Monday, February 19, 2024

Leviticus Law: Be Ye Holy For I Am Holy - Leviticus 11:45

 

Leviticus Law: Be Ye Holy For I Am Holy - Leviticus 11:45

Our key verse is Leviticus 11:45 For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.  It is repeated in Leviticus 19:2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. This is the theme of the book of Leviticus and of course it is directly applied to the New Testament people of God in 1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

It is not fit, as Paul would say, for people who call themselves believers and Christians to mimic and merge themselves with the world on the day and in the place that is meant to be set aside for God.

A Little Background

Date of the Book

Observe that God spoke the words of Leviticus during the first month of the second year after the Exodus. The Israelites were encamped on Mount Sinai (Lev 7:38; 27:34). Just when Moses wrote down the words we cannot be sure, but he may have done so before the wilderness journey of Numbers began, around the middle of the fifteenth century B.C. (based on the 1445 B.C. date for the Exodus from Egypt). - Irving L. Jensen, Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament: Search and Discover, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978), 103.

We are reading a history that is over 3000 years old. It is historically, geographically and spiritually accurate and true. And it still has application to our live in 2024.

Outlines of the Book

Warren Wiersbe Outline

1–10 Justification for His People

11–15 and 17–22, Separation Of His People

Distinction of the Priests Chapters 21–22

Irving Jensen Outline

1-17 The Way To God

 1-7 Laws of Offering

 8-10 Laws of Priestly Consecration

 11-15 Laws of Purity

 16-17 Laws for Atonement Day

18-27 The Walk With God

 18-20 Holy People

 21-22 Holy Priests

 23-25 Holy Times

 26-27 Holy Vows

As you can see the theme of the book of Leviticus is Holiness.

Leviticus Dietary Laws – Leviticus 11:1–23

Leviticus 11:1-23 And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.

God’s Dietary Guideline – The Good

We won’t spend much time here, just a quick run down of what the Lord said and a guess or two about why He said it.

Some commentators believe that God gave these laws for health reasons. “God was concerned about the health of His people and wanted them to avoid certain contagion and parasitic diseases, so He laid down some guidelines perfectly in accord with modern science. The other cultures of that day based such classifications on magical formulas, while God simply indicated which animals were good to eat and which were not.” - Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, Eds., KJV Bible Commentary, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 211.

Others believe it had nothing to do with health but was only God’s way of making His people separate from the other people which were around them. “Whether a creature was “clean” or “unclean” had nothing to do with the quality of the beast; it all depended on what God said about the animal.” - Warren Wiersbe, Exodus Commentary

Though I can’t always see a strong reason for some of these animals it seems that the idea of clean and unclean points to healthy and unhealthy but more importantly the distinction between them is about being distinct, separated as God’s people.

Here is what Charles Pfieffer said in the Wycliffe Bible Commentary, “Although one important result of all these regulations may have been the preservation of health, this is not the same as stating that preservation of health was the motivation. … they can be read with interest and can be recognized as regulations which both helped to maintain Israel’s physical health and, at the same time, set her apart as a nation distinct from the idolatrous nations about her.

The Clean Foods - So, let’s summarize the foods that the Lord said were clean.

Of animals that lived on the earth you could eat those that chewed the cud and had a dived hoof. If it didn’t do these two things it was forbidden.

Examples are giving in Deuteronomy 14:4-5 These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, 5 The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.

Here is an update on some of those names from the ESV, 4 These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep.

The animals which live in the sea or in the river you can eat only those which have both fins and scales. So you could not have eels, oysters, shellfish, shrimp, lobsters or even catfish.

What about fowls or birds. Here there is no set rule about how it appears but by the examples given its appears that the only birds you could eat were those which ate plants and seeds. You could not eat any bird that ate other animals. Birds of prey, or scavengers were unclean and forbidden.

Now I know all of you are really anxious about this next category of clean animals. The KJV calls them fowls that creep on all fours, but we would understand them as insects that fly also "whatsoever hath many feet," or "goeth upon the belly," as worms, snakes etc., these are unclean (Leviticus 11:42). Of the insects, only one class was clean. It was described as those "which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth," in other words the cricket, the grasshopper, and the migratory locust; all of which, it may be noted. These again are clean feeders, eating only plants and seeds.

It is also interesting that these laws only applied to the animal kingdom, not to the vegetable kingdom. Other nations, like the Egyptians did make such distinctions but God did not.

After God tells the people what animals they can and cannot eat, He then goes on to give the law of defilement. Not what they can or can’t eat but what they can’t touch.

Leviticus Defilement Law - Leviticus 11:24–40

Leviticus 11:24-43 24 And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.

God’s Defilement Guideline

The second section of the Leviticus 11contains laws relating to people being defiled by coming into contact with or eating the carcass of any animal, clean or unclean. If you touched the dead body of animals or humans you were defiled.

The only exception to touching a dead body and not being defiled was if a clean animal had been prepared according to the Levitical method, what we now call Kosher. Leviticus 17:10-16.

Also, even if you touched an unclean animal that was alive it did not defile you. You could ride a camel, or pet a dog, only the dead things, clean or unclean brought defilement.

If you touched the carcass, though, you were unclean and if a tool or a utensil come into contact then it was unclean. If a dead animal, snake, insect fell into your food or drink it was defiled and you couldn’t eat it. There was no 5 second rule under the Levitical dietary law. Leviticus 11:32-35.

God’s People and Physical Health

I think we can understand the restrictions that God gave here. Yes, God wanted his people to avoid contagions and infections. God knew about germs long before anyone ever invented a microscope and he warned his people, That is truly incredibly.

These laws were unique among ancient peoples. To the Canaanites, the Egyptians, the Philistines, eating an animal they found dead was no big deal. They just thought they got lucky. I know we kid about roadkill but in all honestly don’t eat anything you found dead on the side of the road. Do I really need to say this?     

Let me tell you a story told me by my country Brother-in-law. At least I think it was him, if not then it sounds like a story he would tell. This is the story of the “Dead fox, the station wagon, and the fearful fleas.”

Dietary laws today?

The New Testament is pretty clear that these no longer apply in the same way. Jesus said in Matthew 15:10-11 “Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

Peter received a vision from the Lord in  Acts 10:10-15 “And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”

Both of these make it pretty clear that New Testament Believers are not required to keep the dietary laws. That doesn’t mean you should pick up roadkill though. Some of these rules were related to health and that still makes sense. It’s best not to eat wild hogs or rabbits out of season. Don’t go rubbing up on dead bodies and don’t drink out of your coffee cup if a lizard falls in it. There is a physical reason why it’s a bad idea.

But back in Leviticus 11, God doesn’t stop with the physical reasons. The next few verses give us the greater purpose of the dietary laws and if fact most of the reason for the Leviticus laws. It is found here at the end of this chapter. Look at vss. 44-47

Leviticus Dedication Law - Leviticus 11:44–47

For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 45 For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 46 This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: 47 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.

God’s Dedication Bottomline

Here is the bottom-line reason for the dietary laws. Verse 44 begin with “For” this is the reason, this is the purpose behind all that we just read. And that reason is as compelling as creation and life. “For I am the LORD (Jehovah) your God.”  Why should God’s people here keep these commandments? Because God is God.

He adds to this “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” The word is the Hebrew word qadosh; and it means sacred, a saint, a sanctuary: It comes from another Hebrew word qâḏaš; to sanctify, to dedicate, to consecrate, to be separate, to be set apart.

God goes on in verse 45. Once again, He gives the reason. For I am the LORD that brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. Ye shall therefor be holy for I am holy.” God tells his people I brought you out, I separated you from Egypt, no be separated to me.

Be ye holy for I am holy. 9 times in the book of Leviticus this command is given in one form or another.  The theme of the book of Leviticus isn’t what to eat, or wear or what day to work, or what day to worship. All those laws are there of course but their purpose was to make His people understand holiness. His holiness and in Him their own holiness, Jehovah’s sanctification and their own, the Lord’s separation from this world and their own.

In the last verse, vs 47. God reemphasized His purpose, Leviticus 11:47 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean,

You see, the nation of Israel was to make a difference. Abraham the father of the nation had to make a difference and so he was separated from the pagan nation of Ur to search for the city of God. Moses had to make a difference and he was separated from Egypt to Midian. David had to make a difference and God separated him from the flock and from his family to the throne of Jerusalem. Before any of God’s people can make a difference, they must be separated unto God and away from this world.

That separation  and the way God defines it, is the core of holiness. And it didn’t stop with the Old Testament.

Be Ye Holy Today

Twice in the New Testament the phase or the idea of holiness from Leviticus is directly applied to God’s New Covenant people.

Peter quotes it directly, 1 Peter 1:13-16 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Peter tells the early believers who were coming out of the worst forms of paganism, gird up the loins of you mind, prepare for action, be serious, be determined, set your hope completely on the grace you’ve found in Jesus Christ, be obedient, don’t conform to your past sins but Jesus is holy, then you be holy. Then he quotes from Leviticus, “as it is written, ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy.”

It is the same command as was given thousands of years before at Mt. Sinai. God is holy. You belong to God because he has brought you out through His grace, therefore be holy because He is holy.

Holiness doesn’t mean sinless perfection. There are people who teach this or even teach that God has made them gods in their own right. That is the worst for of heresy and exactly what Satan told Eve in the garden, “Ye shall be gods knowing good from evil.”

This command has nothing to do with sinlessness. You can’t reach a place in your walk with God while on this earth where you are no longer sinning. You can through God’s grace and power overcome sin and it no longer controls or dominates you, but sin can and will still affect you.

Paul expands on the idea of holiness and separation in 2 Corinthians 6:14 - 7:1 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 7:1​ Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

There is a whole month’s worth of sermons here that we don’t have time for this morning, but the overall idea is clear. God is holy, and we are in fellowship with God, so we can’t also be in the same kind of fellowship or relationship with this world and its darkness. “come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.”

Holiness is separation to the Lord and away from this world. Simple enough. What is not always simple is how we show that separation. How do we show that we are the people of God by the way we live, dress and act today?

Of course, in today’s world you could argue that just being normal sets you apart. And there is a lot of truth in that. But God is seeking more from his people, than just being normal.

I do think it is important for God’s people to be different enough to make a difference. Some groups dress in dark clothes, long dresses and head coverings to be different. Some don’t use any kind of machinery. Some say you have to wear a tie and coat when you go to church. Others go to greater or lesser extremes

Personally, I think being bald is the true mark of holiness, because there is nothing between the top of my head and God.

 Paul writing to Titus gave a list of qualities that should be in the members of the churches that Titus was training pastor to lead. I think if we can seek after these qualities, then we will be well on our way to “Be Ye Holy.”

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Conclusion

How is your holiness today?

Our holiness, is measured by two things and neither of them is how perfect a saint you are. First how close are you to the Lord? If you are keeping yourself close to Him, then you will be drawn toward Him and away from the world. That is the second measure.

How far away are you from the world? I can’t set some arbitrary standards here. It is not just how we dress or what we do, but if your holiness doesn’t have an influence on those things then something is off, isn’t it. Holiness is a lot like repentance, you turn toward God and his grace and you turn away from this world and its sin. You turn toward His love and away from the world’s hate. You turn toward His eternity and away from the world’s terminality. You turn toward God’s great calling and away from this world’s shallow distractions.

As it is written, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.

Monday, February 12, 2024

The Tabernacle Living With The Lord Exodus 25-27; 30:1-31:18; 35:1-40:38

 

The Tabernacle Living With The Lord
Exodus 25-27; 30:1-31:18; 35:1-40:38

Let’s begin by comparing some passages of scripture.

Genesis 1:26-28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

Exodus 25:8-9 8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

1 Kings 6:11-14 And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, 12 Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: 13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. 14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it.

John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Revelation 21:2-4 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

What do all these verses have in common? They all reveal the purpose, the reason that God created mankind. It is the same reason that God called Abraham from his home in Mesopotamia. Why He sent Jesus to redeem man when he fell, and why will God build a new Jerusalem when eternity begins. The answer to all these questions, is the same and it should leave us astounded or as the KJV says astonied. The reason is that God wants us to live with Him, now and forever. What He began in the Garden of Eden, continued through the descendants of Abraham and then through the grace of the Gospel will conclude one day in eternity and the New Jerusalem.

The desire of God to be with us is clearly seen in Exodus 29:45, the verse on our bulletin, “I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.”  The Tabernacle, its design, materials, and building is an analog, 3 dimensional model, of how God’s purpose works. It shows how we enter in, live and grow in our relationship with our Creator and Redeemer.  

Living Begins

Exodus 25:8-9 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Salvation

 The Wall - Exodus 27:9-18

Surrounding the tabernacle on all sides was a wall made of fine woven linen. It stood on posts made of acacia wood with bases of bronze and capitals of silver. The tabernacle courtyard was 100 x 50 cubits or 150 x 75 ft. On the east side of the tabernacle was the gate, 20 cubits wide. 

The Gate: The fabric of the gate was different than that of the wall.  It was four different colored threads embroidered together to make one cloth. The colors used in the gate were blue, purple, scarlet and bright white. The gate was the only entrance into the courtyard, and it faced East.

The Altar - Exodus 27:1-8 As you approach the tabernacle armed guards stand with orders to kill anyone who tries to enter anywhere but the gate and none were allowed to enter without the proper sacrifice. They must come to the sacrifice with a lamb, a dove or an ox in order to enter the court.

Standing just behind the entrance, imposing itself in the courtyard, would be the Brazen Altar.  The altar measured 5 x 5 x 3 cubits (7.5 ft. around by 4.5 ft high.)  It was constructed out of acacia wood overlaid with bronze.  It was a hollow box, with a solid bronze grate mounted halfway up on the inside.  Upon this altar sacrifices would be offered to God. These sacrifices must be without spot or blemish and would be offered as a way of confessing sin or giving thanksgiving.

The Laver - Exodus 30:17-18

This was a large bronze basin filled with water. There are no dimensions given for the laver, though it would be quite large and probably about the size of the altar. The laver was used by the priests who would wash themselves before they served God inside the tabernacle.

If the tabernacle is a model of living with God then the outer courtyard is a model of entering into that life. For us this is salvation. Let’s make some applications.

The Saved Life

The Spiritual Wall: The wall around the Tabernacle was a symbol of the separation that exists between all of mankind and God. A separation caused by sin. 

First the sin of mankind through Adam. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

But also our own sin, Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Sin has separated us from living the Lord and we have no way to break down that wall of separation, because it is caused by sin and we can’t stop sinning nor do anything about our past sin. We are outside the Tabernacle, where God dwells, and unless God opens a way, we will never get inside.

The Spiritual Gate: Praise God, He did make one way to enter in. In the Tabernacle model, entrance was through the single gate that faced the rising sun and woven in the colors, blue, purple, white and red. Those colors were chosen to represent the Lord Jesus. Blue for heaven, Purple for His throne, White for his sinless life and Red for His shed blood. 

One Way: You could only enter the Tabernacle through the Gate, any other attempt was met with death. Jesus is the only way to enter into life with God, death awaits those who try any other way.

 Jesus himself declared this in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…”  

In John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Today there are many who will tell those on the outside, separated by sin from God that there are many ways to enter but all that awaits them is death, eternal and terrible. Jesus is the only way.

The Spiritual Altar: Jesus is the way in, but what about our sin. How has that been dealt with?

In the courtyard of the tabernacle, Once a person entered, that would be confronted with the bronze altar. There they would bring a lamb, bull, or dove as a sacrifice for their sin. 

In our dwelling with God, we also needed a sacrifice to pay for our sin. Not a bull or a lamb of the flock but the Jesus the Lamb of God Jesus Christ. He is the sacrifice that God. He  gave his life for our sin and we must put our faith in His sacrifice as the payment for our sin.

John the Baptist pointed to Jesus in John 1:29  and cried out “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

In John’s book of Revelation, he saw a vision in the throneroom of God. A cry goes out for someone worthy to open the sealed book and then a lamb stands appearing as if it had been slain. We read in Revelation 5:8-9 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Jesus was our sacrifice, the only sacrifice able to save all of mankind from sin. Living with the Lord means we have made the Lamb of God as our own sacrifice for sin.

The Spiritual Laver: One more thing still must be done before our sin is fully dealt with and we can live with the Lord. Jesus opens the way, His death pays the price and His blood washes away our sin.

In the courtyard next to the Bronze Alter stood the laver, a huge basin filled with clear, clean water.

That basin represents the cleansing of our sin through Jesus’ shed blood. There we are washed clean, white as snow in the crimson flood. 1 John 1:7  … the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

The Outer Court shows salvation, forgiveness and cleansing through Jesus. Outside the Courtyard we cut off from God, we are helpless in our sin, we are under judgment. But inside, inside, the Courtyard we are safe and saved, we now dwell with God and live with the Lord! We are forgiven, we are cleansed and we have fellowship!

I and most of you grew up singing a song that to someone outside the church must have pretty macabre, and beyond comprehension. But to those who have been washed in the blood it is not just understandable, it is a praise of our entering in.

Vs. 2 I think of my blessed Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long;
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
His child, and forever, I am.

The song means nothing to the lost, just as the interior of the tabernacle was unknowable until the Hebrews went through the gate. But once inside you understand.

@e are “Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.” We are saved and yet there are two more rooms inside the tabernacle itself. What did God intend for them to teach us about “Living with the Lord?”

Living Closer

Sanctification in Holy Place

If you were a priest in the time of the Old Testament, after you left the courtyard, you would next enter the Tabernacle itself and passing through another door made with the same four colors as the gate you would come to the Holy Place.

Inside the Holy Place are three pieces of furniture, for lack of a better term. And as all the things in the tabernacle, from the smallest hook to the room itself, all represent the coming Messiah, Jesus our Savior.

We see the Table of Shew or Presence bread - Exodus 25:25-30

The table of shewbread was gold covered and measured 3 feet long by 1 1/2 feet wide by 2' 3" high. Along the edge of the table top were two rims, the top one designed as a crown. Upon the table would be two rows or stacks of bread, six in each stack, 12 total representing the tribes of Israel and they were kept in the presence of God from one Sabbath until the next. At the time the old bread was removed, and fresh loaves placed on the table.  

Upon each row of bread frankincense was to be placed probably in one of the golden vessels which were used in the carrying and handling of the bread and incense. The frankincense was burnt upon the altar of incense when the bread was changed.

The Shew/ Presence Bread told the tribes of Israel that they were always in Jehovah’s presence. Always under His care and protection.

The Golden Lampstand Exodus 25:31-34

 If we looked directly across the room from the table of shewbread to the south side of the Holy Place we would see the Golden Lampstand.  The lampstand stood 2 ft 6 in high, 3ft 6 in wide and was made from 94 pounds of pure gold.

It was hammered and formed into the shape of almond branches from a single piece of solid gold. There was a central stem with 6 branches growing out from the center. At the end of each branch there was a gold cup in the shape of an almond.  This cup held the oil which was made from freshly pressed olives. The oil was supplied directly from the people and was to be fresh, from the first pressing of the olive.

The lampstand was the light for the Holy Place. It allowed the priest to be able to do the work which he had been appointed by God to do. To the nation of Israel it was also a reminder that God would lead them and guide them through the darkness of the wilderness.

The Altar of Incense - Exodus 30:1-8

At the end of the Holy Place directly before the Veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holiest of Holies, stood the altar of incense. It was 1 1/2 feet square and 3 feet high.  It had a rim all around the top edge and at each corner there was a horn.

The fire for the altar of incense was taken from the burning embers of the Brazen Altar outside in the courtyard. The incense, which was burned here, was exclusively for the Altar of Incense. It could not be used anywhere else, nor could the formula of ingredients be used for any other incense. Nowhere else in all the camp of Israel could it be burned, except on the altar of incense in the Holy Place. The Bible says the odor of the incense filled the Tabernacle and was "well pleasing to God." 

On the High Day of Atonement, Yom Kippor, blood from the sacrifice made for the nation, was placed upon the horns of the altar of incense by the priest on His way into the Most Holy Place.

The Sanctified Life

After we enter salvation through Jesus Christ and our life begins through Him, then just like a newborn we are meant to grow as a child of God. These steps toward maturity, toward a closer living with the Lord, are seen through the articles of furniture in the Holy Place.

The Spiritual Table: As we think about the table of presence bread, we are reminded that living more closely with the Lord means understanding the importance of the presence of the Lord. It was a symbol in the Tabernacle but it is a reality in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God keeps us and intercedes for us.

This reality should make us strong and bold as we grow closer to the Lord.

Romans 8:26-28 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Living closer to the Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit means my weaknesses are taken to the throne of Grace. It means I can know “all things works together for good.

2 Timothy 1:7-9 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Living closer through the power of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling means I have the Lord’s spirit in me. And like the Holy Spirit I will have power, love and a sound mind.

The Spiritual Lampstand: In the Lampstand we grow by increasing our knowledge of Jesus Christ. Just as the oil provided light to the tabernacle so also Jesus provides light in our life. Through Him we see what we are, where we are and where we are going.

John 8:12 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The more we live in the light of Jesus, through the light of His Word, the more “light of life” we will have. The darkness is driven further away, and I will see even more blessings living with the Lord.

The Spiritual Altar of Incense: In the altar of incense, we see the importance of prayer in our closer relationship with Christ. You can’t be saved without the intercession of Christ, and you can’t grow without prayer be a priority in your life daily.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks:

Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Prayer is the mark of living closer to the Lord each day. Pray is the also a means of living closer. Prayer draws us closer to our Lord. That is what sanctification is, closer to Him and further from the darkness of this world.

You know what we see in the Holy Place really comes down to the same tried and true message that any good preacher will exhort his church to do Sunday after Sunday. Are you ready? Here it is, Walk with Jesus, learn of Him in your Bible and pray to Him always. You might hear it as, “Go to church, read the Bible and pray, but what it comes down to is what we see in the Holy Place, growing in the grace that began in the outer court and is now applied to every aspect of our lives in a growing closer relationship to Jesus our Savior.

One final place is left to us in the Tabernacle, the Holiest of Holies, The most Holy Place.

Living Consecrated

 Surrender Sustained In the Most Holy Place

The Veil  - Exodus 26:31-33

If you were the High Priest of Israel, once a year you would enter into the Holiest of Holies. This, the smallest room, was just past the Altar of Incense and behind a thick veil that divided the two rooms. The veil stretched from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. It contained the same colors as the gate, the red, blue, white and gold that once again point to Jesus. 

Different from the outer gate though was the embroidery work of the veil, for woven into the fabric were intricate, and cunning embroidery of cherubim, angels that stood at the entrance of the Garden of Eden and in the Throne Room of God in heaven.

The Room: The Holiest of Holies

The Most Holy Place measured 15' by 15' by 15'. The boards which made up its walls were acacia wood covered over in gold. They were fastened together with rings and rods to form a solid wall. The pillars of the most holy were also covered with solid gold. Entering into the Most Holy Place would be like walking into a room with walls of gold and a ceiling filled with angels. The tabernacle and later the temple were meant to be representations of heaven, and this room was the picture of the throne room of God. Gold which was a symbol of God’s Glory and the weaving of angels completed the picture.

The Ark - Exodus 25:1-22 

The Ark of the Covenant stood in the center of the Most Holy Place. It was the most important piece of furniture in all the tabernacle.  It measured 2 1/2 cubits long, 1 1/2 cubits wide and deep.  It was a box constructed from acacia wood overlaid inside and outside with pure gold. Along the top edge of the ark a crown would go around the box forming a raised rim. A gold ring was fastened to each corner of the ark and a gold overlaid pole would be inserted there for carrying the ark. On top of the ark the mercy seat was placed. This would be the exact dimensions to form a lid upon the top of the ark and it was constructed of solid gold not wood overlaid with gold. Two figures of cherubim, or archangels, one on each end, knelt on top of the mercy seat. They faced each other with their wings spreading up and over the mercy seat itself. Inside the ark, God instructed Moses to place three items, the ten commandments, Aaron's rod and a pot of manna.

The Censor  Leviticus 16:12

In addition to the things that stayed inside the Most Holy Place, there was an article that entered into the room with the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. This was a censer used to carry live embers from the Brazen Altar into the Most Holy Place, once inside the high priest would pour finely ground incense upon the embers in the censer. This was to fill the Most Holy Place with smoke, that the mercy seat, where God’s presence dwelt would be hidden.  The High Priest would then sprinkle the blood from the offering of atonement upon the mercy seat.

The Surrendered Life

 To enter into this stage of maturity and to walk with God at this level, there are 5 aspects of God and my relationship with Him,  that I must be aware of.

First, God's Person.

In the Ark of the Covenant, God told Moses to place the tablets of stone that contained the Ten Commandments of God toward His people. These were not the entire code of law, but a compacted, intensified summary of what the full law would spell out in detail. They also were a revelation of God's attributes and character to the Israelites. Through the Ten Commandments they would begin to see who God was.

If I am to ever walk closely with God, I must also know who the character and attributes of God. This knowledge is first glimpsed through the law where I see the holiness and righteousness of God.

When Peter wrote to the early churches he reminded them of God’s holiness and how it must change them. 1 Peter 1:15-16 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Second, God's Providence.

God's providence, His sovereign will put into practice, was symbolized in the ark by the pot of manna. His providence sent the provided, protected and empowered his people then and that same providence provides, protects and empowers His people today.

Notice how Paul revels God’s providence in Philippians 4:11-13.   Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

That is truly knowing and trusting in the Providence of God.

Thirdly, God's Priest.

Aaron's rod was also kept inside the Ark. This rod was a proof that Aaron and his sons were the family through which God would establish His priests.  The rod was an undeniable token of God's will for Aaron to be the mediator of the tabernacle sacrifices.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

To us as Christians who would enter into the Most Holy Room in our relationship with God, there must be a preeminent concept of Jesus as our High Priest, the mediator of the New Covenant written not on stone this time but upon our hearts. This reality is vital for it brings us to a total dependence upon Jesus as our only means of approaching, dwelling  and growing with God.  This first occurs at salvation but continues with each day of life, finding through Christ more and more of God's love, grace and peace.  I will not have more of God through any of my own abilities, but only as I trust more, learn more, and hold more to Jesus. He is our great high priest.  

Fourthly, God's Pardon.

One cannot come to the Most Holy Place without touching on the action that took place here once a year.  It was upon the Day of Atonement that Aaron would come with the censor and the blood from the altar of sacrifice. As the smoke of the incense filled the room he would sprinkle blood from the Brazen Altar upon the mercy seat and then upon the ground before the mercy seat. 

This is the graphic picture of Jesus pouring out His own life's blood upon the cross before God, that we might receive His righteousness and be reconciled to God. At Calvary was our place of mercy. There we found forgiveness, which by its very nature and cost is so powerful and so complete that it could never be undone nor redone. Once you have found the grace of God you can never lose it any more than Jesus would once again be put to shame on the Cross.

Hebrews 7:25 says, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

In the Most Holy Place a Christian knows that He does not and cannot lose the forgiveness and mercy given him at terrible cost of the life of the Son of God. The Christian, at this level of living with the Lord, has no more doubts about their salvation, but can now go from strength to strength, from faith to faith because as Psalms 37:23-24 tells us, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.”

God's Presence

The most outstanding characteristic of the Most Holy Place was not the gold, the intricate workmanship of the furniture nor the vail and its embroidered angels. No, it was none of those, it was the presence of God, which dwelt above the mercy seat and between the cherubim.  It was God's presence in the room that made it the Most Holy Place.  By Him the tabernacle was changed from a tent into a temple. It was made a place of reverence, a place of power and a place of wonder of the majesty of the most high God.

 If we are to live in the application of the Most Holy Place, then you have come to a place in your relationship with God, where you can grasp the miracle of the presence of God in your daily living.  This is not a manifestation of the Shekinah glory, nor is it a mystical experience or vision, it is the simple acceptance of God's presence in us and the change that must make in us. 

David reflects on this in Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24 1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 23  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

This is the powerful presence of God and it is a hallmark of living in the truth of the Most Holy Place. Realize that the presence of God was not left in a tent in the wilderness but through the grace of God, the sacrifice of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, that presence is with us at all times. We walk, live and exist with God in everything we do, everywhere we go, everything we think. That is what living with the Lord really means and how it really can change us.

Until we sit in the real throne room of Heaven with the Father, Son and Spirit the ideal of living at this level, the Most Holy Place level, must remain like the High Priests a time-to-time occurrence.  Yet we should long for it, this closer living with and for the Lord.

I can’t help but think of Moses as he stood on top of the Mountain of God once more he asked God, in Exodus 33:18, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.”

And the Lord responded as we read in Exodus 33:21-23 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back: but my face shall not be seen.”

Moses saw the actual glory of God as He passed by and when he returned to the camp, the Bible says, his face glowed. Exodus 34:29-30 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

Moses longed to see God’s glory, to experience more of His presence, and it altered him, the people did not even want to see even the effect of God’s glory. They were afraid to come close and asked Moses to put a vail over his face.

I wonder which people we would be? Would we be as Moses calling out, Oh God, show my they glory! Or would we be with Aaron and the people asking Moses, “Please cover your face because we can’t bear to see what God can do.”

Conclusion:

Let me ask you, “Where are you today in your life with the Lord?”  

Do you stand outside the courtyard, outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ? Then look up for the gate is open.

Do you stand in the outer court, a child of God saved by Jesus our savior and washed in the Blood? Then rejoice in your salvation, praise God for his grace and set your eyes upon entering into the Tabernacle of God. Come in and truly live with the Lord.

Will you enter the Tabernacle and be led in His light, touched by His presence and kept by his intercession for you?

Would you dare to stand in the most Holy Place? Would you seek a relationship with God that goes beyond the minimal Sunday to Sunday Christian life? Then you must come to full surrender and experience the deep, deep love and overwhelming presence of the Lord in your life.