Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Tabernacle pictures enjoyment of God

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.

For the past couple of days we have been taking a tour of the worship center of Old Testament Israel called "The Tabernacle".  So far we have journeyed through its "gate" into its main courtyard and noted two furnishings called "The Brazen Altar" and the "Brazen wash basin or Laver".  Both of these picture the necessity of Christ's Cross and cleansing based upon His finished work.  It is in the courtyard that the Christian life is pictured in its beginnings.

Salvation is more than just "Eternal Life", its also about "living the life in Eternal life"
As one continues on down through Exodus 25-40, more furnishings are mentioned.  Further reading will show that in the Western most side of the courtyard is constructed the central place wherein the priests would enter to do their ministry - "The Tent of Meeting".  Just like the courtyard, the tend of meeting has a "veil" into which the priest must enter. 

Once inside, the priest is in a room called the "Holy place".  Another inner room called "ther most holy place" will be discussed at a separate time.  But in the Holy place are three other furnishings that picture details about the life and work of Christ and the life of the believer.

The Lampstand - the believers need for illumination or guidance
In the Holy place the priest would proceed to the left to light the "Golden Lampstand".  This "lampstand" or "seven-branched Menorah" was to be lit once in the morning and once in the evening by the priests.  It signified the perpetual need for God's light, since in the holy place no other means of light was available.  Once that lampstand was lit, the ceiling of that room would be illuminated to reveal angelic beings woven into the fabric of the linen covering making up the tent of meeting.  Psalm 119:105 states - "Thy world is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path".  In Revelation 1 we see Christ walking among His church that is pictured as this very golden lampstand.  Christ of course is described as the Light of the world.

The Table of show bread - the believer's need for fellowship with God and others
From the lampstand the priest would proceed to the table.  This table had upon it twelve unleavened wafers, signifying the twelve tribes of Israel.  As a priest, he represented the interests of the people before God.  Christians are described in 1 Peter 2 as being a Kingdom of priests, called to serve the Lord and represent Him.  The priests main sources of food were the sacrifices and the bread from off this table, baked fresh every morning.  Christ is the believers bread from Heaven, the source of food and nourishment in the Christian life. (John 6)

The Golden Altar of incense - the believer's prayer life
When the priest had entered the Holy place, he would have in his hand a dish with a chain attached to it called a "censure". In that censure would be coals off of the Brazen altar of sacrifice in the courtyard.  When the priest has traveled from the lampstand to the table, he would take incense stored in the dishes near the table and with the coals he would proceed to the Golden altar of incense. 

The coals from the Brazen altar were kept continuously burning, since priests were in and out of the Holy place throughout the day.  The incense poured on top of that Golden altar emmitted a sweet smelling aroma.  It was there that the priest would offer up prayers for the people.  Christ if course is our High Priest, praying on our behalf. (1John 2:1-2).  As a Kingdom of priests, we too pray on behalf of others, with our prayer life based upon Christ's finished work on the cross.  This is why the Brazen Altar and the Golden Altar in the Holy aplce were inner-connected in the mind of God when He revealed the Tabernacle to Moses. 

The Holy Place pictures the Christian enjoying God
Thus it is in the second area of the Tabernacle system - the Holy Place, that we discover the significance of living the Christian life in connection with the Eternal Life of God living through us.  We discover that the cross, the tool of our salvation, is in the post-conversion life the basis for our sanctification.  By its power I can pray.  By Christ's accomplished work I receive illumination for guidance by His Spirit.  By His finished work I enjoy ongoing nourishment from Him.  This is where Christianity turns form being an "I have to" to "an I want to" lifestyle.  I want to live for Christ, since it is Him living through me.