As we’ve been learning in this series, when Yahweh gives instructions to Moses on how to build the tabernacle, it is a pattern. And a pattern is meant to be duplicated. And since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, there is much to glean from this portion of scripture in regard to building our temples to properly reflect His image.
In the first part, we discussed at length the original intent of building a house. We discovered that He wants to be among His people once again and needs a clean place for that to happen. In this part, we will expand that from the actual sanctuary to some of the items in the tabernacle that are important to Him. We'll start with the Ark of the Testimony, better known as the Ark of the Covenant.
TESTIMONY VS. COVENANT
Before we go any further, I think it's important to break down the two words and explain the difference between them. The words "testimony" and "covenant" are both used to describe the Ark but are quite different in their meanings.
Exodus 25:10,16 (NKJV)
"And they shall make an ark of acacia wood...16 And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you."
So we have an ark and we have a Testimony. This "Testimony" is none other than the tablets of stone that contain the Ten Commandments. In Hebrew, the word testimony is the word eduwth, spelled ayin, dalet, vav, tav. Literally, it means, "testimony, ordinance" and is specifically connected to the tablets that are given as a reminder of Israel's relationship to their Creator. It stands as a witness to the covenant. In the Paleo pictograph Hebrew, where each letter was originally a picture before it evolved into the modern block letters of today, the meaning is striking. The letter ayin was an eye and was connected to spiritual insight. Dalet was an open door. Vav was a nail or hook that connected one object to another. And tav, the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, meant mark or covenant. When you put it all together, the original pictograph meaning of the word "testimony" was "The spiritual eye is what opens the door that brings connection to the covenant." In other words, a real testimony happens when one refuses to live by reason and natural sight but allows the Spirit to guide him. This is what truly opens the door for the individual, fully connecting them in real covenant with their Creator.
On the other hand, the Hebrew word for covenant is "Brit" and is connected to making an oath for the purpose of creating a transactional relationship between two individuals or groups of people. The two cannot exist without one another and the testimony stands as "proof" that the covenant exists. There can be no covenant without a testimony. This is why Yahweh said to put the Testimony (the witness, the instructions) into the ark as it will stand as a testimony against them, reminding them of the covenant they made.
In the same way that Yahweh told Moses to only "put into the Ark the Testimony which I will give you," we are to build our house with only the Testimony that He gives US. This is especially true for ministers. All too often, in our zeal to serve the Creator and build His kingdom, we get ahead of Him and don't realize that we are creating our own testimony instead of letting Him create one for us. He promises that He will give us the proper testimony. This means that we need to make sure we're following Him closely enough to receive it.
Revelation 12:11 says that "they overcame [the adversary] by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." In ancient covenants, the two individuals that made covenant together would cut themselves on their right hands and arm and bind themselves together, causing the blood to co-mingle. This signified that they were now of one blood. Then they would raise their arms, showing everyone around that what was once two is now one. This cutting of the covenant, which followed the cutting of an animal to be consumed by both individuals as well as several other components, created scars on both individual's arms. These intentional scars were designed to show an adversary that desired to attack him that he is not only attacking him but all those he has entered into covenant with.
As a believer, the ramifications for this are amazing. Galatians 2:20 says that we are "crucified with Christ." This means that we bear the same "marks" that He took upon himself from his suffering on the cross. He did not just create a scar on the right arm, but over His entire body. His entire body IS the Testimony, that mark of the covenant. He is the Aleph Tav, the Word made flesh. In pictograph Hebrew, aleph was an ox head that meant the "strength of the leader." Tav was the mark, or covenant. Yeshua was literally the "Strong leader that is the mark of the covenant!" The reason we can overcome the enemy is because every time he attacks, you can proclaim the blood of the Lamb and then proclaim to him the word of your testimony. In other words, in the first Covenant, the Ten Commandments were the Testimony that was placed into the Ark. In the second Covenant, just like Yeshua was the Word made flesh, so WE are the walking Word of our generation. When the enemy sees that your life is the living Testimony and the blood of the Covenant has been shed, there is simply no way that he can get into the "box," that Ark of Covenant, without very specific permission from Yahweh Himself.
This is why it is so important for us to be in covenant and to understand the Testimony we are to portray. If we choose to walk in opposition to the covenant, the enemy can easily point to the fact that we are breaking the covenant instructions and he will therefore claim in God's legal court that he has the right to attack in that area. Our testimony must line up with His. This is why we MUST know His word and study the principles behind His Word. It's not enough to just say we follow Torah, keep the Sabbath, eat clean, and honor the Feast Days. We must know Yahweh's heart BEHIND all those things in order to apply the Testimony to every situation of our lives.
THE MERCY SEAT
When we properly create a clean place for Yahweh to live among us and we allow Him to make us into a powerful testimony and representative of the living Word that gave Himself as the mark of the covenant, we create the very throne of Yahweh for our lives. His intent is not to just walk among us. His intent is to rule from a throne inside our temples. In order for this to take place, we have to create the space and the spiritual throne on which He will sit. This is the point of the Holy Spirit: to assist us in the process of making Yeshua the Lord of our lives. Giving Him full authority and kingship starts with understanding how the original tabernacle was put together and then copying that pattern. When we enter into covenant through the blood of the Lamb and then align our lives with the Testimony through the covenant instructions (Torah) He gave us, we initiate the final piece of the Ark, the mercy (chesed in Hebrew) of Yahweh in our lives.
As Romans 8:1 says, "There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus." When we are FULLY in Him, we are following His instructions (1 John 5) and we become the direct image of God in the earth. Mercy is given to all those who seek to be His testimony in the earth. Those who desire Yahweh to rule and reign in their hearts must first yield to the Testimony instructions both in letter and principle. While the commandments are within the box that will judge all those who do not keep them, the Ark is covered by the mercy seat, as "mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13). This pattern tells us that mercy is to be stronger than judgment in our lives. If we find ourselves judging others with more judgment than mercy, we dethrone Yeshua and replace Him with ourselves. This reversal of mercy with judgment destroys the original pattern that Yahweh gave His people and misrepresents Him to them. This is the sin that Moses committed when he decided to hit the rock twice out of anger rather than just speak to it like he was instructed.
So far we've covered the fact that in order to properly build a house for Yahweh to live in, we must understand the proper blueprints (His Word). Then we must allow Him to teach us and show us how to apply it in our lives. This happens through prayer, meditation, signs and wonders, prophetic words, and scouring His Word for the patterns we need to know for what to do in our particular situation. From there we've learned the important difference between Testimony and Covenant and how they relate to one another. We discovered that just like the Old Covenant tabernacle is a pattern of something greater in the heavens, so our tabernacle in the New Covenant is to have that same pattern. That means that we are to bear the marks of our Lord, walk out the Testimony of the Covenant and show mercy more than we do judgment. In doing so, we will provide our Lord with a proper place to rule from our hearts and we will be building His House His way!
In part 3 we will talk about the importance of the menorah in ancient times and how it relates to us today!