Dwelling in His Presence-Part 2
|By: Nancy Missler; ©2003|
|Nancy Missler likens our sanctification with the ceremony accompanying the offering of sacrifices on the Brazen Altar in the Old Testament Tabernacle.|
Carried Like Hot Coals of Fire
Leviticus 16:12 tells us that after the sacrifice had been presented on the Brazen Altar, the priests took a censor (a fancy, silver shovel) full of burning hot coals from that altar, and carried them into the Holy Place where they laid them on the Incense Altar.
The ritual of carrying the hot coals from the Brazen Altar to the Incense Altar connected the two altars. The hot coals of fire that fed the Brazen Altar were the same coals of fire that burned the incense on the Golden Altar. As we mentioned previously, the wholly burnt offering on the Brazen Altar testified of the acceptance of the offerer, just like the live coal on the Incense Altar demonstrated that all sin (and self) had been purged. The resulting incense cloud and aroma that then arose was pleasing to God.
The service of sanctification for the priests began by presenting a sacrifice on the Brazen Altar in the Inner Court and ended by the cloud of perfume rising towards God from the Incense Altar.
And the same analogy can be applied to us. Our sanctification begins with the offering of ourselves as a wholly burnt sacrifice on the Brazen Altar and ends with the cloud of incense and fragrance rising up before God’s presence at the Incense Altar.
God wants us to know Him, not just in our souls (where we experience His abundant Life through us), but also in our spirits (where we experience His presence and His fulness).
He wants us to be like those priests who didn’t stop at the Brazen Altar, but carried those hot embers of a wholly burnt sacrifice right into the Holy Place and presented them there before God’s presence as a sweet smelling aroma. He wants us to willingly allow God to burn up all that He that He knows is necessary in our souls, so that we can boldly make our approach to Him in the Holy Place of our hearts.
The writer of Hebrews tells us: “Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus… Let us draw near [to God] with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19, 22)
Because of Jesus and what He has done for us, the way to the Holy Place has already been permanently opened and we are already clothed in His righteousness. But, in order for us to enter the Holy Place, we must be just like that sacrifice, wholly and completely burnt. There is no other access or pathway to God. His death is the only thing that opens the door for us; however, in order to enter the inner sanctuary where God is and experience His presence, we must personally pass the place of sacrifice. Only the fire and hot coals were carried to the Incense Altar.
No self-interests or self-centeredness are allowed within the veil. Only as we surrender our own goals, our own careers, our own future successes and our own desires, does the crucifixion of self become complete. Only as we bring the coals of our wholly burnt lives into the Holy Place and place them upon the Incense Altar, can a sweet fragrance arise towards God. Our soul has finally been melted by the fire of God’s Love and we’re able to experience His presence and His fullness.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)Our intercourse or experiential union with God can only come through the two altars! The holy fire on the Incense Altar, which causes the perfume to ascend, is the same fire which consumed the sacrifice at the Brazen Altar. There is no other pathway to intimacy with God. God makes us one with Himself only through the fire.
- “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for His work.…” (Isaiah 54:16)
An Example: Betsie ten Boom
I have been so ministered to by Corrie ten Boom and all that she allowed God to do through her life. But, to me, the real heroine of her stories, and someone we don’t hear too much about, is her sister Betsie. In spite of all the horrible conditions of their imprisonment, Betsie communed with the Lord constantly. She was like that hot piece of coal, left over from the wholly burnt sacrifice and carried in to the Incense Altar and the presence of God.
One time when Betsie was whipped and beaten almost unconscious by a guard, as Corrie was running towards her to help, she screamed out, “Come, don’t look at my wounds, look only at Jesus!” Betsie could “see Jesus,” even in the middle of all the horrible events that took place in that German prison camp.
Sometime later, Betsie was taken very ill with a lung disease. It was absolutely critical that she remain on a particular medication which she was able to obtain secretly. The bottle of medicine was very small and probably held only one month’s supply. However, because of Betsie’s total and complete abandonment to God’s will, God performed a miracle! He saw to it that that little bottle of medication lasted her for as long as she was sick (at least four or five months).
Years later when Betsie finally did die, Corrie said her beaten and swollen face had become radiant, full and young. “The care lines, the grief lines, the deep hollows of hunger and disease were simply gone. She was finally happy and at peace—bursting with joy and health. Even her matted and tangled hair was meticulously in place.”
Betsie was a wholly burnt sacrifice, but she lived at the feet of her beloved in the Holy Place, like that hot piece of coal.
Just as the Incense Altar owed its standing to the blood of the atonement, we, too, owe our standing to the blood of the Lamb and His righteousness. As Ephesians 5:2 says, “Walk in Love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.”