The Tabernacle pt 2
Before Jesus came to earth and became a human being, there were some times where God was seen. In the Garden of Eden, he is found speaking amongst Himself. (Genesis 3:22) Three men appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18. Two of them turned out to be angels that took the appearance of humans, and one of them was God Himself. He barters with Abraham over the city of Sodom in the form of a human. In Exodus 24, we see God appear to the 70 elders as a being of shining light standing upon transparent sapphire. In Ezekiel, God is a shining light that is in the form of a person as well. In Joshua 5 God appears as a warrior who commands the angelic armies of heaven. In Daniel 10, God appears as Michael, the prince of earth in the same shining brilliance that is on display in Exodus and Ezekiel.
So, God takes upon Himself different forms when He is interacting with humanity. Sometimes He is human, sometimes He is a shining person of light, and sometimes He is an angelic leader. God is not limited to any appearance. He becomes what He needs to be when the time presents itself.
But there is more. When God is interacting with humanity, it is through the person of the Son. Before Jesus was born as a human, He stated plainly to the religious leaders that He was the one communing with Abraham in the plains and Moses through the burning bush. (John 8:58) He also says that David called Him his Lord. (Matthew 22:45) When Jesus appears in Revelation 1, He comes in the same light and appearance as in Daniel 10 when appears. 1 Thessalonians 4 says that Christ will descend with the trumpet call of God and the voice of the archangel. That makes Him the one that appeared to Joshua as the leader of the angelic armies. For much of earth’s history, it seems to be clear that God appeared and interacted with humanity through the person of the Son. He was God’s representative.
Humanity lost the ability to be intimately connected to God. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, he was told that He couldn’t handle it. No man could see God’s face and live. (Exodus 33:20) While the Son seemed to be God’s representative to humanity on behalf of God, there was still something that separated man from God. In the Old Testament sanctuary, there was a veil between the Holy and Most Holy places.
When Jesus came in human flesh, God was once again connected intimately with humanity. There was a great shift that took place. Before God spoke through Jesus in various forms to humanity. The link Adam and Eve had before sin had been severed and we became separated. After Jesus came, the link was restored. Jesus was able to commune directly with God and the Holy Spirit. After the death and resurrection of Christ, all of humanity gained that access through Him. The veil between earth and heaven was torn symbolizing our separation from God is removed. Paul says we can now boldly come to the throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16) The veil that separated the people from the Most Holy place where God dwelt was installed because of our sin. Jesus became our sin and died. He destroyed sin’s dominion over us by taking it upon Himself, the lamb of God, and dying as sin. Then He left it in the grave. That is what the laver in by the Bronze Altar represents. Thus, our sins are cleansed through Christ’s death. When Christ rises from the dead, He is raised victorious and clean having reconnected heaven and earth. Now, any human can access God through Christ – the living veil! (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 10:19, 20)
Jesus Fulfilled All Things
This process of cleansing sin from sinners is what took place in the Old Testament Tabernacle and is fulfilled in Christ. Jesus says of His body in John 2 that He is a Tabernacle. In Psalms David prophesied that God had prepared for Jesus a body to accomplish God’s will. Paul says in Hebrews 10:8-10 that it is through that body that we are sanctified. Revelation 21:22 says that the Lamb is the temple in the New Jerusalem.
What does this mean that Jesus is a fulfillment of the Old Testament Tabernacle? It means that the entire Old Testament Jewish economy pointed toward Jesus. It means that the fulfillment of the entire Old Testament is in the Messiah. It means that Jesus is all and is in all. (Colossians 3:11)
Jesus is the spotless lamb that was brought to the sanctuary. He was the lamb of God who lived a perfect life and took away the sins of the world. (John 1:29)
Jesus was all of the sacrifices upon the altar of burnt offering in the courtyard. Christ fulfilled all the sacrifices in one sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:12)
Jesus is the laver that cleansed the priests. The laver represents Christs death and burial. Christ died as sin and destroyed death. We figuratively join with Christ in the waters of baptism and our “old man dies”. (Romans 6:3-7)
Jesus is the light of the Menorah in the Holy Place and the Shekinah glory in the Most Holy Place. He stated plainly that He was the light of the world. (John 8:12)
Jesus is the bread on the table of showbread and the bread in the Ark of the Covenant. He said that He was the bread of life, present with anyone who feeds on Him. (John 6:35)
It is Jesus’ blood that was represented as being sprinkled all over the sanctuary, including on the incense as it was being offered. Jesus’ blood mixes with the prayers of the saints and adds efficacy as it ascends to God. (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-5)
Jesus is the veil that connects the people to the Most Holy. (Hebrews 10:19, 20)
Jesus is the Rod of Aaron in the Ark of the Covenant. He is our High Priest, although His priesthood is better than that of Aarons. (Hebrews 8:1)
Jesus is the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments pointed to Jesus (2 Corinthians 3). Jesus is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 10:4) because He is love (1 John 4:8), and love is the fulfillment of the law (Galatians 5:14).
Jesus' blood is the agent that cleanses us from our sins. (1 John 1:7)
Jesus was also the High Priest of the Tabernacle. Through Christ and by Christ, we are saved. The connection lost between humans and God is relinked through Jesus. is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). As the Lamb He provides the substance by which sinners are made clean. This represents His role as Priest. He lived a perfect human life and experienced our suffering and weaknesses. He knows perfectly what we experience. This makes Jesus the perfect advocate and mediator for our sinful race.
He is the also Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). The Lion of the tribe of Judah is the King who sits on the throne of David. Christ has been given all the authority on Heaven and Earth. (Matthew 28:18) After His time on earth, He went to heaven and sat down on the throne of God at the right hand of God as the co-regent with the Father and Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 1:3) He has been given the authority to judge the earth in the presence of God and the rest of the universe. (John 5:22, 27)
Often the position of king in ancient Israel was to listen to cases and judge between the people using the law. The king was both in charge of life and death, and the judge between them. Jesus is both our High Priest and King.
All the themes and concepts of the Old Testament find their fulfillment in Jesus. This is why, if you have Jesus, you have it all! Jesus is where the cleansing begins for all other tabernacles. It is through Jesus that the Heavens, the Sinner, and the Saints are all cleaned.