Thursday, September 26, 2013

Access Granted

I’ve heard a lot of advertisements over the years, and it is amazing the number of things we can view or even buy, as they say, “right from the comfort of your own home.” There is so much that we might tend to allow inside our walls through media sources, that if it came to our front door and asked we would most likely send it away. Today in “Jesus Calling” I read, “Marvel at the wonder of communing with the Creator of the universe while sitting in the comfort of your own home.” And it isn’t a sales gimmick. It can't be bought with three easy payments.

In the Old Testament, prior to the coming of Jesus Christ (the Messiah), there was put in place by God a system of sacrifices which would be offered up in the tabernacle which was built to God’s specifications (and then later a temple). And at the heart of the tabernacle was a place secured by a veil known as the most holy place or the holy of holies.

“Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to its plan which you have been shown in the mountain. You shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman. You shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also being of gold, on four sockets of silver. You shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and shall bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies. You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the holy of holies.” (Exodus 26:30–34, NASB95)

Over the next several chapters we read of further instructions concerning the construction of the tabernacle, a period of rebellion while Moses was on the mountain, and then the actual construction of the tabernacle, culminating in Exodus 40:33 where we read, “Thus Moses finished the work.”

What followed next closed the doors for most to subsequently enter. “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had 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 sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.” (Exodus 40:34–38, NASB95)

As we move into Leviticus we move into the system of sacrifices in the tabernacle (including those for sin, guilt, and peace), which were offered up by Aaron and some of his sons who were appointed and consecrated by God as priests. Access to this most holy place was limited both in the tabernacle and then later in the temple.

Yet at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross we read, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.” (Matthew 27:50–51, NASB95) The place that was once reserved for the high priest was now torn open for all. Where once sacrifices were offered up in the temple, now the full and final sacrifice was offered up on the cross, and through it we were all offered full and complete forgiveness and access to Jesus, our High Priest, who is present with us wherever we are.

In Hebrews chapter 9 we have a summary both the Old and the New. “For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:24–28, NASB95) (For a more complete reading take some time and read all of Hebrews, chapter 9.)

“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are….” (Hebrews 3:1–6, NASB95)

Because of the sacrifice of Jesus we have been granted access to God, both as a body of believers in which He is working corporately and as individual believers. “…for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18–22, NASB95) … “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, NASB95)

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 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. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19–25, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (9/26)

Come to Me and listen! Attune yourself to My voice, and receive My richest blessings. Marvel at the wonder of communing with the Creator of the universe while sitting in the comfort of your home. Kings who reign on earth tend to make themselves inaccessible; ordinary people almost never gain an audience with them. Even dignitaries must plow through red tape and protocol in order to speak with royalty.

Though I am King of the universe, I am totally accessible to you. I am with you wherever you are. Nothing can separate you from My Presence! When I cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This opened the way for you to meet Me face to Face, with no need of protocol or priests. I, the King of kings, am your constant Companion.

“The Lord God has given Me [the Lord] the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.” (Isaiah 50:4, NASB95)

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David.” (Isaiah 55:2–3, NASB95)

“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30, NASB95)

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