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Msindisi Newsletter #67

April 13, 2010

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER:      67.       APR 2010

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA
+27 (0) 728311008
Email:  msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

Moriel KwaZulu Mission Website: https://morielkzn.wordpress.com

Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

This month’s newsletter is being written from the UK as we wrote in our last newsletter we are away from KwaZulu Natal for 3 more weeks. Before leaving Salvi finished evangelising three different areas in Eastmine, Alphamine and Ngenitsheni.  One visit he ended up at the local chief’s home however the chief was out so he spoke to the men there. In Alphamine Salvi started to preach in a new area. A young man called Lancelot has shown interest in starting a bible study in the area so once we return from the UK we will follow this up. Di continued to help out with Kid’s club and sorted out what was needed  for our trip overseas. We continue to work with the family of Fikile, who died of AIDS a few months back, the process of getting the kids tested for HIV proved to throw up one obstacle after another. When we initially took them there weren’t enough nurses to deal with everybody so we were told to come back. The second time we tried the nurses said that the Gogo had to come with an affidavit saying that she was the legal guardian of the children and gave permission for the kids to be tested. We tried to take them again but the Gogo was too busy so we will try again when we get back to SA. The Louwsburg Bible Fellowship is going well. Little foxes started to creep in but the Lord has caused a number of us to humble ourselves before Him. We ended with a great time of fellowship before we went to Springs, including the celebration of a Passover meal and we left them with a diet of Jacob Prasch and Bill Randles for the weeks we are away. The Gospel bible study at the KwaNyandeni Kraal will continue when we get back to KwaZulu but we will see if their interest wanes when we get back.

In Springs, Salvi managed to do a draft of his Hebrew assignment which was submitted to a tutor for evaluation. He will complete the assignment when we are back in Springs and that will be the last module of his certificate level. The Lord blessed us with an opportunity to fellowship with believers in Pretoria and in South side of Johannesburg. Salvi preached the message that he had prepared for the UK, on Saturday night for a bible study in Pretoria. The group had some people attending it who are part of a word of faith church. We had the privilege of talking through the issues of that teaching with them. On the Sunday Salvi preached at Truth Ministries, Johannesburg.  Salvi normally leads worship when he visits that church this time however the Lord opened the way for Salvi to share the  message that was on his heart for the UK trip.  Apparently while Pastor Wayne was preparing his message he felt the Lord telling him, ‘You are not going to be preaching this week.’ Meanwhile Salvi was praying that if the Lord wanted him to share that He would bring it about. So when Salvi was asked if he would like to share the way was clearly opened.  After Salvi preached that Sunday we found out that Wayne had been preaching the same message for the last 5 weeks. The Lord is good. But this was part of the Lord’s confirmation for the UK.

We have visited 3 churches up to now in the UK. The people of a couple of the churches shared that it was a word in season. Two of the churches also asked us also to share about our life and work in South Africa.  Di will be giving a children’s talk at the next church we visit. It has been a strange experience being in the UK, especially with visiting Manchester. From quiet mud hut to busy metropolis is quite a difference. But we can see the materialism and how easy it is for people to fill their lives with stuff that eternal issues are put on the sidelines. It is just like the parable of the sower. Some seed is sown among thorns, where the cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things choke the seed and make it unfruitful. Scripture portrays all three disciples falling asleep in the garden of Gethsemane and all of the virgins falling asleep before the bridegroom came. Not one of us can say we are exempt from the warning to watch and pray. Now is the time to get oil in our lamps.

On a side note, it has been good for Di to meet Salvi’s family for the first time and for Salvi to catch up with them. It is the first time for either of us to meet our nephew, Joshua. Salvi’s grandmother’s husband has been in hospital. We have been able to visit him a couple of times and Salvi wrote him a letter explaining the gospel to him. We pray that the message may speak to him and that he might ask us questions the next time we visit him. Di has really enjoyed travelling around the UK and seeing the beautiful countryside. The fellowship with believers in Bournemouth, Cornwall, Swansea and in Southport has been encouraging, challenging and lovely. It has been wonderful meeting the people who having been praying for us and the work. The fellowship has been very encouraging and we thank the Lord for the family of God and seeing the body at work. We are in the UK for another 3 weeks travelling in weekends to churches were Salvi has been invited and will return to South Africa early May.

Please could you pray for Salvi’s health. Salvi has to see the dentist at various times in order to have root canal treatment done on a couple of teeth. Obviously this can be inconvenient when we are travelling around a lot, but the Lord is good and has provided for us to meet this need.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support

May the Lord Bless you

Salvi and Di

THE THRONE ROOM AND THE TABERNACLE

REVELATION CHAPTER 4

The prelude to the seal judgements starts in the throne room of God in heaven. There are certain similarities between it and the tabernacle that was built under Moses. Hebrews specifically teaches that the Mosaic tabernacle was not the reality in itself. It was based on the pattern that Moses saw on Mount Sinai. In this is a great truth. The things that God does in the temporal carry with them the significance of eternity. The tabernacle was real, and its elements all carried a temporal weight all of their own. Yet the tabernacle was not THE reality in itself. It was a copy of something that God showed Moses on the mountain. There is a greater tabernacle which has not been pitched by human hands. It is something so big and great. So what has this to do with the throne room of God? Read Psalm 11: 4. The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven. In Isaiah 6: 1 – 5, Isaiah sees a vision of God on the throne, with Seraphim above Him and the train of the robe filling the temple. Again Hebrews 12: 18 – 24 shows us that we have come to the heavenly Jerusalem. There is a link between the throne room in Revelation and the tabernacle. What is the tabernacle? It is the place where God’s presence is manifest and where He communes with His people. In the garden, Adam and Eve had perfect communion with God but something happened… sin. And there came a separation between man and God. What is the tabernacle but a way of bridging that gap before Christ came to deal with the sin problem? The tabernacle is a foreshadow of the Gospel message. But the throne room? That contains something different. Psalm 9: 4 speaks of the throne in terms of judgement.

Revelation 4: 1 – 11.

John in this chapter has just finished hearing what Jesus has had to say to the churches and some of the churches were in a real mess. They had problems with a loss of their first love for the Lord, tolerating a false prophetess, putting up with the heresies of the Nicolaitians and enduring persecution. But now John has left all this when he saw a door open in heaven and he went through in the Spirit. As soon as he is in heaven, there is no mention of the problems of the church. It is like all that stuff is forgotten. Doors in various places in the Bible speak about salvation. There is the door in Noah’s ark, Jesus said that he was the door for the sheep. In Exodus the blood on the lintels of the doorway brought salvation to those inside. This one is a door into heaven itself and there is one door, just like Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ no man comes to the father but by me!’ It does not matter what we go through in this life; the tears, the pain, the suffering, and the joys. These things will be wiped away because they belong to the first things and the first things pass away. No! John’s focus turns to something else. And what is it? It is the throne of God, and the One who is sat on the throne. There is so much to see there but his eyes are drawn to God Himself and His throne. He is primary to everything. It is a terrifying place because there are flashes of lightning and thunder sounds, just like there were at Mount Sinai. It is a powerful sight, it is a holy sight. There is a rainbow about the throne. There are twenty four elders on thrones who have white garments and crowns on their heads. There are four living beings that are around the throne. There is a sea of glass. It is awesome, but John’s attention, first and foremost, is on the LORD.

Now this vision in Revelation 4 bears similarity with Ezekiel 1 and 10. I would recommend that you also read chapters 8 – 11. I like Ezekiel a lot because he was not just a prophet but he was an actor. He was sent out to communicate God’s message, not only by preaching but also by acting it out. He had to eat a scroll which was sweet in his mouth. He had to take a brick and act out the siege as a model siege having written Jerusalem on the brick. He had to shave his head and divide his hair into three. A third he was to burn with fire, one third he had to walk round and strike with a sword. A third of hair also had to be scattered to the wind. But in Ezekiel 1 Ezekiel is stood by the river Chebar, looking out to the north and there was a storm wind blowing. And Elijah looks and sees a great cloud but this is no ordinary cloud; fire was flashing continually and there was a bright light about it and in the midst of it was something glowing like metal in the midst of a fire. As the cloud gets nearer what do we find? Firstly we see four living beings similar to what we found in Revelation 4. They are similar but not exactly the same. In Ezekiel 10 we see this same vision but this time the creatures are named as Cherubim (verse 15). In their midst there was something that looked like burning coals of fire. There were wheels under the four living beings, and above their heads was an expanse of something like crystal. This is important to notice. Above the expanse there was a throne and on it there was an appearance of something like a man. There was also a radiance around Him which looked like a rainbow and this radiance is referred to as the glory of the LORD.

It seems that we are looking up into the throne room from under the expanse which seems to be the sea of crystal around the Throne. We are dealing with something terrifying, so terrifying and Holy that Ezekiel has to fall on his face. So let us look at the throne room bit by bit and look at its relationship with the earthly tabernacle. If you want to know about the tabernacle you should read Exodus 25 – 40 and it will describe every detail that Moses had to know in order to construct it. Now we will not be dealing with every single aspect of the tabernacle but only the main pieces of furniture which correspond to what I have seen in the throne room. It is interesting that when we look at the tabernacle we see the outside and we must work from the bronze altar, onto the bronze sea or laver, then we move into the tabernacle itself with the menorah, the table of the presence and the golden altar of incense and then through the veil, into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant is. That is the last thing we see. However Moses was first commanded to make the Ark of the Covenant and the first image that John sees in the throne room, is the One who sat on the throne and the throne itself. Everything else is secondary. Now why is that? It is because God is the primary thing and everything else is secondary. When we get to heaven, the primary thing will be God. And if we desire to go to heaven, first and foremost it must be to be with the Lord and not for whatever else heaven might have in store. But the reason why our journey into the tabernacle is from the outside in is because the tabernacle is God’s provision for a holy God to have fellowship with sinful man. We start from the outside because we are on the outside. We are sinners separated from an angry God who yet still loves us and wants to bring us back to Himself. You cannot get any more basic than that.

The first item that is described in the tabernacle is the Ark of the Mosaic Covenant. It is a box that measures 2 ½ cubits long, by 1 ½ cubits wide and 1 ½ cubits deep. It was made with acacia wood, accordingly a tree that grows in the desert. It was overlaid with gold, having four rings and 2 poles of acacia wood overlain with gold to fit through the rings in order to carry the ark. The next item built was the lid, which was called the mercy seat. This was 2 ½ cubits by 1 ½ cubits and was made of pure gold. On top of the mercy seat are 2 cherubim of gold which have their wings outstretched above, overshadowing the mercy seat and their faces are looking down. There is a mention of the Ark in Heaven and we read this in Revelation 11: 19 but it does not tell us anything about the ark itself. However there is another parallel in Revelation and indeed the whole of the New Testament. Inside the Ark are Aaron’s rod that budded, that signified that Aaron was God’s chosen High Priest, the jar of manna which God had sent to provide sustenance for His people in the wilderness and the tablets of the covenant. All three relate to Christ. Christ is the true bread that comes out of heaven. The forefathers ate manna in the wilderness and died, but Jesus gives life. (Jn 6: 51) For us it represents Christ’s flesh which was given for us that we might live. Aaron’s rod symbolized God’s choice of himself as God’s High priest, but Aaron died and another had to take his place. However we have a High priest according to the order of Melchizedek who forever lives to make intercession for us. (Hebrews 7: 23 – 24). And lastly there was the tablets of the covenant containing a Law that promises life to those who keep it but never gives life because no one ever keeps it. It stands over us in judgement but Jesus is the fulfilment of the Law and He gives us life (Romans 7: 8 – 11 & 10: 4). Christ meets God’s righteous requirement for us. Christ meets the religious requirement of God in that we need a high priest and advocate for us and He also meets the penal requirement for us in that he gave His own body as a sacrifice for our sins. And the product of this is life. And what is life? Eternal life is to know God, and the tabernacle is there for God to have fellowship with man. Now the lid itself corresponds to the throne of God. The lid is called the mercy seat. Why is it a mercy seat for us? Because it speaks of what Christ would do that we might be forgiven. In between the Cherubim was the place where God’s glory would manifest and once a year the priest would have to make atonement for the sins of the people in the Holy of Holies. It is a mercy seat. In Revelation 4 God in his glory sits on his throne and He is awesome. From out of the throne come flashes of lightning and peals of thunder. And this glory on the throne is in between the four living creatures which we know Ezekiel identified as Cherubim. God’s glory rests between the Cherubim. God is so holy, so righteous and powerful that Cherubim overshadow him. It was in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3: 24 that God stationed the Cherubim and the flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. We know that the Ark represents Jesus in the details that we discussed. He is the Word and His word is the written manifestation of His truth. Jesus said that we are to abide in Him and His words are to abide in us. His word is bread and life to us.

But next in the throne room of God are 24 thrones on which are seated 24 elders all wearing white robes and crowns. What do these 24 elders represent because there is no clear interpretation of them from the text itself? One thing is certain that there are 24 elders but who are they? They have white garments just like redeemed people wear. They have crowns on their head meaning that they are in a position of ruling or judging. Jesus said to his apostles that they would sit on 12 thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Mt 19: 28) There are promises that believers who overcome will sit with Jesus on His throne. But one thing is apparent is that the 24 elders never actually class themselves as God’s redeemed specifically. Even in Chapter 5: 9 – 10, they speak of the redeemed as a group separate from themselves. But the trouble with this is that they are presented as distinct from Cherubim, angels and other spiritual beings and are said to be rulers. However it is possible that these elders are representatives of God’s people. In that sense they form a part of the redeemed but can also speak of God’s redeemed as a separate entity. If we are dealing with the patriarchs and the apostles on the thrones, then John must have seen himself in there, as he was one of the twelve. Whoever the elders are I think Bill Randles is right when he says that in Revelation 2 – 3, John sees the church on the earth, slugging it out in the day to day. But in Revelation 4 he sees the Church glorified in the way that God sees the church. As Hebrews 12: 22 – 24 says. We have come to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the general assembly, to the church of the first born…

This church is not a Gentile entity, but as Romans 11 portrays the Church is principally Jewish. We are in a Jewish covenant and as such there is no replacing Israel. Believing Gentiles are grafted in as co heirs and equals. When we look at the tabernacle we see that in the Holy place there was a golden table of show bread, or the table of the presence. In Leviticus 24: 5 – 9 we see that on the golden table before the LORD they were to put 12 loaves of bread. The 12 loaves correspond to the 12 tribes of Israel. The table of the presence upheld this symbol of God’s people. This there is a correspondence in the Throne room of God in that all the people of God, both Jew and Gentile are represented and upheld. God always has His people before Him. He has not missed us out. He has set us before him. The 24 elders also relate to the division of priests working in the temple. 1 Chronicles 24: 1 – 19. They are the ones who served in God’s house. This even relates to the body of Christ in which we are to be a royal priesthood. The fact that there are 24 elders relates to their priestly function and the fact that they have crowns on their head denotes their kingly function. As Revelation 5: 10 says, you have made them to be a kingdom of priests. They are partakers of Jesus’ inheritance in which He is the High Priest, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And of course the bread laid on the table of the presence was to be eaten only by Aaron and his sons. Therefore this bread, (which speaks of intimate fellowship – breaking of bread) tells us about the community of believers we are a part of. Therefore because we are part of this community, fellowship is important.

In verse 5 of Revelation 4 we see that there are seven lamps of fire, burning before the throne. It is easy to see what this is, as the text tells us that they are the seven spirits of God. We can derive some probability of its meaning from scripture itself. There is nowhere in scripture that talks about seven separate spirits of God but there is somewhere that speaks of the Holy Spirit in seven separate ways. In Isaiah 11: 2 we read of seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit. We read firstly that He is the Spirit of the LORD. Secondly He is the spirit of Wisdom. Thirdly He is the spirit of understanding. Fourthly He is the spirit of counsel. Fifthly He is the spirit of strength. Sixthly He is the spirit of knowledge and lastly He is the spirit of the fear of the LORD. This obviously corresponds to the Menorah that had seven lamps in the tabernacle that stood opposite to the table of the presence. This was there to provide light. Light in Scripture speaks of the truth of the Word. God is light and thus the Holy Spirit is one who gives us understanding, knowledge, counsel, and the beginning of these things is the fear of the LORD. Jesus said to His disciples in John 16: 13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth”. “He will disclose to you what is to come.” The Holy Spirit is a Spirit who illumines the Truth to our eyes. That is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2: 6 – 16 that we can only have spiritual wisdom if we have received the Spirit of the LORD and that the Spirit teaches us, combining spiritual with spiritual. The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit. Thus we can see why the menorah was inside the Holy place and not in the court. Not only because the Holy place needed light, but also because the light was only for the priesthood to experience. It is only when we are saved and become priests, then we really see the light of God’s word. We were not saved to be served but we were saved to serve. Thus we do not have one single teacher who has all the answers but God teaches all of us. And although we have teachers in the Church who minister the word, yet each of us can teach each other what God has taught us. As Jeremiah 31: 34 ff says, ‘No longer will a man teach his brother or his neighbour, ‘know the LORD’, for they shall all know me from the least to the greatest of them.’ And that is because of God’s forgiveness.

In verse 6 we see there is a sea of glass, like crystal. This must have been big because the Hebrew word, ‘Yam’ also denotes something big. This is because you cannot see the end of the sea. It is not like the turbulent waters of the ocean which symbolizes the nations in revolt against God, but it is still. This must undoubtedly be what the elders saw from the mountain Sinai where they saw the Lord and under His feet was a pavement of Sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. They were looking up into the Throne room of God. (Exodus 24:10) There was also another sea in the tabernacle of Moses and that sea was called the bronze laver. When this was built for Solomon’s temple it was actually called ‘a sea of cast metal’. (1 Kings 7: 23 ff) There is a similarity. But what was the bronze laver put there for. Bronze denotes judgement. When Jesus stood in the midst of the Churches as a High Priest, His feet were of bronze and thus He was judging His people because judgement must start in the house of God. But the laver itself was used by the priest for them to wash their hands and feet to be fit for God’s service in the tabernacle. What does this bring to mind? Jesus commanded His disciples to wash one another’s feet in John 13. John 13 was a parable of Philippians 2: 1 – 11. Jesus got up from His seat and laid aside His robe, (Even though He was in the form of God, He emptied Himself). He girded Himself with a towel. (He took the form of a bond servant even being obedient until death.) He washed His disciples’ feet in that the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin. And he put on his robe again and sat down, in that (God exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name above every name). But when Jesus said wash each other’s feet, what did He mean? In John 15: 3 Jesus tells them how he had really washed them. ‘You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.’ And in John 17: 17 Jesus prayed, ‘Sanctify them in the truth, Thy word is truth.’ John Gill seems to think the glassy sea is akin to the Gospel of peace because we behold the glory of the LORD through this glass like we do in the Gospel. Jewish people will speak of great wisdom as a sea of wisdom. This would well agree with the cleansing of the word. But the laver in the tabernacle is bronze and therefore this would speak of our constantly being judged and washed in the light of the Word as a process of sanctification.

There are 2 things missing though from Revelation 4. One is the golden altar of incense and the other is the bronze altar of sacrifice. As far as the altar of incense goes we see this in Revelation before the throne in chapter 9: 13 (being a golden altar and not a bronze one) and in 8: 3 where the golden altar of incense contains the prayers of the saints. As the incense goes up so do our prayers and God’s incense is added to the prayers of the Spirit in that the Spirit helps us in our weakness because we do not know how to pray as we ought. But what about the bronze altar for sacrifice? There is not one! Why leave out the altar for sacrifice? There is not an altar for sacrifice but in 5: 6 we see a lamb standing as if slain. There is only one sacrifice. The whole of the tabernacle speaks of our redemption. Just look at the entrance to the tabernacle from the outer court. There are 5 golden pillars set on sockets of bronze. Bronze again speaks of judgement. This tabernacle is of the covenant of Moses and as such we see a parallel in the 5 pillars on bronze to the five books of the Law which stand on judgement. The Law was the Jews’ schoolmaster to lead to Christ. The Law exposes our sin and judges it. But the Law itself leads to something else and that is the veil. The veil rests on four golden pillars on sockets of silver. If you cross reference Exodus 30: 11 – 16 and Exodus 38: 25 – 28 you will see that the atonement money was of silver and silver has been used as a payment price in scripture. Both Jesus and Joseph were sold for silver in order that they may bring salvation to God’s people and the world. The four pillars had the veil over them and the veil was rent when Jesus died on the cross, opening the way for all to come to the mercy seat. Thus the four pillars bear similarity with the Gospel which has been recorded in scripture in four accounts which rests on redemption, the blood. The blood was Jesus’ price of redemption. The Law is not sufficient; the Gospel is the power of God to salvation. The tabernacle is a picture of our salvation. It shows us the way to intimacy with the Lord. We start with the cross and the sacrifice. Then we enter a life of sanctification with the washing of water with the word. In the Holy place we see the need for fellowship and the Spirit’s illumination of the word. The place of the Law is there to expose sin but the message of the Gospel is always there to manifest the righteousness of God by faith. Prayer is before the Holy of Holies where we see Jesus as the perfect fulfilment of all the Law speaks about, where God’s glory is surrounded by the splendour of the Cherubim and the veil has been torn which once blocked the way. Do we desire that place of intimacy with the Father? Sometimes this Christian life goes through mundane periods but if there is one thing we can take away from this message it must be this. If we continue in sanctification, the Word, the illumination of the Spirit, in fellowship and in prayer, then God will draw us nearer to Himself. If we want to boldly approach the throne of Grace, this is the God appointed way and if we travel it we are sure to get there.

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