23rd January 2012

The Tabernacle Reflects Jesus

“…we have a great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God…”
Hebrews 4:14 (NIV)

After God made a covenant with Israel at Sinai, He instructed them to build a Tent of Meeting, a Tabernacle; a place where He himself would dwell amongst them. (Exodus 25-27).

First a courtyard was constructed using linen sheets sewn together; this was 150 feet long, 75 feet wide and 7.5 feet high. Inside this huge enclosure was the Tabernacle proper; which measured 45 feet long, 15 feet high and 15 feet wide, this tent contained the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

Let’s enter through the gateway of coloured cloth into the courtyard; the first thing we encounter is the Altar of Sacrifice, where all the lambs for sin offerings were killed and we might think especially about the Passover lambs. Then going a little bit further we reach the Bronze Laver that the priests would wash in. We can approach God through the blood of Christ who is our Passover Lamb, and are washed by the water of the Word. (1 Corinthians 5:7 & Ephesians 5:26)

Next, we reach and enter the Holy Place—on our left we see the Golden Lamp-stand which burnt continuously, and on the right, the Table with the Bread of the Presence. On this table we see twelve loaves which represent the tribes of Israel. Now, we can reflect that Jesus is the Light of the world and the Bread of life. Standing squarely in front of the great curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies is the Altar of Incense where the High Priest would offer up incense as the people prayed outside—incense is a symbol of prayer.

Then finally here is the Holy of Holies, the place where the High Priest entered once a year on the Day of Atonement bringing the blood of a goat as a sin offering for the people. This special place contained The Ark of the Covenant, which had an elaborate lid on the top of which were two angels stretching out their wings and covering the Ark—this was called the Mercy Seat. This special place reflects the culmination of Christ’s sacrifice for us and we are “in Him” taken right into the presence of God. Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Therefore brothers, since we have the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God…let us draw near to God.”

So we see that the furniture contained in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple, looked forward to Jesus, as shadows of his reality.

Father, thank you that in the shadows of the past; we can see the blinding light of Jesus our Saviour, and the reflection of your love for us in him.

Study by Cliff Neill

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