The word Tabernacle is used
in the book of Exodus to refer to the “house or temple of the Lord.” It is also
called God’s “sanctuary” or His “dwelling place,” or the “tent of meetings” and
it was first mentioned in Exodus chapter 25. The purpose of God for wanting the
people to build a sanctuary for Him is to pursue us. God says, “I want to dwell
or live with My people.” But humanity’s biggest problem is sinfulness,
rendering law-breaking people not only unworthy, but also unable to enter into
the presence of the Holy God. Since God wanted to dwell together with the
Israelites He provided the way to meet them through the Tabernacle. The
Tabernacle foreshadowed God’s provision for man’s salvation through Jesus.
Because God’s revelation is progressive (Hebrews 1:1-2), He did not reveal
Himself and His ways all at once. Many parts of the Old Testament will not make
sense until you connect it with the New Testament.
The Tabernacle has three
sections: The Outer Court, Holy Place and Holy of Holies. The Outer Court has
one Gate and two pieces of furniture: the Brazen Altar and the Laver. The Holy
Place has three: The Lampstand, Showbread and Incense Altar. The Holy of Holies
is the Most Holy Place, where the Ark of the Covenant is placed. Only the High
Priest can enter this compartment of the Tabernacle and only once a year. The
Tabernacle teaches us how to live in God’s presence. To live in God’s presence
there is only:
WAY– GATE OF ENTRANCE
Everything in the
Tabernacle points to Jesus. There is only one gate, only one door to approach
God. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 10:9; 14:6). Truth is
exclusive. Either Jesus told the truth or He was a liar. The principle of logic
is no truth claims can contradict each other. Jesus proved His claims when He
died on the cross and rose again.
TRUTH – ALTAR OF SACRIFICE
The purpose of the altar is
explained in Leviticus 4:22-26; 17:11. The Brazen Altar is for animal
sacrifice, but it must be animals without defect. The animal is slayed as a sin
offering, dying for the person’s sins as a substitute. The priest takes some of
the blood of the animal and put it on the four horns of the altar. He pours out
the rest of the blood at the base of the altar symbolic of sins being covered
with forgiveness. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
We cannot pay for our sins by doing good works. Blood must be shed (Hebrews
9:22), but bulls and goats cannot really take away our sins (Hebrews 10:4). The
sacrifices in the Tabernacle were a foreshadowing of Jesus, the perfect
sacrifice who takes away the sin of the world once and for all (John 1:29,
Hebrews 10:4,9-10). Nothing can save us but His blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).
LIFE – LAVER OF CLEANSING
The laver is symbolic of
sanctification. Here the priest washes his hands and feet before entering the
Holy Place. Even if we are already saved by Jesus (positional sanctification),
God is still concerned about our life after we come to Christ (practical
sanctification). Jesus transforms us. By His grace, He will give us a new heart
to make us progressively growing in the Lord. In addition, His Word is one of the
tools given by Jesus for us to practice sanctification. The Word of God is
God’s way of cleansing us.
Are you living in God’s presence today? God is
giving you the privilege of being in His presence by coming through the One Way,
the Gate of Entrance (Jesus). Hold on to the One Truth, the Altar of Sacrifice
(that Jesus became your substitute sacrificial lamb, took your place and paid
for your sins). And then, you practice the One Life at the Laver of Cleansing
by daily reading and applying His Word.