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.
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.
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
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
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 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?”
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.”
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
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.”
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.