HE TABERNACLED AMONG US
"And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
All of the scriptures speak of Christ (John 5:39). The Old Testament and the New Testament all speak of Him. We could say that all the books of the bible make up one big written revelation of Jesus Christ. If you will begin to see the scriptures in this way, it will completely revolutionize your spiritual life. Stop searching the scriptures as law and begin to search them to find Christ. Stop looking at them to find what God wants you to do, and start looking to see His Son. This will change everything. I guarantee it!
He is Our Tabernacle
When we look in the Old Testament, we can see many shadows, types, and pictures of our Lord. Remember, it all speaks of Him. The tabernacle of Moses is one such shadow. I would like to take just a few general items regarding the tabernacle and see if we can discover Christ in these things.
After the giving of the law, the next important event in the history of Israel coming out of Egypt was the building of the tabernacle. The tabernacle became the center of all worship to God as the Jews were traveling through the wilderness on their way to Canaan. This tabernacle was called the "tent of meeting" and was the place where the priests would present the offerings to the Lord. It was basically a tent where God would meet with His people. After the tabernacle was built, God no longer spoke from Mt. Sinai to Moses, now He spoke from the tent of meeting. This now made Him the God of both heaven and earth.
The tabernacle brought God to man. Even though God could never actually dwell in a structure made with human hands (Acts 7:48), yet He symbolically manifested His presence with a cloud filling the tabernacle. Here again, keep in mind that this is a shadow of things to come. By this, God showed us that He wanted to dwell with and even in man.
The Ark and the Tabernacle
Can you tell me what is in the holy of holies? There were three sections of the tabernacle: the outer court, the holy place, and the holy of holies. God's presence was manifested inside of the holy of holies. What item was contained within this room? It was the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was made of wood (kind of like a box) and overlaid with gold. These things are types of your Lord.
In the bible, wood always symbolizes humanity and gold always symbolizes divinity. This means that the content or materials of the ark were both human and divine - man and God, Son of Man and Son of God. In Christ, both the human nature and the divine nature are made to be one.
The rest of the tabernacle was also made of these same materials, wooden boards covered or overlaid with gold. This is the picture of man in God. Man covered with God.
The tabernacle is an extension or and enlargement of the ark. This means that the tabernacle is an enlargement or the increase of Christ. The ark is the individual Christ, the man Christ Jesus. The tabernacle is the enlargement of that Christ; in other words, the corporate Christ. Are you beginning to see things more clearly now through this picture of the tabernacle?
The ark is the individual Christ. He is the center, the core, the life, and the Head of all. The tabernacle is the enlargement of that same Christ. It is the corporate Christ, the Church. The Head and the Body are both Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). The whole tabernacle is Christ; God and man as one on the earth. You cannot have the tabernacle without the ark and you cannot have the ark without the tabernacle. Just as you cannot have the Head without the Body and you cannot have the Body without the Head. Both Head and Body make up the one new man.
The Main Activity of the Tabernacle
The main activity of the tabernacle is the bringing of offerings to God. The offering is a "present" or gift to God. The bible tells us that the offerings are food for God (Numbers 28:2). Have we ever thought of it in this way? We come to God to get fed. We know that He is our life supply and the Bread of Life (John 6). But have we ever had the thought that God is hungry as well? Of course, I am speaking spiritually here. But God does want to eat! This is the deeper meaning behind the offerings. The offerings are to provide food for God. But what does God like to eat? Actually there is only one thing. His tastes are very specific.
The First Offering
There is a principle that is well known among bible teachers and theologians. It's called the principle of "first mention." What it means is that the first time something is mentioned in the bible, that incident will give you the purest meaning behind the whole subject throughout the rest of the scriptures. If we want to understand offerings, we need to look at the first offering.
The first offering was with Cain and Abel. Cain had a garden and he brought an offering to the Lord from his produce. Abel tended sheep and brought one of the young lambs to the Lord. Why did God accept Abel's offering and not Cain's? It's because Cain brought the "fruit" of his own labors. Abel brought a pure, innocent lamb. Cain brought his own works; Abel brought a picture of Christ! Do you see what kind of offering satisfies God? There is only one kind of food He likes . . . Christ!
Bringing Offerings to the Tent of Meeting
The Church has two main purposes; to express Christ visibly to the world, and to bring food to God. The tent of meeting is the gathering of believers. When we come together what kind of offering do we bring to God? The only food He is satisfied with is His only Son. Is that the food that we are bringing? Most of you may say that you never really bring anything to the meetings. If that is the case, then you are missing the purpose of the gatherings. However, just bringing anything to the meeting is not enough. God wants to be fed Christ!
If we are experiencing Christ on a daily basis, if we are fellowshipping with Him in our spirits and touching Him in the other realm, if we are seeking Him in the scriptures and expecting Him to give us revelation, then we will have a swell smelling offering (present) to give to Him. We will bring an acceptable offering, the only acceptable offering which is Christ.