These are notes on the sermon, Jesus Unveiled—Secrets From Moses’ 40 Days , preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 14 July 2019, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Today, we are going to learn about what God spoke to Moses about during the 40 days and 40 nights that he was up on Mount Sinai.
Some people think that Moses went up there just to receive the ten commandments—the two tablets of stone—but why did he stay up there for 40 days and 40 nights if that was all he needed to receive?
“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
—John 1:17 NKJV
This is Pastor Prince’s favorite verse because this verse tells you the difference between law and grace.
The law was given. Grace and truth came.
You can give a text, a parcel or a gift to your friend on Christmas. But when you come personally to visit your friend, it speaks of a warm relationship. God came personally to us when He came as a man. He came to be with us. Jesus wasn’t born in a palace, but He was born in a manger.
The verse also tells us that truth is on the side of grace. This does not mean that the law is not true. It means that it is not the truth that will set you free. Grace and truth are together.
The book of Hebrews tells us that Moses was a servant, but Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.
Moses represents the law, and Jesus is the person of grace.
The servant, the law, can tell you what the claims of God are upon man. But it takes the Son to unfold the nature and the heart of God for you.
Today, we are not under law, but we are under grace, the Son—Jesus.
We’re going to compare and contrast both Moses and our Lord Jesus today.
After the people of Israel built a golden calf in idolatry (see Exo. 32), God was very angry. When Moses saw it, he rebuked the people of Israel and broke the two tablets of stones that God first gave him.
“Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
—Exodus 32:30 NKJV
“Perhaps I can make atonement for your sin” — Moses wasn’t sure whether he was able to make atonement for the people of Israel. But our Lord Jesus went up Calvary and He was sure to make atonement for us.
Both Moses and Jesus came as prophets, but Jesus was the greatest of all prophets. He’s God in human flesh. 100 percent God, 100 percent man.
Moses went up Mount Sinai, or Mount Horeb, for 40 days and 40 nights. After he broke the first set of stones that the commandments were written on, he went up again for another 40 days and 40 nights.
Jesus was tested by the devil in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. Also, when He rose from the dead, He spent time with His disciples for another 40 days before ascending to heaven.
Moses ended his 40 days with judgment on the people, Jesus ended his 40 days with the power to bless.
All numbers have a significance in the Bible. There are wonderful revelations behind numbers in the Bible.
The number 40 is the number of trial and testing. Elijah went through the wilderness for 40 days (see 1 Kings 19). Jesus was tested in the wilderness for 40 days (see Matt. 4:1-11).
When our Lord Jesus was tested by the devil in the wilderness, he was not tempted to sin like we are.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
—Hebrews 4:15 NKJV
The word “tempted” in this verse is the same word as the word “tested”. Jesus was tested, but never tempted—He didn’t have the fallen nature of man like we have. He didn’t feel the stirrings of sin that all sons of Adam have. He was born of a virgin, so He never had the sin principle in him.
To illustrate how Jesus was tested, Pastor Prince gives an example of giving someone a pure gold bar. If the person doesn’t believe the bar is real, Pastor Prince encourages him to send the gold bar to the experts to test it. When the person comes back after 40 days, and he says, “Pastor Prince, this is solid, pure gold!” You know that this gold bar is genuine.
In the same way, when Jesus was tested by the devil after 40 days, it was proof that He is beyond sin, fault, and He was the perfect Son of God.
Today, we are going to see God’s heart for us.
Why is it important to know God’s heart?
Pastor Prince shares how if we are unable to know what is in our spouse’s heart, for example, we will not be able to communicate effectively. They may say something out of impatience, but if you know their heart for you, you know they’re not actually being impatient toward you.
But if you don’t know their heart for you, you will misconstrue what they are saying, and you’ll get angry. We’ll misunderstand them.
So today, we want to know the heart of God, so that we can understand His ways.
Let’s look at what Moses said to the people of Israel:
“Also in Horeb [Sinai] you provoked the Lord to wrath, so that the Lord was angry enough with you to have destroyed you.”
—Deuteronomy 9:8 NKJV
From the Passover night, the first Passover, when God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt all the way to Mount Horeb, or Sinai, God was never angry with them.
During this period, God was dealing with them in pure grace. The Ten Commandments had not been given yet. God brought them out because He remembered His covenant with their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was an unconditional covenant that God cut with them.
Even though they murmured and sinned during this period, there was no record that God was angry with them.
When they murmured, God provided. When they murmured, God rained manna from heaven, and brought water from the rock. It was not dependent on their goodness but His goodness. Not their faithfulness, but His faithfulness. This was His heart for them.
Had Israel said, “God, we cannot keep the law, do not bless us based on our obedience,” God would not have given them the law.
But God gave the law because man did not know what was in their hearts. The law was given to expose man’s sin (see Rom. 3:20).
Once God gave them the law on Mount Sinai, when Israel sinned, they died. When they murmured, they died. And now the Bible tells us God was angry.
Pastor Prince addresses people who say, “Well, if you’re under grace, you cannot be holy, you’ll become licentious.” This is not true.
In fact, had the children of Israel continued under God’s period of grace, they would see His faithfulness, and be transformed.
The moment the children of Israel presumed on their own strength to keep the law, God said, “Moses, I come to you know in the thick cloud” (Exo. 19:9). In Hebrew, the word “thick” is the word for “dark”.
For the first time, it’s a dark cloud, and God goes on to say that if any man or animal drew near, it would die. Therefore, in the Old Testament, under law, the more you come closer to God, chances are, you might die.
Today, because of Jesus’ finished work at the cross, God says, “Draw near and you’ll live.” It’s a new and living way! (see Heb. 10:19-22)
If you’re suffering because you’re sick, or hurting, even emotionally, draw closer to God. Because today, when we draw close to God, there is life. It’s a new and living way!
Under grace, if you stay away, there is death, but if you come close to God, there is life.
Let’s go back to the story of the children of Israel in Exodus 19. In Exodus 19, God proposed the law, and they hadn’t even heard what the law was about yet, and yet they boasted that they could keep the law.
So God gave them the law (see Exo. 20), and they pledged obedience, but the result was a golden calf. They broke the very first commandment.
Any believer who boasts in the law will end up sinning—because the law was designed to stir up your flesh.
Because Israel was under law, they needed to offer burnt offerings to God to cover their sin. Without the blood of the offerings, if they came to God, they would die.
Today, we can come to God because the blood of His eternal Son, Jesus.
The blood of bulls and goats provided yearly, temporal forgiveness for the children of Israel.
But the blood of Jesus Christ provides eternal redemption and forgiveness for us.
The Bible tells us that today, we have a better sacrifice!
The blood of Jesus has satisfied God’s claims of holiness. Today, God can make a sinner a son of God, through the blood of Jesus, who has satisfied God’s holiness and met all the claims of divine righteousness.
Today, we are sons of God. No longer under law, but under grace. Under law, there’s a distance with God, but under grace, as sons, we have intimacy with the Father.
Let’s go back to Deuteronomy 9:
“When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. ”
—Deuteronomy 9:9 NKJV
When Moses was in the presence of God, he could fast supernaturally—40 days and 40 nights.
In the presence of God, nothing decays, nothing grows old, nothing dies. In the Gospels, no one ever died in the presence of Jesus. In the presence of Jesus, death turns into resurrection. Leprosy turns into cleanness. Those who are blind, began to see!
It’s time to draw near to the presence of God today!
Pastor Prince encourages the people who came to church today, or the people who are watching or hearing this message at any time, that they are drawing near to the life-giving presence of God today.
He also encourages us to come boldly to God today (see Heb. 10:22), to honor what Jesus has done for us at the cross.
“And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.”
—Deuteronomy 9:11 NKJV
When did God give Moses the two tablets of the Ten Commandments? At the end of 40 days and 40 nights.
So, what was God doing on the first day till the 39th day of Moses’ journey on Mount Sinai?
Before we find what God said to Moses during this period, let’s look at what happened next in verse 12.
““Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly; they have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made themselves a molded image.’...“So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the Lord your God—had made for yourselves a molded calf! You had turned aside quickly from the way which the Lord had commanded you. Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes.”
—Deuteronomy 9:12-17 NKJV
“Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes” — Moses broke the first set of the Ten Commandments. If he had brought it down to the camp of Israel, all the people would have died. It became the ministry of death. So he broke it, and God approved of it.
Then when he went down the mountain, the Bible says that all who were for the heart of God, and honoring Moses, came to Moses’ side. The Bible also specifically mentions the tribe of Levi who came to Moses’ side.
After this, God told the Levites to slay the people, and 3000 people died. This was the first Pentecost.
We can compare this event to another event in the New Testament. In Acts 2, in the new Pentecost, when the Spirit fell, 3000 people were saved.
So today, we must move our ministry from Mount Sinai, the law, to Mount Zion, grace. From the old Pentecost, to the new Pentecost. From the law, to the Spirit.
Then God told Moses to come up the mountain again, for another 40 days, and he received the new set of the Ten Commandments.
Where did Moses put the two sets of stones after he received it the second time?
In the Ark of the Covenant, covered over with the mercy seat. This is a picture of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Only Jesus can keep the law perfectly. So the picture of Moses putting the law in the Ark is a picture of the only One who can keep it.
When you accept Jesus, God gives you an A plus when it comes to law-keeping. Even though you are not perfect, in God’s eyes, you are accepted in Him.
Back to the question: What did God reveal to Moses during the first 40 days that he was up in the mountain? What was He thinking about? What was His heart full of?
His heart is full of His Son, our Lord Jesus. It’s all about our Lord Jesus.
During the 40 days, God spoke to Moses about the building of the tabernacle and its furniture—and we’re about to see beautiful pictures of Jesus revealed in them.
““Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.”
—Exodus 25:2-9 NKJV
“From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering” — God doesn’t want offerings that are not given willingly to Him. Pastor Prince tells pastors and leaders to not take offering from people who are not willing.
“And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze” — How did the nation of Israel, who were slaves from Egypt, have gold, silver, and bronze?
Pastor Prince shares how on the night of the Passover, there was a transfer of wealth from the Egyptians to the Israelites.
The Israelites were finally paid all their years of slavery plus interest in one night, during the Passover.
Good things happen on the Passover. What does this mean for us today? Whenever we partake of the Holy Communion, which the Passover was a shadow of, we’ll see blessings come to us.
Even the precious gemstones on the High Priest’s garment came from the Egyptians. All the wealth, gold, and silver, came from the world. God will prosper you for a purpose—to build his house.
“this is the offering which you shall take from them… blue, purple, and scarlet thread” — All these colors represent a beautiful picture of Jesus.
Blue represents the Heavenly Man, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Purple represents the color of the emperor, the Gentiles. The kings of the gentiles wore purple. Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Scarlet represents not just the color of suffering (blood), but it is also the color of the King of the Jews. When Jesus was mocked and beaten by the Romans, they put a robe of scarlet on him, and said, “Hail! King of the Jews.” (see Matt. 27:28-30)
Without the purple, blue and scarlet together is jarring.
But when you put purple in the middle, the picture becomes comfortable to your eyes.
How do you get purple? You mix blue and scarlet.
Jesus came from heaven (blue), took red earth (red is also the color of Adam — “which means red man”). Jesus took on a form of a man, and heaven (His divinity) and earth (His humanity) met perfectly in Him.
“this is the offering which you shall take from them… fine linen, and goats’ hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins” — Fine linen speaks of Jesus’ perfect, spotless humanity.
Goat’s hair also speaks of Jesus as a prophet (prophets wear goat’s hair, rough attire.)
Ram’s skin dyed red speaks of Jesus’ consecrated to God. The ram is a picture of consecration.
Badger’s skin: This material is disputed by many scholars, but ancient rabbis in the Talmud say that it’s a seal, which could have been possible as many of them might have been lying around when the Red Sea split, so the children of Israel could have took them and offered them to the making of the Tabernacle.
This is a sturdy material. In Ezekiel 16:10, God also mentions that He used this material for the shoes of the children of Israel.
And then the Bible says that when they walked in the wilderness, their clothes never grew old and their shoes never swelled (see Deut. 8:4).
Pastor Prince encourages the church that whatever you give to God as an offering, God gives back to you more in return.
If you give your time to God, you have more time back. He keeps you young!
If you try to save time, you’ll lose it.
If you lose your life for Jesus’ sake, you’ll find it.
Pastor Prince encourages the church to start serving, and they’ll find their time given back to them.
“this is the offering which you shall take from them… acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.” — Acacia wood is wood that never decays. It is sturdy, hard, durable—a picture of incorruptibility. It’s a picture of Jesus’ body.
Oil for the light is a picture of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. He gives us enlightenment.
Spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense speaks of praise and worship.
Onyx stones and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate: Long before the High Priest’s garments were made, God told Moses to standby this offering of precious stones from the people, so that these stones could be put into the breastplate of the High Priest.
“And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them…” — This speaks of how God wants a house so that He can dwell with the people of Israel.
Even though God has the heaven of heavens to abide in, He wants to be with you.
When God’s people were suffering as slaves in the furnace of Egypt, He came to them in a burning bush.
When God’s people were about to take Jericho, and had to fight, the Lord appeared as a captain with a sword, to Joshua.
God always appears where His people are at and wants to relate with them. He loves to dwell among them.
And then, God came as a man, that He may truly dwell among us. That man is Jesus!
As a man, during His time on earth, Jesus could only be limited to dwelling physically in Israel. But today, the Holy Spirit dwells in us—and His presence is with all of us.
This speaks of how God is so near and intimate with us today.
Now, let’s look at a picture of the tabernacle of God’s dwelling. This picture of the tabernacle is also a picture of the church today.
When we approach the tabernacle, we start by walking past the bronze altar of the burnt offering, and then towards the tabernacle.
This is a picture of how we start our Christian life. We start our journey from the finished work of Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross, from the place of salvation that He provided for us.
God, however, starts from the Holy of Holies, as the first piece of furniture he mentions to Moses to build is the Ark of the Covenant (see Exo. 25:10-22).
“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side, and two rings on the other side. And you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them. The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.
“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.”
— Exodus 25:10-22
“...they shall make an ark of acacia wood” — Again, this speaks of Jesus’ incorruptibility.
“And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around.” — Gold speaks of deity, Jesus’ divinity, and His righteousness.
What does that mean when the gold is overlaid on top of the wood? The wood speaks of Jesus’ humanity, and the gold speaks of His deity. He is 100 percent deity and 100 percent human.
“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat.” — The mercy seat is pure gold, no wood—it’s hammered from one solid slab of gold.
The two cherubim represents God’s judicial holiness. The Bible says about the first mention of cherubim:
“So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
The cherubim are the guardians of God’s holiness. They are there to exact judgment, if you violate God’s holiness. They are looking down at the mercy seat.
Once a year, the High Priest takes the blood of bulls and goats and sprinkles it on the mercy seat (see Heb. 9:7), before the guardians of God’s holiness.
When this sprinkling happens, this means that God’s justice and judgment has been accomplished.
Just like on the night of Passover, when there is blood on the doorpost, it means that judgment has been accomplished.
If the death of the lamb, whose blood is on the doorpost, has been judged, the family cannot been judged. Today, we cannot be judged because our Lord Jesus shed His blood for us, to pay for our judgment at the cross!
Back to the High Priest—He sprinkles blood once on the mercy seat, but He also sprinkles blood seven times in front of the mercy seat.
Seven is the number of perfection in the Bible.
What does this mean? When you come before God today, you have perfect standing before the presence of God because of Jesus’ blood.
When you come to the presence of God, even if you have negative, dark thoughts, stay in God’s presence today! Because of Jesus' finished’ work, you are accepted before God, and God will hear your prayer.
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
—Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
You can come boldly to God’s presence today, and His blessings will come on you. God’s holiness can never judge you because He is satisfied with the blood of Jesus that is before the throne of God.
All these types, figures and shadows of the Ark of the Covenant, are a shadow of Christ.
The Bible tells us, Mary Magdalene came on Resurrection Morning, to the tomb of Jesus. Let’s read John 20:
“But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.”
Mary saw the real Ark of the Covenant—the two angels sitting one at the head and at the foot of the empty tomb!
“And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” — God loves to speak from mercy. Now, this place is no longer a place of judgment. God is speaking to you from the mercy seat!
If you want to hear God’s voice, find a place where His grace and mercy is preached.
Let’s move on to the next piece of furniture in the Tabernacle.
“You shall also make a table of acacia wood; two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold all around. You shall make for it a frame of a handbreadth all around, and you shall make a gold molding for the frame all around. And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings on the four corners that are at its four legs. The rings shall be close to the frame, as holders for the poles to bear the table. And you shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be carried with them. You shall make its dishes, its pans, its pitchers, and its bowls for pouring. You shall make them of pure gold. And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.”
—Exodus 25:23-30 NKJV
What does the table of showbread represent?
There are 12 loaves prepared every Sabbath for the table of showbread. The 12 loaves represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
God loves to “feed” on His people. He loves to find His satisfaction in His people!
That’s why God loves for you to come to Him.
Just like the sinner woman who came to Jesus at the well (see John 4).
After Jesus ministered to her, when the disciples found Him at the well, He told His disciples, “I have food to eat of which you do not know” (John 4:32).
And what was the food that fed Him? Him ministering to the woman who came to Him at the well! That’s a glimpse of God’s heart for you. He loves to bless—this is His food!
Every time you come to Him, He doesn’t say, “You again!” He will not rebuke you for coming to Him.
“You shall make for it a frame of a handbreadth all around, and you shall make a gold molding for the frame all around.” — Why is the gold moulding all around the showbread?
This means that the bread is firmly secure. It is always upheld.
You are always upheld in Christ. Your salvation is eternal.
Jesus said this about every believer in Christ:
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
—John 10:28-30 NKJV
No one can take you out from His hands.
“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side…”
—Exodus 25:31-32 NKJV
“The lampstand shall be of hammered work…” — The lampstand was beaten from one solid slab of gold. This speaks of Jesus, who was beaten at the cross, so that the church, represented by the lampstand, can come forth.
“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.”
Jesus must be in the midst of the church today. All three lamps on the right and three lamps on the left must be facing the center shaft, a picture of how we are to face our Lord Jesus Christ, and to behold His glory.
Our gifts and talents are for us to bring glory for Him.
Whatever praise or credit people accolade to us, we must always remember to give glory to the Lord.
Pastor Prince encourages pastors and leaders to always take time after a sermon, especially so if it was well received by the congregation, to go somewhere private to spend time with the Lord and give glory to Him.
Pastor Prince shares how he was at the Kidron Valley in Israel with some of his leaders, looking up at the Temple Mount, and he had a revelation of the bronze altar in the temple.
He shares how the Hebrew word for “bronze” is actually “copper”. Copper is a metal that has the highest form of fire resistance.
The bronze altar is a picture of Jesus, our burnt offering at the cross.
Jesus endured all the wrath of a holy and righteous God, and all the vengeance of God against all lawlessness and sins that we have committed on the cross. He bore in His body all our sins, and because He is the incorruptible Man, he took our sin and absorbed God’s fire of judgment.
Under the law, when the Prophet Elijah called down fire from heaven, a picture of God’s judgment, the fire consumed the sacrifice and the 12 stones.
But when Jesus became our sacrifice, He—the true sacrifice—was greater than the judgment. Every last punishment and judgment of our sins of our entire life was absorbed in His body, until He cried, “Finished!” (see John 19:30).
And He remained after the judgment had been exhausted.
Today, there is no judgment for the believer in Christ, because the judgment is finished!
Let’s look at what King David said about the Bronze Altar:
I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.
—Psalm 26:6-8 NKJV
King David said that He would go about, to surround the bronze altar.
He had a revelation of the different sides of the altar.
Pastor Prince shares how every side of the altar has a meaning that will bless you and give you a revelation that brings success.
Let’s look at each side of the altar—starting from the North, to the East, to the South, to the West.
“If his offering is of the flocks—of the sheep or of the goats—as a burnt sacrifice, he shall bring a male without blemish. He shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the Lord; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar.”
The north side of the bronze altar is where the burnt offering is killed. This signifies the death of Christ and His finished work for us.
We start our Christian life with the death of Christ. Today, there are teachings that reduce Jesus to a great psychologist, physician, or a great example of leadership, but they don’t believe that He went to the cross as our Savior. But the truth is, we are only saved because of the death of Christ!
Pastor Prince also shares how Israel’s enemies always come from the north. And God chose to put the sacrifice of the burnt offering on the north side of the altar.
What does this mean today? This means that God puts His Son’s death right at the place where evil tries to come into your life.
The cross of Calvary has stopped every evil from coming into your life!
Pastor Prince encourages us to remember that every good thing in our life begins with the cross.
Jesus, who owns the entire universe, became poor at the cross, so that we, through his poverty, might become rich (see 2 Cor. 8:9).
Jesus bore your diseases and carried your pains at the cross, so that by His stripes, you may be healed (see Isaiah 53:5).
King David prophesied about Jesus’ suffering at the cross in Psalm 88, where Jesus said to the Father:
“Loved one and friend You have put far from me,
And my acquaintances into darkness.”
—Psalm 88:18 NKJV
Jesus was all alone at the cross, so that you can be blessed with a life partner and friends.
Pastor Prince shares a word of encouragement for pastors and leaders. He addresses leaders who are afraid that their sheep—their congregation—might be scattered and disunited, and shares this verse:
“...‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”
He shares how the Shepherd refers to our Lord Jesus, and when He was captured at the garden of Gethsemane, all his disciples fled—so that today, you can have the blessing of a united congregation.
Everything has been paid for by Jesus. Every need you have has been supplied for at the cross.
“And he shall remove its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar on the east side, into the place for ashes.”
—Leviticus 1:16 NKJV
When fire burns the sacrifice, the final state of the sacrifice is ashes.
The truth behind the ashes of the sacrifice is this—when the fire of God fell on Jesus, all your sins are finished. God’s judgment over your life is finished.
When God reduces something to ashes, it means that God accepts your sacrifice! Jesus’ sacrifice has been fully accepted at the cross. It is a finished work.
Pastor Prince shares a scenario of how this helps us in our walk with God today.
For example, let’s say a particular Israelite brought his lamb as a sacrifice, and offered it on the altar to God as an offering. However, when he goes home, he is unsure that his sins are forgiven. He begins to wonder if he offered the sacrifice correctly.
But then, the next day, when the sun begins to rise from the east, where the east side of the altar is, he looks towards the altar and the first thing the sunlight hits is the place of the ashes. This means, he’s reminded that His sacrifice has been accepted before God.
Today, when we look at the finished work of Jesus Christ—the place of ashes—we remember that our sins are forgiven, and we are accepted before God!
“May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah
May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.”
—Psalm 20:3-4 NKJV
“And accept your burnt sacrifice” — The word “accept” here in Hebrew also means, to “reduce to ashes.”
Would you like your heart’s desire and purpose to be fulfilled? This promise of God tells us that this can be so in our life because God has reduced our sacrifice at the cross, our Lord Jesus, to ashes. He has finished all judgment at the cross!
Today, when you come to God, remember that your sins have been reduced to ashes. The work is finished!
The word for “ashes” is also the Hebrew word for fatness and anointing—dashen.
In the place of the finished work is the place of the anointing of God!
God will anoint any pastor or leader who preaches the finished work of Christ.
“He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side.”
—Ezekiel 47:2 NKJV
The water that was running out on the right side is the south of the altar. What does the water speak of? The Holy Spirit.
After Jesus died, because of His finished work at the cross, there is no more sin-consciousness. And because there is no more sin-consciousness, you can now be led by the Spirit!
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
When you are led by the Spirit and you are not under the law, it doesn’t make you want to sin. Because the Holy Spirit will govern you. If you are married, not only will you not commit adultery, the Spirit will give you fresh love for your wife. He will teach you how to love her. He will teach you how to pay off your debt.
Many people are trying to follow the Spirit, but you cannot follow the leading of the Holy Spirit if you are under the law, which makes you sin-conscious.
Only believers who are not sin-conscious, but conscious of the finished work of Jesus and His grace toward us, can be led accurately by the Spirit!
Finally, we come to the west side of the altar. The west side of the altar is facing the tabernacle of God.
God wants every believer to know that for a successful life, you need the house of God and the presence of God.
Pastor Prince shares how he knows of people who, before coming to church, have had headaches the whole day, but after attending church, the headache leaves.
He mentions how the power is not in the church building—but the power manifests when the church, consisting of God’s people, gather together.
When the people of God, the church, gather together, that’s where the anointing of God is. That’s where the refreshing dew of Hermon is (see Ps. 133). So don’t neglect the house of God.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
—Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV
The Bible says, as we see the Day approaching, the day where Jesus is coming back for His church, do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
Pastor Prince shares how it’s so easy to feel tempted to do stupid things when you’re alone, but when you’re in the company of fellow believers in Christ—even if it’s just a meet up for coffee, or lunch—there is a flow of mutual encouragement and strength towards one another.
Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20).
There’s power in the church of God!
Jesus believes in the local church. Even in the book of Revelation, Jesus addresses seven different churches that existed at the same time. We are all united, one body of Christ, but there is diversity.
Let’s go back to Psalm 26—David’s revelation of the altar:
I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.
—Psalm 26:6-8 NKJV
King David also loved to be in God’s house. Pastor Prince encourages us to have a love for God’s house too.
“Lift your hands all across this place. The Lord bless you. The Lord keep and preserve you. The Lord protect you from all evil. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May you be blessed with the blessings of Abraham. May others see the hand of God on you. May they be jealous of the favor of God shown on you and be drawn to your Savior. The Lord grant you peace. Amen.”
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2019
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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