|From the Pastors Desk|
|Tabernacle||The Importance of the Tabernacle||Lesson 1|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|May 20, 2001||Bible Lessons
This morning marks the start of a long and glorious Biblical journey. One that started in Heaven in eternity past, and will conclude in the New Heaven and New Earth in eternity future. It will be a study touching, in some detail, almost EVERY major teaching of the Word of God.
The Tabernacle, its service and worship is a picture form of Christ, the entire plan of redemption and the Christian's walk in holiness. No other single item has been so widely used by the Holy Spirit, in the Scriptures, to portray Christ and the Believer's walk in holiness.
So let's get started!!! Please, turn in your Bibles, your minds or follow the printed text to....
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
No! I may be ancient and my mind's not what it used to be, but I haven't completely lost it, yet. Turning to Genesis chapter one is not a computer error. We are in the study of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, NOT creation.
I wanted to point out that the Holy Spirit, in allocating space throughout the Word of God to different subjects, gave two chapters to the description of creation, and a number of short references, to the same, throughout the Bible.
the same Holy Spirit gave 50+ chapters to the description of the Tabernacle and the ministries thereof.
Not only is there such volume of space given to the actual building and instructions for the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle and its ministries are mentioned over and over again throughout the entirety of Scripture.
The Spiritual insights and truths found in Hebrews are almost totally based on the knowledge and understanding of the Tabernacle and its ministries. Paul and other New Testament writers refer to and use the Tabernacle as a reference and the base for many teachings.
The tabernacle was fashioned after a pattern of something of "like" nature that is in heaven. There will be a structure of somewhat similar nature in the coming Kingdom, and in eternity. The ritual will be different, but it will be after the same "pattern". We will see more details about the substance and form of the heavenly "structure" later in this series.
In spite of the obvious emphasis by the Holy Spirit on this subject, and the lack of emphasis on the subject of creation, there have been literally thousands of volumes written about the two chapters of creation.
However, precious little teaching, to say nothing of real research has been given to the Biblical subject of the Tabernacle and its ministries..., except books and films on locating the Ark of the Covenant.
We have many religious organizations today devoted wholly to the subject of creation, both in research and teaching. However, I don't know of one organization that is devoted to the teaching of the Tabernacle.
These many "creation type" organizations raise and spend millions of dollars..., and more power to them. Yet, somehow it seems that just maybe the Christian community has, once again, become unbalanced... or at least overbalanced in our zest for apologetics concerning the Word of God, in contrast to our obedience to the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit uses the Tabernacle and its ministries to teach, in picture form, the plan of redemption. We can learn about the redemption program from other passages of Scripture, also.
However, in the types, symbols and teaching of the Tabernacle, we have, in kernel form, the entire plan of redemption in visual outline which is progressively taught in fragmented form throughout the Scriptures. In the Tabernacle, the Holy Spirit teaches many truths that were not placed in writing until after the death of Christ.
Please, be assured that the full teaching found in the Tabernacle CANNOT be understood without the divine commentary found throughout the entire Scriptures. On the flip side, it is difficult and maybe impossible to have a full and complete understanding of the text of Scripture WITHOUT a clear understanding of the Tabernacle and it function.
Over and over again, God reminded Moses that they must build the Tabernacle and its service items according to the "pattern" given by God to Moses on the "mountain". There were very good reasons for it to be built according to the "pattern", as is pointed out in Hebrews and elsewhere.
The list of passages could go on and on. That same theme is echoed in the New Testament. Stephen, in his great speech of Biblical defense, makes mention of this fact.
The writer of Hebrews also points out this fact, and give us further insights.
The Law, the Tabernacle and all associated with them were a copy, as a shadow is of the real thing. In this case, the shadow was very glorious!!! Even so, it was only an earthly shadow of heavenly things. Because the natural mind CANNOT perceive or receive Spiritual truth in and of itself, God gave us a physical "shadow" of the real Spiritual "thing", so we could have some comprehension of what true Spirituality is really like.
Christ, if He were to minister on earth, would not nor could not be a Levitical Priest according to Law given by God at the same time He gave the plans for the Tabernacle. Christ IS a Priest, BUT not after the fashion of the "shadow" seen in the Law.
The Person of Christ, and His ministry cast that "shadow". Christ's Person and ministry are FAR MORE "excellent", than those earthly priests and that temporary covenant. Certainly, any "shadow" cast by such an excellent heavenly Personage and ministry would be glorious. IF the shadow is glorious, and it is, THEN the real thing is FAR more so.
The "shadow" of this glorious person and His precious fellowship was a ministry of condemnation. The "shadow" or the Tabernacle and its service could only show how lacking the worshiper was of any of the true glory found in the real thing. The "shadow" was helpless to provide any remedy for the sin of mankind. The "shadow" could only show how sinful the person was, and how totally void they were of any righteousness.
The "shadow" was a constant reminder of their sins, and the fact that those sins were not being redeemed or taken away by the "shadow". Therefore, the ministry of the Tabernacle brought more condemnation than expectation. However, in the typical teaching of that ministry, there is far more expectation than condemnation.
The Law and all involved in it, including the Tabernacle pointed out sin and pointed to a Savior, Who was Christ. The Jews had the wrong view or opinion of the Law and Tabernacle worship. They saw themselves as better, or more righteousness than others BECAUSE they were the custodians of the Law.
The Israelites were highly favored because they were the custodians of the "oracles of God". Just having these "oracles" was a blessing. If they had truly believed the teaching and purpose of those "oracles", then those "oracles" would have brought "hope" and "expectation".
(1) HOPE... because they would have seen the sinfulness of their sin, and realized that there was no righteousness in themselves that could counter such sin. Therefore, they could not, nor did God expect them to provide a remedy for their sins. Their only obligation was simple obedience.
By the way, there is NO hope for sinner or saint until they see and recognize their sin as God see those sins.
(2) EXPECTATION.... because they would have seen that the Law (called the Old Covenant) was to be fulfilled by a substitute (not themselves) sent from God, known as the Messiah.
Just as with the Israelites, if we want to have Spiritual Hope and Expectation for time and eternity, then there is no need to try to convince ourselves or others that we are not sinners. As a matter of fact, when we allow the Law to do its job (convincing us of sin, and pointing us to Christ), then there is Hope and valid Expectations. Apart from the recognition of our helpless sinful state, and the acceptance of God's provision, there is NO hope, at all.
As long as a person thinks they will be accepted by God through obeying or keeping the Law perfectly.., THEN all Hope is gone, and the only thing they can Expect for eternity is Judgment. Any person who has given more than a passing glance at the Law, KNOWS that they cannot keep the Law. Therefore, IF being accepted by God is dependent on perfectly emulating the Law through their own efforts.., THEN the best that person can hope for or expect is..... despair in this life and dread of the one to come.
Just because the Israelites were the "caretakers" of God's Law, DID NOT mean that they had to be or look like they were perfect. That is equally true for us who are the administrators of God's New Covenant. The Holy Spirit through the writings of the Apostles makes that perfectly clear. BUT none the less, we so often try to give the impression that we have arrived Spiritually, and that there is no lack in our lives.
Instead of "hope" and "expectation", the Law caused "self-righteousness" and "despair". This "result" of the Law was not because of a flaw or weakness in the Law, BUT because of a native weakness of the flesh.
We will not follow that fact further in this lesson, BUT please note that there is a "righteous requirement" of the Law. Anyone who expects to have a personal relationship with God must have met that "righteous requirement".
The Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that any Believer who is walking by the Spirit has that "righteous requirement" fulfilled in them.., not by them. The "righteous requirement" of the Law was fulfilled by and only by Christ.
The Believer has the Holy Spirit, as well as the rest of the Godhead, dwelling within their life. Therefore, within each Believer dwells the fulfillment of the "righteous requirement" of the Law. When that Believer is walking in the Spirit, THEN that "requirement of the Law" is being fulfilled in them, by God, through the Holy Spirit. More later, but Paul describes this process in.....
Because the Israelites did not realize this truth (even though it is pictured in the Tabernacle and its service), they lived in despair, cloaked in hypocrisy. This internal despair caused them to turn to false gods, idols and vain philosophies in hope of finding reality. That same fact is true in the Believer who does not live in the reality of these facts.
This lack of understanding all started (or at least was aided on its way) by a good sermon illustration, that Moses applied very badly. However, as we will see, Moses cannot bear the entire fault of this misunderstanding that led to self-righteousness and legalism . Look again at....
We will examine this passage in more detail later. For right now, we need to see several things:
By Moses covering or veiling his face, the people could not see that the glory was passing away by degrees. The longer he was away from the presence of God, the less glory was seen in his face. They, like any human, associated the glory in Moses' face with physical "items": the Law, the plans for the Tabernacle, etc.
This fact of the improper association of the source of "glory" is also true of many Believers. I'm sure you remember the story of Ananias and Sapphira in the early church. Barnabas, another member of that church, sold some land and gave the proceeds to the disciples to be used as needed. As a result, Barnabas receive praise and attention from those in the church.
Evidently, Ananias and Sapphira wanted the same "glory", and thought that this "glory" had as its source the giving of money. So they tried to imitate what Barnabas had done, so as to also receive glory. However, they were not honest in their motive or their actions. As a result, were punished by death.
I'm glad that God does not use the same degree of punishment for our wrong motives and actions. Because IF he did, there would not be many of us around to share in this lesson.
The point I want see in this whole matter is that physical "items", whether associated with the Law or Christian living, are not the source of Spiritual blessing and living. This was one of the lessons the Holy Spirit wanted to demonstrate by this account. The glory came to Moses while in the presence of God, but faded when away from God's presence.
If the Israelites had seen the end of the glory in Moses' face, they could have known there was something more glorious and permanent, yet to come. They would have know this because the Law and Tabernacle were still there.., AND the glory in Moses' face was fading. Therefore, something MUCH better than the Law and the Tabernacle caused that glory. Among other things, this example shows us HOW important it is to teach properly by word and action.
If the people had seen the glory fade, they would have been looking forward to the "better covenant", the New Covenant in which God Himself dwells within each Believer. With God in each Believer, the Believer remains in the presence of God and can continue to be changed from one degree of glory to another degree of glory.
The Jews came to believed that the Law was a permanent factor, and through the observance of its rituals, the world would be changed and Messiah would rule. Therefore, they were expecting a Messiah, but they were not expecting the Messiah to bring with Him a New Covenant that would be far more glorious than the Old Covenant, called the Law.
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001|