Shabbat, June 24, 2017
Rabbi Glenn D. Blank
Shabbat, June 24, 2017
Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. V’eemru? (And let us say?)
Since your body—I am speaking of you all corporately—is the Temple, how should you approach it?
To answer this question, we will study the Temple in the Tanakh and the New Covenant, then we will examine the attitude of our hearts, and finally consider some practical applications.
When Yeshua speaks to the woman at the well, He declares that there will be a new Temple order in the age to come. John 4:21-23, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming—it is here now—when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.”
That was an astonishing statement for a first century Jew challenging a first century Samaritan.
In Acts 15, there was a debate between Messianic Jews influenced by the school of Shammai (generally more conservative than followers of Hillel) requiring Gentiles to be circumcised as proselytes and those (notably Peter, Paul and Barnabas) who saw the evidence of the immersion of the Holy Spirit as proof that these people had been accepted into the body of Messiah.
Heaven had made the declaration by revelation!
Yaakov, brother of Yeshua and head of the Jerusalem community, quoted Amos in Acts 15:15-17. “The words of the Prophets agree, as it is written: ‘After this I will return and rebuild the fallen tabernacle of David. I will rebuild its ruins and I will restore it, so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord—namely all the Gentiles who are called by My name—says Adonai, who makes these things known from of old.’”
In 2 Samuel 6:17, David brought in the ark of Adonai and set it in its place in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before Adonai. Some have said that the Tabernacle of David had to do with the tent that David set up to dance before the Lord. David placed the ark in the tent, separating it from the rest of the sanctuary still in Shiloh. Was David was having his own charismatic experience in the tent?
So the Tabernacle of David becomes an ideal of worship, superseding the Tabernacle of Moses. Some Messianic Jews have even picked up this interpretation, and added the idea of Messianic dance, so that an ancestor of Pamela Blank was teaching them circle dance in the tent in 1000 BCE. (Yup, that’s what Dan said!)
This Charismatic Midrash distorts what either Amos & Yaakov intended. Amos was talking about the restoration of the Davidic kingdom in the Messianic age. In Acts 15, Yaakov was talking about the coming of the Gentiles as a sign of its coming fulfillment in the Messianic age, when the nations will all submit to and worship Yeshua as the Messiah King.
The distortion contrasts the Tabernacle of Moses (ritual bad) and the Tabernacle of David (free worship good). However, the Tabernacle of Moses copied the pattern in heaven..
The Tabernacle had both altar (for sacrifices) and ark (the place of God’s presence). Both ark and altar are necessary—the altar because it is the place of sacrifice (by blood).
1 Chronicles 25:1-3, David set apart for avodah [service] the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun who prophesied with lyres, harps and cymbals… The sons of Asaph prophesied under the hand of the king…. They prophesied with the harp, giving thanks and praise to Adonai.”
These Levites were engaged in 24/7 prayer, worship and prophetic ministry. Do you see it?
There was a rotation of Levites who sang, played musical instruments and prophesied. As in International House of Prayer and many of our worship services, they were singing prophetically.
Yet David didn’t just want to worship in the tent that he set up, but the full Temple, with both altar (the place of sacrifice) as well as ark (the place of God’s presence). David knew that the ark was necessary, which is why he prepared to build the Temple for it. In 1 Chronicles 28:2, “King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brothers and my people! As for me, it was in my heart to build a resting place for the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai and for the footstool of our God. So I made the preparations for the building.”
Then in v. 10, “Consider now, for Adonai has chosen you to build a House for the Sanctuary. Chazak! And do it!” David wanted the Temple built—the whole thing, with altar as well as ark!
Indeed, HaShem agreed. 2 Chronicles 5:13-14, “Then it came to pass that when the trumpeters and singers joined as one to extol and praise Adonai, and when the sound of the trumpets, cymbals and musical instruments and the praise of Adonai—“For He is good, for His mercy endures forever”—grew louder, the Temple, the House of Adonai, was filled with a cloud. The kohanim could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of Adonai filled the House of God.”
So not only did David want the house built, and Solomon built it with splendor and gathered singers and worshipers there, but the Ruach Adonai filled the House with His Shekinah glory.
HaShem wanted the Temple—after all, He designed it—with altar as well as ark. V’eemru?
The ideal of God was and is to fill His House with worship and prophetic ministry in His presence.
He desires to dwell among His people. He is pleased when we have the intimacy of His presence. Again and again He says, “I will be their God and they will be in My people.”
Completing and filling the Temple was the high point of Israel’s history, though Israel fell away from the ideal, worshiped idols and desecrated the House of God. The Holy of Holies was designed to connect earth with heaven.
Where and when is the altar in the New Covenant? It’s the sacrifice of Yeshua on the tree. We remember His sacrifice for us, as He commanded, when we come to Shulkhan Adonai, the Table of the Lord. That’s your altar experience.
Now we turn to Acts 2:2-4. “Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And tongues like fire spreading out appeared to them and settled on each one of them. They were all filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and began to speak in other tongues as the Ruach enabled them to speak out.
Now Jewish people were staying in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.”
Christians usually talk about this outpouring occurring in the Upper Room (where the risen Yeshua had appeared to the apostles). But Acts doesn’t mention the Upper Room, but the House— that is, the Holy House, in Hebrew Beit HaMikdash—the Temple. You couldn’t have gathered 120 people in the Upper Room, let alone thousands of Jews from all over the world around them. They gathered there because the Torah commanded them to gather on the festival of Shavuot—in the place God had chosen—the Temple, Beit HaMikdash, on Mount Zion.
Yet Yeshua was looking beyond that Temple, which would soon be destroyed, as he told the woman at the well about people everywhere worshiping the Father in Spirit and in truth.
1 Corinthians 3:16 urges us to recognize that our corporate worship is the new Temple reality: “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that the Ruach Elohim dwells among you?”
When it says “you,” it’s ‘you’ plural. New Covenant Temple reality is primarily corporate, referring to God’s people gathering together.
It’s the same in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. American believers tend to think of the Holy Spirit poured out on individuals, as in the picture. But again, it’s “you” plural—all of us as one body (not bodies). It’s not many temples, but one Temple, the whole body, together.
Of course, the New Covenant body is built up from many individuals or members, but the New Covenant Temple is the body together, not the individual members. IF members aren’t connecting with a body, there is no real Temple experience.
Ephesians 2:21-22 describes how Messiah constructs the New Covenant Temple,:
“In Him the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple for the Lord. In Him, you also are being built together into God’s dwelling place in the Ruach.”
The New Covenant Scriptures reveal that the Temple has been transcended in the corporate worship of New Covenant believers, together.
1 Corinthians 10:17 says, “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body—for we all partake of the one bread. Consider physical Israel. Those who eat the sacrifices—aren’t they partners in the altar?” Note that in the New Covenant Temple, there is an altar— it’s HaShulkhan Adonai, the Table of the Lord, where we come to worship the Lord, together, to remember the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua—dying to give us the New Covenant in His blood. V’eemru?
We are not seeking to re-establish the Tabernacle of David or the Temple of Solomon or Herod, but the Temple of the New Covenant, the altar of the Lord and corporate worship in Spirit and truth, which brings in heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua. This worship is better than anything that existed in the days of Moses, David or Solomon. Yes it was foreshadowed in those days by those singers and worshippers. It comes to a higher level in the New Covenant of Messiah Yeshua?
If so, how should we approach this place, the Temple of the living God? I’d say, with holy reverence and deep love for our Lord, who has made it possible for us to come into His glorious presence through the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua. V’eemru?
When the cloud of glory filled the Temple, the kohanim and people all bowed down in awe, and then Solomon prayed at the alar.
When the presence of the Holy Spirit fills us as His Temple today, should we not be in awe of Him? What should we do? Shouldn’t we seek the presence and power of God in our corporate worship? We should be committed to Spirit-filled prayer expecting signs and wonders. We need to know that we can be bold to experience the Spirit of God coming to us in power and glory.
When we go out of these four walls, we are still the holy body of Messiah, bearing witness to others. We should expect that we pray for people, they will be healed and want to know our Messiah, too.
Here endeth my notes from Dan Juster.
Are you convinced? Are we, as a body, the New Covenant Temple? If so, how should we approach it, how should we enter this Temple reality?
Here’s what Romans 12:1 says: I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service.
If the Shulkhan Adonai is the altar of remembrance for the sacrifice of Yeshua’s body, the offering of your bodies in sacrificial worship is your spiritual service at the altar.
When we gather as a body, you all have a choice: you can approach it casually—what it’s in for me?
Or you can approach it sacrificially—what’s in it for God, the Holy One of Israel, the Creator of all—including your body—and the Redeemer of all? How are we doing?
Let’s consider some practical applications.
This week my brother-in-law Jacob asked me about Leviticus 19:28, “You are not to make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead or make any tattoo marks upon yourself. I am Adonai.”
Should Messianic believers hold to this command from Moses today?
A shamash in our congregation also mentioned a concern about tattoos, among other things.
So I decided to ask some of my colleagues on the IAMCS forum and Tikkun America this question.
Michael Rudolph, who has been editing a Messianic halakha for Tikkun America, responded: “Permanent markings, disfigurements, extreme hair styles, and cross-dressing are with us today. Idol worship in its classical sense is no longer the issue, but rebellion against godly norms is….
In addition, tattooing, cutting, and gross piercing permanently disfigures the body that God gave us.”
On the other hand, Rabbi Josh Lessard offered a different perspective on the IAMCS forum: “Does the prohibition mean all tattoos, or should a pagan context be assumed?” Indeed, as Rabbi Rudolph noted, the concern of this commandment is to avoid pagan practices associated with idolatry.
There you are, two Rabbis, two opinions! So how many of you want to know this Rabbi’s opinion?
I see merit in both perspectives. If one isn’t getting a tattoo as an act of idolatry or rebellion, I suppose the intent of the commandment might not apply. On the other hand, many people do get tattoos or body piercing as overt acts of idolatry or rebellion against God, parents or other authority. Then the commandment would apply and needs to be repentance, even if it cannot be undone.
Moreover, and more to the point of this sermon, each person needs to consider that your body is not your own, for you were bought at a precious price. Each of us should consider that Paul has urged us to present your body as a living sacrifice, as an act of spiritual service to God. Each of us needs to consider that how you present your body affects the whole body and how the whole body worships together. V’eemru?
Consider these principles from Scripture when you select clothes to wear for services.
Should you come to services wearing a swimming suit? What about shorts? I know it’s summer….
Torah spells out what the kohanim should wear when ministering at the Tabernacle.
I’m not advocating that you all wear priestly tunics, nor am I am advocating that you all wear jacket and ties, just suggesting that you how you present your bodies as living sacrifices to God. It has been brought to my attention that there are occasional concerns about tight fitting clothes, exposed back or shoulders, short skirts and low cut shirts. Any concerns about argyle socks? Honesty, we all understand that different people (and different generations) have different styles. Yet we all can consider how we are presenting our bodies to the Lord—as well as to other people.
The apostles urged modesty: rather than showing off yourself through sexy clothes, let others see your inner virtue through your good deeds. V’eemru?
Since we worship in a Messianic Jewish space, I urge you consider wearing yarmulke and tallit.
The yarmulke shows reverence for God’s commandments; Numbers 15:39 explains, “whenever you look at the tzitzit, you will remember all the mitzvot of Adonai and do them and not go spying out after your own hearts and your own eyes.” Consider it an act of reverence and worship to HaShem.
Do any of you want more of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in this Temple? Consider: what were the 120 disciples doing before the Holy Spirit fell on them like fire?
They were waiting with holy expectation, and praying, as the Lord commanded them.
Are you coming here with holy expectation? Are you praying before the service begins, on your way here, or after you arrive here? Susan and others pray around the building and the elders pray before the service begins, taking authority over & banishing every evil spirit in the name of Yeshua. How many of you think that if more of us were in prayer before service begins, we would experience the presence of the Holy Spirit even more? How many want more of His presence & power?
V’eemru? The worship team may come forward. Let’s pray….