Tabernacle: Past, Present, Future
Pastor David takes an in-depth look at what exactly the Tabernacle is all about and its story from Genesis to Revelation.
(POLAR PICNIC SLIDE)
Morning. My name is David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church. Morning to you.
Before we get into Exodus, let me just remind you that just one week from today is our big outreach, Polar Picnic.
There will be THREE services next week…you might want to write these times down in your phone: (9:00, 10:15, & 11:30)
And after every service, we will be offering a FREE Jimmy John’s Lunch
And new this year, we will be offering, FREE Horse Drawn Wagon Rides after every service!
And it’s an AMAZING opportunity for you to invite someone to church who doesn’t know Jesus yet.
Under your chair right now, is an invite card. Pick it up.
(Back to Polar Picnic Slide)
Listen, evangelism is something almost every Christian agrees with, but almost no one does anything with.
There are people we see every week (co-workers, family members, friends, neighbors) that are walking, unknowingly, towards a Christ-less eternity.
Would you step out in faith this week and invite someone to church?
Even if they say no, “you’re planting a seed.”
Maybe when you go back and invite them to Easter, then they’ll say yes because of the seed planted at Polar Picnic
(Rescue Series Slide)
This morning, we are FINISHING our Rescue Series on the Book of Exodus.
We actually started this series exactly a year ago this weekend…and have spent 21 weeks on it these past 12 months.
One of the things I’ve loved about this series is also one of the things I love about this church.
Going chapter by chapter through the book has forced us to teach some really unique messages within some really different styles.
And I love that about Renovation Church.
Just a month ago we did a really different message on the “History of the Protestant Reformation”
Earlier this month, we gave a message with a ton of power and emotion
Last week, we had a preacher from AFRICA
And this week…you’re going to hear a detailed message on a part of the Bible, that I’m guessing you’ve probably never heard before.
And next week we’ll be telling people about Jesus for the first time.
Always something different!
Which is great, because the bible has a lot of variety in it.
THE ASPECTS OF THE TABERNACLE
Most weeks of our Exodus series, we’ve simply covered one chapter.
This morning, we’re going to cover 13.
So, cancel your lunch plans. Just kidding.
In fact, cancel your dinner plans too…because this morning, I want to do something really different and walk you not just through these chapters in Exodus…but show you the story of God’s presence and his TABERNACLE…from Genesis to Revelation.
I promise I can do this in 30 minutes
(Switch to TABERNACLE: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE SLIDE)
We’re going to mostly look at chapters 25-31 and 35-40 of Exodus.
These are the chapters where people usually stop reading the Old Testament if they started from the beginning.
They read the instructions for the Tabernacle and think, “Hmmm, no idea whatsoever what this is about…SKIP…next book of the Bible…LEVITICUS! How about the new Testament!”
These 13 chapters consist of an incredible amount of detail concerning how the Israelites were supposed to build the Tabernacle (which means “dwelling place” for God)
I mean DETAILS…right down to how wide each curtain was supposed to be
And yet, at the CORE, this is a story about God’s presence.
Something that every single person in this room (whether you’ve yet realized that or not) longs for.
Before we open up our passage in Exodus though, we must first start in Genesis…the first book of the Bible.
The story of God’s presence on earth starts there…in the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve walk with God.
The Garden of Eden, in a sense, is the first temple.
Adam and Eve can worship God there
God’s presence is there.
The Tree of Life is there…symbolizing they could live there forever if they trusted God.
And when Adam & Eve are banished, we’re told that cherubim (angels) block Adam & Even from entering again to this holy place.
File that away for a few minutes from now.
Fast forward in history, and God’s people are now the Israelites.
God has delivered them out of slavery in Egypt and now they are out in the desert, on their way to the Promised Land.
Yet, God wants them to set up a home for Him…a place where they can worship Him and be forgiven.
It’s not that God isn’t already everywhere, but this is a special place for His presence to dwell.
And there are a number of unique items that the Israelites are supposed to build for this “TABERNACLE” that God wants them to construct.
Items that seem rather foreign to us, but when studied, tell us a lot about God.
Just as if you were to visit my home, the items there would tell you a lot about me.
If you walked in my house, you might learn about me from:
From what books or DVDs I own
To the Pictures of my family…and places we’ve been
I’d love to tell you about some impressive decorating we have or something, but since that’s not true, mostly what you’d just see…is toys and kids stuff scattered all over our house.
But still, those things still tell you something about me and my family.
If you want to follow along today…we’re starting on:
(Exodus 25:8-9) – NIV
8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.
(Tabernacle: Past, Present, Future Slide)
The Lord then goes on to tell Moses exactly how to build each of the furnishings and the dimensions for the entire tabernacle.
It’s a bit hard to visualize, and so here is a picture of you for what the tabernacle would have looked like:
(SHOW ENTIRE TABERNACLE PHOTO – LEAVE UP UNTIL NEXT IMAGE)
Kind of like us, the tabernacle was a set up and tear down church.
Complete with poles, bases, and curtains.
All the elements were made with rings and poles, so they could be portable and moved when the Israelites had to pack up and go to a new place as they wandered the desert for 40 years
The entire area of the Tabernacle was only about 150 feet long and 75 feet wide…so about half the size of a football field
You would have entered in here (USE LASER POINTER) into the outer courtyard.
The first item you would encounter was the bronze alter in the middle of the courtyard.
When you think about the Israelites sacrificing sheep and bulls in the OT…THIS is where it happened in the early days.
In the courtyard of the tabernacle.
The next item was the basin where the priest cleansed themselves.
And eventually you would have reached the enclosed tent portion.
This area had two rooms. Let’s take a look inside.
(SHOW INSIDE OF TABERNACLE PHOTO)
The first room was called the Holy Place.
It had three main items
Firstly, Exodus 25, if you still have it front of you, tells us that there was to be a table that always had bread on it
(Exodus 25:30) – NIV
Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.
(Back to INSIDE OF TABERNACLE photo)
The bread symbolized that God is the one who always gives sustenance and provides for His people.
Because remember these items in His house tell us about God.
Next, Exodus 25 also tells us there is to be a lampstand in the Holy Place
Do you recognize this?? This is a Menorah, made famous also by the story of Hanukah…which is about this lampstand from the Tabernacle!
The lampstand signified that God would always light the way for us by His presence.
Exodus states that the Lampstand was to be carved w/ “branches ending in buds and blossoms”
Many feel, that it was to be a symbol of the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden
And thirdly, some would also put the alter of incense in the Holy Place Room…although others put it in the next room (it’s a bit ambiguous in the text)
Then, there was a curtain separating the Holy Place from the next room, which was called the MOST Holy Place (The Holy of Holies)
And in the Holy of Holies was an object called the Ark of the Covenant
It wasn’t actually that big.
Only about 3’9” long and 2’4” wide and tall.
Kind of like a chest made of wood and overlaid with gold.
(Show ARK OF COVENANT photo)
The ark was by far the most important item in the tabernacle and tells us much about God.
Kept within the chest were the two tablets with the 10 commandments
The WORD is highly important to God.
Exodus 25 tells us that on top of the ark was to be laid an “atonement cover” made of pure gold.
The old translations call this the “mercy seat”
Once a year on the “day of atonement,” you might know this in your modern calendar by it’s Hebrew Name: “Yom Kippur”
On that one day a year, the high priest would enter into the Holy of Holies (you can read about this in Leviticus 16)…
…the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed goat on this atonement cover on the Ark
And that blood would absolve/forgive the people of their sins.
Because the goat would have taken the just wrath of God for them…and its blood was sprinkled before God.
Which is exactly what was happening;
We’re told that on top of the ark of the covenant, are two golden cherubim (angels), and in that place (between the angels and above the atonement cover)…was the very presence of God
(Exodus 25:22) – NIV
There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.
(back to ARK OF COVENANT photo)
And again, remember, these items in God’s house tell us about Him.
This is one of the major themes of the entire Bible (from cover to cover)
We cannot come into God’s presence without the shedding of blood
So Exodus 25-31 gives really detailed instructions on how to make this tabernacle.
And then Exodus 35-40 shows the Israelites actually making it
And then, the book of Exodus concludes with the glory of the Lord filling the Tabernacle as they finish it
THE TEMPLE, JESUS, AND US
(Back to Tabernacle: Past, Present, Future Slide)
Now, if you keep reading in the Old Testament, you’ll see that the Israelites take the Tabernacle with them as they wander around the desert for 40 years, and then they bring the tabernacle with them into the Promised Land.
The Tabernacle stays in cities like Shiloh, Nob, and Gibeon, but eventually King Solomon brings the tabernacle to Jerusalem when He builds the Temple.
If you’ve heard of the Temple in the Old Testament before, the Temple was essentially just the place where they permanently housed the Tabernacle.
All of the same items were there in the Temple :
The alters, the lampstand, the table, the Holy of Holies, the ark of the covenant.
But God has even bigger plans than this.
God’s desire is that AS MANY AS POSSIBLE should be saved…not just the Israelites.
That all of your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers, that all would know Him personally.
And so He wants, not just the Jews to know Him and His presence, but everyone.
And so 2,000 years ago, there is a new chapter in the life of the tabernacle (which again, just means “God’s Dwelling Place”
2,000 years ago, God’s presence comes to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.
And now JESUS…is the tabernacle.
Jesus even overtly calls himself the temple…and remember the temple and the tabernacle are really the same thing (the temple was just building that the tabernacle was eventually housed in)
(John 2:19-21) – NIV
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
This is fascinating…Jesus IS the items of the tabernacle.
Jesus is menorah, the light
In John 8, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the World.”
Do you know where He was standing when He said that??
IN the temple!!
Jesus is the Bread on the table. In John 6, He says, “I am the Bread of Life”
And Jesus is the Ark of the Covenant
He’s the Word within (John 1)
He’s God’s presence with us (Immanuel)
And He’s the sprinkled blood on the alter…the sacrifice of blood, so we can be in God’s presence.
Jesus IS the tabernacle
But the story of the Tabernacle (God’s dwelling) continues after that.
It starts in the Garden of Eden, comes back at the tabernacle in Exodus, moves into the temple, and is made famous through Jesus.
And now…the Tabernacle…will go global………..IN US.
Look what happens when Jesus dies on the cross…when His blood is shed (because remember, we cannot come into God’s presence without the shedding of blood)
(Matthew 27:50-51) – NIV
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split
Wait…wait…Which curtain split?!?
(Show INSIDE OF ARK photo) – Keep up until next verse
The curtain in the Tabernacle…in the temple…that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
The curtain that housed the special presence of God.
The curtain that only the High Priest could go through once a year…
It split open…WHY??
Because a new chapter of the Tabernacle…God’s dwelling…was beginning
A new season of God’s presence was beginning.
God now promises that all who believe in Jesus will have access to His amazing presence
All who believe will be given the Holy Spirit…who is God.
And you know what the Bible calls you as Christians???
(1 Corinthians 3:16) – NIV
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
You, as a believer in Jesus, are God’s temple.
You are God’s new TABERNACLE.
God has now decided that He was going to set up a tent…and live among His people…through YOU!
And that theological and Biblical truth ought to give you incredible hope.
What if…you lived in Moses’ time, and your life was falling apart.
And you lost your job…or your spouse left you…or you had become incredibly ill.
And what if Moses would have said to you, “Friend, you know what, let me make an exception for you…
“…why don’t you walk into the Tabernacle, come back into The Holy Place, past the lampstand, past the bread of presence, and into the Holy of Holies…”
“And as you stand there in front of the Ark of the Covenant…in front of the very presence of God…ask Him for what you need!”
if you could have done that…would you have believed that God had the power to move in your life if it was His will???
I bet you would have!
Friends…the teaching of the Bible is that the same presence that was in the Holy of Holies is available to you in your life RIGHT NOW!
The curtain ripped, and YOU are the new tabernacle.
His spirit…the very same one that raised Christ from the dead…resides in you.
The same power
The same strength
The same love.
As we’ve been saying for the past month…SEEK THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
You don’t have to climb a mountain or go on a pilgrimage…
You merely need to come here and worship
you merely need to wake up in the morning and get on your knees…
You merely need to just start talking to Him again.
He will be right there with you.
That’s His promise!
THERE IS A GREATER TABERNACLE TO COME
And if you’re like me, you have days where you believe that with all of your heart…
Even days where you experience that.
But you also have days where it seems hard to find Him.
We do, after all, still live in a fallen world…full of sin.
And yet, that won’t always be the case.
There will come a day when we no longer will have to do any seeking of His presence…for it will be right there…FULLY with us…FACE TO FACE.
And let me tell you something about heaven.
You know how we’ve seen a progression of the Tabernacle??
From The Garden of Eden…then to the Tabernacle…and then forward to the temple…to Jesus…and then to the Holy Spirit “tabernacling” in believers all over the world?
The final chapter of the Tabernacle…is in Heaven.
And Heaven…is The Garden of Eden Restored.
Where does the Bible say that Jesus is now, in heaven?
(Hebrews 8:1-2) – NIV
Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
The writer continues in that passage and says in verse 5 that the earthly tabernacle in Exodus was just a copy, a shadow, of a greater, final tabernacle in heaven
Hebrews 9 says the same thing:
(Hebrews 9:11) – NEW LIVING TRANSLATION!!!!
11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world.
And in the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, which is the Disciple John’s vision of The New Heaven and the New Earth…
We’re told that this heavenly city…this heavenly tabernacle will come down to earth at the end of all things.
And so many of the same things are there.
Just like in Eden and Exodus, The angels guard the city
The Tree of Life has returned from Eden
The most of all God’s presence is now…fully…FULLY…with us.
And so I want you to know TWO things very clearly this morning:
1) I hope that you’re seeing this… The Bible is NOT some randomly thrown together book.
But God’s amazing story of his love for humanity over thousands of years.
2) God wants you to be in his presence.
That’s the story of the Bible.
From Genesis, all the way to Revelation, it’s the story of God bringing His presence to us!
And that’s the story of Exodus we’ve been covering this past year.
That God sees you in slavery (to your sin)…
And He will come and rescue you (if you let Him)
And He rescues you…with the purpose of…bringing you into his presence
Exodus doesn’t end with them getting to the Promised Land
It ends with His presence coming down
That’s what the book of Exodus is about.
And that’s what I hope you heard this past year.
God has rescued you…and He wants nothing more than to be with you.
Seek His presence.
Let me pray
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.