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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Earthly Pattern of Heaven's Reality

Behind every design is a designer. Someone with a vision and a piece of paper. God is the Heavenly Designer of redemption. He communicates both His desire and His design to Moses who oversees its construction on earth. 

The Lord gives Moses the pattern from which he builds the Tent of Meeting―the place where holy God meets with sinful man. He instructs Moses, “Make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you” (Exodus 25:9). He also gives Moses a pattern from which he is to follow in furnishing the temple, “See that you make them according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain” (Exodus 25:40). He also gives Moses a plan he is to follow when setting up the tabernacle, “Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown to you on the mountain” (Exodus 26:30). 
True redemption began in the heart of God, was birthed in a womb of a virgin, died on a Roman cross, was buried in an earthy tomb, was raised gloriously from the dead, and ascended to the Father. True redemption is in a person—the true High Priest—Jesus. Redemption both begins and ends in heaven while religion is completely earth-bound. 
Religion refuses to recognize the vast chasm between God and man, heaven and earth, or God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. Religion is an earthly design, the best that man can do. Religion cannot breach the divide between man and God.
The Apostle applied this truth about a heavenly pattern and earthly reality to New Testament Christians, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Works prepared by God beforehand for believers to embrace and experience. How wonderful! May our earthly lives conform to heaven’s reality. 

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"Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you." (Exodus 25:8-9)

The furnishings in the earthly tabernacle were a copy of heavenly furnishings demonstrating God's desire to welcome redeemed sinners into fellowship with Him.

The Tabernacle or "Tent of Meeting" demonstrates God's desire to be near His people. God is holy and desires to have a relationship with His people. Because sin separates man from God He determines to provide a way so that He can "tabernacle" with man or come among them. The sanctuary furnishings illustrate how to live in God's presence or rather, how it is that a holy God can interact with sinners.

The sanctuary furnishings:
  • A chest - made of wood and overlayed with gold the lid of this chest has two angels facing one another. God promises to meet with man above this covering where the blood of a substitute is sprinkled on behalf of guilty sinners. This chest is to be placed inside of the Most Holy Place which is hidden behind a thick ornate curtain.
  • A table - made of wood and overlayed with gold this table contains the bread of God's Presence and is positioned in the Holy Place symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel and their fellowship with the Almighty. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. Israel must partake of the life of Christ to experience fellowship with Holy God.
  • A lampstand - this gold seven-bowled lampstand lights the Holy Place for the priestly functions before God. So Christ today is the Light of the world (John 8:12), who reveals the way to God (John 14:6, 9). The light beckons one to follow its beams into the very presence of the Living God.
  • An altar - The exact location of this altar is not given but it was just inside the entrance to the tabernacle” (40:29). The basin was between it and the tabernacle (30:18). This altar illustrates the fact that one can approach God only through sacrifice; only by sacrifice is sin atoned for. On this altar—the first object a worshiper saw in the tabernacle courtyard—sacrifices for sin were continually being made. 
The sanctuary teaches us how to live in God's presence. First we see the altar where sacrifice is continually offered for sin. We then see the lampstand which reveals the table of presence and the closed veil blocking entrance into the Most Holy Place where the glory of God dwells between the cherubim. Blood sprinkled on the mercy seat once a year testifies to God that sins have been covered for one more year. 

When Christ died the veil that separated Holy God from unholy man was rent (torn from top to bottom) and the way opened into the very presence of God. What the children of Israel dared not do--go behind the veil--we are invited/welcomed to do, to boldly enter into the the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 4:16).

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Exodus 25:1-27:21
  • What is another name of the place outside of the curtain which veils the ark of the tabernacle?
  • Why does God place a curtain around the entire sanctuary?
  • Where do the plans for the sanctuary and it furnishings originate?
  • What does this tell you about God? About the sanctuary?
  • Where were the chest, lampstand, table of showbread, and altar to be placed?
  • Why was the lamp to be kept burning?
Turning truth into prayer
Thank God for the new and living way which Jesus has consecrated for us. Jesus is the High Priest, the sacrificial Lamb, and the way through the veil. He welcomes you into His presence. Come boldly.