This is the third post in a series on the consecration of the priesthood. For seven days in the wilderness, the new priesthood went through the consecration process and on the eighth day, they began to function in their appointed roles in the tabernacle. This 8th day is 1st Aviv, which begins at 6pm on 13th March and ends 6pm 14th March 2021. The eighth day is the first day of a new week. It is also the day of naming after the birth of a child and the day of circumcision or entrance into covenantal rights and privileges for the sons of Abraham. A name carries with it a sense of identity, character and purpose. The name of God’s bondservant company in the endtimes is ‘the Branch’. The name of God’s people throughout history is the Hebrews—those who have crossed over; those who have come out of idolatry to serve the Living God.
Why did God choose this day for the tabernacle to be erected and for the priests to begin functioning? Because it marked the anniversary of a new beginning for His people; one that had been inaugurated in Egypt, exactly one month after the plague of darkness. That was a day of releasing instruction on the process of crossing over, of giving a precise blueprint for safe passage during the passing over of the Destroyer, which would occur in two weeks time. Prior to the final blow on the slave shackles of Egypt, God told His people exactly how to conduct themselves in order to be safe and ready to move out of the place they had been planted for generations. The 1st Aviv launched a change of era for those enslaved in Egypt. And exactly one year later, priestly worship in the wilderness tabernacle was launched. The whole of the previous year had been one of organisation, assigning of place and order, manufacture of the necessary parts and preparation of the priesthood. But on this day, everyone understood why God paid such attention to detail. He was constructing a place for His glory to dwell!
A Day of Glory and Fire
Exo 40:34 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle!
The 12 tribes of Israel were encamped exactly as God had positioned them, in a giant circle round the tabernacle and on 1st Aviv, the glory of the Lord was manifested in their midst. So powerful was His presence that Moses could not even go back into the tabernacle. Leviticus 8 gives a more detailed description of everything Moses and the priests had to do on this day of the launch of the tabernacle. There were sacrifices to complete, wave offerings to lift up and a blessing to be spoken over the people.
Lev 9:23 Moses and Aaron went into the Tent of Meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord [the Shekinah cloud] appeared to all the people [as promised]. Lev 9:24 Then there came a fire out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
The 1st Aviv is the day the fire of God consumed the acceptable sacrifice. It is a day of glory AND fire. But it is also the day on which the unthinkable happened! Immediately after the demonstration of God’s acceptance of the rightly offered sacrifice, Nadab and Abihu rose up and offered strange fire on the altar. Why is it called ‘strange’?–Because it was not ordained by God or part of their appointed duties. They had stepped outside of the specific instructions God had given and assumed they could repeat what their father Aaron had done in offering incense. But God had not asked it of them nor assigned them the position. Presumption and spiritual pride manifested in rebellion to God’s ordained order and pattern, and it could not be tolerated.
Lev 10:2 And there came forth fire from before the Lord and killed them, and they died before the Lord. Lev 10:3 Then Moses said to Aaron, This is what the Lord meant when He said, I will be acknowledged as hallowed by those who come near Me, and before all the people I will be honored. And Aaron said nothing.
We honor God through obedience to His will for our lives and disobedience is viewed by Heaven as dishonouring Him. Only those appointed to come near Him honor Him by doing so. Those who do what they like, ignoring the will of God, even in seemingly spiritual activities, are in rebellion. A week earlier, Aaron and his four sons began the consecration process. ALL were anointed with blood and oil. All received new garments. All received instruction and training in their God-given responsibilities. It seemed everything was going just as planned. But the minute the glory showed up, the sin hidden in the hearts of some became openly evident by their actions. The fire falling on the rightly offered sacrifice not only signified God’s acceptance and approval of all that had been done. It triggered a final sifting of the consecrated priesthood. The same pride that caused Lucifer to covet the throne of God manifested in two of Aaron’s sons as they tried to take a position and role which God had not given them—and they paid with their lives.
In Ezekiel 44, God makes a distinction between the priests who went astray and those who remained faithful. The faithful Zadok priests, who kept His charge, were allowed to come near Him to offer the Blood and the incense. Those who had been led astray got to do all the hard work, the slaying of the endless animals for sacrifice, the work of the outer temple. This is a picture of those who have entered His ministry of rest contrasted with those who continue in the ministry of works. Coming near to God is a privilege, not a right—and faithfulness is the requirement for access! The eyes of the Lord run to and fro across the whole earth, looking for those who are faithful to Him, whose hearts are fully His (2 Chron 16:9).
The 1st Aviv is a day of launching. It is the day of the starter’s gun in the leg of the race set before you as His priest. It is a day of glory and a day of fire—fire of acceptance and fire of rejection. It is a day of the manifestation of the fear of the Lord or the hidden pride of the heart. It is a day of judgement.
The fire of judgement does not always manifest as literal flames—but it always ends in the death of the wicked. It is seen in the hanging of Haman and the slaughter of his ten sons at Purim; in the slaying of the prophets of Baal at the brook Kidron after the fiery approving of Elijah. It is seen in the slaughter of the sons of Eli as they marched presumptuously into battle with the Philistines, daring to bear the Holy Ark on their sin-stained shoulders. The judgement of fire is seen in the death of the Saul and his sons in battle; in the slaughter of the 70 sons of Ahab and the killing of Jezebel. It is seen in the slaughter of wicked queen Athaliah after the crowning of Joash. Joash means ‘God has ignited’. When God baptises His new kings with fire, He also executes His fiery judgements on the wicked, both sinful priests and wicked rulers. The fire of God’s judgement clears the playing field, so that the righteous kings and priests can fulfil their assigned duties.
A Day of Crowning
This pivotal day is the New Year for Kings; the day a new king receives his crown and sceptre and begins to rule. In Zechariah 6:10, the prophet is instructed to take offerings from those who have come out of captivity in Babylon and construct crowns. And this crown is to complete the process of installing the Man whose name is the Branch on the throne. Proverbs 12:4 tells us a virtuous woman is the crown of her husband, so we know that the crown also symbolises the Bride—and the crown of the Branch is taken from those who have COME OUT of Babylon, not from those in Babylon. The Melchizedek priesthood is comprised of those who have no part in Babylon. The Bridal bondslave company has come out from among them and is separate; holy unto the Lord. As Zechariah 2:5-7 says, God desires to be a wall of fire around about us and glory in the midst of us, but the requirement to be part of this is to stop dwelling with the daughter of Babylon and flee to Zion!
A Day of Inspection and Marking
On the 1st of Aviv, two weeks before the firstfruits Passover offering, Josephus tells us that the High Priest and entourage would go out and inspect the barley fields, searching for the grain which was ready to become part of the firstfruits offering. The requirement for this was maturity level. Once the grain had been found, they would be tied with a red ribbon, thus causing them to be consecrated and set-apart for the firstfruits offering amidst the rest of grain field. They would be left in the field, rooted and growing for another two weeks, before being harvested and offered to the Lord.
And the way they ascertained the readiness of the heads of grain was a test by FIRE! They were looking for aviv barley, hence the name of the month! Aviv barley grains are not adversely affected by fire. The outer coating hardens, making them suitable for grinding into flour. If barley grains are not aviv, the fire will vaporise the grain heads. So the fire test separates between the firstfruits and the immature barley; between those ready and ripe and mature as opposed to those not carrying sufficient weight in the Spirit to be part of the firstfruits barley company. Nadab and Abihu were not aviv and were destroyed by fire. Their two remaining brothers and their father, Aaron, formed the firstfruits barley priesthood waved before the Lord—a threefold offering with a pleasant fragrance, acceptable to the Lord of Hosts. How significant this is as the Lord said to me we are entering the day of threefold things. The judgement by fire sifted the priesthood from 5 to 3; a lesser number but a greater purity of heart.
A Day of Judgement by Fire
We are entering days of judgement by fire amongst those who call themselves priests of the Lord. And afterwards, the remnant still standing will be few in number but be those who possess hearts completely His.
Mal 3:2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; Mal 3:3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness. Mal 3:4 Then will the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in ancient years. Mal 3:5 Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against the false swearers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and who turn aside the temporary resident from his right and fear not Me, says the Lord of hosts.
Aviv 1st, the eighth day of consecration is a prophetic picture of the day we are entering. It is a day in which you will clearly be able to discern who are truly God’s bondservants and who just bear the name without living the corresponding walk.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be Mine, says Jehovah of Hosts, for the day that I will make up My jewels. And I will pity them as a man has pity on his son who serves him. Mal 3:18 Then you shall again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him. Mal 4:1 FOR BEHOLD, the day comes that shall burn like an oven, and all the proud and arrogant, yes, and all that do wickedly and are lawless, shall be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.
A Day of Fixed Focus
One very important point stands out in the judgement of Nadab and Abihu—their father and brothers were told not to mourn or leave the tabernacle, but to carry on with their assigned duties. This is a hugely challenging instruction. In effect, they were to be dead to those who had died—even of their own brethren. They were to continue worshipping God even in the midst of the effect of His righteous judgements.
Lev 10:4 Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Uzziel uncle of Aaron, and said to them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. Lev 10:5 So they drew near and carried them in their undertunics [stripped of their priestly vestments] out of the camp, as Moses had said. Lev 10:6 And Moses said to Aaron and Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons [the father and brothers of the two priests whom God had slain for offering false fire], Do not uncover your heads or let your hair go loose or tear your clothes, lest you die [also] and lest God’s wrath should come upon all the congregation; but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord has kindled. Lev 10:7 And you shall not go out from the door of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die, for the Lord’s anointing oil is upon you. And they did according to Moses’ word.
In the Day of the Lord, those who are approved and released as kings and priests in the endtime Tabernacle of His Presence are not to be moved or distracted from their assignments by the wicked, which are dying like flies around them. They are to look straight forward with fixed purpose and complete their race. It is not easy to pen these words and it will be even more difficult to walk in them, but we must fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith and complete our assigned race. We are entering a season where we have no earthly attachments, even in our own families. Oh how we will need the strength and grace of God to fulfil His charge in the days ahead.
Even Ezekiel the prophet, walked through this experience as a sign to God’s people. He was informed that his wife would die and he was not to show any outward signs of mourning or even cry aloud. He could only moan quietly.
Eze 24:16 Son of man [Ezekiel], behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes [your wife] at a single stroke. Yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, neither shall your tears flow. Eze 24:17 Sigh and groan, but not aloud [be silent]; make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban upon your head and put your shoes on your feet, and do not cover your beard or eat the bread of mourners [furnished by others]. Eze 24:18 So I spoke to the people in the morning and in the evening my wife died, and I did the next morning as I was commanded.
Wow, this is the description of a bondslave of the Lord—to lose the one closest to you and yet to get up the next morning and do as God has commanded requires a heart fully surrendered.
Mal 4:3 And you shall tread down the lawless and wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the Lord of hosts.
What we may not have considered is that that some of the ashes under our feet, as we are released like calves from the stall, will come from the bodies of those we had thought were our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. Half of Aaron’s sons died in the fire of judgement. That is a very sobering fact to ponder… How easily we quote psalm 91 where it says that we will be hidden under the shelter of the Almighty as we witness the reward of the wicked. Yet, the truth is that some of those dying will be members of our own families; even some who have named themselves by the Name of the Lord and worn priestly garments…
Ezekiel’s prescribed behaviour after the death of his wife was to be a sign of what it would be like after the destruction of the temple and the capture of the sons and daughters of Israel. Beloved, the Body of Christ is meant to be the temple of the Lord; our individual bodies His dwelling place. Yet Rev 11:1, 2 speaks of a division coming in which those who worship at the altar of incense are marked and protected, but the outer court is appointed 3&1/2 years of trampling underfoot. The outer court is the place where the animal sacrifices were prepared and offered at the brazen altar. It is a place of the presence of His everlasting burnings. This is a description of the judgement of God coming to His house. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
The firstfruits Barley Company is appointed a personal baptism of fire a short season before the rest of the harvest goes to the threshing floor, to prove their maturity level and readiness to be a part of that company. Like the 3 Hebrew men thrown in the fire, they are seen, unharmed, with the 4th Man in their midst and emerge unscathed from its burning.
The 1st Aviv and all the appointed events of this auspicious day depict the unfolding of the Day of the Lord—a day of manifest presence and glory; a day of fiery judgement of the wicked; a day of affirming and release, a day to commence rule for righteous kings and a day to commence duties for righteous priests; a day of marking the firstfruits barley company in preparation for Passover. It is a day when the wicked will be left with no root or branch and His Servant the Branch is brought forth, rooted and grounded in heavenly places.
I would like to end with a portion of a word spoken by the Lord in September 2018 concerning His firstfruits barley company:
“I have my own Tel Aviv, my own hill of first-ripe barley. I have my first-fruits company, My wave offering. They stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of readiness for reaping for they have yielded to the ministrations of My wind and My rain and they have soaked in the light of the Sun of Righteousness. These are the ones that are My jewels. No leaven is in them. I will gather them by My own hand and wave them as a trophy and an offering before My Father. They are the first of the fruit of the travail of My soul and because of these, I rest satisfied. These are the seed which I will sow; these are those which shall become unleavened bread to the eater.”