Tabernacle in the wilderness – Throne Room of God
“ Earthly priests] serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:5.
“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:8-9
We are blessed with a marvelous and loving God whose Word is filled with many hidden treasures waiting for us to discover. When we begin to diligently inquire, all sorts of doors begin to open. The more we consider the mystery of God’s Love, the deeper and more intriguing the waters become and the more exciting the journey – especially concerning the contrast between Israel and the Church.
After the Israelites escaped their bondage in Egypt, as recorded in Numbers 2:1-36, God gave them precise instructions on how they were to arrange their encampment in the wilderness. If we approached from the east, looking down upon their camp we would see sprawled out on the desert floor what appears to be a huge cross. In the center, we see the Tabernacle encircling by the camp of the Levites. On the East are Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, numbering 186,400 souls displaying their standard – a Lion. To the west are Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, numbering 108,100 souls displaying their standard – an Ox. On the North are Dan, Naphtali, Asher, numbering 157,600 souls displaying their standard – an Eagle. And to the south are Ruben, Simon, Gad, numbering 151,450 souls with their standard – a Man. The spaces between the encampments are occupied by cattle and crops.
In His presence, God is the shadow caster. God, Himself, has no shadow. Nothing exists more radiant, more brilliant than God. In all the heavens and earth there is nothing and no one more glorious than our God, the Creator of all that is.
The Levitical priesthood and the earthly Tabernacle are SHADOWS cast by the glory of the true substance in the Heavenlies. The encampment of Israel in the wilderness is an earthly shadow being the physical representation of Spiritual realities.
The camp of the Israelites and the earthly Tabernacle are tangible representations of things we are shown in Revelation chapter 4, the Throne room of God.
In heaven, the twenty-four Elders encompass the heavenly Throne, arrayed in white wearing crowns of gold. On earth, the Levitical priesthood surrounds God’s earthly throne (the Mercy seat). There is a bronze sea on earth (cleansing/judgment) and a glass or crystal sea before the heavenly Throne (cleansed/purity). On earth, are seven burning lamps and in heaven the seven Spirits of God. Both in heaven and on earth we see the four standards about God’s Throne – the Lion, the Ox, the Eagle, and the Man. In heaven, they are manifested in the Four Living Creatures, each having one of the four faces (Lion, Ox, Eagle, Man). On earth, they are expressed in the standards of the tribal groupings around the Tabernacle. There are an altar and incense offered both on earth and before God’s Throne in heaven. On earth, the Levitical priests continually make sacrifices. In heaven stands the ultimate Sacrifice, our High priest and eternal Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Revelation 5:6). On earth, we have the table of showbread representing Christ’s body, and God’s provisions for His people, who are ALWAYS before Him (Psalm 121:8). In heaven, the showbread is replaced by Christ Himself, the true Bread of life.
As we have seen, one priesthood does not replace the other. The Levitical priesthood is the shadow; the Melchizedekian priesthood is the substance (Hebrews 5:6, 10). God declares in Jeremiah 33:17-22 that David’s throne would always be occupied, and that the Levites will always minister before Him – both presently in abeyance. In the Kingdom Age, the Levitical descendants through Phinehas and Zadok, (Numbers 25:13; Ezekiel 44:15) will tend to the Temple duties on Earth while our High Priest, after the order of the Melchizedekian priesthood, tends to His heavenly duties.
“For if he (Christ) were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law (nomos)” Hebrews 8:4.
Hebrews 7:12 is NOT saying, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” That is a misunderstanding (poor interpretation) as not “one jot or tittle” of God’s Law changes (Luke 16:17). What the verse is merely saying is that there must be a different “nomos,” a different Law that establishes the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ than the one that creates the High Priesthood of Aaron. This can be true because, as already shown, they operate concurrently but in different domains – one being a shadow of the other – the shadow on earth and the substance in heaven.
We might ask, what is the purpose of the Levitical priesthood in the Millennial age? It is to continue offering sacrifices (Ezekiel 45) as a continual memorial and reminder to those on earth – who have not yet attained their “resurrection” bodies – of sin’s awful cost and the incomprehensible Love of God expressed through Jesus Christ. Praise God! for the work of Jesus is eternally complete. God’s purpose for the Church on earth is to transform each member of Christ’s body into an image of His Son. So then, in a sense, we are “shadows” of Christ. And, miraculously, we too are children of God and greatly beloved! “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:26 (KJV).
Melchizedek introduces us to the “wine” and the “bread” when he blesses Abram, (Genesis 14:17-20). Both are symbols of Christ Jesus, our High Priest and the “Bread of life.” The “Table of Showbread” in the earthly tabernacle, (Exodus 25), also contained utensils and vessels, presumably for the wine. Once each month our pastor sets a table before the congregation of believers who continue to faithfully obey Christ’s priestly instructions recorded in the Gospel’s. In 1Corinthians 11:25-26 Paul recalls, “After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” Thus, the Bread and the Wine are carried down to us across the ages – from Melchizedek to Abraham, through Aaron, Christ, the Apostles, and the Church. Consider Psalm 23:5, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”
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