Exodus Part Three: Dive
JESUS OUR TABERNACLE
Want to know the great thing about reading the Old Testament at this end of history’s timeline? You can see the patterns and things that point to Jesus all the way through the books. As you journey through the Old Testament, circle things in your Bible that you can see pointing the way or reminding you of Jesus; traits of certain people like Joseph, Moses the humble leader, David the king, verses like Genesis 3:15 (who is the ‘he’ that will crush the head of Satan?) There are over 300 prophecies that point to Jesus' first coming contained in the Old Testament. Today, I want to take you through the Tabernacle found in Exodus 25-30 and show you how Jesus fulfils the Tabernacle.
Trashing tip: Take note and highlight all the intricate details of the Tabernacle. You can also search for an image to see what it would’ve looked like to help you visualise it. The instructions for its architecture and design were so specific, and all ordained by God. Consider and study how Jesus fulfils all of these.
When we read about the Tabernacle, it’s important to remember there is so much intricate detail God put into it. It was very important to Him and for the people of Israel. It was the centre of the camp (as you can see in the drawing below), it was where the presence of God resided. It was a holy place, it was sacred. But it was also pointing forward to Jesus and so each section had to be perfect. The presence of God was meant to be the centre of their world, their society and their lives.
elements of the Tabernacle
The Bronze Altar was located in the front of the Courtyard. The Courtyard was where the Israelites were allowed to enter. Animal sacrifices were offered as a sin offering before God (Leviticus 1:3-4, 17:11). Time and time again, animals were sacrificed so that the blood that was shed covered the sins of the people, and made atonement for their sins. The cross of Jesus was the Bronze Altar where His blood paid for our sins, once and for all. Our sins, however, are not just covered like in the Old Testament, but completely removed by the blood of Jesus.
The Basin was where the priest washed, to be cleansed to enter the Holy Place. We are washed in the waters of baptism, the old has gone behold the new.
The tent at the back of the Tabernacle was the Holy Place, where the presence of God resided. It contained a lampstand made of pure gold (Exodus 25:31), a symbol that Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12). It also contained a Table with the Bread (Exodus 25:23) Jesus Himself is the Bread of Life (John 6:48).
John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
At the far end of the Holy Place was a very thick curtain that divides the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, or the Most Holy Place. The Ark of the Covenant was in the Most Holy Place, and this curtain symbolised the separation of a Holy God from sinful man and represented our relationship with God in the Old Testament. When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the Temple tore in two from top to bottom. How cool is that! The presence of God was released; He was no longer separated from man, Jesus restored the relationship so that the presence of God could dwell amongst man. (Matthew 27:51)
Matthew 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Jesus is the Temple
In the New Testament, Jesus said that He is the temple, ‘I will destroy this temple and rebuild it in three days’ (John 2:19, Mark 14:58, Matthew 26:61). What does that mean? It means that, in Him, we have the presence of God, the forgiveness of our sins, cleansing, He is the centre of our lives, the centre of our society, He is the final sacrifice for all sins, the Bread of life, the Light of the world. I love reading the Old Testament and seeing the New Testament within its pages. Exodus 27:20, the oil of the Holy Spirit to keep our lamps burning for Jesus. The anointing oil Exodus 29:21 is the Holy Spirit, to consecrate us before God.
Hear the language used to describe the temple: holy, sacred, consecrated. Jesus is our tabernacle where we encounter the presence of God, through Him our relationship with God is restored, it is by His blood that our sins are forgiven and we can ‘boldly come into the presence of God’
Ephesians 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Because of what Jesus did on the cross, once and for all our sins are paid for. We don’t need to sacrifice animals so that our sins are covered, or wash ourselves at the altar so we are cleansed to enter the presence of God. We don’t need to hide behind a curtain so that God’s holiness doesn’t kill us because of our sin. We can come boldly into the presence of God, with confidence in Jesus Christ. He has paid the price for that freedom and grace.