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This book calls Christians to draw near to our great high priest, Jesus Christ, who Himself “Entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation” as a forerunner for us (Heb 9:11,12 NASB). Take a tour though this tabernacle as members of the royal priesthood (1Pet 2:9), and partake of the sacred bread that represents the word of God, continuing along the corridor of lampstands that sheds light on His word to reach the golden altar of incense symbolizing prayer.
The golden altar of incense is the theme of this book, located just outside the curtain that separates the holy place from the Most Holy Place. One of the priestly duties was to daily dress the altar of perpetual incense. For this reason the altar of incense was stationed just outside the Holy of Holies in front of the curtain, but was technically an article of the Most Holy Place. Hence, it symbolizes the transition between the holy place and the Most Holy Place, even marking the threshold between the physical and spiritual realms. The old covenant temple delineates prayer leading us into the innermost sanctuary of God’s holy presence!
Inside the tabernacle was an inner room, the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant resided, Israel’s most prized possession. The high priest could enter the Holy of Holies only once a year, not without taking blood as propitiation for the sins of the people. This represented the sacrifice of Jesus' body on the cross, which made the duties of the new covenant royal priesthood acceptable to God.
The Golden Altar of Incense signifies to the saints unlimited access to God's presence in the Holy of Holies through prayer. Our salvation and relationship with God are indivisibly integrated into the symbolism of the ancient tabernacle.
As we come to know the Lord through the word of God and prayer, we will acquire the hearing ear. This is the term Jesus repeated in the book of Revelation, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7 NIV). Once we acquire the hearing ear, we can take what we understand of His Spirit and apply it to our lives by involving the members of our bodies in obedience to the revelation of God’s word. Once we collectively obtain an anointing by obeying the Holy Spirit and venture into the Holy of Holies, unity will form between the members of His body greater than the sum of its parts, overpowering the kingdom of Satan. We will be able to rely on one another as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, growing through the ministry of others, preparing us for the great endtime revival.
After the tribulation and the millennium that follows, God will create a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, and will establish His holy city the New Jerusalem upon His new creation. All of these things the old covenant tabernacle represents in its intricate, three-dimensional design in its respective services.
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