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Monday, December 22, 2014

The Tabernacle of God

Exodus 7 : 15 - 16, So go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes down to the river. Stand on the riverbank and meet him there. Be sure to take along the shepherd's staff that turned into a snake. Say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say, "Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness." Until now, you have refused to listen to him. NLT
God repeatedly spoke through Moses to Pharaoh commanding him to let God’s people go into the wilderness so that they might worship Him. Eventually, Pharaoh seceded to God’s awesome power and sovereign will, and he allowed the children of Israel to go and worship their God. However, as slaves, the Jews had no way of knowing what was about to transpire in their lives once they crossed the Red Sea. All the Jews had known was the Egyptian culture. They were about to embark on a journey that would stretch them in every way imaginable.
Since Moses used the word “worship” as it pertained to God, and since Pharaoh understood what that statement meant, we can conclude that the Egyptians had some form of worship... as well as a place to worship their gods. Therefore, when the children of Israel were far away from the borders of Egypt and in the wilderness, they began to have a reality check about leaving their old surroundings.
The wilderness was nothing like they had been accustomed to or experienced. First of all, there was no “House of worship.” Where was the place they would go to worship and offer sacrifices unto their God? It was about to be revealed to Moses and the people at Mount Sinai.
Exodus 19 : 16 - 25, Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. And the LORD said to Moses, "Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the LORD, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out against them." But Moses said to the LORD, "The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai; for You warned us, saying, 'Set bounds around the mountain and consecrate it.'" Then the LORD said to him, "Away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest He break out against them." NKJV
If we examine how God set up this event at Mount Sinai, we can begin to see the pattern or the concept for the building of the tabernacle. God instructed Moses on how to build a place where His people would be able to assemble and worship the Lord. The base of the Mount was where the priests and the people convened. The top of the Mount was where God met with Moses and Aaron, the High Priest. Moses set barriers between the people and God to prevent them from touching the holy mount of God, so they wouldn’t die.
If we study the tabernacle that Moses built according to God’s plans, we will see that there is an outer court or sanctuary where the priests prepare the sacrifice and serve the people. Within the outer court, there was an enclosed place (Temple) where the glory of God descended; this is called the Holiest of all (Hebrews 9). Only the High Priest was allowed to enter into the Holiest of all, once a year, to make atonement for the sins of the people. However, if the High Priest didn’t explicitly follow God’s instructions for sanctification before entering God’s holy presence, he would die.
Our God is so great! He used a mountain to illustrate to Moses how He wanted His tabernacle on earth constructed, so that He could commune with His people. The boundaries at the base of the Mount taught Moses, Aaron, and the people how to respect the awesomeness of God from a distance (or without) and not be destroyed by His power. Nevertheless, God allowed Moses and Aaron to enter into His presence on top of the Mount. By doing this, God showed a distinction between the High Priest and the priests who served the people. Since they had to climb to the top of the mountain, the people learned that God rests in a lofty or elevated place over them (Heaven). As a result of this particular encounter with God, God was able to reveal to Moses the plans for the first earthly Tabernacle for God’s glory to abide. In order to prove further what I have shared with you today as the truth, there is a verse in Exodus that confirms today’s teaching. Exodus 25 : 40, And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain. NKJV
Nevertheless, under the New Testament, we, who believe in Christ as our Savior are now the temple that God has chosen to dwell, in order that He might commune with us by the Holy Spirit. We are always to remember to respect and honor God’s temple so that no sin or any unclean thing will be allowed to defile His dwelling place in us.
Christ In You,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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