Kidron Saga, Part 2: The Tabernacle
The presence of God in our lives as believers makes our relationship with Him so special. But throughout history, God has dwelled with His people physically in several ways, which we’re learning about in our 6-part Kidron Valley series.
Last week we learned about the first place God dwelled with man—in the Garden of Eden. This week takes us through Israel’s history in the wilderness and the Tabernacle, the place of worship where God dwelled with His people. From its design to its purpose, everything about the Tabernacle was designed to display God’s glory in a way the Israelites could behold. Enjoy this program about the presence of God in the Tabernacle and how it ties to Israel’s Kidron Valley!
Chris Katulka: Shalom everyone, and welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. Thanks for joining us. I'm your teacher, Chris Katulka. And I know, I understand you're wondering, where is that voice, Steve Conover? Listen, Steve's going to be back next week. It's just me today, but I want to encourage you to visit our website, foiradio.org, and there you're going to find out more information about The Friends of Israel Today. You'll be able to actually go to an archives page that we have, where you can listen to six years of our teachings online. Again, you can do all that at foiradio.org.
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Now on today's program, we're going to be continuing our series on the Kidron Saga. You want to talk about some prophetic tension that's in the Bible, it kind of takes place in this really important location in Jerusalem called the Kidron Valley. We're going to talk about it, that tension that exists here, but before we get there, first let's see what's happening in the news.
Israeli scientists say they have identified three existing drugs that have good prospects as COVID-19 treatments, reporting that they illustrated high ability to fight the virus in lab tests. Professor Isaiah Arkin, The Hebrew University biochemist behind the research, told The Times of Israel that the results showed that the drug can protect cells from the onslaught by the virus with close to 100% effectiveness. The drugs that they're looking at treat heart issues, cancer, and HIV as well. So it's a very interesting thing that they're looking at here by looking into existing drugs that could help treat COVID-19.
I've been saying this for a while actually. COVID vaccines are helping to fight against the coronavirus, but look, it's not going to get rid of the virus. We need a drug for those times that the vaccines fail. And when they do fail, these drugs could help those who are suffering. Israeli scientists are hard at work on not only looking at the existing drugs, but even creating other drugs like EXO-CD24, which is currently in trials in Greece and in other areas of Europe, a medication that Benjamin Netanyahu himself called a miracle drug.
Last week we started a new six-part series. I've called it the Kidron Saga. The reason I call it the Kidron Saga is because the Kidron Valley is a specific location in Jerusalem that much of biblical prophecy takes place in. This is why you all need to come to Israel with us, because we're going to take you and we're going to put your right on top of the Mount of Olives, and you're going to get a perfect view of Jerusalem and the Kidron Valley and everything that God is doing both past, present, and future in the Scriptures.
Now in Jerusalem, there are two mountains that sit side by side, next to one another. That's Mount Moriah, where the temple was constructed. Mount Moriah is where Solomon built his temple. It's the property David purchased for Solomon, his son, to build it. It's where the second temple was constructed after the Jewish people returned from exile. It's where Herod reconstructed and built up the second temple to make it one of the most magnificent temples in all of the Roman empire. All of that sat on top of Mount Moriah. And if you remember, in the Old Testament in the Book of Genesis, Mount Moriah is also the same place where Abraham bound Isaac, and yet God provided a substitute. Do you remember that? Remember when Abraham was supposed to offer his one and only son to the Lord as God commanded him. And just before he was going to offer him, the Lord stopped him and provided a ram in the thicket, a substitute, a picture of the true sacrifice that only Christ could provide in Jerusalem. That's all atop Mount Moriah.
But then directly east of Mount Moriah sits another mountain, the Mount of Olives. And there are so many biblical events that took place on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives looks out over Jerusalem. It's where Jesus cried out to God in the Garden of Gethsemane. It's where the Lord Jesus, remember, got atop a donkey, according to Zachariah 9:9 and went down into Jerusalem. It's where the Lord taught his disciples about the last days. That's why it's called the Olivet discourse because Jesus taught the disciples from the Mount of Olives. It's the place where the disciples watched the Lord Jesus ascend into heaven in Acts chapter 1.
There are so many biblical events that happened on the Mount of Olives, but what's in between Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives? Well, it's the Kidron Valley. There are two mountains and the valley in the middle. And the prophetic events that take place in the Kidron Valley are almost innumerable. God is doing something amazing in this little valley. It's really the prophetic tension point between these two mountains that are going to show us what God is doing prophetically throughout the Scriptures.
Now, as I said, last week, first, we need to go back in the Bible to find out why the Kidron Valley is so important. And last week we started in the Garden of Eden. Again, if you missed last week's message, you can go to foiradio.org to listen to our first installment of this series. And essentially what I said last week was that the Garden of Eden was more than just a garden for Adam and Eve to live in. It was actually a sanctuary for God to commune with his creation. It's where God walked with man. It's where God dwelled with his creation.
I forgot to mention this last week, but if you were to ask an Israeli today, if they were going to heaven in modern day Hebrew, you know what you'd say to them? You'd say, "Are you for certain that you're going to Gan Eden? Gan Eden in Hebrew is heaven. The Garden of Eden. Do you hear it? Gan Eden, that's heaven in Hebrew. I believe that's actually a very biblical way of looking at heaven because really the garden is an image of God's physical presence with his creation.
I want to take you one step closer to the Kedron Valley. We're getting there. I want to take you one step closer because today in the Scriptures, we're going to be looking in Exodus. It's that next step that takes place at the Tabernacle in the wilderness that's going to get us closer to the prophetic tension that's existing between Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives. The Kidron Valley, which was in Jerusalem. But I want to take you one step closer to the Kidron Valley today in the Scriptures. And that next step takes place at the Tabernacle in the wilderness. And you might be thinking to yourself, "Chris, I thought the Kidron Valley was in Jerusalem. First, you put us in the Garden of Eden, and now you're putting us in the Tabernacle?"
Well, listen, remember Mount Moriah, the Mount of Olives, the Kidron Valley are just mountains and valleys, but what gives these places significance is God's presence, his physical presence. God's physical presence was in Eden. That's what made Eden so special. And now we're about to see that the same physical presence came down into the Tabernacle. This amazing moment actually comes at the very end of the Book of Exodus. Exodus has some amazing moments and you probably know them offhand. God calls Moses, the 10 plagues, the actual Exodus account that takes place. The moment that the Israelites walk through on dry ground after God splits sea, the giving of the covenant and the law from Mount Sinai. These amazing moments that I'm sure are ingrained in your mind as you've read through the Book of Exodus before. People know Exodus for these historical moments. The Passover story is wrapped up in Exodus, but they often don't talk about the end of the book.
In Exodus 25:8, God tells Moses this: "Then have them make me a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." I want to focus on this verse for a moment, specifically the word dwell. Notice what God wants Moses to do too. He wants him to build a tabernacle for him to dwell in. God wants to dwell with his people. That word that's used when God says he wants to dwell among the Israelites, this Hebrew word is... You read? You're going to learn some Hebrew today. It's shakhan. Shakhan means to dwell. The Hebrew word for tabernacle, which is used in the next verse, in verse 9, is mishkan. Shakhan is the verb to dwell, and mishkan is the tabernacle.
I don't want to get too technical here, but in Hebrew, when you add the letter M in front of a word, you're communicating a location. Like when you say in Hebrew, Yerushalayim, you're saying Jerusalem. But let's say you want to communicate that you're from Jerusalem. You would say mYerushalayim. From Jerusalem. You put a little M in front of it. And the next thing you know, you're looking at the location of Jerusalem. So shakhan is to dwell, and mishkan communicates the dwelling place, the tabernacle, the place of dwelling. And notice something, God is the one who wants to dwell with his people.
I really believe that the Exodus account of leaving Egypt is for the purpose of God fulfilling his promise to Abraham, and then to come and dwell with his people. I have to tell you, scholars argue that this is one of the most significant moments in Old Testament history, because see, God is moving here. He's doing something that hasn't been done since creation. See, this is the reason I wanted to talk about the Garden of Eden first. God dwelled with his creation in the garden. And now look at this. God is going to come and dwell, shakhan, remember that word? God is going to come and dwell with his people, Israel. The tabernacle itself is often thought of as a place where sacrifice happens. Sin sacrifices were happening all the time, and that's where they took place. Well, that's true. Sacrifices were taking place at the tabernacle, but the purpose of the tabernacle was that God was coming to dwell with his people.
Just think about the sanctuary itself. When you enter into the holy place, what's in that holy place in the tabernacle? Well, there's a menorah, which is a candelabra which provided light for the sanctuary. It was purposefully designed actually to look like a tree, the tree of life, with fruit growing on it. And it was giving light to the darkness. This amazing, beautiful picture of the tree of life, which was found in the Garden of Eden and now it's symbolically placed in the holy place in the tabernacle. What else was in the tabernacle, in the holy place? Well, there was a table of showbread, which was designed to show the provision God gave in the garden. Everything man needed to live was provided by God. A picture that's seen in the table of showbread.
Even the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the holy place had cherubim that were embroidered on it as a reminder that just as Adam and Eve had sinned and God placed cherubim at the gate of Eden to prevent his creation from entering, no man could just walk into the Holy of Holies where God's presence dwelled. Only the high priest, once a year, on Yom Kippur. This picture that the tabernacle almost served like the Garden of Eden, this beautiful picture of a sanctuary God's presence was coming to dwell with his creation. The purpose of the tabernacle was to provide that place where God's presence could dwell and holiness could come down and be with people without consuming them. God made a way to be with his people, even though, think about it, they didn't deserve it. That sound familiar? It's called God's grace. Yes, even in the Old Testament we see over and over again, God's loving kindness, hesed, God's grace shining through.
Now, I want to show you in a moment how God's presence and glory came down in Exodus 40. But before we get there, I want to encourage you to go to foi.org/jerusalem. And here's the reason why. We just wrapped up our 12-part series on Jerusalem. It was called Jerusalem in Prophecy. We looked at every aspect of the city of Jerusalem, all of it, going back to Genesis and looking forward to the New Jerusalem that will come. Jerusalem is an ancient city that people have been fighting over for thousands of years and yet God chose to put his name there. And he's not done with Jerusalem. He has a hope for Jerusalem. He has a purpose for Jerusalem. And as our executive director, Dr. Jim Showers said, Jerusalem is the marketplace of redemption for the world.
And so listen, if you want to be a part of this amazing conference, the Jerusalem in Prophecy Online Conference, you can actually pre-order your DVD right now by going to foi.org/jerusalem. I want to encourage you one more time, foi.org/jerusalem to pre-order your Jerusalem in Prophecy Conference DVD.
Okay. So we are in a series that is looking at this little location in Jerusalem called the Kidron Valley. It's in the city and I promise if you've been keeping up with this series, we're going to get ourselves to the valley, I promise you. I'm going to show you the prophetic significance of the valley, the Kidron Valley, but it's a journey to get there in the Bible. It's a journey to get to the promised land. Hey, we're all on a journey following the Lord. And that's why this moment that we're about to look at in the wilderness, as it relates to God's dwelling. Remember shakhan? That word shakhan, God's dwelling is so important because God promised Moses... He told Moses that he wanted him to build a sanctuary. Remember Exodus 25:8? Build a tabernacle where his presence could dwell with his people, where he would lead them and guide them and protect them on this journey.
Look how Exodus ends. It ends with one of the most significant moments in Old Testament history. Listen to this. God came down. Listen to what it says in Exodus 40:34 and on:
"Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. But when the cloud was lifted up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on all their journeys. But if the cloud was not lifted up, then they would not journey farther until the day it was lifted up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, but fire would be on it at night, in plain view of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys."
My friends, God came down. You're going to see how important this verse is to prophecy as we continue our journey to the Kidron Valley. But this verse is full of prophetic truth that drives the story of God's plan of redemption for all mankind. God came down. He didn't leave his creation to wallow in their sin. He didn't abandon his people. Instead, God came down into a world of sin, into a world of shame, and made a way to dwell, shakhan. He tabernacled with Israel.
And look at the word there in Exodus chapter 40. Look what it says: "The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting." First, the cloud is the very physical presence of God manifested to the people of Israel. When they saw God, they weren't thinking of some ethereal being that they couldn't see. When they saw God, they saw God. And that cloud came down and the glory of the Lord filled that tabernacle. And you know, the Hebrew word... You're learning a lot of Hebrew today, I understand, but that Hebrew word for glory is kavod. Kavod means heavy, weighty. The heaviness, the weightiness of God came down. And look what happened to Moses. He had to leave. God's presence was so palpable. It was so real. It was so heavy. It was so weighty. Moses, the same Moses who just saw the backside of God earlier in Exodus and was physically changed, in this moment in Exodus 40, he couldn't even stand the holiness of God that was coming into the tabernacle. Moses had to run out of it. And yet God came down and he dwelled in the Holy of Holies atop the Ark of the Covenant.
Listen to this. The king of Israel came down to lead the people of Israel. I want you to see, because you're going to see in a little bit... As we unfold over the next few weeks here, you're going to see how God shakhaned, remember to dwell, with his people. God came to dwell with his people, and you're going to see how this moment in Exodus chapter 40, plays out prophetically throughout the Scriptures because prophecy, listen, isn't just about us going up. Yes, we are going to be raptured. The church is going to be raptured. We are going to see the Lord and he is going to catch us up to him, as it says in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. But it's only for a moment that we're caught up with him. The rest of the prophetic story is what? God coming down. You're going to want to come back and hear the rest of this series. I promise you, you're going to be really surprised to see how God works in that tiny valley, the Kidron Valley.
Mike Kellogg: When I returned home from one of my frequent army tours of duty, I took my family for a walk through the district of Me'a Shearim, inhabited by the most Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem. Several children were dancing around the bonfire singing, "We shall rebuild the holy temple." When I came close, I noticed New Testaments burning in the bonfire. I asked the children, "Why do you burn these books?" They said, "Everything in this book is about the living God and Messiah." They all shouted, "We must destroy it. Burning these books is a mitzvah," which means a good deed.
Suddenly a bearded man came up and said, "Throw that book back into the fire." I said, "I will not throw this Holy book into the fire. I will show it to your rabbi and ask him if he permitted you to do this." As soon as I said this, the rabbi came. I opened the New Testament and started reading from it at random. The page to which I opened was Hebrews 11. I read it aloud and all listened. And when I finished, the rabbi asked, "Did you study in the yeshiva?"
"No," I said. "The book was my yeshiva."
Then I opened to Matthew 5:43-44: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, 'Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.'" The rabbis looked at the New Testament and shouted, "He's a goy." Goy means Gentile. I said, "I only tried to show you what this book is all about. Here, you may have it if you still want to burn it." He reached out to take the book, but suddenly his hand started shaking.
I asked, "Why are you shaking? Perhaps the Spirit of God is speaking to you. This New Testament is the same holy Scripture of whom did Isaiah speak when he wrote, 'Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call him Immanuel. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be upon his shoulder and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.' You are burning the very faith you profess to believe. I am also a Jew," I said. "But I believe with all my heart in Messiah. Through him, I receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life."
These poor lambs started yelling, "Meshumed!" Meshumed means “apostate.” This time the rabbi silenced them and asked me, "Are you still angry at me?"
"No, I'm not angry at you or your foolish sheep. I just feel sorry." I gave him the New Testament and asked him to read it. This time he did not cast it into the fire, but put it into his pocket. A good sign. The Lord can do the rest.
Chris Katulka: Thank you for joining us today. Now, listen, next week, we're actually going to take a break from our Kidron Saga series. We're going to come back to that, but next week we're actually going to be looking at our most recent issue of Israel My Glory. It's all about Job. It's a devotional look at the Book of Job. It's called When We Hurt. I really want you to come back. I think it's going to be great. And you can actually prepare yourself. Now, go to israelmyglory.org, and if you don't already subscribe, you can subscribe right now by either getting our digital version or our paper version. But you can begin reading When We Hurt, a devotional look at the Book of Job even right now. That'll be happening next week.
Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Steve Conover is our executive producer. And our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And one final reminder, visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
Jerusalem in Prophecy DVD
Why has Jerusalem been so important throughout world history? And what lies ahead for the holy city? Discover the extensive prophetic program Scripture reveals for Jerusalem in this masterful study of the eternal capital of Israel!
Apples of Gold: Unholy Fire
When Zvi came home from serving in the army, he and his family visited a town where they were burning books. He noticed New Testament Bibles in the fire. He asked why they were burning Holy Scriptures, and they proclaimed it was filled with lies. Brokenhearted, Zvi took one out of the fire and read to them from Hebrews 11 and other Scriptures. The people listened to the truth of God’s Word, and God changed a rabbi’s heart through Zvi’s bold faith.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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