GOD’S WORD – DEATH AND LIFE
BY: LLOYD ELLEFSON
In the beginning, the word of God brought death, but it also brought life and the creation and everything else. Today, many do not believe that God is the same and that he is unchanging and that his word will produce death or life, depending on the word itself – not what man thinks or how man can pervert the idea of God or change the word of God into a lie. It all remains the same. God’s word in the end will be a life in the judgment of all things.
In the Old Testament, the presence of the ark represented the presence of God to Israel. It was a typology. In the Old Testament, the ark is also a type of access to God. The outer court was the end of the flesh and was not really a part of the temple. The tabernacle is for that which is beyond the death realm and it has to do with regeneration and life. To enter the temple, you had to be born a Levite and consecrated as a priest. Not only that, but you had to wash in the labor. If you didn’t wash, you would die. It mattered little if you were born a Levitical priest or consecrated, if you didn’t wash in the labor, you would die.
Some of these rules seem to be too heavy, too strict or too absolute. Nevertheless, God is absolute and his word is absolute. This is the thing that causes the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom. People today have no fear of God, or of the consequences of rebellion against God because it doesn’t come in the flesh and it’s not immediate. They don’t realize the penalty of not obeying God is spiritual and natural man doesn’t realize the consequences of spiritually losing their consciousness of life.
To enter the holy place meant that he had come into a light. A light, which the high priest lit every evening. It is a light that will give us illumination and understanding to bring us into the holiest place, which is the second part of the tabernacle, which is actually the life and presence of God in spirit. Only the high priest could enter there and not without blood. The blood has to do with the consciousness of being, the soul and the blood is our redemption. It redeems us from everything that happened in the outer court and in the holy place. We are being redeemed into the will of God, the presence of God, the purpose of God and all things are of God.
The ark was very important to Israel because it was the presence of God. When they entered the land of promise with the ark, after they crossed the Jordan, there was much rejoicing and they brought the ark into a place in the Promised Land. Israel began to pull away from following the things of the Lord and soon lost the protection of God. The Philistines came and over-ran Israel and killed many thousands of people and captured the ark. The ark was meant only for Israel, but the Philistines didn’t know that.
When they took the ark into Ashtad, one of their cities, they put it with their God Dega. The first night, it fell over on its face. They re-adjusted it. The second night, it fell down and broke into pieces. Then, disease began to move upon the people. They got afraid of that so they moved the ark from one town to another and more people got sick. They also had other plagues and mice.
They finally got so afraid of it, they took it to a place near the border of Israel. The hooked two milk cows to it and sent it on its way to Israel. When it arrived in Israel, it went to a town called Beth-Shemesh. They were very happy about this and they rejoiced and offered the two cows as a sacrifice to God. However, their curiosity and their lack of understanding of God’s will in the matter led them to go to the ark and remove the mercy seat to look in the ark, and, as a result, over fifty thousand people died. It means that God’s word stayed true, even if people did something in ignorance. The Philistines were ignorant of the power of the ark and we know Israel had become ignorant as well. When they took off the mercy seat and exposed the law, fifty thousand people died. This is an example: Whether you do something in ignorance or not, the word of God is going to destroy or to bring life, just as God said it would. No deviation, no circumventing the word can happen because the word will do exactly as God said it would.
We have to understand that the mercy seat was a way to access the law of the spirit of life in God – the law that controls spirit and life and when the mercy seat is removed, and then death comes. God has sent Christ as a result of his mercy and compassion. Not as a substitute, but as a way for the spirit of his son to come to humans to lead them out of transgression, for without transgression there is no punishment.
A heavy veil separated the two holy places in the tabernacle. There were two cherubims that were embroidered into the veil and they represented two other cherubims that were made of gold that sat on the top of the altar and watched over the mercy seat. The cherubims are a judgment that keeps things from entering into the presence of God. They are sort of a judgment seat that prevents, for instance, Adam from going back into the garden. There were cherubims there and they were guarding the access to the tree of life that Adam was not allowed to partake of in his present condition. They were in the ark on each side of the mercy seat and they were also in Solomon’s temple and they were seen in Ezekiel’s vision and in a similar form in Revelation 4. This is all typology and it is all a part of the word of God.
In Hebrews 5:4 it says about the priest and the priesthood, “No one is to take this honor on to himself.” Christ did not take this honor unto himself. He was anointed of God and appointed of God to be the high priest of our new confession. It is interesting that only the body of the high priest, with the blood of the sacrifice, entered into the holy place. The common people could not get out of the outer court. The general priesthood did not get past that veil. Only those in the body of the high priest have access to the holiest place where the presence of God needs no light, no natural light, no spiritual light from candlesticks or lamp stands. Simply, the presence of God is the light itself.
Today, the priesthood is limited to those who are born of God’s spirit, are his sons, and share in the anointing that goes on the high priest - the only perfect and eternal high priest that there is. It was God’s word, his order, his kingdom, and his rule. It was spurned in the contact with the tree in the Garden of Eden. It is this word that is being restored in man by God and his Son. Most of mankind still follows the persuasion and the frailty of the flesh. The word of God and the consequence of disobedience have not changed one iota. Grace has come not to eliminate punishment of death, but to deliver man into obedience of Christ Jesus. That, too, is not going to ever change (see Titus 1:11-14). It is by faith that we establish God’s law. The presence of God in the earth is in the tabernacle of flesh. If you destroy the body as a place of God’s presence, you destroy yourself.
Israel partook in Egypt, in the flesh, in type, and a shadow of reality when they took part of the first Passover in Egypt. Some fifty days after this, they came to Mt. Sinai and were given the law through Moses.
Jesus, in the day that he was looked over by and judged in Israel, they were also looking over the lambs to see which one was innocent and perfect to be sacrificed at the Passover. Jesus is our Passover and fifty days after his experience at the cross, there appeared in upper room an activity of the spirit called Pentecost. Fifty days after the Passover in Egypt, there was a giving of the law. It was fifty days after the Passover that Jesus partook of in his death; we have a giving of the law. The law is the giving of the spirit of the law in Christ Jesus. It is the spirit of the law that delivers us from the law of sin and death that acts in the natural to the flesh. We have another law now. Now the law is active in another sense. If you disobey it, you will die. If you obey the law, you will live.
Christ has brought the end of one man’s disobedience and brought a new man and a new image of God that is obedient to God, thus there is no transgression in Christ, and thus there is no penalty of the law. Man lived in the penalty of the law from Adam to Moses without realizing why he was dying. They died spiritually and even when they died physically, they remained in ignorance of what was causing the whole death realm. When Jesus came, he came into the flesh by the word of God -for sin- and entered into the death that mankind was in. A death in which man did not understand, did not know anything about and yet he was dying. The law of Moses began to inform man that sin was the problem and that sin was bringing death because of God’s word.
We have been given a spirit by God that will not transgress the word of God so we can remain in life once that spirit has regenerated us. We have been taken out of the penalty of death and put into the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It seems, today, that man does not really believe that the word of God is the same as it always was, that it is an absolute and when you somehow get doctrines or ideas of God or false ideas of the love of God, false ideas of the word of God, and its impact, and it’s consequence, that it doesn’t make any difference. It will never change the intent of the word of God. It will never allow you to escape death any other way. It will never give you a mercy seat out of Jesus Christ to escape the death that’s in the law.
Today, somehow, people have established a new way of thinking. Because we are not getting immediate punishment for our sins and they reach out more and more in the flesh, more and more in appearances, more and more in demonstrating in movies and videos and television where we have people simply challenging God. They are acting sensual and fleshly. They are almost in a place where they are challenging God to do something. If he doesn’t do anything, then it’s okay. If God were really mad, he would do something. He isn’t doing anything. Look, I’m rich, I’m a performer, I’m very sensual and sexual and people love me.
This kind of thinking is the death realm and the real punishment that is spiritual will finally have their place in it. It doesn’t matter how much people say these things are not true, that God would not do that, that he is not doing it, and looking at it in a temporal way through the mentality of human nature, it’s a delusion. When man is deluded, as Adam is, he does not realize he is dead already. He thinks that punishment will come some time after his physical death, when the greatest punishment that you could have, the penalty for sin is dying and being separated from the presence of God, separated from the mercy of God, separated from the message of God in his son and in his spirit. This is the big punishment, this will take away your consciousness, of existence, of life, of anything and you will be reduced to being whatever God has planned for those people. Some of these things are not known yet, but they are not good.
The presence of God in the earth today is in a tabernacle of flesh. God has chosen not to dwell in buildings made with human hands. He has chosen to dwell in the temple that is prepared for his habitation by his son Jesus Christ, abolishing death and bringing in life and immortality through the Gospel. We must bear in mind that this program installed by God in man is the ministry of reconciling people to God. This is where he has put it and this is where it is operating and this is the only way it’s going to come to man, through man. Through one man came death and through one man comes resurrection of the dead. We must realize that no big shaky things are going to change people: disease, earthquakes, fires, etc. These are not the instruments of repentance – that’s the law. It is the law of God that leads us to repentance – which is goodness, but men seem still, and increasingly so in these last days, of perverting the will of God and making light of the absolutes of the Gospel and using their own speculations and assumptions about God, what he will do, what he won’t do and who they are and this is a delusion that everyone that is not in Christ lives in. And yet these very intelligent, wise people, many of whom are in the Christian message, they laugh at the idea that they are in ignorance when it comes to the reality of the spiritual things of God in Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, God is not mocked. His word remains as it is said, as it is spoken and things are going to go that way no matter what man does, no matter what man thinks and that is the crux of it.