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Tabernacle Foundations Lesson 10
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
August 26 2001 Bible Lessons
Operation Outreach

Today's lesson is going to be a bit challenging to follow. That is, if you are locked into the traditional manner of teaching and learning. I could apologize for this fact, except the Bible is not written in the traditional manner of a modern text book.

Therefore, it is difficult to teach the contents of the Bible by means of traditional teaching methods. It is relatively simple to pick a subject or topic from the Bible and teach that topic within the modern packaging of the latest forms of pedagogy. Most ministers were taught this very human technique during their Bible School training, and it has merit.

In Bible School, one of our tests or "exercises" (as the teacher called them) was to prepare a sermon on the "fly". Once we were nicely settled in the class room, the teacher would randomly pick a subject card from the "hat", and hand one of those cards to each budding pastoral student.

We then had 20 minutes to develop a proper outline that could be used to present that subject in a 30 minute message. The fearful aspect of that "exercise" was that --- one of those outlines would be randomly (according to the teacher, but I'm sure he was picking on me) chosen to be expounded - that meant preached - during the last 30 minutes or so of the class. Those expositions, or sermons usually turned out to be more like 10 to 15 minutes long, instead of the required 30 minutes. (Not good for the semester grade.)

The teacher called this an "exercise". We called it a terrifying ordeal!!! Call it what you like, most of us lived through it, and are probably better for it. Many of those expositions or sermons were very innovative and interesting. However, NONE of them could be considered an "in depth" study of the truths of the Word of God. As a matter of fact, the only part of the Word of God that most of these sermons contained was the text written on those little slips of paper, randomly handed out by the teacher.

Please understand, there in nothing intrinsically wrong with topical or subjective type teaching. It is quick, to the point and easily retained. All of those are very good teaching qualities. On the other hand, if that is the only type of teaching you receive, you will be very deficient in the overall and in-depth understanding of the Word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It is true, that any portion of the Word of God can be of benefit in all the actions listed in v.16. However, just a single portion, or little bits and pieces of the Scripture CANNOT produce the results of v.17.

For the man of God to be complete and thoroughly equipped, ALL Scripture is needed. The "that" of v.17 is totally dependent on the "all" of v.16. The Holy Spirit did not waste time and effort giving us a bunch of extra, non-relevant material when He inspired the penning of the Word of God.

I'm sorry that the Holy Spirit was not "up on" the modern techniques of interactive pedagogy. When the Holy Spirit writes His sequel to the Bible, maybe He will take those things into consideration. In the meantime, I will endeavor to teach in a similar manner as the Holy Spirit teaches.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him (Holy Spirit)?" But we have the mind of Christ.

The choice of the type of teaching or learning we give or receive will depend on what we are endeavoring to teach or learn. If our goal is simply the "milk" of the Word, then we can stay with surface teaching and topics. If our goal is to know and understand the "deep things" of God, and what is in the heart of God, then we MUST stick with God's method, even when God's method is not as GOOD(?) as modern techniques.

I know! I know!!! We at MBF know this passage well. That may be true, but over and over again, I see the evidence, by actions and words, that some don't know it, didn't get it, have forgotten it, or just "flat-out" choose to ignore it. So as long as there are humans at MBF, I will not sin in failing to remind you of this cardinal truth of Bible study and Biblical understanding.

These deep things of God (v.11) could not be seen, heard or perceived through human resources (v.9). However, these things that cannot, nor have not been seen, heard or perceived by human means, God has revealed through supernatural means.

In this passage, the Holy Spirit does not make direct reference to the verbal inspiration of the God's Word, but it is assumed to be so. The supernatural means that God uses to reveal the deep things of God is THROUGH His Spirit (v.10).

It is good to note, that it is through, not just by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Agent and the only Agent of the process mentioned in v.13. The ONLY process by which we can know or perceive these deep things of God is by using the same method the Holy Spirit uses, and that is comparing Spiritual with Spiritual. As you will see in context, the "Spiritual" here has reference to the written Word of God.

Some of the reasons God uses this method are:

  1. God's revelation was given over an extended period of time.
  2. God's revelation is progressive, and accumulative.
  3. As we "graze" on the Word of God from cover to cover, we feed on the Word of God, instead of simply receiving academic answers to our human curiosity.
  4. There are other reasons, but time and space will not allow the listing, and I'm sure there some reasons not stated in the Word of God.

There is a gospel song, and for the most part a very good song that says the writer doesn't want to spend his time "answering question that aren't being ask anyway". All due respect to a very good song writer, BUT we NEED to be answering questions that have never been ask!!!!! As a matter of fact, we need to be answering questions that no human, from their own resources, is capable of asking.

We are commissioned to go to a world and to Believers with answers to questions that only God is capable of asking or answering. Far too long, we have made God's gospel a socially acceptable message directed at the physical and social needs (of which there are many). Far too long, we have failed to pose those eternal questions that the natural mind cannot and does not ask.

Comparing Spiritual with Spiritual is the type of teaching and learning we will choose, if we want the "meat" of the Word or the "deep things" of God. In this context, Paul also talks about the choice of those who only want the "milk of the Word".

Look at the next verse in this passage. Don't let the chapter division throw you off. Paul didn't put in the chapter breaks, nor did the Holy Spirit inspire them. They were added by the publishers, in an effort to help in our study, and usually they do help. However, sometimes they can be a hindrance to our receiving the whole context of a teaching.

1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk (*compare Heb 5:12-14) and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive (**compare 1 Corinthians 2:14) it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal? 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
1 Corinthians 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The second choice you have for teaching and studying the Word of God, is to stay with the "milk of the Word". If you stay with and only partake of the "milk of the Word", it can lead to carnality. Babies don't have to work too hard to get the "milk of the Word", BUT it takes some real chewing to get the "meat of the Word".

The two choices:

  1. Compare Spiritual with Spiritual, which can lead to Spirituality.
  2. Milk only, which can lead to carnality.

We will be doing a great deal of comparison in this lesson. Before we can compare, we must have the facts to compare. Therefore, we will look at a good number of facts--- just for the sake of having facts to compare.

I could simply tell you that the Tabernacle, the Law and its service are part of a covenant or contract. I could also tell you that this covenant is temporary, not everlasting.

As a matter of fact, in the introduction to this series, I have already said those things. BUT that's only "milk", and you will loose a great deal of Spiritual blessing and Biblical understanding, if that is as far as you dig into these deep things of God.

We want to go for the "meat of the Word"!! Because of lack of time, we will have to supplement the "meat" with some "milk", which should make for a well balanced Spiritual meal.

There is MUCH confusion about Biblical covenants, what they are, who they are for and the provisions found in them. Part of that confusion comes as a result of NOT taking the time to compare all passages on the subject of covenants, and making sure that the conclusions drawn from those comparisons are in perfect harmony with all other teachings of Scripture.

Can you imagine my teacher, in Bible School, handing me a slip of paper that said.... "Compare all references to Biblical covenants, draw conclusions about those covenants and harmonize those conclusions with all major doctrines of Scripture"?? Admittedly, I could not have accomplished that in 20 minutes of preparation, NOR could the results have been expounded in a 30 minute message.

NO!! We're talking about the "MEAT of the Word of God". The process of obtaining those facts and comparing those facts takes a lifetime, and then we've only just begun!!!

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Just so you won't be disappointed, this GREAT passage in Romans 11 was given in the context of teachings concerning the Tabernacle and its service.

This passage is NOT saying that we cannot understand the truths of God's revealed Word. It is saying instead, that NO MATTER how much you search and compare, you will NEVER exhaust the limits of those truths. Once you have tasted of God's Word and found it good, there is always more to feed on.

1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

One of the key factors in a proper Spiritual "diet", is balance. The "milk of the Word" is not wrong, nor should we avoid it. The problem comes when we never add to our Spiritual "diet" the real "meat of the Word". So for this lesson let's have a BIG gulp of Biblical milk, and then let's move on to some solid food.

We have already seen in our study that the Tabernacle, the Law and its service are all part of a covenant. However, when we begin to search the Scriptures, we find there are a lot of references to covenants, and there are MANY covenants.

A major problem of Biblical interpretation comes when we fail to recognize the existence of these many covenants, and their relationship to one another. It would take a lifetime to examine all the covenant references, sort them and harmonize them. Therefore, in this lesson, let me try to summarize the entire scope of Biblical covenants. In that way, we will have a base from which to do some Biblical digging, and get a better look at this area of the "deep things of God".

The English word covenant is found about 300 times in the Bible, depending on your translation. The 300 times this English word is used is only a drop in the bucket compared to the many more times covenants are referred to by other terms.

In general terms, a Biblical covenant would be similar to a modern contract. However, when it comes to the details, a Biblical covenant is very different. The Biblical covenants are different from modern contracts in content, form, method of confirmation, etc. For example, covenants in Biblical times were confirmed through the use of salt, blood, shoes, and other things. Today, we often confirm contracts by having the signature witnessed by someone recognized and licensed by the state to be a professional witness.

Today, most contracts are written. During Bible times, most covenants were word of mouth. Modern contracts usually require the compliance of two or more parties for some mutual benefit. There were a number of covenants in Bible times, that only involved the compliance of one person.

The "one-person" covenants werejust as binding as the "multi-person" covenants. Most vows would fit in this class of covenants. In modern times, some "Last Will and Testaments" could fall loosely into this "one-person" covenant category. Even in this comparison, there are numerous differences.

Modern contracts are usually written in "legalese" that can only be interpreted by someone charging at least $100.00 an hour. Covenants in Bible times were often made up of symbols and word pictures that only the parties involved in the covenant could fully understand.

It's almost impossible to really compare Biblical covenants with modern contracts. If for no other reason, in Biblical times, a person's word was his seal. People used to live according to their word, or death could be the results. Today, sad to say, a person's word is often only a means of NOT telling the truth. Today, the better you can use words to NOT tell the truth, the higher you can climb on the political ladder.

We will not take the time to explore the many details involved in these covenants, at least not at this time. However, as we journey on in our study of the Tabernacle, many of these areas will be seen again and again.

If we are to get a handle on Biblical covenants, we must first see and understand that there is but one truly ETERNAL covenant. Only this one Eternal Covenant started before time and extends beyond time, all other covenants have a starting point in time.

Some covenants go from their starting point in time on into eternity. Other covenants go from their starting point in time until their fulfillment at some point in time. All covenants have a cost/benefit condition. Sometimes the cost is borne entirely by God, and other times the cost is obedience on the human side.

Most of the Biblical covenants have to do with the spectrum of time, and only small details point to eternity. Even though God's Eternal Covenant was made in eternity past and will continue into eternity future, its major focus is on time, and most of its details are time centered. My purpose in this study, is NOT to give you an "in-depth" study of Biblical covenants. Such a study would require multiplied hours of class time.

What I want us to see is the general concept of Biblical covenants, and their relationship to one another. Your understanding of the covenants will determine, to a great extent, your understanding of all other "deep things of God".

Except for a very few, the names given to these covenants are not Biblical titles. They are names given by Bible students in order to distinguish the different covenants, and sometimes even the different aspects of the same covenant. It is not my intent to look at the many personal covenants made with individual people in the Bible such as Solomon, Hezekiah, etc.

Yes, God did make a covenant with Hezekiah. Several in fact. One covenant made with Hezekiah was instituted when he was sick, and at the point of death. Hezekiah prayed and God promised or covenanted that he would live another 15 years. Hezekiah ask, "How will I know that I'm going to live another 15 years?" God, as a sign or seal of the covenant, gave Hezekiah the choice of the sun going forward ten degrees or going back ten degrees. Hezekiah chose the latter.

There are many such personal covenants or promises made by God with individuals. Those covenants, as interesting as they might be, are not the focus of this study.

We want to see this one major covenant, referred to as God's Covenant, and some of the components that God put in place to implement His Covenant. Some of the components God used, and is using to complete His Covenant are themselves covenants. Some of those covenants extend into eternity, and some are restricted to time, itself.

This overall covenant of God is referred to by some as the Divine Decrees of God. More on this later. Remember the Biblical covenants have to do primarily with the spectrum of time. So if you can think of God's Covenant as being established before time and circling time as the controlling factor of all time, it will help you see its relationship to the many other Biblical covenants.

The major Biblical covenant established during time that extends into eternity, is referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant, because it was initially established with Abraham. That everlasting covenant was reestablished with Isaac, then with Jacob and finally passed on to the nation of Israel.

However, within that Abrahamic Covenant were embedded three other covenants, themselves being everlasting. Those three covenants were Land, Davidic and New covenants. Even though these covenants have addition elements within them, they could not exist without the Abrahamic covenant. These "titles", except for the last one, are not Biblical titles. All are descriptive titles.

If these areas are not 
extremely familiar 
to you, please request the video or audio tapes of the Walk-Through.

Two other covenants, given during time that have a profound effect on time and extending into eternity, are the covenants given to Adam after his sin in the garden, and the covenant made with Noah after the flood.

Then we come to the covenant given through Moses to the Nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. This covenant does not extend into eternity. It was fulfilled by Christ at His first coming. All of these covenants are extensions of God's Covenant made before time began.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." 17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Each of these passages we'll be looking at would make wonderful studies, but for this lesson, we need to establish the fact that this plan or covenant of God was decreed before humans were ever created. We also need to see that the elements of these decrees of God, before time, become the structure of the covenants made with the human race during time. Notice several things in the passage as we move through it:

  1. Our holy conduct has its reality first in the mind v.13.
  2. These truths are taught from the background of the Tabernacle and its service v.19.
  3. All of this was foreordained before the foundation of the world, BUT was manifested during the spectrum of time.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

Without taking time to study this passage, note that we were chosen in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world:

  1. To be holy (This aspect is for now).
  2. AND

  3. To the adoption of sons (This aspect is yet to come).

This decree of God was made before the foundation of the world to be effective during the spectrum of time, and also some aspects extend into eternity future.

Ephesians 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-- in Him, 11 in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
  1. God purposed, in Himself, before the foundation of the world v.4.
  2. To make known to us in the fullness of time.
  3. This was according to the eternal purpose God and the counsel of His will, not because of changing human circumstances.

This Covenant of God was made and confirmed in God before mankind ever saw the light of day. However, even before time, it was God's plan and will to make known, to mankind, His eternal plan.

Romans 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began 26 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith-- 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

Notice that it is according to the revelation of the mystery which had been kept secret since the world began, that God is able to "establish" (v.25), or make us, who are sinners by nature, secure in Him. It was this mystery kept secret since the world began that was also the gospel Paul preached concerning Jesus Christ. All of Paul's writings have to do with this covenant made by God with Himself for the benefit of mankind, and God did so before the worlds began. WHAT A GOD!!

Hebrews 1:1 God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets. 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

I can never understand WHY people have such interest in what happened on earth before recorded history, YET so many find what happened BEFORE time began to be boring. On the other hand, I have some idea why. The accounts of what happened before recorded history come from the imagination of mankind. BUT what happened before time began comes from the heart of God. Humans are attracted to the imagination of mankind, but we, too often, rebel against the heart of God.

This Eternal Covenant was made before the worlds were formed, and was established by the One who made the worlds, and upholds or holds together all that He made.

This Creator God not only 
the Covenant, 
He gave Himself 
as the payment to satisfy that Covenant,
so we would be 
able to share 
in all that He is and has for all of eternity!

That alone should be enough to give us a burning desire to know all we can about this Eternal Covenant.

© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001