God Knows My Heart!

lukewarm“So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:16).

Lukewarm: cool, indifferent, apathetic, unenthusiastic, non-committal.

Cold water doesn’t really ever become lukewarm unless it’s close to something that is warmer than itself or sitting in the sunshine.   When hot water is allowed to sit for a period of time, it will become lukewarm until it turns cold.    However, when hot water is mixed with cold or cold water is mixed hot, it immediately becomes lukewarm.   The main characteristic of making something lukewarm is the mixing process of hot and cold.

The other day my 5-year-old daughter was looking at the model Tabernacle in our living room.   It’s a small, simple cardboard model that my 13-year-old daughter made last year.   Over the one end of the Tabernacle where the Holy of Holies would be located is a cloud with a flame coming out.   My youngest daughter commented that when Yeshua returns she’s leaving in that cloud with him.

For a moment I was stunned.   I had never considered that the cloud in which we would be gathered to Yeshua would be THAT cloud – the Shekinah glory of Yahweh (1 Thes. 4:17).   This made me think  about the cloud that covered His glory on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:16).   When we are caught up together with Messiah in the cloud, we will have been changed “in the twinkling of an eye” into our glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:50).   Will the Bride will be veiled in the cloud of His glory as she is gathered to her Bridegroom?!

The Outer Court of the Tabernacle is where most of God’s people were able to enter.   The Outer Court is where the altar of sacrifice was located along with the bronze laver where the Levites would wash their feet and hands after making a sacrifice.     When they had cleans hands and feet (Ps. 24:3,4), the priests could then enter the Most Holy Place.   From the Holy Place, only the High Priest, from the lineage of Aaron, could enter the Holy of Holies.   With each step into the Tabernacle, fewer and fewer people were allowed to go.

The cloud of glory hovered over the Holy of Holies and not over the entrance gate to the Outer Court.    This would suggest to me that the hottest part of the Tabernacle where the cloud of the glory/fire of God remains, is the place where few enter and stay.

As one leaves the “hot” Holy of Holies and enters the Most Holy Place, the “heat” dissipates a little yet there still remains the warmth of His glory.  As one leaves the heavily curtained Tent of Meeting and enters the Outer Court, the warmth becomes even less evident until outside of the Tabernacle boundary, it may almost feel cold.

On our little model, there is a circle of people dancing around a golden calf outside of the Tabernacle boundary.   The story about the golden calf is found in Exodus 32.   Moses has been up on the mountain receiving the Torah – commandments, decrees, and instructions for the people of God – from YHVH.   He has been gone what seemed like a long time to the mass of Israelite people.   They became complacent, began grumbling, and then approached Aaron, the brother of Moses.  They demanded that he make an idol for them.   Aaron collects all their gold jewelry and with tools (his hands) fashions the golden calf.  The golden calf is a symbol of worship from Egypt (the world).

These are the very same people who had experienced the Passover of Yahweh, escaped the angel of death, watched the protection of their lives through “baptism” in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:2) and heard the voice of Yahweh from the mountain.   Yet, they want a golden calf.

They have lost the intensity of the heat of the Shekinah and their subsequent redemption.  They desired the coldness of the pagan golden calf idol.   The people even call the calf their ‘god.’  Aaron complies with their wishes, builds an “altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to Yahweh” (Ex. 32:5)  He knows that the calf is pagan, but he wants to ‘make it holy’  to justify it before Yahweh.   Aaron mixed the hot and the cold and created a lukewarm observance.

The term ‘lukewarm’ is not used in the TeNaK (Old Testament).     Instead, Yahweh says that His people profane the holy.   They take His Holy, set apart things and times and days and through a mixing process make them common.   The consequence of profaning  the holy is  the profaning of His Name among His people and ultimately, among the nations of the world (Ezekiel 20).

It’s apparent that the Israelites continued to have this discernment problem as Yahweh commands His priests to discern for the people between what is holy and what is common (Lev. 10:10).   Even the priests are judged by Yahweh when they no longer try to distinguish between what is clean, unclean, holy and common, nor keep His Sabbaths (Ez. 20:10-27).

Remember that hot water?   When cold water was added, it became lukewarm.   Apply this concept to the ways of Yahweh and the golden calf.   The ways of Yahweh are hot, hot, hot.    Yahweh is called a ‘refining fire’ (Micah 3:2).  When Moses met Yahweh in a cloud, the people saw a fire (Ex.32).    His Spirit immerses us in “fire” (Matthew 3:11).

The golden calf is cold, common, pagan, lifeless.  When mixed with the worship of Yahweh,  there is no longer a refining process,  but a fabricated religious observance.   The consequence for being lukewarm – being neither hot nor cold –  according to Yeshua is being vomited out of His mouth! (Revelation 3:16).

Moses was so angry when he came off the mountain that he threw down and broke the tablets of stone that held the Words of Yahweh – the words  written by Yahweh’s own Hand.

When confronted by Moses, Aaron said “these evil people” made him melt down their gold jewelry and suddenly a golden calf appeared (Ex. 32:24).   Moses made a judgment against all the people.    He burned the calf, ground it into powder, and scattered it on the drinking water  Ex. 32:20).   The Israelites had to drink this water.  They had to swallow the pride of their sinful lukewarm behavior.  How many of them vomited from the taste of the lukewarm powdered water?

Moses  made atonement for the people when he returned to the mountain and Yahweh tells him “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book (Ex. 32:33).  He struck all the people with a plague except for those Levites who chose not to worship the calf and to follow Yahweh wholeheartedly.  All of this from mixing the holy worship of Yawheh and the profane idolatry of Egypt.

But what was holy that they mixed with the golden calf to make it lukewarm?     The holy part of the mixture was to set apart the day as a festival to Yawheh (Exodus 32:5).  The cold part of the mixture  centered around the calf.

The Israelites people had begun to experience the holy festivals of Yahweh:  the Passover, the Unleavened Bread,  and Feast of Weeks – the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai.    In their boredom with waiting for Moses’ return, they decided to create their own celebration centered around a pagan symbol and call it “Holy to Yahweh.”  Their celebration turned into ‘running wild and being out of control.‘    The consequence was being removed from the book of life.

Holiday catalogs arrive this time of year on a daily basis.  What if you read the following poem in one of the Christmas catalogs?  Would you consider the message holy or profane?

God Looks at My Heart

Worship the Calf, a golden symbol of God.

It appeared from nowhere using Aaron’s rod.

Lay out your jewelry, your bracelets and rings

Give up your will,  your life and its things.

With a calf in a stable Jesus was born,

On the head of this calf is a special horn.

On the cross Christ suffered and died we are told;

His life poured out like the melted hot gold.

Through joy and delight we dance and sing

Around a calf of fine gold; we honor a king.

This may seem like a ridiculous description of the golden calf, but I have read hundreds of cute little poems, letters and stories made up by people trying to transform the golden calves of Christianity into acceptable forms and times of celebration to Yahweh.   If we have truly been given the Holy Spirit, then we need to ask for and receive one of His gifts: the ability to discern between spirits (1 Cor. 12:10).

When the nation of Israel was split into the northern and southern kingdoms after the death of Solomon, the northern kingdom departed from the ways of Yahweh (1 Kings 11:35).   Their king, Jeroboam, decided that it was too far for the people to travel to Jerusalem to obey Yahweh’s commands, so he set up a new place of worship in Bethel.  He created a new lineage of priests that were not from the Levite tribe.  He also fashioned two golden calves and then announced to the people – the majority of the nation of Israel –  “Here are your new gods” (1 Kings 12:25-33).   He also set up a festival day for these people that he called “Holy to Yahweh”. Their mixing and twisting of the profane with the holy led to their being taken captive into Assyria and ultimately dispersed through the whole world and unrecognized today except in the spirit of Christianity.

For many years I contemplated the entire concept of being hot, cold or lukewarm from an evangelical Christian point of view.    I was taught that hot or cold had to do with an individual’s walk with the Lord.  If they were ‘on fire’ for the Lord, they were hot; if not, they were cold.  To some extent this is true.  However, in order to get ‘on fire’, you have to go  into the Holy of Holies where the flame IS.    In order to enter the Tabernacle at all,  golden calves, false forms of worship must stay outside the Tabernacle boundary.

Today, there is no Tabernacle in the wilderness or Temple in Jerusalem.   We, as believers are called the Temple of Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 6:16).  We are the Tabernacle of the Living God with His Spirit moving and working through us.   In order for Yahweh to light us ‘on fire,’  we must be willing to forsake all the golden calves that we as individuals have allowed in our lives.  We have to remove the golden calf worship that the church has allowed into its history and given to us as our inheritance.   Our fathers have inherited lies (Jeremiah 16:19) and so have we.   It’s time to bring the father(s) of lies into the Light of Truth (John 8:44).

My 5-year-old daughter’s comment may not be too far off.  In fact, I believe it was quite profound.    If the cloud that takes us to the Bridal Chamber with our Bridegroom is the Shekinah glory of the Father, then we had better be living in the Holy of Holies where the cloud with the refining fire rests.  We had better become completely set apart from even looking at the unclean, common, pagan cold ways of the nations.

Each of us can learn from the children of Israel and their golden calf worship.  I have learned from my own daughter what is the difference between hot, cold, lukewarm and the Shekinah cloud of Yahweh.   We need to be willing to seek the Truth with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength and humbly admit and repent from the lies and deception that have so easily come upon us.   To know what’s right and not to do it is considered sin (James 4:17).  God does know our hearts and He is not deceived like we are.  He  knows if they are hot, cold, or sickly lukewarm.

Examine me, God, and know my heart; test me, and know my thoughts” (Psalm 139:23).

©Tent Stake Ministries, December 13, 2002

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