WORKING IN THE HOLIEST
All the stories and characters in the Scriptures are symbolic, prophetic, foreshadows that have application to us as New Testament Christians today.
Romans 15:4 MKJV: for whatever things were written before were written for our learning, so that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Hebrews 10:1 MKJV: for the Law which has a shadow of good things to come, not the very image of the things, appearing year by year with the same sacrifices, which they offer continually, they are never able to perfect those drawing near.
Colossians 2:16-17 NIV: therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. (17) These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
This is particularly true of the Tabernacle of Moses, whose furniture foreshadows our spiritual labour in prayer as New Testament Christians.
Prayer and its attendant study and meditation in the Word are called spiritual work or labour in the New Testament:
Colossians 4:12 MKJV: Epaphras greets you, he being of you, a servant of Christ, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
1 Timothy 5:17 MKJV: Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labour in Word and doctrine.
Praying or ‘working’ only in the ‘Outer Court’ is symbolized by the altar of burnt offering’ and ‘brazen laver’. The altar of burnt of offering in this context (it could symbolize something else in another context in the manifold wisdom of God) symbolizes the cleansing of our sins after we confess them; while the ‘brazen laver’ speaks of praying with the ‘water of the Word’ (Eph. 5:26) but only in natural light: with the understanding. This is because water of brazen laver acted as a mirror in the natural light of the outer court.
While this kind of praying is necessary and foundational because it gives us access into the Holy Place and later the Most Holy Place (Heb. 10:19), it is not sufficient. Some problems will require us to go deeper in prayer into the ‘Holy Place’ and the ‘Holiest of all’.
In the ‘Holy Place’ we see three items: the candlestick or lampstand, the table of shew bread and the altar of incense.
The lampstand is symbolic of praying for the seven spirits of God: the spirit of the fear of the Lord (honesty and humility of heart); the spirit of love; the spirits of knowledge, understanding, wisdom and revelation, the spirits of counsel and might.
Isaiah 11:2 MKJV: and the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.
A typical prayer to effect this daily would be:
Father, ‘I confess our sins, to clean with the blood.
In Jesus name we have life.’
‘I choose to fear God (Pr.1:29), so, I humble myself by submitting to the will of God even when I don’t feel like it (Phil.2:8) especially in prayer knowing the certainty of His judgement if I disobey (Heb.2:2) and the security of His mercy when I obey (Pro. 28:13; James 2:13).
Father, please give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17) in the present complete knowledge and spiritual understanding (Col.1:9-11) of You to grow into the perfection and fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:11-15) to watch and pray always (Luke 21:36): to make me as wise as a serpent, as harmless as a dove (Matt.10:16) and as bold as lion (Pro.28:1) in Jesus Name.’
The ‘light’ of revelation we receive through the humility and wisdom we get from the ‘lampstand’ enables us to pray for the life of God from the Word of God: the bread of life which is symbolized by the shewbread.
John 6:27-29 MKJV: Do not labour for the food that perishes, but for that food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you. For God the Father sealed Him. (28) Then they said to Him, What shall we do that we might work the works of God? (29) Jesus answered and said to them, this is the work of God that you believe on Him whom He has sent.
John 6:35 MKJV: And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes on Me shall never thirst.
John 6:63 MKJV: It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.
To pray from life scriptures to receive the life of God in sufficient measure, we need to pray with an understanding of our right-standing with God:
Remember that the scripture tells us that “It is the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous that avails much” (Jam. 5:16). This scripture shows us that how much our prayers avail depends on how effectually, how fervently and how much in righteousness (righteousness here means right-standing) we are with God as we pray. So, to pray with right-standing, we clean our hearts frequently with the blood of Jesus: by confessing our sins (1Jn. 1:7-10) so the life of God can flow maximally in and through our spirits, to cause our prayers to avail much.
So we need to do this confession of sin as often as is necessary to keep the channel between us and God completely clean and clear (Lk. 11:33-34) because even something as small as the thought of foolishness is sin (Pr. 24:9) and whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23).
As we pray from each life scripture, a measure of eternal life: living water (Jn. 4:10, 14) flows from the Holy Spirit into our spirits. As we pray from many such scriptures in sequential order, measure after measure of this living water flows into our spirits until gradually our spirits are full of this living water according to the scripture in
Proverbs 18:20-21 KJVR: A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. (21) Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Let us also remember that when we confess our sins we are covering or cleaning out a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8, Jn. 20:23) for ourselves and those under our covering or sphere of influence and so keeping the commandment of eternal life (Jn.12:50) without spot according to the scripture (1 Tim. 6:14, 2 Pet. 3:14).
Without sufficient light from the lampstand we will not be able to receive sufficient life from the shewbread.
With the sufficient measure of life that we get from the shewbread we now can pray effectual fervent prayers with all kinds of prayer in the Spirit which is symbolized by the altar of incense.
Psalms 141:2 MKJV: let my prayer be set forth before You as incense and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Ephesians 6:18 MKJV: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching to this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
James 5:16 MKJV: Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.
In our article next week we will see how to progress from ‘working’ in ‘the Holy Place’ to working in the ‘Holiest of all’.