‘Take unto thee sweet spices … the perfume … shall be … holy for the Lord’, Exod. 30. 34, 37.
For many years now ministry taking up the minute details of the instructions to Moses regarding the tabernacle furnishings has gone out of fashion. The main reason probably being that it doesn’t sit too easily with our ‘supermarket’ idea of how things should be; quick and simple.
For some it is abandoned for being no longer relevant to the church of today; something that God gave to Israel but which has no place in Christian theology. Modern commentaries will give you the mundane facts about the materials and dimensions but most will fail to make any attempt at meaningful applications to spiritual things.
Parts of Christendom, that is the sphere of the profession of Christianity in the world today, retain much of the symbolism in their buildings: holy sanctuaries, priestly garments, ritualistic worship, etc., and therefore perpetuate the form of it but in a Christianized way.
Neither of the above ways of taking these things holds any credibility when we are clearly told twice by the writer to the Hebrews that these things were, ‘the patterns of things in the heavens’, Heb. 8. 5; 9. 23. Surely then we have much to learn from them, even in our day, of that which yet awaits us and of the values and ways of heaven itself! So let’s start to make them real again to our hearts, to feed our worship and appreciation of the revelation of God that they provide for us.
The instructions start in Chapter 25 and conclude in Chapter 30 of the book of Exodus. One feels there is an ‘order of things’ as God sets out His requirements for this ‘Tent of Meeting’ that He wants Moses to make. If you note the order in which God informs Moses of the furniture He requires, you find that they trace an incredible journey from the inner ‘Holy of Holies’ out to the outer courtyard and then back into the tabernacle, to end up in the ‘Holy of Holies’ once more.
There is one difference between the outer journey and the return one that we must note. God comes out alone but as He returns He takes a sanctified priesthood in with Him! As they are taken in the articles of their service are also made known. They are to be a functioning priesthood, not a dormant or inactive one, in His sanctuary. These are rich lessons for us, the ‘holy priesthood’ of this era of grace! 1 Pet. 2. 5.
The final item of which God speaks is the holy incense, which was to be uniquely for Him, though the priesthood used it in offerings morning and evening. This incense speaks of the loveliness of Christ that God alone can fully comprehend. Though they were forbidden to make it or ever use it for their personal enjoyment, I couldn’t help but think that having been into this sanctuary they came out into the world of men again impregnated with the aroma of God’s incense. They could not avoid being so as it was all part of their sanctuary service. What a thought: Christ’s fragrance sensed and enjoyed by others because one spends time in His presence and comes out just that little more conformed to Him! Praise God for His grace to us in this as we await the Lord’s return.
The final issue of the magazine in 2007 comes to you with our prayers that it will be blessed of God to every reader. Most of us have tried to get the issue of copyright for the use of hymns, etc., by the assembly and the article ‘Not under Grace’ is an attempt to tell you all you need to know about it. The second article on setting up a playgroup work is vital to the first one in the August issue. It is so important to get things off on a proper ‘best practice’ foundation. On the practical side of spiritual life we have articles on honesty, forgiveness and possessions, all challenging our lifestyle in the walk of faith. May the Lord be pleased to encourage us to be well pleasing to Himself.
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