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Jesus and the Ark of the Covenant – Part 2

Read Jesus and the Ark of the Covenant – Part 1 here

The Altar & The Throne

Isaiah saw God’s Throne of holiness.

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-3

In the presence of the awesome holiness of God, Isaiah’s sinfulness was utterly exposed.  He stood naked before a Holy God.

“ So I said:  “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”  Isaiah 6:5

In the presence of God, our true state is exposed, just as Hebrews 4:13 says:

“And no creature is hidden from His sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”

Where we once considered ourselves as pretty ok or good enough, in the light of the glory of God, we see ourselves as we really are: sinful, sinners and deserving of hell.  I had this experience myself when I met the Lord.  For six months afterwards I felt the weight of my sin and sinfulness.  No matter how often I repented I couldn’t get rid of it.

In this place Death is certain, there is no way we can stand before a holy God.  Yet it is here that the Altar comes into operation.

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs

source. kenraggio.com

from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”  Isaiah 6:6, 7

The Throne of God in His holiness does not operate apart from the Altar.  It is by the Altar that we can make our approach to God, and it is by the Altar that His Throne reaches out to us in grace.

“The throne, in all its wonderful power, moves by way of the altar”.  T Austin Sparks

Grace works only through the shed blood of the cross (ie. altar)

 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:11-14

It is on the basis of the shed blood of Christ that we can now come in to God’s presence, and there is no other way.  After carrying my guilt for six months the Holy Spirit showed me that it is through the shed blood of Christ that my sins are forgiven and my guilt removed.  Once I received that revelation I knew I was forgiven and ‘the burden of my heart rolled away’.

Because of the shed blood of our Saviour, the throne of judgement becomes the throne of grace to all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“ 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

 

The Contents of the Ark & How They Reveal Christ

There were three items contained in the Ark:  the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the unbroken tables of the Law.

These items reveal not only Christ’s work, but also His very Personhood.

The Golden Pot of Manna:  reveals Christ as Prophet

The Manna in the wilderness was sent from heaven to feed God’s people.  Christ Himself is the true Bread of heaven, sent to feed the world.

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32, 33

He not only is the Bread of Life, but He also gives bread ie. The Word of God, to others as Prophet.

 

Aaron’s Rod that Budded: reveals Christ as Priest

As Aaron went in before God on behalf of the people, so too Christ our Great High Priest, goes before the Father on our behalf.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14

Just as Aaron presented the blood of the atonement before God and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat in the Tabernacle of Moses, so too has Christ, as our Priest, presented His blood before the Father in heaven and sprinkled it on the mercy seat there before God.  (see John 20:17 & Revelation 11:19)

Aaron’s rod budded and blossomed as proof that God had chosen him as High Priest in Israel (see Numbers 17).  The life which sprang from his dead rod is a picture of the resurrected Christ Himself.  Christ’s resurrection proves He is God’s chosen priest on behalf of sinful humanity.

 

The Tables of Law: reveal Christ as King

These were the two unbroken tables of Law.  The first two were broken by Moses when he found the people in the sin of idolatry.  These are a picture of humanity’s constant breaking of God’s law.

However the second set of tables were not broken, representing the one Man who never broke God’s law – Christ.  These tables of law were constantly in the midst of Israel as the standard God required. This is a picture of Christ as the holy standard.  He is the law-giver and the law-keeper.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Yet these tables of Law were under the blood.  The blood-stained mercy seat was above the Law and it was through the blood that God beheld the Law.

 

As we consider the timeless truths contained in the Tabernacle of Moses, let us be reminded that the way is open now in to the Holy of Holies for every believer in Christ.  No longer do we have to stay outside in the outer court, we are welcome to enter into the place of fellowship and commune with God around His table.  But let’s not stop even there, let us go on into that most intimate place with the Lord, the place of worship in the Holy of Holies.

“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, …” Hebrews 4:16

Because of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, we are able to approach a high and holy God, the God of Israel and know that He is delighted with us when we come to worship Him.  Let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, let us seek Him and spend time with Him, because the way through the Veil has been made at the expense of the Son of God’s life.  This is no trifling matter, but one of great importance and privilege.  Let us not squander so great a privilege but go in to the presence of the King and meet with Him there at the Mercy Seat.

Blessings in Christ,

Belinda


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Jesus and The Ark of the Covenant

Through the Veil, once a year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place, or the Holy of Holies.

Hands shaking slightly, trying not to spill the precious blood he carried with him in a vessel, the High Priest slowly pulled back the Veil. Immediately the brightness of the light from behind the Veil pierced through the opening.  He was standing in the Holy Place, the place that was lit by the seven lamps of the Golden Lampstand: the place where the gold panels on the walls caught the light of the Lampstand and the whole room shimmered around him. Yet the light that emanated from behind the Veil caused even the shimmering gold light around him to seem dark in comparison.

The radiance was almost palpable and it made him shake in fear.  The awesome presence behind the Veil was almost too much to bear.

 

How can we even put into words what the awesome Shekinah presence of God would have been like for the High Priest as he approached the Throne of God?

“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:34

 

The Holy of Holies

The Holy of Holies was the place of the awesome presence of God.  It was the place where He dwelt amongst His people, above the mercy seat, in between the Cherubim.

“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim…” Isaiah 37:16

It was a place of infinite holiness, the Throne of God’s majesty.   It was the place where none could enter, except the High Priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement, and not without blood.

From the sunshine of the Outer Court with its Brazen Altar and Brazen Laver: the place of judgment for sin, to the Holy Place which shimmered in the light of the Candlestick with its gold furniture: the place of fellowship with God.  Now to the Holy of Holies: the place that had no natural light and no lamp but was the brightest by far, and lit only by the glory of God Himself.  This was the place of worship.

“…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light…” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16

Here we stand finally before the most majestic piece of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses: the Ark of the Covenant.

 

The Ark of the Covenant, or the Ark of the Testimony

The Ark was the most majestic item of furniture in the Tabernacle.  This item not only speaks of Christ’s work in atonement, but of who He really is, ie His Personhood.

The Ark was a box made of Acacia wood, overlaid with gold. It measured 2.5 cubits in length, by 1.5 cubits in width and 1.5 cubits in height.

“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height.  And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around…. And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.” Exodus 25:10-16

The Ark was the same height as the grate on the Brazen Altar.  More on this later in the article.

This was the first piece of furniture, the very first item that God told Moses to make.

“In the beginning God…” Genesis 1:1

God begins with Himself, the place of His presence, because without Him all else is meaningless religion and ritual.

Once again Acacia wood of the Ark, overlaid with gold, reflects the dual nature of Christ, the God-Man: the incorruptible acacia wood, His sinless humanity; and the pure gold, His deity.

 

The Mercy Seat

On top of the Ark was the Mercy Seat.  It was sculpted of pure gold, with two Cherubim facing each other, wings outstretched.  The Mercy Seat covered the tablets of the Law which were contained within the Ark and was from where God met with Moses and spoke to him.

“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:17-22

 

The Mercy Seat & The Holiness of God

The Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies was the same height as the Brazen Altar’s grate in the Outer Court– 1 ½ cubits.

It is of divine importance that the altar where the blood was shed was the same height as where the blood was taken and sprinkled before God.

This is because the Ark of the Covenant was the earthly seat of God’s glory, His majesty and Almightiness. But more than that even, it was also the Throne of His holiness.  God is not only a potentate upon His throne ruling in absolute majesty because of His loftier position to all of creation, but He is the One who also has made a way of redemption from sin.  He is our Creator and He is our Holy Redeemer.

“Something has been done in relation to sin, which establishes that throne in holiness, and gives that throne a right, the right to judge sin.  It is not just the judgement of men as creatures under the hand of an Almighty God.  It is the judgement of a sinful state under a holy state” T Austin Sparks

God is ruling from His Throne in Holiness and Righteousness.  The basis of His judgment is within the contents of the Ark:  The Law.

To come into His presence is to meet the divine judgment of the Ten Commandments written on the two tablets of stone.  Since we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, this means certain death, for the “wages of sin is death”.  None can stand before the utter holiness of God.

Yet God in His mercy has provided a way.  Over the top of the tablets of Law is the golden Mercy Seat.

 

The Mercy Seat is a Picture of Christ Himself

The two Cherubim facing inward toward the mercy seat is a picture of the Godhead (or Trinity).  All of one piece of gold, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit facing towards the Mercy Seat, which is a picture of God the Son, Christ Jesus.

The word used in Hebrews 3:24 for “propitiation”

(“…Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith…” )

is “hilasterion” and is translated as “mercy seat” in Hebrews 9:5 :  “and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat…”

So the same word is translated both as “propitiation” and as “mercy seat”.

“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world… In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 John 2:2; 4:10 NASB)

Jesus Christ is the Mercy Seat, “the place of propitiation, or satisfaction, for our sins.” (Theodore H Epp)

Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would take the blood of the slain animal behind the Veil on the Day of Atonement.  He would sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat in the presence of God.

“He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.  Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins…” Leviticus 16:14-16

Because the Cherubim faced inwards towards the Mercy Seat, they were constantly looking upon the blood.  The holiness of God and the demands of the Law meant that to enter the presence of a holy God meant certain death for the wages of sin is death.

But the blood proved that someone had died for the broken law.  The death had to be an innocent substitute, someone who had not broken God’s law.  The death of the animal foreshadowing, of course, Christ’s substitutionary death for sinful humanity. This blood was what expiated the sin of Israel, because they could not meet the requirements of the Holy Law within the Ark and ultimately it was in Christ that justice received full payment. .  It was the blood-stained mercy seat that expiated God’s wrath against sin and meant that the High Priest could enter His presence, with the blood of the one who had died for sin.

 

To Remove the Mercy Seat Meant Certain Death

Therefore to remove the mercy seat meant certain death.  In 1 Samuel 6 the people of Beth Shemesh looked into the Ark after the Philistines returned it.  Removing the blood-stained mercy seat meant literally that mercy was removed and thus they were exposed to the Law and God’s judgment against sin.  The result was that God struck 50,070 men dead, because the “wages of sin is death.”

This foreshadows Christ as our Mercy Seat.  He met the demands of the Law of God and His blood was shed in our place.  To attempt to approach God apart from the work of His Son means certain death as our own righteousness is as filthy rags compared to His holy standard.  There is only one way into the Holy Place, the place of God’s Throne and that is to first come to the Brazen Altar, ie the cross.

 

Next post… The Ark of the Covenant continued: The Throne & the Altar and the Significance of the items contained within the Ark.


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Jesus Christ and the Veil

So far we have made our way through the Outer Court of the Tabernacle and into the golden fellowship of the Holy Place.

Now as we approach The Veil, illuminated by light of the Golden Candlestick, we feel a sense of awe, even fear. The inwrought Cherubim tower

source: blog.ninapaley.com

above us on the four meter high Veil as if to protect the Most Holy Place. On the other side of the Veil is the Ark of the Covenant – where the presence of God, or the Shekinah glory, dwells. The Ark of the Covenant was the throne of God on the earth and it was awesome in its majestic holiness.

But we will see the beauty and divine truths of the Veil too, of how once again it is a picture of God’s precious Son Jesus Christ and His work to remove the separation between God and man.

“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.” Hebrews 10:20

The Three Doors of the Tabernacle of Moses

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tabernacle of Moses contained three doors, one for each area of the Tabernacle:

  • The Gate –  the entry point into the Outer Court of the Tabernacle
  • The Door –  the entry point into the Holy Place; and
  • The Veil – the entry point into the Holy of Holies

 

Contrast Between the Door and the Veil

The Door The Veil

Provided access to fellowship with God Provided access to worship of God
No Cherubim embroidered on Door Cherubim embroidered on Veil
Door held up by 5 pillars Veil held up by 4 pillars
Set in brass sockets/foundations Set in silver sockets/foundations
Door for entrance into the Holy Place Veil to keep out from the Most Holy Place

 

Separation from God

In contrast to the Door as the access point into the Holy Place, the Veil was rather a curtain of exclusion. It was designed to keep anyone from entering the holy presence of God in the Holy of Holies and thus keep sinful man from polluting the Holy presence of God.

“…The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy.” Exodus 26:33

Only once a year on the Day of Atonement could one man, the High Priest, enter the Holy of Holies and not without blood. Therefore even the priests daily ministering unto the Lord within the Holy Place could not access the Most Holy Place through the Veil.

 

The Cherubim

The Veil had inwrought Cherubim on it. Cherubim are not merely angels, they are seen throughout scripture in relation to types of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Cherubim speak to us of the Holiness of God.

It is Cherubim that are wrought from the gold of the mercy seat and are thus overlooking the Ark of the Covenant.

It was Cherubim that guarded the Tree of Life with a flaming sword after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden.

And just as the Cherubim prohibited sinful man accessing the Tree of Life, so too they prohibit entry into the Holiness of God.

 

The Material of the Veil

“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, scarlet thread and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.” Exodus 26:31

The Veil was made of woven blue, purple, scarlet and white fine linen.

Four pillars supported the Veil. These were made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. The sockets for the door were made of silver.

 

Significance of the Materials

God specified the exact materials and proportions to Moses that were to be used in the Tabernacle, in order to convey eternal truths to us:

The Fabric

As Hebrews tells us that the Veil is a picture of Christ’s flesh, we see how the material used details divine truths of Him:

White fine linen- a picture of Christ’s righteousness

Blue – His heavenly nature

Scarlet – His sacrifice

Purple – His Kingly nature

 

The Four Pillars

Acacia wood overlaid with gold is such a beautiful picture of Christ. The incorruptibility and earthliness of acacia wood signified His incorruptible (sinless) human nature and the gold signified His heavenly divine nature. Both God and Man in the one Person.

Whereas the Door into the Holy Place had five pillars, the Veil was upheld by four pillars.

The four pillars represent the earthly ministry of Christ: when God came to earth in the flesh. The four gospels witness to His earthly ministry. Thus the four gospels uphold the earthly ministry of Jesus, as the four pillars uphold the Veil, “that is His flesh”. (Heb 10:20)

Sockets of Silver

The five pillars upholding the Door were founded in sockets of Brass, however, the four pillars upholding the Veil were in sockets of silver. Brass speaks of judgment, whereas silver speaks of redemption. The silver used to create these sockets would have come from the Israelites redemption money (Numbers 18:15, 16) and so the Veil literally stood in redemption metal.

 

The Significance of the Veil

The Veil as Separation

Thus we see the Veil’s effectiveness in keeping sinful man separated from a holy God. Sinful man could only enter through the Veil once a year on the Day of Atonement, with the blood of an animal shed as substitutionary atonement for the sin of the High Priest as well as Israel.

If any tried to enter the Most Holy Place by any other means than God’s proscribed way he would be struck down dead immediately.

 

The Veil as Intercessor (between God and man)

We see it is no trifling matter to approach God in His majestic holiness. We see He is to be approached with awesome reverence, something much of the professing Church is missing nowadays. To approach Him lightly is to make light of the blood of Christ. Just like the substitutionary animal, someone had to die for us to be able to approach the Throne of Grace. And not just anyone, God. God died so that we could approach Him.

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.” Isaiah 59:16

We see that as the Veil, Christ, as the second person of the Godhead, stands in the gap between Holy God and sinful man. We see that He is the way through to the Most Holy Place, the awesome majesty of God.

It is only through His torn flesh that we can approach God. It is through the blood that He shed on the cross that we can now come before the Throne of Grace.

 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…” Hebrews 10:19, 20

 

The Veil as a Picture of Jesus Christ

Jesus Himself said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

We must go through the Veil to approach the Father. Remember the Veil stood in redemption metal (silver) and so it is by personal faith in Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross that we are saved. There is no other way in to the Holy of Holies, no other door, no other Veil.

It was when Jesus died, and that Veil was torn from top to bottom, that the way was made open for sinful man to be able to enter God’s presence.

“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;…” Matthew 27:50, 51

Hallelujah! The separation between God and man is now removed in Christ and we have the privilege of being able to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

What an immeasurable honour that we can approach God now and boldly! That word “boldly” means “freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; openly, frankly, i.e without concealment; free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance”.

Because of Jesus Christ’s earthly work at the cross we can now approach God as a child approaches his father. We can go with full assurance that in Christ we are acceptable to Him. We will not be rejected because we are no longer sinful in His sight, but we are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Christ Jesus is truly our Great High Priest. He stood in the gap for us, He paid the penalty of sin for us and He made the way open for us. Hallelujah to the Lamb!

 

Belinda 🙂

 


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Jesus and the Table of Shewbread

The Table of Shewbread

hpIn the golden, glowing place of fellowship with God – the Holy Place – is a Table. The Table is laden with bread. It is a place of provision, a place of communion, a place where the priest meets with God and eats the bread in His presence. This is the Table of Shewbread.

No longer in the bright glare of the sun in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle of Moses, now we are in the room of gold. The Golden Lampstand is the only source of light here and casts the glow from its seven lamps over the Altar of Incense and the Table of Shewbread.

The Purpose of the Table

A table is a place to eat and to fellowship with others. A place to gather around to commune and to break bread together. In fact, tables hold great significance in life. The table is the place where family comes together to eat and to share in each others’ lives. Studies have been conducted demonstrating that children from families who eat together 4 or more times a week do better academically and emotionally. This is because around the table we are united, we communicate and we bond with each other. It is a place of security and stability for children and adults alike.

In the Tabernacle it is no different: the Table of Shewbread is the place where the priests were to gather together to eat the Bread of the Presence as one, in God’s presence. Remember the Table is in the Holy Place and the Holy Place is the place of Fellowship.

 

The Table – a Picture of Christ Jesus

table-of-showbreadThe Table of Shewbread, as with all of the other furniture in the Tabernacle, first and foremost points to Jesus Christ.

The Table was made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold.

Once again this reflects the dual nature of Christ, the God-Man: the incorruptible acacia wood, His sinless humanity; and the pure gold, His deity.

The table was the same height as the Brazen Altar’s grate in the Outer Court and the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place – 1 ½ cubits. We begin at the Judgment seat (the Brazen Altar: cross) so that we may come to the Table for fellowship with God and His Priests on the basis of the shed blood of the Mercy Seat.

The Table carries the bread – just as Jesus bears His people:

“He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom…” Isaiah 40:11

The Table had a gold moulding around the edge measuring one hand’s breadth with a gold crown on top.

The crown speaks of His Kingship. He is the King of Kings.

The gold moulding speaks of the protection of His people, a golden enclosure surrounds them. It measures one hands’ breadth: He holds His people in His hand.

 

The Bread – a Picture of Christ Jesus

The Shewbread, or Bread of the Presence, also points to Jesus Christ.

“Shew” means to “tell forth” or “declare”. Thus the Shewbread “tells forth” or bears witness to God’s Son, Jesus. See Jesus was never an after-thought nor Plan B, because God’s first plan didn’t work. No, Jesus was always God’s plan of redemption to a fallen world, (See Genesis 3:15). He is the only One, the Only Way and He has always been so. Thus the Old Covenant in the Old Testament tells forth of Him.

“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come– in the scroll of the book it is written of Me– to do Your will, O God.'” Hebrews 10:7

There were two piles of six unleavened loaves on the table.unleavened-bread

12 is the number that is used consistently in the Bible for Israel. It is also the number for Apostolic fullness and Governance (think of the 12 apostles and the 24 (12×2) thrones in Revelation 4:4.

How the bread was made – a process of death and suffering

Bread was made from fine flour. The flour was made from harvested wheat. The wheat had been alive and growing, but then the wheat was harvested and died in order to be ground to fine flour to become bread. This foreshadows Jesus’ suffering and death. Jesus was alive, but He suffered and was crushed under the weight of bearing the sin of the world. He died and by His death He gives life to the world.

The bread was unleavened = Jesus’ sinless nature

The bread was baked in fire. It was an offering to the Lord by fire: this also speaks of the sufferings of Christ and His obedience unto death.

The bread was perforated = Jesus was pierced and wounded

Frankincense was placed on each row of bread

Leviticus 24:7 “ And you shall put pure frankincense on each row…”

Incense always speaks of prayer and intercession. Remember the Altar of Incense was the place of intercession. So frankincense sprinkled over the Shewbread speaks of Jesus’ life of prayer and Intercession.

 

The Bread of Life

Of course Jesus Himself refers to Himself as the “Bread of Life” – John 6:32-35 & John 6:48-51

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry…” John 6:35

Jesus is the living bread – all who eat of Him will never die because He is life. Shewbread in its physical form was a picture of Him being the true, spiritual Bread of Life. Manna was also a picture of Him. The Manna and the Shewbread were simply shadows – He is the reality. He is the divine Bread sent from Heaven to provide the answer to sin, to provide life to us, to sustain us, to keep us, to fill us.

God has provided for us eternal bread. Those priests whom ate the Shewbread in the Tabernacle are now dead. So are those Israelites whom ate the Manna in the wilderness. But those who eat of Jesus will never die. He says

“Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:49-51

Just as the priests ate the Bread in the presence of God at the Table, so we too need to eat of Jesus regularly in God’s presence. This is not the Catholic false doctrine of the Eucharist – no – it is by eating of the Word of God in the light of the revelation of the Holy Spirit (the Golden Candlestick).

So we see that:

bible-cover-pageThe Shewbread is also a Picture of the Word of God

We are to daily eat the bread of the Word of God which reveals Jesus to us. Now we have the written Word which reveals to us the Living Word. The Shewbread was replaced regularly – we have to come to the Word of God regularly for fresh bread.  The Shewbread was covered in Frankincense, and we need to come to the Word of God in prayer.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

 

 

Drink Offering

There were also bowls, cups and pitchers on the Table of Shewbread. They were made of pure gold.

With the Shewbread the priests were commanded to offer a drink offering to the Lord – wine from the gold cups, pitchers.

This is a picture of Jesus’ shed blood being poured out for us.

So we see the Priests breaking the bread and eating it and pouring out the wine in the presence of God, in unity and as a witness to Christ.

 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:19,20jesus-last-supper

Of course this reminds us of New Covenant communion. This is where we gather around the Lord’s Table and eat the break and drink the cup to “shew forth the Lord’s death till He comes.”

1 Corinthians 11:26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you do shew forth the Lord’s death till He comes…”

Communion is the place where New Covenant believers gather together in the unity of the Holy Spirit in the presence of God and remember the Lord’s death. Once again we see those words “shew forth”. Communion is also a witness, a testimony, to what Jesus has done and that He is coming back soon. Praise the Lord!

 

The Table of Shewbread Also Points to You and Me

Now the Ministry of the Old Covenant priests reflect our ministry as New Covenant believers:

  • We are His priests
  • We are to have fellowship with Him
  • We are to daily eat the bread of the Word of God which reveals Jesus to us. Now we have the written Word which reveals to us the Living Word. The Shewbread was replaced regularly – we have to come to the Word of God regularly for fresh bread
  • Just as the Shewbread was covered in Frankincense, so we need to approach the Word of God prayerfully
  • Remember the Golden Lampstand illuminates the Holy Place – it sheds light on the Bread – the Word of God.  This is a picture of the Holy Spirit bringing revelation to us through the Word of God.
  • We are to come to His table in fellowship with Him and one another and have communion together to shew forth His death until He comes
  • But even more – we are now to share in His death and sufferings, we are to know Him and the fellowship of His sufferings. We are now to be broken bread and poured out wine to a dying world.
  • Paul said in 2 Timothy that his life is being poured out like a drink offering. We know that Jesus, the Table, will hold us and support us through it all.


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The Golden Lampstand and Fellowship with God

lampstandHere we are now in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Moses. No longer are we under the bright glare of the sun in the Outer Court and faced with the bronze furniture. (Remember: bronze = judgment) We now enter the soft, glow of the Holy Place. Here, as specified by God Himself, there are no windows and no natural light. The only light in this room emanates from the glow of the Golden Lampstand standing on the South side. It takes a while for the priests’ eyes to adjust, but once they do they behold a glowing golden room.

The acacia wood walls are lined with pure gold. The light from the pure gold Lampstand casts a glow on the Golden Altar of Incense and the Table of Showbread – both of which are acacia wood overlaid with gold.Heaven 4

Imagine the beauty of that room! The shimmering golden light radiating from the seven lamps of the Lampstand and bouncing off the gold walls and furniture. Truly this is a picture of the beauty of our fellowship with the Lord.

For surely, as the Outer Court was the place of the judgement for our sins, placed upon the lamb, the Holy Place is the place of our fellowship with God and our enjoyment of Him.

Fellowship with God

God does not intend for His people to stop outside in the Outer Court, He wants us to progress through into the place of fellowship with Him.

God’s intention has always been to have a people in right relationship with Him. He longs for those with whom He can share His heart, for those whom will pray His prayers and walk with Him in the glow of His light. God has so much to give of Himself and He is calling for a people who are willing to receive of Him.

Indeed, we see in John 1:14 that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”. When God sent His Son to earth it was to dwell amongst us. In fact it has always been God’s desire to dwell among His people.

The word “dwelt” here is the same as “tabernacled”.

Jesus2“The Word became flesh and “tabernacled” among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the only begotten Son….”

So when God gave Moses the instructions to build the Tabernacle it was in order that He would dwell amongst His People. Of course sin needed to be dealt with first, as it has been at the cross (the Brazen Altar in the Outer Court), and now God wants to dwell among His people to fellowship with them. In the Old Covenant He dwelt nationally amongst His people. In the New Covenant He dwells both individually in the believer and corporately in the Church.

The Purpose of the Golden Lampstand

The function of the Golden Lampstand in the Holy Place was to give light: to provide illumination for the priests as they ministered to the Lord. If the Lampstand had not been there it would have been pitch black and the priests wouldn’t have been able to carry out their ministry. God would never have us groping in the dark. He has provided His light to the Church, both in His Son Jesus Christ and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The Ministry of the Prieststabernacleholyplacerose

The priests entered the Holy Place twice daily to minister to the Lord:

    • To eat the showbread from the Table of showbread : The Showbread is both a picture of the Word of God and the Bread of God who came from Heaven to give life to the world : Jesus Christ Himself
    • To top up oil in the lamps of the Golden Lampstand : The oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit
    • To burn incense at the Golden Altar of Incense: The Altar of Incense is a picture of prayer and intercession

The Lampstand is a Picture of Jesus

The Lampstand Jesus Christ
The only light source in the Holy Place Jesus is the light of the world. John 8:12
Was made of pure gold. Gold = deity Jesus is God. He is deity, divine, the second person of the Godhead. John 1:1
The gold was hammered and beaten into shape Shows the sufferings of Christ. Isaiah 53:5
The Lampstand had seven branches Jesus has the 7-fold spirit of God. Isaiah 11:1-2; Rev 3:1, 4:5
Was decorated with almond blossoms and almonds The almond tree was the first to blossom after winter in Israel. This speaks of the resurrection of Christ.
No natural light in the Holy Place The natural, fleshly man can’t see His deity. It has to be revealed (illuminated) to us by the Holy Spirit.

 

The Lampstand is Also a Picture of the Holy Spirit

It illuminates the Table of Showbread 1.       Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us as the Bread of Life. John 6:35

2.       Holy Spirit illuminates the Word of God. Matthew 4:4

It illuminates the Altar of Incense The Holy Spirit leads us to prayer, and prompts us to pray and intercede according to God’s will. Romans 8:26
It had seven branches 7-fold Spirit of God. Isaiah 11:1-2; Rev 3:1, 4:5
It illuminated the Altar of Incense and the Table of Showbread in order that the priests could fellowship with and minister to the Lord The Holy Spirit leads us to prayer and reading the Word in order that we can fellowship with and minister to the Lord, as His “royal priesthood”. 1 Peter 2:9

 

How to Have Fellowship with GodIMG_5175

And so we see that just as God provided the Golden Lampstand to the priests of the Old Covenant, in order to fellowship with Him, so too has He provided us, the Church, with Light so that we too can have fellowship with Him. Firstly through the Light of the World, the person of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind. And secondly through the ministry of the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows us how to have fellowship with God – it is through the eating of the Bread (the Word of God) and ministering at the Golden Altar of Incense (prayer). In fact, God’s way hasn’t changed. It is only through His Son, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, that any fellowship with God is possible at all. Once we are put back into right relationship with God through Jesus’ shed blood, then the Holy Spirit leads us to prayer and the Word.

prayer bibleThere is not some new or secret way to fellowship with God. It is simply through spending time with Him in our prayer closets, with the Word of God and our hearts open ready to receive of Him.

 

May our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ bless you!


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Jesus and the Golden Lampstand

TabernacleLeaving the Outer Court of the Tabernacle of Moses, we now enter the Holy Place, the place of fellowship with God.

 

The contrast between the Holy Place and the Outer Court is immediately apparent.

 

The Outer Court The Holy Place
The Outer Court is outside, lit by the daylight. The Holy Place is enclosed, lit only by the Golden Lampstand

 

The furniture is made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze The Holy Place’s furniture is made of gold or acacia wood overlaid with gold

 

The Israelites were free to bring offerings here Only the priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place to minister to God and for fellowship with Him.

 

hpThe Holy Place

Imagine stepping from the daylight, through the heavy door and into the Holy Place. Here there was no daylight, only the light from the beautiful golden candlestick to your left casting a soft glow over the Golden Altar in front of you and the Table of Showbread to your right.

It takes a moment for your eyes to adjust but when they do, you see that it is positively luminous within the Holy Place. Everything is shimmering gold, reflecting the light of the candlestick. In fact the wood-panelled walls are overlaid with gold and so the whole room seems to glow in the soft, golden light.

The Golden Lampstand

The Golden Lampstand was made from solid gold. It was not cast in a mould, neither was it made from acacia wood overlaid with gold. It was hammered from one piece of pure gold. The only other piece of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses that was made of pure gold was the Mercy Seat with Cherubim, which was in the Most Holy Place.

“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, lampstandits branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece….It shall be made of a talent of pure gold” Exodus 25:31, 39

 

The Beauty of the Lampstand

The Lampstand had a main shaft with six branches protruding out of it, three on each side. At the top of each branch was a small gold bowl in the shape of almond blossoms which held the olive oil for burning. So in total there were seven branches and seven bowls. Each branch had ornamental knobs and flowers hammered into it.

And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.  Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand.  On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower.  And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand.  Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold.  You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold.  It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils.”

What a stunning piece of artwork! God certainly doesn’t do anything by halves, He is the ultimate artisan. And He is still creating beautiful artworks today in His church, ie, you and me.

Of course, not only was this lampstand beautiful, but it also shows forth significant truths.

 

How the Materials of the Lampstand Point to Christ

As we have seen from our previous studies, every single item contained within the Tabernacle had a purpose and a divine pattern. God uses the Tabernacle to reveal His precious Son; and the Golden Lampstand’s purpose is no different.

Gold: always points to deity/divinity. This shows us the divinity of Christ. The Lampstand was made of one piece of gold and hammered into shape.

Hammered: the hammering of the gold points to the sufferings of Christ

Seven: is the number of divine perfection/completion. It is the number given to the Holy Spirit, ie. “The seven spirits of God” (Rev 1:4; Rev 4:5, Isaiah 11:2-3) whom Jesus has, “He who has the seven Spirits of God…” Revelation 3:1

Almond blossom: were hammered into shape on the branches of the lampstand. The significance of the almond is also pictured in the story of the blossoming of Aaron’s rod in Numbers 17.

 

The Significance of the Almond Blossomalmond blossom

Moses’ brother Aaron was the High Priest of Israel. This was a position to which God Himself called Aaron. When others rebelled and contested Aaron’s High Priestly role, God commanded Moses to :

“Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod. And you shall write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father’s house.  Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom” Numbers 17:1-5

The next day it was Aaron’s rod that had “sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.” Numbers 17:8

The miracle of a long dead piece of wooden rod sprouting new life was God’s confirmation to all of Israel that Aaron was the man he had endorsed to be in the High Priestly role.

But this miracle pointed to something even more significant.

Aaron as High Priest of the Old Covenant foreshadows Christ as our great High Priest now in the New Covenant:

“…We have such a high Priest who is seated at the right had of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected and not man.” Hebrews 8:1,2

Jesus is the Man whom God has ordained to be His Great High Priest. And God’s approval of Aaron’s High Priestly role foreshadows His endorsement of Christ’s High Priestly role. That is, through the resurrection.

You see, the almond tree was the first to blossom in Israel after the cold, winter months. The first tree to bring forth life from death. So Aaron’s dead rod physically brought forth life from death to show God’s approval of him. And of course, the anti-type is God raising Christ physically from the dead after His sufferings, being God’s ultimate seal of approval.

jesus tombThe Golden Lampstand’s branches have almond blossoms beaten into their golden shape to show forth Christ’s resurrection from the dead after His sufferings.

 

Next ….

 

 

 


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Jesus and the Door to the Holy Place

The Tabernacle of Moses contained three doors:Tabernacle

  • The Gate –  the entry point into the Outer Court of the Tabernacle
  • The Door –  the entry point into the Holy Place; and
  • The Veil – the entry point into the Holy of Holies

It will come as no surprise to the student of the Word that each door represents Christ Jesus Himself, He whom called Himself “the Door”.

“I am the door, whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:9

It’s all about Jesus. The study of the Tabernacle is simple when you realise it is all a testimony to God’s beloved Son. It is also a teaching tool He has given us to show us many wonderful truths about Christ and about us, the Church.

Previously we have looked at the Gate and the furniture in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle: the Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver.

moses tab- revised

Now we will look at the Door, which was the barrier between the Outer Court of the Tabernacle and the Holy Place.

 

 

 

 

Contrast Between the Door and the Veil

The Doordoor The Veilveil
Provided access to fellowship with God Provided access to worship of God
No Cherubim embroidered on Door Cherubim embroidered on Veil
Door held up by 5 pillars Veil held up by 4 pillars
Set in brass sockets/foundations Set in silver sockets/foundations
Door for entrance into the Holy Place Veil to keep out from the Most Holy Place

 

Materials of the Door

The Door was made of woven blue, purple, scarlet and white fine linen.door

Five pillars supported the Door. These were made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. The sockets for the door were made of brass.

 

Significance of the Materials

God specified the exact materials and proportions to Moses that were to be used in the Tabernacle, in order to convey eternal truths to us:

  • The Five Pillars

Acacia wood overlaid with gold is such a beautiful picture of Christ. The incorruptibility and earthliness of acacia wood signified His incorruptible (sinless) human nature and the gold signified His heavenly divine nature. Both God and Man in the one Person.

So we see that the five pillars point to Christ.

“He….upholds (the door) Himself as He invites every qualified person to enter for priestly privileges.” Portraits of Christ in the Tabernacle, Theodore H Epp.

Five is the number of grace.

In the Outer Court brass is the main material used, as seen in the Brazen Altar and Laver (brass signifying God’s judgment). However in the Holy Place it is a very different case. Gold is used extensively in the Holy Place and here, in the pillars of the Door accessing the Holy Place, we see for the first time the use of gold.

  • The Fabric

White fine linen- a picture of Christ’s righteousness

Blue – His heavenly nature

Scarlet – His sacrifice

Purple – His Kingly nature

  • The Brass Sockets

Brass always signifies God’s judgment and is used only in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle.

Remember that we are at the point in between the Outer Court and the Holy Place.  So while the five pillars point to Jesus in His dual-nature of God and Man, they also point to judgment (brass) and grace (five). There was only one place where God’s judgment and His mercy/grace met – and that is the cross of Jesus Christ.

As we saw in the study of the Brazen Altar, Christ took the judgment for our sin upon Himself at the cross. So now as we pass through this Door into the Holy Place we see once again that the only way to enter fellowship with God is through the atoning work of His Son at Calvary.

“I am the Way…..No one comes to the Father but through me.”

To approach the Father is only possible through the one Door, Jesus Christ.

 

The Purpose of the Door

doorImagine standing at the Brazen Altar or the Laver in the Outer Court and looking up at this Door. The brilliant colours of the fabric intricately woven together, the sunlight catching the light on the gold of the pillars holding up the fabric. Surely the beauty of that door would have caused the average Israelite to catch their breath and wonder what was beyond. The gold hinted at the beauty of the fellowship available to the priests beyond the door.

But the average Israelite would never enter the Holy Place. The door shut off the Holy Place from the Outer Court of the Tabernacle. While the Israelites were free to come into the Outer Court to bring offerings, it was only the priests who were allowed to enter the Holy Place to minister to the Lord and for fellowship with Him.

Primarily though, in contrast to the Veil, the Door was a place of entrance, but only for those qualified – the priests.

 

The Priesthood

Twice daily the priests entered the Holy Place through this door to tend the lamps of the Golden Lampstand, to burn incense on the Golden Altar and to eat of the bread from the Table of Shewbread.tabernacleholyplacerose

However today we are in the New Covenant and the Bible says that all believers today are a “royal priesthood” (1Peter 2:9).

So we now have the privilege of entering through the Door (Jesus Christ) into the presence of God for fellowship. Once our relationship has been established through our faith in the finished work of Christ at Calvary (the brazen Altar) and we have been cleansed by the Word (the brazen Laver) we do not have to stay shut out in the Outer Court wondering about the beauty of the Holy Place. We each have the privilege and responsibility of entering into fellowship with God in the Holy Place.  We each have the joy of moving onward from the brass (judgment) of the Outer Court, where Jesus took the judgment for our sins, and into the gold of getting to know our wonderful Saviour.

The priests daily entered into the Holy Place for fellowship with God. It may be asked – do we also enter the Holy Place daily for fellowship with God?

Are we still out in the Outer Court or have we moved forward into fellowship with God?

 

The next few posts will be focussed on the furniture of the Holy Place and the wonderful truths they convey:

  • The Golden Lampstand

    source: blog.ninapaley.com

    source: blog.ninapaley.com

  • The Golden Altar and
  • The Table of Shewbread.