Understanding His story helps us to understand that His-Story is our Story!
Chronological Bible Study By: Michael Anderson
"Have you ever thought about dust? No, I don't mean having to dust the table. I mean dirt? Dusty dirt that clings to everything! And then you have to wash everything! You have to clean your house, wash your clothes, wash your shoes, take a bath? We don't give much thought to dust - But God does!"
From the beginning, God's desire was to be with His creation. Daily, God came to the garden and walked with Adam and Eve. But, sin separated Adam and Eve from God. It was God's desire to have fellowship with man. But man continually rejects God and continues in self-will and sin. By the time Moses and Israel are at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Lord has literally spent thousands of years steering and directing mankind toward the day when His Son would die on the cross to pay for all of mankind's sin.
The Lord continues to teach the people about the coming Messiah and His desire to redeem mankind from sin and death. He has brought Israel out of Egypt across the Red Sea with a mighty hand! He has provided for them in the wilderness with water, bread and meat! He has given them great wealth as spoils of Egypt. And all of this in spite of the fact that they continually reject Him.
Finally, the day comes when the people reaffirm their commitment to the Lord! (Exodus 24) And after this recommitment, the Lord desires to move down from the top of Mount Sinai and actually dwell among the people. He gives Moses instructions on exactly how to build The Mishkan! (pronounced - mish-kon) The Tabernacle!
It was a portable sanctuary that was also called the Tent of Meeting. If you look closely at the scriptures you will see there are two tents of meeting. The first tent is Moses’ own personal tent which he put outside the camp after the calf incident. The second one is the Tabernacle where sacrifices were made and the Ark of the Covenant was kept in the Holy of Holies. (See: Exodus 33:7-11.) The word Tabernacle simply means tent or meeting place. It was the place where God would meet with Moses and instruct the people on how to live as - His people! It was a place where God came down and dwelt among the people in the center of the congregation.
It is called Mishkan in the Hebrew language and was built according to God's design and very specific instruction. The Tabernacle was one of the most beautiful buildings ever made! It was a beautiful place designed by God Himself! It was a bright place where God in all of His glory, lived and shined for the people to see. And often times it was a bloody place where sacrifices were made for atonement of sin. As beautiful as it was, there was one unattractive aspect on the inside the tabernacle – the dirt floor.
Lesson Objective: Connecting Dust to Dust!
In this lesson, students will be better able to understand that the earthly Tabernacle built by Israel is a picture of the Heavenly (True) Tabernacle. They will also understand how the Tabernacle reflects who we truly are and what Christ has done for us! We will connect the floor of the Tabernacle (a dirt floor) and an earthly cup to the redemptive work of Christ in us!
The floor of the Tabernacle was unfinished by Design and left as a dirt floor (dust) in order to teach His people about their need for cleansing.
Our true character is revealed in the dust of the floor, as well as, the need for a Savior who will deliver us from the curse of sin.
Although we must walk on the dirt (sin) of this fallen creation, we have a Bridegroom that will take our place and drink the cup of the curse Himself.
Have you ever thought about dust? No, I don't mean having to dust the table. I mean dirt? Dusty dirt that clings to everything! And then you have to wash everything! You have to clean your house, wash your clothes, wash your shoes, take a bath? We don't give much thought to dust but God does!
In Genesis 2:7, God formed Adam from the dust of the Earth. In chapter 3, He tells Adam, “For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” When Satan is cursed for having led Eve astray God says, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life!“
Abraham recognized the truth in humility as he speaks and says to the Lord, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27).
The Lord uses dust to teach the Egyptians and Israelites a lesson that no one seems to understand as He tells Moses these words; “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt’” (Exodus 8:16). We all know that in the plagues that God put upon Egypt, the boils that broke out on men is a well-known plague. What is not as well-known is that the boils came from dust. Moses was told to throw soot in the air and, “It will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt” (Exodus 9:9). When the people of Israel made a golden calf, Moses took it and crushed it up into dust and put the dust into the stream that the people drink from and made the people drink the dust. (See: Exodus 32:20; Deuteronomy 9:21.)
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the Earth, dust is raised to a place of honor! Man! Made in the image of God raised up, made from the dust! But because of sin, dust is now a sign of the curse of sin and the fallen creation. The Hebrew word for dust is aphar. It can also be translated rubbish (see: Nehemiah 4:10). In the New Testament, Paul uses an equivalent word in Philippians 3:8, “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ”. So, dust is something that God has given a lot of thought to. If it is that important to God, then we need to do our best to try to understand what He is telling us.
The Floor of Dust is confusing at first. The most beautiful structure ever made and it has a dirt floor?
It was not an oversight on God’s part that this wonderful and expensive Tabernacle had a floor of dust. And it's no coincidence either! It was completely by God’s design. The floor of dust is connected to the Word of God in so many ways, it is difficult to put it all into one lesson.
The first and most obvious connection would be Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” (NLT)
In order to understand the dust of the floor of the Tabernacle better, it might help if we understood three words better from this passage in Genesis 2. They are the words “formed”, “dust”, and “ground”.
A. “Then the Lord God ‘formed’ the man” - “Yatsar” in Hebrew
Adam was formed! A frame was made from the dust with a purpose! That purpose was to be loved by God throughout all eternity as man worshiped Holy God! It is also the word used for the conception of human beings, and it applies to Israel as a people.
B. "from the ‘dust’" - “Aphar” - in Hebrew
The dust, which was to be the serpent’s food, was a picture of barrenness, ruin and death that sin brings – a symbol of our present world, under the sway of the “wicked one”. (See: 1 John 5:19.)
C. “of the ground” - “Adama” - in Hebrew (does it look familiar?)
earth substance (for building or constructing), ground as earth's visible surface
Just an added thought: We are born children of the first Adam - children of the ground! But, we are reborn (born again) children of the second Adam, Immanuel! God with us! The One who came, not from the ground, but down from Heaven! We are now children of Heaven!
There is only one place in the Bible where the floor is mentioned - Numbers 5:12-31. It involves a process for a jealous husband who suspects his wife of adultery.
Here is a portion of it:
"‘If any man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, and a man has intercourse with her and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband and she is undetected, although she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act, if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife when she has defiled herself, or if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife when she has not defiled herself, the man shall then bring his wife to the priest…’” (Numbers 5:12-15 NASB).
“‘And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord. The priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust (Aphar) that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.’" Numbers 5:16-17 (NKJV).
"’And the priest shall put her under oath, and say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you, and if you have not gone astray to uncleanness while under your husband’s authority, be free from this bitter water that brings a curse. But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, and if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has lain with you”— then the priest shall put the woman under the oath of the curse, and he shall say to the woman—“the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your thigh rot and your belly swell; and may this water that causes the curse go into your stomach, and make your belly swell and your thigh rot.” ‘Then the woman shall say, “Amen, so be it.”’" Numbers 5:19-22 (NKJV)
The woman who had been accused would be taken to the Tabernacle by her husband. There she would be asked if she was guilty of the sin of adultery. Her first option was to confess her sin and ask for forgiveness. But she understood that most likely she would not be forgiven by the men who were examining her. If she were not forgiven before the test begins, she would then be taken outside the camp and stoned to death.
Her second option would be to say that she is not guilty. In this case, she would be tested with an earthen vessel that contained dirty water. The earthen vessel (probably a clay cup) would, at first, hold pure water. The water had been consecrated and was considered holy. The cup would have also been consecrated and also would be holy. Then, dust (dirt) from the floor of the Tabernacle would be sprinkled into the water. This water was now impure and considered to be unholy and cursed! Here is something interesting: The scriptures tell us that everything the Tabernacle was made from, was consecrated as holy EXCEPT the floor!
(Just a thought: It occured to me that, if they had consecrated the floor, they would have consecrated the whole earth because that was the floor! That is not part of the plan God has - yet… Only Jesus could do that through His death, burial and resurrection.)
The floor is a picture of us as we live under the curse of sin in this fallen creation. It is no wonder that the Lord has to give us living water! (We will learn more about that later!) We are as the "earthen vessel", filled with water but also the polluted dust. It now becomes the cup of the curse! It is the cup that will bring suffering and death because of sin!
Some might ask why was it a woman that was singled out? If she was accused of the sin of adultery then she would have to drink the cup of the curse. If she were innocent, she would not die but if she were guilty, she would suffer and die a painful death. What seems to be described is that she would eventually die from a sexually transmitted disease. God used the cursed Earth to test her guilt or innocence. God has a very good reason for using this test and for using a woman. It is to show us (the Bride) more about who we really are without Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. It also teaches us that we are destined to die because of the sins that we commit. Sin is the pollution that muddies up our lives and cause us, as earthen vessels to carry the water of the curse. Unless the woman is pronounced innocent either by the test or by her confession through forgiveness, she will die! This is a picture of why Jesus must give us Living Water, making us clean and delivering us from death.
A. Are We Unfaithful?
In Isaiah 53:6 we read, "All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord [a]has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (NKJV) God took us from the ground and made us into human beings. We are the clay cup made for a special purpose from the dust of the earth. A cup into which Jesus has poured living water. Do we dirty the water with the dust of a sinful world? The woman was made to agree to this curse, by saying "amen" to it. How many Christians today are sitting in church saying "amen" to all that is spoken that have unconfessed sin in their lives?
B. The Tests Will Come
Certainly God knows what we will do in our time of testing, because He knows all things, including the future. God KNOWS the heart! He knows the heart of the woman who is being tested as He knows our hearts at this very moment! He always has and always will. The test was not for His benefit. It was for the benefit of the woman and the people! The test will come! And they are for our benefit!
"...then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. He shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, because it is a grain offering of jealousy, an offering for remembering, for bringing iniquity to remembrance." Numbers 5:15 (NKJV) The offering lacked oil, which represents the Holy Spirit, and it lacked frankincense, which represents prayer. (The sweet aroma to God!) These gifts from God would not help the woman at this time, because there was nothing she could do in her power to remove the sin she had committed. She needed someone to help her! Or even take her palace! It is believed that there may have been a third option for the woman! If her husband loved her so much that he did not want her to be cursed for her sin, he could take the cup for her. If she were innocent, he would not die, but if she were guilty, he would receive the curse and take it upon himself to bear. He would die in her place! Truthfully, it is not known if that ever happened during Old Testament times.
C. Christ Drank the Cup For Us
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…" Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV) - Jesus loved us so much that He drink the cup of the curse for us.
This cup of the curse must have been what Jesus was referring to in the garden. (See: Luke 22:42 - take this cup from me.) (See also: Matthew 20:22 - Can you drink this cup?)
When the woman caught in adultery was thrown before Christ, He forgave her when He could have demanded the test of the cursed water! But He did the unexpected! "…And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’" (John 8:11) This scene represents the forgiveness that became available to all of us, because Christ sacrificed Himself for our sins and drank the cup that we should have had to drink! The Cup of the Curse! The Cup of Death!
Just a thought: It is interesting that He writes in the dust of the ground. They knew about the test and the curse! I wonder if He was writing Numbers 5?
Jesus drank the cup for us, which was the curse of the sin of the whole world! His words in John 18:11 were, "…Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (NKJV) The cup of the curse caused His death! Not that He was unfaithful! But He took the place of the unfaithful! The cup of the curse caused Him to become sin in our place! Crucified on the cross, bearing our sins, He overcame the curse of sin and conquered death rising again. Now we have a new cup! We take the Lord's cup in remembrance of His work and His victory! No longer the cup of the curse of death, but rather the cup of the celebration of Christ's victory over death! This is a cup "anew!" This is the cup celebrating life! And, in Heaven, He will drink the last cup with us when we are seated at that great Marriage Feast of the Lamb! (Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25)
D. The Floor Reveals the Dust in Us!
Remember that the dust of the floor that was given to the woman to discover the adultery (the sin) that was concealed. It was a hidden matter that could only be discovered supernaturally. And so it is with us. The Holy Spirit must probe the hidden things of our hearts so that we can see the dust (sin) in us and we can receive God’s forgiveness. Because Jesus drank the cup for, not only Christians, but for the whole world! All sin will be revealed! And in Revelation, we learned that the books will be opened and man’s lives will be revealed. All will be judged by those deeds. But Christ, having died for those sins means that no one is cast in the lake of fire - yet. The determining factor for someone being cast into the lake of fire is whether or not their name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If not they have chosen to drink the Cup of the Curse for themselves. Having denied that they are sinners, or simply not believing in the supernatural judgment of God, they refused to receive Christ as their Savior. The floor reveals this curse within all of us. And the rest of the tabernacle reveals how Christ removes the curse for all who would come to Him and confess their sin. So, the Tabernacle begins from the bottom up!
We cannot escape the test of the floor of the Tabernacle. We may behold the glory of the place, we cannot stand there without planting our feet on the dirty ground. And they must be washed by Christ’s forgiveness. All of this connects throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament. In the Old Testament, Israel was taught by God to wash the feet of a stranger when they enter their homes. This has great significance for Israel and it teaches them about purity before God while they walk through this cursed fallen creation in sin. Peter was undoubtedly reminded of this lesson when Jesus washed His feet. Christ told Peter that his whole body did not need cleansing, but only the feet.
If the woman was innocent she was declared free! "But if the woman has not defiled herself, and is clean, then she shall be free and may conceive children." Numbers 5:28 (NKJV) She would become a fountain of life! She was given the gift of Life! In the same way, as we are cleansed from our guilt, we become a fountain of life to others, conceiving spiritual children as we live our lives on earth.
Just a thought: The swelling of the belly is like a false pregnancy… Many people who have polluted their lives, look like someone who gives life but in reality they are sick and swollen with water mingled with dust of the curse…
A. A Real Crisis for Mary and Joseph (Matthew 1:18-19)
Joseph knew she was pregnant. Even in their day, the test of the dust could still be administered with the dust from the Temple floor when needed. Joseph had a right to ask for the test. Mary insisted she was pregnant because of the coming of the Messiah! Who would believe that? The cup was Mary's to drink but Joseph, being a just man, did not want to accuse her publicly. Then he was told by God to take her as his wife…. In a sense, Joseph took the cup for her. The cup gave him ridicule and shame. It caused him to make a forced trip to Bethlehem and then to move to Egypt. And, even to help raise a child that was not his.
The cup was Mary's and even her name would prophesy the mixing of the Holy water and the cursed dust… Jesus would be born from a clay vessel (Mary) mixed with the dust of sin. But the wonderful truth was, He would overcome sin making holy, pure, living water the result of His birth! The Hebrew word for “Mar” which means bitterness of water - Remember when Israel found the bitter waters in “Marah” (Exodus 15:23)? The Hebrew word for water is “Mayim.” It is the word for water in
Numbers 5. When you combine the two words, you get a common Hebrew name Miryam. The is the name of the Mother of Jesus. In English, Mary.
Mary, who was descended from Adam was a earthen vessel mixed with dust. She gave birth to the Son of God who was both Earthen vessel mixed with dust and Holy God.
We are dust! Clay! Mixed with water! When we are born again of the water (the physical birth) and the spirit, we are cleansed! When we sin, we mix the dust of this fallen creation into holy water! But because of what Jesus has done for us, He gives us a spring of living pure holy water welling up within us. He removed the dust of sin by taking that cup upon Himself and drinking it for us. That cup contained the sin of everyone who ever lived or ever will live! No wonder He prayed: Father, take this cup from me!
C. We are Called to be Holy! (1 Peter 1:13-16 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7)
In Ephesians 1:4, Paul writes, “…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” And in the fifth chapter, he tells us that Christ’s purpose in cleansing the church is “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27)
Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Ephesians 6:14-15 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace... WATCH YOUR WALK! You are the Bride of Christ! Walk like Royalty! Because you are!
The connections are amazing and life changing! When we realize that the Tabernacle was a picture of Jesus Christ and His relationship with us, it causes us to think about the dust! The sin that so easily entangles. We see the need to live a holy life! Not polluting ourselves with the curse of sin! (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The lessons of the dust of the floor are too deep to even scratch the surface in this short study! But God has given us a great picture of the Tabernacle of "The Tent Where God Dwells!"
God speaks through the dirt floor to teach us who we are as sinners.
God acts by giving the law of the cup of the curse in order to teach the coming of the Messiah, the Bridegroom of the church!
God reveals the truth of our character in the dust of the floor.
Why would God use adultery as the only sin to bring about this test?
Why was the woman only allowed to bear children if she was found innocent?
We know that the Tabernacle is a picture of Christ. It is also a picture of us in many ways. In what ways do you think the Tabernacle is a picture of us or a picture of our relationship with Christ?
Copyright © 2018 Michael & Angela Anderson - Prodigalmike.com, Connections Bible Study - Connecting God's Word From Cover To Cover - Finding Jesus on Every Page! "We receive no compensation from any websites listed in this site or from any part of this website. We just love Jesus and want to spread his Word! All opinions in the website are my own! Always check the things we say against what the Bible says and decide for yourself." - Mike & Angie - All Rights Reserved.
STAY CLOSE! STAY CLEAN! READ THE WORD!