Spiritual blindness is the rule rather than the exception in the pages of Scripture. From the opening of Bereishit to the final chapters of Revelation, the pages record how many ways that human beings just don't get it, either the plan of Heaven or their part in it. With those kinds of statistics, what are the odds that any one person really "gets" his role within the plan of redemption, either personal or national? What are the odds that the individual does not have some failing in regard to a "Golden Calf" in his or her generation? Not good.
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were
all under the cloud and
all passed through the sea; and
all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and
all ate the same spiritual food; and
all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. (1 Co 10:1-5)
So what are the odds that we are as spiritually enlightened in the Torah as we think we are? Again, not good.
There is Good News, however, named Yeshua. Yeshua is the sacrifice, so by sharing in him as the sacrifice, we share in a perpetual altar. When we eat the sacrifice worthily, we take on the nature of Yeshua, which penetrates into every cell of our bodies. When the skin and waste is burned up, we share in the hope that one day our visible skin or hide,
or, will be changed to the skin,
or, that was given to Adam, who was wrapped in the original garment of shining. Moses modeled this new skin for us, and it is so bright that those who break faith with the Torah covenant cannot look on this new skin.
That inner light of the skin must be veiled, and the Tabernacle altars were veiled by curtains that separated them from unworthy eyes. The colors of those veils are red, purple, and blue, the colors of a rainbow. The rainbow is a prism bends light so that the naked eye (
ayin) can see the seven-fold beauty of what would be otherwise invisible. The prism hints that the altars are doorways to a realm of spiritual light that the naked, faithless, and earth-bound eyes of man cannot yet look upon.
If Israel was "laid low" in the wilderness for failing in spiritual vision, those who have been covered by the blood of Yeshua have no excuse for poor vision.
This provokes us to reconsider the seriousness of the Pesach matzah, the cup of blessing, and the weekly Shabbat Kiddush cup. That holy cup can become a cup of wrath to those who do not discern the Body in whom dwells the Angel of the Presence. These symbolic sacrifices are the appointed times in which disciples judge themselves in the Light of Judge Yeshua and his altar, and it is there they see into the doorway of Wisdom and Light:
I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing which we
bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in
the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we
all partake of the one bread. Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the
sacrifices sharers in the altar? (1 Co 10:15-18)
In Temple times, a single lamb was shared by about fifty people. Today, many will settle for a home-based seder with only a few friends or family. Scripture emphasizes the importance of two gatherings: public, which is the very essence of a
moed, gathering with like-minded believers, and household, a place to teach young ones. So which is most important?
Passover binds the individual family into the nation of Israel. Salvation, redemption, and deliverance were
a shared national miracle, not an individual one. The miraculous is experienced in the Clouds of Glory, a Jewish tradition of the exodus of Egypt. The teaching and transference of family faith, however, takes place in the individual home.
In order to meet the Scriptural criteria of Passover, one must bind himself to both the greater Body of Yeshua as well as bind together his family. A single family cannot digest an entire lamb before midnight without engaging in seriously blind selfishness and gluttony, which Paul points out to the Corinthians is a Passover sin. It is blindness to the spiritual light of the feast.
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But
a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren,
when you come together to eat, wait for one another. (1 Co 11:27-33)
Self-judgment is an important part of another requirement in the Torah portion, the bringing of the holy half-shekel. By bringing half a shekel, each individual is forced to acknowledge his relationship to the whole. Only in joining with another can the individual be made spiritually whole. All men of age had to bring the shekel, no matter whether they were rich, poor, strong, weak, good-looking, ugly, great Torah scholars, or simple-minded.
The individual was not allowed to choose his shekel partner in making his whole. It was by Divine plan that a man's other half-shekel was joined to his. All he could do was to self-judge his faithfulness to his own half-shekel and pray for a holy match to a half-shekel that would complement his weaknesses and make the offering strong.
To partake of the Pesach sacrifice or Kiddush cup any other way than with self-judgment according to the Word of God is to bring weakness, sickness, and death upon one's self, for the altar is the proving ground of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The altar is a judgment place, and the Word of God is the fire on the altar. There is an awesome angel who tends that fire just as the priests tended the altar fire. That angel is a fearsome Presence, and he gives orders to an equally terrible angel with a sickle who has the power to harvest unrighteous grapes from the earth.
Drink the cups carefully, and consider the Body of Messiah with whom you are sharing in the altar. Even though the Temple service has moved to individuals rather than one geographic location in the exile, the principle of the sacrificial altar is still in effect. Prayer and worship is still the act of one body, and rugged individualists have no share in the altar of Messiah Yeshua, for theirs is a self-serving, altered altar.
A way to avert spiritual blindness to the community altar is prayer. The second altar in which we may share in Yeshua is the altar of incense. Prayer is a reflexive verb, and to pray means to judge one's self. If we dare to offer the incense of prayer at a holy altar, then we had best do a great job of judging our words in prayer before they ascend to the Heavenly altar, which is also a place of justice. The altar of incense is no place to play with doubt and disobedience, as Zechariah found out when he challenged the Angel Gavriel. He paid for his lack of trust and self-judgment by losing the power of speech until his son was born. He had lots of time to self-assess the next verbal prayer he'd offer!
The sacrificial altar is a place where repentance is judged, but at the altar of incense even faith fitness is judged. One cannot bring an individual prayer offering to the golden altar, but only the collected sweet prayers "of the saints." Plural. We stand in the opening to a Holy Place in prayer. Like the priests of Israel, we must enter that holy place prepared to receive and act on a message, a vision, a prophecy, a glimpse into the greater plan of Adonai and His Wisdom.
Are we disdainful of the other half-shekels? Then perhaps one should step back to the altar of sacrifice, consider Yeshua's Body, judge one's self, and find the forty-nine or another half. Look for your other half, and your eyes might take on a new shine.
This Torah portion, Ki Tisa, is all about elevation in the clouds, and it is one of the three main Torah portions upon which Jewish tradition concerning the resurrection is based. Want to understand resurrection and what happens "when you elevate" with the Body of Messiah in the cloud? Your spiritual vision to see it depends upon how you share in the Body. Drinking and eating alone is no way to elevate.
Passover is coming soon, and we will be examined as Paul warned the Corinthians. There were ten plagues, yet Ten Commandments (Words). The Words, however, were quickly broken, and Moses broke the tablets as a graphic testimony against them. Israel could not see the spiritual commandments, and without that the physical commandments lose life. How can people "drink spiritual drink" and just not get it?
Examine yourself relative to each of the Ten Commandments as Passover approaches. Not just the physical commandment, but the Spirit of Life that formed it. Have you become soured (
chametz) in any of those commandments? Are there any bitter roots? Have you experienced despair in your relationships either to Adonai or His People, His Body?
The Israelites broke the Words because they believed that they deserved better and more than where the Word led them. If what you believe you deserve is more than what the Father commanded, the "I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD WHO HAS LED YOU UP FROM THE LAND OF EGYPT," and He has so far given you, then the other nine will sooner or later tumble into the low ground of your wilderness.
Accept one, and the other nine will resurrect.