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The Tabernacle

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
March 25, 2021 12:01 am

The Tabernacle

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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March 25, 2021 12:01 am

The whole work of redemption--from judgment to mercy--is found in the symbolism of the various elements of the Tent of Meeting. Today, R.C. Sproul emphasizes the importance of this tabernacle in the wilderness.

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God delivered his people out of Egypt and made a covenant with them, with the giving of the law comes the divine promise that is made over and over again it of been given to Abraham. It was repeated to Jacob that was given Isaac and someone and that promise of the covenant is I will be with you was the promise of divine presence and God fulfilled the promise the tabernacle in the wilderness symbolize God's presence among the people, but the design of the tabernacle show that he is holy and unapproachable.

The people reward you will die if you going to the holy of holies God's holiness and God's presence is an important picture today of Renewing Your Mind. Dr. Cecil shows is how it connects to our own redemption story Gospel of John were all familiar with the prologue in which John writes in the beginning was the word the word was with God and the Word was God. And then at the end of the prologue makes the statement, and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. Now every time the original scriptures are translated. Translators have various options from which to choose to render the original languages in the modern language in the translation was which were familiar is that which has the words and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, but the actual text of John's gospel in the Greek is a little more cumbersome but I think a little bit more rich because literally what John says there is the word became flesh and pitched his tent among us or even more specifically, the word became flesh, and he tabernacle among us John the writing to New Testament believers had a keen sense of the relationship between the life of Jesus and the work of Christ that he unfolds in his gospel to the whole history of redemption as it takes place throughout the pages of the Old Testament, the book of Revelation, the apocalypse is almost a running commentary on the structure of the tabernacle of the Old Testament of the beginnings of the concept of central sanctuary take place in the wilderness experience under the leadership of Moses. I've already said that the three main motifs of the book of Exodus are Exodus law and tabernacle. I've already said that one of the central concerns of the law was God's concern to have a people who will be his people, and who will respond to him in an appropriate manner of worship and to that end, one of the crucial things that takes place in the wilderness is the divine institution ordination and instruction of the building of his church that is of the building.

The building of his tabernacle now prior to Moses in the patriarchal. In the Old Testament there were those moments that are recorded among the patriarchs, where God met his people in crisis meetings critical moments of encounter where the holy intersected the sinful or the transcendent touched the earthly and these moments in the times of the patriarch were frequently marked by the building of altars and the altar was a place where the people would then offer a sacrifice unto God all the way back to Cain and Abel. When they express their worship.

They understood worship as the offering of the sacrifice of praise to God and the way they did it was by building a simple altar and offering a sacrifice there when Noah came off the ark after the floodwaters had receded and he stepped on the dry ground.

One of the very first things he did was build an altar to the Lord Abraham had built an altar to the Lord Jacob after he had his vision of the heavens opening and the angels ascending and descending on the ladder and he awakened in the morning and since surely God is in this place and I knew it not to mark that moment of the intrusion of the presence of God into his life. He took that stone that had served this is pillow for the night and anointed it with oil.

When Joshua leaves the people of Israel across the Jordan and beginning for the conquest of Canaan, where again he constructs an altar, and these altars are found all over the open places in the ancient world, and they mark the presence of God. So in the most primitive form. These altars were outward external visible monuments in space that marked what we would call sacred space or sacred time.

We've mentioned how Moses was first called to his role of the deliverer of Egypt. When God spoke to him out of the burning bush in the wilderness and he said to him, Moses, Moses take off thy shoes from off thy feet for the ground whereon thou stand this is holy ground. Know what made it holy.

Was not the presence of Moses. But it was the presence of God know when God delivers his people out of Egypt and makes a covenant with them at Sinai and gives the law to them with the giving of the law comes the divine promise that is made over and over again. It'd been given to Abraham. It was repeated to Jacob. It was given Isaac and someone and that promise of the covenant that was repeated over and over and over again is I will be with you was the promise of divine presence. Now, in this interlude in the history of Israel between departing from Egypt and then entering into the promised land and settling there these years and years of wandering in the wilderness is marked by outward manifestations of the presence of God.

He leads his people through the pillar of cloud and to the pillar of fire and where the people see the movement of these pillars by night and by day they follow and they wander in serpentine manner throughout the desert but now God commands Moses to construct a place that will be designated as the holy, sacred dwelling place of God to demonstrate visibly to his people that he will be with them wherever they go. He commands Moses to construct this massive tent which is 1200 yd.. This huge tent and it is a tent because it's portable, and as the people of Israel wander from spot to spot in the wilderness when they come and rest for a while.

The tent is put up, and when it's time to move on. Then the tent is dismantled and it is then borne by a special group of the people designated for this task.

The family of co-asked the coincides to the next site and then it is reassembled and pitched again but the whole point is that wherever the people go. God goes and whenever the people stop on their journey and they have an encampment. The various tribes of Israel are assigned special locations in the encampment but in the very middle of the encampment is the tabernacle or what is called the tent of meeting before I talk about the descriptive form of the tabernacle. Let's understand the significance of its being placed in the center of the encampment of the tribes. Some of you will remember the civil rights movement of the 50s in the 60s and how one of the popular songs that emerged from that particular movement was the song we shall not be moved. We shall not, we shall not be moved so and that song took its lyrics from the Old Testament. From the 46 all where the psalmist there talks about the seas, roaring in being troubled and dashing against the mountains and the mountains being carried in the midst of the sea, and it says in the midst of all of this cataclysmic upheaval. We shall not be moved. Why, because God is in the midst of her is the presence of God that is celebrated in Psalm 46.

It is the presence of God that is celebrated in John's Gospel when he talks about incarnation when he talks about the one who will pitch his tent in the middle of his people and who will be called Emmanuelle God with us and so all of this is dramatized in the wilderness wandering experience with this mobile home. It is a mobile home for God a tent of meeting that has the capacity for mobility.

As things move around and about now.

The idea of a central tent in the midst of a huge group of people who were encamped were on the march was not unknown in the ancient world when people of other nations would move about in large numbers and call for a period and live in tents. There was always a central tent and the person who occupied the central tent in antiquity was always the king but Israel has no king other than God, and it is the king's position that God is the supreme monarch that is indicated by the situation of the placement of the tent. Not only that, but being directly in the center is in the midst of his people equidistant from all the different tribes in the nation say for the Levites who have no specified territory, but they are the caretakers of the tent of meeting.

So what we have here now is this that outside this circle of this encampment is what's called the outer darkness and in the outer darkness is the realm of the Gentiles, and this is marked in Israelite language by the arena of the on clean where inside the camp. Everything has to be maintained in consecrated purity and the closer one approaches the tabernacle itself or the tent of meeting the greater are the requirements for purification because this is the domain of the holy. This is the sphere of the clean. This is the place that is consecrated as the dwelling place of God. Know this does not mean that the ancient Hebrews believed that the character of God, or the nature of God was restricted to this little building and that he could be contained therein. No, this was the sacred place of meeting. Even today when we go into our church buildings. We call them sanctuaries from the word Santos, which means sacred or holy we understand as Christians that God is not bound by the dimensions of our church buildings that he's just as much present out on the street as he is inside the building and yet we still have deeply within our souls.

The idea of sacred space of a transition, a threshold that is crossed from the secular to the sacred from the profane to the holy the place were we concentrate our attention on the presence of God and here God promises to meet with his people to speak with them from the presence of this tabernacle.

Now the tabernacle itself.

I'm going to enlarge this picture now for the moment, put it out of proportion that we can see how the tabernacle is constructed in the first place. It's a rectangular object and the entrance to it faces the East. This is the west of this is the north and this is the sum and as I said there 1200 yd. of space for the entire tent, but the sanctuary itself only takes up about 55 feet.

This will not be in proportion either 55 feet long by 15 feet wide and of that sphere.

You have 15 x 15 about taking up the holy of holies and the rest is the holy place, so you really have three sections to this tabernacle. This large place outside which is open to the air is called the outer court and in the outer court are two things there is the labor which is a large bowl that is used for ceremonial cleansing purposes.

The labor and there is the altar of sacrifice. No these things in the outer court are made of matter such as wood and bronze. They are not the precious metals that are found inside the sanctuary itself and it's interesting that in the covering itself for the building.

There are different layers or plies of material that serve as what we would have a canvas covering for the tent. They are the skins of various animals and so one and all of these four layers as you go from the outer surface.

The top layer down to the interlayer is directly above the heads of those who were inside the sanctuary you move not only from coarser and stronger material to finer material, but it goes from the common to the precious, that is, if you look carefully at the furniture the articles and the materials that are used in the construction of this church. The closer you get to the holy of holies the more precious are the materials that are used in all of that to symbolize the significance of coming near to God and remember for the people of Israel left Egypt they went to their Egyptian friends and borrowed from them never to repay him gold and silver and other precious materials and now God commands that the people bringing of their treasures to him and gives them for the building of his sanctuary.

There is a real sense, but in this first building drive for the church.

No expense was spared that the that the tent of meeting the house of God, even in its wilderness fashion long before the construction of the temple that this sanctuary was a magnificently beautiful piece of construction and is also interesting to me that the first time. The Bible ever speaks about people being anointed by the Holy Ghost.

Strangely enough, is not the priests or the prophets of the king. The first two people who were anointed charismatic leg gifted by the Holy Spirit for service or to obscure people in the Old Testament whose names are basil and hail in the other's name is a holy who were they they were the chief craftsman or artists that were used to make and construct the furniture and the articles for the house of God for the tent of meeting.

Now only the priests could come into the holy place and the holy place were separated by this wall of curtain several ply thick from the holy of holies. And in the holy place was found the golden lampstand, the candlestick which is mentioned so often in the book of Revelation and also in the holy place was the altar of incense, which symbolize the prayers of the people going up to God and also the table of showbread, commemorating God's provision for his people, and so the priests went through all kinds of important rituals of liturgy here in the holy place, but in this inner chamber or what we call the inner sanctum is called the song to song Purim the holy of holies, for the most holy place. There is only one article of furniture, but this article of furniture is the most sacred piece of furniture or most sacred vessel in all of Israelite history because it is the Ark of the covenant and the ark was as the word suggests a chest and oblong chest that was made of acacia wood and covered with pure gold and adorned by two very large golden cherubim with their wings spread out, hovering as it were above the seat of this chest and the lid of this chest was called the mercy seat, or more technically the reconciliation that becomes very important as we understand the development of religion in the Old Testament because the only person who's ever allowed to go into the holy of holies is the high priest and he is only allowed to go in there one day a year and that's on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, and even the great high priest can only go inside that inner sanctum once a year after elaborate procedures for ritual cleansing, but he goes into this holy of holies carrying the blood of the sacrifice in behalf of the nation and he takes this blood and he sprinkles it on the lid of the ark of the covenant of the ark of the covenant represents the throne of God's judgment throughout.

And yet, the seat of this judgment throne is called the mercy seat and under the lid of the ark is a space where certain items are maintained. Copies of the 10 Commandments, Aaron's rod that had butted miraculously in the wilderness, and a pot of manna that is to be preserved.

The law and the priestly work.

All are contained within this chest and when Israel moves the color sites would then follow the directions prescribed by Moses and is the people marched along their way.

The ark of the covenant always went before them as a king would lead his people in ancient nations so the king of Israel is enthroned here in this sacred place as we read the Old Testament will see manifold references to events that take place here in the tabernacle that tabernacle that hints foreshadows and technologically predicts the coming person who in his person will fulfill all of the functions of this Christ in the New Testament is our pattern tabernacle tangible symbol of the redemption that was to come through Christ we understand how the Old Testament connects with the new we see the fullness of the picture. God painted throughout Scripture.

And that's been our emphasis this week here on Renewing Your Mind. As we have sure Dr. RC Sproul series duster glory in 57 messages. This series explores the major themes events and people that are brought to life through the Bible. RC's hope was that duster glory would encourage, stimulate and assist you to master the Scriptures so that the Scriptures may master you would like to send you this a DVD set just requested when you give a donation of any amount to litigator ministries will city the special edition of the series, which includes an additional disk with the study guides for each lesson you can make your request and give your gift or you can call us at 800-435-4343 if you found today's message helpful.

I hope you'll check out our newest podcast.

It's called ultimately with RC Sproul each brief episode is filled with biblical teaching to help renew your mind and grow you and your knowledge of God inside drawn from Dr. Sproles. Decades of ministry to look for ultimately with RC Sproul. Wherever you listen to your podcasts will help you make plans to join us tomorrow because we have the privilege of presenting one of RC's children's books.

The priest with dirty clothes.

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