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he repentant Israelite who had gone through the gate of the tabernacle with his sacrifice and reached the bronze altar had proceeded as far as he dare go along the path of approach to God. Beyond that it was the responsibility of priests to go on his behalf and carry out spiritual tasks in the Holy Place. This they did as representatives for all the people. To them alone was the high privilege of the calling of God to serve him more closely than the congregation of Israel or even then the specially appointed Levites could.
The universal definition of a priest is:
"an authorized minister of a deity who, on behalf of a community, officiates at the altar and in other rites, acting as a mediator between the deity and man."
The Biblical definition of a priest is:"A chosen officer or prince with the capacity to draw near to God and minister. He alone is responsible for offering the divinely appointed sacrifices to God, for executing the different procedures and ceremonies relating to the worship of God, and for being a representative between God and man."
A priest is one who makes the sacrifices, performs the rituals and acts as mediator between man and God. This means that he is responsible for offering the divinely appointed sacrifices to God, for executing the different procedures and ceremonies relating to the worship of God, and for being a representative between God and man.
As we have seen, the Levites were chosen as those who would specially serve God, and it was from the Levites that the priests were chosen. They originated in one family, that of Aaron and his four sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. But due to the deaths of Nadab and Abihu, the priestly succession came through Eleazar and Ithamar whose descendants provided the hereditary priests in Israel.
Their duties fell under three main headings. (Service, Teaching, and Prayer)
Priests wore distinctive clothing whenever they were in attendance at the altar or entered the Holy Place. Their clothing had to be clean and pure before they could approach God.
Christ Our Priest
The priests of Israel were but dim shadows of the one Great Priest of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. A few brief passages give us an understanding of the perfection found in the priestly character of Christ:
(1) Christ as Priest is appointed and chosen by God
Heb 5:5 "So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You."
(2) He is consecrated with an oath
Heb 7:20-22 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The Lord has sworn and will not relent, 'You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek' "), by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
(3) He is sinless
Heb 7:26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;
(4) His priesthood is unchangeableHeb 7:23-24 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
(5) His offering is perfect and final
Heb 9:25-28 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another--He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
(6) He Intercedes continuallyHeb 7:24-25 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
(7) He is the only mediator
1 Tim 2:5 "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus"
Copyright © 1998 The Bible Knowledge Accelerator
The Purpose and Heart of the Law - A Devotional Message
Blood Atonement - A Bible Study
The Tabernacle of Ancient Israel was a sanctuary which was given in a vision to Moses as a pattern and constructed by the children of Israel. God's promise was that He would dwell within the Holy of Holies above the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
Why Study the Tabernacle?
A) 50 Chapters Mention The Tabernacle
Because at least 50 chapters (13-Ex, 18-Lev, 13-Num, 2-Deut, 4-Heb) in the Bible tell of the construction, the ritual, the priesthood, the carrying of the tabernacle, and the meaning of it all. Also many other places in Scripture speak in figurative language concerning the tabernacle. In many Bible studies this subject is overlooked and considered insignificant.
B) The Tearing of the Veil
God Himself thought so much of the importance of the type, as shown by the tearing of the veil:Matt 27:50-51 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
If we don't understand the meaning in Scripture of the holy of holies and the veil we miss out on extremely significant information concerning exactly what Christ's death meant to sinful mankind.
C) The Tabernacle is a Type of Christ:
Remember what the Word says, "all Scripture is given by inspiration (God-breathed) of God..." When we look at the Bible we must remember that it is completely God-breathed. When we look at each Word we must remember that every Word is specifically God-breathed. That was the view of Christ when it came to the Scriptures, that was the view of the apostles, and that must be our view. This is the very Word of God. It doesn't just contain the Word of God, or just point to religious experience, this is the Word of God.
Is it any wonder then that each and every detail and Word about the tabernacle has spiritual significance? As we look to the tabernacle structure itself and its unique pieces of redemptive furniture there is great symbolism and typology found in them. Remember, everything was a finger pointing to the Messiah. The tabernacle, as a type, designed specifically and in detail by God, would point to the character and aspects of the ministry of Christ. The more we become familiar with the tabernacle the more we become familiar with Christ and all that He means to us. What a great reason to become familiar with the Scriptures concerning the tabernacle.
Heb 10:20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
Col 2:17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Jn 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
D) It is a Representation of the True Tabernacle in Heaven:
The Lord wants us to be aware of His nature and character. Even the angels don't fully understand the nature and character of God but they learn from watching His dealings with His church (Eph 3). Things are really happening in the heavenly dimension and the Lord wants to reveal to us what took place in heaven after the resurrection of Christ. There is a real tabernacle in the heavenlies and Christ really appeared before the throne of heaven as the Lamb of God (Rev 5). There is no doubt that some of these things are a mystery but the more we draw close to God and His Word the more He draws close to us.
Heb 9:11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
E) The Presence Within the Holy of Holies Dwells Within the Believer in Jesus:
Jesus said I am the temple (Mishkan) of God. When the glory (Heb. Sh'chinah) would come down like a tornado or funnel right through the roof of the holy of holies and the Presence would manifest on the mercy seat between the cherubim after the blood was sprinkled, that was the mishkan. That Presence was what Jesus said dwelt within Him. And in fact Paul said about the church, "Know ye not that you are the temple (Mishkan) of God?" We, as the body of Christ, have the same Presence dwelling within us. God doesn't dwell in buildings now but within His people.
1 Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
F) Its teaching covers in type almost all of New Testament truth.
The study of the tabernacle is so rich in meaning to the Christian and so pregnant with Messianic significance that we can spend a lifetime in the study of it and only begin to understand the riches and the depth of truth that lies within the study of the tabernacle.Rom 15:4 "Whatever things that were written before were written for our learning."
G) Studying the Tabernacle will absolutely strengthen our faith in the Bible.
Be assured that anyone who has delved into the wonderful details of the tabernacle will confess that the Bible is more than just a book. No man could have thought of this. The Bible is the Word of God.
"all Scripture is given by inspiration of God..."
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The Children of Israel