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The Tabernacle - A Type of the Church

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Introduction:  “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” (Heb. 10:1) From this passage we learn that God, through the Law of Moses, gave a pattern, or shadow, or type of the true substance which he later revealed through His Son (Heb. 1:1). The tabernacle which was erected by Moses was designed by God to serve as a pattern of the things in heaven. (Heb. 8:5; 9:23)

1.      The tabernacle was where God met with His people (Ex. 29:42).

2.      The tabernacle is a fitting representation of something temporary.

   We can learn a lot about God’s scheme of redemption by studying the tabernacle as it served as a type of the church. We shall study it item by item.

I. Entering the Tabernacle Leviticus 16

A.     The priest approached the brasen altar.

        1. There he washed, purifying himself, and denying ungodly things.

2. Then, he clothed himself with priestly robes.

3. After washing his clothing, he entered the tabernacle and conducted his priestly business.

B.     The alien sinner is washed at baptism.

1.     At this time, he is “Washed, sanctified, and justified...” (1 Cor. 6:11).

2.     Here, he is clothed with Christ (Gal. 3:27).

3.     In his repentance, prior to baptism, the alien denies “ungodliness and worldly lusts...” (Tit. 2:12)

4.     Christ is his sacrifice, by faith in his blood (Rom. 3:25; Isa. 53:10).

II. The Holy Place

A.     The candlestick.

                    1. Represented the light of God.

                    2. Needed for physical light which was cast into the room.

                    3. The candlestick had seven branches, representing perfection; and it was always kept                                     burning.

                    4. To the Christian, the Word of God is the light. (Ps. 119:105; 1 John 1:7)

            B.         The altar of Incense.

1. The incense was burned morning and evening, daily.

2. It was to ascend up to God.

3. The prayers of Christians are an incense unto God (Rev. 5:8; 8:3, 14).

C.     The Table of Shewbread.

1.     Contained twelve loaves, eaten by the priests each Sabbath.

2.     In the church is the Lord’s table, spread with unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, representing our Lord’s body and blood, and eaten each first day of the week (Mt. 26:26—29; 1 Cor. 11:23—26; Acts 20:7).

III.       The Most Holy Place

A.    The Ark of the Covenant (Shadow)

1.     This is where the blood was sprinkled by the high—priest to make atonement for sins.

2.     The top part was called the “mercy-seat”.

a.      In Greek, the word for “mercy-seat” is hilasterion.

b.      This word is sometimes translated “propitiation” in the New Testament (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:1, 2).

c.      This is where atonement was made, by the offering of the blood.

B.     The Substance

1.     Christ’s sacrifice is our propitiation.

2.     His blood satisfied the justice of God.

a.      “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Rom. 3:25).

b.      “And he (Christ, the Righteous) is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

Conclusion:         The tabernacle and its accompanying ceremonies and furniture serve as an illustration of the better things which God had in mind from the beginning. As Brother Franklin Camp has well said, “Only God can give the shadow before the substance”. All of the types of the Old Testament sustain in an emphatic way the divine inspiration of the Bible from cover to cover.

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