BRAZEN BELIEVERS – Heaven Meets Earth – Part 1 (Heaven’s Will)

 Heaven & Earth

HEAVEN MEETS EARTH

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. Brazen believers are a place where heaven meets earth. Symbolically, we can catch a glimpse of this reality in the brazen or bronze (i.e., copper) items that were in the Mosaic tabernacle.

All the brazen furnishings symbolize the place where heaven meets earth.  God meets man. Think about the earth being God’s footstool (Isa 66:1), and when the apostle John saw Jesus in the Spirit on the Lord’s day “His feet were like burnished bronze” (Rev 1:15). The Church is Jesus’ Body and that Body has its feet bound “with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15). When we walk through our daily lives and reflect the radiance of God’s glory (the character of Jesus), God touches the earthly realm through us.

Feet Sandals

In the Greek, “bronze” in the burnished bronze feet of Jesus’ is the word chalkolibanon, which is a compound word made up of chalkos and libanos. From chalkos we get the idea of the hollowing out of a vessel for this glowing metal was chiefly used for that purpose. Its primary root word is chasma, which means to lower into a void or a gaping chasm. Jesus bridged the gulf between heaven and earth (God and man) “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:17). As we let Jesus have His way in our lives by working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13), our lives are cleansed so we may pour out His presence, to a lost and dying world “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 NIV). Through Christ in you the hope of glory (Col 1:27), heaven touches earth.

The word libanos means the incense tree (i.e., frankincense), and by implication the incense itself. Revelation 5:8 says that the incense in the golden bowls are “the prayers of the saints” and much incense was given to an angel at the altar so he could “add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne” (Rev 8:3-4). I believe this is a picture of the mixing of things that originated on earth with those originating in heaven — prayer.

Golden AltarFrankincense’s primary root means to become white, which additionally communicates the idea of purity. Incense is the material used to produce a fragrant odor when burned. It’s a pleasing scent to God and it causes passion or emotion to become aroused. Another word for a pleasing fragrance is “savor.” The Hebrew verb for savor is ruach. It’s the word for “Spirit,” as in the Holy Spirit. It means to blow or breathe, to smell, and figuratively, it means to joyfully anticipate. Jesus “breathed on” his disciples, “and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). This makes sense for the primary verb for incense is thuo meaning to rush (breathe hard, blow, smoke), by implication it means to sacrifice by fire. “They were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit …” (Acts 2:1-4).

Bronze FeetWhat a picture! Yeshua’s [1] glowing bronze feet have a dual meaning in this context:

[1] Jesus personally coming to earth for the purpose of bridging the gap between God and man, not only the first time, but also today through you and I.  Jesus tells His followers that the Kingdom of God is near. It is within you (Matt 10:7; Luke 10:9,11).

 

[2] The purified, Holy Spirit inspired groans and prayers of the saints (Rom 8:26-27; Eph 6:18). These are two places where heaven touches earth.

In April of 1998,[2] Cindy Jacobs mentioned that she believed that there is one body, one church in heaven and earth. I agree. Eternal life for believers necessitates that the body of Christ be one, as Jesus and the Father is one. Christ’s body, the church, is united in heaven and on earth. One of the prevalent pictures I received while studying “bronze” in Scripture was unity. The church is already united in the heavenly realm; therefore, what remains is unity here on earth.  I believe we will find some of the keys to uniting the earthly church with the heavenly one by looking at copper in the Mosaic tabernacle.

brazen-altarBRAZEN ALTAR – HEAVEN’S WILL

Yeshua, the perfect propitiation for sin, is mankind’s bridge to God. All furnishings in the tabernacle (i.e., tent of meeting) are different pictures of Jesus’ ministry on earth. The bronze furnishings — the Brazen Altar and Brazen Laver — are no exceptions. Jesus’ blood atones and washes away the sins of the world. Objectively, once for all, and subjectively, as you apply it to your life when you confess Jesus as Lord, and believe God raised Him from the dead (Rom 10:9-10).

Our New Testament brazen altars are our hearts. That was true of the Old Testament Brazen Altar also. The sacrifices were meant to point man to God, to rededicate their hearts to God. Unfortunately, the sacrifices (things that were seen) became the focus instead of the point to the exercise – relationship with the living God. God knows we must guard our hearts in Christ Jesus to make relationship with God a reality. Psalm 24:3-4 tells us that only those who have clean hands and a pure heart can have relationship with the Lord.

FieryThe one called the “father to all who believe” had a very close personal relationship with the Lord. Abraham was 137 years old when his faith was tested when God asked him to take his dearly loved son up Mount Moriah and offer him as a living sacrifice. It gives us a new perspective on Isaac’s willingness when we understand that he was 36 years old at the time. It is at the mountain of God’s choice that Abraham was directed to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.

The Word of God tells us of at least three virtues in our lives that have eternal substance: faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13:13).When God tested Abraham, He was accessing Abraham’s character to see if these and other eternal qualities abided in him. Just as Abraham’s walk was tested to see if it matched his talk, so will ours.

Abraham_isaac_climb_DoreTo comprehend why God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, we need to delve into the ancient Hebrew understanding of burnt offerings provided for us in the first chapter of the book of Leviticus. The book opens with the first revelation in the new Tabernacle, which had been built with their own contributions as a place where God’s shekinah glory (i.e., His dwelling presence) would rest among His people. They were made aware of their responsibility of maintaining a high level of holiness.

By the way, no other book in the Bible is so full of divine utterance as the book of Leviticus. Moreover, the Hebrew canon for the book we call Leviticus has the divine title “HE CALLED.” For the people in Moses’ day, its directions left nothing to the imagination. God was very specific in how He wanted/wants to be worshipfully approached. The content of Leviticus expresses the divine will of our heavenly Father for those who desires to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

Worship Man RaysThat Leviticus is the third book of the Bible speaks of it being stamped with completeness. For instance, the phrase “I AM Jehovah” occurs 21 times in the entire book, which emphasizes that Leviticus is marked with completeness, but it additionally proclaims that within Leviticus are keys to the complete plan of God for spiritual perfection. There’s a holy, awesomeness that accompanies His name Jehovah, for it’s the ineffable name of God – He’s incapable of being expressed in words (i.e., indescribable).

Unfortunately, most Christians have dismissed, minimized or ignored this very important slice of the word that endures forever. It’s been an enigma to most, if not all, of us. We are confused because we no longer do temple sacrifices. Or do we? This is the day where devout hearts need to sit up and take notice of this unique book that almost wholly consists of the words of Jehovah, where “HE CALLED” us to worship Him according to His will and ways. This is the day when we will worship God His way.

Abel's SacrificeThe rest of this Brazen Altar section endeavors to unseal Leviticus chapter 1 for Christians and examines what is required when anyone wants to bring a worshipful offering to the Lord. First, let’s note that the only name of God used in connection with offerings is Adonai. This name represents His attribute of mercy. The Hebraic root of the word “offering” means to come near. As mentioned previously, any type of offering is meant to bring oneself closer to God. Additionally, the Hebrew word for “burnt” is olah, which literally means going up; therefore, we can see that a burnt offering is brought by a person who wants to go up and draw near to God.

When a person sincerely offers themselves or anything they dearly love – especially their own way — to the Lord for the purpose of drawing close, they spiritually go up to meet with the God of mercy personally to His throne of grace. “This is what the LORD says, ‘I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings … I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?’ ” (Jer 30:18; 21 NIV).

Mount SinaiThe burnt offering is also called by another name — the elevation offering, As its name suggests, it raises one’s spiritual level. The elevation offering was brought by everyone who went up to Jerusalem for the three pilgrimage feasts of the Lord (required by everyone who was part of God’s holy nation). The Hebrew prophets spoke that in the end times, all the nations will be coming to Jerusalem — going up physically and/or spiritually and they will take part in building the temple. Don’t forget that you are meant to be God’s dwelling place.

The elevation offering (i.e., burnt offering) in the Old Testament days was considered to be superior to all others, because it was a voluntary sacrifice and it was offered in its entirety. The word “unblemished” in Leviticus 1:3 symbolizes a person coming close to God with nothing missing. All one’s faculties are wholly engaged. When a person brought his burnt offering to the priests (i.e., Kohanim), he was required to lean his hand on the head of his sacrifice. Actually, one had to literally lay both hands on the animal’s head and then confess his sin or shortcoming. Leaning both hands on one’s sacrifice alludes to leaning on the Lord with your entire strength. Loving God with all your strength is synonymous with loving God vehemently, wholly, exceedingly, diligently, utterly. It is the highest form of love and is equated to one’s resources spent according to the perfect will of God… literally being spent on Him.

TabernacleWildernessThe burnt offering was the very first service performed by Aaron’s descendants — the Kohanim — in God’s wilderness tabernacle.  Anyone could slaughter an animal for sacrifice, but it took the descendants of the High Priest to receive the shed blood and transport it to the Brazen Altar. It’s interesting that even though there was a heavenly fire always on the altar, the Kohanim were commanded to add an earthly fire. Once the Kohanim arranged all the cut up parts on the fire, they tended the fire until the sacrifice was totally consumed. As a side, the smoke that rises up to God from the burnt offering is a symbol of the owner’s striving, and the Lord tells us that it pleases Him (Lev 1:9).

In our day of grace, God’s people, who become a royal priesthood through their reception of the gift of the shed blood of the Lamb, receive forgiveness for their shortcomings once they sincerely confess their sin. We bypass animal sacrifices because Jesus Christ (Yeshua ha Mashiach) offered up the perfect sacrifice of His earthly body once for all. Yeshua became our burnt offering on the cross, and Jesus’ Bride will be like Him. The spiritual principle behind the burnt offering that remains true even today is “Behold, I have come to do Thy will” (Psa 40:7-8; Heb 10:7). It’s all about doing heaven’s will via sacrificing your own will on God’s altar of purification.

Lamb SacrificialThe fulfillment of the picture of the burnt offering in our day according to the fresh dispensation we are now operating under – “summing up of all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10) – is the baptism of fire that the Bride of Christ will come through to literally become the Lord’s pure and spotless Bride. God’s baptism of fire will burn off anything that is not of Him or in Him. Be encouraged, because He knows the way each one of us takes, and we will come forth as gold (Job 23:10).  Christ’s Bride will live and move in His divine will – the perfect will of heaven on earth. She will act as Jesus did. “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments… but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:3,5-6).

Classically, the Brazen Altar has symbolized divine judgment. Before you freak out, please understand that the Hebrew word for “judge” is dan, and its pictograph reveals that the judge is the door of life – Jesus (i.e Yeshua). Our Great High Priest is the One who sympathizes with our weaknesses and encourages us to draw near with confidence to His throne of grace so we can receive mercy and find grace to help in a time of need (Heb 4:14-16).

Grace Sign 2Most Christians rightfully and whole-heartedly tout this truth, but please let’s quit cheapening His glorious grace. You’ve seen it. I’ve done it. A person sins over and over again with the supposed safety net that we know God will forgive us. I believe that this mentality is pervasive throughout Christianity. So what should we do with this Scripture? “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy in the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Heb 10:26-29). God actually handles unintentional sin differently than willful sin.

All divine judgment, while we live on earth, is ultimately meant for the purpose of “I am” making us one. Psalms 19 tells us that the “judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether … more desirable than gold … sweeter also than honey … by them Thy servant is warned.” The only way we can discern some of our “hidden faults” and “presumptuous sins” (Psa 19:12-13) is to let the living and active word of God rightly divide what is soul and what is spirit (Heb 4:12). The purifying effects of being washed by the water of the word (Eph 5:26) allows us to be an exact re-presentation of the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).

Honeycomb & BeesDon’t forget that we are not alone — the Spirit of the Living God divinely assists us in our path to perfection. The way we become perfected into the image of One – His very image – is to let the fear of the Lord and the divine judgments of His Word have their way in each one of us. By the way, the fear of the Lord is not only the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov 1:7; 9:10), but it also allows us to love what he loves and hate what He hates. Remember that it’s a good and faithful son that accepts His Father’s discipline, because he knows that his daddy loves him and is helping him to be the best person that he can be (Deut 8:56; Rom 8:14). Also, it is the sons of God that are led by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14), and they inherit God’s Kingdom (Gal 4:7).

The Baptism of Fire (Matt 3:11) being released upon the earth in our day is a quantum leap above and beyond what we have known for the past 1,700 years. Get ready folks because people will actually manifest being “holy as He is holy” (1 Pet 1:16; Lev 11:44). By the way, when God says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy,” it’s not a suggestion but an exhortation (an actual command).  Even though authentic holiness has been rare, it will be a reality of those who will do the “greater works” (John 14:12). Bridal lovers of God will surrender their ways for His. They will recognize practices and beliefs that the Church has sanctioned as “holy,” which are not. These lovers of the Spirit and Truth will recognize what actually pleases Adonai, and then they adjust accordingly, come what may. The Word of God together with the Holy Spirit will be our guide, which is at least a partial realization of the picture that the fire that consumes the burnt offering is first and foremost a heavenly fire. Our voluntary offering to give up our own (earthly) desires and practices will combine with heaven’s fiery perfect will. Like the smoke that rises up from any burnt offering, our total surrender to the All-Consuming Fire will be one of our most pleasing sacrifices as well as one of our most satisfying services.

Throne HeavenlyTo be continued…

Written – October 24, 1998. Revision #1 – November 17, 2001. Revision #2 – December 30, 2002. Revision #3 – April 23, 2003. Revision #4 – December 9, 2010. Revision #5 –  May 29, 2013.

 All Scriptures are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise denoted.

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Heart - LoveNeverFailsAuthor’s Note

This is the day when God is unearthing treasures previously kept in darkness and uncovering hidden wealth previously kept in secret places. “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through the iron bars. I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places, in order that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name” (Isaiah 45:2-3). The Lord our God is unlocking the chambers of His vast treasure house, which speak of mysteries that have been in His heart for eternity. He’s opening the heights of the heavens and the depths of the earth.

One of these treasures of the deep is the understanding of the Biblical concepts associated with copper. Although my New American Standard Bible uses the word “bronze,” in Hebrew it actually means copper. This pamphlet is not an exhaustive study, but a tool meant to give you insight and draw you closer to the Lord. We will specifically focus on the picture copper reveals to us as it functioned in the Mosaic (Wilderness) Tabernacle, representing various parts of the Church.

Copper wireIt is significant that copper is the most conductive material on earth next to silver due to it having a free electron in its outer electron ring. Copper’s free electron exchanges freely with other conductive elements. In this study, we will see how Brazen Believers should naturally have a part of them that freely exchanges with other conductive materials — those made in God’s image — for that is what our heavenly Father does. We are to be wise, yet be as pure, transparent, vulnerable, sincere, and genuine as possible with others around us.

Technically, bronze is a metal alloy of copper and tin (sometimes other elements), which history records ancient man began using sometime between 4000-3000 BC. I am purposely using the word “bronze” to directly associate the Brazen Altar and Brazen Laver with Brazen Believers. I am also purposely using the word “brazen.” Brazen means to be made of brass, a harsh and loud sound like struck brass, or marked by contemptuous boldness. Believe it or not, a study of the redemptive qualities of brazen is quite rewarding; but for now let’s just focus on the idea of contemptuous boldness. Contemptuous is a state of being despised and lacking respect. Christians are to be in the world, not of it; and Jesus said we will be hated, rejected and despised by the world, just as He was. The Bible also says “because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God  with freedom and without fear)” (Ephesians 3:12 AMPL). Brazen Believers boldly approach God’s throne of grace. We need to be broken enough before God to speak the truth boldly and not participate with evil motives and intentions. Without brokenness (our flesh being in the heavenly brazier), boldness is simply pride.

Brazen Believers ultimately will only see themselves though Jesus. They will literally communicate with God, like Moses did, spirit to spirit  — face to face.

face_to_face_mother&child

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[1] Yeshua is Jesus’ Aramaic/Hebrew name, which He was literally called when He walked the earth. It’s a shortened form of Yehoshua, which means “salvation” or “the Lord saves.”

[2] Prayer & Spiritual Warfare Conference, Colorado Springs CO, April 1998

[3] Hebrew Word Pictures: How does the Hebrew Alphabet Reveal Prophetic Truths  by Frank T. Seekins, p. 14

[4] Excerpt from The Divine Romance  by Gene Edwards

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