Sun, Aug 03, 2008

CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE! PART 6 EXODUS 25-30

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE!
PART 6
EXODUS 25-30

            This morning we are in part 6 of our study, CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE! And as we have seen in our previous studies, the Holy Spirit is giving us a picture of the person and work of Jesus Christ that is found in this tabernacle. That is why the Lord gave Moses very specific plans in the construction of this portable worship structure. In Exodus 25:8-9 we are told, And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.

            I will give you a quick recap just so we are all on the same page.  The tabernacle was 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, and this fence was made of white linen, which speaks of the holiness, the purity of Christ.  There was only one door to enter into the tabernacle and that was located on the east side and it measured 30 feet wide and 7½ feet high. It was multi-colored – white, purple, scarlet and blue. And this speaks of Jesus, His holiness, His kingship, His sacrifice, and His deity! You could not enter into the tabernacle any other way except through this east gate.  The picture here is that Jesus is the only way to God the Father and if you try to get in any other way you are a thief and a robber because you are trying to possess something that is not yours, eternal life! Jesus is the door to eternal life!

And once you entered in through this door, the white linen fence would surround you. In a sense you could say you were now clothed in this white linen. The Bible tells us that when we come to Christ we are clothed in His righteousness by faith. Paul put it like this in II Corinthians 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.

As you enter into the tabernacle the first thing you would see is the brazen altar where the sacrifices were made. Again, apart from the sacrifice of Christ appropriated into our lives by faith, we are still dead in our trespasses and sins. The next piece of furniture was the brazen laver where the priests were washed completely as they entered into the ministry and then they had that daily cleansing of their hands and feet before they served the Lord. The picture is beautiful as we are washed once as white as snow by the blood of Jesus and then we need that daily cleansing to wash off that dirt of this world, not for salvation here, but for sanctification, and that is done by the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God.

It is only then we can enter into the tabernacle proper, a tent that was 45 feet long and 15 feet wide and 15 feet high and it was divided into two compartments. There was the holy place that measured 30 feet long by 15 feet wide and 15 feet high. And the holy of holies that was 15 feet long and 15 feet wide and 15 feet high. This tent was covered with four different coverings.

The inside was beautifully lined and it once again spoke of the holiness, the kingship, the sacrifice and the deity of Jesus! Over that was a goat’s hair covering and that speaks of Jesus being the sin-bearer, casting our sins as far as the east is from the west to be remembered no more. Over that was a ram skins covering that was dyed red and it is a picture of Christ’s death as a sin offering. And lastly, over the top was a covering of badger skins or more likely porpoise or dolphin or sea cow skins.  This covering was a kind of drab bluish gray, nothing to draw you to it.  Jesus, in His humanity was average looking; nothing to draw you to Him and it is not until you enter into a relationship with Him that you will see His true beauty!

As we enter into this tent-like structure, the tabernacle proper, we now enter into a time of fellowship and service with the Lord. But this can’t be done; it can’t take place until you first come in through THE DOOR, and appropriate THE SACRIFICE into your life, having been WASHED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS, then you can fellowship and serve Him!

As you enter into the tabernacle the first piece of furniture you will see is the table of showbread and it is located on the right side before the veil leading into the holy of holies. This speaks of Jesus being the bread of life and that we need to partake of Him through His Word and His Spirit. A time of sweet fellowship this speaks of.  Next is the altar of incense that was located right in the middle, before the veil and this speaks of Christ as our intercessor and it is a picture of our prayers as they ascend before God as the smoke of this incense would rise upward!

This morning we will focus on the third and last piece of furniture in the holy place, the lampstand or the seven-branched oil-burning lamp. Before we look at this golden lampstand, let me share with you these words from A. W. Pink in his book, Gleanings In Exodus. He wrote:

Black shadows rest upon the world which has cast out the Light of life; “the way of the wicked is as darkness” (Prov. 4:19). It is now night-time because the “Dayspring from on High” is absent. The Lampstand tells of the gracious provision which God has made for his own beloved people during the interval of darkness, before the Sun of righteousness shall rise once more and usher in for this earth that morning without clouds. The Lampstand is for the night season!

- A. W. Pink, Gleanings In Exodus, p. 211

            And so, with that said, let’s look into this last piece of furniture located in the holy place, THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND!

THE HOLY PLACE – THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND

            As you entered into the holy place, on the left side before the veil, was the golden lampstand. Now some of your Bibles and some commentators called it a candlestick, but that is not correct.  It was a seven-branched oil-burning lamp, it has one main shaft and then three branches that came out of each side of that main shaft. There are no dimensions given to us regarding the size of this golden lampstand.  It was made of pure gold and that gold was beaten to form this lampstand.  Also, it was the only source of light in the holy place. Thus, this light was to never go out and it was the responsibility of the priests to tend to the wicks and make sure there was enough oil in the bowls to keep them burning and they would tend to this lampstand in the morning and the evening.

            What does this mean to us today? How can we apply this into our lives?  I believe the Holy Spirit is making two very important points for us to learn from and to apply to our lives. First of all it points to the person and work of Jesus in the world. Secondly, it points to us and how we are to be the light of Christ in this world, we are to reflect Jesus! With the remainder of our time this morning, we will be looking at these two points.

1.  JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

            First of all the lampstand was made of gold, speaking of the deity of Jesus. Secondly, this gold was beaten, which speaks of the suffering of Jesus for us, the just for the unjust. And thirdly, the main shaft or this seventh branch you might say, the vine speaks of Jesus as seven is the number of completeness and we will deal with the number six in a few minutes when we look at the second point. Now in saying that, we are told in John 8:12, Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’

            Now that is interesting to me because Jesus is saying that there is spiritual darkness in this world. Now some may not believe that to be true but that does not change the facts that there is spiritual darkness in this world.  Turn on the news; see what is going on in the world and it isn’t pretty!  I remember hearing the story from Gospel for Asia about a woman who drowned her child in the river for the forgiveness of her sin. She knew she was in darkness and she was trying to get out but the darkness had her captive.

            Make no mistake about it, people are looking for direction in their lives. Look at all the gadgets that are being sold to help guide us to where we want to go, from GPS’s for the car, your phone, downloading directions from your computer and-so-on.  Why do we need them? Because we get lost!

            Folks, without the light of Christ shinning forth, we are in spiritual darkness. Think once again about the holy place, without the light of the golden lampstand burning, there would be complete darkness. You would not see the beautiful colors of the holy place, just as you will not see the beauty of God apart from the light of the world shinning into your life, Jesus Christ.  Apart from Him is only darkness.  In fact, in I John 1:5 we are told, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  And in John 1:4-9 we are told, In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it [put it out, extinguish it]. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

            Think about it. What gives color to things?  For instance, a lemon, what color is it? Most of you would say that it is yellow, but that is not really true.  You see, it only appears yellow. The color is actually the light!  Thus, the beauty of this world is only found in the light of Jesus, it is only found in Him! It is as we are told in Isaiah 9:1-2, Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.  The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

In 732 BC the areas of Zebulun and Naphtali were taken into captivity by the Assyrians, under the reign of Tiglath-Pileser, and it was called "Galilee of the gentiles" since it was under gentile domination. Things were bad, the spiritual darkness was devastating. Things looked very bleak, you might say it was night, things were black!

(II Kings 15:29).

Now as black as things were, God is going to pierce that darkness with His light. Turn to Matthew chapter 4, and I will show you what I mean, as we see Jesus in His earthly ministry. Starting in verse 12 we read, "Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.'" Matthew 4:12-16.

A people that were in spiritual darkness, trying to find God, have had that darkness pierced by the light of God Himself! He was there to show them the way out of this spiritual darkness. And this was not just for the Jews, but now the Gentiles would see the light of God, they would see Jesus!  It is as Jesus said in John 8:12, ". . . 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'"

            Folks, Jesus Christ is the only way for man to escape the darkness of this world whether they want to believe it or not! Don’t believe what I am saying, but listen carefully and believe what Jesus is saying. In John 12:46 Jesus tells us, I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” And we see this over and over again in the Scriptures, that Christ has called us out of the darkness of this world and into His wonderful light!

            Let me share with you a few verses to show you what I mean.

            · The light of Jesus calls us out of the darkness and into the light of God. We are told in I Peter 2:9, 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.

            · Apart from Christ you are spiritually dead.  Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:14,Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.

            · The light of Christ brings forth life and immortality to those who believe. Paul puts it like this in II Timothy 1:10, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

            · When we come to Jesus, asking Him to be Lord and Savior of our lives, repenting of our sins, it is the light of Christ that made us the children of the light. We are told in John 12:35-36, Then Jesus said to them, ‘A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.’ These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

            · It is the light of Christ that shines in the heart of every believer. Paul makes that point in II Corinthians 4:6 as he tells us, For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

            · It is the Word of God, the light of Christ that guides us as we walk. We are told in Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.  Also, in Psalm 43:3 we are told, Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle. And in Psalm 89:15 we are told, Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.  So the Lord guides us by His Word and with the oil of the lamp which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. You see, we are guided not only by His Word, but by His Spirit!

Now, in saying that Jesus is the light of the world and apart from Him we are in darkness, listen to what we are told in John 12:35-36, verses we have already read this morning. We are told, Then Jesus said to them, ‘A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.’ These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

Why is Jesus saying that? What will happen when He is gone?  Without the light of Christ, what are we going to do?  Folks, don’t be alarmed, Jesus is still with us but the point He is making here in John leads us to our second point in our study!

2.  WE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

            This second point may shock some of you but hear me out. Yes, Jesus went to the cross, paid in full the penalty for our sins on the cross of Calvary, died and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. And now He is seated at the right hand of the Father, the light is gone but folks, we are the light of the world now!

            I told you, a little shocking to say the least, how can we replace Christ?  But listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 and then I will tell you how this all plays out. We are told, 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.

Obviously back then, as today, light is very important. You needed it to light your homes, guide you in your travels. And thus, you would not hide your light but you would let it shine so you can see and it could also help others, to guide them.

And Jesus tells us that, "You [alone] are the light of the world." Christians are to let their light shine or should I say the light of Jesus shine upon them and thus, we as Christians are reflecting the light of Jesus just as the sun shines upon the moon and what we really see is the light of the sun reflected off the moon and back to us. It is as Paul said in II Corinthians 4:6, "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Thus, as people see our light shine, they are seeing a reflection of Jesus!

Light, in a sense, when it is shining, brings about change. Thus, as we shine forth Jesus we see a couple of things happen. First of all light exposes darkness, people become aware of their condition, the sin they are in. Now this can cause them to repent and come to Jesus or flee for their lives, to try and run away from the light because they don’t want their sin exposed, they want to continue to do it.

The second thing that light does is it guides people. As we read in Psalm 119:105 which says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." As we share the truths of God from the Word of God, it gives people direction; it helps them to see where they are going, what they need to do. Think of a lighthouse on a rough and rocky seacoast. As the ships come in at night, it is the lighthouse, its light, that keeps them from destruction upon the rocks, just as Christians help warn people of the destruction that is coming upon those who are outside of Christ, the destruction of their lives, the destruction of their souls!

Too often we look for an easy solution to being light, and there is none. It isn’t like going to a tanning salon, or using that fake sun tan lotion to make it look like you have been in the sun a long time. The only solution is you need to spend time in the Son, not "sun" but "Son" if you want His nature to shine through you.

Think about our society today, and the world, and the darkness that is in it. People today are very religious but they don’t know the Lord but are into a spirituality that is moving them away from the true God. And what happens in a room when just a small light is turned on? The darkness flees, it is gone. We need to let our light shine so that the darkness will be exposed, it will dissipate instead of hiding our light under a basket or being ashamed to stand up for what we believe, standing up for righteousness!

And the result of being light is that our heavenly Father is glorified, not us! Look at the life of Jesus, all the things that He did, and the result of what He did, what He said, is that people glorified God! What about you? What happens as you step out into the world? Our light should shine in such a way that God gets the glory, that people worship God, are drawn to Him and not to us. It is as Paul said in Philippians 2:14-16, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life..." May our light shine brightly and direct people to Jesus!

On this portion of Scripture in Matthew chapter 5, listen to what John MacArthur has to say:

When what we do causes people to be attracted to us rather than to God, to see our human character rather than His divine character, we can be sure that what they see is not His light.

It is said of Robert Murray McCheyne, a godly Scottish minister of the last century, that his face carried such a hallowed expression that people were known to fall on their knees and accept Jesus Christ as Savior when they looked at him. Others were so attracted by the self-giving beauty and holiness of his life that they found his Master irresistible.

It was also said of the French pietist Francois Fenelon that his communion with God was such that his face shined with divine radiance. A religious skeptic who was compelled to spend the night in an inn with Fenelon, hurried away the next morning, saying, "If I spend another night with that man I’ll be a Christian in spite of myself."

That is the kind of salt and light God wants His kingdom people to be.

     - The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 1-7, p 247

On the other end of the spectrum, listen to this tragic story:

In the late 1800's, a young boy was growing up in a very strict Jewish home where the Shabbat, the Sabbath, was honored and where all of the rituals of Judaism were followed.

One day, his family moved to a town in which there was no synagogue. In fact, there were hardly any Jewish people at all, which prompted his father to say, "From now on, we are Lutherans. We will go to the Lutheran church and participate in Lutheran services." This teen-age boy said, "But Dad, we’re Jews." His dad answered, "Son, it’s time you learn that to get by in business, you have to make some compromises."

This young man, who grew up embittered towards his father for turning his back on Judaism and playing a game for business, would later leave Germany for London, where he would study prolifically and where he would write these words: "Religion is the opiate of the masses." His name, of course, was Karl Marx.

- Jon Courson, Matthew Vol. One Ch. 1-13, pp. 113-114

            You see, we can truly make a difference in the lives of people, if we would only shine forth and not hide our light under a basket so no one will see it. I know, this may be overwhelming to you, to be a reflector you might say of Jesus to a world that is in darkness, but don’t lose heart. Remember there were no dimensions given of this golden lampstand. I believe it is because the work of Christ in us, the work of His Spirit in our lives can’t be measured!  That should encourage you!

            Also, keep in mind this golden lampstand that was in the tabernacle. Remember it had one main shaft and from that main shaft were three branches coming off each side.  Jesus is that main branch or the vine, and we are the branches, for the number six is the number of man, of incompleteness for we are only complete as we are attached or in Christ!

            And no, I am not stretching that to make this point. Listen to the words of Jesus in John 15:5-17. We are told, 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. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.

            In other words, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, as I have said and as we are attached to Him we will bear much fruit. But, apart from Him, apart from His life giving and life sustaining nourishment, we can do nothing!  Thus, just as the priests would have to trim the wicks and make sure there was enough oil in the bowls to keep the lamp burning, we too must keep our lives trim. We must lay aside the weight of sin that tries to ensnare us and keep us from serving the Lord and shinning for Him. We must make sure we are filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered for service and that is done as we yield to Him on a daily basis!  It is then and only then that our light will shine brightly for Jesus and as you read through John 15 you will see that Jesus wants to do these things in our lives, if we would only walk as He is leading!

            Now, what was in the room with this golden lampstand?  There was the table of showbread and the light of the lampstand shinned down upon it.  Folks, as we shine the light of Christ through our lives, as we live for Him, we will shine upon the bread of life, Jesus. And, as we do it will cause others to hunger for Him!

            What else was in the room with the golden lampstand?  There was the altar of incense that the light of the lampstand shinned down upon. As we have seen in our studies, the altar of incense is a picture of our prayers ascending before God. Thus, as we let the light of Christ shine in us and through us, others will see God answer our prayers and they will be drawn to Him!

As I begin to close this morning, let me share with you these words from M. R. DeHaan in his book, The Tabernacle. He wrote:

It is, then, the function of the Church to hold aloft Christ as the Light of the world, in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not the business of the Church to meddle in politics, to enter the field of secular education, to become a school or a college of human secular knowledge. The function of the Church is not social reform, to educate in the sciences, to deal in psychology. The Church is not called to educate, train or cultivate the natural, unregenerate man. Its function is to preach the new birth, get people saved, born again, and then to train and educate and cultivate them in the worship of God and in the winning of souls. All these other matters – secular education, culture, ethics, reform, and the sciences – are good in their own places, and belong to the realm of human research and our civic and social relationships; but they are not the business of the Church.  The true Church preaches REGENERATION; not reformation, not education, not legislation, but regeneration.

As believers we are to mingle among men in seeking all these restraining factors in society, but with the ever-conscious conviction that only regeneration can permanently answer man’s dilemma of sorrow, sin and trouble. Social reforms, legislation, and moral uplift are all desirable factors in the restraining of evil in this present dispensation, and should be supported by every born-again believer, but always with the consciousness that the final answer to the sin problem and the dilemma of the world is regeneration, and the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. All these other things are only temporary and cannot bring a final solution.

            He goes on to say:

            We certainly cannot emphasize this feature of the Christian testimony enough. Christ as a visible Person, as One who walked here upon the earth nineteen hundred years ago, has gone away, and natural men cannot see Him at all. Unless we represent Him and reflect His light, they will have to remain in eternal darkness. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun during the night when everything is dark, so too the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ today is the only light in this gathering gloom, and we are to shed forth and to reflect the light and the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Men are far more impressed by what we are than by what we say. I believe that much of the unregenerate world today is fed up with a great deal of our modern preaching, and are waiting for a real demonstration of the love of God, and the love of Christ in our lives. Can others see Jesus in you?

- M. R. DeHann, M. D. The Tabernacle, pp. 101-103

            Folks, it is impossible for us to live out our Christian life apart from walking in His light every day! It is that light that radiates from our lives and it comes from a life that is in communion with God. Are you walking in the light every day? Paul encourages us to do that very thing as he tells us in Ephesians 5:7-13. He wrote, Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.’

            May we not hide our light or forget to shine forth, for the Light of the World has told, us “. . . I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.  And now, You are the light of the world. . . .”

Matthew 5:14. You see, as we walk in the light of Christ, we will lead others down that same path of life that is only found in Him.  He is the golden lampstand – He is the light of the world, let Him shine in you so that He might shine through you and bring glory to the Father! Yes, the world is dark, but folks, we are the light of the world and we need to shine forth and let others see Jesus and that is done by being attached to OUR GOLDEN LAMPSTAND – JESUS CHRIST!

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