December 10th – The Temple, part 1

tabernacle
1 Kings 5:5
 
The Temple – Part 1
 
The temple was more than the temple.
 
But you have probably figured that out by this point in Advent.
 
Each of these Old Testament stories point beyond themselves. They are like little mirrors as they catch the light of Christ’s birth, his life and death, his resurrection, and ascension.
 
Their light give us a glimpse of what’s to come – his second coming – a return to set all things right.
 
Let’s do a little temple history, shall we?
 
The temple served as the meeting place for God and humanity.
 
First – The Tabernacle (the Mishkan)
 
Before Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the meeting place was a portable leather-sided tabernacle. It was basically a tent that could be taken down and put up as the people of Israel moved from place to place.
 
God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites to build a *mikdash* (sanctuary) where God would dwell, specifying exactly how the tabernacle should be designed.
 
As the people wandered through the wilderness, the presence of God was always with them. It was not that God needed a physical sanctuary on earth, but that each one of us is called to build a tabernacle for God in our hearts, preparing ourselves to become a sanctuary for God.
 
The tabernacle’s design physically represented a gradual increase in degrees of holiness, from the outer courtyard (meant to create a barrier from the common and outside world) to the Holy of Holies (only entered once a year on Yom Kippur by the High Priest).
 
The portability of the tabernacle foreshadows the future movements of the Jewish people in exile, where they built synagogues and houses of study wherever they migrated.
 
The note on [Exodus 25:1-31:17] in the [*ESV Study Bible*]
  • First, the tabernacle is seen as **a tented palace for Israel’s divine king**. He is enthroned on the ark of the covenant in the innermost Holy of Holies (the Most Holy Place). His royalty is symbolized by the purple of the curtains and his divinity by the blue. The closer items are to the Holy of Holies, the more valuable are the metals (bronze→silver→gold) of which they are made.
  • The other symbolic dimension is Eden. The tabernacle, like the garden of Eden, is where God dwells, and various details of the tabernacle suggest it is **a mini-Eden**. These parallels include the east-facing entrance guarded by cherubim, the gold, the tree of life (lampstand), and the tree of knowledge (the law). Thus God’s dwelling in the tabernacle was a step toward the restoration of paradise, which is to be completed in the new heaven and earth ([Revelation 21-22) us.
 
John 1:14 tells us that “the Word became flesh and *dwelt* among us.” In other words, when Jesus came as Emanuel, he “tabernacled” among us.
 
Jesus,
 
No words could ever express the gift of your presence in our lives, in our hearts. Learning about you through Scripture is one of the greatest joys of my life because the more I learn about you, the greater my love for you. Give me boldness to share you with others daily… Your story, our story, is just to rich not to share.
 
It is the greatest story of all!
 
Amen

 

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