Tabernacle Erected

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. Exodus 40:34-38

The book of Exodus ends with the completion of the Tabernacle. It was fully erected and furnished with it’s altars and basin and it’s sanctuary for the ark of the covenant. And God’s glory filled the Tabernacle, showing His approval. He now dwells among His people, but this is just the beginning. It may be the birth of a nation, but God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations. It was God’s desire to make His people a kingdom that covered the earth. But He doesn’t just snap his fingers and make it happen. He works through the agency of mankind, gradually, through the generations.

Today, we are thousands of years removed but are part of the kingdom through faith in Christ.

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Galatians 3:7-9

And now the glory of God has come to live inside us, and not just among us. This is not because of our in works, but it is the gift of God.

Why I Do It

If you read my blog and watch my videos you know I am reaching children for Christ through Good News Clubs®. Not only that, but I am trying to reach YOU so that you will want to reach children for Christ through Good News Clubs. Why do I do that?? Why would I give so much of my time, money and effort to do either or both of those things? Is it just God’s peculiar calling on my life?

For years I worked in children’s church while my kids were growing up. I did it for the same reason a man coaches his son’s baseball team: my kid was on the team! I was always looking for volunteers to help, but most parents were happy to have me watching their kids during church, praised my ministry gift, and said they were not called by God to do this. I would tell them, “I’m not either. I’m doing it because it has to be done.” What has to be done?

People need to hear the Gospel, that God’s son had come to earth, taken our punishment for our sins, died, rose from the dead, and that now we are to obey everything He commanded us to do. When I came to believe in Jesus back in 1981 I just started reading the Bible, and it didn’t take long for me to stumble across Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15 and see that Jesus commanded us to tell others so they could be saved, too. So, I started going into prison with my pastor to counsel incoming inmates about their spiritual condition and how they could be saved. I prayed with a lot of young men to receive Christ. It was pretty easy. They knew the consequences of their sin, and knew they needed to go another way. When people asked me, “why do you do this?” I would tell them, “Eventually, the majority of them will be coming out. How would you like them to come out?”

So it is with teaching children the Gospel and how to apply it to their lives. The vast majority of these kids will be growing up. How do we want them to grow up? Do we want them to grow up lost, being captured by the world’s vain philosophies, dedicating themselves to material things, and then dying and going to Hell? Is that OK with us? I know it is not OK with God. He got us involved when He told us to preach the Gospel to every creature before He left the earth. Jesus said, “My father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” And yet they do, right under our noses.

So I am not doing something weird or peculiar. I am doing job one in the way that has presented itself: systematically and in a ministry that has proved itself replicatable all over the world. I takes effort and sacrifice, but it is a pretty light cross compared to others. I spent many years captured by church busy work that kept me away from job one. Some of that busy work is necessary, but if it’s all you do it is a replacement for job one. It has become your excuse for disobedience. Do not stand before you God, holding that dirty napkin with the talent you buried, telling Him, “Well, I’m still here. Isn’t that enough?”








The Priesthood

They also made the coats, woven of fine linen, for Aaron and his sons, and the turban of fine linen, and the caps of fine linen, and the linen undergarments of fine twined linen, and the sash of fine twined linen and of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, embroidered with needlework, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, “Holy to the Lord.” And they tied to it a cord of blue to fasten it on the turban above, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Exodus 39:27-31

The old testament is a foretelling of the Messiah. The priesthood of Aaron was a representation of Christ, who represented God to the people, and represented people before God. And it was to be temporary. The Messiah would come with a new covenant, and the old one would be done away.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:14-15

Not only this, but since Christ is in us, we are now priests. We represent God to a fallen world, and we represent a fallen world before God as we make intercession for them.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 3:9

Unfortunately, many believers don’t see it this way today. We have made a priesthood of our pastors, letting them represent us before God, and we hear God through them alone. We have made ourselves spectators, burying our talent in the ground, and expecting to be congratulated for remembering where to dig it up.

The Tabernacle and it’s Cost

All the gold that was used for the work, in all the construction of the sanctuary, the gold from the offering, was twenty-nine talents and 730 shekels, by the shekel of the sanctuary. The silver from those of the congregation who were recorded was a hundred talents and 1,775 shekels, by the shekel of the sanctuary: a beka a head (that is, half a shekel, by the shekel of the sanctuary), for everyone who was listed in the records, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men. The hundred talents of silver were for casting the bases of the sanctuary and the bases of the veil; a hundred bases for the hundred talents, a talent a base. And of the 1,775 shekels he made hooks for the pillars and overlaid their capitals and made fillets for them. The bronze that was offered was seventy talents and 2,400 shekels; with it he made the bases for the entrance of the tent of meeting, the bronze altar and the bronze grating for it and all the utensils of the altar, the bases around the court, and the bases of the gate of the court, all the pegs of the tabernacle, and all the pegs around the court. Exodus 38:24-31

The number of men alone was 603,550. Clearly, the Tabernacle was not a church building where people went to hear sermons. This was created as a place where the essential ministry of sacrifices were performed. The curtains and tents were meant to make the sacrifice and the presence of God something that was intimate and separate. Likewise, when this temporary shelter gave way to the temple, centuries later, it was not made as a meeting house. It was a private place for the sacrifice and the presence of God.

All this changed radically when Jesus was sacrificed publicly, bleeding out on a humiliating cross of execution. And 50 days later, on the Day of Pentecost, God’s presence would be poured out in an upper room and spill out on the streets, and the word of God would be proclaimed in every language.

Today we will build a sanctuary for the ministry and it may cost a million dollars or more. But the true cost comes from the way we have turned our sanctuaries into containers for the people, and ministry has become private and separated from the people we are called to reach.

The Ark of the Covenant

Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half was its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. And he overlaid it with pure gold inside and outside, and made a molding of gold around it. And he cast for it four rings of gold for its four feet, two rings on its one side and two rings on its other side. And he made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold and put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark. And he made a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half was its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. And he made two cherubim of gold. He made them of hammered work on the two ends of the mercy seat, one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat he made the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat were the faces of the cherubim. Exodus 37:1-9

The ark was to be the physical place where God’s presence would come down. It was not to be worshiped or venerated. It was essentially a piece of furniture in the Tabernacle. And since it was so valuable, it has probably been stripped of it’s gold, which was melted down after one of the times Jerusalem was overrun, conquered and looted. To correct Stephen Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the ark did not make Israel’s army invincible. Their obedience did. And when they turned to other God’s, they lost a lot more than their treasures.

The search for artifacts like this has gone on for centuries. Some still look for Noah’s ark. It was big enough. It should show up somewhere, right? Unless Noah and his decendants harvested that huge project, repurposing all those planks and beams to make houses and barns…before nature desolved them.

Although many people have good intentions, using physical artifacts to validate the scriptures, it is the Holy Spirit that reveals the truth to people, not archeology. God’s intention is not to meet our representative at a special table. His end game is to live inside each one of us.