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Sunday, April 11th, 2021 - AM - Into the Wilderness, Part One (Ex. 13:21-22)
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  • Pre-Introduction: At this time, we invite any children who desire to join my dear wife for a children’s service to follow her where you can hear a wonderful bible lesson and sing some uplifting songs about Jesus. For those joining us online, you’re listening to the joint Services of the First Baptist Church of Westminster. This is the Pastor bringing the Sunday Morning message entitled "Into the Wilderness.” This will be the first of many messages over the next weeks as we embark on a journey together to the Lands of the Bible. My intention is to spend as much time as needed in each place until we are satisfied we have met with the LORD at each one. There may be two or three messages that we spend here in the Wilderness together over the next few weeks on Sundays during my alloted preaching times. We invite you to follow along with us in your Bible in the Book of Exodus 13:21-22.
    Exodus 13:21–22 KJV 1900
    21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.


    [Start Low]
    A. Get Attention - Striking Statement:
    Show me anyone in the Bible that God used mightily that He didn’t take through the desert first.
    The good land that is beyond Jordan:—
    It is there, a seer has seen it; and God gave him words to paint the vision for us. A good land; glorious in beauty, yet homelike; familiar in every form and feature, but still a transfigured world. It is the hope that lights the way of the wilderness—the hope that we may one day behold the glories of a creation which has been “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” None believe that the present is final. Men, dreaming of a delivered humanity, have dreamed, too, of a delivered world. A world, a home to dwell in, not cursed as this is, with all its prophetic beauty—a world without wastes, marshes, lava-floods, blights, famines, plagues—a world that will fit a redeemed, as this fits a fallen, nature—a world whose paths shall be the pathways of angels, whose sun shall be the face of God. In Egypt, man’s toil is the prominent feature; man made its fertility: in Canaan, God’s bounty is the prominent feature; “It drinketh water of the rain of heaven.” Egypt is the field in which a man, by the low form of labour, might exist amply; Canaan the home in which a man, by joyful concert with God, might nobly live.
    [Joseph S. Exell, The Biblical Illustrator: Deuteronomy, The Biblical Illustrator (New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d.), 29.]
    B. Raise Need - Illustration:
    “CHRIST would be the loser”
    A Scotch minister tells the story of an aged saint who, on her dying bed, said that her Saviour would never leave her to perish. “But suppose that He did not keep His promise, and you were lost?” She answered, “He would be a greater loser than I.” When asked what she meant, she answered, “It is true that I would lose my soul; but God would lose His honour and glory if He were not true.” If we have trusted in God, and have come out of the Egypt of the world through His grace, and have left all our sins behind us, if we were left to die in the wilderness, the Lord Jesus Christ would lose His glory as a Saviour, the divine Father would lose His name for immutable faithfulness, and the Holy Ghost would lose His honour for perseverance in completing every work which He undertakes. The Lord God of Israel will never stain His glory, wherefore be confident that He who brought you out of Egypt, will bring you into Canaan.
    [C. H. Spurgeon, Barbed Arrows from the Quiver of C. H. Spurgeon (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1896), 32–33.]
    C. State Purpose-
    My task is simple today, I hope to help you consider the part that the wilderness plays in seeing the glory of God on display. By doing so, I trust that it will move you to your face to consider better and anew not only more of who the God of the Bible is, but where it is that we find His presence and power: the Wilderness. In this first time together, I want you to understand that the Wilderness is where we hear from God, for better or for worse.
    D. Orient Theme-
    A. Definition of Shechinah
    By way of definition, the Shechinah Glory is the visible manifestation of the presence of God. It is the majestic presence or manifestation of God in which He descended to dwell among men. Whenever the invisible God becomes visible, and whenever the omnipresence of God is localized, this is the Shechinah Glory.
    B. Titles for Shechinah
    The usual title found in the Scriptures for the Shechinah Glory is: the glory of the Lord. The Hebrew form is Kvod Adonai, which means “the glory of the Lord,” and describes what the Shechinah Glory is. The Greek title, Doxa Kurion, is also translated as “the glory of the Lord.” Doxa means “brightness,” “brilliance,” or “splendor” and it depicts how the Shechinah Glory appears.
    Other titles give it the sense of “dwelling,” which portrays what the Shechinah Glory does. The Hebrew for Shechinah, from the root shachan, means “to dwell.” The Greek word skeinei means “to tabernacle,” and is derived from the Hebrew Shechinah.
    C. Forms
    As has been stated, the Shechinah Glory is the visible manifestation of the presence of God. In the Old Testament, most of these visible manifestations took the form of light, fire, cloud, or a combination of these. A new form appears in the New Testament: the Incarnate Word. At times it is closely associated with one or more of four elements: first, the Angel of Jehovah; secondly, the Holy Spirit; thirdly, the cherubim; and fourthly, the motif of thick darkness.
    Main Thought:
    It is in the Wilderness that we meet God: Where God meets with us: Where we experience the Shechinah.
    Adam met Jehovah in the Wilderness (Garden of Eden)
    Abraham, Isaac & Jacob met Jehovah in the Wilderness (Negev of Hebron/Beersheba)
    Moses met Jehovah in the Wilderness (Backside of Midian - Burning Bush)
    Israel met Jehovah in the Wilderness (Mt. Sinai)
    Israel was Tempted in the Wilderness (Book of Numbers)
    Elijah met Jehovah in the Wilderness (Mt. Sinai of Arabia)
    Jesus met with the Father in the Wilderness (Matt. 4)
    Jesus was Tempted in the Wilderness

    I. The Wilderness Is a Place to Hear from God

    [Go Slow]

    A. Hearing from God in the Garden

    Possibly, the first appearance of Shechinah Glory is found in Genesis 3:8:
    Genesis 3:8 KJV 1900
    8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
    According to this verse, the first parents experienced the personal presence of God; there was a daily manifestation of God’s presence fellowshipping with them. No details are given, and whether or not this can, indeed, be called the first manifestation of the Shechinah Glory is impossible to answer. But the indication is that this was a manifestation of the Glory of God.
    However, if it is not, then the first appearance of the Shechinah Glory is to be found in Genesis 3:23–24:
    Genesis 3:23–24 KJV 1900
    23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
    In Hebrew, the phrase “and he placed” has the root Shechinah and literally means “and he caused to dwell.” This was a visible dwelling of the presence of God that took the visible form of the flame of a sword. The definite article “the” makes it specific: the flame of a sword. Here was a visible manifestation of the Glory of God where the Shechinah appeared as fire.
    Another point that should be noted here is that the Shechinah is associated with the Cherubim, one of four such associations.

    B. Hearing of God’s Promises

    1. The Abrahamic Covenant

    While the content of the Abrahamic Covenant is found in several parts of the Book of Genesis, the sealing and signing of the covenant is in Genesis 15:12–18:
    Genesis 15:12–18 KJV 1900
    12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
    In verse 12, the motif of an unusual darkness in association with the Shechinah Glory appears for the first time. After summarizing the content of the Abrahamic Covenant in verses 13–16, it was signed in verse 17. God appeared in a visible form: a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch.

    2. The Covenant Keeping Jehovah

    Thus, it was by means of the Shechinah Glory that God signed the Abrahamic Covenant, which, in turn, became the basis of the three other unconditional covenants that God made with Israel: the Land Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant.
    In addition to the Book of Genesis, the Shechinah Glory is also found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. In the Book of Exodus, the Shechinah Glory took its residence with Israel and authenticated the Law of Moses. In the Book of Leviticus, it authenticated the Aaronic Priesthood. In the Book of Numbers, the Shechinah Glory rendered judgment for sin and disobedience.

    C. Hearing in God’s Presence & Power

    1. The Burning Bush

    The Shechinah Glory is found next in Exodus 3:1–5:
    Exodus 3:1–5 KJV 1900
    1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
    God manifested Himself to Moses in a visible way in this passage. Verses 2–3 state what was visible: a flame of fire and a bush, burning with fire. Again, the fire motif is found in relationship to the visibility of the Shechinah Glory. Here the Shechinah Glory is associated with the angel of Jehovah, which, from a study of all related passages, is clearly the Second Person of the Trinity: Messiah Jesus, the Son of God.
    That the flame of fire and the bush burning with fire was a manifestation of the Shechinah Glory becomes evident from Deuteronomy 33:16:
    Deuteronomy 33:16 KJV 1900
    16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, And for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: Let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, And upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
    In Hebrew, the phrase: of him that dwelt in the bush reads: shochni sneh. The first word means “dwelling” and is from the same root that is found in the word Shechinah. Thus, it is the Shechinah that commissioned Moses to bring Israel from the land of Egypt.

    2. The Exodus

    During the Exodus, the Shechinah Glory appeared as the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. The Shechinah led Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness in Exodus 13:21–22:
    Exodus 13:21–22 KJV 1900
    21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
    A further ministry of the Shechinah Glory is added in Exodus 14:19–20:
    Exodus 14:19–20 KJV 1900
    19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
    In this passage, the Shechinah Glory protected the Israelite camp from the Egyptians all night, because it separated the Egyptian army from the Israelites. Once again, the Shechinah Glory is associated with the Angel of Jehovah. Furthermore, it is associated with thick darkness, yet giving light within the thick darkness.
    The Shechinah Glory destroyed the Egyptian host in Exodus 14:24:
    Exodus 14:24 KJV 1900
    24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
    The Shechinah Glory provided Israel with the quail and the manna in Exodus 16:6–12:
    Exodus 16:6–12 KJV 1900
    6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the Lord hath brought you out from the land of Egypt: 7 And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord; for that he heareth your murmurings against the Lord: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? 8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the Lord heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord. 9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the Lord: for he hath heard your murmurings. 10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.
    In verse 7, the first occurrence of the actual title for the Shechinah Glory appears as it is found in the Scriptures: the glory of Jehovah. In verse 10, the Glory appeared and was revealed in the cloud, and this is another form of the visible Shechinah Glory.

    3. Israel at Mt. Sinai

    The greatest manifestation of the Shechinah Glory during the time of the Exodus was at Mount Sinai, at the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments. Its initial revelation is in Exodus 19:16–20:
    Exodus 19:16–20 KJV 1900
    16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
    In verse 16, there was the appearance of thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount; in verse 18, Jehovah descended upon it in fire; verse 20 shows that this was a visible manifestation of God’s presence, for it clearly states that Jehovah came down on Mount Sinai.
    But such a manifestation of the presence of God put fear into the people. They saw the Glory of Jehovah at Mount Sinai and requested to hear the voice of God no more in Exodus 20:18–21:
    Exodus 20:18–21 KJV 1900
    18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
    This factor is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:22–27:
    Deuteronomy 5:22–27 KJV 1900
    22 These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. 23 And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; 24 And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. 25 Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. 26 For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? 27 Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.
    There is the presence of the Shechinah Glory at the time of the giving of the Tablets of the Law in Exodus 24:15–18:
    Exodus 24:15–18 KJV 1900
    15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
    In verse 15, a cloud covered Mount Sinai; verse 16 states: the glory of Jehovah abode upon Mount Sinai. The Hebrew word for abode is vayishkhon, which contains the root of the word Shechinah. Verse 17 states: the appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire. Here the Shechinah had the forms of cloud, fire, and light.
    So in the Mount Sinai appearances of the Shechinah Glory, there are the forms of light, fire, cloud, lightning, and the motif of thick darkness, all of which are Old Testament visible manifestations of God’s presence.

    4. Other Manifestations of the Shechinah in Israel’s Early History

    a. The Special Manifestation of the Shechinah Glory to Moses
    Moses received a very special revelation of the Shechinah Glory in response to his dramatic request in Exodus 33:17–23:
    Exodus 33:17–23 KJV 1900
    17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
    In verse 18, Moses specifically requested to see God’s glory. In verse 23, God stated that Moses will be able to see the back parts, but will not be able to see God’s face. Dr. Dwight Pentecost feels that the word should be translated “afterglow.” In other words, God said to Moses that he will see His passing brilliance, but he will not see God as He really is. While the Hebrew word does not actually mean “afterglow,” the basic idea may be correct. Moses will not see God as He really is, but he saw a greater visible manifestation of God’s Glory than all previous manifestations. This was God’s promise to Moses.
    The fulfillment of that promise is recorded in Exodus 34:5–9:
    Exodus 34:5–9 KJV 1900
    5 And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
    Here was another revelation of the Shechinah Glory of God in which the very Name of the Lord was proclaimed to Moses. Moses saw a new manifestation of God’s Glory which, up until then, no other man had seen. In verse 9, at the conclusion of this manifestation, Moses made a request for the continual dwelling of the Shechinah Glory in the midst of the people of Israel. It was a request God would partially answer when He took His abode in the Tabernacle, although Moses’ request for the eternal abiding could not be fulfilled at this time.
    The experience of Moses in seeing a new visibility of God’s glory and a greater manifestation of God’s presence did not leave Moses untouched as Exodus 34:29–35 shows:
    Exodus 34:29–35 KJV 1900
    29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. 31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. 32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. 34 But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
    When the face of Moses shone, the Shechinah Glory was visible on his face. It was not the actual Glory of the Lord that manifested itself on Moses’ face, rather, Moses was reflecting the Glory that he had just seen. The relationship of Moses to the Shechinah was similar to the relationship of the moon to the sun. The light originates from the sun, and the moon simply reflects the light from the sun. In the same way, the face of Moses reflected the light that originated with the Shechinah Glory. The shining manifestation of the Glory of God permeated the person of Moses and manifested itself in the shining of his face. After the proclamation of the Law, Moses then veiled his face.
    The reason for this veil is not given in the Book of Exodus, but it is explained in 2 Corinthians 3:12–18:
    2 Corinthians 3:12–18 KJV 1900
    12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
    Moses did not veil his face because Israel could not behold this reflected glory. On the contrary, Moses knew that the reflected glory was temporary, and he did not want Israel to see the fading away or the passing away of that reflection. The fact that the reflected glory on Moses’ face was temporary was being veiled from Israel.
    b. The Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant
    The purpose of the Tabernacle is given in Exodus 29:42–46:
    Exodus 29:42–46 KJV 1900
    42 This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. 43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. 44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office. 45 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God.
    In verse 43, the Tabernacle was to be sanctified by the Shechinah Glory. In verse 45, the Tabernacle was for the purpose that God could dwell with the children of Israel. The Hebrew word for I will dwell has the same root as the word Shechinah.
    Once the Tabernacle was finished, the Shechinah Glory made its residence within the Tabernacle according to Exodus 40:34–38:
    Exodus 40:34–38 KJV 1900
    34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: 37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
    Verse 34 describes how the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. The Hebrew word for tabernacle is Hamishkhan and has the same root as Shechinah. Thus, the word tabernacle can also be translated as “the dwelling place of the Shechinah.” In verse 35, the cloud took its abode and dwelling with Israel. The word abode is a translation of the Hebrew word shachan, where once again the same root is found. Finally, in verses 36–38, this cloud led Israel through the Wilderness Wanderings.
    On this occasion, the Shechinah Glory made its residence with Israel by making its abode in the Holy of Holies over the Ark of the Covenant and under the Cherubim. After the glory of Moses’ face faded, God manifested His Glory through the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle itself had no external beauty in that it was covered with weather-beaten animal skins, but God used the unattractive to reveal and manifest His Glory to Israel. The Holy of Holies had no window; it was absolutely dark and is referred to in other passages as “the thick darkness.” It was dark except for the shining of the Shechinah Glory. If one ever wondered how the high priest was able to perform his duties in the Holy of Holies in pitch blackness, the answer is that he had light as it was manifested through the shining of the Shechinah Glory.
    c. The Book of Leviticus
    During the Exodus, the Shechinah Glory authenticated the Law and eventually made its residence in the Holy of Holies. In the Book of Leviticus the Shechinah Glory authenticated those who had to carry out the practice of the Law and the Tabernacle; namely, the Aaronic Priesthood.
    The key chapter is Leviticus 9. The promise of authentication is in verses 6–7:
    Leviticus 9:6–7 KJV 1900
    6 And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you. 7 And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the Lord commanded.
    This is followed by the authentication by fire of the priesthood in verses 22–24:
    Leviticus 9:22–24 KJV 1900
    22 And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. 24 And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

    Closing Application:

    In this first message, we have considered the importance that the Wilderness plays in being the place where we hear from God, for better or for worse. Where does a thrice holy God meet with mankind? Where is the place of His Shechinah? What affect does the presence and power of this Holy God produce in the heart of those who experience Him? What is the common factor of where the Shechinah is seen? Purity.
    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Is your heart pure today? Can you see God? Will you too be moved to fall down and worship Him, right now? During this invitation, God waits to see the response of His people. Will you leave stiffnecked? Will you go about your journey on your own, parched, dry: without His peace and fellowship, without His provision and protection, without His leadership and guidance? Or will you come, together with the assembled church in this tent of meeting to worship and adore our loving and holy Savior together? Is it time to leave the hustle and bustle of the cities and thoroughfares and get alone with God in the Wilderness?
    [Outline largely adapted from: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Messianic Bible Study Collection, vol. 22 (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1983), MBS022: “The Shechinah Glory in History and Prophecy”]
      • Exodus 13:21–22KJV

      • Genesis 3:8KJV

      • Genesis 3:23–24KJV

      • Genesis 15:12–18KJV

      • Exodus 3:1–5KJV

      • Deuteronomy 33:16KJV

      • Exodus 13:21–22KJV

      • Exodus 14:19–20KJV

      • Exodus 14:24KJV

      • Exodus 16:6–12KJV

      • Exodus 19:16–20KJV

      • Exodus 20:18–21KJV

      • Deuteronomy 5:22–27KJV

      • Exodus 24:15–18KJV

      • Exodus 33:17–23KJV

      • Exodus 34:5–9KJV

      • Exodus 34:29–35KJV

      • 2 Corinthians 3:12–18KJV

      • Exodus 29:42–46KJV

      • Exodus 40:34–38KJV

      • Leviticus 9:6–7KJV

      • Leviticus 9:22–24KJV

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