The Way into the Holiest
The tabernacle of Moses is to me one of most fascinating phenomena of scripture, and one that provokes in me a deep sense of awe and wonder for both the word and presence of God.
The tabernacle was built by the Israelites, according to God’s instructions, while wandering the desert after their rescue out of slavery in Egypt. The purpose of the tabernacle of Moses was to provide a place where the people could worship God and offer the appropriate sacrifices required by the law of Moses. The Hebrew translation of the word tabernacle is mishkan, which means ‘dwelling-place’. Put simply, God wanted them to build it so He could come and dwell with them.
If we look closely at the design and symbolic insights of this structure, the tabernacle can reveal to us a pattern of the way into the holiest presence of our almighty God. The more I have studied this, the more depth I find.
Consider the structure. It was divided into three main sections;
The Outer Court
The Holy Place – behind the first veil/curtain
The Holy of Holies – behind the second veil/curtain
It was a triune structure: one structure with three areas. It depicts both the Trinity, the nature of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and it also depicts the nature of man – body, soul, and Spirit. So how do these three areas correspond to how we enter into worship with God?
When approaching the tabernacle, the Israelites had to do so by the outer court. Likewise, when approaching God, we do so with our bodies. We bring our whole selves before him in worship. The first thing you would see when entering the outer court was the bronze altar where all of the sacrificial animals were slaughtered and offered to God for the atonement of sin. For us, this bronze altar represents Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross. His sacrificial death, His blood shed for us, for our redemption and reconciliation. Our starting point therefore must be here, in a place of humble surrender, at the foot of the cross. From this place we are then ready to move on in our progression of worship.
Continuing our journey, we move from the Outer Court (our bodies) and come to the Holy place (our souls). Throughout scripture God speaks of different ways in which He wants us to relate to Him with our souls. He says we are to pour out our souls to Him, (Psalm 42:4), to lift up our souls to Him (Psalm 25:1), He even asks us to love Him with all our souls (Deuteronomy 6:5). So, what does this mean? Our soul relates to our emotions and our will. Worshipping God with our souls, requires us to surrender our will to Him, seeking His will in its place, and accepting His pure and perfect plan for our lives. It is in essence the lining up of our souls in the moment, with God’s will, that brings us into that deeper place of worship.
Lastly, we come to the Holy of Holies (the spirit). God says he is seeking those to worship him ‘in Spirit and truth’ (John 4:23). True worship with our spirits means that it must originate from within, from our hearts. It must be sincere, motivated by our deep love for God in response to His deep love for us. To worship God in spirit involves loving Him with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Within the Holy of Holies there is no natural light. The only source of light is that which is from the glory of God's presence. This is where true worship takes place. When you enter into the Holy of Holies and connect with God’s Spirit, illuminated by His glory, and experience the privilege of His presence. Here your Spirit comes alive when it comes into contact with the living God.
When Jesus cried out on the cross and took His final breath, the veil in the temple, that barrier between the Holy Place and Holy of Holies, was torn in two. From top to bottom. Through Jesus’ death on the cross He has made a way for us to be able forevermore, to enter into this place, freely. ‘Therefore, brothers and sisters, 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...” (Hebrews 10:19-22). I am so grateful, that He has made a way for us to draw near with faith, and enter in to the Holiest of Holies. What a privilege it is to be able to enter in, and worship such an awesome God. Hallelujah!