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Saturday, September 17, 2016

9-16-2016        Herod’s Temple, Our Walk with the Lord

                                                                                                            The Holy PLace

How does our walk with God relate to Herod’s Temple? 

Back in December 2014 Father gave me a bible study to bring to the fellowship on the correlation between Herod’s Temple, Solomon’s temple and where Christians are in their relationship with the Lord.  He called it the “Comfort Zone”.  The comfort zone is ‘how close are we willing to walk with God?  Or, at what level are we willing to live for Him?
He has continually tweaked my understanding of the ‘Comfort Zone’ and now He’s saying it’s not just enough to understand where we are in our relationship with Him, but NOW is the time to start growing closer and closer in our walk with Him by putting what we know into action into our lives.
Our first shot is an artist’s depiction of what the temple may have looked like.  In the diagram, take note that all the courtyards were within the perimeter of the temple outer wall. The Court of the Gentiles surrounds the inner courts which include the Court of Women, Court of Israel, Court of the Priests and the Holy Place.  Anyone could enter into the Court of the Gentiles but only Jewish men and women could enter into the Women’s Courtyard and only men could enter the Court of Israel (to observe sacrifices).  Then the Priest’s Courtyard was just that, a place where only priests could go. The third picture is a depiction the Holy Place which contains the Sanctuary and the smaller, Holy of Holies which is also separated by a curtain or veil.  These various areas represent the levels in which Christians, the Church of the New Testament, can walk and become comfortable in their relationship with God.
The Gentile’s Courtyard, along with all areas outside the temple walls represents those who are unsaved, never having given their lives to Jesus.  Woe to those who are comfortable out here for their eternity is the lake of fire.

The women’s Courtyard represents a conglomeration of people who had confessed Jesus but perhaps better designated as sheep and goats (Matt. 25:31-46).  The sheep, because they did God’s will, enter into eternal life.  The goats are like Simon the Sorcerer as depicted in Acts 8:5-24.   Simon confessed Jesus and was baptized along with the others in Samaria yet Peter had to rebuke him because his heart was not yet right with the Lord.  Simon had gone through the motions but his heart was not truly converted.  In Matthew chapter 25, we see the goats going into everlasting punishment.
In Jesus’ time, only Jews (or proselytes, those converted to Judaism) could enter into the Women’s Courtyard, and today we might conclude that those who have confessed Jesus and been baptized come this far in their relationship with God, whether hypocritical or genuine.  They profess and appear to have salvation.  Here, the commitment isn’t great.  That is people may do what is necessary to maintain ‘salvation (see Paul’s letters where he describes ‘should at least … Acts 15:28-29.)  These would be the souls who have no real rewards in heaven though their souls are ‘saved’ (1 Corinth. 3:13-14).  Unfortunately, along with the sheep, there may also be goats and some tares (Matt. 13:24-30) where the enemy sowed tares in the field while men slept, but our enemy sowed tares (stumbling blocks)  in our churches while they sleep.

The Priest’s Courtyard is where the animal sacrifices were performed while the men observed from the Court of Israel.  The men were generally considered the heads of household and were responsible for others.  Christ is the covering for a man and a man is the covering for the wife (1 Corinth. 11:3-12).  More responsibility means a closer walk with the Lord in order to fulfill those responsibilities and in today’s world, responsibility becomes more important than gender and those with greater responsibility need to come, at least, as far as the Court of Israel.  A closer walk with God.    
The Priest’s Courtyard is for the priesthood and in today’s world he/she who desires and seeks a closer walk with our Father.  These are the souls who have a desire not to ‘just’ live for God but have a desire to serve Him (in some capacity) and in order to serve God effectively, we need to have some sort of reasonable relationship with Him – reading the bible to learn His ways better (2 Tim:2:15), praying more intently, earnestly, so we can find His direction (Eph. 6:17).  Maybe even fasting along with those prayers (Matt. 17:20-21), more than that to which we’ve been accustomed.  And remember, we are a royal priesthood, chosen by God (1 Peter 1:5-10)

Again, in the Priest’s Courtyard we have a myriad of souls at various stages of growth in the Lord, but nonetheless, growth, a call to service.  I don’t mean just helping out with the Sunday School class or one of the ‘helps’ ministries.  It can start there but there is a hunger to understand that which Father has called us to do, a specific task, and we are growing in understanding to what that task is and then pursuing it.  This could range from being the church Janitor, the secretary, a Sunday School teacher, a youth minister, minister of music, pastor or evangelist, or prophet or an apostle, all serving God at various levels.  To what level?  Do the names Billy Graham and Benny Hinn mean anything to us?  I mean, neither Billy nor Benny started off as great preachers.  And this is a call to service, no matter what level it starts at or reaches.

Whoa!  If that’s what it takes to enter into the Priest’s Courtyard, what does it take to get into the Holy Place?

The Holy Place is a place of personal commitment – to Jesus.  It supplements, increases and/or intensifies any area of service which we enter because whenever we seek to walk closer with the Lord, He enhances whatever we do.  It doesn’t matter in what level we are serving God, entering the Holy Place reflects our personal relationship with Father.  How close are we walking with Him?  How much closer are we willing to walk with Him?  This is where Father would like ALL His children, in the Holy Place (at least) no matter at what level of service they abide.  How deep a relationship do we want with the Father?  One may ask “Do I have to have some sort of ministry to get to this level?”  No.  But I take the liberty to say that when you seek a closer walk with God, He will give you a ministry.  We can only take so much into our cup before we have to pour some back out in order to take in more.

The Holy Place contains the Sanctuary.  This where the priests offer that sweet aroma of incense to God.  The priests offered lambs, etc. for the people’s sins and healing on the altar in the Priest’s Courtyard, but in the sanctuary he lets the odor of that sweet smelling incense rise into the heavens offering up that sweet savor of true praise and worship.  When we offer true, genuine, heartfelt praise and worship to Father, He pours His love back upon us.  We touch His heart and He touches ours because when we worship Him as the only true and living God, thank Him for who He is and what He has done for us (already) and we praise Him for the same, He inhabits our praises and becomes one with us (Psalms 22:3) because we have become one with Him (John 17:15-26).    

We talk with Jesus, we walk with Jesus, we live for Jesus (because He lives in us) and we abide in Jesus and as we abide in Jesus, He and the Father abide in us (back to John 17).  Amen. 
Our personal relationship with the Lord is growing at this stage but there is one more step to take in that growth.  Every soul who has confessed Jesus, Father wants to come through that torn veil into the Holy of Holies and sup with Him.  Just as Father communed with Adam and Eve in the garden before the fall (Gen. 3:8), He wants to commune with us (His children) not just when we get to heaven, but here and now.  When we are in our personal, private prayer time with Him, He desires us to come in and sit down and commune.  Not just ‘talk’, but share our hearts with Him and then listen to what He has to share with us.  Here, the Holy Ghost interprets our feelings to our Father and the response back to us.  This is what He does (in part) (Rom. 8:26-27).

When Father brings me into His ‘zone’, that’s when He shares the things with me that He wants me to know and understand.  It’s an anointing for me because this is when He is communing with me.  It’s kind of crazy, because I don’t usually know when I enter into the “zone”, but when He has finished sharing with me, I know that I am indeed in it and it will take a while to come back out of it.  He gives me glimpses of where He’s taking me.  How the ministry He has bestowed upon me is going to unfold so I can function at the level He is calling me.  John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness,  PTL!  I’m just a pebble on the beach and because I’m just a pebble on the beach I can confidently say that what Father has done and is doing for me , He’ll do for anyone simply because He loves our obedience in His Word and His will.  He loves our returning our love to Him, no matter how feeble our attempts may seem.  He wants so much to commune with us, individually. 
The veil is torn.  The door is open.  All we have to do is walk in.  Are we willing to enter the Holy of Holies and sup with our Heavenly Father?

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