Who Authorized You to Operate Outside the Pattern?













Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the forty-second chapter. When reading this particular passage of Scripture, you will notice that the Spirit of the Lord is still revealing unto the prophet Ezekiel the pattern and layout of the Temple which would one day stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Beginning with the fortieth chapter and continuing through to this chapter we notice the Lord continuing to speak to and reveal unto the prophet the layout of the Temple, which is actually quite remarkable when you take the time to consider it. If you journey back to the Old Testament book of Exodus, you will notice the Lord revealing unto Moses the pattern and layout of the Tabernacle. It was the Lord’s sanctuary and the Lord’s house, and therefore, it was the Lord and He alone who could determine what it could and should look like. When speaking of the Tabernacle of Moses that was constructed in the wilderness, it is imperative that we recognize and understand that neither man’s will, nor man’s desire could be imposed upon the construction and building of the Tabernacle. When speaking unto Moses atop the mountain in the wilderness, the Lord was very specific about the layout of the Tabernacle—and not only the layout of the Tabernacle, but also the instruments used in the service of the Tabernacle, and the placement of the tabernacle. THE LAYOUT OF THE TABERNACLE! THE INSTRUMENTS OF THE TABERNACLE! THE PLACEMENT OF THE TABERNACLE! The more I consider the concept of the Tabernacle, as well as the Temple which would both stand in the midst of God’s people, it’s important that we recognize and understand the significance and importance of the sanctuary itself. It was the Lord Himself who first directed the people of God to construct in their midst a sanctuary whereby His people could approach Him with their sacrifices and offerings, and whereby the Lord Himself would dwell in the midst of His people. When speaking to Moses atop the mountain the wilderness, the Lord provided very specific details describing the materials that would be used for the tabernacle, the measurements of the tabernacle, the layout of the Tabernacle, the instruments used in the service of the tabernacle, the placement of the tabernacle, and so much more. I cannot stress and emphasize enough that neither man’s will, nor man’s agenda, nor man’s desire, nor man’s plan(s) could be imposed upon the Tabernacle in the wilderness. The Lord made it perfectly and plainly clear unto Moses concerning the Tabernacle, and it was the Lord who would decide what the Tabernacle would look like and how it would operate in the midst of the people.

 TRYING TO DO CHURCH ACCORDING TO OUR OWN WILL! TRYING TO DO CHURCH ACCORDING TO OUR OWN DESIGN! TRYING TO DO CHURCH ACCORDING TO OUR OWN DESIRE! IMPOSING OUR WILL ON THE SANCTUARY OF THE LORD! As I’m sitting here right now I can’t help but be gripped with and gripped by the reality that there are countless men and women who are seeking to impose their own will, their own purpose(s), their own plan(s), and their own design and desire upon the sanctuary of the Lord within and upon the earth. There are countless ministers and leaders within the earth today who are attempting to impose their own will and desire upon the house of the Lord, and are completely ignoring that which the Lord of hosts requires and asks of and asks from them. There are ministers and leaders in the earth today who completely refuse to inquire of the Lord concerning His sanctuary and His house, and choose instead to base everything off their own desires and plans. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU ARE QUALIFIED TO IMPOSE YOUR WILL UPON MY SANCTUARY? I can’t help but wonder how many pastors, how many ministers, how many leaders fully and completely seek the mind and will of the Lord concerning matters related to the sanctuary. How many decisions within countless churches today are based on decisions made in a conference or board room rather than at the altar or in the prayer closet? How many decisions and plans which are made and/or are being made within our churches are completely covered and clothed with prayer until an answer is received from heaven? What’s more, is how many men and women proceed and attempt to move before they have received clear instruction from the Lord of hosts concerning His sanctuary and His house? Tell me—when was the last time you entered into someone else’s house and immediately began imposing your will upon their house? When was the last time you were invited into someone else’s home, and you immediately began imposing your own desires and will within their house? I can’t help but fear that there are countless men and women who treat the sanctuary of the Lord as a place where He visits rather than a place He is to reside and dwell. How many ministers treat the house of the Lord as somehow belonging to them, or even belonging to the people, and they completely ignore and leave the Lord of hosts out of it. TREATING THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE AS A GUEST! How would you be received if you entered into someone else’s home and you immediately began treating the owner of that home as a guest who was merely visiting rather than actually owning and occupying that home? What we must recognize concerning any sanctuary within the earth is that such sanctuaries are not only owned, but are also occupied by the Lord of hosts—the Lord who has His throne in heaven, and His footstool upon the earth.

 Perhaps one of the single greatest accounts in all of Scripture concerning the ownership of the Temple of the Lord by the Lord of hosts Himself is found in the New Testament. If you journey to the second chapter of the New Testament book of John, you will find Jesus coming to and entering the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. Upon entering, however, we find a very different Jesus being manifested in the midst of the Temple than the Jesus we normally like to think of, or even consider. Pause for a moment if you will and consider the account as it is recorded by the apostle John in the second chapter of his gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus: “After this He went down to Capernaum, He, and His mother, and His brethren, and His disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the Temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the Temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:12-17). Within this passage of Scripture, we not only discover Jesus speaking of the Temple as a house belonging to His Father, but we also notice Jesus taking charge and command within, over and upon the house. So great and so severe were Jesus’ actions on this particular occasion that the Jews grew offended with Him, and asked Him what sign He would show them since He performed such an act. This particular passage found within the New Testament book of John must be carefully considered and understood, for within this passage we not only discover Jesus entering the Temple and exercising authority within and over it, but we also notice Jesus speaking of the Temple as not even belonging to the Jews. By speaking of the Temple as “my Father’s house,” what Jesus was actually doing was correcting their concept of ownership concerning the Temple, for the Temple did not belong to the Jews, but to the Lord Himself. Despite the fact that the Temple was situated in the midst of the Jewish people within the city of Jerusalem, the Temple itself did not belong to the Jews. It was unto the Jews the Lord chose to place His house—to place His sanctuary and His courts—yet that Temple neither belonged to them, nor was it owned by them. We find ourselves treading on very dangerous territory when we think of any church as being owned by man rather than by the Lord of hosts. We begin to impose our will upon the sanctuary and house of the Lord when we treat the house of the Lord as that which is owned by man rather than owned by the Lord.

 If you journey back to the Old Testament book of Exodus, and you begin reading in and with the twenty-fifth chapter, you will notice the Lord beginning to reveal unto Moses the pattern, the design, the layout and the structure concerning the Tabernacle. The Lord of hosts brought the children of Israel unto the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness to appear unto them there, yet the Lord did not bring them unto the mountain to establish them before and around that mountain. What is so absolutely incredible about the pattern of the Tabernacle the Lord revealed unto Moses is that despite the fact that He appeared unto them atop the mountain of God in the wilderness, the mountain of God in the wilderness wasn’t the only place He would be known, experienced by, or worshipped by His people. The mountain of God in the wilderness wasn’t the only place the children of Israel would and could experience the glory and presence of the Lord, for the Lord would provide them with a structure they would carry with them as they journeyed through the wilderness in order that wherever they would go, His sanctuary, His courts, and His altar could be set up right there in their midst. WHY DO YOU PERSIST IN COMING TO THE MOUNTAIN ALONE! What I so absolutely love about the Tabernacle which the Lord revealed unto Moses and gave unto the children of Israel is that by giving them the Tabernacle, the Lord would give them a place they could worship Him wherever they were in the wilderness. It didn’t matter if they were five miles away from the mountain, or fifty miles from the mountain—the children of Israel could still worship the Lord wherever they were. By providing unto the children of Israel the Tabernacle, the Lord was setting up His courts and His altar in their midst within the wilderness. The Tabernacle is actually quite a remarkable structure when you consider it, for within and through the Tabernacle the Lord could always dwell in the midst of His people. Wherever the children of Israel travelled and journeyed to within the wilderness, it would be there they could worship before the Lord who had delivered and brought them up out of the land of Egypt. The Tabernacle was the sanctuary of the Lord—His dwelling place—which the children of israel brought with them wherever they would journey. It would not matter where they journeyed within the wilderness, or even how deep they went into the wilderness, for the minute the pillar of fire by night or the pillar of cloud by day stopped in a single location, the Tabernacle was to be set up among them in their midst. The Lord wanted to secure a place in the midst of His people whereby He could not only dwell among them in their midst, but also where He could be worshipped by them.

 If you begin reading in the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Exodus, you will notice the pattern and layout of the Tabernacle as given unto Moses, for the Lord was very specific concerning what the Tabernacle would and should look like. Notice in the ninth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Exodus a very specific phrase that was used within and throughout this portion of Scripture—“According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exodus 25:9). Please pay close attention to those words—“according to all that I shew thee”—for it is with those words we encounter and come face to face with the truth concerning the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle which the Lord would provide His people within the wilderness would be that structure which would be according to His mind, His will, His heart, His plan and His purpose. When reading concerning the pattern of the Tabernacle which the children of Israel were to build for and unto the Lord in the wilderness, it’s worth noting that the Lord begins by first speaking of the pattern of the altar that would be found in the midst of His people, for everything begins with the altar. When revealing unto Moses the pattern and layout of the Tabernacle, the Lord first spoke unto Moses concerning the pattern of the altar of burnt offering, for it would be at and before that altar that all true worship within the Tabernacle would begin. If you journey to the Old Testament book of Ezra—a book that describes the return of the people of God to the land of their inheritance—you will notice that when it came to the rebuilding of the Temple in the midst of the people, the first instrument within the Temple that needed to be built was the altar of burnt offering. EVERYTHING STARTS AT THE ALTAR! EVERYTHING BEGINS WITH THE ALTAR! I am convinced that we do ourselves and the Lord a great disservice when we think for one moment that anything and everything somehow begins apart from, separate from, and away from the altar. The only way to approach the Lord within the Tabernacle and the Temple was through, before and by way of the altar. It was at the altar of burnt offering where all true worship of the Lord began within the Tabernacle and Temple, for it was at the altar where the blood was shed, and where the offering was offered by fire before the Lord. It was at the altar where the fragrant aroma of death would fill the air and would rise to heaven as a sweet and fragrant aroma of death. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss this fact, for in order to truly worship the Lord, we must come through and by the altar—we must come through the place of sacrifice. Death needed to occur and blood needed to be shed in order for the Lord to be approached, for not even the priests of the Lord could proceed in their ministry before the Lord within the Tabernacle or the Temple until and unless they first came through and by the altar. On that one single day within the year when the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies—the Day of Atonement—not even the High Priest could bypass the altar of burnt offering which stood in the courts of the sanctuary of the Lord. The problem many of us face is that we think we can make our way to the Holy of Holies without first going through the altar of sacrifice and offering before the Lord. Even though Jesus died once and for all and became the sacrifice needed to grant access to the Holy of Holies, that access could only be granted at the place of the altar—at the place of death and sacrifice.

 I have previously written concerning attempting to do church without and apart from the person and presence of the living God. I have wrote of the danger surrounding attempting to do ministry without and apart from the divine glory of God being present within and upon it. I have written concerning making any attempt to do ministry and/or church without and apart from the breath of Almighty God within and upon it. Until and unless the breath of life was breathed into the nostrils of Adam, Adam would have been nothing more than the likeness of man formed from the dust of the ground in the image of God. It wasn’t until the breath of life was breathed into the nostrils of Adam that he became a living soul, and was truly created in the image and likeness of God. One thing we must recognize and understand is that being created in the image and likeness of God carried with it more than just the physical likeness of God, and even being a tri-part being—body, soul and spirit. Being created in the image and likeness of God would mean that Adam would have the very breath of life—the very breath of God within himself that would enable him to become a living soul. This same reality holds true of the dry bones which were scattered within and throughout the valley into which the Lord had set Ezekiel down. Ezekiel prophesied according to the word of the Lord, and there came a noise and a shaking, as bones came together, bone to his bone. As Ezekiel prophesied according to the word of the Lord, sinews, flesh and skin came upon those bones which had previously been scattered across and throughout the valley floor. With that being said, however, the work of transformation and resurrection was not complete simply because bones came together, and sinews, flesh and skin came upon those bones. I have written before concerning our need to be faithful in the midst of the dry bones, and to prophesy and speak the word of the Lord when commanded, and that the Spirit of the Lord will produce the work of transformation as bones come together, bone to his bone. I wrote how there are countless men and women who would quite possibly grow discouraged when the only thing they see before them are lifeless corpses, yet they fail to see and recognize the fact that those bones which were previously very many and very dry had come together, and that sinews, flesh and skin had come upon those bones. I wrote concerning the reality that there may very well be lifeless corpses in front of you, yet that which you are waiting on is the breath of Almighty God to be breathed upon that which was slain in order that it might rise again. The Lord asked very plainly and very clearly of Ezekiel whether or not those bones could live again, as the account continues, we find that Ezekiel was instructed to prophesy to the breath that it would come from the four winds, and that it would breathe upon those slain that they might live.

 CONTENT WITH CORPSES NOT KNOWING THAT THE BREATH STILL AWAITS! I would dare say there are men and women right now who might very well be content in the presence of corpses because they have witnessed and experienced the process of transformation in their midst. The more I consider this reality, the more I am convinced that transformation without resurrection is nothing more than an event which occurs within the life of an individual. There are far too many times when we grow comfortable with transformation without continuing on to experience the process of resurrection. It is worth noting and pointing out that the Lord didn’t ask Ezekiel whether or not those bones could come together, but whether or not those bones could live again. The Lord didn’t ask Ezekiel whether or not those bones could come together, and whether or not sinews, flesh and skin could form upon those bones. What the Lord asked the prophet was whether or not those bones could live again, thus speaking to the prophet concerning resurrection. While I wholeheartedly believe in the power and process of transformation within the life of an individual, I am thoroughly convinced that transformation without and transformation apart from resurrection falls far short of that which the Lord desires within the lives of men and women. There are countless churches and ministries who are grateful for the process of transformation, yet they stop at, and they stop within the process of transformation, and they don’t press on toward and into the process of resurrection. Ezekiel could have been content standing before those lifeless corpses, for after all, the bones had come together, and sinews, flesh and skin had come upon them. The truth of the matter is that the Lord has not called us merely to live and dwell in transformation, but to press on toward resurrection. Lazarus was one who experienced the power of resurrection within his own life as not only did he emerge from the grave, but the grave clothes which had previously bound him within the grave were removed from his physical frame. One of the greatest realities surrounding Lazarus, is that Lazarus experienced the same process of resurrection as Jesus Himself would experience, for in both cases, the stone was rolled away from the entrance of the tomb, and both men emerged from the tomb very much alive. The fundamental differences between the two events, however, are that in the case of Lazarus, it was man who rolled away the stone, rather than the angel of the Lord. In the case of Lazarus’ resurrection, he emerged from the grave clothes still upon his physical body, whereas in the case of Jesus’ resurrection, His grave clothes remained in the grave in the very place His body once remained. The prophet Ezekiel not only experienced the power and process of transformation according to the word of the Lord spoken in the midst of the valley, but he also experienced the power and process of resurrection as the prophetic word of the Lord was released a second time.

 With all of this being said, and the more I read these particular chapters within the prophetic book of Ezekiel, the more I am becoming convinced that as surely as we cannot, must not and should not attempt to do church or ministry without and apart from the glory, the presence and the breath of the Lord, I am also throughly convinced that we cannot, we should not, and we must not attempt to do church according to and after our own pattern. UNDERSTANDING HEAVEN’S TEMPLATE! One of the greatest dangers countless churches and congregations face in this generation is that they are attempting to carry on by and carry on according to man’s pattern and man’s design. I can’t help but hear the Spirit of the Lord asking countless churches and ministries, saying, “Who authorized you to operate outside of the pattern?” “Who authorized you to function apart from the pattern I have ordained?” When seeking to understand the Tabernacle and the Temple, it’s worth noting and pointing out that it was the Lord Himself who provided the pattern for the Tabernacle that would stand in the midst of His people. THE LORD PROVIDES THE PATTERN, WE PROVIDE THE MATERIALS! THE LORD PROVIDES THE ALTAR, WE PROVIDE THE SACRIFICE! If you begin reading in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus, you will notice that while the Lord provided unto Moses the pattern for the Tabernacle, He required the materials to be provided and brought forth by the children of Israel. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Pseak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for 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 shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exodus 25:1-9). Within this particular set of verses are two distinct phrases which I am utterly and completely convinced we need to thoroughly understand when seeking to understand the sanctuary of the Lord. In the first verse of this passage we find the words “bring me,” while in the eighth verse we find the words “make me.” BEFORE YOU MAKE, YOU MUST BRING! OFFERING BEFORE CONSTRUCTION!

I am convinced that there are far too many who are attempting to begin the process of building and constructing, and yet they haven’t even brought what was necessary for the project to even begin—much less be completed. It’s worth noting that an initial offering was required of the Lord so the work of building the tabernacle could be completed, and once the tabernacle was completed, the offerings didn’t stop. As you continue reading the first five books of the Old Testament, you will notice that the offerings were to continue within and among the children of Israel, as they were instructed to bring their sin offerings, their grain offerings, their firstfruists, and the like before the Lord. In order for the Tabernacle to be built in the midst of and among the people, the Lord first had to reveal the pattern of the Tabernacle. One thing we must note is that the Lord didn’t simply instruct Moses to make for Him a sanctuary in the earth, and then leave Moses and the children of Israel to decide what that sanctuary should and could look like. Could you imagine what it would have been like if the Lord had simply instructed and commanded Moses to make for Him a sanctuary, and then the children of Israel sought to come to agreement concerning what that sanctuary should look like. Imagine how many disputes and arguments could very well have broken out in the midst of the camp as men and women each sought to come up with their own pattern and design of what the Tabernacle should look like. The truth of the matter is that while this didn’t happen in the wilderness among the children of Israel, it most certainly happens among us within many of our churches. How many disagreements, feuds and arguments have broken out within churches all across this nation as each man and/or woman seeks to bring their own idea to the table concerning the pattern of the sanctuary and house of the Lord. The Lord provided Moses with the pattern for the Tabernacle, and not only provided Moses with the pattern for the Tabernacle, but also informed Him concerning the materials that would be required to complete the work. The Lord Himself provided the pattern for the Tabernacle, yet the Lord required man to supply and provide the materials, and required man to build the Tabernacle upon the earth. This same reality continues to hold true among us within this generation, for the Lord has revealed unto us His pattern of how we are to come near and approach Him, and He requires us to follow that pattern exactly as it has been given. There are far too many men and women who are attempting to do ministry and do church according to their own pattern, their own design, their own imaginations, their own will and their own plan. There is a tremendous danger in any attempt to do ministry without and apart from understanding exactly what the Lord requires, and how the Lord desires us to perform it.

When reading the passage found within the forty-second chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, it’s absolutely incredible that even when revealing the reality surrounding a Temple that would one day stand in the midst of His people within the city of Jerusalem, the Lord still provided the pattern and design for the Temple. There would indeed be a third Jewish Temple that would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, yet even that Temple that would stand in the midst of the sacred city would be according to the pattern of the Lord of hosts. What’s more, is that when you come to the thirteenth verse of this chapter, you will read of the chambers of the priests—chambers which were before the separate place, which were holy unto and holy before the Lord. These chambers were such where the priests which approached and drew near to the Lord would eat the most holy things, and where they would lay the most holy things, and the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering. These chambers were set aside and set apart specifically for the priests of the Lord to partake of that which was holy before and holy unto the Lord, for it could not be consumed outside such places. These chambers were also such places whereby when the priests would exit such chambers, they would lay aside the garments they wore in service before the Lord, for those garments were holy. The priests could neither partake of the holy offerings of the Lord outside the chambers that were consecrated unto the Lord, nor could the priests wear those garments which they ministered before the Lord, for they were holy. The Lord was drawing and setting forth a clear distinction between that which was common and that which was sacred in the hearing of the prophet Ezekiel, and the Lord would not allow that which was sacred to be mixed together with that which was common. As you will read in the very next chapter, the Lord had grown weary of the constant mixture of that which was sacred and holy with that which was common, and within this Temple would be the clear distinction between that which was holy and that which was common. What is absolutely astounding is that that which was sacred and holy unto the Lord and was used in the service of the Tabernacle and ministry of the Lord could not be used for common purposes. The offerings could only be partaken of in those spaces which were set apart and designated for the priests, and the garments which were worn in service of the Lord could not be worn among the people. Those garments which the priests wore in their service and ministry before the Lord were to remain in those chambers, for they could not come in contact with that which was common that they might remained defiled. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are taking that which is sacred and holy and somehow mixing it with and allowing it to come into contact with that which is common. Remember what Belshazar did in the city of Babylon as he took the sacred and holy instruments of the Lord’s house and treated them as common instruments which he used in the company of all those before him. Oh that we would take a good, long and hard look at what we are doing in our congregations and assemblies in this generation, and that we would allow ourselves to become aware of whether or not we are treating that which is holy as that which is common, and allowing it to be be polluted and defiled by allowing it to come into contact with that which is not holy.

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