19. The Order of Journey
The order of journey in God's church is the order of the wineskin; that is, it is always fluid, changing with each season of new wine to meet the needs of those receiving the new wine and not the needs of those who worship old wineskins. – All ministry in the church is Jesus Himself revealing Himself through some that He might make Himself known as Himself living in, as, and through all, each individual member of His Body. The order of Melchizedek is 100% the opposite of external structure; it is entirely the outflow of Heart.
19. The Order of Journey
It is clear to me now that Jesus rescues us, not from sin or death or Adam or the devil, but from ourselves first. Thus a self for a self is the only exchange needed, and it is complete. Christ does not know those other things, thus His self as ours is the totality of Salvation, and understanding Redemption simply confirms that our job is to know the unfolding of this One who is our only life. That unfolding is the journey we are on.
This series is about the Feast of Tabernacles. Even though the blowing of trumpets and the Day of Atonement are essential parts of that Feast, yet in themselves, they are simply the Way there. The eight days of the actual Feast of Tabernacles represent something quite different, as we should expect.
Thus the purpose of everything I draw into this series, the journey of Israel and the functions of Moses' tabernacle including the Ark of the Covenant, is not to explore those things in themselves, but rather to lay as full and as deep of a picture as we can possibly see at present so that when we arrive at the actual Feast itself, we will simply be blown right into it's fulfilment in our lives and upon this planet.
I am satisfied that I found what I sought concerning Sacrifice in the three letters on that topic. However there is more, and thus some further elements of Sacrifice and Covenant must await the letters on the Day of Atonement and the life of David, a man after God's own heart.
But to comprehend the Feast of Tabernacles in what it is, we must bring in, now, a completely different angle of understanding. Sacrifice provides the foundation, the basis, the open door, but Tabernacles is something else, something that comes into view only on the other side of Sacrifice.
That something else is pre-figured all through the journey of Israel and the feasts up until now. But in the establishing of the Aaronic priesthood and the preparation of the camp of Israel for its journey from Sacrifice into the Promised Land, that something else comes more clearly into view.
Let me give the short version first. That something else coming into view, that something else that IS the Feast of Tabernacles, is the Body of Christ.
Sacrifice is and must be One for one. God can talk all He wants about reconciling the whole world to Himself, but we know that if it is not One with one, God Personal and real inside of me, just me – and you by yourself, Jesus for you, Jesus as you, then nothing of the all in ALL can be real.
There is no “group” Salvation. But the expression of God as He unfolds Himself into view to all creation through His body, that expression is so vast and so varied and so glorious, that it takes multitudes of individuals all moving in Love together, to even begin to express the goodness and wonder of this God who fills all, though no one knows Him.
God set the Levitical priesthood into place as part of the establishing of the tabernacle and it's anointing. Thus that priesthood was in full operation through the first memorial Passover. Then, a week after the Passover was completed, on May 1, God set the camp of Israel into its order around the tabernacle and in preparation for journeying. In all the journeys of Israel, the Ark of the Covenant went out first, then the tribes of Israel followed, each in its order. That journey of the Ark began, then on May 20. Here are a few references to show God's order.
So they departed from the mountain of the Lord on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them for the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the Lord was above them by day when they went out from the camp. So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said: “Rise up, O Lord! Let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You.” And when it rested, he said: “Return, O Lord, To the many thousands of Israel.” Numbers 10:33-36 (Notice the two parts of the Mercy Seat, from the arising of God comes both annihilation and peace.)
Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. Exodus 40:36-38
Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony. And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran. So they started out for the first time according to the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses. The standard of the camp of the children of Judah set out first according to their armies; over their army was Nahshon the son of Amminadab. Numbers 10:11-14
Of the 603,550 men numbered in Israel, not counting the Levites, one man was the forefather of Jesus Christ. That one man was Nahshon, the son of Amminadab. Notice that the first man in all the camp of Israel to step forward just behind the Levites carrying the Ark was this same Nahshon. Later it would be his son, Salmon, the father of Boaz, and thus the father-in-law of Ruth, who would walk just behind the ark, the first one of the children of Israel. No one knew what that meant, but God put the pattern in its place regardless. By that pattern, Salmon would have been the first to cross the Jordan River, going around the Ark standing in its place. We know what kind of a man this Salmon was because we know of his son, Boaz.
I hope to look a bit more closely at the High Priest and his garments and duties as we explore the Day of Atonement. However, as with sacrifice, the writer of Hebrews clearly positions the Levitical and tribal order of Israel in relation to the church of Christ. Yes, there is an order in the Church, but it is different and far better than the order set by Moses in Israel. Thus we understand that everything in the order of the Body of Christ is different because it flows out from a different knowledge of God and view of the universe. Yet the Spirit of the Lord can show us correlations between this pattern of Israel's journeying and our own experience in God.
I know what I am driving towards in finding the core that establishes God's order in His Church and out from His Church into all the universe. What I don't know is how I will arrive there.
You see, there are two elements required for the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles in the human experience. One is the Atonement fulfilled; the other is the Body of Christ fulfilled. The first is utterly personal; the second is in every way corporate. The personal always comes first, yet it never exists without continually flowing out into the corporate.
Both of these things center in Heart. Heart is the beginning and heart is the end.
God's order for His Church, the Body of Christ, comes only out of His Heart. But to know both fully, we must go back and forth in a somewhat disjointed way. However, following the journey of Israel inside the layout of the feasts gives us a way to follow.
I first titled this letter “The Order of Melchizedek”; then I realized that God had two orders for Israel in the same way that He has two orders for His Church. The first is the order of journey, the second is the order of the promised land. For us in the Church, the first is the order of the five-fold ministry, a wineskin order, and the second is the order of Melchizedek. Thus we will look at Melchizedek later.
For us the words of the gospel that most clearly express God's order for our journey are these, given us in pattern by God with Nahshon, forefather of Jesus, and the Ark of the Covenant in the lead.
My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me. John 10
But we know that God's order for journey is temporary.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
Until we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement – Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. Thus God's true order for the Body of Christ is not this in-part temporary order of journey, but rather the age-abiding order of Melchizedek.
However, the order of journey is of great importance. We cannot arrive at the place to which we travel if we do not walk in the Way that takes us there. Since the personal inside of me is always flowing out to connect with the personal inside of you, and vice versa, to walk in the Way is to walk together.
And there lies all the difficulties – and all the joys.
Let's bring in the remainder of Paul's order of journey in order to see why this is so.
That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:14-16
“Grow up” is journey. “In all things into Him who is the head—Christ” is the destination. That destination itself becomes a far more wondrous journey, the journey of setting all creation free. But that everlasting journey begins with the one action of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.
Let this same mind be in you – we have the mind of Christ. We possess all of Christ first; we put on the Lord Jesus Christ second, we reveal Christ to all third. The problem is that we do not know. The Atonement fulfilled is knowing, and that is entirely by faith, speaking the truth (Christ alone) in love.
Present gifts of ministry in God's church are 100% temporary. That itself is not a problem; the problem is that people who lead don't like to think of themselves or their role as incidental and temporary, a momentary servant who stands in the shadows until the brief moment when he or she is needed.
It is NOT the five-fold ministry that ministers, but the body. It is NOT the ministry that builds up the body, but the body, each joint doing its part, that builds up the body. The purpose of the ministry is only to serve as examples and to give their little bit as needed so that each member in particular is released in the joy of Christ to share all the good speaking of Christ that already fills them full.
In all the years I was in the move of God, the fellowship I was a part of for many years, I heard the testimony, over and over, that the job of the ministry was to work itself out of a job. In all the years I was in the move of God, I never saw it happen, not once. A “set-apart” ministry always becomes elitist, always.
A second problem with present gifts of ministry in God's church is that they are entirely fluid. The nature and appearance of ministry changes all the time specifically to fit the present reality in which God's people find themselves in this world. The “five-fold” ministry is a general concept, not a specific set of “offices.”
Strong leaders don't like that fact; religious minds don't like that fact, that is, the order of wineskins. Thus there are always those who try to build a specific “order” for God's present temporary, in-part order of journey by pulling out verses from here and there in order to “prove” that their particular take on that order is “God's requirement for holiness.”
I would suggest that you obtain a copy of Gene Edwards', The Early Church, and read it. That book has been re-published under the title, Revolution, the Story of the Early Church. The cheapest it is on Amazon right now is 49 cents plus shipping. One importance of this book is that Gene Edwards demonstrates the ever-changing nature of ministry in the church as new situations came into the experience of different Christian groups.
The order of journey in God's church is the order of the wineskin; that is, it is always fluid, changing with each season of new wine to meet the needs of those receiving the new wine and not the needs of those who worship old wineskins. Those who walk separate from Christ living as them hate new wineskins because they are insecure. Adamic (pretending) man “needs” external structure in order to “believe.”
All ministry in the church is Jesus Himself revealing Himself through some that He might make Himself known as Himself living in, as, and through all, each individual member of His Body. The order of Melchizedek is 100% the opposite of external structure; it is entirely the outflow of Heart.
The point is this. God will move through ANY outward structure of ministry in order to feed and guide His own. Thus we know that whenever any group says, “Our order is God's order,” we know they are lying. If all outward church structure and all orders of ministry and all titles and commissions, from Pope to deacons, were to CEASE entirely this moment, it would bother the real Church of Christ not at all.
My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me.
One might say that the worst structure of all is the hierarchy of authority from the top down, but that structure is a given coming out from Nicene, separated Christianity featuring a God who punishes forever without hope. Yes, it is a horror and the very opposite of the God who is always springing up from beneath as fountains of living water. But we need not spend our time on that horror.
Let me give a second view of the difference between the order of journey and the order of Melchizedek. Picture the difference between an exoskeleton creature, like a beetle, and an internal skeleton body like the human body. With a beetle, the form that holds all of its members together is an outside structure. With the human body, the form that holds all of its members together is internal, an integral part of human flesh.
Paul said in Galatians that the law is a schoolmaster that brings us to Christ. He meant that the law, the word on the outside of us, authority on the outside of us, was the thing that holds us together as one body – until Christ is birthed in us. Then, the structure that holds this body of Christ together is entirely within. And meantime, any useful outward structure, pictured by a wineskin, is to be thrown out every year.
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
This letter is a transitional letter; thus I have no point to which I am driving. Rather, I want to spread a broad picture of elements that must play a role in the unfolding of the real. This picture is required by Israel's journey. But before returning to the truths expressed in the passages above from Numbers 10 and Exodus 40, I want to look at the book of Hebrews. It is evident that this entire series is, to a large extent, a study of Hebrews. In fact, the entire book of Hebrews can be known only inside this type of study. That's why it is seldom taught, except for a few choice references used out of context.
Looking at the wording of Hebrews shows us without question that one mind wrote Chapters 1-12 and a completely different mind wrote Chapter 13. Chapter 13 is clearly Paul; it bears his style all the way through, talking about himself all the time. Chapters 1-12, however, are not Paul's style, though they clearly come out from a person who has sat for many hundreds of hours under Paul's ministry. It is possible that Paul wrote the conclusion to the letter as his endorsement of the truth in it.
Regardless of who wrote Hebrews, let's look at the layout of the book. I suspect that this layout of Hebrews is as important to us as the layout of the journey of Israel, especially since Hebrews bounces off that journey and the tabernacle of Moses all the time. Hebrews is a most important book to the Covenant.
The core of the book of Hebrews, the main point to which the writer drives every argument, is Chapter 10:19-24. This is our immediate destination.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.
Like all New Testament writers, the writer of Hebrews does not see all the unfolding of Christ found in these words. Nothing of the revelation of Jesus Christ is extra-Biblical, but much of it is reserved to be unveiled out from these same words now in our present Today.
Hidden inside these words is the core and heart of the Melchizedek order.
Hebrews begins as John's gospel begins, placing the Lord Jesus Christ, this Jesus whom many of the first readers had seen and known, as the All-speaking of God out from whom flows all things. Yet the sharp contrast begins in the first verse: this is like that; this is the opposite of that. Just as God spoke through the law and the prophets, so now He speaks through Jesus. Before Christ, God spoke through many different voices, but now He speaks through one voice alone.
Thus Hebrews begins with perfection out from which alone the unfolding of God into space and time can proceed. In that Word is found already all the expression of God that will be known forever through the Church.
After asserting that this MAN is the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His Person, Hebrews demonstrates that Jesus is NOT an angel, nor any kind of heavenly being. The unfolding of God, the Word God speaks, comes through man to heaven. Heaven itself and all the glory in it is temporary and passing away.
On that absolute foundation in Chapter 1, Hebrews then lays out the purpose and heart of the entire book in Chapter 2. The first verse gives us the urgency of journey.
Get out of your country. Genesis 12
Now, Hebrews is similar to Paul in the creation of vast and complicated sentences. Thus it is very helpful to us to break these long sentences into pieces and turn each phrase into its own complete thought. I have done that in the past with portions of Hebrews. By that means we find a critical clue in verse 5: We are speaking of the age to come. That age to come we know is already inside of us – the life of the age to come, that is, the full and revealed knowledge of an invisible God.
In other words, we are speaking of our becoming, just like Jesus, God revealed. Pursue this goal with all pursuit and do not draw back one moment.
Then Hebrews reconfirms God's commission to man to subdue all things, including all of heaven, but forces us to face the fact that we do not see all things under our feet. Then, we take our eyes off of our feet and place them on Jesus – stand still and SEE the Salvation of God.
In verse 10, Hebrews restates God's entire purpose: bringing many sons to glory.
How does God do that? Very simple, God made Jesus just like us so that He could make us just like Jesus. Jesus becomes us FIRST before we ever could become Him. At the core of that transformation, that exchange, the writer of Hebrews makes a bold assertion, an assertion that strikes right at the heart of the Old Testament order.
This same Jesus, this in-between Jesus, is the High Priest, the High Priest of the Atonement.
What do I mean by an “in-between Jesus”?
You see, we are not alone. God has not left us to figure out how on earth we are to make this transition. Yes, it is a big deal to escape our lostness and to become the revelation of God. But we are never alone. Right at the core of this transition, this exchange between Jesus becoming us and we becoming Him, stands Jesus in Person, Himself our ever-present High Priest, this One upon whose breast we ever lay our heads.
Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.
Then, flowing out from this urgency commanding the heart of the writer, Hebrews 3 & 4 are the great jeopardy chapters of the New Covenant. However, that great jeopardy is sandwiched entirely between the High Priest in 3:1 and the High Priest in 4:14, a High Priest who is faithful, the Lamb in one hand and the Lamb in the other (see From a Word to a Lamb).
The jeopardy of the New Covenant is illustrated by the rebellion of Israel at the time of Tabernacles, 1461 BC. We will look more closely at that in the next letter, “Turning Away.” Here, however, I want to give voice to the urgency commanding the heart of Hebrews.
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. – How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation. – Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast – Do not harden your hearts – Beware brethren – Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. – Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. – Do not become sluggish – Do not cast away your confidence – For you have need of endurance – But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. – Do not refuse Him who speaks.
Contrasting these cries of urgency all the way through is the counterpart, stated just as often, of the opposite – we are on a journey, pursue the goal of that journey with all the intensity of your being. That picture is best presented, then, in 12:1-2
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him (you and me) endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Central to this great exchange, then, a life for a life, is the in-between Jesus, Christ planted as us, our High Priest. Hebrews Chapters 5-7 establishes the authority of this High Priest, the real High Priest, as coming out from Psalm 110, after the order of Melchizedek. And Hebrews Chapters 8-10 establishes the authority of the Covenant which this High Priest, this Jesus in our hearts, bears.
High Priest first; Covenant second.
Chapter 11 refers back to the critical point of the jeopardy, the point at which Israel turned away, the point at which we enter all the way in – FAITH.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God (an invisible, unknown Being) must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Finally chapter 12 places the crux of our present travail before us, chastisement (as in the life of David), and then concludes with a re-statement of the entire argument: Flee the first, enter into the second.
Now, let me come back to my earlier assertion that the writer of Hebrews, though writing out of his or her present seeing of Christ, had no idea of the extent of that same Christ that is unfolding to us out from these same words. Twice, however, the writer alludes to this very reality. First, in chapter 5 in comparing milk fed to babes versus meat fed to adults, and then in 9:3-5.
. . . the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
Here is what I am driving towards. The action of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement changes everything. You see, the writer of Hebrews is seeing, and thus presenting our walk through the Tabernacle as beginning in the outer court as babes in Christ hearing the word of this so great Salvation to our entering boldly into the Holiest of all. That is how God presents it to us from our view of time, as an ongoing unfolding of Himself in our lives.
But that is only one part of reality.
The reality of an eternal God is just as real, all of God all right now. Today!
The tabernacle begins with the Mercy Seat and flows out from there into all creation.
The first part is Christ becoming us – our entrance through the unfolding of time. The second is our becoming Christ, His glory revealed, All, Here, and Personal in us. Both are true, all the time.
It is the action of the High Priest on the day of Atonement, our in-between Jesus, the faith of the Son of God by which we live, that makes that transition complete.
From that moment on, we are going out from the Mercy Seat, yet always seated upon it. From that moment on we are the Mercy Seat, the Heart of God, beating in our chests, the order of Melchizedek.
For you see, and this is what is so incredibly glorious, inside every step of the way IN, as outlined by Hebrews, we find every point of God flowing out, God revealed through us. We see what is hidden to others only because we are beginning to contemplate actually doing the action of the Day of Atonement that changes the universe. We are beginning to see all things out from Jesus' eyes. Let this same mind be in you.
I want to bring this back into my letters on Sacrifice.
Some may object to and even be offended by my inclusion of violent modern movies to search for a true understanding of our Redemption. Almost the last thing I want to do is offend precious ones who love Jesus, but the last thing I want to do is draw back. We live in a terrible dilemma that few recognize. That dilemma has two parts. The first part is how lost we really are, a reality not appreciated by very many people.
But the second part of our dilemma is that God tells us first that God is love and second that eternal life, our way out of our lostness, is to know this God who is love.
SO! We recognize our lostness and we see the way out, we just need to know this God who is love. Okay. Then we read these words, “By this we know love.” We're on a roll. We know the way out; God is about to tell us how it is we know love, how we know God, how we escape our lostness. We are ready.
And then God points directly to the most violent and cruel form of execution devised by the evil heart of man and says, “We know love by this.” And we are stopped cold in our tracks for the way out of our horrific lostness, our unending nightmare, is through this awful picture of violence.
May I suggest that God would have us to know the absolute and eternal violence of the Mercy Seat.
All that God does not know is annihilated; it is forever gone.
Two things, therefore, never approach this Mercy Seat: those who lie and those who will not believe.
Unbelief, the first part of the lie, is a rejection of the word God speaks – Christ cannot be my life (did God really say that). The lie and the curse that it brings is self-righteousness – I have a life not Christ.
Our present journey is a journey out of the nightmare of our pretending, lying hatred of Christ, that is, the human self for/against self trying so very hard to be and to do, but empty of God Himself in Person.
We know the way out. My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me. We follow the Ark of the Covenant.
Yet this way out is more radical than anything anyone has ever considered.
Consider these words of John. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 John 2.
My pursuit, the thing from which I will not draw back, is to walk just as Jesus walked. And I can walk just like Jesus walked ONLY by the thinking by which Jesus thought, that is, by His same mind. And I can know His mind only by myself being utterly inside of that mind, thinking His thoughts, seeing out from His eyes.
To think like Jesus thought, to walk just as Jesus walked, is to be just like Him in all possible ways. And that is blasphemy, heresy, insanity, and impossibility. It is the normal Christian life, the normal human life.
I don't know that it has ever been seriously and truly considered. My present glimpses of the faith of the Son of God are shocking. I am facing the greatest surrender I have ever known.
You see, this thinking as Jesus thought, this walking as Jesus walked, is not the outward display of miracles as most assume. Rather, it is the thoughts of a Man rising to His feet in Gethsemane, mortal and corruptible still; it is the walk of His steps through the Atonement, the very image and likeness of God, the walk of His steps into the annihilation and the arising of God.
We follow the cloud; we follow the anointing.
God has not anointed me to preach or to birth churches or even to find a good little church that would follow the word that fills my heart. God has not anointed me to do any miracles or even to have the strength to support my family. God has anointed me only to write, and that only in the mornings.
Thus in writing, I will pursue the one thing I must have: Life, Salvation, the Way out.
If this is the one thing to which God has limited me, then by this one thing, I must know Him.
I have lost so many readers over the last few months, more than two dozen, many of whom were regular readers, and some because I write too much in my pursuit of God. I said to one good brother who promoted what I write for several years, “Walk with me, I know where I am going.” To my great sorrow, he declined.
Let me share my destination in this series, the thing I am driving everything towards.
– The Heart of the Lord Jesus Christ extended now over His bride upon this earth in this her hour of greatest need. – That's it. That's where everything is pointed in this series and in all that I write; the only thing I want, right here, inside my own being, revealed now through me.
Will you walk together with me?
You see, the Ark followed the cloud, that is, the visible anointing of God's presence. Then, the forefather of Jesus followed the Ark. Then all Israel followed Jesus/the Ark/the cloud.
God is very big, and His order of journey is both fluid and temporary. Thus I do not presume concerning my limited bit of writing. But I follow that same cloud and that same Ark. The point is not me; the point is you, following the cloud God has placed at present in your life, all the way into the revelation of God out through you into all the universe.
The primary burden filling the heart of the writer of Hebrews to us is: follow that cloud with all earnestness and intensity of heart and do not draw back. Follow it wherever it might lead you.
“The just shall live by faith. But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition (into the lostness of self), but of those who believe to the saving of the soul (psuche/self – being just like Jesus in all manifest revelation, that is, a life for a life). Hebrews 10