The Old Testament was written in and for a different age. It was written before the Greek culture of logic dominated the world, at the expense of the figurative. It was written for a right brain-brained culture, not a left-brained. This makes it much harder for us to read and both fully and correctly interpret and understand its writings and the complexities of meanings and allusions behind its word pictures.
I pray therefore, that as you read this, the Lord will grant you the insight to understand not only that which is written here, but also that which is unsaid or inferred, plus the links between the ideas here which are not fully developed. I pray the Lord will open your spiritual eyes to His meanings, to His rhēma words. That it will be all about Him, the Lord who sets His Word above His name!
In Exodus 25:10, the Lord God gave Moses specific instructions on how to build the Ark of the Covenant (Ark of the Testimony) and in v16 told them that they shall “put into the ark the testimony (the witness) which I shall give you”.
The priests put selected objects into the Ark just as the Lord instructed: the tablets of The Ten Commandments; the Rod of Moses which had budded; a jar of manna with which He had fed the Israelites during their years in the desert (Exodus 16:33 & Hebrews 9:4). Then they positioned the Ark in the completed tabernacle and ultimately the completed Temple in the Holy of Holies behind the veil, “and the veil shall divide for you between the holy place and the Holy of Holies.” (Exodus 26:33)
Let us now move on a few millennia and to the end of the Bible where in Revelation 12:10-11 we read “And I heard a great voice saying in Heaven, Now has come the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death.”
They overcame, we read “because of the words of their testimony”. It was won by the blood of Christ and the faithfulness of the saints: for “they loved not their life even unto death;” they were willing to give their lives for Christ.
What does that mean for us today as we sit between Exodus and the end of Revelation? What is the practical reality of these words for us today and how can we use them for the benefit of the Lord Kingdom?
To start with, Exodus 25:16 tells us in clear terms what happened and is happening today: “And you shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you.” As I understand the language of the Hebrew Bible which the Lord gave his chosen people, it had no past tense, only present and future. Thus, the instruction from Exodus 25:16 is still alive and valid for us today, paraphrased to: “you are to put into the Ark of the Testimony that which the Lord is giving and will give you.” In other words, the Lord is still giving. Today, He is still giving; He is giving us His living Rhēma words.
Further, based upon the design descriptions of the original Tent of Meeting which was given to Moses in the desert (Exodus 25-27) we can clearly recognised in the repeated symbolism that we are also called and described as the Tent of God, or the Tent of Meeting. Look at it this way:
God is in three parts: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. He is one God but three persons within that one God.
The Tabernacle is in three parts: the outer court, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Three clear parts, but one Tabernacle.
The Temple is in three parts: the outer court, the inner court and the Holy of Holies. Three clear parts, but one Temple.
We are in three parts: our Body, our Spirit and our Soul. See First Thessalonians 5:23 where we read “and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blamelessly at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Under the Old Covenant, only the Priests and they only after and elaborate preparation, entered the Holy of Holies, through the blood of dead animals. For us, however, as born again believers under the New Covenant, we have direct access through the living Body of the Messianic High Priest. For as Hebrews 10:19-22 says “therefore, brothers, having boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies having been washed with pure water.”
Indeed, under the New Covenant we are the Temple of God. We are just like the original Temple, we have an outer court (flesh), we have an inner court (soul) and we have a Holy of Holies (Spirit). We have more than the Ark of the Covenant within us, we have the Holy of Holies itself. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (First Corinthians 3:16)
With an understanding of who we are, and in particular, who we are in Christ: so close; so close that the Holy of Holies is now within us, perhaps we should now look differently on the purpose of our existence. That purpose, required of each of us, is to broadcast to the whole world the words of Romans 5:18 which tell us that “Therefore, as by one offense, sentence came on all men to condemnation, even so, by the righteousness of One, the free gift came to all men to justification of life.” or as the Message version of the Bible puts it “Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.”
What happens to a Living Temple? Second Corinthians 6:6b tells us; “For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Then in Revelation 21:3 we read “And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
First John 3:9-10 confirms but warns too that “Everyone who has been born of God does not commit sin, because His seed remains in him, and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the Devil: everyone not practicing righteousness is not of God, also he who does not love his brother.” In this we need to judge ourselves, that we may not be judged and found wanting. Hypocrisy is easy; seeing faults in others but not in ourselves; being prideful of our own perceived position compared to those whom we judge; talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
Further, in Second Peter 2:20 & 21 we are warned of the consequences of apostasy, the abandonment of one’s religious faith, the abandonment of Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour. Peter tell us clearly “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”
Originally God designed and built the tabernacle and Temple for his residence, but at the instant of the death of His Son Jesus on a Cross at Golgotha, the Temple veil, the curtain before the Holy of Holies, was torn open from top to bottom, revealing that the Father was no longer there. God had departed the Temple. He was now preparing to live inside those who will accept His Son, for who He is.
At Pentecost, all was complete and all became true, for as Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
Amen and Amen.