The New Testament tells us that the Tabernacle was a "picture" of greater Heavenly realities, Jesus, and the Gospel. In this study, we'll take a tour of the Tabernacle and highlight some of the most powerful imagery it employs.
Before we do anything else this week, you need to know that you're really going to need your outline today. I think you should always have an outline so that you have somewhere to record the things that God impresses upon your spirit that you want to remember. But this week, I'm going to be specifically referencing an illustration that is on the second page of the outline.
So if you don't have one of those yet, print it off now or at a minimum, download the PDF so that you can look at it on your phone or on your computer.
While we're going through today, study the next several chapters of Exodus, describe the details of the Tabernacles design and construction, as well as those instruments that are used within the Tabernacle and some of the processes of organizing the beginnings of the priesthood. I'm going to switch gears for the next few messages. And instead of going verse by verse, as is my custom, I'm going to be speaking topically.
I'm going to share some important observations in the text, and we're going to make lots of connections between the Tabernacle and other places in scripture.
We're going to be drawing lots of lines all over the Bible and we're going to do our best to dig into the most important facets of the Tabernacle.
Don't worry, there's going to be plenty of scripture. There is so much scripture in this week's study. I have no fill in points because the scriptures took up the entire outline.
Now I've shifted to a topical focus because if we went verse by verse and went full depth into everything that comes up in these next few chapters, we would wrap up our Exodus study sometime in the year 2027.
And while I love the word of God and I believe it's all profitable, we want to keep moving through the text and focus on the things that are most profitable.
Now, as always, there's obviously freedom for you to go as deep as you'd like in your own studies during the week.
And hopefully nobody will accuse me of being a sellout for taking only a year to get through the Book of Exodus.
So to telegraph where we're going to be going in this study, I want to let you know that that almost all of this study is going to be focused on imagery, on idioms, illustrations, pictures, types, representations, because the Tabernacle, as we've already learned, is an illustration that points to heaven. It mirrors realities that are in heaven. It points to Jesus. It points to the gospel. And it's going to teach us a lot about even our own spiritual life and walk with the Lord.
Now, let me say this. There are at least ten times more theories out there regarding the imagery of the Tabernacle than I will be sharing about today. Some of them I've chosen not to share because while they're compelling, I can't really verify them to my satisfaction. Others, I think, are simply not credible. And I think some others may be seeing something that's not there. They're the sort of thing where you read it.
You look at the scriptures and you go, that's a little bit of a stretch. I'm going to share the things that I find most credible with regards to imagery in the Tabernacle. But as always, we encourage you to do your own research, check it out for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
And to that end, I thought I would just share a couple of really simple, practical ways that you can do your own research if you hear me or another pastor say something like every time this number or this thing comes up in scripture, it's a picture of blank.
You can actually go to a Bible website, simple like Bible dot com and do a word search for that number or thing, and then go read about everywhere in the Bible where it comes up, check the context and check if it's true.
Hermeneutics is the study of biblical interpretation. It's the field of how we interpret the Bible. And an important principle of hermeneutics is called expositional constancy, expositional constancy.
And the idea is this, that when a Bible uses an idiom or a picture or a type, it tends to do so consistently. And here's why this is helpful. Imagine I say check it out, guys. There's a donkey cart mentioned here in the text and it's also mentioned over here in the text. So it must mean the same thing in both places.
What you would do is you would search the whole Bible for references to donkey carts and then you would see if my claim works or make sense in all of those instant. If it only works in something like two out of 11 instances, then I'm probably seeing something that isn't actually there because expositional constancy tells us that when the Bible uses idioms or illustrations, it tends to do so consistently.
Now, those are two of the hermeneutical filters that that I've used in my studies this week as I've waded through the masses of interpretations of imagery surrounding the Tabernacle to ground ourselves and in orient ourselves, I thought it would be most helpful to simply show you what the Tabernacle would have looked like.
So if you'll take a look at the second page of your outline, you're going to see a big, beautiful information, packed illustration of the Tabernacle.
And this illustration does a really good job of giving us a general sense of what everything looked like, how it was laid out and and how big it was or wasn't.
And I say that because you can see that the entire Tabernacle grounds were smaller than a quarter of an American football field, which is smaller than many of us may have thought.
Another popular misconception is that the term tabernacle refers to the tent structure. In reality, the tabernacle refers to the entire complex that you see in that illustration that is enclosed by those outer linen curtains, just as the term temple refers to the entire temple complex, including the courtyards, not just the main building. So let's jump in and begin to talk through some of the imagery that's in play when it comes to the Tabernacle. When the camp of Israel would be set up, when everyone would have their tents set up, the Tabernacle would be right in the middle of the whole camp of Israel, and it would have really stuck out because of those white linen walls, the curtains that blocked off the tabernacle from the camp of Israel.
Picture it in your mind.
All of the tents of Israel would have been made from dark animal skins and fabrics and then right in the middle of the camp would have been the tabernacle with her bright white linen walls.
Looking from the outside, there would be a shocking contrast of colors, a picture of God's righteousness, white linen among a sinful people.
All these dark animal skins, those linen walls, those curtains were to keep the people out. Now, why is that? What was the issue?
Well, all the people would have been able to see when the Tabernacle was set up was these white linen curtains, a picture of God's righteousness and the brass fittings for the poles that held up those curtains.
Now, brass was the available metal at the time and in that region that could withstand heat and contain fire.
And so because of the connotation between fire and sacrifices, brass becomes associated with judgment in the scriptures.
The picture that's being painted is people being kept out of God's presence because of the issue of righteousness. The people are not righteous, but God is.
And so they have to deal with the issue of God's judgment on their lack of righteousness before they can approach him. That need for righteousness before approaching God is the barrier between people and God. It's why they can't approach the holy place, the holy of holies, because there's this barrier of righteousness, the problem that the people are unrighteous and God is righteous.
Therefore, the only option is to be kept out of God's presence because no man could survive judgment. By God.
Are you with me? Are you see in the picture that's emerging here?
But there was a way into the tabernacle.
There was a way for some to draw close to the presence of God, but only under very specific conditions.
The way the Tabernacle would be oriented in the camp of Israel meant that you would have to approach the tabernacle through the camp of Judah, the camp of Judah. What is the elder in Revelation five five called Jesus, as he points them out to John, he calls him the lion of the tribe of Judah.
As you made your way through the camp of Judah and approach the Tabernacle, you would find that there is only one way in, there's only one door.
Jesus said plainly, I am the door, if anyone enters by me, he will be saved. Jesus also said I'm the way, the truth and the life.
No one comes to the father except through me.
There's only one way to God, only one way, and it's through Jesus. Once you entered through this single gate into the Tabernacle, if you look at your illustration, you'll see that you would find yourself immediately face to face with the brazen altar where sacrifices would be offered to God by the priests for sins.
Remember, Brass speaks of what in the Bible judgment. Because we can go no further, we can draw no closer to God. Until there's a sacrifice, until we deal with the sin issue, until we deal with our unrighteousness, the fact that our sin needs to be judged in order for justice to be done, the fact that we need to be made righteous before we can approach God.
And this clearly speaks of Jesus, our Passover lamb, the sacrifice who offered himself in our place to be judged in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous.
And because Jesus has taken our place and paid for our sins, the sacrifice has been made and we can draw nearer to God. Thank you, Lord. The sacrifice is taken care of by Jesus, but now we need to be sanctified, that ongoing process of being remade into the image of Jesus becoming more and more like Jesus as we allow the Holy Spirit to shape and change us sanctification is that ongoing purifying of our lives by the Holy Spirit.
Now, how does that happen?
Well, again, if you look at your illustration as you kept moving forward, the next thing you would encounter would be the brazen lever, a massive bowl full of water that was sometimes called the brazen sea or the molten sea and was used by the priests for ceremonial cleansing and washing.
Now, when water comes up in the scripture in relation to refreshment, it's generally a picture of the Holy Spirit.
When water comes up in the scriptures in relation to cleansing or washing, it's generally a picture of the scriptures, the word of God. So the labor here that's used for washing speaks of the word of God.
Jesus told his disciples, you are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. And when Jesus prayed for his disciples in his great high priestly prayer, praying to his heavenly father, Jesus prayed, sanctify them by your truth.
Your word is truth. Jesus said plainly that the word of God is what sanctifies us now.
Exodus thirty eight eight gives us a very interesting insight about how this lever was made. It tells us that it was constructed from the bronze mirrors of the serving woman who assembled at the door of the Tabernacle of Meeting. Not just to avoid any potential confusion. Exodus seems to use the terms brass and bronze interchangeably. There's likely some translater issue in play, which would be devastatingly boring to fully explain.
In those days, a woman would use very pure, highly polished, flat pieces of bronze as mirrors.
The implication is that the labor once constructed would have been polished up in the same way like a mirror. So as you stepped up to the lever to wash, you would see yourself clearly in the reflective surface of the water, which had the highly reflective surface of the brass lever underneath it. That's what the word of God does, the word of God shows us who we really are. It gives us a true reflection of ourselves. But the word of God is so much better than the labor, because the labor could show you what you really looked like, who you really were apart from Christ.
That's one of the main narratives and purposes of the Old Testament to clearly show us who we are apart from Christ.
But praise God, the word also includes the New Testament and the New Covenant, which clearly shows us who we are in Christ. That's what the word of God does. That's how it sanctifies us. It shows us who we truly are apart from Christ, and then it shows us who we truly are in Christ. And how do we respond to those truths?
How do we respond to that revelation when we find the answer in the Book of Revelation? Remember how we learned a couple of weeks ago that the Tabernacle is is a copy, a shadow, a reflection of sorts of the true tabernacle in heaven?
We read about that in Hebrews nine. And wouldn't you know it, it turns out there is indeed a flavor, so to speak, a sea in heaven that we read about in Revelation four as John witnesses, the church gathered together around the throne of God in heaven. Here's what John describes.
He says, Before the throne, there was a sea of glass like crystal. He goes on to say, the 24 elders fall down before him, who sits on the throne and worship him, who lives forever and ever and cast their thrones sorry, cast their crowns before the throne. They cast their crowns before the throne.
Where are these crowns being cast? Into the sea before the throne of God. The word shows us who we are truly. Who we are apart from Christ, and it also shows us who we are in Christ, and when we see both of those things clearly, who we are apart from Christ, but who we are in Christ. The only response we can have is to give God everything we have, casting it at his feet and crying out, as John heard the elders crying out, you are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power.
When we do what we're doing right now, when we gather as God's people around his word and allow his word to open our eyes to see clearly. And then we respond to what the Lord shows us, we are mirroring what is going to take place in heaven when we gather around the throne of God. Now, please hear me on this, how do we know if we're truly allowing God's word to impact our lives? How do we know if we're really being watched in the world?
We know when we are shocked by our own sinfulness, clearly seeing ourselves apart from God. Yet we also find ourselves astounded by God's goodness and grace as we clearly see ourselves in Christ. We know God's word is cleansing us when we see both of those realities clearly and we find ourselves responding almost involuntarily in gratitude and then worship. Have you been washed in the word recently? You may be reading the word, but are you inviting the word of God to read you?
If it's been a while, let me encourage you to pray before you next to open the word and ask the Lord to just wash you with his word. Ask him to sanctify you. Ask him to help you see clearly.
And he'll be faithful to do it. He'll be faithful to do it. The tent of the tabernacle was known as the holy place, and if you looked at it from from almost any angle, you would have been struck by how almost. Drab, it looked it was just animal skins from the outside. Nothing really spectacular. All the amazing stuff was inside the holy place. Which brings to mind Isaiah 53, that incredible prophecy by the prophet Isaiah, which spoke of Messiah and said, among many other things, he, the Messiah would have no form or comeliness.
And when we see him, there's no beauty that we should desire him.
Isaiah prophesied that when Messiah came, when Jesus came, there would be nothing exceptional about the external appearance of the man Jesus, nothing that would cause you to look at him as a man and say, oh, that guy's got to be really special.
He just looked like an ordinary dude. But but within him, within him. Well. Jesus said, if you've seen me, you've seen the father. See, like the tabernacle, the glory of God was inside Jesus, not on the outside of Jesus, and when you entered the holy place, when you entered the Tabernacle, you would begin to see the one point two five tons of gold that was used in its construction almost everywhere that your eyes could look.
When you enter the holy place, you would walk through a gate consisting of five pillars, five being the biblical number of grace, and so you would enter through grace and grace into the holy place in Exodus.
Twenty six, twenty six through twenty eight, we learned that the frame of the holy place, the frame of the whole tent, consisted of wooden boards that were overlaid with gold and to keep them in position to keep them incongruence. They were to be five poles that ran through all of these boards.
These boards and poles were held in place by reciprocal forces. The whole thing would collapse if it was not held together by the combined strength of the boards and the poles being kept in their correct positions, working together to form a strong structure.
Perhaps you recall Ephesians to 19 through 22, which we read a few weeks ago. I'll refresh your memory.
Paul writes Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the Saints and members of the household of God having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the spirit. That Verse is talking about the fact that as the church collectively we become a holy temple in the Lord, Paul is talking about the church.
And what does Paul say in Ephesians two is the purpose of the church. Don't miss this.
We're talking about the primary above everything else, purpose of the church. We're talking about the one thing that leads the church to do all the other good things that the church is called to do.
We're talking about the one thing that leads to all of those other things. Jesus said, I will build my church. Paul tells us that Jesus is doing just that he's building us together, he's fitting us together for what purpose?
To what end? For a dwelling place of God in the spirit. As we discussed a few weeks ago, God has made his people his church. His tabernacle, his temple. On the earth today, and Jesus is working through the Holy Spirit to join his people together, that he might dwell not only within us individually, but among us collectively as the church. That those who seek the presence of God on the earth today would be able to find him.
In the church. Among the people of God. The church exists first and foremost for the pleasure. Honor and glory of Jesus. The eternal destiny of the church is to be the bride of Christ. May we never lose sight of that and may we become an increasingly beautiful bride for our savior and an increasingly beautiful dwelling place for his spirit.
Now hang with me for the imagery here. Jesus is fitting us together as his people, as his church, to become a dwelling place for his spirit.
The boards in the Tabernacle speak of believers, the saints of the church, plain old wood over covered in gold.
The ordinary made into the extraordinary regular folk made into heavenly royalty by the grace of God in the house of God and those boards, remember, those believers are kept in shape and in place by five poles, five poles.
Scripture declares that Jesus gave five gifts to the church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And for what purpose? For control. No, no, no, no. To help the church stay in position by remembering her purpose, which is to be a dwelling place of God. In the spirit. If we do countless charitable deeds as a church. But we miss this, then we've missed the point. If we perfect our theology and we become experts on the scriptures, but we forget to fellowship with the Lord.
Then we're just the church in Ephesus, the church in Revelation, Chapter two that missed the point and forgot her first love.
The reason that God gives elders as gifts to the church is to make sure that the church remembers her primary focus and purpose to be a dwelling place of God and the spirit.
These boards and poles incongruence applying pressure back and forth and holding each other together to become a stronger frame than they could ever be on their own. Remind us that God has designed us to need each other in the church. It doesn't work real well if one board just goes up on his own and says, I'm just going to stand up on my own, the board is not going to stand. He's going to fall. Understand that illustration, the board that goes off on his own and says, I don't I don't need anybody else to stand, I'll stand on my own, that board is just going to fall over at the slightest breeze, at the slightest tremor.
Our local version of the House of God, the Tabernacle, that is our church needs you.
It needs you and you need the church. You really do. You make us stronger and the church makes you stronger and you make the House of God more beautiful.
And these boards were to be placed in sockets of gold.
No, because gold actually speaks of kingship, you see, these boards were to be placed in sockets of silver, the metal of redemption in the Bible, and isn't the imagery beautiful? You have these boards of gold, but they're there in silver sockets, the metal of redemption. You see, we're not heavenly royalty because we're inherently royal. We're made royal by the grace of God, because we've been redeemed.
We stand in the redemption that Jesus purchased for us before we can be joined together.
Somebody has to stand us up before you can start joining the boards together. They've got to be stood up and like these boards in sockets of silver were able to stand for only one reason.
We've been redeemed and Christ has made us able to stand by removing the crushing weight of our sin and guilt and shame. What a beautiful picture of God's grace and God's design for the church.
Well, as you entered the tent of the holy place. You see on your left, the menorah or the lamp stand and on your right, the table of shortbread. But let's just talk about the lamp stand for a little bit. If you've ever seen a menorah, then you know what it looks like there's a center lamp and then two branches that come out, either side with a lamp on their ends. And then beneath that, two more branches that come out with lamps and then two more that come out for a total of seven arranged symmetrically in biblical numerology.
Six is the number of man and seven is the number of holiness or perfection. Sinful man six. Is made holy and perfect by adding one, though one to be specific.
Jesus Christ, I believe the menorah is a visual. Presentation of what Jesus said in John Chapter 15 when he said, I am the vine. And you are the branches, I'm the vine, you were the branches because think with me here as we unpack this, what was the fuel of the lamps in this lamp stand? It was oil. Oil and scripture is pretty much always a picture of what? The Holy Spirit and what is the lamb stand do in the holy place, it gave light, it brought illumination.
Jesus said, I am the light of the world.
He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. And then Jesus went on to also tell his disciples, though, you are the light of the world. When Jesus said that, do you know that they weren't they really weren't, they weren't even saved yet. They fled when Jesus was arrested a couple of years later. So how could Jesus say to them, then you are the light of the world?
Well, it's because Jesus was looking ahead to the day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter two, and Jesus knew what would happen to his people when they received the fuel of the Holy Spirit and the power to abide in him.
When that picture of the lamp stand comes together and believers are abiding in Christ as branches joined to the vine when they're full of the Holy Spirit, the few. Then the people of the church become the light of the world, just as Jesus said, if you ever feel like you're not shining as a light for the kingdom of God, there's two things you need to check. Number one, are you abiding in Christ? Are you abiding in Christ? Are you staying connected to Jesus?
Are you staying in fellowship with Jesus?
And then secondly. Do you have the fuel of the Holy Spirit? Do you have the fuel of the Holy Spirit or are you just a lamp trying to shine with no fuel at all? Are you just a branch trying to bear fruit who's not even connected to the vine? If you want to be fruitful, if you want to be a light for the kingdom of God, two things be connected to Jesus as a branch to the vine and make sure that you're operating with the fuel you need, which is being full of the oil of the Holy Spirit.
When you have those two things, you're going to shine. It's inevitable. It's inevitable. And if you're running low on fuel, listen, ask for more. What did Jesus say? He says, listen. Your father knows how to give good gifts, and so how much do you think he's going to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks for it? If you're running low, ask the Lord to just fill you again in a fresh way with his spirit.
And he will. He will. He loves to do it. You students of the Book of Revelation will recall a lamp stand that John saw in Revelation Chapter one.
You might also recall that John wrote this in that same chapter Verse is four and five, John, to the seven churches which are in Asia, grace and peace from him, who is and who was and who is to come.
That's a reference to the father and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, huh?
And from Jesus Christ, OK, we know him to the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler over the kings of the Earth. We know God the father, and we know Jesus. So we know that this seven spirits must be the Holy Spirit to finish out the trinity. A new revelation.
Students will know that even though this sounds puzzling, seven spirits.
It's a reference to Isaiah 11 Verse is one and two, which lists seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit as a description of the singular Holy Spirit. And wouldn't you know it, those characteristics are listed beginning with one on its own The Spirit of the Lord. And then Isaiah describes three pairs just as the menorah is laid out.
Then we have verse 20 of Revelation one where Jesus himself tells John the seven lamp stands, which you saw are the seven churches.
And I share all that to simply reinforce the point that the menorah or the candlestick is is certainly a picture of the Holy Spirit among God's people, the Holy Spirit among God's people, the church.
Well, as we mentioned on your right in the holy place, you would see the table of shortbread.
And it's my belief that the picture here for the church is really our need to take Jesus in to fellowship and abide with him. And if you're not seeing it yet, there's a pattern of increasing intimacy with the Lord as you make your way from the outer edges of the tabernacle into the holy place and keep moving toward the holy of holies. There's this pattern of increasing intimacy.
In John six. We read then they said to him, to Jesus. What shall we do that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, this is the work of God. They you believe in him, whom he sent. Therefore, they said to him, what sign will you perform then that we may see it and believe you, what work will you do?
I mean, our fathers ate the manna in the desert as it is written. He gave them bread from heaven to eat. What are you going to do that's better than what God did for us in the wilderness? Better than what happened under Moses?
Then Jesus said to them, most assuredly I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my father gives you the true bread from heaven for the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Then they said to him. Lord, give us this bread always, and Jesus said to them. I am the bread of life, he who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe all that my father gives me will come to me and the one who comes to me, I will by no means cast out, for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will.
But the will of whom? Him who sent me. This is the will of the father who sent me that of all he has given me. I should lose nothing, but I should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of him who sent me that everyone who sees the sun and believes in him may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day. Is your soul hungry? Is your spirit thirsty?
It's Jesus that you're craving. Whether you realize it or not, and it's only Jesus who can satisfy. And you kept moving forward in the holy place, you come to the veil. A thick curtain that separated the holy of holies from the holy place, but in front of that veil. You'd see the altar of incense, which is just what it sounds like, it was a golden altar upon which sweet smelling incense would be burned.
If you've been around the Bible for a while, then you may know that in the scriptures, incense speaks of the prayers of the Saints, the prayers of the Saints, Revelation five eight and Revelation Chapter eight. Describe the prayers of the Saints as appearing in heaven in the form of a bowl of incense.
Again, we see the Earthly Tabernacle mirroring greater realities that take place in heaven. It's not a coincidence, though, that the place of prayer is located right at the entrance of the holy of holies, the presence of God. Because that's what prayer does, prayer ushers us into the presence of God. It never ceases to astound me how if I simply set aside a few minutes to seek the Lord in prayer, I can find myself being immersed in his presence.
I experienced that praying with my home group on zoo, my experience at praying with BJ and I, experience at praying with friends.
And do you know where many of us are experiencing this, the presence of God through prayer most powerfully right now on Zoome, 4:00 p.m. every Sunday as BJA gathers us together around the altar of incense as the church to pray and week after week. We begin outside the holy of holies. We pray and then we find that inevitably, no matter how we felt when we started. We find that we've been somehow ushered into the presence of God and we're there or in his presence, we're in the holy of holies.
Prayers, powerful church, and if you're thirsty to experience the presence of God, you need to come and join us for that prayer 4pm because prayer moves us into the presence of God. Well, now you'd find yourself face to face with the veil, with the curtain. And if you've read the Gospels, then you know what happened to the veil in the temple when Jesus died on the cross in Matthew's Gospel, we read, then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earthquakes and the rocks were split and the graves were opened.
And many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep or raised the veil was needed in the tabernacle and then in the temple to ensure that God's presence didn't kill anybody.
Lest anybody stumble into the presence of God, not realizing that they were unrighteous. That was life with God under the Old Testament, under the Old Covenant. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn. The way to God was opened and instead of men dying. Men came to life. You see, that's life with God under the New Covenant. And what's the difference? The difference is, Jesus, the blood and body and life of Jesus was our price of admission.
Into the holy of holies, let me say that again, the blood and body and life of Jesus. Was our price of admission into the holy of holies, into the presence of God, into relationship with the father?
Don't ever think that our access to God is free. It's not free. It costs God everything. As you enter the holy of holies, you'd find yourself looking at the ark of the Covenant and it's led the Mercy Seat, both of which we discussed at length a few weeks ago. There was no last stand in the holy of holies, why? Because the glory of God. The Shekinah glory of God would illuminate the room, and this again mirrors heaven, doesn't it?
And the new Jerusalem, that revelation, 21 23 tells us about when it says the city had no need of the sun or the moon to shine in it. For the glory of God illuminated it, I love this line, the lamb is its light. The holy of holies had the Mercy Seat heaven has a throne of grace. There's so many other pictures we could paint from this text, but the big thing I want us to recognize is that there's this progression of increasing intimacy as we move from outside the camp through the tribe of Judah, toward the holy of holies.
If you're wondering how to move deeper in your relationship with Jesus, ask the Lord to show you where you are in this picture, in this illustration of the tabernacle.
Ask him to show you where you are and what your next step is, because it's all about moving forward to that place of real relationship, that place of real closeness with God, that place of intimacy that caused David to sing to the Lord a day in your kautz.
Is better than a thousand elsewhere. And he who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Last thing, I promise.
The book of Hebrews is is just such a gift because it explains the connection between the Old and New Testaments, it reveals how the law pointed to Jesus.
It brings the two covenants into their rightful perspective if you want to grow greatly in your knowledge and understanding of the totality of scripture.
Let me commend to a deep study of the Book of Hebrews.
It's one of these books that unlocks the Bible as a whole.
And so I'd like us to simply just read Hebrews nine together because I think it really ties all of this together so beautifully, Hebrews nine says then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary for a tabernacle was prepared. The first part in which was the Lamb Stand the Table and the show bread, which is called the Sanctuary.
He's describing the holy place and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle, which is called the holiest of all, or the holy of holies, which had the Golden Censer and the Ark of the Covenant overlaid on all sides with gold in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Arun's rod that budded and the tablets of the Covenant. We'll talk about all that at another time.
And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the Mercy Seat of these things. We cannot now speak in detail.
The writer of Hebrews says that because the Ark of the Covenant was lost after the first temple period back in Nebuchadnezzar day and Hebrews was written obviously in the second temple period when the ark had already been lost for six. Now, when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the second part of the tabernacle, the holy place, performing the services, but into the second part into the holy of holies. The high priest went alone once a year and not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people sins committed in ignorance.
The Holy Spirit indicating this that the way into the holiest of all, the way into the holy of holies, was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. What does that mean?
It means the first tabernacle was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered, which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience, concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of the Reformation.
Hebrews is just saying, obviously, none of those ceremonies they're doing in that first tabernacle could actually gain you forgiveness of sins. They were just to point ahead to the thing and the time and the one who really would gain forgiveness of sins. Jesus, the Messiah, Verse 8 11.
But Christ came as high priest of the good things to come.
Christ came as the fulfillment of everything the Tabernacle pointed to with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands. That is not of this creation, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood.
He entered the most holy place once for all, having obtained the eternal redemption. So that is Jesus is the Greater Tabernacle. He's the greater high priest.
He's the greater sacrifice for if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh. How much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal spirit, offered himself without spot? That means without blemish, without sin to God, how much more shall he cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason, he is the mediator of the New Covenant by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Just saying there that Jesus, when he died, also earned the redemption of all those who lived during the first tabernacle and temple periods for where there is a testament or where there is a will.
There must also of necessity, be the death of the testator for a testament or a will is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all, while while the testator lives. So if you write a will, the will doesn't do anything till the one who wrote the will dies.
Therefore, not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood, for when Moses had spoken every precept, every command to all the people. According to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water, scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people saying this is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you. Then likewise, he sprinkled with blood, both the Tabernacle and all the vessels of the.
Industry and according to the law, almost all things are purified with blood and without shedding of blood, there is no remission, there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.
Again, that all pointed a head to Jesus in his work on the cross. Therefore, it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
In other words, if it takes the blood of goats and calves and an animal sprinkled on the instruments of the temple on Earth, what does it need to take in heaven? And the answer is the blood of the perfect sinless lamb of God. Jesus Christ for Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands. Christ hasn't entered the earthly temple or tabernacle, which are copies of the true. But He's entered into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us.
Not that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters the most holy place every year with the blood of another. So what Jesus did in heaven he didn't do every year over and over and over, because he then would have to suffer often since the foundation of the world.
But now he suffered once.
At the end of the ages, he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and as it is appointed for men to die once. But after this the judgment. So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. And then I love this. To those who eagerly wait for him, he will appear a second time apart from Sen.. For salvation, I just love that last verse, it says Jesus is going to come again, specifically for those who are eagerly waiting for him, but when Jesus comes for us again, he's not coming like the first time to deal with sin.
No, no, no. He's coming for salvation. He's coming to take us to heaven with him. Love that it just ties everything that the Tabernacle is pointing to together so beautifully.
Well, as we get ready to pray, let me just ask you. How's your relationship with the Lord doing? How are you doing? Are you close to him? Ask the Lord to show you where you are using the Tabernacle as an illustration in that increasing closeness and intimacy with him, where are you at and what's your next step right now? Remember, if you feel dry, ask for more of his spirit. He'll be faithful to give it to you.
Would you buy your heads and close your eyes? Let me pray for us together. Father, thank you so much for your word and thank you for all the truths that the Tabernacle points to. And thank you, Lord, that that through Jesus, we're able to accept that invitation to come all the way into the holy of holies and into real closeness and fellowship with you.
And I pray for any of us who who desire that, but feel like we're not experiencing that as reality right now. I pray that you would just show us what our next step is, what the truth is that we most need to take from your word today. And Father, I asked that you would give all of us forever, we're at just a fresh filling of your Holy Spirit, Lord, because we need you we need you to be the man and woman you've called us to be the husbands and wives, the employees, the brothers and sisters, the church members.
Lord, we we need your spirit to be. Who you've called us to be, so fill us a new with your spirit right now. Lord God. Father, give us insight through your spirit as we open your world to see ourselves clearly, apart from you and ourselves, clearly in Christ and father, to praise you for the difference, to praise you for the difference that Jesus has made. We love you, Lord, speak to us now by your spirit, it's in your precious name, we pray.