Moses is still on Mount Sinai with God. He has received the Ten Commandments and had many of them expanded and explained by God himself.
God With Us
Now, Moses is about to receive plans for a movable structure called a tabernacle. This is the tent in which God would dwell with his people as they journeyed from Mount Sinai to the Promised Land.
God has always wanted to live with his people. That’s what the Garden of Eden was for. And now, in the tabernacle, God is making the first giant step in restoring the presence he had with humanity back in Eden.
Parts of the Tabernacle
Basically, the instructions for how to build this tent start at the center and work their way out. The mercy seat in the holy of holies is the central part of the tabernacle. We can think of it like a king’s throne. This is where God would appear and meet with his people, like he met with Moses on the mountain.
Next, there is the bread of the presence which represents the 12 tribes of Israel. In front of that is the golden lampstand which continuously shines on the bread. This was to be a constant testament to the fact that God’s presence is with his people.
Outside of the tent, in the outer court of the tabernacle, there an altar. The altar is where sacrifices would be made. This reveals that people cannot just approach God as they are. Their sin must be dealt with through sacrifice.
God’s Presence is Set Apart
Everything in the tabernacle is sectioned off by curtains. The more dense and ornate they become, the closer one would get to the holy presence of God. This fact shows us that the closer people get to God the more protection is needed. The structure of the tabernacle conveys one strong message - God is holy. He is set apart, glorious, and perfect.
Where is Jesus?
The good news the tabernacle brings is that this holy God was going to come live with his people. Like every other Israelite in the camp, God was going to move into a tent. But, with all its curtains, rituals, and rules, there was still so much separating every other Israelite from this holy God.
Immanuel: God with Us
Which is what makes Jesus coming to earth so magnificent. Jesus is God’s very presence because he is God himself. In fact, John 1 calls the act of Jesus coming in the flesh, him “tabernacling” among us. Jesus is the tabernacle because he is the tent in which God fully dwells.
The Parts of the Tabernacle in Jesus
What’s also amazing, is how Jesus doesn’t just fulfill the tabernacle itself, but every part of the tabernacle. He is actual holy of holies because he is the actual presence of God. Jesus is the bread of life who is present for his people. He is the light of the world that shines on them eternally with his protection. He is the final sacrifice on the altar that allow us to enter into the holy place of God.
God’s Presence Comes Near
Furthermore, at Jesus’ death, the most dense, most ornate, most sacred curtain covering the holy of holies ripped open. This is to show us that there is no longer separation from God and his people. Since we couldn’t get into God’s presence by ourselves, Jesus has made a way for God’s presence to come to us. Now all who belong to Jesus have been turned into little tabernacles in which he dwells through the Holy Spirit. And eventually, Jesus will return and transform the whole world into his new tabernacle. For he will dwell in it with us forever.
See For Yourself
I pray that the Holy Spirit would give you eyes to see the God who is unapproachable holy, but still wants to dwell with his people. And that you would see Jesus as the one who made a way for this good God to live with us and in us forever.