THE TRUE TABERNACLE
By Larry White
Intro. Jesus said in Mt.5:17, "Do not think that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets, I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill." The word fulfill here, is the idea of a vessel being filled up to the brim. Therefore you could think of the Old Testament as being an empty shell which Christ would fill up and give it solid substance. Or you could liken it to the site of a high rise building being erected where the outward skeleton of the scaffolding can be seen surrounding the real inner structure.
You have nearly the same idea in Jno.1:17, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." If the truth came by Jesus, does that mean that what Moses gave wasn't true? No. Therefore the word "truth" here aleiqea, takes on the meaning of the real as opposed to the representative, the solid substance as opposed to the shadow, the original type, of the Old Testament antitype.
One of the best examples of this principle is in the design of the O.T. Tabernacle.
And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.
Moses was to make the tabernacle according to a pattern. In the Greek, "pattern" is our word "type" again when it is quoted in
Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this one also have something to offer.
For if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For he said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
There was a heavenly type which God showed Moses that the earthly tabernacle was to be the echo or antitype.
1. Two rooms. The back one was foursquare and was half the size of the front room.
2. These rooms were divided by a veil.
3. The front one was the Holy Place and the back one was the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies)
4. The Ark of the Covenant. The lid of this box was called the Mercy Seat. Inside the box were the Tablets of Stone which had the 10 Commandments. God was said to be dwelling between the cherubim. No one ever went into the Holy of Holies but once a year. The High Priest on the day of Atonement.
5. Alter of incense. Smoke filled the tabernacle.
6. Lamp Stand was always lit.
7. Table of Showbread. 12 cakes that only the priests could eat.
8. Brass laver. For ceremonial washing of any priest before he went into the Holy Place.
9. Alter of burnt offering was for sacrifices offered to God.
10. Actions of the Priest on the Day of Atonement in (Lev.16)
Now anything coming after this in time should be referred to as an antitype echoing the original in the O.T. But the amazing thing is that this is the antitype. The antitype came first in world history. The type that it is taken from came later in history.
The Type or Pattern
1. The Most Holy Place is heaven itself.
For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true [real], but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
2. The veil is the one thing that separates the heavenly realm from us, i.e. the flesh.
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after he had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then he adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, his flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
So Jesus is our high priest and has gone through the veil of flesh into heaven itself to sprinkle his own blood on the Mercy-seat on God's throne.
3.Since the veil separates heaven and earth, we come into the Holy Place and recognize it as our realm of serving God in the church.
4. The Ark is the symbol of God's covenant with us.
Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of his covenant was seen in his temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
- The Cherubim are the living beings before the real throne of God. Eze.10-11
- The Mercy-seat: In Hebrew the word propitiation and Mercy-seat are the same, so you have Paul saying in Rom.3:25 that Jesus has become our propitiation through faith in his blood. So he is our Mercy-seat.
5. The Alter of incense is the prayers of Christians in the church.
Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.
As the smoke of incense went up over the veil into the Most Holy Place, our prayers ascend right into heaven itself.
6. The Lamp Stand is in the church because it represents the truth manifested to us by the Holy Spirit who dwells in the real temple of God - the church.
Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep.
And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I said, "I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps.
Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left."
So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, "What are these, my lord?"
Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, "Do you not know what these are?"
And I said, "No, my lord."
So he answered and said to me:
"This is the word of Jehovah to Zerubbabel:
"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,'
Says Jehovah of hosts.
"Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of "Grace, grace to it!""'
The point here is that Zerubbabel would not build the temple with power or might but God would see to its reconstruction by the Holy Spirit. (Nothing could stand in his way.) This Spirit is dwelling now in the church.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone ruins the temple of God, God will ruin him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be my people.”
The Father dwells in the church, but he does so by means of his Spirit.
7. There is not too much said concerning the showbread and table - only that the priests were the only ones who could partake of it. Jesus makes a point about that and David eating from it out of necessity. Eating in that day and age meant strong fellowship with whomever you ate. That is why Paul tells Christians not even to eat with someone from whom the church has withdrawn. So it is my opinion that the table of showbread represented the fellowship of God and his people. 12 cakes were the 12 tribes.
Jesus seems to use it that way in
For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the one who serves.
“But you are those who have continued with me in my trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as my father bestowed one upon me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Then Paul uses it with the idea of fellowship.
Rather, that the things which they sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to become partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
I would not go so as to say it represented the Lord's Supper - but just the idea or principle of close fellowship and communion with God. This is probably why you hear some people call the Lord's Supper, Communion. But obviously there isn't a literal table in the kingdom anyway.
8. The Brass Laver I think is obvious in its representation. As the priests washed themselves, we also need washing.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.
After we have become Christians by this washing, we have a continual cleansing in the blood of Christ as we confess our sins and turn from them.
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
9. The Alter of burnt offering represents primarily the sacrifice of Christ.
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience – concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things about to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
We also as priests of God offer ourselves as sacrifices to God (Rom.12:1) "I beg you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto God which is your spiritual work of service." And we continually offer spiritual sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ.
Therefore by him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.
The Old Testament economy was just a picture of the real thing that we enjoy today. But we enjoy it by faith - because we cannot see anything that I have spoken of here today. The main difference between the O.T. then and the New Testament now is the cross of Christ. In Christ all these things are fulfilled. All things have become new.
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things about to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Old Covenant Christ Shadow Substance Empty jar Filled up with content Antitype Type
For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
To go back to the Old Testament in worship or service to God is like going back to kindergarten spiritually. Like children playing house or having tea parties. They are not real. It would be going back to a thin bare shadow of the real thing, going back to empty form and ceremony.
There are religions today who do that very thing.
The Catholics have their Priests and Holy Water and their Alter. They burn incense, and the worst of it is they practice a mediation. A man, priest or otherwise, standing between you and God. The "Vicar" standing in the place of Christ himself.
The Seventh Day Adventist go all the way back and try to keep the Old Law of Moses, even to keeping the Sabbath holy, and abstaining from certain meats.
People need to understand what the church is, and who the real people of God are.
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Therefore it is also contained in the scripture,
“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on him will by no
means be put to shame.”
Therefore, to you who believe, he is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.”
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
We are now the people of God - a kingly or royal priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifices and are built together to form the real Temple of God made without hands, which the people of the world cannot see. But if you have faith, you can see it - and by faith you can enter it and worship in spirit and in truth. For the father is seeking such to worship him.
(Originally delivered as a sermon in Eagle Point, OR. December 16, 1984)