By Dale Harris, JPost—
In the Lego movie, Emmet’s only creation was something called a double decker couch. His friends called it the dumbest thing they’d ever heard, pointless and useless. However, just as Emmet and his friends plunged into the ocean to escape their pursuers, Lord Business cried out to his team of assailants: “Don’t let them get to the water!” Why not the water? Turns out that the only remnant that remained was the double decker couch, which became a refuge for Emmet and his friends.
Recall the story of Noah, who built an ark for his family to save them from God’s judgement on the world. While he was building it, many ridiculed him and called him a fool, but the Ark was what saved Noah when the earth was covered with water. But it wasn’t so much the Ark that saved Noah, as was his faith.
Today is Yom Kippur and I read that Tashlich is a special prayer from the book of Micah often said near a body of water: “Who is a God like You, Who bears iniquity and ignores transgression for the remnant of His chosen people! He does not retain His anger forever for He desires to be benevolent. He will again show compassion and will subdue our sins and cast all of their transgressions into the depths of the sea! “
It is this water that symbolizes life, renewal, and now baptism, that saves us ~ not by the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.
After John the Baptist baptized Yeshua he gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.” (John 1:32-34) Emmets friends believed in Emmet after they were saved by the double decker couch. He was “The Special.”
I was honored to accompany my friend at a Yom Kippur service last night. My friend is full of spirit and grace but in her mind, and many others like her, the Day of Atonement is a solemn day. She asked me what I thought was different about their High Holy Day and our Holiest day (Easter). I told her that the most glaring difference was that their message focused on the mortality of man (death) and our focus is on the immortality of man (life). She told me that she wishes she could learn, not recite, the scriptures so she could understand more about God’s plan for His people.
I recently read that Rabbi Tuly Weisz believes many Jews are praying that this time next year the Yom Kippur service will take place in the Third Temple. A much needed occurrence in order for the High Priest to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple to plead forgiveness for the Jewish people and usher in the Messiah. Another interesting article by Torah teacher Sarah Yehudit Schneider suggests that the Third Temple will not necessarily be a physical structure. She asks, “Will it also be of stones and wood and cloth and skins…or will it be more like the originally envisioned Sanctuary, the living community of Israel holding the Presence of God and shining it into the world through the integrity of their God-centered lives?”
A living temple is an interesting concept! My suggestion is that we look carefully at the chronological history of God’s Temple and open our minds to His comprehensive plan to bring together His called, chosen and faithful followers in the end. “For he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)
God has made many covenants to restore His people since Adam’s fall, beginning with Noah, next with Abraham and then with Moses. None were more important or cancelled out the other, but all were needed to carry out His plan. And all are a foreshadowing of the final covenant. He saved His remnant from the flood; He saved Abraham from sacrificing his son; He saved His people from Egyptian slavery and ultimately saved Israel from being overthrown by the Romans. He “allowed” the Jews to make the final sacrifice which He provided ~ not in the form of a ram as for Abraham ~ but the perfect lamb, His only begotten son, to save their nation and bring redemption to all the earth!
What I experienced in the Yom Kippur services was a sense of pleading to God that Jews may stand on the merits of Noah, Abraham and Moses. But not even these three could uphold the Ten Commandments. It was their faith, not their deeds, that brought them victory. God understands our inability to live perfect lives, so in his mercy He provided a new covenant. As the High Priest in the heavenly temple He offers us the blood of His sacrificial son so, by faith, we can circumcise our hearts!
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19-20) The Holy Spirit is represented by the dove that descends upon Yeshua upon being raised from the water, which also came upon the ark, and is upon all who believe to give them life.
The Apostle Paul, a Jew who became a believer, declares: “It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)
The chosen and the called, but more importantly the faithful, sitting together on the “Double Decker Couch” in the living temple to watch the first episode of the returning Messiah as the ram’s horn trumpet calls. It’s not such a bad idea after all.
Dale Harris makes an interesting commentary in contrasting Judaism with Christianity. In Harris’ alleged dialogue with a Jewish friend Harris says that Judaism focuses more on the “mortality of man” (ie, death), and Christianity focuses more on the “immortality of man” (ie, life). In a fascinating paradox, many Jewish people see the situation completely in reverse. A Jewish rabbi I heard, once said, “You Christians are focused on death; we Jews are focused on life. You Christians have a dead man hanging on a cross in your churches, whereas we Jews raise a glass of wine to each other after the Brachah (blessing) at the end of synagogue service and say, “L’Chaim” — to life.” The truth is that both are correct. In Messiah God has created “one new man”. For in Adam all sin, and the wages of sin is death; but in the Jewish Messiah, all are made alive together in Him. “For when the fulness of the Gentiles has come in, ALL Israel shall be saved.” Baruk HaShem!!