The Altar and the Courtyard (Exodus 27:1 – 19)

The Altar was to be constructed of acacia wood and overlaid in bronze, 7 1/2 feet square and 4 1/2 feet tall.  It would have four horns, one on each corner, and pans underneath to catch the ashes of the burnt offering.  The pans, shovels, basins, and forks would be made of bronze as well.  There would be a grate underneath, and rings on the four corners by which to carry the altar with poles.

The Court of the Tabernacle surrounded by hangings, 150 feet on the North and the South.  They would be hung on bronze pillars and hooks.  The hangings for the East and West would be 75 feet.  Within the East side would be a gate with a screen 30 feet long.

The altar would be the place where all the offerings unto God would be offered.  It was like a large wood grill that would be used to burn (or cook) the offerings once they were offered unto the priests and killed by the priests.  This practice of offerings for the forgiveness of sins, among other things, would be the type, or forerunner, of the lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who was slaughtered by the priesthood of the Jews for the sins of the world.  He was the Passover Lamb.

The courtyard would be the place where all people could come to offer sacrifice unto God.  Only the priests could enter the holy place, and only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy or the Holy of Holies.  This arrangement of the tabernacle would represent the pattern of worship for all times.  One enters the house of God with a repentant heart, seeking cleansing and forgiveness of sins, then enters into the holy place to dwell in His presence.  Finally, the worshipper would go into the Most Holy place, where God would examine his or her soul and perfect him or her in the presence of God.

We must approach God with humble, penitent hearts, open to His transforming Spirit.  The tabernacle gives us a shadow of the pattern of worship by which God’s people must approach him.  Although this passage just gives the outward dimensions of the tabernacle and some of its most important items, there will be other items described as we go forward that will flesh out the picture of the pattern of worship.

The Lampstand and the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:31 – 26:37)

The Golden Lampstand (Temple Menorah) was to be made of pure gold, and made of one piece.  Six branches would come out of the main lampstand, three on each side.  It is very ornate, and its accessories would also be of gold.  The Lampstand carried oil to the wick.  The oil and the fire represent the presence of the Holy Spirit: comforting, soothing, purging, empowering.

The lampstand was the third piece of the puzzle, completing the imagery of the Trinity.  The Ark represented the Father, requiring judgement and payment for the sins of man.  The Table of the Showbread represented the Son, the Bread of Life, who would walk among men and give life.  The Lampstand represented the Holy Spirit, illuminating and healing along life’s way, moving among men still today!

The tabernacle would be made with ten curtains of fine woven linen, and woven with blue, purple, and scarlet thread.  Forty-two feet by six feet are the dimensions of each curtain.  Curtains would be held together by blue yarn loops and gold clasps.  There are also curtains of goats’ hair as a tent over the tabernacle.

The frame would be made of boards of acacia wood.  They were held together and in place by silver sockets and rings.  There is also a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine linen.  It has the design of cherubim woven into it.  The veil would divide the holy place and the Most Holy, where the Ark of the Covenant would reside.  The table and the lampstand would sit outside the veil across from one another, with the table on the north side.

The design of the tabernacle was intentional.  It was designed to be sturdy, but nevertheless portable.  It could be put up and taken down without tremendous construction or deconstruction effort.

Several things are suggested here by the construction materials and the nature of the tabernacle.  The purity of the gold and silver signify the holy and pure nature of God.  The materials of His house must be of a similar nature to His nature.  The portability of the Tabernacle reminds us of the need to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit wherever He leads.  When you find a pure God and enter into covenant with Him, you must be ready to follow Him wherever He may lead.  God is worth following, because He always knows where you need to go to be in the center of His will!

The Ark and the Table (Exodus 25:10 – 30)

God begins to give Moses instructions for the furniture and integral items for the Tabernacle.  The first item mentioned is the heart of the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant.  It was to measure 3 3/4 feet long by 2 1/4 feet wide.  It was to be overlaid with gold Inside and out, be outfitted with rings for poles to be inserted for carrying the ark.  It would have a chamber inside that held the Testimony of the Lord.  The chamber was covered by the mercy seat, which had two cherubim, one at each end facing each other.  Their wings would cover the mercy seat and would stretch out and touch one another.  God promised to appear to Moses above the mercy seat.  This piece housed the presence of God.  He was not restricted to the Ark, but He was found there.

The Table of the Showbread was to be 3 feet long and 1 1/2 feet wide.  It would also be overlaid with gold and have rings for poles by which to carry the table.  The table would hold the Showbread, a holy offering to the Lord.  Showbread could just as easily be translated “presence bread” because it must always be in the presence of the Lord (the Ark).  It was left on the table for a week, then replaced.  The priests could eat it after it was removed from the table, as long as it was eaten in a holy place.

These items began the official fitting of the tabernacle as a place of worship.  The Ark and the Table symbolized Spiritual presence.  The ark was where God’s express presence would reside.  The Table also represented God’s presence, but not directly.  I believe it is possible that the bread could be a type or shadow of Jesus Christ Himself, the Bread of Life.

Today, we are representatives of the Ark, as we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, carrying the presence of the Lord with us.  We carry the Bread of Life with us in the person of Jesus Christ, and in the knowledge of the Word of God.  Therefore, these items were not only types of Christ, but also of the work of the Son and the Spirit in the life of the believer.  Carry the Presence and share the Bread!

On the Mountain With God (Exodus 24:9 – 25:9)

Moses obeys the command to take Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu up to the mountain, as well as 70 elders from Israel, and they all saw God.  Although the chronology of the passage from yesterday’s blog and this one today seem a bit confused, or at least redundant, it appears that God wanted to reveal Himself, at least partially, to the leaders of Israel.  Under His feet it appeared the ground was paved with sapphires, clear as heaven.

God then instructed Moses to come up onto the mountain, and He would give Him tablets of stone with the law and commandments.  Moses took His assistant Joshua, and left Aaron and Hur in charge to settle any disputes or difficulties.  The glory of the Lord rested on the mountain (Mount Sinai) and God called Moses up into the cloud and fire, and he stayed there with God for forty days and nights.

Dwelling in the awesome presence of God is a powerful and awe-inspiring, humbling event.  One thing I love about worship is that it brings me into a spiritual encounter with God that can change me, transform me, and especially bring me to the reality of my own inadequacies and sinfulness.  While that may seem negative, sometimes I need to be reminded that I need God.  When I realize my need for God, it is then much easier to ask for forgiveness, be cleansed from my wickedness, and walk in His holiness.

After Moses’ encounter with the presence of God, God instructed Moses to receive an offering from the people.  They should contribute gold, silver, and bronze, and many other materials that would be useful in the construction of a sanctuary for God.  He then said that He would give Moses instructions on how the tabernacle should be buit.

The presence of God is an awesome thing, but to prepare a sanctuary for His presence, is an awesome task.  For thousands of years, men have sought to prepare a house for God.  Some have been elaborate, like the temple of Solomon, and the massive cathedrals of Europe.  However, in our day the temple of the Holy Spirit is found among men.  Churches and sacred spaces definitely have a purpose and function, but it is important to understand two things: make God’s house holy and reverence him within it, and be His house and reverence Him with your life wherever you may be!

The Law and the Covenant (Exodus 24:1-8)

Once Moses had received the law from God, God instructed him how to come before Him with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu worshiping from afar.  Once Moses told the law to the people, they agreed to do all that the Lord had said.  They sacrificed unto the Lord, and Moses wrote all the law down and read it to the people.  The people again said they would obey the law, and Moses sprinkled blood from the sacrifice on the people to seal the covenant.

Covenant is a powerful concept.  It is the commitment of one to another in a lifelong relationship.  In Israel’s relationship with God, the law was God’s requirements of Israel.  In response to their adherence to the law, God would bless and provide for them and drive out their enemies.  The blood of the sacrifice was the sign of the covenant.  God’s covenant for us today also involves blood, the blood of Jesus Christ.  The covenant today is a covenant of grace, predicated on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the obedience of the redeemed in relationship with Christ.  When God–through His Holy Spirit–brings instruction to our hearts, we should obey unconditionally what the Spirit says.  The law is written in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and we should hear His voice and obey.

The law was not a bad thing, except that it created a works-based faith where obedience alone was the means of salvation.  The covenant of grace is a faith-based faith, where relationship is the key to salvation.  However, God’s laws still apply, just not relating to the need for animal sacrifices and atonement.  The atonement has been supplied through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Praise God for the work of Christ and His passion!

Because He Lives

My sermon notes from Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.

Because He Lives!
Luke 24:5–6 (NKJV)
5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen!

2 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)
4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

  • God’s power was manifested in the resurrection.
  • Jesus had taken the keys to death and hell.
  • He had overcome sin
  • He had once again exercised dominance over the enemy, Satan.
  • Because He rose again, all the work done on Calvary was appropriated to us.
  • Because He lives, we shall live with Him!

Luke 24:1–12 (NKJV)
Matt. 28:1–8; Mark 16:1–8; John 20:1–10
24 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.

Let’s walk through the Resurrection Story here in Luke for a few moments.

  • The women who came to prepare Jesus’ body were expecting to find His dead body in the tomb.
  • Instead, they found a perplexing sight, the stone rolled away and the tomb empty!
  • An Angelic detachment was present to speak to them.

5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”

  • The Angels frightened them, and then asked the women the famous question, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
  • They reminded the women of His prophecy that He would rise again the third day.
  • Jesus threw all conventional wisdom out and showed the world that what thus says the Lord is the truth in which we must trust

8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

  • And they remembered His words.
    • What has God promised you?
      • Through His Word?
      • By the Holy Spirit?
    • What have you done with what He told you?
  • And Peter marveled.
    • The things of God are worthy of our awe
    • Marvel, though, not because you can’t believe, but marvel at the wonder of what God has done, is doing, and will do in your life!

The Results of the Resurrection
The forgiveness of sin has been provided.
Healing has been accomplished.
Deliverance has been supplied.
Salvation is secured.

Forgiveness – 1 John 2:1–2 (NKJV)
2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Healing – 1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

Deliverance -2 Timothy 4:18 (NKJV)
18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

2 Peter 2:9–10 (NKJV)
9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,

Salvation – Acts 4:10–12 (NKJV)
10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

“Because He Lives (Amen)”

I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood
I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away

Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
Every fear is gone
I know He holds my life my future in His hands

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives

To What Will You Say “Amen?”

Feasts and Angels (Exodus 23:14-33)

Three Feasts were established by God at this time.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread was the commemoration of the Passover from Egypt.  The Feast of Harvest is related to the firstfruits and bringing in the initial items into the household and tithing on the harvest.  The Feast of Ingathering is during the time of the latter gathering of the harvest at the end of the season.  During these three times of the year, all males of Israel must appear before the Lord.

The second part of this passage relates to God’s promise that an Angel would go before Israel to bring them into the Land of Promise.  They must obey Him and follow Him fully in the Land of Canaan.  They must totally destroy their enemies:  The Amorites, Hittites, Hivites, and Jebusites.  They would also be blessed in every area of their lives: food, health, birthing, etc.

God reiterates that He will send hornets into the land and drive out the aliens before them.  What enemies are standing in the way of your Promised Land?  If you are uncertain of your own victory, of your own promise of blessing, then remember God’s promise to His people:  The hornets will go before you and drive out your enemies.  God’s hornets are awe-inspiring and fearsome.  Believe that God can do it, because He will!