This is Part 2 of Intimacy with God. If you missed the first part you can read it here which will be important for you to understand the foundation of how we enter the presence of God.
So, let’s take a look at the temple layout from the Old Testament and now make a correlation of how we use each of these components to help us getting into the Presence of God today.
To begin with we can’t enter the tabernacle of God unless we are saved, or God has called us Himself into this place to bring us to salvation.
Entering the tabernacle and we get to the Altar Sacrifice first. The sacrifice today is Jesus Christ. We no longer sacrifice goats and bulls but it is Jesus Himself who became the sacrifice for us when He died on the cross.
Isaiah 53:7-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
John 1:29 (NKJV) “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV) “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
So Jesus gave us access to enter the tabernacle of God. We don’t need to be Levites we just need to saved…
Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
The other sacrifice that we offer at this altar is the Sacrifice of Praise.
Hebrews 13:15 The Passion Translation (TPT) “So we no longer offer up a steady stream of blood sacrifices, but through Jesus, we will offer up to God a steady stream of praise sacrifices—these are “the lambs” we offer from our lips that celebrate his name!”
Now I’m sure you have heard the following scripture many times but look at how it comes alive now that you understand the outer courts…
Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.”
Then we get to the Bronze Basin. This is where the priest would wash themselves before entering the presence of God. Today this washing is still very much necessary in the spirit.
The washing is confession of sins, repentance. Without it you will have a barrier between you and God.
Psalm 66:18-20 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Yet if I had closed my eyes to my sin,
the Lord God would have closed his ears to my prayer.
But praises rise to God,
for he paid attention to my prayer and answered my cry to him!
I will forever praise this God who didn’t close his heart when I prayed
and never said no when I asked him for help.
He never once refused to show me his tender love.
When we approach God we must always repent of our sins. Always. We need to confess them because if we don’t He will withdraw Himself from us. Sin is a big deal to God. Think about it, He sent His Son to die for us because of sin. So this is a crucial step.
Confession is not just for Catholics.
Most people who have been saved for years and then notice that they are no longer hearing God like they did in the past usually have sins they’ve not repented for.
It is important to be specific about your own sin when you enter the tabernacle. If you think that you are clean and there is nothing to repent of then here is the prayer that you pray…
Father God, I ask you to reveal to me any way in which I have sinned against You so that I may repent of it because I don’t want anything standing in the way of my fellowship with you.
When you do this you need to sit quietly and pay attention to your thoughts. Whatever comes to your mind needs to be repented. You may think of something that seems inconsequential to you but the fact that you think about it after your pray this prayer means you offended God. You need to confess it. After your confession you pray the prayer again and so on and so forth until there is nothing.
If you have not been doing this on a regular basis then you need to do an indepth comprehensive repentance and this post The Importance of Repentance in Prayer
When we lead a lifestyle of repentance, God will show up and start talking outside of the usual time of meeting with Him because there is nothing standing in the way of hearing His voice.
Confession is a time to be completely transparent. Be transparent – Be honest. Doesn’t matter how ugly it may sound, you need to say it.
You can’t get close to someone that you can’t be 100% honest with. You can’t have true intimacy with someone that you don’t feel safe telling your deepest secret.
After repentance we now enter into the Holy Place. You are closer to God and now you will see how the pieces within the Holy Place relate to today
The Lampstand in the Holy Place was to light the room so that the Table of Showbread could be seen and the priest could see to refresh the Altar of Incense. Without it there would be total darkness.
So the Lampstand today is the Word of God. It is the light that will show you the way you should go to get to the Holy of Holies. Light to see through the dark times in which we walk. Light to illuminate your way so that you do not stumble. Light to show you the answers to life’s problems.
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
John 3:19-21 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”
Jesus is also the lampstand…
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Ephesians 5:14 Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
The Table of Showbread is also the Word of God and Jesus as well. The table had 12 cakes/breads that represented the 12 tribes. Aaron would put out the bread fresh every week and then on the Sabbath eat it in the presence of the Lord. I believe this is communion. This is what was taking place a type of fellowshiping with God.
John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
John 6:51-58 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven– not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
These 12 cakes from the 12 tribes could also be a type of communion between God and the different denominations. I have no scripture to support this point but if you think about it the 12 tribes had different gifts but still needed to work together to make it to the promise land.
The Altar of Incense was directly in front of the veil (Exodus 30:7-8) “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come.” Today this a symbol of prayers. Intercession made by the saints – you and I.
Revelation 5:8 “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.”
Which are also to be offered day and night before the Lord. It is the picture of us praying without ceasing.
2 Timothy 1:3 “I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.”
The final step is the Holy of Holies which housed the Ark of the Covenant which has the Mercy Seat. At the Mercy Seat the priest once per year would offer atonement for his sins as well as the sins of the people by sprinkling the blood of an animal.
Today, it is the blood of Jesus is the sacrifice for the sin.
Here is the scripture that perfectly explains the old way of entering the presence of God with the new.
That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.
When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.
This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.
So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.
Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect.
That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.
For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.
And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.”
In the 3rd and final post, I will talk about what happens in the Holy of Holies, how you when you have reached it and long it takes to go through the entire process.