Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The tabernacle pictures the Christian life

Exodus 25:8-9 8“Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. 9“According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.

What happened after the sacrifices were performed
Yesterday we began to explore the Old Testament worship center called the tabernacle.  We saw how the first furnishing, the Brazen Altar, the place of sacrifice, pictured the cross - the only way of approach.  Following the sacrifice of the lamb on the latar, the priest would proceed to the next furnishing - the Brazen Laver.

The Brazen Laver or "wash basin" is the place of cleansing
Since the priest would have had blood and the residue of the sacrifice on his hands, the Lord had prescribed a wash basin that was located directly infront of the "Tent of meeting", the structure located within the courtyard.  That tent of meeting was the place where the priest would go and serve God on behalf of the people.

As the priest washed his hands, He was reminded of the fact that He himself could not approach God on his own merit. Just like the owrshippers who brought their lambs, the priests too had to have representation.  The entire sacrificial system communicated truths that would be fulfilled by Christ - among which was the cleansing accomplished in salvation. 

The primary act of cleansing was of course accomplished by the blood.  According to Hebrews 9:14ff, the Old Testament system cleansed "almost everything' accept one thing, the conscience.  When Christ came, His blood applied to the believer cleanses the conscience.

Additionally, the wash basin (laver is a Latin term for washing) also pictured the cleansing effects of the scriptures.  Jesus in Ephesians 5:26 is portrayed washing His church through the scriptures. 

Thirdly, the wash basin pictures a New Testament picture - Baptism.  Baptism represents a picture of what takes place at the moment of saving faith - the cleansing away of the former life in favor of the new life in Christ.  Baptism does not do the cleansing, nor the converting. Rather baptism pictures the cleansing.  It is the pledge of a conscience previously converted by faith. (1 Peter 3:18-20) Thus in this Old Testament picture we are seeing a "picture of a picture".

The three-fold accomplishment of Christ's Work is pictured in the tabernacle
The three-fold work of salvation accomplished by Christ is that of redemption, cleansing and reconciliation.  To be redeemed means that God has purchased me out of slavery to sin into the freedom of forgiveness through the work of Christ.  Cleansing of course means that the penalty of sin is wiped away at salvation and by confessing my sin daily, my fellowship with God is maintained in sanctification.  Reconciliation is where God is brought to me and where I am brought to God through Christ. 

How the Christian life is pictured through the tabernacle
Therefore the two furnishings of the Brzen Altar and the Brazen wash basin function together in the meeting place of God - the courtyard.  They picture the cross, at which by grace through faith I am reconciled, cleansed and redeemed.  The wash basin pictures my following the Lord obediently in believer's baptism, my daily need for His word and the ongoing ministry of His blood cleansing me as I grow daily in grace in my walk with Him. 

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