You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me. – John 5:39
More To The Story
Over the past few weeks we have been looking at the construction of the Tabernacle – the various elements of the Tabernacle itself, and the order in which it was laid out. Moses was told repeatedly to make the Tabernacle and its elements exactly as he saw when he was on the mountain with God. We can look at this and conclude that God, in his holiness, is just very meticulous and be satisfied with this. God however has a different reason for the things he does. Jesus speaking with the religious leaders challenged them on what they were expecting to get from pouring over the scriptures. Try as they may, they were never able to find the answer to their question. Jesus told them that the answer they were looking for was right in front of them. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me. When we read scripture, when we see what God did, it all points to one thing – one person – one event. Why? Because God, as far as mankind is concerned, has one purpose: the redemption of those who would be his children.
Walking Through The Story
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. – Romans 1:20
The Tabernacle represents more than just a place to worship and focus on God. It represents God himself and his story to us:
|God’s story||In the Tabernacle|
|Genesis 1:1a – In the Beginning, God…||Most Holy Place|
|Genesis 1:1b – God created the heavens and the earth||The Veil|
|Genesis 2:8 – Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden and there he put the man he had formed||The Holy Place|
|Genesis 3:23 – So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken||The Courtyard|
|Genesis 3:24 – After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life||The curtain to the tabernacle|
|Genesis 3:7, 11 – Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves… and he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”||The Laver – the place between God’s presence and the sacrifice where mankind (the priest) had to stop to look at himself|
|Genesis 3:21, Leviticus 16, II Corinthians 5:21 – The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them… God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God||The Altar of Sacrifice – 2 goats, one sacrificed, one presented alive before the Lord. One presented alive had sins confessed over it / it bore the sins of the nation (Jesus is both)|
|Hebrews 9:11-12 –When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption||The blood sprinkled on the atonement cover|
From the very beginning, God has been focused on one thing: our redemption, and everything he did was done in a way to show us just how much he loves us and how much he desires relationship with us.
Skin to Skin
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. – Matthew 27:50-52
When Jesus died, there were a lot of miraculous events that occurred. Most could have been explained away through natural phenomena: darkened sky in the middle of the day; earthquake; rocks splitting. One event however was not so easily explained, that being the splitting of the veil. The veil at the time of Jesus’ death did not measure the same as of the original tabernacle. Tradition holds that it was about 4 inches thick, much bigger, and so heavy that it took 200-300 priests to manipulate it. The possibility of the veil being torn was inconceivable.
While the Scriptures do say that the veil was torn from top to bottom, they do not say that it was removed – only that it was torn. It was this tearing that gave access into the Most Holy Place. Hebrews tells us that this also refers to Jesus:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:19-22
The veil had an opening, but was still situated where to get through it you would have to rub up against the veil. So, getting into the presence of God was still through contact with the veil… touching the sacrifice of Jesus
Adam and Eve sinned and tried to cover themselves. God approached them and saw that their attempt was not good enough – it would not satisfy the story that God wanted to tell them, and us. So, he covered them with skins. Where did the “skins” come from? Would it make sense that God, walking in the Garden in the cool of the day, would approach Adam and Eve, walking with a lamb, already prepared for what He knew was going to be needed? Imagine the first sacrifice: the cries of the animal as it was sacrificed, and God taking the skin from the lamb to cover Adam and Eve – the body and blood of the lamb in contact with the body of mankind. God was showing even in this what would happen to his son, for them and for us.
Freedom to Fully Alive
They came out of the tombs and after Jesus’ resurrection went in to the holy city and appeared to many people. – Matthew 27:53
When the high priest went into the temple to sprinkle the blood on the atonement cover, he wasn’t done. He had to complete the process: sprinkling the tabernacle, the altar, doing the sacrifices, sending the scapegoat away. It was then that Israel was brought into oneness (at-one-ment) with the Father and new life for that year could commence.
When Jesus rose from being our sacrifice, he was met by Mary Magdalene, weeping over the fact that the grave was empty.
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said, “Do no hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” – John 20:16-17
When Jesus died, the graves were opened, but life didn’t start for those in the grave until the work was completed. It was after His resurrection that the holy ones came out of the tombs. So for us, life, freedom, redemption, wholeness and oneness with God – the very thing that God had with Adam in the beginning – comes with the resurrection of Jesus.
One story. One message of love. One plan of redemption, shown in everything God does. See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.