"I am the vine, you are the branches"
The Abundant Life
The Abundant Life, Part 1
This month we want to look at the Abundant Life. Many TV Pastors and Evangelists speak of the abundant life as financial prosperity. In some small way this could be true, but when Yeshua (Jesus) said "I have come to give life, and that life abundantly" (John 10:10), I don't think He was thinking in a financial way, for He also speaks of how hard it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23). So what was the Messiah speaking about? Let's take a closer look because I think we all want life abundantly: or do we?
We are going to start by looking at the tabernacle. Why the tabernacle? Because the tabernacle is the central point when we speak about the dwelling of God. We must remember that the tabernacle in heaven has always existed. God spoke to Moses and told him to build the earthly tabernacle exactly the same way it is in heaven.
We want to look at the tabernacle close and up front to see exactly how it relates to us and having an abundant life. We will start outside the outer court.
The Psalms are full of praise. The word Hallelujah means "God be praised," which the Hallel comes from. The Hallel is the Jewish pilgrimage Psalms, 113-118, which they would sing on their way to the temple during the feast days. It is important that one praises God with thanksgiving. Psalm 100:4 tells us, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name." Before we even enter the outer courts, we must have praise on our lips and thanksgiving in our hearts. Psalm 98:4-6 says, "Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the Lord." Our God is not stoic. We must come with reverence before His throne, but before we get there our hearts must overflow with abundant praise. Now that we have arrived, let's enter those gates.
The Entrance Gate
This was the only way into the tabernacle. John records Yeshua's words in John 10:7, "Yeshua therefore said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep,'" and again in John 10:9, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and go in and out, and find pasture." He also said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." So we see that the only way into the tabernacle is the only way to eternal life, and that is through the gate/door, Yeshua. There is no other name by which man can be saved (Acts 4:12). It all starts with Him!
The Altar of Burnt Offerings
Today we do not want to look at every sacrifice and it's meaning. You can go to the website and find the study on the sacrifices, but for today we want to look at only one specific, and that is the sacrifice of Yeshua. The altar of burnt offerings was also known as the altar of slaughter or the bronze altar. The purpose of the sacrifice was so that the one making the offering could draw near to God. Scripture tells us that Yeshua was our sin offering. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, "He (the Father) made Him (Yeshua) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Romans 4:25 tells us, "He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." 1 Peter 3:18 says, "For Messiah also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." So many Scriptures, like Hebrews 9-10 talk about Yeshua being our sacrifice, His blood shed on the altar of slaughter. He is our atonement for our sins, our sin offering. From there we go to the laver.
The laver was for the sole purpose of washing: "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base of bronze, for washing; and you shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it. And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they may not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord'" (Exodus 30:17-20).
Bronze in the Bible usually meant judgment for sin. So here in the outer court you had the altar known as the altar of slaughter which was for the sacrifice that drew the offerer to God, for Scripture tells us that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). Then you had the laver to wash the priest clean. This is a picture of the work of the Messiah who shed His blood so that we could draw near to God and be cleansed of all of our sin. We see at the Last Supper Yeshua washed the feet of His disciples (John 13:5-10). The apostles knew that this clearly represented the laver, especially after Yeshua died and rose becoming our sin offering.
Paul writes in Hebrews 9:13-14, "For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Titus 3:5 tells us, "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit."
This is also represented in baptism. Hebrews 10:22 says, "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Yeshua is the one who washes us clean by His blood. So how does the outer court represent the abundant life? Yeshua, our sacrifice, the one who draws us near to God, our atonement from sin, washes us clean from all of our sins so that we who believe will have eternal life and that life, the hereafter, abundantly (John 10:10).
Next we want to go inside to the Holy Place where we will now take hold of the blessing of Messiah's sacrifice for us.
The Table of Showbread
As we enter into the inner court, we see the Table of Showbread, or what is called at times the Table of Presence. On this table sat twelve loaves of unleavened bread that were baked and placed on the table every Sabbath. The priest would eat of the old each Sabbath day and as it is said, the bread was just as fresh and warm as when it was baked and first placed on the table. Yeshua said "I am the bread of life," (John 6:35) and "I am the true manna from heaven" (John 6:58). Exodus 16:1-7 speaks of God providing the manna in the wilderness. So every day the people gathered what they needed for that day, but then the Lord said, "And it will come about on the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily." So God gave them a double portion on the sixth day so that they may have rest on the seventh. So is it manna that we are to ask for a double portion of? Let's take a closer look.
Yeshua said to His disciples, recorded in John 6:53-56, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him." This flesh is the bread of life and this drink is the well of salvation, and we know that Yeshua was not speaking about cannibalism, but eating from the Word, for He is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). Isaiah 55:1-2 tells us, "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance." So we see here that God's Word is part of the abundant life.
Peter refers to the word also as milk. 1 Peter 2:2-3 says, "Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord." The Psalmist refers to the Word as the finest of wheat: "But I would feed you with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you." Isaiah 12:3 tells us, "Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation." And the Psalmist writes in Psalm 23:5, "Thou doest prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil, my cup overflows."
So to do some recapping, we come to God in prayer in the name of Yeshua (Colossians 3:17) and we draw near by His blood (Hebrews 10:22) with thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2) and we enter His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4). Let us come and feast at His table (we do not want the crumbs, but to feast until we are full and satisfied), and let us eat of the Bread of Life and drink from the Well of Salvation as we come asking for a double portion and that our cup overflows.
This is truly part of the abundant life. But then again, maybe we do not want the abundance of God. The Scriptures tell us that we are to love God with all our heart and with all of our soul and with all our strength (Luke 10:27). But this also means that we are to eat of the Word. We are to make it part of our lives. If we do not want just the crumbs, then we must drink deep from the well of salvation. We can eat all we want and drink all we want and it is all free. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 42:1, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for thee, O God." If we want the abundance of God, then we must have that desire. We must go after Him with our whole being, never satisfied, but always wanting more and more of God till our cup overflows. This is the abundant life: to have God overflowing in our lives.
Next time we will continue in our journey of the tabernacle in search of the abundance of God.