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LETTERS TO AARONThis is the second in a series begun January 1, 2011. Philip, Aaron's father, was a mail carrier for 42 yrs. and wanted to express his heart to his son and ultimately to all his family. May these installments be a blessing. If so, you may email Philip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now let's go into the "pattern of worship." Dr. Oliver* points out in The Sons of Zadok, that for Adam "before the fall" there was no temple, and he had no prescribed way to approach God. God and Adam met as friends. As far as I can determine, this is still the way the Almighty prefers to meet with his children. We know Enoch and Noah walked with God. And similarly, there was an appeal from God to Abraham to walk before Him and be perfect. The main focus of this section is "the form of worship" that occurred in the tabernacle. But I want to imply that the Holy Spirit would not lead us to come into the presence of God according to any greater divinely ordered plan than this.
Soon after Israel left Egypt, Moses led the children of Israel to the mountain of God (Exodus 20 & 21, Deuteronomy 5). There, before the tabernacle was ever constructed or a form of worship was set forth, the Lord set a time to meet face to face with his people as He had with Adam. His desire to come close to His people was rejected. When they saw the fire and the thick cloud and felt the earth quake mightily, along with all that accompanied the presence of the Lord Himself when He came down to sit upon the mountain, they feared for their lives in the presence of such a one. This occasion demonstrated that the heart of the Father to touch and commune with his children (as he did with Adam in the garden) has not changed.
Dr. Oliver also mentions that there have been other segments of time that provided windows into the heart of God. Joshua was allowed to minister in the "Tent of Meeting (Exodus 33: 11)," which preceded the "Tabernacle of the Congregation." Also, after David had moved the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and set it in the tent he had built, he was permitted to minister to God before the Ark as a priest. Since neither David nor Joshua were of the tribe of Levi, they were not "legally" to minister in the Tabernacle. If the Ark had been in its place in the Tabernacle of the Congregation at Gibeon, rather than in the Tabernacle of David in Jerusalem, David could never have entered the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest would ever dare to set foot in the Holy of Holies and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement. Had David approached the Ark at any other time, in any other setting than that of the Tabernacle of David in Jerusalem, he would have instantly been struck dead by the Almighty himself, as the King had already sadly learned in the death of Uzziah.
David and Joshua ministered during periods of transition. Joshua's time was during the period when the Lord was taking His people from Egypt to the Promised Land. David's window of time was much like our day. From the day Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, the High Priest, lost the Ark of the Covenant (and their lives in battle against the Philistines) until the day Solomon set it in the Temple, the Ark would never again occupy its place in "the Tabernacle." During this period of transition, David moved the Ark of the Covenant to his tabernacle in Jerusalem. All the while, the Tabernacle of Moses was pitched in Gibeon, minus the Ark. This was a part of the divine plan to bring forth the new and higher form of worship to be established in the Temple in Jerusalem. The loss of the Ark, the deaths of Eli and his two sons Hophni and Phinehas on the same day, the birth of Phinehas's son, Ichabod, shortly thereafter, was judgment on a system. The priesthood that Eli represented was judged by the Lord to be corrupt and utterly, irrevocably unredeemable.
*Oliver, C.R., The Sons of Zadok, Zadok Publications, Montgomery, Texas, 2000.
Phinehas' wife, having heard of the loss the Ark, named her son, Ichabod, meaning to her that the glory had departed from Israel because the Ark of the Covenant was taken in battle by the enemy. With the family deaths and the loss of the Ark--another window had opened, and the Ark, having left the Tabernacle, was now destined to be set in the Temple, never again to occupy its place in the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Worship, in the days of David, was in the process of changing.
So, it is today!
In John 4, the woman at the well was told by the Lord that in the last days God was going to move the place of worship to the Temple in Heaven away from the Temple in Jerusalem. The last days are the time we live in. The last of days is another period of time when the order of things will again change as they did in the days of Aaron and of David. In Amos 9, the prophet said in the last of days the Lord would again build the Tabernacle of David. The Tabernacle of David was erected to house the Ark before it was moved to the Temple. The Tabernacle of David stood in a time of transition when worship, as represented by the high priest Eli, gave way to a higher level to be revealed in the Temple. In Zechariah 6, the prophet set out that in the last days the Branch (Jesus) would build the Temple. The level of worship in this Temple will eclipse all other places of ministry to the Lord that have been revealed to man. The transition sequence is occurring now, in our day, in the last days. We, as the Church, are at the time of transition which was proscribed by our Lord, just as surely as those times for Joshua and David. We live in another of those windows of time. The prophet Joel said that in the last day, the Lord would pour out His Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, Peter announced that the last days had begun because on that day the Lord had poured out His Spirit, just as Joel prophesied. Paul told Timothy that the last days would bring perilous times. Those perils can be illustrated by the two rivers of history.
Two rivers have flowed in this earth since Adam fell. One flows out of Hell, and the other is a stream which has its source in Heaven from the very throne of our Father. One is noted by destruction and perilous times which occur wherever the Hell River flows. The other river is the River of Life, and it brings life and glory to all that it touches. Both of us have been honored by the Lord to "sit and rule" and "be a priest" with Him upon the throne from which the river of God flows (Zechariah 6:13, Ephesians 2:6, Revelation 22:1). It will be our individual choice, however, if we are one of those standing before the Lord when the command comes to move the Ark from the Tabernacle of David (of these last days) to its place in the Temple that our Lord has built in Heaven. If we have chosen to stand before the Lord at the time when He takes His seat above the Ark of the Covenant, we will have taken part in His bringing in the glory of God into the Temple (Zechariah 6). If this is not our choice, then all that remains for us is to abide beside the river from Hell which brings only wasting and destruction. I have lived long enough to see Christians make both choices. And I still shake my head when I recall the ones who chose the world over the Throne. The choice to become a Christian and the choice to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice are two separate propositions. No man can make a decision to present himself to the Lord as a priest without first choosing to be a believer. In making his appeal in Romans 12:1, Paul said, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice." Paul said here that only a brother, a believer, was qualified to then choose to stand before the Lord as a priest.
Once we have made this second decision, we are then presented with the true purpose of redemption, which is to enter the outer court, wash our hands and our feet, don our priestly garments and stand before the Lord as kings and priests. We can enter His courts and bring his blessing with us as we return to this fallen world. We can also choose to seldom or never enter His court and, consequently, we must deal with the world in our own strength. Ministering in the courts of God carries with it a serious fear of God.
Few who are alive today understand the fear of God with which the glory of God must be handled or how precisely we must follow the Holy Ghost in order to have the Lord's glory manifested among us. We glibly pray for the glory because of what we have heard that occurs when God's glory is present in a place. The nation of Israel rightfully associated the Ark of the Covenant with the glory of God. The Lord sat above the mercy seat that was placed above the ark. His presence there was always accompanied with His glory being manifested in the temple. When the wife of Phinehas, the son of Eli the high priest, heard of her husband's death and the loss of the ark in battle, she named he new born son Ichabod because she understood the departing of glory went with the Ark. Her son's name means "no glory" or "the glory has departed." The Ark and the Glory had been removed from them. In light of this connection between the ark and the glory, let's go back to the loss of the Ark by Eli's two sons and follow it from Shilo to Jerusalem. After it was taken by the Philistines in battle, the Ark of the Covenant was taken as a trophy into the temple of their god, Dagon. Dagon promptly ceased to be a god among the Philistines after he ended up on the ground before the Ark of God, having lost his hands and feet. After this, the Ark was shuffled around the kingdom for 7 months until the Lord had plagued the entire nation with mice and afflicted them with hemorrhoids in their private parts. The Philistines had had enough. Although the glory had departed from Israel and their Tabernacle, the Philistines found out the hard way that they had no covenant with the God of Israel and that He was still jealous over the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. The Philistines set the Ark on a cart drawn by two cows and pointed it in the direction of Israel (1 Samuel 5: 7). According to 1 Samuel 6:19-21, as soon as the animals pulling the cart crossed back into Israel, over 50,000 of the men of Israel died because they presumed to remove the Mercy Seat from the Ark and gaze inside. Now they too, like the Philistines, had enough of the Glory of God. They called the men of Kirjathjearim to 'fetch up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord." From the death of Eli, through the reign of Saul and into the first years of the reign of David, the Ark of the Covenant remained in Kirjathjearim in the house of Abinadab (for 20 years, 1 Samuel 7: 1-2). The Ark was taken into battle by Israel at least once in those years.
After the death of Saul, David immediately became king over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Saul's house was only viable for 7 years and, 6 months (for one of his sons reigned over the other 10 tribes of Israel). But, as Samuel had proclaimed, David became king over all Israel. Once the kingdom was united, David set about to dispossess the Jebusites from Jerusalem. Whether he understood it or not, David was setting into motion the divine process that would usher the Ark of God into the Holy of Holies. It would rest in the Temple his son Solomon would build. The obedience of one generation of believers always lays the foundation for their children to build upon.
In order for the Glory of God to manifest, it was necessary to lay a foundation of obedience and that included doing what Joshua was instructed to do-rid the land. When the nation of Canaan is mentioned in the Bible, the Jebusites were always the last ones on the list. This indicates that the Lord knew they would be the last of the Canaanites to be vanquished. As the Jebusites were subdued, then the way was clear for Jerusalem to finally become what had always been the will of God, "the place where the Lord set his name." Now the Ark of the Covenant could be moved to Jerusalem and the Temple could be built there. The Lord does not do anything by chance. If Israel had removed the Jebusites, as they had been commanded to do, the Temple would have long before been built at Jerusalem. We don't have to know why the Spirit of God directs certain things to be done in a certain order and in a precise way, but He does. Here, Israel, until David came along, had decided (for whatever reason) to substitute their own wisdom and judgment for that of the Almighty. The price saints pay when they ascribe to this same line of thought has always been immense. At best they walk in far less than heaven's intent for them, and in a worst case scenario, their experience will be one of frustration, destruction and even untimely death.
David was not one who willingly followed the philosophy of most believers. He was "a man after God's own heart." Once the Jebusites were conquered, he erected a tabernacle in Jerusalem to house the ark and prepared to move it there. But David was about to learn the same hard lesson that the Philistines learned after they captured the Ark in battle and the same lesson the children of Israel learned when they presumptively looked in the Ark (after the enemy gladly returned the Ark to Israel). In reading about the life of David, we discover that it was not only in his heart to move the ark to Jerusalem but to also build the Temple to place it in. However, David was about to get a man killed, for he found out that a pure heart was not enough when man comes into close proximity to the very presence and His glory.
David revealed his heart in 1 Chronicles 13: 3, "And let us bring again the Ark of God to us; for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul." So, in II Samuel 6: 1-9 and I Chronicles 13: 1-12, we read of David having the Ark placed on a "New Cart" drawn by oxen (do we hear echoes of the method used by the Philistines?). Along the way from the house of Abinadab in Kirjathjearim to the Tabernacle of David in Jerusalem, something David could not conceive happened. The oxen drawing the cart stumbled and Abinadab's son, Uzzah, in an attempt to steady the Ark, placed his hand on it. He was immediately struck dead by God. The joy and worship that the people had experienced as they came to accompany the Ark to Jerusalem were replaced with fear and terror of God. David had no idea why the Lord would do such a thing. His pure heart was not enough, for Uzzah was dead. In fear for his life and the lives of his people, David quickly had the Ark moved to the house of Obededom. David returned to Jerusalem wondering if he could ever accomplish what was in his spirit.
After three months of the Ark of the Covenant being at Obededom's house, reports came to David of "the blessing" on every thing this man possessed. A study of Obededom in the scriptures reveals what a remarkable man he was.
The spirit and character of Obededom explains how the ark could have been in the house of Abinadab for twenty years with no reports of any blessing out of the ordinary and yet be in Obededom's house a mere three months and bring such blessing that it came to the attention of the king. From those reports, David perceived that the anger of the Lord had subsided and that another attempt to move the ark to Jerusalem might be worth a try. David had done some research. Having failed in his first venture, he had to answer a question. How did the Lord instruct Israel to move the Ark of the Covenant? He quickly found that it was not on a "new cart" as the Philistines (the world) had previously done. The moving of the Ark was precisely laid out in the Law. The most sacred piece of furniture from the Tabernacle was to have its staves placed in the rings on its sides and born by four priests. We read in I Chronicles 15: 13, David's conclusion, "the Lord our God made a breach upon us (referring to the death of Uzzah), for that we sought him not after due order." This time the Ark was successfully and uneventfully brought to Jerusalem and placed in the Tabernacle of David.
The priesthood, under the New Testament, has changed. For the Church, the priesthood under the order of Aaron has passed away. We now worship the Father in spirit and truth under our high priest, the Lord Jesus, who is of the priestly order of Melchizedek. However, we still worship the same triune God who walked with Adam in the Garden in the cool of the day. He is the same one who met Moses at the burning bush. "Due order," not any of the world system's "new carts," was in place in Jerusalem after the day of Pentecost. Ananias and Sapphira ended up dead when they brought lies too close to the Ark. When Isaiah (Isaiah 6), Job (Job 42) and Paul, on the road to Damascus, were confronted with the Almighty, there was never another day of "new carts" in their lives.
David discovered that men do not set the rules as to how to handle the glory of the Lord. The prophet Zechariah learned that the standard of man (in determining what is acceptable in a priest approaching the Lord) is quite different from that of the Lord's standard. In Zechariah 3, we are allowed to see into the spirit, into the unseen realm. In the prophet's vision, the priestly vestments of Joshua the High Priest had the filth of human excrement on them. In the natural, if his priestly garments had been in a similar condition, it would have been apparent to everyone. But the filthy garments that the prophet saw were the real ones (the spiritual garments); they were the unseen ones. In the eyes of man, Joshua's office as High Priest of Israel might appear to be executed merely in the physical realm. But in the eyes of the Lord, Joshua was ministering to Him in the unseen Temple in Heaven. In Zechariah's vision, Satan stood in the very Temple of God and he was actively engaged in resisting the ministry of Joshua before the Lord. How did Satan obtain access to the place of the inner councils of God? We know that when the Lord had rebuked Satan and the garments of Joshua were replaced with clean ones, Satan was no longer anywhere to be found. Satan had "piggy backed" himself into the presence of God. The filth on Joshua's garment was rightly his by virtue of having obtained lordship over man at the fall of Adam. The filth was a product of Satan's spiritual union with Adam. Satan had a right to be there.
His "stuff" was on Joshua's garments and those garments gave Joshua entry to the Throne room. That disgusting mess on Joshua's vestments allowed Satan to come into the Throne Room through the access Joshua had there. With the departure of the wicked one, there was an immediate revelation and unveiling to Joshua of the humanly unfathomable realm of the authority, power, and place of access to the innermost councils of the Almighty. Satan had been able to obscure this while he was present.
There is an abundance of preaching, talk and prayer about the need for the manifestation of the Glory of God. But what will usher in the Glory is not really the mystery it is portrayed to be. If we take our place and learn to "bear the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto him, and to bless in his name," we will be in place to usher the glory it into the Holy of Holies in the Temple (the one the man who is called "the Branch" is building). The Ark is at the same time the most precious and most dangerous thing that we are called to handle. If we keep our priestly garments clean, Satan cannot resist us nor obscure our view of the heavenly realm. Then, as the Spirit of God leads us, we will, at the Lord's time, stand in history beside David as we bring the Ark to Mount Sion. By the Spirit, we will know the seasons which are in this time of transition: we will know when to join with Solomon and usher the Ark into the Temple. This has always been the pattern. If we, as His priests, stand before Him to minister unto Him, He will "build the temple and bear the Glory" into it.
(Part 3 will be continued in the March 1, 2011 newsletter)
1. J.J. D, Calif.
Greeting in the name of Our Lord Jesus! I came across your site through the Rick Wiles radio broadcast (Dec. 10th, 2010) on the internet. I do not listen on a regular basis, it depends on who he is interviewing and if the Holy Spirit prompts me.
I have downloaded all videos from your site to share.
I was so blessed to find your website and the witness of The Holy Spirit as to what you are ministering to whosoever will have ears to hear. I have not been in church social meeting for years, in fact, I feel like a lone sparrow on the roof top and the house is empty. I do have contact with other Saints scattered abroad and across the state and nation, Praise God! I am the lamb of Ezekiel 31; no shepherd came to look for me when I left the fold, but My Shepherd Jesus did, and picked me up, healed my wounds, fed me and gave me rivers of Living Water.
(I know) the line is drawn and getting clearer and clearer to see which side is offering what to those who are in the valley of decision. The sad state of affairs is that most of those who profess to be Christians are jumping on the side of what the world has to offer and not what Our God and Creator has already put forth. The people are freely going into the round pen where the branding irons are white hot and waiting, seeking the grain; they are blind to the heat, but will not be immune from the pain.
Looking forward to your book! God's blessing be upon you and your family…
2. G.G., Colorado
I have read this and agree. I do believe that we will never have the 'glory' of God in our churches until the churches, the clergy, repent of compromise. I have not heard any sermon lately about the condition of our world,, our government. Or what we are supposed to do about it. I have not heard any sermon about 'gay marriage'. I have not heard any sermon about 'worship". How it is our first duty to 'minister to the Lord' and then to others. I have not heard any sermon calling the people to 'holiness'. This is not only our church, it is most churches. We have become 'lukewarm'............happy with our little programs.
In reading the life of Bonhoeffer, the Lord is clearly showing how HE took one man, gave him a fine family, a fine education and even had him in a good church. He had the best of everything. But, in spite of all that, this man was not born again. It was through the Lord's working that he (Bonhoeffer) and HIS grace, that he (B) came to know the Lord personally, became born again. And from that day forward, he was never the same. Everything he did, was for the Lord. Every decision he make was for the Lord. And he eventually stood up against tyranny, the Nazi's and by the grace of God, lost his life for his Faith.
The church grows when there is tremendous persecution. I guess we are not persecuted enough. We are lukewarm!!
But the time is coming!! Those who, by the grace of God, know HIM, will stand up for their faith.............at any cost!
What we can do now is PRAY!! As I know you do and I do already. The Lord is preparing a people who will be ready when the time comes. Let us hold out with our Faith and Keep praying that we will obey when the Lord calls us to. If we can influence just one. Then they can influence one or maybe more, and the WORD of God will be taught and preached. Let us pray for repentance for our churches and our leaders. They are afraid to speak out against the 'sins' of today.
3. J.L, Florida
I agree with you on most of your recommendations, but especially on the music in the Contemporary services. The church I attend sing mostly scripture songs and some hymns, but they are done reverently and the congregation really sings. I have been in some services where the drums are so loud you couldn't hear yourself sing.
What especially quenches the Spirit for me is when the performers or praise team "perform like the world". This type of music appeals to the flesh, not the spirit. The church is more concerned with entertaining the younger people than teaching. The statistics are saying the young people are turning away from the church and have little concern for the lost or their unsaved friends. We certainly are in the last days.
(1) Larry and Marla Johnson, in Guatemala report that the gift from OEA (Oliver Evangelistic Association) and you who faithfully give reached them. They are to buy sound equipment for a young evangelist who will take the gospel to villages that do not even have power. This young man has a special anointing and those who give will have fruit for the kingdom.
Larry also reports that he received the projector and hardware via Kevin Stoltenberg's Gospel Outreach ministry. OEA supplied the Guatemala teams with these units and Larry was one of the recipients. He related that he had given away his projector to another pastor in the area and was believing God for a new one when this unit arrived. Praise God.
(2) Jim Courier has just returned from Guatemala setting up the projector teams and preaching while there. Jim's full report will come next month, along with pictures. He did a great work in Ecuador and now the Lord is using his facility in Spanish in yet another country…which was prophesied to him in 2010.
(3) Rev. J R. Gurley reports that he has been deputized and is the official interpreter in Spanish for his county in Va. He supernaturally learned Spanish in Puerto Rico. He realized he was not effective and his preaching through an interpreter so he told God he would not speak until He gave him the language. Three days later he was preaching and reaching in Spanish and hasn't stopped since. (It's time to believe God for things folks…it's time!)
(4) Cambodia Full picture reports are still due in from Cambodia and we will supply them as soon as they are available.
(5) Costa Rica Recently, OEA supplied projector units for teams in Costa Rica. This gets the gospel message into the hands of folk who have no facilities in the villages and town they reside in. Kevin Stoltenberg is currently putting all our monthly newsletters and special reports on power point and using them for pastor's conferences in Uganda. (Talk about "getting out there" Hallelujah).
(6) Special Gifts OEA is a vehicle for special gifts to missionaries. Many folk send us designated offerings and we get them directly to the mission field without administrative costs. We have been a trusted ministry for over 30 years (orig. 1975).
2011 will be the greatest year ever for missions, for ministry in the Spirit and for OPEN DOORS!
(7) Mr. Hansome Chou gives us a glimpse of his labors in Cambodia. Here is a testimony of what man can do under the guidance of the Spirit--build a church building, preach in that church (although he is not clergy), witness in the villages and mainly GO HIMSELF, not waiting on others. This is the kind of fellow OEA wants to promote and support. Do you agree?