The Privilege of Drawing Near to God
What is the symbolism behind the tabernacle?
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
I’ve wondered why God was so detailed about how Moses was to make the tent of meeting ("Tabernacle"). God warned Moses to make it exactly like what He showed him (Exodus 25:8-9). It was important to Israel, but I wondered why should it mean anything to me ... until I saw how the Tabernacle was a picture of Jesus making a way for us to know and rightly worship the living, holy God!
Here’s the picture:
1. First, there was only one door into the Tabernacle
Jesus said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:9)
"Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’" (John 14:6)
2. Beyond the door was a bronze altar where offerings were made for sin
Blood was sprinkled on people to cleanse them.
"…Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
"…we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:8)
3. Next was the bronze laver
This is where the priests washed their hands and feet.
About Jesus and the Church - “…that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word" (Ephesian 5:26)
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
From there the priest entered the "Holy Place."
4. To the right was a golden table
Twelve fresh loaves of bread were put on the table as an offering to God every week. God asked the priests to eat the bread that they removed from that table.
Jesus said, "I am the bread of life... I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. ” (John 6:48, 51)
5. To the left was a golden lampstand with seven lamps
The priests put oil in the lamps daily so they would always stay lit.
"Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" (John 8:12)
6. Straight ahead was a small, golden altar
This altar held special incense that was always kept burning. It was a picture of prayer.
"… and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel." (Revelation 8:4)
About Jesus – “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7: 25)
7. Behind the altar of incense was a beautiful blue, purple and scarlet curtain
The curtain separated the Holy place from the Holy of Holies.
When Jesus died, "…the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom...." (Matthew 27:51)
8. Behind this curtain was the Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies held the Ark of the Covenant on which sat the Mercy Seat. God's presence was above the Mercy Seat.
"For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf." (Hebrews 9:24)
Now I realize what a great privilege it is to draw near to God. Jesus and the Tabernacle show me the way. I can only draw near to God through faith in Jesus. No other religion will do. Jesus is my Door. My sin had alienated me from God, but Jesus’ perfect sacrifice paid for my sins in full. As a Christian, sometimes I still sin, but Jesus washes me clean, making me presentable to God. Jesus is my Bread of Life, giving me eternal life, and His Word -- the Bible -- feeds me. Jesus is my Light, and I look to Him to dispel the world’s darkness and show me how to live to glorify God. My prayers are now a pleasing incense to God, with Jesus Himself praying for me. Through Jesus, God tore the curtain separating me from Himself. And now I can worship God and draw near to Him "with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 10:22).
Pray this week:
Thank you, Jesus, for making it possible for us to draw near to God. I will be eternally grateful to You!
What keeps you from drawing near to God?