WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES

 
 
TUESDAY TEACHINGS
 
 

 

A REVELATION OF... THE 3 RIVERS OF GOD

The principle of the 'river' in scripture and how it applies to our lives and the church today.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Interestingly, the river flowing from Ezekiel's Temple illustrates a similar pattern of living to that of the Tabernacle of Moses. For God reinforces His principles over and over again in many different ways.

Let's see how, shall we?

 

 

 

BACKGROUND

CONCISE OXFORD DICTIONARY
RIVER: STREAM: WATER: CLEANSE: PURIFY:

BIBLE DICTIONARIES
RIVER: RIVER OF GOD: WATER OF PURIFICATION: WATER OF SEPARATION: CLEAN: PURIFICATION: FRUIT: RIVER: CLEAN AND UNCLEAN: PURITY: FRUIT: FRUITS: WATER OF JEALOUSY: WATER OF PURIFICATION: WATER OF SEPARATION: WATER:

 

The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
THE BACKGROUND

 

 

Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue

 

THE RIVER OF PROGRESS - 2(Flowing from Ezekiel’s Temple)

 

Model of Ezekiel's Temple by John W. Schmitt

 

 

COMPARISON WITH THE TABERNACLE OF MOSES

 

The Lord showed me first that this river represents our ‘work in progress’, a not an altogether startling revelation, as was described last week.

However, the startling thing about it, as I discovered once I started writing, was that the river from Ezekiel’s temple parallels the pattern of Moses’ Tabernacle in terms of setting out the principles of Christian discipleship. That is, the way God desires His followers to live.
 

 

1. River in the Temple - The Outer Court

 

The river had its source in the Temple at the Altar:

Model of Moses Tabernacle showing furniture in the Outer Court.

 

 

Ezekiel 47:1-2

 

The Outer Court of Moses’ Tabernacle surrounded the Tent in which the presence of the Lord dwelled. It contained two items of furniture.

 

 

a. THE BRAZEN ALTAR

Upon this Altar, the Priests made sacrifices.

 

 

Exodus 38:1-4

 

 

b. THE WASHING BASIN

The Priests purified themselves by washing in the Basin before making the sacrifices.

 

 

Exodus 38:8

 

 

It is obvious that the Altar’s in both the Tabernacle and Temple represent the first step in our journey with Jesus. For we need to come to the Altar, which in the New Covenant (Testament) is the Cross of Jesus, as the first step in our Christian walk. There is no other way. The source of the river is the Altar in the Temple and the Altar is the first thing we come to when entering the Tabernacle gate. In spite of what many would like to believe, there is no way into Heaven other than through the cross of Jesus. Good works don’t work!

The New Bible Dictionary quoted in the Introduction tells us that water signifies cleansing and relates water to the Laver (Washing Basin)

“The laver before the *tabernacle was a constant reminder of the need for cleansing in the approach to God (Ex. 30:18-21). A developed form of this ritual ablution was practised by the Qumran sect and by a variety of Jewish baptist sects which flourished before and after the turn of the Christian era. These provide the background to John’s baptism of repentance and to the Christian *baptism of cleansing, initiation and incorporation into Christ.” The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.

Hence the water coming from the Altar parallels the cleansing of the Washing Basin in the Tabernacle. When we repent before the cross of Jesus we are called to baptism, as a public symbol of the commitment we have made and to wash ourselves clean with the Word of God, the Bible, by living the life it proclaims.
 

 

2. Ankles, Knees and Thighs – The Holy Place

 

Now we move out of the Temple and see how the river flows down its course. 

 

Ezekiel 47:3-4

 

 

Commentators commonly consider the river to represent Holy Spirit anointing. Likewise the same interpretation is put on entering the Holy Place in the Tabernacle.

In the river there are three steps to the process, getting wet to the ankles, knees and thighs. In the Tabernacle, there are 3 items of furniture in the Holy Place. The Table of Showbread, the Golden Candlestick, and the Altar of Incense are all found there.

Whether it is the river or the tent, we have to make the conscious decision to enter. We can stay on the bank or in the Outer Court, but if we do, we will miss out on so much of what God has for us. This entry point in both cases is known today under the New Covenant as the baptism (infilling) of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians are prepared to enter the Temple or Tabernacle to experience the Altar, and maybe the Washing Basin, but then decide to stay on the banks of the river, or remain in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle. To be believers, maybe even baptized believers, but stand on the riverbank, refusing to move on into the realms of the Spirit.

They are content with the baptism of repentance through Jesus, as revealed by John the Baptist.

 

 

Acts 19:1-6

 

 

While standing on the bank, the river looks cold (certainly is in New Zealand in the natural!) and the people entering appear to be out of control as the water gets deeper and deeper around them.

“I don’t want to drown! I must retain control of my life!”

The important thing to remember though is we retain freewill through the whole process. Nobody is going to force us to move deeper than we desire. But the Holy Spirit is waiting patiently to reveal greater truth to us as we enter, then go deeper into the river.

 

 

John 16:12-15

 

Yes, as we are prepared to trust Jesus more, moving deeper and deeper into the river, so we experience more of Him with the help of our teacher, friend and guide, the Holy Spirit.

 

3. Swimming – The Holy of Holies

 

The ultimate goal for each disciple is to swim in the river, without effort, resting under God’s control, having fully submitted our life to Him.

 

 

Ezekiel 47:5

 

 

Once we are unable to cross the river in our own strength we have to rely upon Him! That is where our God desires us to be. Fully submitted, yes, 100% obedient to Him. But again, it is a matter of conscious choice, not compulsion. This is not something to be afraid of, but rather, to welcome.

This is a picture of the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle of Moses where the very presence of God dwelled between the wings of the two cherubim, above the Atonement Cover on the Ark of the Covenant.

Under the Old Covenant (Testament) the High priest was the only one who could approach God, and then only on the annual Day of Atonement, after first making atonement for his own sins by sacrificing a bull on the Brazen Altar.

 

 

Leviticus 16:29b-34

 

 

When Jesus died in a the ultimate selfless act of final atonement, the curtain to the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem was supernaturally torn in two form the top, to give us access into the very presence of God.

 

 

Mark 15:37-39

 

 

In doing so, He opened the way for each one of us to enter the Most Holy Place.

 

 

Hebrews 9:11-15

 

 

But our obedience to His desires is required.

 

 

Hebrews 5:8

 

 

Yes, we need to swim out of our depth, to trust in Him 100%, to do His will, not our own, and in doing so enter His rest.

 

 

Hebrews 4:9-11

 

 

This is confirmed in Paul’s Letter to the Romans. 

 

Romans 12:1-2

 

 

The flow of the river, the will of the Father, is to become our will. 

 

Ephesians 5:17-20

 

 

As shown us by the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Galatians 5:22-25

 

 

And reflected in the life of Jesus.

 

 

1 John 2:6

 

NEXT WEEK: A REVELATION OF……. THE 3 RIVERS OF GOD continues.....

 

For the final part of our study we move to the climax of the Book of Revelation, where the third and most desirable river is described.

 

 

A NOTE FROM DAVID

 

God's pattern of progressive discipleship, coming to maturity, is stamped all over His Word.

This is the challenge we still face today. To move from 'milk to meat'. to go 'over our heads' in our life and endeavours for our God. This is a lifelong process.

THE HAAST EAGLE

The Haast eagle, the largest, most powerful, eagle the world has known, the females weighing as much as 13 kilograms and with wings spanning almost three metres. As herbivores, such as the Moa (see last week), evolved large body size, the eagle did too, allowing it to exploit a food source reserved in other lands for the great cats. Indeed the Haast eagle had talons comparable to a tiger's and was capable of killing a human.

The New Zealand eagle was a forest eagle that could not soar but probably hunted like other similar eagles by perching high on a branch until a suitable prey came within range and then diving on it at speeds of up to 80 kilometres an hour (50mph). The impact, which could knock even the largest Moa off its feet, was cushioned by powerful legs. The brutal talons were then used to crush and pierce the neck and skull of the immobilised prey. The eagle and its mate could remain near the kill for several days.

The picture shows the 3m (10ft) wing-spanned eagle with the 3m tall Moa, which it preyed upon.

 

 

So until next week.......
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD!

His servant and yours

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A DAVID'S DOODLING

26. The stairway to great faith is climbed one step at a time. A single leap courts disaster.

David Tait         

 

 

 

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