Anglican Morning Devotion, 6 May 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide (simplified explanation)
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Perhaps you have read the entire story of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness and of the Tabernacle God told Moses to construct. You may have been somewhat dismayed at God’s intricate instructions on every aspect of the structure. It was a gorgeous interior overlaid with gold and furnished with elaborate curtains. But its outward covering was of goat’s hair. The Tabernacle itself was a model of Christ. What a great contrast was the appearance of that crude covering of the Tabernacle with the sumptuously beautiful interior. This is our first description of Christ compared with the Tabernacle. He, too, lacked any physical features to appeal to others. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that. we should desire him. 3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:2-3)
The Tabernacle consisted of three sections – the outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. The entrance was by way of a large door into the outer court, The door itself also represents our Lord – “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) and “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)
It is one thing to approach the Door, but to gain admittance is another. In order to gain admittance, a blood offering must be brought to the Door. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22) Immediately inside the Door was the Altar of Burnt Offerings. Christ is our offering. His blood was shed in remission of our sins. Next was the Brazen Laver used by the priests for cleansing (hands and feet) prior to entry to the Holy Place. This is consistent with the Prayer of Humble Access prior to receiving the elements of the Lord’s Supper. After the Brazen Laver was the Holy Place where the priests made preparation for the prayers of intercession by the High Priest. The Tabernacle was oriented west to east. On the south side of the Holy Place was the Table of Shewbread, and on the opposite side was the seven candled candelabra. The bread represents for us the presence of Christ and the seven candles the church. Before the veil separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies stood the Table of Incense where the High Priest, on the Day of Atonement, offered up intercessory prayers for himself and all of Israel. The rising vapors of the incense represented the prayers of the people rising to God.
Just behind the Veil was the Ark containing the Ten Commandments, Manna, and the Rod of Aaron. This represented the Law, but over the Ark, another symbol of Christ, was the Mercy Seat. Mercy trumps Law.
The same plan of the Tabernacle was followed in the construction of the Temple. At the moment of our Lord’s death on the cross, the Veil was rent from top to bottom making the Mercy accessible to all of faith rather than through the prayers of an intercessory High Priest. The High Priest has become the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our only Intercessor with the Father. So when you consider all those little details of the Tabernacle, you will know that they point to Christ.
“ And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:”