We talked about how to pray, when to pray, even what to pray, but we never really talked about what an amazing GIFT Prayer really is! Believe it or not, mankind has not always had the ability to go directly before the Throne of God (YHWH) with our prayers and petitions. When we understand the “process” that was necessary to approach God’s Throne BEFORE Jesus Christ, we will gain an even richer understanding and appreciation of what Jesus has done for us, not only in eternity (after death), but now, while we remain on earth. Jesus LITERALLY made PRAYER POSSIBLE. Having the ability to go before the Throne of God, in the Name of Jesus, is an incredible honor and a blessing. Do we or can we truly appreciate this?
To understand this better we have to go back, again, to the very beginning. God’s desire has always been to dwell directly with mankind as HE did in the Garden of Eden. But, when Adam and Eve fell into sin, a Great Chasm appeared between God and man. We can think of this Chasm as something like the Grand Canyon. On one side, a perfectly Holy and Righteous God, Blameless in all of His Ways. On the other side, fallen mankind, now wrapped in sin-laden human flesh, with no ability to approach the Father. After the Fall of mankind, the Father made it crystal clear that ALL people who would even attempt to approach HIM in their sinful flesh would burn up and die. We can just imagine the silence in Heaven, the Angels mourning in Heaven, as the pinnacle of God’s creation, mankind, fell into sin and rebellion.
There were only a very few examples of people in all of HIS STORY who were endowed with a special anointing that could approach God’s Presence. Moses was one of those people. When God came down to Mt. Sinai to meet the people of Israel, Moses was used as an Intercessor (a person who intervenes on behalf of another). For the rest of the Israelites, God literally had Moses set up a boundary around the Mountain so that the Israelites wouldn’t come too close to God’s Glory and die. This was God’s mercy.
Exodus 20:18: All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.
God’s desire has always been to dwell with mankind, but our sins have separated us from our Creator. However, God in His Mercy, created a “system” so that He could dwell safely with us while we walk through this wilderness called earth. God created the sacrificial system to forgive man’s sin and He established the Levitical Priesthood. There were 12 “Tribes” of Israel, but only the Levites could be the Priests. The “job” of the Priests (especially the High Priest) was to administer the Sacrifices, minister to the Lord, and attend to the Tabernacle and all its furnishings. The Priesthood and the animal sacrifices were a mere foreshadowing of the substitution principle that would one day be completely fulfilled when God our Creator would wrap Himself in the likeness of human flesh while taking our sins to the Cross, burying them forever, thereby freeing us from sin and the grave. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The Ark of the Covenant, the central point of the Tabernacle, was a very ornate box or container that held God’s Commandments written in Stone. The Ark was made of acacia wood (common wood/very durable) over-layed with pure gold. We can think of Jesus’ body as a “type” of Ark holding God’s commandments. The common, yet durable wood is a symbol of Jesus’ humanity, the gold is a symbol of His Divinity. Jesus IS the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14).
The Levite Priests were the ONLY ones anointed by God to approach the Ark of the Covenant, in which God’s Glory dwelt. All others would surely die if they approached the Ark. The Levites were instructed to carry the Ark on special Golden poles (1 Chronicles 15:15).
After the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land, King David called for the Ark of the Covenant to be brought to Jerusalem. There was a mishap that occurred while carrying the Ark, and a non-Levite reached out his hand to steady it so it didn’t tip. The man named Uzzah died immediately. This greatly disturbed King David and the others who were then afraid of the Lord. After this occurred, it took David awhile to get his “nerve up” to bring the Ark to Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 6:6 But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it.7 And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.8 David became angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. 9 So David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” 10 And David was unwilling to move the ark of the Lord into the city of David with him; but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
The Ark and God’s Glory rested in the Tabernacle of YHWH, and eventually in the Temple in Jerusalem that we shall soon see will be built by King Solomon. The Ark was located in what is called the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy Place. This place was very sacred, and was located in the inner most part of the Tabernacle. A thick Heavy curtain called “the veil” separated it from the rest of the Temple. We find later, out in the New Testament, that Jesus’ flesh was a “type” of veil. (Hebrews 10:19-20).
Prior to Jesus Christ, the only way the Israelites could approach or connect to the One True God is through one of God’s chosen intercessors, a Priest or a Prophet. This is not because God is “mean” or because HE doesn’t care about His Creation, it’s because our sins completely separated us from Him. The Israelites might pray, but they had no confidence that the Lord heard them. This is because the Lord does not hear the prayers of sinners and all of humanity has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
John 9:31: We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.
God used the Sacrificial system (the blood of the innocent in exchange for the blood of the guilty) as a way to dwell and connect with His people. On only one day of the year, Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, the high priest of Israel was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of the house of YHVH. The High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of the Sin offering to make atonement for the sins of himself and of Israel, which he would sprinkle directly on the Ark of the Covenant! The solemnity of the day was underscored by God telling Moses to warn Aaron not to come into the Most Holy Place whenever he felt like it, only on this special day once a year, lest he die (v. 2). This was not a ceremony to be taken lightly, and the people were to understand that atonement for sin was to be done God’s way.
Exodus 30:10 “Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year; he shall make atonement on it with the blood of the sin offering of atonement once a year throughout your generations. It is most holy to YHVH.”
Leviticus 16:30: for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before YHVH.
In preparation for the Day of Atonement, the high priest would separate himself from his family and from the Israelites for seven days in a chamber at the Temple (or tent in Moses day). On the special Day of Atonement, he come forth dressed in four special linen garments. The High Priest had to go through quite a bit of preparation to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, day of atONEment. All of the preparations were very important in preserving the life of the High Priest as he approached the Ark of the Covenant, and the Glory of God. If the High Priest had neglected these preparations, he would surely die. The High Priest was the intercessor between God and man. At this time, the general population could not even think about approaching the Throne of God lest they die.
Hebrews 9:7: but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
JESUS CHANGED EVERYTHING….
At the time of Jesus’ Crucifixion, the skies grew dark and there was a GREAT EARTHQUAKE …
35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. 37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.”48 Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49 But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
…and the VEIL in the Temple was torn violently in half. This is the same veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple. This is the Veil that only the High Priest could enter through and only once per year (with blood/Hebrews 9:7) on Yom Kippur, Day of atONEment. Do you see what happened here? At the time that Jesus died, HE literally changed everything. Once Jesus shed HIS BLOOD as the final atONEment for our sins, the veil was torn in half and NOW all people can enter DIRECTLY into the presence of YHWH through the blood of Jesus. Our sins are forgiven, so God hears our prayers!
How did Jesus make this happen?
Jesus bore our sins on that cross and buried them forever. After that, Jesus was Resurrected 3 days and 3 nights later (sign of Jonah), and is now seated at the Right Hand of the Father. Over 2000 years ago, Jesus entered the Heavenly Tabernacle to make constant intercession for you and me! Because of this, we can regularly and boldly go before God Almighty anywhere and anytime we like through the blood of Jesus Christ, and the Father hears our prayers!
Hebrews 4:16: Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
Jesus entered the Heavenly Tabernacle! What do we mean Heavenly Tabernacle? The Bible tells us there is a Tabernacle or Temple in Heaven. The Tabernacle on earth was built as its copy.
When Moses went up to Mt. Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments, he also received the blueprint for the Tabernacle, the tent that was to be erected in the Wilderness that would house the Ark of the Covenant and the Glory of God. God told Moses, “Build it the way I say! Follow the pattern I show you!” He showed Moses exactly how to do it.
Exodus 25: 40 See that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.
Exodus 25:9: “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle...even so shall ye make it”.
Moses and the Israelites were to build the Tabernacle according to the Blueprints that was given by God on Mt. Sinai. The Tabernacle is a copy, a “replica”, an earthly image of the True Tabernacle in Heaven. Jesus is seated (in power) at the Right Hand of the Father in the True Tabernacle in Heaven making intercession for you and me.
Hebrews 8:1: Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
God’s presence dwells in the True Tabernacle in Heaven, just as it dwelt in the Tabernacle on earth. For over 2000 years, Jesus has been IN the TRUE TABERNACLE in HEAVEN working as HIGH PRIEST, making intercession for us. Simultaneously, God’s presence also dwells inside of ALL Believers of Yeshua on earth via the Holy Spirit. He can do this because He is Omniscient and Omnipresent.
Revelation 11:19 And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
Revelation 15:5: After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened,
For this reason,
- We no longer need a Physical Temple on earth. The New Testament makes it clear, WE are now the Temple of God because God’s Holy Spirit dwells inside of ALL BELIEVERS! (1 Corinthians 6:19)
- We no longer need animal sacrifices to atone for sin because Jesus was the FINAL FULFILLMENT of the Substitution Principle (the blood of the innocent in exchange for the blood of the guilty. The blood of Bulls and goats could never take away sin anyway (Hebrews 10:4). Jesus IS the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
- We no longer need an earthly High Priest to make intercession for us because JESUS IS our HIGH PRIEST FOREVER, serving in the HEAVENLY TABERNACLE (Hebrews 6:20).
- We can now go BOLDLY and DIRECTLY to the Throne of God with our prayers and petitions knowing that God hears our prayers. (Hebrews 4:16).
The next time you sit down and say a prayer to YHWH (God), think about how Blessed we are to be on this side of the Cross. Think about how amazing it really is that our Jesus has created a bridge that reaches across the giant chasm so now we can go boldly before God, ourselves, any time we choose. Remember what it cost Jesus to do this for you and for me! This is truly FREEDOM, and it is AMAZING!