Tabernacle Symbolism
(A Picture of Christ in the Old Testament –
Illustrating How He Alone is the Way to the Father)
Introduction:  Our biblical authority for seeing Jesus prefigured in the Tabernacle are
the very words of Christ himself -- spoken to Cleopas and the other disciple who were
making their way to Emmaus:  “He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of
heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken!  Did not the Christ have to suffer these
things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He
explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”  “He said to
them, ‘Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the
Prophets and the Psalms.’  Then He opened their minds so they could understand the
Scriptures.  He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the
dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his
name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’”, Lk. 24:25-27, 45-48.  
Whether it is the Pentateuch, the Writings, the major or minor Prophets, Jesus Christ is
the main prophetic figure.  There is little doubt that God designed the Tabernacle/Temple
to symbolize the way Christ opens our way to the Throne of God – especially when you
notice how specific are the instructions God gave to Moses: “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.”  “See that you make them according
to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”, Ex. 25:9, 40. 
Lest one might think the text is being made to symbolize something it was not meant to
do, Hebrews chapter eight makes the symbolism crystal clear: “They (the priests) serve at
a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.  This is why Moses was
warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’”, Hebrews 8:5.
Therefore, this study will show that our approach to the Throne of God – made possible
through the sacrifice of Christ – is beautifully symbolized by the Tabernacle design:
“Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus,
the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high
priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been
tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the
throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help
Us in our time of need.”, Hebrews 4:14-16.
As we move through the Tabernacle with Jesus Christ our High Priest – through the Holy
Place on to the Most Holy Place (symbolic of heaven) -- we will see how the Laver, the
Altar, the Candlestick, the Bread of Presence, the Incense Altar and the Veil all lead to
the Ark – symbolizing the very Throne of Grace – our access make possible only through
Christ.
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Cleansed Forever
Text: Ex. 30:17-21; Heb. 10:19-22
Introduction: Let’s imagine what we might call “detergents” people have invented to try
to rid themselves of the stains of guilt and sin.  One we might call, Mind over Matter. 
We just determine in our minds that sin and evil do not exist!  (Some Eastern religions
operate in exactly this way.)  Another might have the name, I’m OK, You’re OK.  Denial
-- plain and simple.  A third we could call, Another World.  This involves withdrawal
deep within ourselves -- into a private world isolated from reality.  (Mental illness thrives
in this environment.)  The trouble with these detergents of our own making is plain to see: 
the sin and guilt is never really cleansed!  There is only one perfect formula – the blood
of Jesus Christ!  The life is in the blood, Lev. 17:11, and only his perfect life given for
ours can forever clean away sin and guilt -- which is impossible to cleanse by any other
means/“detergent.”  
Standing together with the bronze altar in front of the Tabernacle was found the bronze
laver.  Symbolically, the water in this laver could be understood as having represented the
cleansing blood of Christ.
God’s Picture of Cleansing from Sin and Guilt in the Old Testament, Ex. 30:17-22.
  A.  Every priest who entered the Tabernacle had to wash his hands and feet using water
        from the laver.  Failure to do so meant death!  Also, no sacrifice could be made
        without washing first.  
Information:  Ritual washings are part of both Jewish and Muslim ceremonial religion. 
For example, both religions have water available for worshippers at the Temple Mount. 
Ancient ritual baths cut in stone can be found throughout the Israel – called mikvot.
  B.  In other words, only that which was clean could enter into the presence of the living
       God!
Application: This was a continuous part of Tabernacle ritual.  Obviously, these washings
were not sufficient to do the job since they had to be repeated; however, they did look
forward to the blood of Christ which initially saves and cleanses us – and then
continually purifies us.  Thus we can enter into the presence of God Himself!  No further
ritual baths are needed.
God’s New Testament Fulfillment of that Picture in the Blood of Christ,        
Hebrews 10:19-22.
  A.  We can now draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith because
        our hearts have been cleansed with the blood of Christ!
  B.  The “dirt” of our guilt has been washed away once and for all!  Praise God!!
  C.  When does this happen?  “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal
        by the Holy Spirit.”, Titus 3:5.  It happens when we believe Jesus Christ died in our
        place for our sins.
  D.  And his cleansing keeps on working!  John put it this way: “But if we walk in the
        light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of
        Jesus, his Son, purifies (keeps on purifying) us from all sin.”, I Jn. 1:7.
Conclusion:  In Shakespeare’s well-known play, McBeth, after McBeth is encouraged by
his wife to murder King Duncan in order to assume the monarchy, both cannot cleanse
themselves from the resultant sin and guilt.  “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this
blood from my hand?”, laments McBeth, and Lady McBeth cries out in mental anguish:
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”  No psychology – no
mental tricks/”detergents” can cleanse from sin.  The old hymnwriter had it right: “What
can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!  What can make me whole again? 
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!  O, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. 
No other fount I know.  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!”
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Altering Our Concept of Altars
Text: Ex. 27:1-8; Romans 12:1
Introduction: Growing up I often heard about the altar in church and saw it every
Sunday during worship.  It was a beautiful marble structure built at the end of the chancel
draped with brightly colored cloths regularly changed to represent various seasons of the
church year.  It was toward the altar the minister prayed, and it was on the altar offerings
were placed.  For every service candles were lit on the altar which further added to the
solemnity of the place.  Indeed, that altar was really a focus of worship.
No doubt I was impressed with the stateliness of it all, and the altar did lend an aura of
quietness and respect.  However, as I grew older and had the opportunity to study
Scripture in depth, I came to see altars as an anachronism.  With Jesus’ final sacrifice on
the Cross – the fulfillment of altar symbolism in the Old Testament – altars in Christian
churches are really superfluous.  His work is finished; therefore, through Christ we come
directly to the God’s Throne to find grace in time of need.  The Veil is torn in two.
Tabernacle and Temple ceremony is now completed in Christ.  Altars are a thing of the
past.
The Tabernacle altar, about seven and one-half feet square and about four and one-half
feet tall, was a focal point of ancient Hebrew worship.  This magnificent bronze structure
was the place to which worshippers brought their animals to be sacrificed.  Although
these sacrifices never took away sin, ancient Hebrews knew the penalty for sin was death. 
As a picture of Christ’s final sacrifice, sin and guilt was ceremonially transferred to the
animal.  As soon as Jesus Christ died for the sins of all people for all time, altars and
sacrifices were no longer necessary!  Indeed, as Hebrews puts it, “…there is no longer
any sacrifice for sin.”, Heb. 10:18b.  And quite obviously, if there is no longer any
sacrifice for sin, there is no longer any altar on which the sacrifice is to be placed!  (Sadly,
this truth is lost on our Roman Catholic friends who believe Christ is still sacrificed anew
during each celebration of the Mass.)
Although Jesus Christ is the last and final sacrifice for sin, the Word of God does teach
the necessity of sacrifice on our part – in loving gratitude for his sacrifice on our behalf!  
These sacrifices by no means take away sin, but they do show we have by faith received  
the sacrifice of Jesus in our place.
What, then, are the sacrifices our Lord expects of us in the light of his sacrifice for us?  
The sacrifice of ourselves, Rom. 12:1; II Cor. 8:5; I Peter 2:5
  A.  In the light of God’s mercy shown to us in Christ, we are commanded to keep on
       offering ourselves to God.
  B.  Not as some Old Testament animal devoid of life – but as a living sacrifice.
  C.  This sacrifice is holy and pleasing to God.
  D.  It is our spiritual (reasonable) worship (service).
The results of our sacrifice
  A.  Praise!  Heb. 13:15
  B.  Doing good and sharing with others, Heb. 13:16
Conclusion: Eph. 5:1-2 sums it up so well: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly
beloved children and live a life of love (giving sacrifice), just a Christ loved us and gave
himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  As living sacrifices we
have the tendency to avoid anything sacrificial by attempting to exit our altar of service. 
We know we ought to have an attitude of giving, sacrificial love in every situation of life,
but at times we hold back!  Just think – if Jesus had held back from offering his all on the
Cross/Altar, what hope of sins forgiven and hope of eternal life would be have?
Do we still have altars and sacrifices?  Not for sin.  Jesus took care of that once and for
all!  We are, however, commanded to be living sacrifices – imitators of God – and so we
will be if we have truly received the sacrifice of Christ by faith!
What beautiful words from the hymn, “Spirit of God Descend Upon my Heart”:
  “My heart an altar and thy love the flame.”
“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa.  Can
that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owed
to our God – which we can never repay?  Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward
in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and the bright hope
of a glorious destiny hereafter?  I never made a sacrifice.”
                                                                                                       David Livingstone
Bread of His Presence
Texts: Ex. 25:23-30; Lev. 24:5-9; John 6
Introduction: In many homes nowadays baking bread is a lost art.  It’s so much easier
just to go out and buy the bread we need.  But for the Tabernacle, can you imagine
having to bake twelve large loaves every week – each requiring sixteen cups of flour? 
This was God’s requirement!  Why was this Bread of the Presence baked fresh for each
Sabbath without fail?
Nowhere in Scripture do we have a definitive answer to this question, but since Jesus
claimed the entire Old Testment speaks of Him, (cf. Lk. 24:27,44), we can surmise that
the Bread of the Presence looked forward to Him – the Bread of Life, (cf. John 6:35). 
There are some fascinating comparisons.
The Bread of the Presence was to be regularly prepared, Ex. 25:30.
  A.  The Presence of Christ could be inferred, cf. Mt. 1:23; 28:20.
  B.  The Presence of Christ is carefully taught by our Lord as recorded in John 6.
       1.  After Jesus fed the 5000 men plus women and children, the crowd wanted to 
            forceably make Jesus their king because He could fill their stomachs, Jn. 6:14-15.
       
Illustration: The public hasn’t changed much!
       2.  Then the crowd followed Jesus to the other side of the Sea of Galilee because they
            couldn’t forget the free food, Jn. 6:26!
       3.  Jesus taught them to desire a food that doesn’t decay – one that keeps on
            nourishing and satisfying for all eternity – Himself, Jn. 6:27!
Illustration: Jesus loved to teach by moving from the physical to the spiritual.  Compare
physical to spiritual birth in Jn. 3 – also physical to spiritual water in Jn. 4.
       4.  The Savior goes on to openly declare He is that Bread which will eternally satisfy
            the deepest needs of all who would “come” to Him, “believe” in Him, “look” to
            Him and “feed on Him, Jn. 6:35, 40, 50, 53-58.
The Bread of the Presence was to be regularly eaten, Lev. 24:9
  A.  Obviously those twelve loaves couldn’t nourish and satisfy the priests unless they
        ate them!
  B.  And do it is with us.  He’s always there, but if we do not continually avail ourselves
        of his Presence, (i.e. “come,” “believe,” “look,” and “eat”) we will go hungry!
Application: When we initially “feed” on Christ, (i.e. when we believe He died in our
place for our sins), we enter into eternal life at that moment; however, we cannot grow in
our relationship with the Father unless we continually hunger and thirst after his Son –
our Bread of Life!  The more we “eat” of that Bread the closer we draw to the Throne of
the Father – and the more holy (set apart) we are in his service.
Conclusion: Throughout the centuries some have tried to convince believers that
eternal life is received in a physical manner – by some physical/sacramental means.  This
is never the case!  Our life in Christ cannot be received physically.  That is why Jesus
equated the commands “come,” “believe,” “look,” and “eat,” in Jn. 6.  Each of these
commands have the same meaning – believe!  Spiritual life must always be received
spiritually by faith!  For this reason, the Lord’s Supper means nothing unless we have
first believed that Jesus alone can satisfy our deepest needs.  He never fails to be there,
and there is always more than enough of Him to meet the continual hunger and thirst
within all of us for the living God!
“We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread, and long to feast upon Thee still.  We drink of
Thee, the Fountainhead, and thirst our souls from Thee to fill.”
            Attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) and translated by Ray Palmer
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Eternal Flame
Text:  Ex. 25:31-40, 27:20-21; John 1:4-9, 3:19-21, 8:12, 12:46, Mt. 5:14-16
Introduction: For our Jewish friends the end of the year is quite special.  Rosh
Hashanah, “Head of the Year,” is observed at the beginning of October – the start of the
Hebrew religious year.  Yom Kippur, “Day of Atonement,” takes place around the middle
of October.  Then Hanukkah is celebrated near the end of December – the Feast of Lights
remembering the victory of the Maccabees (Hasmoneans) over Seleucid Greeks in 164
BC – and subsequently the cleansing and rededication of the defiled Temple and altar.  At
this time Jewish families light candles on a Menorah, a nine-branched lampstand
patterned after the one found on the left side of the Most Holy Place as one would face
the Most Holy Place toward the east.  (No synagogue or Hebrew home would have a
seven-branched candlestick since it is reserved only for the third Temple yet to be built.)
What most of our Jewish friends fail to see is the prophetic place of the Menorah in the
Tabernacle as it prefigures our Lord Jesus, the Light of the World -- the Messiah!  Indeed,
the entire Old Testment looks forward to Him, cf. Lk. 24:44-48.
Jesus’ light is perfect
  A.  Seven being the perfect biblical number, we understand the perfection of Christ our
        Light!  
        1.  Only the finest, clear olive oil could be used for the lamps in order to give a clear,
             smokeless flame, Ex. 27:20.
        2.  So it was that John wrote: “The true light that gives light to every man was
             coming into the world.”, Jn. 1:9.  All other lights have been imperfect, but the
             light of Jesus is perfection!
  B.  Christ’s perfection is not only the standard for all people, but it is also the strength of
        the believer, cf. Jn. 3:19-21!
       1.  Those who do evil hate the bright light of Christ and are exposed by it.
       2.  Those who do good live by the power of that light.
Jesus’ light is perpetual
A.  During the hours of darkness the lamps were never to be extinguished, Ex. 27:21.
  B.  So the source and power of Jesus’ light is inexhaustible for us in a world of darkness.
       1.  Jesus promises truth to us: “I am the Light of the World.  Whoever follows Me
            will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”, Jn. 8:12.
       2.  When we believe in Him who is light -- we do not remain in darkness, Jn. 12:46.
Jesus’ Light is passed on
   A.  When Jesus’ light is in us we are to let it shine in this world, Mt. 5:14-16.
    B.   When Jesus’ light is in us we have a sacred trust to pass it on, Rev. 2:1-7.
         1.  God thinks of his people as lampstands, Rev. 1:20.
         2.  If the light goes out, tragically it shows we have forsaken our first love, 
              Rev. 2:4-5
         3.  God wants the light of the glory of  Jesus Christ to shine in our
              hearts in the midst of a dark world, I Cor. 4:1-6, Phil. 2:14-18.
Conclusion: God called out Israel to be light to the nations, but only a remnant
remained faithful to this calling, Is. 42:6-7, Lk. 2:25-32.  Then He sent his Son to be the
light of the nations, Is. 9:2, 42:6-7, 49:6-7.  Now the Son has entrusted the light of his
Good News to us.  Will we be that faithful remnant to carry his light to a dark world until
He comes?  “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”,          
Jn. 8:12.  He is the eternal flame which will never be extinguished.  Will we be faithful in
passing on the torch he has given us?
Incense of Prayer
Texts:  Ex. 30:1-10, 34-38; Lk. 1:8-10; Rev. 5:6-8, 8:3-5
Introduction:  What would greet your senses as you would enter the Tabernacle, (if,
of course, you were of the priestly house of Aaron)?  Filling the air around and within the
Tabernacle would be the barbecue-like aroma of burnt offerings from the altar outside,
and upon entering you would sense the smell of fresh-baked bread and the fragrance of
incense sweetness coming from the altar just in front of the great curtain separating the
Most Holy Place from the Holy Place.
In the eternal plan of God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai (symbolized by the
Tabernacle), the incense altar represented the way we are able to enter the Most Holy
Place – into the very presence of God – through Jesus Christ in prayer!  As both High
Priest and sacrifice, He is able to present our prayers before the Father’s throne.  As we
will see in the descriptions of the incense altar and its costly mixture of fragrances, we
have a marvelous instruction from our Lord concerning his will for our prayers.
Continuous, Ex. 30:7-8
Illustration: in Lk. 1:8-10 we have a marvelous picture of how the teachings of Ex. 30
were carried on into New Testament times.  It was Zechariah’s turn to burn incense on
the little altar in front of the curtain separating the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place.
As he took his turn the assembled worshippers were praying outside.
  A.  The little gold-overlaid altar of incense was never to be without a constant
        fragrance filtering through the curtain into the Most Holy Place – the location of the
       Ark – symbolizing the throne of God.
  B.  So it is with our prayers.  Our contact with God -- on the throne of his universe – is
        never to be interrupted, cf. I Thes. 5:17.
Application: What God intends for our prayers is symbolized by the continuous fragrant
aroma of incense which was carried into the Most Holy Place.  He delights in the sweet,
unending aroma of our prayers as we offer them to Him in every circumstance throughout
the day!  This helps us greatly to be kept in the blessed will of God!
Costly, Ex. 30:34-36
Information: “gum resin,” an aromatic gum called stacte from a small Mediterranean tree,
styrax officinalis; “onycha,” from the closing mechanism or operculum of a species of
strombus or other marine mollusks; “galbanum,” a gum-resin from the Mediterranean
plant, ferula galbaniflua, which holds the scent of a mixed perfume and allows
distribution over a long period of time; “frankincense,” a gum/resin from the Arabian tree,
boswellia
  A.  As you can imagine, the cost of finding these incense ingredients, extracting them
        and grinding them into powder for burning was enormous!
  B.  What value can be placed on prayer which is our connection with the Almighty?
Application: Do we value sufficiently the access made available to us by our Lord to
enter into his holy presence through Christ in prayer?  (Please compare Ex. 30:36.)
Concentrated (focused, unadulterated), Ex. 30:37
Information: This incense was to be unique in its use for the Tabernacle i.e. not for
used in the worship of anyone or anything else – and never for personal use.  It was to be
holy to the Lord – set apart only for Him.
  A.  No one else is to occupy the unique focus of our prayer – the concentration of our
        highest thoughts, desires and aspirations.    
  B.  This unadulterated focus keeps out those thoughts and actions which can cloud our
        understanding of God’s will.
Conclusion: What occupies our minds?  What forms our attitudes?  What sharpens our
focus in the midst of life’s decisions?  Prayer – our God-given way of entering into the
Holy of Holies –  the sweet-smelling aroma of our minds which He uses to bring about 
great blessings He has for us, cf. Hebrews 13:20-21, Jude 24-25!  God sees our prayers as
a sweet-smelling incense before Him – the means by which we maintain contact with
Him , cf. Rev. 5:6-8; 8:3-5!
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The Veil
Text: Exodus 26:30-31; Hebrews 10:19-25; John 14:6
Introduction:  Now that we have understood the Ark and the Most Holy Place as 
symbolic of the very presence of God in heaven, we further understand the pattern in
which God designed the Tabernacle in order to symbolize the way in which we are to
approach Him.  Everything in the Tabernacle was designed to provide a way to come into
contact with God -- who is absolutely holy/set apart.  Without provisions which God
himself would make, humanity would never be able to bridge the chasm between Him
and us; however, as symbolized by the Tabernacle, there is one way through Jesus Christ,
the God-man, our Mediator.  Of the four items furnishing the Holy Place having to do
with our approach to God – the curtain/veil, the incense altar, the seven-branched
candlestick and the showbread – the curtain/veil was situated closest to the Most Holy
Place.  In fact, it was that which separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place. 
There was a definite plan in the design of the Holy Place and its furnishings in that they
represented the means by which sinful people might come into the presence of the living
God!
The closed inner curtain/veil barred the way into the Most Holy Place,
Ex. 26:30-33, 40:1-3, 20-21.
  
  A.  The word, “veil,” has been used to translate the Hebrew word for inner curtain
        because its purpose was to bar or shut off from view the glory of God which dwelt
        between the cherubim of the Ark’s Atonement Cover – or Mercy Seat.
  B.  Indeed, the inner curtain was called a “shielding curtain” so God’s Shekinah glory
       would not be visible.
Description:  It was a very heavy curtain fifteen feet square made of blue, purple and
scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen with the figures of cherubim sown into it – supported
by four acacia-wood columns covered with gold, Ex. 26:31-32.
  C.  In a similar way, Jesus’ earthly body shielded his heavenly glory from those who
       saw Him – except when that glory was briefly revealed on the Mount of 
       Transfiguration, cf. Mat. 17:2; Phil. 2:6-8.
Application:  As earthbound, imperfect creatures, God’s glory is too much for us to view!
The opened inner curtain/veil cleared the way into the Most Holy Place,
Heb. 10:19-20.
A.  As a powerful illustration of this fact, the inner curtain of Herod’s Temple was torn in
two from top to bottom at the moment Jesus died, cf. Mat. 27:51, Mk. 15:38, Lk. 23:45.
  B.  Jesus opened a new and living way into the Most Holy Place in heaven – a way that
       wasn’t there before – a way that lives on and never changes (different from the
       temporary Old Testment priestly system), Heb. 10:19-20.
Now that the way has been opened into the Most Holy Place – God’s
eternal, heavenly presence – through the torn inner curtain of Christ’s
broken body -- some necessary changes must take place in our lives,
Hebrews 10:19-25.
  A.  We need to draw near to God, Heb. 10:22.
  B.  We need to hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, Heb. 10:23.
  C.  We need to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 
        Heb. 10:24.
  D.  We need to keep on meeting together – and encouraging one another, Heb. 10:25.
Conclusion:  No man could rip that heavy curtain from top to bottom!  Only God
could open the way into his heaven through the broken body of his Son, Jesus Christ! 
Yet, his sacrifice was purely voluntary, cf. Jn. 10:14-18.  Although it seems incredible to
us, Jesus came to be that “torn curtain” so that we might have free access to the Father
through Him.  Why did He do it?  So that we might be eternally redeemed and changed!
How is God changing you to show God’s glory in your life, cf. II Cor. 3:18? 
  
Heaven
Text:  Hebrews 9:11-15; 23-28
Introduction:  Where is God?  We might say He is in heaven as the Savior taught us in
what we call the Lord’s Prayer.  But would we not also say that God is omnipresent, i.e.
everywhere at once?  Then what “heaven” is Jesus referring to when He teaches that
heaven and earth will pass away?  We have many questions when it comes to the
meaning of “heaven,” but one thing is for sure as we comb the Scriptures: what makes
heaven all we can imagine it to be is the special presence of God as symbolized by the
Holy of Holies (or The Most Holy Place) in the Tabernacle – that most special of places
in which the Ark was located.  The most wonderful thing about heaven is simply that
God is there in a special way!  This is what Jesus is teaching us when He speaks of
heaven as his Father’s house – a place where He is preparing a special place for us, cf.
John 14:1-4.  This is also the magnificent picture we see in Revelation chs. 4-5, also chs.
21-22.  All angelic beings and all the redeemed of all the ages are continually praising the
triune God around the throne.  “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live
with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”,
Rev. 21:3.  “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the
Lamb are its temple.  The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the
glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”, Rev. 21:22, 23.  So we see God’s
presence with his people as portrayed in the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle -- a
picture of heaven.
The Most Holy Place (as pictured in the Old Testament), Ex. 25:8, 9, 22; 33:14;      
40:34-38
  A.  Perfection – a perfect cube, 15’x15’x15’
  B.  Holiness – only entered once a year by the High Priest with the blood of sacrifice,
        Lev. ch. 16
  C.  Infinitely magnificent – walls lined with gold-covered boards set in silver sockets –
        Covered above and enclosed with the finest of linen dyed in the colors of royalty –
        Purple, scarlet and blue
  D.  Brightness – no natural light there – only the bright cloud of God’s glorious
        Presence
Application:  Being bound by time and space, we need pictures to give us some idea of
the glorious nature of heaven!
The Most Holy Place (as described in Heb. ch. 9)
  A.  The perfect Tabernacle, Heb 9:11, not manmade but set apart from creation –
        heavenly
  B.  The Most Holy Place was entered by Christ with the sacrifice of himself – the
        sacrifice of infinite worth, Heb. 9:12-14, 23-26
Application:  “Heaven” described here is not part of creation which will pass away.  Into
this special abode of the Father – the heavenly Holy of Holies -- Jesus presented himself 
as both High Priest and sacrifice.
The Most Holy Place (as described in Rev. chs. 21-22)
  A.  Perfection – a perfect cube, Rev. 21:16
  B.  Holiness – nothing impure enters in – only those who are in Christ, Rev. 21:6-8, 27;
        Rev. 22:14, 15
  C.  Infinitely magnificent – symbolically described by transparent gold and precious
        jewels, Rev. 21:18-21
  D.  Brightness – the Father and the Son are its light, Rev. 21:3; 22:5
Application:  The marvelous Most Holy Place picture in the Old Testament becomes a
glorious reality in heaven!
Conclusion:  Lest we think only of heaven, (as glorious as that will be), God also wants
us to think about his temple here on earth – the temple of our bodies.  He wants us to
remember we are his temple, his Most Holy Place – in the sense that his presence is
within us by faith, cf. Jn. 8:23; Rom. 8:9-11; I Cor. 6:19, 20; II Cor. 4:6, 7; Col. 1:27. 
For us who have believed in his Name, Jesus Christ -- who is eternal life -- has taken
residence within us!  What is most important about heaven – the presence of the living
God – has already begun in our hearts!  What an impetus to holy living that ought to be! 
God’s Throne
Text:  Exodus 25:10-22
Introduction:  At the time our Constitution was being framed, the delegates could not
seem to find common ground to complete their appointed task.  Their elder statesman,
Benjamin Franklin, rose to urge that three days be set aside for prayer and fasting – and
that prayer be offered before each session.  His motion - which overwhelmingly carried -
included these words which ought never to be forgotten: “I have lived, Sir, a long time,
and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth – that God governs the
affairs of men.”  History proves how God-directed that Constitutional Convention was!  
All authority, all judgment, all grace comes from the throne of God.  Although we have
the illusion that human governments control history, human events can ultimately be seen
only as “his story.”  It is only as people and nations are reconciled to God in Christ that
we begin to see what good can happen when biblical principles are lived out in society.
By divine design, the whole plan of the Tabernacle is focused on the Ark of the Covenant
– a small piece of gold-plated furniture made of acacia wood.  Why is this so?  It is
simply God’s way of constantly reminding us that He is at the very center of all authority,
judgment and grace – the Ark symbolizing that center.
God’s Throne is the source of all authority, (Exodus 25:22).
Illustration:  Compared with God’s Throne, all the nations are like a drop in a bucket,    
cf. Isaiah 40:15-17.
  A.  A throne of continuous control, cf. Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 1:3.
Illustration: Revelation chapters 4-5 gives us the exalted vision God privileged John to
have of his throne -- around which all creation hinges.
  B.  A throne of continuous communication, cf. Psalm 19; John 1:1-14; Romans 1-2;
       Hebrews 1:1, 2.
Application: Please note that God communicates with us in many ways -- but most
clearly and specifically through his Son, Jesus Christ.
God’s Throne is the source of all judgment, (Exodus 25:17-21)
Illustration:  In human relations of any kind we are very good at playing the “blame
game.”  God cuts through all that and calls it sin – our sin.  And the price for that sin must
be paid if we are to be saved, cf. Rom. 6:23; II Cor. 5:21.
  A.  The price of God’s judgment, cf. Lev. 16:11-16; Heb. 9:6-28.
  B.  The place of God’s judgment, cf. Ex. 25:17-25.
Application:  The judgment of our sin was placed on Christ at the Cross, but this drama
had its final act at the throne of God.  His sacrifice was presented to the Father on our
behalf, cf. Isaiah 53:4-6; I Peter 2:24-25.
God’s Throne is the source of all grace, (Exodus 25:17-21).
  A.  kapar, a Hebrew verb meaning “to atone by offering a substitute,” “to cover over,”
        or “to wipe away.”
  B.  yom kippur, Hebrew words means, “Day of Atonement,” – kippur being related to
        kapar.
  C.  kapporet, Hebrew for “Mercy Seat,” “Atonement Cover,” or “Place of Atonement,” 
        also related to kapar.
Application:  As Isaiah 53:4-6 puts it so well, God in his mercy laid on Christ the iniquity
of us all, cf. I Peter 2:24-25.
Conclusion:  The focus of all of Scripture the focus of all of history centers on what
is symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant -- God’s Throne -- the source of all authority,
judgment and grace.  At the Father’s Throne, Jesus Christ presented himself as both our
High Priest and Sacrifice in order to make possible the greatest of all miracles, human
salvation, cf. John 3:16.
Who Me – A Priest?
Text:  Ex. 28-29:1-9; Heb. 4:14-5:10; 6:19-8:6; 9:6-10:25; I Peter 2:5-9
Introduction: As we have seen in our Lord’s summary of Old Testament teaching as
recorded in Lk. 24:27, 32, 44, He is the main prophetic subject.  Jesus is the Prophet to
fulfill the office of prophet, the Priest to fulfill the office of priest and the King to fulfill
the office of king.  He is the one who has given us the authority to find Him prefigured in
the Tabernacle worship we have been considering.  As can be seen in the amount of text
Hebrews sets aside to describe our Lord Jesus as great High Priest, his priestly ministry is
therefore extremely important in our daily lives as we seek to serve Him as priests under
his direction, cf. I Peter 2:5, 9. 
So we will consider in this study both our Lord’s high priestly ministry and the
Tabernacle as backdrop.  Also we will consider our role as priests in the light of his
constant intercession with the Father on our behalf.
Very early in church history, sacramentalism and sacerdotalism clouded and covered the
biblical emphasis on the priestly ministry of Christ and the priestly ministry of the
believer.  During the Reformation Luther reclaimed that emphasis which in some quarters
of the Christian Church is still sorely misunderstood.
Consecration, Ex. 29:1-9
  A.  Jesus Christ as our High Priest, Heb. 2:15; 4:14-16; 6:19-20; 7:23-28; 8:1-6; 9:11-14,
       23-28; 10:11-17, 19-25
  B.  We as priests, I Peter 2:5, 9; Rev. 5:10.
Application: Jesus Christ is constantly interceding as our Mediator before the Father. 
There is no other, cf. I Tim 2:5.  Consequently, we have been given the high privilege to
come directly to the Father through Him – our High Priest!  Although there are church
organizations which have held on to the title of “priest” for their clergy, there is no
warrant for this in Scripture  -- since Jesus is our High Priest and every believer is a priest
before God, cf. I Peter 2:5, 9.
Compassion, Ex. 28:6-30
  A.  As the High Priest carried the name of tribes of Israel on the Ephod shoulder pieces -
        and on the Breast Plate, (Ex. 28:12, 29), so Jesus compassionately carries all our
        needs before the Father, Jn. 17:20-26; Heb. 2:17-18, 4:14-16; I Peter 5:7.
  B.  So also we have the duty as priests to compassionately intercede for each other,
       James 5:16.
Application:  Paul’s intercessory prayers are so instructive as to how we ought to pray
for one another, Eph. 1:15-22; 3:14-21; 6:19-20; Phil. 1:3-11; Col. 1:9-13; 4:2-4.
Conclusion: How tenderly and compassionately Jesus Christ is interceding for us right
now!  Romans 8:31-39 gives us a beautiful picture of Jesus, our great High Priest,
interceding for us whatever may befall – such that nothing will be able to separate us
from the love of God!  How He is praying for us now that we might be instruments for
his glory – and bearers of his love to the world, Jn. 17:20-26.  Imagine, our Lord Jesus is
at this very moment interceding with the Father with you and me in mind!
Then, think of the high and lofty responsibility He has given us as priests to intercede
through Him to the Father.  Certainly the more we see the world around us as He does,
the more we will want to intercede as He does!