I am truly so excited about this that I could pop! I told you yesterday that we would, remarkably, start at the beginning. It’s the first time God has asked His people to build for him a place to dwell.
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” Exodus 25:8
Let’s break down some words just so we’re all on the same page.
Sanctuary literally means “holy place,” or “place set apart.” He was serious about this being His place.
Tabernacle literally means “dwelling place” signifying the place where God dwells among his people.
Those two words will become very familiar to us and will, in fact, become very precious to us as we learn more. Of course, the tabernacle becomes the Temple further down the calendar, but we’ll get to that!
The tabernacle was a sight to behold! It was massive and, would you believe, mobile. They could break that sucker down faster than a traveling circus caught in thunderstorm!
Because I’m no architect and can’t explain what it looked like, I’m going to show you a picture.
It had that outer court for any Joe to enter. The inner court was for priests only. And the Holy of Holies, well, that was reserved for the High Priest and only once a year.
This was the first place God chose to make His dwelling. Think about it. God came down and dwelt in that! He would come down into the Holy of Holies, the deepest most sacred place of the entire tabernacle. There, the ones who were allowed, would meet their Maker. The Tabernacle would be covered in the shekinhah glory of God, which meant that His actual glory, would fall on that place.
I’m sure it was a magnificent. THE place that God would descend and talk to His peeps was surely a wonder.
Let me give you the kind of run down that people want when it comes to what was in the Tabernacle. Not that it’s boring, but the Bible already does a bang up job at the details, so I’ll give you the sum up.
You can find all of this in Exodus chapters 25-30. Take note that each of these things is a picture of all that will be revealed in heaven. God does nothing haphazardly. And as the days follow, we’ll get into a little bit more of what these things mean for New Testament, new covenant followers of Jesus.
If you want a super duper explanation and description of all this go here.
The Ark: Oh man, this was the most precious thing in the tabernacle. This sucker killed people, won battles, was the political power of the King, represented the presence of the Lord, and to this day, is a mystery. Okay, it was God that killed people and won battles, but you get the idea. It looked something like this...
And in it was the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s staff, and manna. It had an Atonement Cover that was it’s top so, it was the very place where God’s justice and judgment of sin was satisfied.
The Table: This held the Bread of the Presence. This bread represented a perpetual bread offering to the Lord by which Israel declared that she consecrated to God the fruits of her labors, and by which she at the same time acknowledged that all such fruit had been hers only by God’s blessing.1
The Lampstand: I love this one! You’re going to too! Picture a menorah and you’ve got it. The lamps were to burn all night in the tabernacle, tended by the priests oil for the lamps was to be supplied by the people; the light from the lamps represented the glory of the Lord reflected in the consecrated lives of the Israelites – Israel’s glory answering to God’s glory in the tabernacle.2 Can you see why I love this one?!
Altar of Burnt Offering: kind of self explanatory
Altar of Incense: the fragrant smoke symbolized the prayers of God’s people. This is so good. It was placed “in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony – before the atonement cover that is over the Testimony – where I will meet you” Ex. 30:6.
Basin for Washing: Gotta wash up in the Holy place.
I read somewhere that in today’s estimation, it would be about $12,000,000. That’s twelve million. Dude.
Okay, my Sassy Sisters, that’s all for today. Now, I won't leave you hanging with all this. There is a point I will make soon enough. But, for now, take time to jump into the Old Testament. Exodus is a good place to start for where we all are together. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see this wonderful connection between the Old and the New. It is so good.
See you tomorrow!
1The NIV Study Bible, Study Notes, pg. 123. Zondervan 1985.
2 Ibid. pg. 125.