Pekudei and Rosh Hodesh
For the week of March 12, 2005 / 1 Adar II 5765
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 38:21 - 40:38;
Bemidbar / Numbers 28:9-15; Shemot / Exodus 30:11-16
Haftarah: 2 Melachim / 2 Kings 12:1-17; Isaiah 66:1,24
Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (Shemot / Exodus 40:34)
The presence of the Mishkan (English: Tabernacle) in the midst of the community of Israel was a reminder that there exists a reality beyond that of our normal existence. The sights, sounds, and smells of the priestly service were an invasion into the society of ancient Israel. The Mishkan pointed them to the reality of the spiritual realm, causing them to grasp heaven's relevance to the cycle of their daily lives.
Both in ancient societies and our own, people have searched for reality. There have always been those who have attempted to enlighten human kind as to the true meaning of life. But it is in the Mishkan that we have God's revelation of heavenly reality. Here we encounter no physical representation of God himself, for he is invisible and cannot be contained by human-made structures. Through the Mishkan we also discover that while God desires relationship with us, our sin has separated us from him. Because our sin brings the penalty of death, God must be approached through the shedding of blood and through the services of a mediator.
Yet for all its impact, the Mishkan was but a preparation for a greater invasion of heavenly reality. The Mishkan existed to reveal our true state of separation from God while readying us for the time when God would deal with that separation, which he effectively did through the coming of the Messiah.
Just like the Mishkan Yeshua invaded Israelite society. Through him we were confronted with heavenly reality. He is Immanuel, God with us. Through him God lived among his people. Through him the walls of separation between God and the human race as illustrated through the Mishkan were torn down.
Interestingly it would not be long after Yeshua's coming that the Temple (the Mishkan's successor, so to speak) was destroyed. One of the reasons for this is that it was no longer needed. The time of preparation had come to an end. The new invasion had occurred. The reality had come.
Yet since that time people have continued to create symbols of heavenly reality. Through a great variety of religious activities, rites, and images the tradition of the Mishkan lives on. I wonder if those who depend on such things have really grasped the heavenly reality in Yeshua.
This is a concern especially since that reality now lives in his followers. It is we who are now the living stones of God's new temple. We are the ones through whom God confronts the world today with his reality. We are God's reality invasion.
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