It’s a mystery

Rock looks like it has handwriting on it

2:30 p.m. Sunday July 3, 2022. 96F/35C.

A walk across sunlit sand garners the attention of a blackfly. It rides in the shade of the cuff of cotton shorts until the walker reaches the cool of a shadow, and suddenly, it flies off. No shade can stop a white shirt and shorts from sticking to skin. There are rewards. The raspberries are ripening. The blueberries are dark. Each has a sweet but tangy flavor. None of the squash blossoms are thriving in this dry heat. Little is collected, but all is enjoyed. Clouds dot the sky, and prayer is spoken. The air carries a dry dusty odor. May our God change the dry into plenty.

Sweet? or sour?

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty three

Abba Father, grant us the confidence of Yeshua Jesus. We need thankfulness in you. Please reveal to us the meanings in your word, the Bible. In the name of Yeshua Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Ezekiel took a tour in the spirit, of a temple complex. God showed up and took residence in the temple. He began to inform Ezekiel of his laws. The first law of the temple was to keep it holy. Keep the temple holy, set the grounds apart as Godly.

Then God discussed the measurements of the altar of the inner courtyard.

And these are the measures of the altar after the cubits: The cubit is a cubit and an hand breadth; even the bottom shall be a cubit, and the border thereof by the edge thereof round about shall be a span: and this shall be the higher place of the altar.

God established the length of the royal cubit. For convenience, I’ll use 20 inches to equal one cubit.

The altar walls were to be a handspan, about four inches, thick. Reading through the entire description causes me to visualize the altar in layers, like a wedding cake is made in layers. Each layer is the same shape, but each is a slightly smaller circumference than the one below it. The sidewall of one of the layers should be one cubit tall.

And the bottom upon the ground even to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle even to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth one cubit.

The lowest layer of the altar was to be two cubits, forty inches tall with a one cubit, twenty inch ledge. The entire height, with some elevation from the ground, would be four cubits, or 80 inches, nearly seven feet tall.

That would make a very large barbecue grill. Men would definitely need a ramp or steps to ascend to the grill part of the altar.

So the altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar and upward shall be four horns.

The altar would be a little taller than a man. Upwards from the altar would be four horns, or horn-shaped extensions upward at the four corners.

The altar is a fascination for modern man. We ask ourselves why in the world would God want an animal sacrificed and its meat burned away on an oversized grill? I’ll take that question to God in prayer, but for now, it is a mystery.

Is it the fossil of an ancient reptile? Someone’s old saddle grinder? Just an oddity?

Life in the hollow, Sunday

My faith got dry this morning, for no reason. I just got tired. I did not finish my intercessory prayers. I prayed for myself a little bit. In an attempt to express some thought that I could not quite express, I spent a good deal of prayer, praying in tongues.

And I was done.

No intercession.

Little praise.

Just tongues and not knowing why.

Saturday was awesome. Every time I prayed, I had daydreams of heavenly beings fighting for all they were worth. I saw an image of Jesus shout, “GO!” at a dozen legions of warriors and power went out from his mouth like shockwaves. I praised God most of the day.

And all that excitement over God’s hand moving on my nation was over. I took a peek at the news headlines this morning. It’s all the same old same old.

Please reveal a little of your mysteries to us, mighty God. Grant us some understanding of why you desire the things you desire. Why animal sacrifice? Why such a huge altar? Why, in the midst of this, does our enemy seem to delight in the blood of unborn children? In the name of Yeshua Jesus, I pray. Amen.

For now, it’s all still a mystery.

Let God be first

I’m so happy to have clouds for shade

1:30 p.m. Friday, July 1, 2022. 90F/32C.

The heat of the day passes by slowly. The feet of the old person do the same. Dense white clouds hang in the sky in a background of brilliant blue. There is cool air in the shade. There are loud flies to buzz in the ears in the direct sunlight. Household fans move dark window curtains in slow flopping movements. Savory food aromas fill the darkened cabin. Cold tea nourishes during the wait. Keep the day slow and all will be well.

More clouds

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty three

Abba Father, please lead and nourish us from your word. Please show us your heart and your holiness. Please reveal to us the meanings in the book of Ezekiel. In the name of Jesus, I ask. Amen.

Ezekiel and a heavenly being went on a tour of a temple complex. Ezekiel did not record whether the temple was built in the past, present or future. He did not record the exact location. He only recorded that it existed in his vision. God spoke to the pair from the temple. His glory lit up the entire inner courtyard.

This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

In other words…

This statute: the temple upon the head of the mountain, the whole walled-in area, even the neighborhood around it: Holy to the Lord. Pay attention to this statute of the temple.

Honor God first. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” was the first commandment and it is the greatest commandment. God is, was, and will always be holy. That small fact was to be understood before God discussed any other laws.

In the New Testament we learned to love God with heart, soul, and mind. In the Old Testament, the same principal was acted out by honoring God in setting apart the temple, inner courtyard and outer courtyard for him.

Note! God spoke of the temple on the head of the mountain. While that might be figurative, it very likely was also literal. The temple was on a high mountain top. That could be a hint in the “where is it?” puzzle! Woo-hoo!

God is holy. He pulled apart Jerusalem and put the Jews in exile because of sins that began with idolatry. And still, he desired to live among them. He just wanted them to know that his house would stay holy in the future.

And more clouds!

Life in the hollow, Friday

3 p.m. A cloud has drifted over the cabin. The shade is oh so good!

I ask almighty God, the God of mercy, to judge my nation. Please let captives of wickedness be set free. Please judge the wicked, or change the hearts of the wicked. It is in your mercy that I trust. You know our hearts. Please cleanse and then rebuild a love for you, as the first thing for my nation. In the name of Yeshua Jesus, I ask. Amen.

Seek God first. He blesses and judges, both according to his mercy. Just give him first place.

A cause to weep

Noon Thursday June 30, 2022. 83F/28C.

The sun pours into the hollow, one more day. Every inch of dirt that is not in the shade appears as if it was bleached. Dust kicks up easily and stirs around the ankles. Onion tops are drooping onto the sand, stressed by the heat, even with a daily watering. Deer avoid the onions but not the purple flowers. Each and every one of them is no more than a leafy green stalk reaching for the sky. A hard white stone is retrieved from the rock rubble near the dirt road. It is cool to the touch, with comfortable smooth edges and valued for its potential in the cabin kitchen. God provides something, each and every day.

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty three

Abba Father, reveal to us please, the meanings in your word, the Bible. See our hearts, forgive our sins, and carry us, I ask, through the corridors of your temple complex, In the name of Yeshua Jesus, son of the God of Israel, I pray. Amen.

While touring a natural/supernatural temple complex, Ezekiel and a heavenly being stood in the inner courtyard, while God spoke from the temple. God explained that previously, the kings and the people of Judah had placed idols and even worshiped idols, right next to the temple. He had already taken steps to make sure that did not happen again.

In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.

God said that the leaders and the people fastened, or built, temples for idols, conveniently using the existing walls of his holy temple. They put the doorways of idol worship, right next to the doorways of God’s temple. The hint was that people were given a choice of doorways when they approached the temple. They even defiled the wall of the temple by doing disgusting things on it! So, God consumed those people in his anger.

Now let them put away their whoredom and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.

That was not an if/then statement. It was WHEN the people stop worshiping idols (whoredom) and WHEN the kings stop setting up idols (carcases of kings), God will dwell with them forever. It is going to happen. God has prophesied it. His words are good for that.

Next God explained why it is so hard to find two modern renditions of this temple in agreement with each other:

Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.

Go ahead, Ezekiel, tell the people about the temple complex. Tell the people what were the measurements. Let them figure it out. Was God dropping a hint about something that he saw the leaders of Judah doing? The words, “Let them measure the pattern,” could also mean, “Let them add it up”. There is no obvious explanation for the odd nature of God’s statement, that of having the community leaders sum up the measurements.

And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

God told Ezekiel that if the people and their leaders were ashamed of their behavior, he could press out a clay form of the temple and the whole complex, every building, every wall and every gate. As far as anyone knows, that never happened.

Ezekiel’s description remains enigmatic. Nobody will fully know it, because the people were not fully ashamed of idolatry.

When Ezra recorded the exiles’ return to Jerusalem and the building of the second temple (Ezra 3:12), the elders of Jerusalem wept. I had at one time assumed that the elders wept for joy, but now a second reason for their weeping has appeared.

The elders might have wept because the rebuilt temple was not correct, according to the pattern given to Ezekiel. It meant that Ezekiel withheld the building of a clay model of the temple.

It was obvious. The people of Judah would suffer God’s wrath again, until the prophesied day that they would be fully ashamed of their idolatry.

Life in the hollow, Thursday

I keep getting pestered by an entity which calls itself Jesus, but by its behavior, it is certainly not Jesus. In casting it out of my home, I speak the names “Jesus”, “Yeshua”, the “God of Israel”, and any other name for God that comes to mind. Eventually, I remembered a friend who promised to pray for me, but whose faith is questionable. That friend worships God AND… well… idols, to be honest. Buddha, and whatever good luck charms he comes to fancy, are set up in his home. He identifies as Christian. He knows the gospel. He has said the sinner’s prayer. He’ll be happy to demonstrate loud, righteous indignation toward any who question his faith. I’ve never said, “Please don’t pray for me”. I just avoid the issue as much as I can.

“Me? I’m fine. I don’t need prayer right now. Thank you.”

After a few months, it has become clear that his promised “prayers” and the appearance of the demon that calls itself Jesus, seem to be coordinating. That must be where it’s coming from! My attempts to clarify my position in Christ Jesus around him are normally met with a “I-know-more-than-you” smile and a nod of his head.

The God of Israel is not a theory that requires explaining, maturing, or fine-tuning with other theories.

I’ve asked God about my friend repeatedly. A recent answer from God’s Holy Spirit included instructions to stop praying for him to find favor with God, and allow him his judgment. Sad. In matters of the heart, it is so hard to say, “Abba, in the name of Jesus, I submit to your will.” And I do understand why. I’m weary of casting out this thing.

People can, and will, yell at believers when we take a stand with our faith. We do not bully or yell or order other people into faithfulness. We know it won’t work that way. Sometimes we have to step back and allow them to indulge in their own sin, to their own destruction, until God’s way is the only way out of their messes.

Like the elders of Jerusalem, when I saw the visible results of idolatry in others, I wept.

Keep yourself free from idols

Sweet gum tree

1 p.m. Tuesday June 28, 2022. 75F/24C.

The sweet gum tree really does have the sweetest aroma underneath. Deep breathing under its branches is a daily practice now. Its fruit is still green and swings on the branches up high. The aroma is very mild. As the meadow turns dry, a different species of bugs takes up residence. Small beetles labor on the raspberry canes, but only the ones in shade. The day is good for walking since the heat has backed down. A sharp buzzing noise points to the hover fly. No red wasps are active. Butterflies seem to look for flowers that match their coloring. Hover flies love anything with nectar. A large white stone is lifted for carrying back to the cabin. Its surface is very smooth and has a satisfying sort of coolness to the surface. God is good.

yellow and brown hoverfly on yellow and brown flower

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty three

Abba Father, grant us your mercy. Grant us your peace. As we look at the world during uncertain times, grant us a sense of your timing, your provision, and your willingness to love us. Please reveal to us the meanings in the book of Ezekiel. I pray all this in the name of Yeshua Jesus. Amen.

Ezekiel was taken in the spirit to a temple complex. After two chapters of measuring and looking, God’s glory came in through the eastern gates and into the temple. It lit up the inner courtyard where Ezekiel and a heavenly being stood, awaiting God’s instructions.

And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

God’s pet name for Ezekiel was son of man, in Hebrew ben-aw-DAWM, which simply meant man of the lineage of Adam. Adam was the ruddy species of being, he was the red dirt man. In this verse, we get an idea why God did not elevate Ezekiel any higher than that. Many kings, and other people in high offices, had spent their lives insulting God! Here Ezekiel was no more than a human being. For his lowliness, God was pleased with Ezekiel.

God wanted to be pleased with the human race. He wanted his place among them. He wanted a place for his throne, for the soles of his feet, for his dwelling, to be without insult. And here’s one more thing in this place that he wanted: He wanted his name to be there. Name, shem in Hebrew, might also mean mark, renown or memorial. He didn’t want his throne defiled, his temple defiled or his reputation defiled.

What defiled God’s dwelling? God listed idolatry first. He used a term that compared Israel to an unfaithful wife. Second, God listed the carcasses of kings in high places. Did he mean he was angry that they buried kings in high places? I don’t think so. I’ve tried to research kings’ burials near the temple. Here, God more likely meant a carcass to have been a dead idol. That verse is looking more like a sassy remark. Several kings had a desire to establish high places of idol worship into Israel, right next to the temple.

God’s first accusation against the Jews was for their idolatry and his second was for their kings’ idols. Do you get the feeling that God disliked idol worship!?!

In that verse, God drops the hint that all will be well. Once all the crying and purging was done, there would never be idol worship again. God will dwell in Israel, forever.

And ever.

lovely

Life in the hollow, Tuesday

I finally understand what God is doing in my nation and in the nations of the world that we impact. I feel empty. We are already in a war of sorts. Those who rule over us have established their idols in communities all across the nations. Some of us have actually participated in worshiping those idols.

I still care about the people who are, one by one, turning away from God. They turn toward the idols set up by our rulers. They worship healthcare experts and social media influencers. They worship one king and hate another. They worship one race and hate another. They accept the supernatural in entertainment, but won’t tolerate the supernatural in the church next door. I can see judgment on its way. I can see a holy hedge of protection around those who are standing with God in the name of Jesus.

He has positioned me so that I can do very little to protect those who will not depend on him. The strength of my mind and my body is waning. I can see a storm coming.

How do people place themselves under God’s protection? With a prayer, like this one:

I accept Yeshua, Jesus, as my savior. I repent of all sin, whether I understood it to be sin or not. I accept this salvation of my heavenly Father. I accept the indwelling of his Holy Spirit. Please, heavenly Father, protect me and my house.

That’s it. Our words will stir the most holy God to action. I’ll be fine, living here with a host of heavenly beings in a mountain hollow. You’ll be fine, too. It’s not the end of days, but it will be the end of some people’s days.

I’ve seen things most people have not seen. This whole mess started with idol worship. You will eventually see that truth too.

Dear reader, keep yourself free from idols.

That’s our God

New hosta, hiding from deer under a paw-paw

11 a.m. Monday June 27, 2022. 72F/22C.

Time passes more slowly than usual today. It is mid morning, but no horseflies are buzzing. No wasps fly close to the ears to irritate. Patchy clouds float overhead and cool down the mountainside. That small space under the sweet gum tree is still the best location to breathe deeply. The air there is still bitter and sweet and soothing to the lungs. It is mid morning and laundry hangs neatly on dark cords strung between trees. Meadow grasses are tidy and shortened, making all the same height. Three potato plants extend their leaves into the sun. Arm and leg muscles are shaking a little. Chiggers have been scrubbed off in a cool shower, leaving an invigorating and tingling sensation on arms and legs. The woodpecker is up high right now, cackling and knocking on trees. The forest is rejoicing over a respite from the heat.

Daisy: lone survivor of a deer herd

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty three

Abba Father, please grant us the opportunity to know you through your word, the Bible. In the name of Yeshua Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Ezekiel, in a vision, was touring a temple complex, with a heavenly being, making note of measurements and appearances of the architectural details of the complex.

Then the glory of God entered the complex. Ezekiel fell on his face.

And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.

So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.

And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.

Ezekiel was lifted up and traveled, flew, in the spirit to the inner courtyard. He and the heavenly being, whom he called “the man” in the above verse, both stood, likely facing the temple, as servants awaiting a directive from God. The glory of God in the temple was so brilliant that it filled the entire inner courtyard.

What an amazing God. His glory was so brilliant that he lit up the whole area. His power so great that Ezekiel bowed, stood at attention, and traveled without any effort whatsoever.

That’s our God.

Yarrow, perhaps?

Life in the hollow, Monday

Muse with me for a moment, about traveling in the spirit. Ezekiel did so, more than once. I think the first time was in chapter eight when he went to the Jerusalem temple to prophesy against the wicked priests there. God grabbed him by the hair and carried him, complaining, all the way there. John the Revelator traveled in the spirit when the Lord said to him, “Come up here”. That’s in Revelation chapter four. Philip traveled in the spirit in the book of Acts chapter eight, after having baptized the Ethiopian eunuch. In some cases of spirit travel, such as Revelation 4, it’s easy to imagine that John’s body probably stayed on the island of Patmos while God carried John’s spirit to heavenly places. However God obviously carried Philip bodily to another place on earth. When the eunuch came up out of the water after baptism, Philip simply vanished.

Ezekiel did not say if he went in body and spirit, or if his body simply fell into sleep and his spirit went alone. No matter how people travel when they travel in the spirit for God, they always report the event as if both their bodies and minds had traveled. It’s apparent that they feel the presence of their bodies, whether there or not.

This was not an activity only for people of the Bible. Modern believers have reported being told by the Holy Spirit to pack a suitcase and step through a doorway, carrying their bags. In the moment of stepping over the threshold, the believers were in another country, with an evangelistic assignment, just like Philip in the book of Acts. Pastor Roberts Liardon reported going to heaven in the spirit. That could be a wild claim, except for the fact that what he saw there was consistent with similar claims from other believers.

While such stories are few and far between, they bring the signs and miracles of the Bible to modern life. As for me, I’ll skip watching the biased shows on the History channel, and contemplate God’s word instead.

He’s something else.

He is a God like no other

Shade, heat, and fleabane daisies

10:30 a.m. Sunday June 26, 2022. 82F/28C.

After a tumultuous night of moving shadows and calls to prayer and vigilance, the sun rose over the eastern ridge and poured its light into the hollow. The whip-poor-will ended its all night song. Through a screen window in a cabin, a small circle of bare branches allowed a view of the white sunlight striking dense brush near the creek. Watering must be done early now, before the heat. The screen door spring stretches with a short word. “Broing,” it tells the porch. “Cra-creak,” the boards answer back. Great masses of green leaves in the canopy overhead sway. A breeze now blows along the creek. Off to the west, a few song birds chirp in short snippets of conversation with one another. One rubber sandal balls up underfoot, as evidence that a strap has broken. It allows the sand, warm and dry, to be felt on the soles of one foot. It is so good to feel the earth once more.

More blooms

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty three

Abba Father, reveal who you are to us. Grant us please a small glimpse into what you love, where you wish to be, who you wish to be with. Reveal to us please the meanings in the vision of Ezekiel. In the name of Yeshua Jesus, I pray. Amen.

After Ezekiel was led through the entire temple complex by a heavenly being, he was taken to observe an even greater sight.

Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: And

behold

the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.

And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar;

and I fell upon my face.

Notice that Ezekiel uses the word “behold” or in Hebrew “hineh” to express what we might say as “totally blown away.” It’s one of those words whose meaning has gotten watered down by our culture. In our culture, we see the KJV Bible as stiff and unyielding, but when the language is actually learned, it is full of joy and passion and fear and a thousand other emotions, all balled up into one Word of God.

Our God is a God of life! Here’s how I read those verses:

Then we moved along to the gate, the gate that opens to the east. What I saw totally blew me away. The intense weightiness of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. And his voice! Like the sound of many waters! The earth shined from the intensity of his splendor. That sight of the vision I was seeing, like the vision that I saw when I went to speak against the city, like the vision that I saw near the river Chebar. Then, I could only fall upon my face.

Ezekiel fell over forward. When Paul in Philippians 2, wrote that “every knee will bow” at the name of Jesus, I don’t think he meant that everybody will choose to worship Jesus as the son of God. I think he was trying to communicate to us what happens when man comes face to face with God’s glory, whether it be glory in the Father, in the Spirit or in the Son.

Perhaps we who follow Jesus are the risk takers of the world. Sometimes following Jesus imitates the events of an extreme sport Olympics. Just how close can we each get to the Father or the Son and still be able to walk, to talk, to do anything but laugh or moan undecipherably?

Even knowing all that, we desire him like no other.

Still blooming

Life in the hollow, Sunday

Several months ago, I read the ten commandments again. It’s in Exodus 20: 1-17. I’ve often joked with Sunday School classes with the following: “It’s not the ten suggestions!” But suddenly, it struck me that I’ve never taken the seventh day sabbath very seriously. For years, I’ve taken the commandment to rest on Saturday as, well, a suggestion. In fact, I’ve rarely rested on Sunday.

From that point forward, my life fell in line with the ten commandments. Crafty stuff with images of animals sculpted into them landed in the trash. I did my best to no longer cuss when I got upset. I started resting on the seventh day, Saturday. Sunday, you know, is the first day of the week, not the last. We can worship on Sunday and still rest on Saturday!

And God has zealously blessed me. He has blessed me with joy, with peace, with multiplication of household provisions. He has replaced things lost. All that I need is here in his presence, if I only will take his word seriously.

He will do so for anyone. If we would only take his word seriously.

The God of the universe is in the Bible. We can find him there. The Bible is a living, breathing document that does not change, but somehow seems to expand to take in new believers everyday.

He is a God like no other.

God does as God pleases to do

After two weeks of no rain, the rudbeckia and fleabane daisies still bloom

12:30 p.m. Friday June 24, 2022. 89F/32C.

Despite the intense heat out in the sun, no horseflies are attacking the arms or legs. Bees are quite making up for them by buzzing nonstop. They seem to love producing a great commotion just before the ears. Perspiration begins to bead up on the forehead and make its way under glasses. Small birds are making a great commotion as well. They chirp and flutter in the dense brush. Deer have moved on, taking the thick sweet scent of musk with them. The forest is deep green. The sky is brilliant blue. The shadows are a perfect shade of gray.

The canes are loaded with nearly ripe raspberries

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty two

Abba Father, there is truly no God like you. We seek your love, your wisdom and your guidance as we read about your temple in the book of Ezekiel. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

The temple of Ezekiel’s vision served to reinforce a certain human understanding of our God, and that is the following: Our God will do as he pleases, when he pleases and how he pleases, and does not need to give an answer to any man’s expectation of him.

The Jews will likely never have a permanent temple until they build this one of Ezekiel’s vision. That’s my opinion only, not interpretation. But I do believe that God longs for this temple. I believe that he longs for people who have pure hearts to serve close to him, that he longs to dwell in the heart of our cities and homes, in our deserts and in our places of worship. And I really don’t think it matters to him whether we are Jew or gentile, as long as we have a covenant relationship with him, with the washing away of our sins by acceptance of Jesus.

Ezekiel followed after a heavenly being who measured the temple.

Now when he had made an end of measuring the inner house, he brought me forth toward the gate whose prospect is toward the east, and measured it round about.

He measured the east side with the measuring reed, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed round about.

He measured the north side, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed round about.

He measured the south side, five hundred reeds, with the measuring reed.

He turned about to the west side, and measured five hundred reeds with the measuring reed.

From the phrase “round about”, I would assume the heavenly man to have been measuring the outside perimeter of the outer wall. Since the wall was one reed thick, the inner measurements would certainly be smaller by the wall’s thickness, twice.

A royal cubit was around 19.8–20.6 inches. Simply for convenience, let’s use 20 inches. A reed was six cubits. Six cubits, then, were 120 inches. Five hundred reeds were 60,000 inches. 60,000 inches were 5,000 feet. 5,000 feet were just 280 feet shy of a mile. 5,000 feet are a little over 1-1/2 kilometers.

The temple complex was square and nearly a mile wide and a mile long. It was a big place!

But well, you know me, I have to ask the ODD questions…

The heavenly being measured the south wall. Fine. But then he had to back track in order to measure the west wall. Why? Something, some building structure or some natural land structure must have been making the west wall inaccessible on the outside of the complex. Could the west side have been the location of a great ravine? What else might have made the west wall inaccessible? He found a way to measure, perhaps by walking atop the wall?

He measured it by the four sides: it had a wall round about, five hundred reeds long, and five hundred broad, to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place.

Profane simply means “common” in that verse, BUT…

The word “sides”, as in “four sides”, is a translation of ROO-ah, which I’ve also seen spelled as ruach and ruah. It means breath, wind, disposition, fury, or wrath. The heavenly man measured the four winds of protection of the temple complex.

As I read through that, the Hebrew root words seem to be loaning insight into God’s wrath. God does not become angry for the same reasons we would become angry. No, his anger has a purpose, and its purpose is for protection of all who dwell within him.

Oddly, I’ve come to recognize the deer by smell.

Life in the hollow, Friday

I did ask God to show me the temple complex in a dream or vision. I did get a dream.

In the dream, I wandered across a level desert place, an elevated place. I could look out and see other mountain tops. I did not see much greenery. One man was seated in front of a block of stone. He was chipping on the stone with a hammer and chisel. He seemed to be making a hole for a pole in the center of the block. Chips flew in all directions. His big thick arms were well-accustomed to the sort of work he was doing.

I approached him and was suddenly struck with the idea that he might be Ezekiel, and I could ask questions.

“Sir, do you mind answering? What is your name?”

“Stone Mason,” he answered.

I thought maybe he didn’t understand the question. I didn’t want to know what his job description was, but his name.

“I’m sorry, but what was your name again?”

He answered more slowly. Oh, yes, he indicated that he understood the question quite well. “Stone. Mason.” he repeated.

“Thank you so much,” I politely told him. And as I looked about at the empty, but level, landscape, the dream faded into daylight. I made a decision about Ezekiel’s temple vision.

Sometimes God shows us what he wants us to see, and he shows us nothing more.

At peace in God

blueberries

1:30 p.m. Tuesday June 21, 2022. 92F/34C.

Four years ago this week, a weakened, disabled old person heaved furniture onto the bed of an old green pickup truck in front of a run down house in the heat and emptiness of a growing city. The drive from town, with stops for rest, took at least six hours. Four years ago, two cats came out of their travel crates and poked around the inside of a cabin surrounded by forest. They found that cupboard doors opened when pulled with their paws. They found cat food and litter boxes stacked haphazardly atop plastic tarps. Four years ago, a long-deserted hunter’s cabin filled up with chairs and dishes and then the old person sat down and worried. The cabin smelled strongly of mold and propane gas. A nest of spiders dangled over the shower. The bathroom floor was soft when stepped on. It was hot, humid and stinky. The cats knocked the wooden trim off of the lower kitchen cupboard and smacked it across the smooth floor. While the human worried what the future would bring, the cats were even more determined to have fun with whatever piece of trash they scattered across the floor and chased.

The dirt road looks bleached in this sun

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty two

Abba Father, from the day you instructed me to get immersed in your word, all the way through to today, and even into what little future that I can see, I have not regretted my study of your word. Please continue to reveal to us the meanings in your word, the Bible. Thank you for four years in this little paradise where I live for only a little while. Thank for our salvation into your eternal paradise. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Ezekiel and the heavenly tour guide were about done measuring the temple complex. Next, the prophet priest would learn about how the temple would be used. The heavenly being began his teaching.

Then said he unto me, The north chambers and the south chambers, which are before the separate place, they be holy chambers, where the priests that approach unto the LORD shall eat the most holy things: there shall they lay the most holy things, and the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; for the place is holy.

The rooms along the south wall and the north wall of the inner courtyard were for a specific uses. They were for 1) the most holy things, 2) the meat offering, 3) the sin offering, and 4) the trespass offering.

The most holy things were any items that had been consecrated, or declared to belong in God’s temple. The priests’ robes were holy. Pans and shovels for carrying incense and ashes were holy. Temple furniture was holy. Certain oil lamps were holy. Several items were declared holy and did not leave the inner court of the temple complex.

Certain animal sacrifices were offered for the purpose of being totally (all except the hide) burnt before God. Other offerings were divided and were partially placed on God’s altar and partially used to cook for the priests on duty. Still other offerings were partially placed on God’s altar and partially used to feed the priests and their families. I believe there were even offerings that were simply for the priests. This was God’s payment to the priests for their labor.

I am not an expert in the types of sacrifices offered in the first and second temple eras, but I do recognize that not all the types of sacrifices offered in the first and second temples, were offered in the temple that Ezekiel saw. Some of the types of sacrifices of the first and second temples were missing from this one.

The heavenly being instructed Ezekiel that the north facing and south facing rooms of the inner courtyard were holy.

When the priests enter therein, then shall they not go out of the holy place into the utter court, but there they shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which are for the people.

The priests would go into a room and change into street clothes before leaving the inner courtyard.

In the temple complex, that which was holy did not mix with anything that could possibly be unholy.

Life in the hollow, Tuesday

I’ve come to really appreciate God’s gift of the spirit bears. Spirit bears are spiritual beings that seem very real. The outdoor spirit bear was present and was attempting to teach me to praise God whenever I send the armies of heaven on an assignment.

“You make praise to God. Host make Go!” He explained. People have attempted to teach me to praise before this. I’m very clumsy at it. So, I sent the armies of heaven to Washington, to Delaware and to Colorado to make war against the demons that wish to destroy my nation. And then I began reciting Psalms 145-150.

Spirit Bear popped into the space behind my eyelids raising his eyebrows at me. He had that what-are-you-doing look on his face. “Psalm 145 is good praise,” I told him.

Ever since then, he’s been showing me how to use recorded praise music like an instrument, how to sing along, and stomp. We stomp with our two right paws and then with our two left paws, dancing to our own singing. Well, my front paws are actually stomped into the air. We go a distance then lift hands in praise and turn. I hope God is pleased with our praise because it’s a blast!

If you are a heavenly being, apparently you have not praised, until you’ve sung, danced and praised.

I’ve been in the forest four years this week. I came here broken, sick, concerned, being surveilled and being threatened. God’s Holy Spirit was insistent that I considered myself hidden from the world. I spent nights hugging the cats, breathing rapidly, and listening to footsteps walk around the cabin. Following each prowler event, I heard a vehicle spinning its wheels in the mud of the dirt road, needing at times a full hour to be freed and to speed past the cabin.

The prowlers stopped. The crickets chirped. The birds sang. The woodpecker knocked. And I found peace living nearer to God than to the world.

Many questions

Flea bane daisies. It would be nice if they really kept fleas away.

Noon Monday June 20, 2022. 83F/28C.

ARGH! It doesn’t take much walking to feel the sun bearing down. A garden check will be done quickly. Flowers of gold, brown and white are blooming in all directions. Scratchy weeds brush against bare ankles. Those scratches feel like tomorrow’s nonstop itch. A thick squash blossom is inspected and gently moved. Its yellow petals are cool and almost elastic. No fruits exist under the blooms. The cabin and an afternoon nap calls. The pace is quickened before more insects bite. It is cool and dark indoors. Sweet fragrances drift in through open windows.

Dry. Hot. And these things are blooming like crazy!

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty two

Abba Father, this temple that Ezekiel saw is baffling. Please reveal to us the meanings in your word, the Bible. Please let us know what you mean for us to see in this structure. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Have you ever put together a jigsaw puzzle?

The temple that Ezekiel saw is much like a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle. We have all the measurements. We know how big the pieces are. But too many of the pieces are shaped exactly alike – they are squares and rectangles, without notches or tabs for joinery. Ezekiel and a heavenly being started at the southern entrance of the temple complex and worked their way around, recording the measurements, here and there, as they went. Ezekiel flipped puzzle pieces out of the box of his vision, and humans have been working on the puzzle for many years.

They were on the east side of the inner courtyard.

And the way before them was like the appearance of the chambers which were toward the north, as long as they, and as broad as they: and all their goings out were both according to their fashions, and according to their doors.

And according to the doors of the chambers that were toward the south was a door in the head of the way, even the way directly before the wall toward the east, as one entereth into them.

My first impression of those verses is that when standing near the eastern gate, the north wall, and the south wall were built as mirror images of each other. The front of the buildings could be seen through arches. One entryway to the interior could be seen.

Ezekiel was ready to toss out more puzzle pieces!

Sometimes the Bible presents many, many questions.

Look there! Right in the center of the picture. A tiny red ant is pulling a larva across the road.

Life in the hollow, Monday

I’ve been to heaven more than once, without really realizing it. I went one night many years ago in a dream. I met Jesus and he frightened me so much that I’ve never forgotten the dream.

You (or even I) might say, “Frightened you? That couldn’t be Jesus!”

Oh yes it was. I met a Jewish carpenter. He and an assistant were building mansions. And when he lowered his hammer and looked me in the eye, my soul shared with him my past, my present and my future, all without my permission. He spoke one sentence and it changed the course of my life forever.

He said, “Tell my people I AM coming back for them.”

I felt like I had just been pulled over in a traffic violation by the world’s kindest cop, one who knew my whole family, and one who had caught me in an embarrassing act of trespassing his realm without salvation. One who decided to give me an assignment instead of a ticket. I woke in a panic, sweating, heart beating hard.

I knew that I had to use my stubborn adult will to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and savior in order to fulfill his request. And I knew I had to do as he requested, or I would feel empty for all my life.

It was a rough road and the journey was taken that day. My life in Christ since then has been as a puzzle. He challenges me with life situations and I work on them in a panic until somehow they resolve.

His Holy Spirit drives me. I have to study the Bible every day and I have to write about it. It’s a nagging need within me. I don’t mean that I “study” a devotional magazine either. Devotionals are someone else’s Bible study that they share. I need to do my own study from my own reading. Some days, I make notes and some days, I write a blog post.

I have already risked requesting another heavenly vision or dream. This time I want to see the temple so that I can get a better picture of what it is. He tends to reveal something that seems unrelated, but isn’t.

And His Spirit suggested it. The Bible presents many questions, and I cannot just sit with the questions. I have to ask them.

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you

The meadow is buggy!

2 p.m. Sunday June 19, 2022. 95F/35C.

77F and shady indoors. The trip to town was peaceful. This being tourist season, the streets were well-populated with roaming pedestrians, RV’s and motorcycles. Locals all avoided the tourist zones, and took well-traveled side streets in their pickup trucks and vans. Roadside stands boasted of fresh blueberries and strawberries. Their fare appeared to be the same produce offered by a local grocer. Untroubled people in sandals and floppy hats formed haphazard lines in front of each stand. A warm breeze drifted in through the truck windows. It carried the odor of fresh road tar and smoke from the barbecue shack. Summer is here.

Wild petunia?

The book of Ezekiel, chapter forty two

Abba Father, grant us your peace for our times. What I see around me does not quite match the news reports, so cause those who listen to the reports to lean into you for sureness and peace. Please reveal your meanings in your word, the Bible. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Ezekiel continued his tour of a natural-supernatural temple complex. He was taken somewhere in Israel on or near a high mountain. Some parts of the temple were supernaturally constructed while he was there. He gazed upon rooms built into the complex walls:

Now the upper chambers were shorter: for the galleries were higher than these, than the lower, and than the middlemost of the building.

While the KJV was most precise in their translation, it does help to peruse the Hebrew words for that verse. The upper chambers were a bit smaller than the lower chambers. It appears that they had a walkway in front of them, which took up some of the room.

For they were in three stories, but had not pillars as the pillars of the courts: therefore the building was straitened more than the lowest and the middlemost from the ground.

Had the builders used pillars, as they did on the temple building, the walkway could have been built as a ledge, but they did not use pillars so the upper rooms were smaller than the ground floor room, by the width of the walkway.

And the wall that was without over against the chambers, toward the utter court on the forepart of the chambers, the length thereof was fifty cubits.

For the enclosure wall that had the little rooms, on the outer courtyard side, near the gate, that wall, just for the length of the face of the rooms, was fifty cubits.

For the length of the chambers that were in the utter court was fifty cubits: and, lo, before the temple were an hundred cubits.

Ezekiel expressed amazement. The little rooms of the outer court were fifty cubits. But the little rooms of the temple court were 100 cubits. Perhaps he was amazed that God wanted more people closer to him in this temple than in previous temples. There was more space for God’s servants near the temple, and less space for the public in the outer courtyard.

And from under these chambers was the entry on the east side, as one goeth into them from the utter court.

The east entrance gate was surrounded by chambers, to the right, to the left and even above. That would be unusual. In every temple, the eastern gate was for God and his prince. In this temple, God was allowing his entrance to be hugged by the evidence of the presence of men!

The chambers were in the thickness of the wall of the court toward the east, over against the separate place, and over against the building.

The little rooms were built into the east wall, between the courtyard and the wall.

I’m amazed along with Ezekiel, at how God desired the stuff of men, the storage rooms, the offices, the apartments, the walkways, to be right up next to the temple and the eastern gate. The temple seemed to be forecasting an era when God will dwell among men and everyone will be happy with that.

pucker up buttercup! oh. wait. that’s a rudbeckia.

Life in the hollow, Sunday

The grocery store was a little low on stock, but it was not as bad as the great food shortage that I expected. Most of the products missing were those from the big companies. They were low on boxes of macaroni and cheese, cans of ravioli, peanut butter, boxed cereals, and, to be honest, junk food is scarce. Locally-sourced foods were fine. It was easier to navigate the store without big cardboard displays of beef jerky and the newest dog treats, jutting out into the aisles.

I saw no more than one facemask.

The bridges between here and there were being updated. Waiting for my turn to cross gave me time to declare God’s love and the miracle of multiplication over every occupant of the vehicles in line.

Yes, we are about to suffer a food shortage. If anyone lives on pizza and pot pies, those people are in fact now going hungry. Those of us who are depending upon God, and are content with God’s food, seem to be doing just fine.

All those people who drew close to God are finding him drawing closer to them.

In the name of Jesus, our Messiah, be blessed.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started