How and Where is Christ Pictured in the Tabernacle?

The Ark of the Covenant

In John 1:14 we read,

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt (Greek word we translated “dwelt” is “tabernacle”) among us.

It was 3,500 years ago / 1,500 before Christ / God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle.

Tabernacle was a tent. “The tent of meeting.”

The tabernacle was filled with symbolism.

Something that stands for something else by reason of relationship, association, resemblance; a visible sign of something invisible. The lion is a symbol of courage.

Tabernacle / everything in it/ a symbol / or a type / picture / an object lesson / picture story Person / work/ Jesus /salvation.

Theologically, it is of immense importance; Genesis only 5 words are given to the creation of billions of galaxies.

Gen. 1:16, “He made the stars also.”

For the tabernacle, its construction, its significance, 50 chapters.

The tabernacle also gives us a glimpse of what the throne room in heaven is like! Heb. 9:24…

For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

One of the lessons God wanted to teach was that He wanted to be in the midst of His people.

The Tabernacle was situated right in the middle of the Israelite encampment. When the Tabernacle was set up, the nation of Israel surrounded it. Three tribes set up their tents to the North, three to the South, three to the East, and three to the West.

And right in the middle of them all was God’s tent… His tabernacle.

But even when the people moved from place to place and the tabernacle had to be torn down and moved, EVEN THEN, God’s Tabernacle was the center of His people.

Let’s go inside and see what God wants us to learn.

Three, outer court, inner court (the holy place) and the Holy of Holies.

The court yard around the tabernacle itself was 150 by 75 feet and 7 feet high. You could not enter the Tabernacle from any direction. There was only one gate which was overhung with a veil and that was on the east side. In John 10, Jesus said,

“I am the door”

In John, 14:6, Jesus said,

“I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the father but by Me.”

The first thing you would see upon entering the Tabernacle would be the Brazen Alter.  It was used for animal sacrifice. Ex 27:1-2,

“You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide — the altar shall be square — and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay it with bronze.”

 7.5 length / width / 4.5 feet high

For the Christian the altar is full of spiritual teaching. Altar made acacia wood / covered in brass. The wood speaks of Christ’s humanity and the brass of His judgment / salvation.

In Numbers 21:8 we read,

 As the Israelites were saved from death in the wilderness by looking at the brass serpent that Moses held up, so all who look to Christ and trust in Him will be saved.

The death of the victim signified that the one who offered it deserved to die for his transgressions. An innocent lamb was provided for sacrifice.

“For the life is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11)

The Altar is a picture of Christ on the cross.

John, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

The person bringing the sacrifice would put his hand on the head of the animal to signify that the Animal was a substitute. 2 Cor. 5:21,

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

The second thing was the laver filled with water.

In Ex. 30, After making the sacrifice, the priest had to wash his hands and feet before coming into the presence of God or he would die.

“…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”  (Ephesians 5:25-27)

After atonement for sin was made by blood, and now being ceremonially cleansed by water, with reverence, and fear the priest would enter the holy place.

 The holy place was 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.

The heart of the priest was pounding with anticipation…

1. Representing people to the God who spoke at Mt. Sinai.

2. Knowing could killed if not done according to God’s holy specifications.

In Lev. 10:1-2,

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

In 1 Chron. 13:9,

Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.

There were three pieces of furniture in the Holy Place:

1. The golden lampstand

2. The table of show-bread

3. The golden altar of incense

The articles in the courtyard were made of wood and cover with brass.

The articles in the Holy Place were made of wood covered with gold.

The articles in the courtyard were for cleansing.

The articles in the Holy Place are for empowerment.

The golden lamp-stand was on the north side which would be on your left.

Ex 25:31-33,

“You shall also make a lamp-stand of pure gold…six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lamp-stand out of one side, and three branches of the lamp-stand out of the other side.”

It had a central branch with three branches on each side . Each one had a cup with olive oil and a wick on top. The lamp-stand was the only source of light in the Holy place. The lamp-stand speaks of Jesus. In John 8:12, He said,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)

This light was hidden from the world. Only priests had the privilege of seeing this holy light. So it is with Christians. As believers, only we can see the glory of Christ . He is the Word of God  “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto our path.” The lamp shows you where you are. The light shows you were you need to be. Christ is the center branch, and we are the branches that extend out from Him.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

You draw your life from Christ.

The lamp-stand typified Christ . The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 says,

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be My witnesses.

In Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the word “Power” is dunamis = / strength, ability, power.

1. universally, inherent power, power residing in a person by virtue of its nature.

2. Same word used in Acts 6:8,

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

Faith= (khar’-ece); also grace + favor, = the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including attitude of gratitude.

In Titus 2:11-14, we read of grace personified,

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

1.     Moral power and excellence of soul.

2.     The power and influence which belong to riches.

3.     Power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts.

Receiving the Holy Spirit is like receiving a blood transfusion for a life of lionhearted boldness.

The table of showbread was on the south side / 12 loaves bread.

Represent 12 tribes / God’s chosen people / message redemption.

Bread is the symbol of life itself.

A picture of God’s provision both physically and spiritually.

Jesus:

“Give us this day our daily bread…”

“Man does not live by bread alone…”

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.… But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.” (John 6:35, 49-50)

Jesus said He was the bread of life and He fed 5,000 with a few loaves.

Upper Room:

“Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’” (Matthew 26:26)

As we assimilate the bread we become one with Christ. He now lives in us—we are the body of Christ!

Then we come to the golden Alter of Incense. 

The incense represented prayer.  Heb. 7:25 says,

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

The Alter of prayer was as close as you get to the Holy of Holies. So too, the closest we can come to God is through prayer. Morning and evening the priest would burn incense on the Alter.

In a spirit of reverence and fear, the high priest would enter into the presence of God.

The Temple of Solomon took over 40 years to build and it was built to house the Ark.

The room is a cube / 20 cubits by 20 cubits by 20 cubits.

A thick curtain separated the Holy place from the most holy place. Called, “the veil.”

Floor, walls and ceiling are covered in gold and the brightest most glorious light anyone has ever seen appears between the two cherubim above the Mercy Seat  / the glory of God Himself.

Here he stood in the presence of the Creator universe!  

We are privileged beyond belief to understand the prophetic significance of this most sacred object.

The Ark of the Covenant pictures our salvation. It also serves as the throne of God.

Law and grace Ark & Mercy seat/ blood

Matt. 27:50-54,

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom… and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

The Tabernacle was the first in a series:

Tent of meeting / the Tabernacle / the Temple / the incarnation / the church. 1 Cor.  6:19-20,

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

Outer court is our body, the inner court is our mind, the most holy place is your heart. Gal. 2:20…Christ lives in you.

We are the priests, 1 Peter 2:9-10,

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God.

We are the lamp-stand, Matt 5:14-16,

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

We are the bread, Matt 25:35-36,

ForI was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

We are the altar of incense, Eph. 6:17-18,

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

In our quite time before the Lord, as priests, we are to take His Word and pray!

Apostles dedicated themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.

In closing:  There is one last Tabernacle Rev. 21

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

 

 

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