Sun, Aug 10, 2008

CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE! PART 7 EXODUS 25-30

Hits: 22
Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
Text Print read
CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE!
PART 7
EXODUS 25-30

            In Exodus chapters 25-30 God gives to Moses the blueprints for the building and the furnishing of the tabernacle, that portable worship structure. And over the past several weeks we have been studying this tabernacle and we have seen why God was so specific in how this structure was to be built and furnished. You see, the Holy Spirit is painting for us a picture of the person and work of Jesus Christ! In fact, I believe every detail of this tabernacle points us to Jesus!

            In Psalm 40:7 we are told, Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.’  I believe David’s words represent the Lord for the Scriptures don’t point of David from Genesis through Malachi or even Revelation if you go through the whole New Testament, but they do of Jesus! How do I know that for sure?  Because of what Jesus said in John 5:39-40, You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.  You see, the Scriptures speak of Jesus. In the Old Testament a picture of the person and work of Jesus and in the New Testament we see the fulfillment of what the Old Testament prophets were saying of the Messiah of His first coming and looking ahead to the promise and fulfillment of His second coming!

            We have seen so far a large white linen fence making up the tabernacle with one door to get in, on the east side.  And we saw that as you enter into a relationship with Jesus, as you enter through THE DOOR, you are covered with His righteousness just as the white linen fence covered you as you entered into the tabernacle by the east gate!

            Then, the first piece of furniture you would come to in the outer court was the brazen altar where the sacrifices were made. Again, you must appropriate the sacrifice of Christ into your life by faith, His shed blood for our sins and the work is completed.  From there you would come to the brazen laver where the priests would wash and the picture here is that we are washed as white as snow by the blood of Jesus, and that speaks of our salvation.  And then we need that daily cleansing, not for salvation but sanctification by the Word of God opened up to us by the Spirit of God!

            Next you would come to the tabernacle proper or this tent-like structure that contained the holy place and the holy of holies. In the holy place there were three pieces of furniture. On the right side before the veil was the table of showbread and it is here the priests would partake of this bread.  And the picture is that of Christ, the bread of life.  Next was the altar of incense, in the middle before the veil and it is a picture of Christ our intercessor and of our prayers ascending up before God just as the smoke from the incense ascended upward and it is sweet smelling to the Lord.  And on the left side before the veil was the golden lampstand or the seven-branched oil-burning lamp and it is a picture of Jesus being the light of the world and how we as Christians need to reflect His light to a world that is in darkness!

            This morning we are going to complete our study of Christ in the tabernacle by going through the veil and entering into the holy of holies, looking at the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat, the place that God dwelt!

THE HOLY PLACE – THE VEIL

            This veil was a door or in reality it was a barrier to prevent people from entering into the holy of holies, the place that God dwelt, the Shekinah glory! This veil was made of fine linen; blue which speaks of heaven or the divinity of Jesus.  Purple that speaks of His kingship. And scarlet that speaks of His shed blood.  On this there was a design of cherubim. You see, on the other side of this veil, in the holy of holies was the presence of God and man could not approach God because sin had separated man from God! In fact, only the high priest could enter in and only one day a year, on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur and only after he was ceremonially cleansed.  Then he could sprinkle the blood upon the mercy seat and intercede for the sins of the nation, the sins of the people, the children of Israel!

            Thus, this veil was really for mans protection for if sinful man tried to approach a holy God, he would be consumed! As true as that was back then, it is still true today, sinful man cannot enter the presence of God! What is interesting to me is that when Jesus hung on the cross of Calvary, when He paid in full the penalty for our sins, as He died we are told in Matthew 27:51, “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.

            That curtain was torn from top to bottom at the time of the evening sacrifices as the priests were in the temple, that is when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary! And folks, don’t get the idea that a man tore this curtain because no man could have done it. In the temple this curtain has been said to be 4 inches thick and rabbinical writers tells us that this veil was so firm that two teams of oxen pulling in opposite directions with the veil between them, could not tear it apart!

            No, man did not do this, God did! What is also interesting is that tradition tells us that the priests tried to mend and sew the veil back together but they were not able to do it. No thread or cords could hold the torn ends together which tells me that God not only tore it open, but He wants it to remain open!

            Here is the good news for us. Paul, in Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us, Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

            In other words, Jesus blocked the way to the Father until the sacrifice was made and that veil is a picture of His flesh – torn for us to pay for our sins and thus, we can now enter into the holy of holies into the presence of God, not by our good works, but by His shed blood.  Thus, this veil was the last entrance that the high priest would go through to enter into the presence of God. Folks, the last enemy for us is death and Jesus has taken the sting of death away for us and we can now boldly enter in! And because of what He has done, Paul tells us, Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16.  Thus, let us enter into the holy of holies, the presence of God!

THE HOLY OF HOLIES – THE ARK OF THE COVENANT

            As you entered into the holy of holies, which was 15 feet long, 15 feet wide and 15 feet high structure, you would see this box-like structure called the Ark of the Covenant. This box measured 3 feet 9 inches long, 2 feet 3 inches wide and 2 feet 3 inches high.  It was made of acacia wood and covered with gold.  Inside the box was the Law of God or the Ten Commandments that Moses received from God, written by the finger of God. These two tables of stone, a jar of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded were all that were placed inside this ark.

            Now the wood and gold that made up this box give to us a picture of the two natures of Jesus, His humanity and His deity. Thus, the ark itself is a picture of Jesus. Interestingly enough, in Psalm 40:8 we are told, I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart. If Jesus is the ark, symbolically speaking, that would put the law, in a sense, in His heart, the heart of the box!

            Before we deal with the Law, let’s look at these other two articles within the ark. First of all there as the jar of manna or angel’s food, the bread from heaven that God provided for the children of Israel during their wilderness wanderings. In John 6:48-51 Jesus tells us, I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. He is the bread of life and as we partake of Him through His Word we are strengthened spiritually speaking!

            Also in the ark was Aaron’s rod that budded forth almonds. This rod was dead, cut off from its life source and yet it budded and brought forth fruit. It is a picture of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and because of what He has done, we have assurance that we too will rise from the dead one-day. Interestingly enough almonds were first to bloom in the spring just as Jesus is the firstfruits. Paul put it like this in

I Corinthians 15:20-23, But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.”  What a precious promise that is to us!

            And lastly was the Law of God that was placed in the Ark of the Covenant. Now God can meet with us upon the Law without judgment if we could keep it perfectly, not failing at all!  Of course that is impossible for us to do. The Law could never save you, it could only condemn you! The Law can’t take away your sin, it can only reveal your sin. The Law could never bring life to the sinner, it can only kill the transgressor!

            Look at what Paul tells us in Galatians 3:19-26, What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

            You see, one of the reasons the Law was given was to show man God’s holy standard and in doing so it may restrain man from transgressing against God and ultimately destroying himself!  And the Law shows us we are sinners and Paul tells us that it was only temporary this Law, it was only until the Messiah came! That means the Law is inferior to the promise, but why when the Law is good, the Law is perfect?  Because the Law was limited in what it could do, it can’t save us as I have said, it can only show us how far short we are to God’s standard of perfection!

            You see, The Scriptures have confined us or put us in prison because of our failure to keep the Law perfectly!  Morris puts it this way, “Sin is personified as a jailer, keeping sinners under its control so that they cannot break free.”  How then can we get out?  How can we escape?  By faith in Christ, the finished work on the cross of Calvary that He accomplished for us. Again Morris tells us, “Far from being the gateway into a glorious liberty, it turns out to be a jailer, shutting people up. The result is that the only way of escape was through faith.”

            Paul goes on to say that the Law was a tutor and of this John MacArthur makes these interesting comments:

            A paidagoegos (tutor) was not a teacher or schoolmaster proper (KJV) but rather a slave employed by Greek or Roman families, whose duty was to supervise young boys in behalf of their parents. They took their young charges to and from school, made sure they studied their lessons, and trained them in obedience. They were strict disciplinarians, scolding and whipping as they felt it necessary.  Paul told the Corinthian believers – who often behaved like spoiled children – that, even if they “were to have countless tutors [paidagoegos] in Christ,” he would be their only “father through the gospel” (1 Cor 4:15). Continuing the contrast of paidagoegos and father, he later asks, “Shall I come to you with a rod or with love and a spirit of gentleness?” (v. 21).

            The role of the paidagoegos was never permanent, and it was a great day of deliverance when a boy finally gained freedom from his paidagoegos. His purpose was to take care of the child only until he grew into adulthood. At that time the relationship was changed.  Though the two of them might remain close and friendly, the paidagoegos, having completed his assignment, had no more authority or control over the child, now a young man, and the young man had no more responsibility to be directly under the paidagoegos. The sole purpose of the Law, God’s divinely appointed paidagoegos, was to lead men to Christ, that they might be justified. 

After a person comes to Him, there is no longer need for the external ceremonies and rituals to act as guides and disciplinarians, because the new inner principles operate through the indwelling Christ, in whom is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3).  The law in the ceremonial sense is done away with, though in the moral sense it remains always an intimate friend that one seeks to love and favor.

            Before Christ came, the law of external ritual and ceremony, especially the sacrificial system, pictured the once-for-all, perfect, and effective sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. When the perfect Christ comes into the believer’s heart, those imperfect pictures of Him have no more purpose or significance.

                                                                                                              - John MacArthur

            How does the Law drive us to Christ?  By showing us that we are sinners separated from God. In Isaiah 59:1-2 we are told, Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.  Just as Moses the Lawgiver couldn’t take the children of Israel into the Promise Land, neither can the Law lead us into the Spirit filled life – it can’t save us. Who brought the children of Israel into the Promise Land?  Joshua or Jesus and Jesus leads us into the new life by faith!  The Law could only take us so far; it is Jesus who brings us in!

            Thus, the Ark of the Covenant containing the Law of God was a place of judgment, condemning the sinner and demanding death and eternal banishment from the presence of God.  But, God does not have to meet us upon the Law, but upon the mercy seat, which covered the Ark of the Covenant, and we will look at that next.

THE HOLY OF HOLIES – THE MERCY SEAT

            The mercy seat was actually the lid for the Ark of the Covenant and it measured 3 feet 9 inches long and 2 feet 3 inches wide. It was made of pure gold and if it was just an inch thick, it would have weighed some 750 pounds! And the Scriptures tell us that God meets with the children of Israel above the mercy seat between the cherubim. Thus, God did not look upon the children of Israel through the Law, which they broke, but upon the blood that was placed or poured upon the mercy seat. It is as the children of Israel were told in Exodus 12:13, Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you . . . Thus, instead of His righteous judgment, He was able to extend mercy to them by the blood upon the mercy seat!

            Paul put it like this in Romans 3:23-26, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Jesus, by His death, became the substitute sacrifice for us, a propitiation.  When He hung on the cross of Calvary He was judged in our place as the sins of the world were cast upon Him. Thus, the Father could demonstrate His righteousness in judgment against sin while sparing us who deserve His judgment!

            The word propitiation in the Greek is HILASTERION (hil-as-tay’-ree-on) and it is used in the Septuagint for the mercy seat, which was the lid that covered the Ark of the Covenant where the Law of God was kept. And on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of a goat upon the mercy seat to atone for the sins of the people, Leviticus 16:15.  But Jesus has come to be that perfect sacrifice and to take away, not cover our sins. It is as Isaiah 53:4-6 tells us, Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

            It is as Clark said: “Here we learn that God designed to give the most evident displays of both his justice and mercy.  Of his justice, in requiring a sacrifice, and absolutely refusing to give the salvation to a lost world in any other way; and of his mercy, in providing THEsacrifice which his justice required.”

You see, God does not meet with us upon the Law, which condemns us but upon His mercy seat where the high priest would sprinkle the blood on the Day of Atonement and thus, the blood covers the Law and God can have mercy on us because our sins have been paid by the blood of the sacrifice of another, a picture of what Christ would do!

            In I John 2:2 we are told, And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  The Amplified Bible puts this verse like this,And He [that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world. And The Living Bible puts it this way, He is the one who took God's wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness for our sins, and not only ours but all the world's.  John is saying that Jesus is our propitiation or mercy seat for the Septuagint or the Greek translation of the Old Testament Scriptures uses the same Greek word for mercy seat in Exodus 25:17 as John uses here in I John 2:2.

            You see, this is a picture of God covering the Law with His mercy. No person can keep the Law, not perfectly.  And perfection is required in order to live in God’s holy presence. How then can we ever become acceptable to God, be allowed to live with Him in heaven?  By His mercy as we have seen. God’s mercy has been given to us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God gave His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  The mercy of God shown to us in Jesus Christ covers the Law, it covers our sin, our failure to keep the Law.  When we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, the mercy of God covers all the Law – all the accusations of the Law against us, all our failure to keep the Law, all the guilt that gnaws at our heart and convicts us.

            So the bottom line is this.  Do you want to meet with God upon the Law where you are guilty and will be judged accordingly or do you want to meet with God upon His mercy seat as the blood of Christ covers the Law and its penalty? I don’t know about you but to me it is a no brainer!  I want to meet with God upon His mercy and as He looks at me He doesn’t see my sins but He sees me as white as snow, cleansed by the blood of Jesus!

            Listen to what M. R. DeHaan had to say regarding the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat in his book The Tabernacle. He wrote:

            Finally, we want to sum up the teaching of the ark and the mercy seat, so that there may be no doubt left in anyone’s mind. The ark by itself spoke of the judgment and the wrath of Almighty God. In it was hidden the broken law which demanded the condemnation of the sinner and the death of the transgressor. It, therefore, was a throne of judgment, and no one could approach it, for it meant death to all those who came in their own merit. However, the Lord placed over this ark a covering very significantly called “a mercy seat,” and upon it was sprinkled the blood of the innocent substitute, and God was reconciled to the world, for Paul tells us that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself (II Corinthians 5:19).

            Therefore, the throne of judgment has become a throne of grace to all those who will put their trust in Him, His finished work and in His reconciling blood. Today we hear little of the blood atonement. We hear a great deal about the love of God and the mercy of God; but we have failed to remember that God’s mercy and His love could only be made possible upon the condition of meeting the price of sin, and the shedding of the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us, therefore continue to sing in the words of that beautiful hymn:

                        Saved by the blood of the Crucified One.

                                    Ransomed from sin and a new work begun.

                        Give praise to the Father, give praise to the Son;

                                    We are saved by the blood of the Crucified One.

- M. R. DeHaan M.D., The Tabernacle, pp. 131-132

            As we bring this study and our study of Christ in the Tabernacle to a close, let me make one more important point.  The Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat are missing and they may never be found.  They have been missing since the Babylonian invasion of the Southern Kingdom of Judah and since then, in the rebuilt temple and Herod’s temple during the time of Jesus, there was no ark in the temple.

            How can that be?  Because the Ark of the Covenant is no longer needed for us. Yes, God did dwell in the holy of holies above the mercy seat but today the dwelling of God is in the hearts of believing men and women! Yes, God’s presence fills the universe, no building can contain Him, but He did dwell in this tabernacle and He does dwell in us!

            We are told by Jesus in John 14:15-18, If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. You see, the Holy Spirit was alongside them drawing them to Christ and once a person comes to Jesus the Holy Spirit indwells them, God indwells them!

Paul makes that very point in I Corinthians 6:19-20 as he wrote, 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? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.”  Also, in II Corinthians 6:16 he tells us,And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’  And in I Corinthians 3:16-17 Paul once again tells us, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.  And in I Peter 2:5 Peter tells us, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

            Thus, if God is dwelling in us, if we are the temple or the tabernacle of God, then we need to let people see Jesus in us that they may come to know Him as Lord and Savior! As God’s glory, as the Shekinah glory filled the tabernacle, may it fill our lives also!

            Remember in Exodus chapter 33, after Israel sinned, broke the Law of God by making the golden calf to worship God by and the Lord was ready to wipe them out, destroy them, for that was the penalty for their sin!  But Moses interceded for them and fell upon the grace and mercy of God, and the people repented of their sin. And in Exodus 33:1-3 we are told, Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, “To your descendants I will give it.” And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.’

It sounds like a good deal, they would be brought into the land of Canaan, the Promise Land, their enemies would be driven out, the land would be very fruitful and then the catch. God was going to send and angel, He was not going to go with them!  When they heard that, when Moses heard that, they all were devastated by what the Lord had said. They did not want an angel to go with them, to go before them, to lead the way, they wanted the LORD, they wanted YAHWEH to go with them into the Promise Land.

And Moses told the Lord, and I will paraphrase, “Lord, we don’t want an angel to go before us, we want You! If you will not go with us, then we don’t want to go. Yes, You have blessed us and will bless us with many things, but apart from You they are empty, they are meaningless. So Lord, if you are not going to go with us, then we will not go at all!” And we are told in Exodus 33:14, And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’

What a blessing it must have been to hear those words, that the Lord was going to go with them. Yes, they saw that apart from the Lord they had nothing, but with the Lord they had all they would need. And yet, Moses was not satisfied with that, he wanted more. He wanted to see the glory of God, the CHABOD. And that Hebrew word speaks of that which is weighty, heavy, meaty you might say! Moses did not want the fluff, he wanted a deep relationship with the Lord, the heavy things, the weighty things and the Lord let him see his afterglow for that is all he was able to handle!

 Folks, may we desire that kind of relationship with God, not just the fluff, but to dig into His Word, to get to know Him more deeply, that we would grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And I hope you have enjoyed this journey as much as I have. It has been a blessing to see our Lord in the tabernacle and the picture the Holy Spirit has painted for us. We have come from sin to salvation, from broken fellowship with God to an intimate fellowship with Him all through the shed blood of Jesus Christ! We have seen the Lord in His glory!  And, in saying that, may we bring people to the Father through THE DOOR, JESUS CHRIST as the tabernacle has shown us!  For it is through Him, through His shed blood that the Father does not see us by the Law, but by his mercy and thus, we can boldly come into the holy of holies and fellowship with Him!  THAT IS CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE!

Audio download
Powered by: Preachitsuite