THE BRONZE ALTAR
God wanted to dwell among his people. How does a holy God dwell among sinful people? First God required the people to sacrifice a perfect animal for their sins (Lev 17:11). The blood of the animal was important to justify the people before God. Only the finest animal-a perfect one-was good enough. Sacrifices needed to be offered on a regular basis (Heb 9:25). The person bringing the offering would put his hand on the head of the lamb
while it was killed. This symbolically put the person’s sins onto the animal, and the animal died in his place.
HOW JESUS CHRIST REPRESENTS THE BRONZE ALTER
- Jesus is our perfect sacrifice and shed his blood for our sins. (John 1:29; Rev 13:8; Heb 10:10; Rom 4:25). Jesus was not only the perfect sacrifice, but his sacrifice covered ALL SINS-past and future. No more sacrifices are required.
- In Romans 12:1, we are told to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. What does this mean to you?
- Christ’s sacrifice
THE BRONZE LAVER
Ex 30:18; 38:8
The next step was for the priests only. In fact, the rest of the work was performed by the priests on behalf of the people. After making the sacrifice, the priest washed himself at the bronze laver. This washing purified the priest and prepared him to enter the tabernacle. In Exodus 30:20, God says they must wash so that do not die when they enter the tabernacle. The bronze laver was made from brass mirrors donated by the women. The Bible does not describe the laver completely, but perhaps it had shiny mirrored surface which would help the priest wash thoroughly and to remind him that the Lord sees past the outward appearance, straight into the heart.
HOW JESUS CHRIST REPRESENTS THE BRONZE LAVER
- We Christians today are cleansed through baptism Acts 2:38.
- Although He is the Son of God Jesus Christ himself got baptized by John the Baptist
THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND
Ex 25:31-40; 26:35
From the laver, the priest passed through a veil into the Holy Place. The room he entered had three objects: a golden lampstand on the south, a table on the north, and an altar of incense (see bible signs & symbols: Incense) to the west just before the veil to the most holy place, the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies). The unique lampstand was beaten from a single piece of gold. It was not pieced together. Scripture tells us it was fueled by oil, not wax. It had lamps at the top of each branch, not candles. Its purpose was to provide light in this otherwise dark room. Trimming the lamp wicks to keep them burning brightly was an important job for the priest.
HOW JESUS CHRIST REPRESENTS THE LAMPSTAND
- Jesus called himself the light of the world in many places in the Bible (John 12:46)
- Christians are called to be lights. See Acts 13: 47 How are we lights?
- Enlightened by the Holy Spirit
THE TABLE OF SHOWBREAD
Ex 25: 23-30
On the table of showbread, Aaron and his sons placed twelve loaves of bread (bread of the presence) made from fine flour. These twelve loaves represented the twelve tribes of Israel. The table with the loaves was a continual reminder of the everlasting promises, the covenant between God and the children of Israel, and a memorial of God’s provision of food. The bread was eaten by Aaron and his sons and was replaced every week on the Sabbath.
HOW JESUS CHRIST REPRESENTS THE TABLE OF SHOWBREAD
- Jesus called himself the Bread of life (John 6:35, 51). He said that those who came to him would never hunger again. Physical bread-even the special bread of the tabernacle- is consumed. But the spiritual Bread of Life, Jesus, gives eternal life.
- Fed by the Living Word
THE ALTAR OF INCENSE
The Lord required that special incense be burned constantly on the altar of incense. It was a special sweet incense, a mixture of spices to be used only for the tabernacle (Ex 30:35-37). God specifically required this recipe. None other was to be burned on the altar. It was a matter of life and death, as Leviticus 10: 1-2 clearly show us, when two of Aaron’s sons offered a “strange fire” before the Lord and were struck dead. In the New Testament, the priest Zechariah was in the Holy Place when an angle appeared near the altar of incense (Luke 1:5-13). The angle announced that God had heard his prayers and he and his wife would have a son (John the Baptist).
HOW JESUS CHRIST REPRESENTS THE ALTAR OF INCENSE
- Incense represents the prayers of the faithful. There are several references to this in the book of Revelation.
- Prayer, communication, intercession
The veil separated the holy place from the most holy place where the ark of the covenant was kept. It was a barrier between God and humans. Once a year, Aaron would enter the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) through this veil. The veil was a heavy woven cloth stretching for ten cubits (15 ft or 4.6 m). There was no separation in the middle. The high priest had to go around the side to enter the most holy place. Later when the temple was constructed, it followed a similar design. The veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom when Jesus died. This symbolizes the ability of every believer, not just a high priest, to approach God through the death of Jesus.
HOW JESUS CHRIST REPRESENTS THE VEIL
- For hundreds of years, the Israelites needed a human high priest to represent them before God (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:1; 9:11; 10:11-12).
- Entering God’s presence boldly through Christ
THE ARK OF THE COVENANT AND THE MERCY SEAT
Ex 25:10, 14-16; 25:22; Heb 9
The central focus of the entire tabernacle was the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) where God spoke to the high priest above the mercy seat-the area where the winged cherubim face each other. Annually, the high priest would sprinkle blood on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of all the people. God’s purpose and desire is to dwell among his people and to commune with them. The layout of the tabernalce, alone with the steps of sacrifice, cleansing, and remembering God’s promises are all designed to bring sinful mankind to a loving and holy God.
HOW JESUS CHRIST REPRESENTS THE ARK OF THE COVENANT AND THE MERCY SEAT
- Christianity is not a religion in which humans reach to know God. It is God who approaches his creatures and makes it possible for them to know him (John 6:44; Eph 2:8-9)
- Entering God’s presence boldly through Christ.