Moses Part 15

Moses, the man of God

A study

Part 15

Details of the Dwelling place of God (Contd.)

Exo.25 – 31; 36 – 40

Let us continue to study some more details of the Tabernacle.

The Holy Place was not open to all. The priests alone were allowed to enter through the Outer Veil into the Holy Place. When we enter into the Holy Place, there we find three items of furniture. They are 1) the Golden Lampstand, 2) the Table of Showbread and 3) the Golden Altar of Incense.

The GOLDEN LAMPSTAND (Exo.25: 31-40, 37: 17-24)

The Lampstand was made of pure gold. A single piece of gold was beaten again and again by a skilled workman and was forged into this beautiful Lampstand. As soon as a priest enters the Holy Place his attention will first be drawn toward the Golden Lampstand because this was the only source of light in the Holy Place. This points to the Lord Jesus Christ who said, “I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 1: 4, 8: 12, 12: 46)

The Lampstand also speaks about our position in the presence of God. The Lampstand had branches and there were seven lamps on it. The lamps were filled with pure beaten olive OIL, which symbolises the Holy Spirit. (Exo.27: 20-21, Lev.24: 2, Zech.4: 1-6) So it is with the children of God who are intimately connected to the Lord and are obedient to Him: they will be filled with the Holy Spirit and will be lights in this world. (Matt.5: 14-16, Eph.5: 8)

The TABLE OF SHOWBREAD (Exo.25: 23-30, 37: 10-16, Lev.24: 5-9)

Opposite to the Golden Lampstand was the Table of Showbread. This table was made of shittim wood overlaid with pure gold. This speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ who was not only perfect human (wood) but also perfect divine (pure gold). The Showbread placed on it typifies the life-giving and life-sustaining Bread of Life. (John 6: 48) It is the “grain of wheat” (John 12: 24) ground in the mill of suffering (John 12: 27) and brought into the fire of judgement. (John 12: 31-33) The priests ate this bread in the Holy Place. Similarly we, as priests of God, feed upon Him by our meditation upon Christ. (Heb.12: 2, 3)

The Showbread also speaks about our position in the presence of God. On this Table lay 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of God’s people, Israel. There was a border of an handbreadth with a golden rim round about, like a protective shield encircling the loaves of bread. We are accepted in the presence of God because the Lord Jesus Christ carries us and intercedes for us. (Eph.1: 6, 1John 2: 1) We are also protected and preserved by His mighty hand. (John 10: 27-30)

The GOLDEN ALTAR OF INCENSE (Exo.30: 1-9, 37: 25-28)

Now when we look towards the Inner Veil, before one enters the Holy of Holies, we find the Golden Altar of Incense. Unlike the Brazen Altar in the Outer Court, no animal sacrifice was offered on this Golden Altar. Only sweet-smelling incense was offered on this Altar. The pleasant odour of the incense rose up to God. The Altar made of shittim wood overlaid with pure gold points to the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have boldness and access into the presence of God.

The INCENSE (Exo.30: 34-38) burnt on this Altar speaks of the Sacrifice of worship, praise, prayer and thanksgiving of the people of God. (Psa.141: 2, Rev.8: 3, 1Pet.2: 5, Heb.13: 15) Two things are important about this incense. Firstly, the specified spices are to be taken in the specified proportions and ground to very very fine powder and thoroughly mixed together. This shows that a broken and contrite heart alone can offer acceptable Sacrifice to God. (Psa.51: 17) If we can truthfully say that, “I am crucified with Christ… not I but Christ lives in me” we are acceptable in His presence. Secondly, God had strictly commanded that no one should make this particular incense for himself or for any other purpose. This incense should be used exclusively on the Golden Altar in the presence of God. This shows that our God is a jealous God and our worship and praise should bring all glory to Him alone. In our service to God we should not have any hidden motive of getting glory and honour or any benefit for ourselves or for any other person.

The ARK of the Covenant (Exo.25: 10-22, 37: 1-9, 40: 20, 21)

Beyond the Holy Place, in the Holy of Holies there was only one item of furniture and that was the Ark. This was also made of shittim wood and overlaid on the inside and the outside with pure gold. The Tables of Law were put inside the Ark. (Deut.10: 1-5) On top of it was placed a pure golden cover called the Mercy Seat. There were two cherubim beaten out of pure gold on the two ends of the Mercy Seat. The cherubim over-shadowing the Mercy Seat signified the holiness of the presence of God. The Tables of Law which were in the Ark appeared to accuse anyone who dares to approach the Ark. (Deut.31: 26) But the High Priest came within the Inner Veil on the Day of Atonement and sprinkled the atoning blood on the Mercy Seat. (Lev.16: 14) This blood was representing that the righteous sentence of the Law has been executed on a substitute, changing the Judgement Seat of God into a Mercy Seat. Thus the High Priest could commune with God face to face.

The Holy of Holies was the place where God dwelt in His glory. The High Priest alone could go beyond the Inner Veil, into the Holy of Holies, and that too only once a year. (Heb.9: 7) But at the very moment our Lord Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross, the Veil leading to the Holy of Holies was rent from top to bottom. (Matt.27: 50,51, Mark 15: 37, 38) This indicated that, because of the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf, God has opened the way, and now we can boldly come to the presence of God at any time. (Heb.10: 19,20) Now, for us, the Throne of Judgement has become the Throne of Grace.

FOUR COVERINGS

Over the Sanctuary, four large tent curtains were spread one over the other. Together they formed the roof of the Tabernacle. The FIRST covering (Exo.26: 1-6, 36: 8-13) was very beautifully made of fine-twined white linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet. These four colours reminded respectively about the holy, heavenly, wealthy and sacrificial natures of our Lord. The SECOND covering above the first one was made of Goat’s hair and this gave protection against all exterior influence and defilement. This also signifies separation for God, because such was the garment of the prophets. We as the children of God should be separated from the world and all its evil. (Exo.26: 7-13, 36: 14-18) The THIRD covering was of Ram’s skin dyed red. (Exo.26: 14, 36: 19) A Ram was sacrificed at the time of the consecration of the priests. (Exo.29: 19, 20) This sacrificial animal stands for the complete consecration of the Son to the Father. (Phil.2: 8) By this consecration we are made worthy to come to the presence of God. The FOURTH and outer covering was made of badgers’ skin. (Exo.26: 14, 36: 19) This does not look attractive. Similarly the meetings of the children of God, outwardly look very feeble and insignificant in their locality, but they possess the power of God and His presence is in their midst. (1Cor.1: 26-28)

HORNS and STAVES/POLES

Both the Brazen Altar and the Golden Altar had four HORNS on its four corners. These horns pointing toward heaven indicated that the sacrifices offered on them were offered to God, to be a sweet smelling saviour unto God.

The Altars, the Table, the Ark, etc. had four rings on each of them. For each of these items of furniture, two STAVES or POLES were made of shittim wood and overlaid with Gold. These Poles were kept inserted in the rings to bear these objects while traveling through the wilderness. According to God’s command all these objects were not to be carried on any cart or other vehicle, but were to be borne by the Levites on their shoulders. (Numb.4: 5-33, 1Chron.15: 13-15) This shows that God expects our humble, sincere, whole-hearted, personal involvement in the work of His Dwelling Place.

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