Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Church - Part 5

In this part we begin looking at the design and purpose of the church by examining how God commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

In Exodus 25 God tells Moses to build this tabernacle so that He may dwell with His people. It is important to note that He did not tell Moses to instruct the people to build an altar in their tent where he would visit them. His desire was to dwell with His people together.

God instructs Moses to gather from the people gold, silver, bronze, acacia wood, goat hair, fine linens and more. It was for the building of His house. Where did all of the stuff come from? Remember when the Israelites left Egypt they had all the wealth of Egypt.

The tent of meeting that enclosed the tabernacle was about 150 feet long by 75 feet wide. There was only one entrance -- about 30 feet wide on the east end of the tent. There is a theme that runs throughout the Word that shows that God moves east to west.

It began in the Garden of Eden. I know a most of us think the Garden was in the east of Eden. But when you you read the scriptures carefully we find it does not say this. First, Moses wrote Genesis. From where he lived, Eden was to the east. He says "in the east, in the Garden of Eden." Then, in Genesis 3, when God seals man from the Tree of Life, it says the gate guarded by the cherubim with a flaming sword was on the east of the garden -- not that the garden was in the east.

Now, it does not say that the Garden was in the west of Eden, but when we look at the rest of the Word we can conclude that it was highly likely. When God created a separation between the Tree of Life and the rest of Eden He was creating the first "Holy of Holies." The Holy of Holies -- which was separated from man in the Tabernacle and the Temple was always on the west and the only entrance was on the east end.

Then we see that the Israelites cross the Jordan River from the east to the west in order to enter the Promised Land. Of course our sun moves through the sky from east to west.

Inside the Tabernacle, God instructs Moses to build specific furnishings out of specific materials. We will get into all of them int he remaining parts of this series. However, if we look at a diagram of all of the items and their placement, we see they are arranged in the form of a cross -- going from east to west.

Now, we mentioned that there was only one entrance into the Tabernacle. We know that there is only one way to enter into fellowship with God -- through His Son, Christ Jesus.

Once inside the entry, the first item is the bronze altar. On this altar were made sacrifices. One such sacrifice was the sin offering. At the Passover perfect, spotless lambs were sacrificed (Jesus: The Lamb of God). The blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies (more on that in a later part).

This picture shows us that the first step of entering in to fellowship with God and becoming part of His bride is to enter into the forgiveness represented by Christ's shed blood.

The altar was made of bronze. Bronze is a soft and pliable metal -- which is what God desires for us to be. It is also a very impure and dirty metal. This is also symbolic of us. God knows that we are not perfect. However, if we enter into that sacrifice that was made for our imperfections, we can be used by God. We can also dwell in His presence.

In later parts we will look more at the shedding of blood and the process of our cleansing in order to dwell in God's presence -- to boldly go into the Holy of Holies.