Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, for I am with you,” says the LORD.Jeremiah 46:28
The one thing that set ancient Israel apart from their neighboring tribes and countries was that their God was present. While other kingdoms and countries had their gods, their idols, and their temples, Israel actually had the God of the universe with them.
God allowed himself to be present within their Mishkan, the portable sanctuary that traveled with them. His presence resided in the Most Holy Place, by all accounts hovering above and within the ark of the covenant, which contained the tablets of the Ten Words, the Ten Commandments.
This covenant, these Ten Words, are what separated Israel from their neighbors. This is what made them holy; they were to abide by the actual commands of God, written with his own finger, etched eternally into stone.
There was no fanciful prophetic vision or private revelation; these words had been conveyed to the entire assembly of Israel at once as he himself spoke these words from Sinai. Everyone heard his voice, everyone felt the weight of his presence and struggled with the fear, real fear, at hearing the resounding and penetrating voice of God.
On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.Exodus 19:16
For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”Hebrews 12:19-21
Israel was born of revelation, a revelation to an entire people at once. This is what set them apart, and this was the heart of their most sacred place and artifacts that they carried with them throughout their wilderness journeys and into the land promised to them.
To this day, what sets God’s people apart is this covenant, the Ten Words. There is no equal among the religious communities of the world,
The illustration for us through what is pictured in the wilderness journeys of Israel is that just as God resided within that Most Holy Place above the ark of the covenant, God’s very presence resides within these Ten Words, the Ten Commandments. As we seek to fulfill these commands, then we are truly following in the footsteps of our Lord, the Messiah Yeshua.
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.Matthew 5:17-19
This is the everlasting covenant that remains forever. The “new” covenant ushered in through Yeshua is a martyr’s covenant of dying to self so that the words of the everlasting covenant can be lived through us. It places this covenant in the hearts of those who would receive them, those who are called by his Name and who live and abide by its precepts because it makes up the very essence of who they are.
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.Jeremiah 31:33
This is holiness, being set apart for the purposes of God. He is present within the words of his covenant, and as the covenanted words are in our heart, he is present within us.
God is present. This sets us apart. This makes us whole. This is the essence of his kingdom on the earth.