How the ancient Temple of God shifted from a building to being a path to Jesus

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A view of the second Temple, located at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
A view of the second Temple, located at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

After God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He instructed Moses to build a mobile tabernacle so they could move it as they travelled to the Promised Land. God gave the Moses exact details, size, colors, materials, and measurements.

God wanted the Tabernacle to be placed in the center of the camp as they moved from place to place. He did not want the people to forget who their God was and to remember He was always present with them.

The children in Weekday Religious Education are learning that the Tabernacle was symbolic of our relationship to God through Christ. You can read about it for yourself in Exodus, chapters 34 through 40.

What the Tabernacle looked like

In the Tabernacle, white curtains were used to make a fence entirely around the courtyard. There was only one gate and when we step into the courtyard, the first thing we see is the Large Altar where an innocent lamb was sacrificed each day for the sins of the people.

We then see the Large Wash Basin at the entrance of the Holy Place. This is where the priests washed their hands after sacrificing the lamb. It’s blood was to be sprinkled on the mercy seat inside the Most Holy Place.

In the Holy Place, we find a Table of Showbread with 12 loaves of bread representing the 12 tribes of Israel and that Jesus is the bread of life.

We then see the Table of Incense that represents the prayers of the people and their hunger for righteousness. We see a Candlestick which gives light, so we see truth and our true surroundings which reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world.

The significance of the Temple

In the Most Holy Place, which is separated by a huge thick curtain, there is the Ark of the Covenant, where the Lord God resided.

The Ark contained the Ten Commandments; God’s law for His people, a golden pot of manna which reminds us of God’s provision, and Moses Staff, reminding us of God’s miracles.

The High Priest was the only one allowed in this room. Once a year, he sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat for the forgiveness of sins.

How the Temple points to Jesus

The children in Weekday Religious Ed that learned everything in the Tabernacle was to point the people to Jesus:

1. There was just one gate which teaches us that Jesus is our only Savior.

2. The clean, white curtains represent the perfect life of Jesus.

3. The innocent lamb dying upon the altar points us to the death of Jesus on the cross.

4. There laver where the priests washed their hands and feet remind us that we must ask Jesus to cleanse us from all sin and make us ready to be baptized as Jesus was.

5. In the Most Holy Place, we find the Table of Showbread, which represents Jesus and the Bible which tells us about Jesus; the Altar of Incense which represents our prayers and the pure life of Jesus which He gave for us, and the Candlestick which represents Jesus, the light of the world, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

6. In the Ark of the Covenant, we found the Ten Commandments, the manna, and Moses Staff. All are reminders of God's provision in our physical and spiritual lives.

Everything about the sanctuary pointed to Jesus and still teaches us how to get ready to meet Him. Jesus is coming someday to take His children to heaven.

The Temple today

Time has changed how our worship is done in many churches. The goal of every church that teaches the Word of God should point us to Jesus and prepare us for our Heavenly home.

The Word of God keeps us at peace and secure with who we are and why God created us. Jesus tells us not to forget to assemble as the matter of some, but exhorting one another and, so much more, as we see the day of His return approaching — Hebrews 10:25.

Contact information

Morgan County Schools of Weekday Religious Ed., P.O. Box 1285, Martinsville, IN. 46151.

This article originally appeared on The Reporter Times: How the ancient Temple of God shifted from a building to being a path to Jesus

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