What if there was a way to move from the ordinary affairs of everyday life into the extraordinary presence of God? In the Old Testament there was. The tabernacle of Moses was how Moses went from being among the people to standing in the manifest presence of God. Later Solomon built the temple to become the centerpiece of the nation’s worship. And after the Israelite’s return from exile one of their first endeavours was to begin work on a restored temple. This was the temple Jesus referred to in His teaching. The temple and its furnishings are featured also in the New Testament books of Hebrews and Revelation.
The tabernacle, and later the temple, had three areas. These were the courtyard, the holy place, and the most holy place. The most holy place, or the holiest of all, is the place where the Old Testament high priest would go once a year to make atonement for the sins of Israel. Through His resurrection, Jesus has made atonement for all of us, once and for all. In doing this He made a way for all who trust Him to come into the most holy place in prayer as well.
The tabernacle contained five items that each reveal something about effective prayer. Prayer in the tabernacle began at the bronze altar, which speaks of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Tabernacle prayer continues at the laver when we pray for cleansing. The pattern of the tabernacle then leads us into the holy place where there is the golden lamp stand on one side and the table of shew bread on the other. These teach us to pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit and insight into God’s Word. Now between us and the holiest of all is the altar of incense. This shows us the importance of the prayer of worship. Finally, we enter into the most holy place which contains the Ark of the covenant. This is where we can offer prayers of intercession.
In the upcoming series of posts, we will look at how the tabernacle pattern can help us approach God with confidence. An understanding of tabernacle pattern will empower you to leave the everyday matters of life behind and enter into God’s presence where you can pray powerfully and effectively.