Dear New Creation Family,
We are coming to the season where we would normally be in major preparations for the annual Gathering during the Thanksgiving holidays. Yes, we are still expecting to have it but with major changes.
It is at such a time as this, while also in the midst of a world-wide pandemic that has restricted our ability to gather together “inside the camp,” that we find ourselves approaching our annual LITS Gathering over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The plans now are to have it over Skype for those who cannot attend. Also, because of social distancing, we will have a very small crew actually at the church carrying out certain tasks. That being said, for the Gathering to take place we will still need an abundance of preparation and helpers prior to it if it is going to take place. Some of you have already been presenting wonderful ideas to me.
Each year the Lord gives us a specific theme to which Jesus molds our hearts in one. Just a few weeks ago, as the Spirit began moving afresh with God’s heart and desires for this year’s emphasis, He gave us a theme: “Gathering Up The Ashes.”
This theme is based on the scriptures in Numbers 19:9 -“And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the red heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.”
For the majority of this year we have been required to gather “outside the camp” due to a health crisis, but deeper than a health crisis is our deep spiritual need and desire for a true on-going increase of Christ. God is not caught up in this pandemic or political atmospheres as some are. The disease that He most cares about is the one that robs us of our blessed inheritance of Christ crucified. It is a virus that attacks our nature and motives and pulls us from the One we love. All the while He is looking and longing for His Lamb to be given permanent and uncontested place in our hearts. I believe this year will be a great, God-given opportunity toward this end.
It is time to “gather up” the ashes… of the Given One. It is the perfect season to apply the cleansing water of the Word to those ashes. We have been promised that we will be cleansed from the defilement of our flesh and filled with His Eternal Spirit of selfless giving. We are told in scripture that we do not gather the ashes just to take them to the temple. No! We are all to take it outside the camp, into our own homes and lives.
This is the year to gather up the ashes. The sacrifice has already been made by Jesus. He has been utterly consumed through selflessness. He has totally given Himself in order to give us the ashes of that precious spirit. These ashes hold within them His essence and nature. Now they are to be applied for cleansing that we too might bear His heart and nature to others.
Those who gather outside the camp to the ashes of the Red Heifer do so because they are in need of this kind of Life. They want to be cleansed from ugliness and crucified from old fleshly attitudes and ways. Though we all cannot gather together yet we all can gather these ashes and take them outside the Gathering and apply them.
As noted above, because of the limitations due to the pandemic, this year’s Gathering will function differently than in years past. Since this is going to be via Skype, we may not be able to have everyone who wants to be on due to certain limitations. Soon we will be giving more clarification and sharing more specifics involving those areas, but for now I ask you to begin to prepare your heart to hear from the Lord in regards to the theme the Lord has given us for this year. The spiritual aspects must come first. For those of you who would desire to join the Gathering on Skype I would ask you to set aside these dates on your calendar: Thursday, November 26th – Sunday, November 29th.
Please seriously pray for this in your lives and in others. And please open your hearts to that precious thing in His heart that He will make know to you concerning these things. Even now, let us all begin gathering to Him in heart. May the Spirit breathe into each of us concerning these Ashes and our Gathering this year.
Yours in His love,
What being defiled by death really is may grow more clear if we seek further to understand how easy it can be to touch death and become defiled. For someone who was in contact with death, there was no offering he could bring that would make a difference because the person was unclean and considered dead. In other words, the problem was well beyond the acts and deeds of the individual.
The Answer Is Ashes
The answer that God provided for those in this situation was the offering of the red heifer. However, that offering was not offered at the moment of failure. Before anyone had been defiled, the whole congregation brought a red heifer to be slain. This sacrifice was not offered for one needy person but for all BEFORE the need arose. It was one of the few sacrifices that gave remedy even before there was sin. At the very moment of sacrifice, no benefit came to anyone. This sacrifice had appeal when an individual became aware of his own personal defilement and came for ashes. This act made the sacrifice of long ago now personal in the present.
The red heifer was taken outside the camp in its own rejection and slain. It was wholly burned — all of it. It was not treated as a blessed sacrifice, but as a polluted, rejected thing and the total burning brought an end to it. It was destroyed and reduced to ashes. The red heifer was treated as something that was worthy of death and as something that was to be thoroughly eliminated and put away. No trace of it was left in its present form. The old form was consumed, and a new form appeared which was ashes. The form of the red heifer represented what was rejected of God, but the new form of ashes represented the spirit that brings forth life to others. After the heifer was burned, the ashes were put in a place that was accessible to all. Whoever became defiled knew there was help at the ash heap.
A Clean Person
“And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons who were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave. And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at evening.” (Numbers 19:18-19)
The actions mentioned above took place after the person recognized he had touched death. He needed A CLEAN PERSON from the congregation to help him through the process. Notice that it does not say that a priest is needed, but it says a person who is clean. This represents someone in whom the Word of God is flowing and not stagnant, someone who is full of life and is not defiled by death. This was not an issue of needing someone in leadership as much as needing someone full of the flowing waters of Life. The clean person knew the dilemma that touching death causes but also knew God’s available remedy. That clean person got some ashes and sprinkled them in running water, which represents the living Word. He then sprinkled the defiled man, his dwelling place, and every vessel that he might have come in contact with. After seven days of dwelling under these conditions, he was clean.
The ashes represent the sacrifice of Jesus AND the spirit of sacrifice in which He gives Himself for the ungodly and unworthy. The waters represent the Word of God by which Jesus cleanses His Bride, and the fact that they are running waters speaks of not living on old stagnant waters that can become infested. The sacrifice of the ashes of the red heifer combines the Cross and the Word and applies it to our life right at the moment we become ready to escape from the hold that death has on us. We remain in that state of cleansing for seven days (a period of time until completion) until we are cleansed from our death outlook. Remember, it is this “death outlook” that is so defiling to the congregation and why a person must either become cleansed by the spirit of the ashes or be put out from among the congregation.
Beauty for Ashes
A person caught up in the knowledge of good and evil usually has a high opinion of their perception of things. As long as they are coming from such a place, they will see no virtue in the ashes that are available. Ashes come from a lowly position. They do not take a high place. They help us. All that could be offered as admirable was burned up. In like manner, the Lamb of God became ashes. He became the least in order for others to be free. Ashes cannot be burned or reduced anymore. Any virtue was consumed away, and all that was left was ashes, which hold only the spirit of the thing. If we are able to recognize the value of the ashes as God sees it, then we get beauty for ashes. Ashes ever live to make intercession for us; their purpose is that we might receive life out from our deadly and defiling ways.
One of the qualifications for the red heifer was that it was to have never borne a yoke. This speaks concerning bondage. It also speaks of the spirit of that which is to be sprinkled upon us and what we are to be brought into. Though the red heifer had never been in bondage, it put itself under the bondage of bearing the punishment, shame, and rejection due others. The red heifer bears the spirit of God’s heart back to the person who is offended over the failure of others. All that was without spot because of a godly stand or a life of separation now gives it all up and is reduced to ashes. It does this for only one purpose: so that those who have not been so faithful and diligent might be brought in also. This was the spirit of Christ when the judgment that was due to us was borne by Him.
While considering such a spirit may seem beautiful to us, that is not the case for the one who chooses to be joined to it in nature. The red heifer was not just looked upon as a beautiful spirit of sacrifice, but as polluted. It took on OUR pollution so we could be free from a spirit of strife, division, and death with the result that we would not be put out of the tabernacle of the congregation by God Himself. He was numbered with the transgressors so we could walk again in newness of life.
We need, as represented by the ashes, the death of One who was reduced to nothing. This, spiritually, was the position we should have taken over the issues from the very beginning before we became defiled. But since we did not, now only someone who has died according to that spirit of the red heifer and someone who now lives according to that spirit — a clean person — can help us. We need to receive, be sprinkled with, and be changed to this One. His mind, spirit, and view are the only things that can truly wash us. He shows us what spirit we are of in that He was utterly consumed so that defiled people might by made free. The red heifer did not know what he was doing, but Jesus offered himself by the Eternal Spirit of self-giving for us. Jesus did not just give himself to God, but did it though THIS Spirit. There is an eternal spirit of this thing that is not just supposed to cleanse us, but to which we are to agree in one. We are brought into more than just redemption BY this spirit but, more importantly, into union WITH this spirit. That is true and complete purification.
You were touched by death, but now you need to be touched by another kind of death: ashes mingled with running water. You were defiled by entrance into death, and in so doing, you have found fault with everything and everyone’s failure. But with the second death, this spirit takes upon itself every fault and everyone’s failure. You become touched by THAT death. You do not just bear with it, but by reason of coming into contact with it by means of a clean person, you are now the vehicle of this fresh cleansing to Christ’s Body. You are touched deeply by the Lord, the Lamb, and the ashes of a red heifer. As that touch and washing sinks in, you become cleansed from your defilement, but more importantly, you become cleansed from the spirit of death. The sprinkling of the ashes is not a magic healing potion but a means of lining us back up with God in His spirit, view, and way of dealing with issues.
The purpose for the red heifer is so we might again tread the courts of the Lord and be counted among His people and after His kind. We are purged from dead works and dead attitudes to serve the LIVING God. All is of life again. God’s provision for those who have come into this state of death is the ashes of the red heifer, but requires an intimate understanding of what they represent and the spirit in which they are administered. So we see that God does not just accomplish a healing in our lives but makes us one again with the nature and spirit of sacrifice. Therefore we will be found giving ourselves to the cursed and rejected instead of punishing them with what they deserve and condemning them.
The Remedy of Ashes for the Knowledge of Good and Evil
The ashes speak volumes, but only to those who have an ear to hear. Part of the reason it is so difficult to comprehend their meaning is because good is such a powerful persuader. It is easier to confess to a blemished act than to acknowledge a blemished state. However, thank God that there are those who can be moved past right ideals concerning God into the intimacy of being after His kind. Blood covered over the sins committed, but water was also applied with ashes to wash and cleanse that which has become defiled in its deadly condition (Num. 19:13). Those who appealed to the red heifer had come to the place of acknowledging themselves as defiled with the conviction that their spirit was wrong, not just their actions. Because they had touched death, they had become carriers and transmitters of death. It was not their actions alone that was defiling the congregation, but rather just their presence in the congregation that was bringing disease to the whole. They brought leprous influence to the congregation though all the while ignorant that they were in contact with what God wanted put away.
Remember, provision had been made for such a condition before anyone had even become defiled. God understood that this would happen, and in His mercy gave Himself to the complete end of ashes. The motivation of Christ as the fulfillment of the red heifer sacrifice was to bring us back into Life through His own complete destruction. This is simply the spirit of the Lamb. It should become clear that God’s heart is not to accuse and condemn those who are perishing, but to make the way for them to return to life. If those who are functioning by death reject God’s mercy through self-deception, considering themselves to be righteous when in reality they are defiled, then they have forsaken God’s provision for them. “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy” (Jonah 2:8).