The Tabernacle and Christ

The furniture and other appointments of the tabernacle were a preview of Christ and our Christian walk.

Only the high priest could go into the tabernacle to the farthest point, the Holy of Holies only once a year. A heavy curtain (Exodus 26:31-33) separated the common man from the Holy of Holies, and from God’s presence. Our sin separates us from God, but since the curtain was torn from top to bottom when Jesus was crucified, God allows us to come boldly into His presence in prayer at any time.

In the Holy of Holies was the throne of grace. We may approach God’s throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

The ark with its mercy seat (Exodus 25:10, 17, 21-22) meant God was present. He is present with us always. He saves us because of His mercy (Titus 3:15) (Ephesians 2:4-5) The Lord is full of compassion and mercy (James 5:11).

The altar of burnt offering (Exodus 27:1-2; 38:1) was for the sacrifices for sin. Christ was our sacrifice. The horns on the altar symbolized strength; Christ has the ability and strength to save.

The basin for washing (Exodus 38:8) was for cleansing before worship. After salvation we need continual cleansing, the washing of water by the word. We cannot worship if we live in sin. Christ’s blood cleanses us as we walk in the light (1 John 1:6-7).

The table was for bread (Exodus 37:10) and provided for the priests and their families. We are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) and feed on Christ, the bread of life.

The lamp stand (Exodus 37:17) with seven lamps gave light to the tabernacle. Seven was the number of completeness. Christ is our light and the light of the world, and He is all we need.

The altar of incense (Exodus 30:1; 37:25) involved their worship symbolizing prayer. Our altar of prayer is part of our worship.  Incense was burned morning and evening (30:7-8), we are to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Oil was used to anoint the priest for service. We have an anointing – The Holy Spirit using the word of God fills us for service (1 John 2:20, 27).

(Ideas from Dr. J. Vernon McGee of Thru the Bible,