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God set up a system of observation, application and upholding of the law in Israel, which will help us to see much clearer the differences between observation, application and upholding of law as well as prophecy.  For prophecy also needs to be observed, applied and upheld as well.

In the setting up of the tabernacle, the Levites were to do the work of the setting up of the tabernacle, and having set up the tabernacle, they, together with the priests, would perform all the necessary sacrifices of the goats, lambs, birds and grains that the people brought, each in its prescribed way.  As they performed the sacrifices, the people would participate by watching, singing or praising.

The actual setting up of the tabernacle and the performance of the sacrifices by the Levites is the Old Testament equivalent of the practice of the words of Jesus.  The observation of the setting up and the performance of the sacrifices are like listening to Jesus, seeing what was done instead of doing what had to be done.  The people brought the prescribed sacrifice, and the priests and Levites performed the prescribed sacrifices.  Likewise, the people of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God are to bring the prescribed sacrifices, their time and their attention to hear and listen to the word.  If those people want to become priests in the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God, they then have to practise the words of Jesus, which are like instructions to set up the furnishings and curtains of the temple in the New Testament.  Obviously, with more practice, the more the temple is set up correctly and faster.  Likewise for a person who has heard the words of Jesus, the more they listen and the more they practise, the more they become the fullness of the temple of God with every gifting and fruit in place, just like the tent of the tabernacle would have every furnishing in place.

The people of Israel are the equivalent of the believers, and the priests and Levites are the equivalent of the disciples.  Just as the people would bring the sacrifices and offerings on set days and times as well as obey certain parts of the law that they were permitted to obey and participate in, so believers have a duty and obligation to observe their parts of the Law of Jesus, even though they themselves do not actually do the ‘real’ work.

Believers are to believe what they have heard and put it into practice, even to speak in new tongues and lay hands on the sick and drive out demons.  But the reality is that the actual work of the healing is done by the Lord and the actual work of the driving out of demons is done by the Lord.  As the Lord said, “These signs will accompany those who believe…”[1]

Thus, as the people of Israel observed the Sabbath, the Passover, and so on, bringing the prescribed sacrifices at the prescribed time, the Lord would bless them.  He would fulfil His promises to them, rain would come in season, crops would be bountiful and enemies would flee from them, and there would be peace in the land.  Observers of the law do what is prescribed and God does to them what He promised.

Now with those who apply the law like the Levites and the priests, as they practise and do their duties, they come to the place where they are the ones who do something and not God.  It was the Levites who obeyed God when Moses said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:  ‘Each man strap a sword to his side.  Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbour.’[2]  God gave the command, but it was the Levites who did the killing.  This was not a case where God did the killing as in the case of the two sons of Aaron,[3] and with Korah, Dathan and Abiram, [4] but it was the Levites who did the actual work.  It was the Levites who also did what God had been doing, killing those who opposed Him as He did to the Egyptians.

It was Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, a priest, who killed the Israelite man and Moabite woman and stopped the Lord’s plague, which was killing the Israelites.[5]  Somehow in that duty of offering the sacrifices as a priest, Phinehas developed a zeal for God’s honour, which caused him to pick up a spear for God.  The zeal of the Levites for God and against their own people caused them to be chosen as ones who would serve to set up, take down, and carry the articles of the tabernacle.  They were allowed to experience first amongst the Israelites the grace of God whereby they would do work on the Sabbath, thus breaking a law and are yet innocent, as the Lord said, “Or haven’t you read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent.”[6]  Phinehas broke the Levitical command, “Thou shall not kill,”[7] yet he was not killed, but rather, received a reward from God that was as great as it got for his time, a commendation and a covenant.  Likewise, the believers who are chosen by the Father to be disciples of Christ, and those who permit themselves to be made disciples of, are the ones who so practise the words of Jesus that they too will be the ones who will be doing the work, the signs, wonders and miracles, and not the Lord.  For it is those disciples who develop faith in Jesus who will fulfil what Jesus said to the disciples, “Anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these.”[8]  And they will come to the place of even making disciples as Jesus made disciples, as Jesus said to the eleven, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…”[9]

So just as the Levites were the ones who did the killing and Phinehas ran the spear through without a command from God, but with the zeal and the jealousy for God to see what needed to be done, to stop and to save God from His unpleasant task of killing the Israelites with His plagues, so disciples who are faithful and earnest in the practice of the words of Jesus will be the ones who will do the signs, wonders and miracles at God’s command, and some like Phinehas will have such jealous zeal for Him that they will do something so as to save God’s honour and spare God from doing something He does not like.  It was Moses, a Levite and priest, who was the first to stand between God and Israel and caused God to change His mind about destroying the Israelites.

So, within the church, disciples are chosen and made, and it is from the disciples that Jesus raises up apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors as gifts to the church, as Paul wrote, so that the body of Christ may be built up…[10]  Just like the Levites set up the tent so that the people could observe the law, so the disciples are to have the body of Christ, which includes believers, to be built up.  Discipleship is to teach a person what to do until they can do it for themselves.  It is not about believing God to do it for them, but to so believe God as to apply His commands so that they can do it for themselves, and with those who have the right heart, do it for God.

There were thousands of Levites and many priests, but there was only one Phinehas —a man who saw that he needed to do something for God without God asking him, a man who saw that God was already busy, angry, distressed and being disgraced by His own people, a man who sees God and His honour, who is prepared to not only work for God, but defend His honour.  If the one who works for the glory and honour of the One who sent him is a man of truth, there is nothing false about him, as Jesus said.[11]  Then what of the man who puts himself in harm’s way to defend God’s honour like Phinehas?  Phinehas killed without a command from God, so for him the excuse, “God told me to do it,” did not apply.  He was himself as good as dead according to the law, but he knew he had to do something to stop God’s anger, and therefore God’s distress.  Do not tell me that you do not realise that anytime we make God angry, we distress Him.  Any parent knows the distress our children cause us when they make us angry.

So the disciples learn to apply the law until they are the ones who do it for themselves.  Now, from amongst the disciples, the Holy Spirit searches for His elect, as He set apart Paul and Barnabas, two apostles of Christ to be His elect in Acts 13.  What quality is the Holy Spirit looking for in His elect?  Men like Paul and Barnabas you say—true.  But what are their qualities?  Like Phinehas, Paul was prepared to kill and did kill those he thought were bringing disgrace to God, except Paul did not live in the time of Phinehas, but Jesus’ time.  However, like Phinehas, Paul was prepared to kill to defend God’s commands, and like Phinehas, Paul received from Jesus a covenant, the covenant of the forgiveness of sins, and his own gospel, a priesthood if you like, that can never be taken away from him.[12]

Barnabas, although he was not a killer like Phinehas and Paul were, was a man who could see the need and execute an action to meet the need without being asked by God or asking God first.  Barnabas was the first to sell a field and bring the money to the apostles[13] so that they would never have to say again, “Silver and gold have I none.”[14]  That is why the apostles called him, Barnabas, son of encouragement.

So it is likewise now we are to make disciples until some will do what Jesus has been doing, and no longer need the Lord to do it for them.  But, the elect of the Holy Spirit have Phinehas, Paul and Barnabas as their forebears, and are those who have a zeal for God’s honour that they will know what to do to bring God relief before they are asked or told.  They will know the application of the words of Jesus so well that they are innovators within His word, that whatever they wish and will are the greater things than what Jesus has done, and their deeds bring relief to God from His awful task of having to discipline His people so severely that He has to send His plagues.

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 are such people who shut up the sky while they are declaring the return of Jesus, who strike the Earth with plagues as often as they wish, and who change the water to blood.  They will do it all so God does not have to do it Himself. 

Apart from the people and the priests, God also raised up judges who sat in judgement of the application of the law.  They were the ones who upheld the law for the people and passed sentence on the people.  Judges usually appeared when the people repented and needed deliverance, but by the will of the people, they were replaced by the kings.  An event anticipated by Moses so that in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 Moses gave the Israelites a set of rules for the king, which included:  When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites.  It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God, and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left.   Those judges and kings were supposed to uphold the law by setting the sentence of punishment and enforcing the sentence of punishment on those who broke the law as well as being the agents of God’s grace, and annul and forgive the punishment after the guilt was established.

Likewise, in the New Testament from within the church, from the disciples who become overcomers, the Lord will raise up the new judges and kings —those who will be given the authority over nations.  “To him who overcomes and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—he will rule them with an iron sceptre; he will dash them to pieces like pottery—just as I have received authority from My Father.”[15]  They will be raised up as lords—the New Covenant equivalent of judges.  They are the ones whom John saw in Revelation 20:4:  I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.

And there will be those who are the overcomers of Revelation 3:21:  “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne,” who will be kings just like Him, for the Lord Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords as the Father is the Judge of judges and the King of kings as well.

Thus, the people observed the law; the Levites applied the law, and the judges and kings upheld the law.  So, likewise, in the New Covenant, believers observe the word and God confirms His word for them.  Disciples practise the word and confirm the word for God.  And sons of God do all of the above and take the word of God into the new things of God as they learn to be innovators and creators.  The role of the elect, like Phinehas, Paul and Barnabas, have been set aside by the Holy Spirit to shorten the time of distress just as Phinehas shortened the time of distress—and to defend the words of Jesus against the Judeaizers and the disciples of James, just as Paul and Barnabas were meant to do.  And more than that, correct, undo, clean up and remove everything that does not belong to the New Covenant body of Christ, the church, so that it can be made ready for the bride of Christ, New Jerusalem.

In the midst of this overall picture, the details of the work will include fulfilment of the words of Jesus, His law and His prophecy.  And just as the laws are to be observed, applied and upheld, so to the prophecies.  The observation of prophecies is to watch for their occurrence, to write them down to tell and remind people of them and to watch for them being fulfilled.  As the Lord said through Habakkuk, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”[16] 

Observation of a prophecy requires faith to believe that it will happen just as the observation of the law requires faith to do what is required.  Application of a prophecy is to know what to do with yourself in the light of that prophecy even as you wait for the fulfilment of the prophecy.  Upholding of the prophecy is understanding the consequences of the prophecy, so that you are already taking measures not just to prepare for the prophecy, but to prepare as if the prophecy will and has taken place.  All this will be better understood once the application of the law is better practised.

After all, if you cannot do what you ought to do now, why should you be shown what you will have to do?  Those of that first generation of Israel, who would not believe God, never saw the Promised Land.  Just as those, who would not believe in Jesus’ words in all its entirety now, will not experience it in its entirety in their lives.  If you will not practise what was said 2000 years ago, why would anyone tell or teach you what is to come in the next 1000 years?  As such, the previous chapter, Application of Prophecy and Prophets, is mistimed because the fullness of the consequences and the meaning of the application of the law is not fully delivered.  Now, understand what it is to observe, apply and uphold the law, and you will be ready to observe, apply and uphold prophecy, and the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.

The ability to observe, apply and uphold Jesus’ testimony is what the elect is to help the church, the believers, the disciples, the sons of God to do, and to shorten these days of distress—days of distress of God.  Amen

[1] Mark 16:17

[2] Exodus 32:27

[3] Leviticus 10:1-2

[4] Numbers 16

[5] Numbers 25:7-9

[6] Matthew 12:5

[7] Exodus 20:13 KJV

[8] John 14:12

[9] Matthew 28:16-20

[10] Ephesians 4:12

[11] John 7:18

[12] Romans 2:16; Galatians 1:11-12,15

[13] Acts 4:36-37

[14] Acts 3:6

[15] Revelation 2:26-27

[16] Habakkuk 2:2-3


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