The Pathway to Intimacy
Big Idea: The symbols or shadows of the Tabernacle are pictures of our Christian life. We can learn from the six pieces of furniture which guide the worshippers to intimacy with God.
Scripture: Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17 ESV
Introduction: We use many symbols in our everyday life. By looking at the symbol, we immediately know what is meant. Throughout the Bible, symbolism is used. For example, the Foursquare Church looks at the colours in the Tabernacle; red, blue, purple and gold, as symbolic of the four foundational ministries of Jesus— Jesus is our Saviour, Healer, Baptizer with the Holy Spirit and our Coming King.
Some of the biblical symbols used for God are fire, hammer, dove, lily of the Valley and olive oil In the Tabernacle of Moses’ time, almost every part had symbolic meaning. The wood covered in gold represented mankind covered in the deity of Jesus, brass always signified judgment, white linen was a picture of the righteousness of Jesus, almonds “wake up” are the first to blossom in Spring, pomegranates designated fruitfulness, the veil symbolized separation from God, the lamb was always a picture of Jesus, the final sacrifice.
The Tabernacle itself was a picture of the threefold nature of humankind, spirit, soul and body.
The symbols that God told Moses to make lay out a pathway to intimacy. Note the senses that are touched with each piece of furniture.
We enter through Sacrifice. First, the Priest would sacrifice the lamb or bull on the brazen altar. We always enter our relationship with God through death. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24 ESV
Then the sense of touch. Then the Priest would wash in the basin. This is a picture of water baptism. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:4 ESV
The sense of taste. Entering the Holy Place, the Priest would go to the Table of Showbread and eat. … the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
1 Corinthians 11:23c-24a ESV
The sense of sight. The menorah, or Lampstand, represented the Church, the light of the world. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV
The sense of smell. The Altar of Incense was a picture of the Church, being the fragrance of Christ. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God 2 Corinthians 2:14-15a NASB
The sense of hearing brings intimacy. Finally, through the veil on the Day of Atonement the High Priest would come to the Holy Presence of God. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11-12 NASB
Application: We not only enter into an intimate relationship with God through our senses, we also enter into relationship with our spouse through the same five senses. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, Ephesians 5:25-26 NASB
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