we shall see starting in
Numbers 19:11, “The one who touches the dead body of any person will also be unclean (impure) for seven days.”
Numbers 19: 13 goes on to say, “Anyone who touches a dead body, the body of a person who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Since the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he will be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.”
Leviticus 13: 46 says, “He (the person with leprosy) shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean (impure). He shall live alone; he shall live outside the camp.”
Why outside of the camp? Because not only did they fear the spread of leprosy, but that it would make the whole camp impure. Why impure? Numbers 12: 11-12 tells us, “Aaron said to Moses, ‘Oh, my lord, please don’t punish us for this sin we committed so foolishly. Please don’t let her (Miriam) be like a stillborn baby (dead), with its body half eaten away when it comes out of its mother’s womb!”’
Again, it was impure because the dying skin was considered death. Only after a symbolic rebirth through immersion in the “living waters” of the mikveh (ritual bath) could one return to a state of purity. We see that God is holy, and we must be holy also. He is pure without sin, and we too, must be pure without sin. We see this in the sacrifices. This is why even a sacrificial animal had to be pure, without spot or blemish. Leviticus 17:11-12,14 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any stranger who resides among you eat blood.’” “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.”’
Many Gentiles resided with Israel in the wilderness, and they too had to keep God’s laws and commandments. You see they are for the many, not just for the few. God’s Word is not obsolete, it is for all eternity, and it has always been even before the foundation of the world. Even right now the Mishkan operates in heaven and the angels serve at its altar.
Join us next month as we continue to look closer into the Mishkan
Recipe Corner: Boston Cream Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup evaporated milk 6 tablespoons butter softened 4 medium or 3 large eggs 1 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon 1 – 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Optional: 1 teaspoon of white rum or rum extract
INSTRUCTIONS: First, make the custard filling and set it aside. Ingredients: Pastry Cream: 2 cups whole milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 6 egg yolks 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup cornstarch 1 tablespoon unsalted butter Italian Pastry Vanilla Custard Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to a boil. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated with milk and vanilla. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Using strainer into the saucepan, pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and rum if using. Let cool slightly. Chill at least 2 hours.
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Warm the milk and butter on the stovetop in a small pan until boiling on low or microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Cool slightly to warm to touch. With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in all the rest of the dry ingredients. Add milk mixture to the batter using a low speed on the mixer, beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Divide batter among muffin cups, spray generously each tin, then filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes until golden in color for about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins a few minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut each in half horizontally, face top flat side up. Fill each cupcake with 1 tablespoon cream filling on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with top. Spoon glaze over each, you can serve or refrigerate until ready for serving. Store in the refrigerator covered. Chocolate Ganache Topping: 8 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used good grade chocolate like Lindt) 1 cup heavy cream heat to boiling in the microwave. In a medium bowl, pour heavy cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Or you could just use 1 can of chocolate frosting.
Hebrew Corner : The Month of Adar
Adar is the twelfth month of the year, usually between February and March. The rabbi’s say, “When the month of Adar comes, joy increases.” There is no other greater joy besides the month of Adar than Rosh Hashanah itself, which is the civil New Year on the 1st day of the month of Tishri (the 7th month) and Sukkot which is about 15 days later which celebrates our eternal home with God. The fourteenth day of Adar is Purim. Purim is a picture of the future redemption of God’s people. Just like when the Jewish people were delivered out of the hands of the wicked Haman, so too, God’s people will be delivered out of the hands of the wicked Antichrist (Satan). Purim, the 14th day of Adar, is exactly one month before the 14th day of Nisan, in which the Messiah died for us, once again delivering His people from the kingdom of darkness into His kingdom of light. This is why the Seder Meal is on this day, because much like when God delivered His people from slavery, so too, Yeshua delivered us from our slavery of sin. Purim is a time of celebration for the whole family. Children dress up like Queen Esther and Mordecai and even the king and Haman. Children put on a play telling the story, and everyone is blowing party horns and cranks and most of all eating festive foods. During a leap year then there is an added month called Adar II. Also four special Sabbaths are celebrated before Spring, two before Purim (the 14th and 15th of Adar) and two before Passover (which is the 15th of Nisan, the 1st month of the Hebrew year.) Psalm 118:21-29 says, “I will give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation. A stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This came about from the Lord; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it. Please, O Lord, do save us; Please, O Lord, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; we have blessed you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and He has given us light; bind the festival sacrifice to the horns of the altar with cords. You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I exalt You. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His mercy is everlasting.