A pastor started a local congregation around 2007/2008 in a school building. When he arrived, he informed us that the Father spoke to him and told him to build a Tabernacle in that area. He also explained that there were many church buildings in the area, including a large church that housed over 20,000 members (South East Christian), but there were no tabernacles. The third interesting thing he said was that the Father told him to specifically minister to those who were wealthy because many of them did not feel they needed anyone, including the Creator of all–they relied on a different type of wealth that does not come from above.
I attended one morning, and instantly felt a humble spirit coming from this man as he spoke of the tabernacle. Suddenly, my mind was filled with images of the furnishings–A Menorah lamp, the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, and a table with the Bread of the Face. My mind kept going back and forth from temporary dwelling places to structures with denominational titles and pews lined with hymnals.
The Hebrew word for tabernacle is “mišhkān.” This word means “dwelling,” from the verb, “to dwell.” (Strong’s 4908). And we read in John 1:14, Yeshua “tabernacled/dwelt” among us: ” And the Word became flesh and dwelt [tabernacled] among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The living, breathing tabernacle.
Outwardly the tabernacle in the wilderness was humble and had layers of skins. It was unattractive to the human eye on the outside, but the inside was filled with glorious light, silver, and gold. Yeshua was said to have no exceptional outward beauty that men would look or be drawn to him:
“For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).
In our portion, Terumah, the Father has Moses request an offering from the people unto the Holy One. This offering will supply the materials needed for constructing the Holy Tent/Tabernacle.
(Exodus) 25:1-2 “And YHVH spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that gives it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.”
Giving from the heart has many layers. A married couple gave in the book of Acts but kept back some of the money. The end of the story?
“Did it not belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How could you conceive such a deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God!” On hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great fear came over all who heard what had happened” (Acts 5:4-5). Later, his wife fell down dead as well.
How do we give from our hearts without being selfish or wanting to get credit for it? What does giving in secret look like? How do we give like a widow who gave all she had or a like a woman of the night who had been saving up costly perfume so she could get out of the late-night business? But instead, she takes her life savings and pours it out at Yeshua’s feet. Oh, to give in the midst of mockers and shouters and men who are elite. Oh, to give such a sweet perfume, knowing that no one in the room will understand but the One who has no comely form or outward appearance to draw men to him?
How do we give so that our left-hand doesn’t know what our right hand is doing? We just do. We just walk. We just keep our eyes on the true prize, Yeshua.
The pastor who came to our city did not fulfill his mission but went back to his hometown and his large congregation several hundred miles away. I was very grieved at the time because we had collected money to build and were meeting in a school. I was giving out of poverty. My home was in foreclosure. The Pastor had been teaching a little Hebrew and knowledge I had not learned before.
I felt pressed to call him on the phone after telling us he was returning to his hometown. I said Pastor, you stood and told us that the Father told you to come here and build a tabernacle for His people. Why would you run away from the call like Jonah? Why are you returning home? He was caught off guard. Then he began to tell me how hard this had been on his family, leaving their family members and friends, the community, and how hard his wife was taking it. I spoke words and scriptures to him concerning the cost. Later, the Pastor made trips once a week to minister to the leftover people who had longed for this man to shepherd them. By this time, the pastor in my eyes had lost his shine. Like all men of flesh, he had not kept his promise. I had not kept mine either. The Father kept telling me to give the pastors wife a gift someone had given me. It was an expensive white suite coat. I had never worn it. It had no tags. It had no receipt. I was living in dire means, and they appeared to have money. I never gave her the coat. On the phone with the pastor, he said, “Bonnie, your words convict me. But you don’t understand. My wife has made no friends here. No one greets her. Not one woman here has reached out to befriend her and last week was her birthday. She has been feeling rejected and crying.”
Last week was the week Abba had told me to send the pastors wife a gift. We humans fail. Sometimes, we are just trying to survive:
No matter what we build with our human hands, it remains material and will eventually be destroyed, erode, and deteriorate. When the disciples point out Herod’s temple, they proclaim, “look at these enormous stones of The Temple!” Yeshua tells them not a stone will be left standing.
Stephen gives a proclamation that causes men to gnash their teeth and pick up stones. The mighty man Stephen mentions tabernacles and buildings and stiff necks. His message should have all of us ask the tough questions, “What are we building? What is the assignment He has given us? Are we looking at the heavens that declare the Glory of Yahweh? Our outward tents show signs of wrinkles, bent structures, and possibly we are missing teeth, or have had new parts added by physicians, but inside, inside where the glory lamp is lit, we are to shine and release His Light. This is what matters, my friends. Oil matters. Extra oil.
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly, we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16)
Stephen message–We should ask ourselves how we would feel to hear such teachings:
“Our fathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the wilderness. It was constructed exactly as God had directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. And our fathers who received it brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations God drove out before them. It remained until the time of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked to provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built the house for Him. However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says
‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. What kind of house will you build for Me, says the Lord, or where will My place of repose be? Has not My hand made all these things? You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit, just as your fathers did. Which of the prophets did your fathers fail to persecute? They even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. And now you are His betrayers and murderers— you who received the law ordained by angels yet have not kept it.” Acts 7–
This stern rebuke cost Stephen his temporary tent dwelling in exchange for a heavenly celestial one. Paul or Sha’ul explains that we are tents longing to put on heavenly robes of righteousness.
“For we know that if the tent of our earthly house is destroyed, we have a building from Elohim, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. For indeed in this we groan, longing to put on our dwelling which is from heaven, so that, having put it on, we shall not be found naked. For indeed, we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we wish to put it off, but to put on the other, so that what is to die might be swallowed up by life. (II Cor. 5:1-5).
Later, we are introduced to Oholiab and Bezalel. They work as a team to build the tabernacle (Exodus 31:6). Oholiab means “My Father’s Tent.” Bezalel means “In the Shadow of God or Onion of God.” (Abarim)
Their names, like every name mentioned in the Torah, have intricate meanings.
This week’s Torah portion is filled with heavenly pieces of furniture. No furniture store has furniture like this. Each item could be written about in length for years without covering the beauty, detail, metaphors, imagery, and divine glory. My suggestion for reading is “Brad Scott.” Although his physical tent is no longer walking around among us, his heavenly pen and all his work is still here.
When Solomon built the temple, he placed the cherubim throughout (I Kings 6 ESV).
Psalms 99:1 is very curious concerning these angels: The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earthquake!” ESV.
This is a picture of the heavenly replica. Yahweh’s throne is seen as sovereign and perched over the Ark of the Covenant.
And now a snippet from Brad Scott @WildBranch Ministry:
“These cherubim picture the act of batach or trusting YHVH. Many times, in Scripture, trust is associated with children. (Matthew) 18:3 “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Children are the epitome of trust. They rely totally on the wisdom, nurturing, and direction of their mother and father. It is then no coincidence that in Rabbinic literature, the cherubim are pictured with the faces of little children, hovering over the ark containing the instructions of our Father. The Word of God is “under the shadow of thy wings.”
The ark contains, or will contain, three objects: The law – (Ten Commandments, or Ten Words) Devariym (Deuteronomy) 10:2; Aharon’s rod – Bemidebar (Numbers) 17:1; and the pot of manna – Ivrim (Hebrews) 9:4. All three of these objects are part of the testimony of YHVH, as well as the tabernacle itself, Bemidebar 9:15. Specifically, however, the ark is the testimony of God. So, what is God’s testimony? Well, this English word is often translated as “the witness.” The Hebrew word is ‘edut. This ark was to be God’s witness. This ark, a furnishing in the singular, and is God’s instructions covered by His mercy. This is to be HIS witness of HIS character and nature.
Many times, when we witness His good news, we focus on the kapporeth or mercy and not the rest of the testimony. Yeshua ‘witnessed of His Father by extending mercy and grace to a lost people and obeying His commandments. This is a perfect continuing picture of God’s witness, not man. The three objects in the ark all testify of the way, truth, and life of God. In Bemidbar 17, we see that true life is expressed by the blossoming buds of Aharon’s rod. We see a picture of the High priest being the only way into the Holy of Holies, and we experience the truth through the revelation of the one true rod of God, the one that produces fruit. In spite of the kind of food that Israel lusted for, the only way they would be fed by God was to eat His manna, or His bread. This bread was a picture of the true life of God.
Yochanan (John) 6:33
For the bread of God is he who cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” Author and scholar, Brad Scott.
You can find the WildBranch Ministry with all Brad’s teachings can be found HERE.