I feel like this particular Bible study is just dragging on now. I love the weekly fellowship with the group, but fellowship isn’t my primary focus when I sign up for a Bible study – learning God’s word is.
I mentioned a few weeks back that I was feeling some frustration with this study, based on Beth’s interpretation of the modern day significance of the Tabernacle, as well as her constant push that the Tabernacle of the wilderness represents an actual “heavenly reality” – a Tabernacle in heaven. As I’ve mentioned before, and I’ll not belabor this point, I just don’t understand why there would be a Tabernacle in heaven. Heaven is perfect, there is no need for animal sacrifices there, and there is no separation from God, so the purpose would be strictly as a museum in my opinion.
Last night however, I think Beth jumped off the deep end of sanity into some very frigid waters. We’re in week 8 of the study – finally reaching the Holy of Holies. She spent the majority of her DVD teaching time discussing the significance of the Ark, which was just fine. However, before we actually go to the Ark, we had to deal with the veil. Now, in all my spiritual learning – both formal and personal, I have always understood and believed that the veil represents sin, which is what separates us from fellowship with God. From the time of man’s fall in the Garden of Eden until the end of time, sin is going to be our demise. But not in Beth’s assessment. According to her, flesh is what separates us from God.
Flesh? You’ve got to be kidding me! If flesh is what separated us from God then he would never have created Adam in his own image. He would never have given us a soul – a nature – free will. He would never have walked in the Garden with Adam, he would have never saved Noah and his family from the great flood, he would have never sent Christ in human form.
God could have chosen any means in which to save us. If our separation from him was purely about our flesh then the power of sin would have been broken in the virgin birth – because who can resit the temptations of the flesh? I think we would all agree that our flesh is weak. Flesh is flawed. Flesh is easily broken.
Over and over in the New Testament we read about the dangers of the flesh in the context of how it reflects what’s in our hearts – that the flesh is weak and subject to temptation; our flesh will pass away; we should not focus on our fleshly desires; that the flesh will lead us astray; that we need to die to self (our flesh) and rise as a new creation in Christ, etc. Flesh has nothing to do with our separation from God. Flesh is the vehicle for the spirit – flesh reflects what’s in our human nature – our SIN nature. And I quite honestly believe that we will have glorified bodies (bodies that are free of our sin nature) when we die and go to heaven – ‘bodies’ to me indicates some type of flesh. I also believe that Christ bears a glorified body now – a body with flesh that will carry his scars….our scars for eternity
Romans 3:32 says. “For all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard.” It doesn’t even mention flesh. It only mentions SIN, because SIN is what separates us from God. Adam and Eve’s sin of disobedience in the garden is what separated all mankind from God – they did nothing to defile their flesh before the fall of man.
Beth also stated that when Christ died (on the cross) that the veil was torn from top to bottom because Christ’s body was broken from top (the crown of thorns) to bottom (the nails in his feet). Again, I don’t know where in the world she got this idea! Certainly there was much significance in the way the veil was torn, but it had nothing to do with Christ’s flesh.
First and foremost in my mind is this: Jesus’ death on the cross broke the power of SIN in our lives – making a way for us to boldly approach the throne of grace. The moment Christ died, our need for a High Priest as an intercessor was done away with. Hebrews 4:6 says, “Let us boldly approach the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” In the wilderness tabernacle, and in the temple, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and approach the mercy seat, and only once a year – on the Day of Atonement. If he chose to enter before God’s holiness on any other day of the year he was instantly killed. However the New Testament scriptures clearly tell us that we can boldly approach God’s throne – whenever we want to, without fear of death. This makes it very clear to me that GOD tore the veil from top to bottom as a confirmation that Jesus’ work had been completed, and that he had accepted Christ’s sacrifice as a once for all time sacrifice for our sins.
Secondly, if the tearing of the veil was completely dependent on Christ’s flesh being torn, then following Beth’s logic, the veil would have been rent the moment the final spike was driven into Jesus’ feet. And, I believe that it would have begun to tear the moment he was beaten – it would have been a progressive tear if the tear if it was based on Christ’s broken flesh.
Third, I believe that if the veil had been torn from bottom to top, the Jews would have merely put it off as a freak accident – something that happened during the earthquake, or they would have found a way to make it the doing of a man – any man that was in the temple that day. However, the fact that the veil was torn from top to bottom indicated that it was a supernatural tearing – a significant tearing that was confirmed by the fact that all those in the temple that day could look on the Ark and yet they did not die. If Christ’s death on the cross had not been an acceptable offering to God then all those in the very presence of the Ark would have been instantly killed.
I read a post that was written back in December about Beth Moore by a fellow blogger (you can read the post HERE). The post was very well written and expresses in a very well thought out way exactly how I’ve been feeling ever since I started this Bible study. I learned last night that this study group is planning on starting a new Beth Moore study in the spring (on Esther) and at this point I think I’m going to have to give it a miss. I have time to ponder on it and even look over the materials, but with the amount of information written about the Tabernacle in the Old Testament I’m becoming increasingly frustrated and uncomfortable with Beth’s approach to finding ways to fit its significance into her own theological ideas. Therefore I’m afraid that a study on the life of Esther is going to be more conjecture and speculation than I really care to subject myself too. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe there are some good lessons to be learned from the life and example of Esther and Mordecai, however I believe the book is short and vague for a reason.