150920AM Sabbath Pictures HFG-16 Doorway to Heaven .docx
The Tabernacle: God’s
Doorway to Heaven for Sinners
Thirty-five hundred years ago, our God Who is a Consuming Fire, came down and spoke to Moses on a mountain in the Wilderness outside of Egypt. As we open to Exodus 19:9-20, watch with me what happens.
As God arrived, the moments that followed made it ominously clear that humans would have trouble getting anywhere close to the Almighty God.
As God came down from Heaven to the Earth, the mountain began quaking, a cloud of fire surrounding God was burning the top of the mountain, and a pillar of smoke rose like from a blast furnace. Our God is a Consuming Fire.
Welcome to the visual illustrating the doctrine of the holiness of our God Who is a consuming fire given as an introduction to why a Tabernacle Doorway to Heaven was needed.
Our God is a Consuming Fire
Please join me as we stand and read Exodus 19:16-20 (NKJV):
16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. 20 Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Our God is Holy and All Powerful. Our God came down to Earth and it was like the Earth was being consumed by the Holiness of God. Lesson number one:
Point 1: God is Absolutely Holy Surrounded by Flaming Fires, Quakes, and Smoke
Each time the Scriptures portray the Holy Atmosphere of Heaven, surrounding our Holy God on the Throne, the same elements are clearly seen. Each of the elements aurrounding God’s Holy Throne speak of a scene so awesome, and so massively powerful that frail creatures like we are as humans would have trouble surviving. Move onward to Ex. 24:17 (NKJV):
The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.
Remember how Daniel saw God’s Throne? That description is almost beyond our comprehension both in scope and in appearance, but is captured for us in Daniel 7:9 (NKJV):
“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.
Coming up to God’s Throne is a bit like visiting the surface of our Sun: it would be amazing but we would get consumed by the visit.
Each description of God’s Throne reinforces this distance needed for reverence: smoke, quaking, and fire.
First, notice the smoke. Our God is a consuming fire, so, each time the Holy Throne of God comes down to be revealed to us as humans, there is this sight of the smoke from that consuming fire. Listen to how Moses and the writer of Hebrews explain this quality of God’s Holiness.
This is like the smoke from a furnace, that Abraham saw when God made a covenant with him in Genesis 15:7-18. This is what the three million Israelites saw in Exodus 19, as Mt. Sinai was "completely in smoke" and the smoke rose like from a "burning furnace" shooting skyward.
Second, notice the quaking. The whole temple shook as Isaiah saw the Lord in His glory in Isaiah 6:4 and heard the holiness of the Lord declared. At Mt. Sinai when the Lord came down to the top of the mountain to meet with Moses, the mountain quaked exceedingly (Ex. 19:18) as the Lord descended in fire. The Earth responds with trembling before its Maker.
Third, notice the fire. When God descended to Mount Sinai, note what Exodus 19:18 says: “the Lord Lord descended upon it in fire”. In Isaiah 6:2 we meet some of God's creations we only see here. They are called Seraphim, which means, the "burning ones." They seem to be part of the Throne Team that are always associated with carrying out God's plans.
Deut. 4:23-24 (NKJV) Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which theLord your God has forbidden you. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Heb. 12:29 (NKJV) For our God is a consuming fire.
When Isaiah sees how Holy God truly is, the very first response is an awareness of how unholy he is. Like Abraham in Genesis 15, and the Israelites in Exodus 19, Isaiah is smitten at his personal un-holiness, and falls before the Lord asking for cleansing. In similar manner in the New Testament, when Peter saw the Deity of Christ displayed, he fell on his face and confessed his need of cleansing (Luke 5:8). So first we see:
The Big Picture: God is Absolutely Holy. From that flows for us:
The Personal Application: regular confession and cleansing is needed. Look at Isaiah 6:6-7, just as Isaiah needed to be purged, so we must be. God has explained to us what He desires from us. We need to bow daily in reverence to God and seek to be kept cleansed by Christ's work for us on the Cross.
Part of each of our constant responsibility is to be confessing our sins (I John 1:9) so that Christ can cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We are already forgiven once for all (Hebrews 10:12), but we are each in need of constant cleansing.
Just as Peter expressed in Luke 5, we each need to see how awesome, holy, and powerful our great God and Savior really is. Then we fall at His feet like Peter did.
Luke 5:4-11 (NKJV) 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
5 But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to theirpartners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
So our God who is like a consuming fire, and dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16), whose face shines like the Sun in its brightness (Mt. 17:2; Rev. 1:16) came down to Mt. Sinai to show Moses how to construct a Doorway to Heaven. God was offering an access point for humans to come before Him.
Point-2: Almighty God Invites Us to Enter His presence
This morning we are going on a journey into the presence of God. We enter God's presence by way of His Tabernacle, God's tent of Meeting. As we examine this incredible structure, we will see how God's Tabernacle points to Jesus.
Of what possible importance could an old, dusty animal skin tent in the midst of a Nomadic, wandering migration of people camping across the Sinai’s trackless desert have in this ultra modern 21st century life in which we live? Can a tent constructed 35 dim centuries ago give any light to the dark, sin stained path we often must tread? Join me as we look at the tent and its meaning and find strength in Christ for our lives today.
Camp of Israel was at least 81 square miles just for 603,000 fighting men and their families! The Exodus march at 5 people wide would have stretched 225 miles long. If they traveled 50 wide they would have been 22.5 miles.
For a missions note, our world of 7 billion plus would be a line that stretched @ 100 wide would be over 40,000 miles long!
If we were to top a hill in the Wilderness of the Sinai penninsula 3,500 years ago we would first see one of the largest encampments of people ever on the planet. There were 603,000 families who came out of Egypt. With 5 per family that is 3 million folks. With just a normal camp site it would take 81 square miles of territory for this many people. That would equal from Lewis on the West to Elm on the East, from 31st on the North to 121st on the South. So on a lookout spot we would see an huge encampment.
Then we would see it, the Tabernacle. In the center of the Camp, with smoke slowly rising from the altar, and with the 12 Tribes in an ordered arrangement around it around. Looking intently we would note a long, black, unattractive tent of porpoise skins. But when we traveled through the loud, smelling and busy camp nd made it to the Tabernacle we would find a much different sight.
ü When we came inside, we would find ourselves surrounded by shining gold:
ü looking up to the curtained roof, we see the wings of the cherubim woven in; blue and purple and scarlet and fine twined linen.
ü The light of the golden candlestick would softly shine and reveal all the beauty within.
So it is with Christ Himself. The natural man, beholding Him, sees no beauty that he should desire Him. But to those who know the Lord Jesus Christ, His beauty satisfieth their souls.
Going back outside, if we were to draw a straight line from the center of the Tabernacle’s Gate of Entrance to the Mercy Seat in the center of the Holy of Holies, we would see a picture of salvation and God's wonderful plan for us. You go through the Altar, through the Laver, through the Door; you pass the Table of Showbread on your right hand and the Golden Lampstand on your left; through the Altar of Incense, through the Veil, to the Ark, covered by the Mercy Seat, in the Holy of Holies. This is the true Pilgrim's Progress from the camp outside to the immediate presence of God.
Old Testament Worship centered on the Tabernacle and then the Temple. Divinely designed liturgy was carried on for 1,500 nearly unbroken years in the way Moses was told by God to do it on Mt. Sinai.
The epicenter of that worship was the Holy Place. In the front half of it stood the Altar of Incense, Golden Lampstand and Table of Showbread. A curtain divided the room. This curtain was actually a finely woven rug 4 inches thick, 60 feet high and 40 feet wide. Massive and towering and declaring one clear message STAY OUT. No natural light ever penetrated its dark depths. Even the light of the ever-burning Lampstand never reached behind the veil.
In better times the Shekinah Glory of the Presence of God made the Holiest of Holies behind the veil brighter than noonday. In all of Israel’s history probably no more than 50 men had ever gone into the holy of Holies. David never went in, Daniel and Jeremiah never went in. Only the High Priest and then only once a year.
Inside that room was a box covered with gold, containing the stone tablets of the Law, a pot of manna and Aaron’s Rod that budded. Above that Ark of the Covenant stood two golden cherubim with wings shielding the mercy seat. Their faces gazing downward forever focusing upon the blood.
When that day came for the High Priest to pass behind that veil. He was wearing bells on the hem of his garment to let the other priests know he was still alive as he was inside; garbed carefully in the God directed robes and priestly garments. With trembling hands cradling a basin of blood, veiled by a cloud of smoking incense burning in a pot he carried - the High Priest would enter.
Sprinkling the blood on that mercy seat on behalf of all the people of God and hastening out. Why? The only purpose of the Veil was to keep people out of the Holy Presence of God. God was saying I AM HOLY. YOU ARE NOT. STAY OUT!
On the day Christ died can you imagine the scene those officiating priests must have beheld? They came in to trim the lamps, pour a handful of incense over the fire on the altar and change the bread on the Table. Then perhaps at that very moment Christ touched the Veil.
With an unearthly sound that massive curtain was violently torn from top to bottom. Aghast, as for the first time in nearly 1,500 years common people looked upon the ark and the mercy seat and God’s throne of grace and mercy. As God said ANYONE WHO WISHES MAY COME IN NOW. YOU ARE WELCOME ANYTIME. Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (KJV) Aren’t you glad we live on this side of Calvary?
The Doorway to Heaven
Now turn with me to Exodus 24:16, the revelation of the Tabernacle was so sacred, so powerful, so vital to God that He made Moses stand for 6 days and didn’t speak until the 7th day to him.
Exodus 24:14-16 (NKJV) And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.” 15 Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. 16 Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
The Doorway to Heaven, called the Tabernacle, was so important to God He went though the amazing, fiery entrance, the quaking mountain, and blast furnace pillar of smoke, them had Moses wait in the waiting room for six days. Finally God begins to speak.
Now look at Exodus 25:1 where God showed Moses a pattern in the Heavenly Tabernacle, and then starts with the furniture. Most people fit furniture into the house; God built the tent around the furniture! Note from Ark outward is how God thinks of the Tabernacle.
Exodus 25:1-2, 8-9 (NKJV) Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.
What does God reveal?
1. God Desires To Meet With Us.
As we open to the exchange between God, who came down in burning fire to the top of Mt. Sinai, and Moses who came up and waited
Exodus 25:22 “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.
Exodus 29:42-43 “This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you. 43 “And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory.
Now He Meets Us In Jesus
2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
2. God Desires To Reveal Himself To Us.
Exodus 29:46 “And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.
Now HE REVEALS Himself in Jesus
John 14:7-9 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
3. God Desires To Dwell With Us.
Exodus 25:8 “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.
Exodus 29:45-46“I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God.46 “And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.
Now He Dwells In Us Through Jesus
Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
4. God Desires To Speak With Us.
Exodus 29:42“This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you.
Leviticus 1:1 Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying,
Now He Speaks To Us Through The Word of Jesus
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 8:43 “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 47 “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
Hebrews 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
5. God Desires To Accept Us.
Leviticus 1:4 ‘Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
Now He Accepts Us In Jesus.
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
6. God Desires To Forgive Us.
Leviticus 4:20 ‘And he shall do with the bull as he did with the bull as a sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 26 ‘And he shall burn all its fat on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of the peace offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him. 31 ‘He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the Lord. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. 35 ‘He shall remove all its fat, as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering. Then the priest shall burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord. So the priest shall make atonement for his sin that he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him.
Now He Forgives Us Through The Sacrifice Of Jesus.
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
7. God Desires To Receive Worship From Us.
Exodus 23:15 “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty);
Exodus 28:38 “So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.
Now He Receives Our Worship In Jesus.
Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
The Tabernacle illustrates God’s Salvation offered in Christ
1. The Gate is Christ Inviting us John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
2. The Altar of Brass is Christ Saving us. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
3. The Laver is Christ Sanctifying us. Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
4. The Holy Place is Christ Serving us. Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
5. The Holy of Holies is Christ Securing us. Hebrews 10:19-22 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
This may be gathered from the significance of:
1. The Way to Redemption is the Altar of Brass. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. ...For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:19, 21).
2. The Way to Consecration is the Laver of Brass. Speaking to His disciples Jesus said: "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit" (John 13:10). Later He said: "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3).
3. The Way of Illumination is the Golden Lamp Stand. Jesus said: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).
4. The Way of Satisfaction is the Golden Table of Bread. Jesus said: "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).
5. The Way of Intercession is the Golden Altar of incense. "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).
6. The Way of Communion is the Golden Ark of the Covenant. "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3).