Come Closer

With Jim Puntney.

There is to be a an appropriation of the Lord’s presence beyond what we have known. In the Old Testament before the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies, certain rituals had to be performed. If these rituals were not performed correctly, the priest died before the presence of the Lord. When Israel broke camp and the Tabernacle was packed up, all the holy things were first covered by Aaron and his sons. The sons of Kohate, of the tribe of Levi, were assigned the task of carrying the Tabernacle once it was disassembled. But neither the sons of Kohath, nor anyone else, was allowed to look upon the holy things lest they die (Num. 4).

18  “Do not let the tribe of the families of the Kohathites be cut off from among the Levites.
19  “But do this to them that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy objects: Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load;
20  but they shall not go in to see the holy objects even for a moment, or they will die.”

Today, we don’t enter the presence of the Lord through Old Testament rituals. However, those rituals have not been done away with, only elevated into a higher realm. Now, we enter the presence of the Lord by the blood of Jesus. Heb. 10 tells us:

19 ¶  Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
20  by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
21  and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
22  let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Christ has made the provision to stand in God’s presence. From the time we open our hearts to Jesus Christ we have access into the Holy of Holies. Access is one thing, but experience is another. We all have stood in the holy place where there is a measure of His presence. We have stood in the holy place and called it the holy of holies. Does this sound offensive? It is not meant to be, but it is true. We assume too much. There are areas in God that are still walled off. The problem is not in the granted access, but in our appropriation. We have a beautiful example of this truth in the story of Joseph and his brothers.

Gen. 45
1 ¶  Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, “Have everyone go out from me.” So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.
2  He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it.
3  Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.
4  Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.
5  “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
6  “For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.
7  “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.
8  “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

In the above passages we see Joseph as a type of the Lord Himself. This is important. When his brothers come before him they do not recognize him. This is typical of us as well. Too often we do not recognize the Lord when He comes to us. But there was anguish in Joseph’s heart over seeing his brothers. Verse one says he could not control himself. He loved them very deeply. Joseph then commanded everyone to go out from him so that he was left alone with just his brothers. This is symbolic of how God separates those whom He is bringing forth as sons from the mixed multitudes. There were times when Jesus called His disciples aside and taught them privately. It was in this climate of separation that he exclaimed to his brothers, “I am Joseph!” But Joseph’s brothers could not answer him because they were dismayed at his presence. Joseph’s revealing himself did not initially give his brothers an occasion for rejoicing. It is the same with us also. Why is this? Because the innate shame and guilt of Adam still resides deep within our subconscious. Even after receiving Christ we are an ambivalent people. We say, “Yes, Lord,” but something on an unconscious level says “no.” This has its roots in Adam and is related to his hiding himself from God’s presence in the Garden. Adam was aware of his own nakedness so he attempted to hide from God. The passages from Heb. 10 address this. Verse 22 states, “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” The evil conscience is the reluctance of the Adamic nature to fully open up to God. Joseph’s brothers were dismayed when Joseph revealed himself. They carried an innate guilt over what they had done to Joseph by selling him into slavery.

In verse four Joseph told his brothers to come closer. This is what the Lord is speaking to His sons. We are to draw closer to Him. We are to stand in His presence and behold Him beyond what we have known. We are to know Him in His holiness. Back in Numbers it was only after Aaron and his sons had covered the holy items that the Kohathites were allowed to carry them. Christianity has carried the Lord’s holiness, but it has remained covered. We have not looked directly upon His holiness. Heb. 12 says we are to experience the Lord’s chastening for the express purpose of sharing in His holiness (Heb. 12:10).

In verse five Joseph tells his brothers not to be grieved or angry with themselves because they sold him into slavery. Here is the grace and goodness of God manifested towards us. Joseph was not holding his brothers in contempt for what they had done. He had forgiven them. But still the brothers were reluctant to draw closer to Joseph. And so it is with us. All of God’s provision for us through the blood of Jesus means nothing until we appropriate it deeply within our spirits. On the surface we accept His provision quite willingly. It allows us to know Him in a measure. Who can say with a straight face that they know the Lord to His depths? Such a man as the apostle Paul, after such great experiences as the Lord’s appearing to him and being caught up into the third heaven, cries out in Phil. 3, “That I may know Him!”

None of the Levites could enter the holy place without the proper preparation. And even Aaron, the high priest, could not enter the holy of holies once a year without preparation. He consciously had to don all the right garments and apply all the right anointings with the holy oil. Everything had to be exact. We too must learn to consciously appropriate all of Christ’s provision for us. The appropriation must reach the depths of our spirits in order to remove the innate guilt of Adam and thus enable us to stand in the Lord’s presence beyond what we have known.

 

5 thoughts on “Come Closer

  1. The Man with the drawn Sword is the same One who states “come to Me”, His Love is for each of us to seek Him with our whole hearts. In this we find the work of the cross, and the refinement that results, as well as the beauty of knowing, experiencing Him more intimately. As this above examples provide, He is truly for us, His Love is pure, true and stronger than death.

    “Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.” Hosea 6:1

    • The veil of separation is our flesh, or the imprint of Adam in our subconscious, we must come to see that He that is for us is greater than he/Adam that is in us. Faith allows for us to lay hold, appropriate that which we have been given. This is key for Zion, for we are not gathered as individuals, but as community, collective, different parts of the whole.

      Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession[agreement/acknowledgement] of our hope[Christ in us the hope of glory] without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
      Heb 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
      Heb 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling[putting together the parts of Zion] together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

      Joseph revealed himself when all of the brothers were assembled before him.

      Gen 45:12 “Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you.
      Gen 45:13 “Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.”
      Gen 45:14 Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.
      Gen 45:15 He kissed all his brothers and wept on them, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

      We are pressing the veil, just as a chick must peck through the shell to be born, we must in Faith press the veil, break the water and be born in Zion. With this we will be assembled with those who are awaiting us.

      Heb 11:39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
      Heb 11:40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.
      Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
      Heb 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

      “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.”Romans 14:22, 23

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