"The Tabernacle: Celebrating
The God Who Comes Near"
Rodgers Baptist Church
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
The Tabernacle: Celebrating The God Who Comes Near
Lesson Two: The Purpose Of The Tabernacle
Key Verse: Exodus 25:8. "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."
In the first lesson, we took time to introduce our study of the Tabernacle. In that lesson, we walked through the Tabernacle from the gate on the east side of the outer wall, through the outer court, into the holy place, and beyond the thick curtain into the most holy place or holy of holies. Before we move on, I want us to do that once again. Viewing this DVD will give a better visual of the Tabernacle. I believe it will help you see in your mind's eye, the things we will be discussing in future lessons. Show DVD "The Tabernacle." (Viewing time, 28 minutes.)
Text: Exodus 29:42-46. "This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. 43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. 44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. 45 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God."
Introduction: As we study the Tabernacle, we are celebrating a God who desires to draw near to us and dwell among us. The God of the Bible loves us beyond our imagination. His eternal purpose is to redeem us, reconcile us to a loving relationship, and eventually restore us wholly, body, soul, and spirit. The Word of God clearly reveals a twofold purpose for the Tabernacle; one immediate and the other futuristic.
First, the immediate purpose of the Tabernacle, was establish true worship. We must realize that the Israelites had spent the last 400 years in Egypt, which was steeped in ignorance and idiolatry. The Egyptian religion was a strange mixture of pantheism and animal worship. Their gods were worshiped and adored in the form of animals. Many if not most of the Egyptian towns had their own local sacred animal. Images representing dog faced baboons, cats both domestic and wild, cattle, snakes and cobras, falcons, frogs, and so on, were objects of worship. While the educated classes resolved their many deities into manifestations of one omnipresent and omnipotent divine power, the lower classes regarded the animals as incarnations of their gods. The ten plagues of the exodus, all involved judgments against the gods of the Egyptians.
In Exodus 32, we discover that in the absence of Moses, the people reverted back to their Egyptian experience. They coerced Aaron to make them a golden calf. Exodus 32:1 reads, "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." The Lord was moving His people from pantheism to monotheism; from dead idolatry to worshiping a personal, living God.
The Tabernacle provided a place for the people to worship the one true God, but more than that, the Tabernacle taught the Israelites the Principle Of True Worship. This principle is given by Jesus Himself in John 4:23-24. "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
Worship is about a relationship. Jesus said that we must worship the Lord in spirit. The word "spirit" presupposes a relationship. As we read Exodus 29:45-46, listen and see if you can hear the Lord's desire for a relationship with His people. "And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God." The Tabernacle bore testimony to the fact that God desired to commune with man. The Egyptians worshiped creatures or idols representing fictitious deities. This pagan worship was based on ignorance. Which is better, to worship the creature or the Creator? In and through the Tabernacle, the God of the universe, the Creator of everything, dwelt among them. This was no image or imagined deity. They worshiped the presence, the spirit of the living, invisible God!
Worship is about revelation. Jesus said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." The word "truth" involves communicating. Notice Exodus 29:42. "This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee." What did the Tabernacle combined with the personal presence of God teach or reveal to the Israelites? Here are a few obvious things.
Tabernacle truth one: God is holy and pure beyond imagination. The barriers and seclusive structure of the Tabernacle; the required sacrifice and proper cleansing; all spoke of the pure, sinless nature of the God of Israel.
Tabernacle truth two: Man is sinful and in need of cleansing. Sinful man cannot approach God based on his own merit or his own terms. No one dare enter the court of the Tabernacle without a sacrifice or cleansing.
Tabernacle truth three: God is committed to redeeming His people. What sinful man cannot do, God has already accomplished! The brazen altar and laver, as well as the office and work of the priesthood, all picture God's redeeming purpose.
Tabernacle truth four: God is committed to protecting His people. The presence of the Lord in the cloudy pillar by day and pillar of fire by night, brought safety and security to His people. It was a shade by day and a light by night! Psalm 121:4 reads, "Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night."
Tabernacle truth five: God is committed to providing for His people. The light of the golden candlestick, the shewbread, the pot of manna, the tables of the law, and rod of Aaron, all speak of God's provision for our every need.
Second, the ultimate purpose of the Tabernacle, was to point to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the perfect embodiment of this divine relationship and revelation. Everything about the pattern and service of the Tabernacle, spoke a message about Jesus.
We are made to see the person of the coming Savior. The furniture of the Tabernacle was made of wood covered with pure gold. Together they provide a picture of the unique nature and person of Jesus Christ.
In the wood of the Tabernacle, we behold the humanity of the coming Savior, Jesus.
In the gold of the Tabernacle, we behold the deity of the coming Savior, Jesus.
Speaking of Jesus, John said in John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
We are made to see the redemptive work of the coming Savior. The sacrifices as well as the work of the priest, picture the coming Savior who would become both for us at the same time. Notice Hebrews 9:11-14. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
The Tabernacle was a treasure in the wilderness. Because Jesus came, believers now have a treasure in their wilderness. We are blessed to see and know Jesus in our wilderness experience. I Peter 1:4 reads, " To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious." Do you know Him? Do you find Him precious? Is Jesus your treasure?