It’s right about now in a Bible reading plan that things start to get repetitive, and dare I say, boring. I’ve brushed over these chapters many times before just trying to get to a part where things make sense or I know already mean a lot to me. Why do I need to know the dimensions of the Tabernacle? Why does it matter which materials were used to produce the walls, bases, Ark, Table, Lampstand, and accessories and how much they weighed?
I find that at the start of these chapters I need to pray even more that God would reveal exactly what I need to hear and learn. I need to read expectantly and with an open mind. After all, every word of the Bible is God-breathed. It is all in there for a purpose. Sometimes it requires a little more digging, cross-referencing, and searching for answers. It takes work.
However, it’s in these times when I press in, that God shows me something amazing, specific, and new. I encourage you now, that though these chapters are lengthy and full of dimensions and commands, that you would read with intention. Study the Bible expecting God to speak directly into what you are going through in your life. It takes time and work and quietness, but it’s worth it when God speaks and your perspective is enhanced.
S – Scripture: Exodus 25-27
- 25:1-2 – “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them.'”
- 25:22 – “I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.”
- 25:39-40 – “You will need seventy-five pounds of pure gold for the lampstand and its accessories. Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”
- 26:33-35 – “Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Then put the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–on top of the Ark of the Covenant inside the Most Holy Place.”
- 27:20-21 – “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the LORD’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.”
O – Observation:
- The Tabernacle and all of its accessories were built by the offerings of God’s people.
- Between the cherubim on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, was where God would meet Moses to speak directly to him.
- The lampstand, to illuminate the Holy Place, was to be made of 75 pounds of gold!!
- There is a separation between where God is and where the people can go. Further, only by the shedding of blood can the High Priest enter the Most Holy Place once per year. No one else is allowed.
- The light of the lampstand was to be kept burning throughout the whole night. The priests were in charge of keeping the oil filled so that it could burn continuously.
A – Application:
For further explanation of the importance and significance of the Tabernacle, I looked to Hebrews. Like I said above, sometimes you have to dig. Instead of me speaking all of the time, I’m letting the Bible speak for itself. It’s amazing like that!
Old Priesthood: Those designated by God to perform the sacrifices that purified themselves and the people. This had to be done once a year with the blood of animals.
“That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.
When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use. This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies–physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.” Hebrews 9:1-10
The High Priest – Jesus was sent to finish the task once and for all, so all could enter the Most Holy Place.
“So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.” Hebrews 9:11-15
The Holy Place – where religious duties take place.
Today, these may look like going to church, practicing a devotional time, attending a Bible Study or service project, mission work, prayer, Baptism, Communion, and many other things to do. These aren’t bad things at all, they are great things. But they aren’t it.
Have you ever found yourself “going through the motions” at church or with your walk with God? Everything starts to just feel like a task instead of a relationship. We are doing great things, but for the wrong reasons and typically by our own strength. It’s here that we have lost sight of the The Most Holy Place. The place where we meet with God to speak with him and him to speak with us. It’s here that our strength and purpose is renewed. It’s here that we can surrender.
The Most Holy Place – where we come to meet with God freely now.
“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart.” Matthew 27:50-51
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:19-25
Jesus sacrifice tore the veil that separated us from God. We can now enter freely and confidently, knowing that our sins (that keep us from God) are forgiven.
The New Priesthood: US!!
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
We have a mission now, as God’s chosen people, to be light in a dark world and point others towards God’s wonderful grace.
The Heavenly Place: Like it states above in Hebrews, the earthly Tabernacle was just a glimpse of God’s Heavenly Dwelling Place. Since Jesus cleansed us from sin and brought us into righteousness, we can live in Heaven eternally with God. What a beautiful thing!
“There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14:2-4
“No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there–no need for lamps or sun–for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:3-5
Do you fully believe in the power of what Jesus did? Have you acknowledged the sin that has kept you from having a relationship with the God who created you, gives you hope and purpose and eternal life with him?
You can do that today. It doesn’t need to be fancy or with anyone else, just you and God. There are no right words or prayers, just your heart. If you need a guide, start with praying this to God:
“God, you love me so much that you gave your one and only Son, so that when I take that step to believe in you, I will not perish but have eternal life. I acknowledge that my sin and the ways of this world keep me from you and all that you would have me to be. I believe that what Jesus did was for me. I want to start living for you today. Amen.”
Amen literally means, “so be it.” It’s done, you are God’s forever. Yah!!
Now, I would strongly encourage you to find other believers to strengthen and grow your new faith. Maybe it’s a small group of friends or a church. Whatever it looks like, get some support.
And most of all, welcome to God’s family.
P – Prayer:
God, your Word is so powerful. Your Good News is so good. Each word has purpose and points us to the love you have for us. A love so great, that you sent your Son to die in our place so that we could be together for eternity. Nothing I ever say or do can make me right or perfect, it’s only by your gift of grace. That overwhelms me and frees me at the same time. I can’t thank you enough. But I give my life to you, to use for your purpose. Grow me and guide me to where you would have me make the most impact for you. Amen.