WHY STUDY THE TABERNACLE?
Many dismiss the study of the tabernacle as irrelevant, and others have made the study of 'Jewish' things the locus of their entire Christian experience. I hope to be balanced in my treatment of this subject. We study the Tabernacle because it points to Messiah; in the Tabernacle we see the plan of redemption laid out clearly. I pray that this series of posts will provide a fresh appreciation of our Triune God!
When the Lord created the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, He described this process in two chapters. The Tabernacle and the associated services take up more than fifty chapters in the Bible! A full 1/3 of the book of Hebrews is concerned with Tabernacle service. So we see that the Tabernacle was no ordinary building! God was adamant that Moses build the Tabernacle in a very specific fashion! In Exodus 25:9 we read these instructions to Moses -- "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... And again in Exodus 25:40 -- "And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain…” And on it goes throughout the construction of the Tabernacle, God is always reminding Moses to build everything according to the plan that he was shown on the mountain.
When did Moses get all of this divine insight into the construction of the Tabernacle? Many people think that Moses went up on Mount Sinai and came down with the Ten Commandments, two pieces of stone written on by the finger of God. While that is true, that is not all that he came down with; go and read through Exodus 19 – 25. Part of the information was the construction of the Tabernacle.
In Hebrews 9:19 - 24 we read -- For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you." Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…
Notice that the Tabernacle was a copy of the things in heaven -- keep that in mind as we examine the Tabernacle.
As we study through the Tabernacle, I pray that you are challenged to look afresh at God's plan of redemption. The Tabernacle, it’s utensils, and altars reflect aspects of the plan of God! This is why it was imperative that Moses built the Tabernacle exactly as shown on the mountain! The Tabernacle illustrated God’s redemption for His people and His dwelling with them. It also brought home the fact that no one could approach the Lord without their sins being dealt with. All of which points to the only pure sacrifice, the Messiah!
Through this series of posts I pray that we will be able to see the ‘forest’ of God’s plan. We can get so enamored with the 'trees' that we forget the fact that there is actually a forest of information in the Bible that all points in one direction. This is how we get some of the more bizarre theories that emanate from some pulpits. People don’t step back to take a look at the whole of God’s plan and get wrapped around the axle on the details of one or two passages of Scripture which validate their ‘pet’ theory. I have heard people teach on the tabernacle and attach no significance to the Tabernacle at all, and on the other hand, I have seen people who stretch for meaning in every number, letter, and detail while losing sight of the larger picture that is being taught. While I believe there is a tremendous amount of typology in the Tabernacle, I also know that this can be taken to extremes which are counter-intuitive to the text.
So let’s start at the beginning; Man and God met together in the Garden, you could say that God ‘dwelt’ with Adam. They had a face-to-face relationship, and because Adam was sinless he and God shared a relationship which was beyond our ken. In the midst of this Garden was a tree, the Tree of Life. Genesis 2:9 -- And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Adam and Eve enjoyed full fellowship with God, until one fateful day when the serpent deceived them and convinced them to eat of the Tree of Good and Evil. At this point, because of their disobedience to the Lord, Adam and Eve suddenly realized that they were naked, and cut off from the fellowship that they had enjoyed with the Lord. In Genesis 3:22–24 we read this -- Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"; therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Adam and Eve were banished not only from the Garden but from the intimate relationship that they had enjoyed with God. God prevented them, in His mercy, from eating of the Tree of life, causing them to live forever in a fallen state. Already at this point in the Bible we see God’s mercy and desire to bring the people back into a relationship with Him!
“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -
Thursday, June 29, 2006
WHY STUDY THE TABERNACLE?