This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
Just by way of introduction I would like to read two passages from Hebrews 9:1–8. You’ll see these refer to the tabernacle. Then we’ll talk about the tabernacle in the light of our study which, essentially, is spirit, soul and body. Hebrews 9, beginning at verse 1 and reading through verse 8:
“Then verily the first covenant [the Mosaic covenant] had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary [a sanctuary that was in this world]. For there was a tabernacle made ...”
The tent, the first (in the sense of man’s approach to God) ... the first that the man approaching God went into.
“... the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary [or the holy place]. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all [or the Holy of Holies]; which had the golden censer ...”
But better, I think, the golden altar of incense.
“...and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant [the two tables of the Ten Commandments graven in stone]; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.”
You see, the writer of Hebrews was just longing to get into a detailed study but he felt that he had to move on because he had other things to speak about.
“Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle [the holy place every day], accomplishing the service of God. But into the second [the Holy of Holies] went the high priest alone once every year ...”
Only once each year did any priest go into the Holy of Holies and that was on the Day of Atonement, what the Jews call Yom Kippur.
“... not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.”
The way was not opened up for man to have direct access into the Holiest of All as long as the Mosaic covenant was the basis of the relationship. It required a new covenant and a new priesthood to open up the way into the Holiest of All.
The phrase that I really want you to meditate on and take as the theme for our study is the phrase in verse 8, “the way into the holiest of all.” That’s what I want to speak about this morning, the way into the holiest of all.
Let’s contrast that message with Hebrews 10 and we’ll read just a few verses commencing at verse 19. Now we’re talking about the New Covenant in Jesus Christ, the new priesthood which is not the Levitical priesthood of Aaron but the priesthood of Melchizedek, for Jesus has been made high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. And in the order of Melchizedek the kingship and the priesthood are reunited. See, Melchi-zedek means “king of righteousness.” So, Melchizedek was both a king and a priest. The two that had been separated under the Mosaic law were reunited.
The first type of priesthood spoken of in the Scripture is not the Levitical priesthood but the priesthood of Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18. Melchizedek, who was priest of the most high God and king of Salem (king of peace), met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings. The Levitical priesthood is secondary and temporary. The priesthood of Melchizedek is primary and eternal. It’s very interesting to see this. Melchizedek, when he met Abraham, received from Abraham tithes, a tenth of all, and in return offered to Abraham bread and wine. So, the functions of the priesthood of Melchizedek are to receive the tithes of God’s people and to offer bread and wine. When Jesus at the Last Supper took the bread and the wine and gave them to His disciples, He was declaring by that act, “I am the priest after the order of Melchizedek.”
See, it’s very interesting. The Levitical priesthood had nothing to offer which was not first given them. Everything they offered them was given to them first. But the priesthood of Melchizedek offers that which has not first been given to the priest.
So now, turning to Hebrews 10 we have this statement about the New Covenant and the high priesthood of Jesus. Verse 19:
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus ...”
Under the Mosaic covenant the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest. But under the New Covenant we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.
“... by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh ...”
The rent veil that opens the way into the holiest of all is the rent flesh of Jesus on the cross.
“... and having an high priest over the house of God [that’s Jesus]; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The thought is that through our faith in Jesus Christ, through His atoning sacrifice on the cross, and through His high priestly ministry on our behalf now in the presence of God, we have what was not made available to the Jewish people under the Old Covenant. We have boldness to enter into the holiest of all. The way into the holiest of all is now made open for you and me.
This is what I want to speak about and I want to illustrate it by the diagram. This is laid out with the north on the right hand side, which is where north always is in Scripture. The entrance is from the east. The whole area is divided up into three. Now, there are many different ways to apply this. This applies to the nature of God, it applies to the nature of heaven, it applies to many things. We’re dealing with the nature of man: spirit, soul and body.
The Outer Court, the body; the Holy Place, the soul; the Holy of Holies, the spirit. There are, of course, many other aspects of the truth. On the sheet I have given you some of the main applications of the typology of the tabernacle. Everything has a meaning, all the metals have a meaning, all the materials have a meaning, all the measurements have a meaning. This is opening up for many of you for the first time a completely new area of study. We cannot do it in full detail but we’ll spend a little time on it this morning.
We are approaching from the east. We’re going to come in through the gate that’s at the bottom of the diagram and we’re going towards the Holy of Holies, which is in the center of our diagram and the object that we’re headed for is the one marked F, which is the ark, which was the only piece of furniture in the Holiest of All. I want you to picture yourself approaching from the east and going up through A, B, C, D, E to F. Where we’re headed for is F. That’s the way into the Holiest of All.
I want to relate it now to our personal spiritual experience. Let’s notice, first of all, that the area that belongs to God is completely separated from the area of the people of this world. There is a complete line of separation. This is the Outer Court, which was 100 cubits long and 50 cubits wide—a rectangle. The curtains were made of fine linen, which typifies purity and righteousness. They were 5 cubits high (which is 7 and a half feet, approximately). No one of normal stature could look over. You either had to be in or out. If you weren’t in, you didn’t know what was inside. There was only one way in, that was through the eastern gate. This had four posts and a veil that you had to go through, a curtain. This was beautifully embroidered with cherubim and other beautiful things. We’re not going to deal with the veil at large.
Notice the metals. It’s important that you understand. Brass typifies God’s examination and judgment on anything that is not in line with His standards. Silver always typifies redemption. Gold typifies divinity, the nature of God. There are two kinds of gold in the tabernacle. There’s pure gold, which is divine nature, and there’s beaten gold in the candlestick and other things, which is divine workmanship.
So, when you come in through the gate you’re immediately confronted by this tremendous altar of brass which is 5 cubits square, 7 and a half feet each way. You cannot evade the altar, there’s no way in except by the altar. The brazen altar—which is a type of the cross—and everything in it was made of brass. It speaks of God’s judgment upon sin. For our purposes this morning, let us consider certain things that were dealt with at the cross.
First of all, guilt: condemnation for past sins. Jesus paid the penalty due for all our past sins.
Secondly, the power of sin itself was dealt with. Jesus put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Thirdly, the old rebellious nature of man, the old Adam was crucified. The rebel was dealt with.
Fourthly, the brazen altar became the place of the burnt offering, which is the place of total dedication to God.
So, in coming in through the door and confronting the brazen altar we have, first of all, the assurance of the forgiveness of past sins. Secondly, we are liberated from the dominating power of sin in our lives. Thirdly, the old rebel is put to death. When those three things have been done, then we present ourselves a living sacrifice, we become the burnt offering totally consumed by dedication to God and to His will. That’s the first thing that confronts you as you begin this approach into the Holiest of All.
The next thing which is marked on your diagram as B is the brazen laver. A laver is a thing containing water for sacrificial washing for cleansing. The laver was made of brass. The brass was taken from the brazen mirrors of the women of Israel. The laver typifies the Word of God. Once you have come to the cross, God’s next provision for you is His Word. The fact that the brazen laver was made of the mirrors typifies the Word as the mirror. Perhaps you want just one Scripture for that. Turn to James 1 for a moment and verse 23:
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass [in a mirror] ...”
The Word of God is like a mirror. It does not show you your outward appearance; it shows you your inward spiritual nature and appearance. So, the fact that the laver was made of the looking glasses speaks of God’s Word as a mirror.
But, the laver was filled with water, which speaks of God’s Word as the agent of cleansing and sanctifying. One Scripture for that, Ephesians 5:25–27.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it [on the brazen altar]; that he might [thereafter] sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word ...”
After the brazen altar, the brazen laver. If you read the ordinances of the priesthood, every time the priest went from the brazen altar into the tabernacle, he passed the laver and had to stop and wash both his hands and his feet. Every time he returned from the tabernacle, on the way out and past the brazen altar, he had to stop and wash both his hands and his feet. If he did not do that, the penalty was death. It’s tremendously important. I put it this way. Remember this, there are two great cleansing agents: the blood and the water. Maybe you should turn to 1 John 5 for a moment. 1 John 5:6:
“This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
Jesus on the cross shed His blood to redeem His people that He might thereafter sanctify them with the washing of the water of His Word. And both are essential. If you do not wash in the laver, you will die. See? This is one of the things that confronts the Charismatic movement today. Charismatics have come to believe in the redeeming blood of Jesus. Thank God! But Jesus gave Himself for the church, redeemed the church by His blood that He might then complete the sanctifying operation with the washing of water by the Word.
And, if you turn back to Ephesians 5 you’ll see only the church that has been washed and sanctified with the water of the Word will be fit to be presented to Jesus as a bride. Ephesians 5, going back there again, 25–27:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it [the church] with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
And the holiness and the freedom from blemish, spot and wrinkle does not come only through the brazen altar but also through the brazen laver. They are both essential. You cannot pass either on your way into the tabernacle. God has placed them both there inside the entrance and you must avail yourself of both. Many, many Charismatics are extremely lazy and slack when it comes to the water of the Word. The ordinance of the priesthood was you were never to pass that laver without pausing and washing both your hands and your feet in it. What a vivid picture of the continual cleansing operation of the Word of God. You look in the mirror, see your condition, and rectify it with the cleansing of the water of the Word.
Those are the two items of furniture out in the Outer Court. Then we come to what is called usually the first veil at the entrance to the Holy Place, which is the longer area inside the central diagram. The dimensions of the total tabernacle were 10 cubits broad, 10 cubits high and 30 cubits long. The 30 cubits of length were divided. The first tabernacle, the first part, was 20 cubits long. The Holy of Holies, the Holiest of All was 10 cubits long. That means that the Holy of Holies was a perfect cube: 10 cubits long, 10 cubits broad and 10 cubits high. That signifies the completion and the perfection of God.
If I can do one thing this morning, I’ll have achieved my most important objective, which is to get you longing to get into the Holiest of All, headed in one direction only. And you see, there’s always a conflict between the natural man, because the further you go in, the more confined, in a sense, you become. The fewer are your options. In the end, you end up in a kind of little box 10 cubits by 10 cubits by 10 cubits with only one item of furniture. That’s God, you see. God wants you to want Him without wanting anything else. It’s not God plus blessing or God plus healing or God plus revelation, but God. That’s what the tabernacle speaks about—those that want to meet with God. Not for the sake of getting something, but because God is God. There is no higher privilege than just getting to meet with God. That’s the way into the holiest. There must be that motivation. Without that motivation you’ll never get there. When the motivation is present, then you have to meet the requirements, which is what we’re studying.
First the brazen altar, then the brazen laver. Now you go in through the veil into the area of the soul. There is no natural light any longer. The only source of light now is the seven branched candlestick, which is filled with oil and set on fire. Look at the diagram now. We’re in the Holy Place, the one that is 20 cubits long and 10 cubits wide, the first inside the actual tabernacle. There are three items of furniture. On the right hand side, which is the north, which is the side of God, is the table of shewbread. A rather long, narrow table one and a half cubits high, two cubits long, one cubit wide. Opposite, on the left-hand side, the south, is the seven branched candlestick made of beaten gold. Then, at the far end of the first tabernacle immediately in front of the veil that separates it from the Holiest of All is the golden altar of incense which is square, one cubit by one cubit, two cubits high.
We have said that the functions of the soul are will, emotions and reason. I want to identify each of those three items of furniture with one of those functions. Bear in mind that there are many other applications of this truth. For instance, the seven branched candlestick is always a type of the church. The table of shewbread is a type of Jesus, the bread of life. So you get this truth: that the sole function of the church is to cast light on the bread of life. And the only source of light in the realm of the soul is the church. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world.” There is no other source of light. There’s education, there’s science, there’s technology, but when we come into this realm there is only one source of light and that’s the church. It has only one object on which to cast its light and that is Christ the bread of heaven, the bread of life.
But now I’m taking a different application this morning. One does not set aside the other; this is the beauty of it. We’ll deal with the table of the shewbread first. The shewbread was twelve loaves of bread that were baked once weekly and put out on the table. In Hebrew it’s ?go-leh-hem a-pa-neem?, the bread of the face. It was the bread that was set out always before the face of God. The implication is that God continually looked down on those twelve loaves placed there on that beautiful golden table. The table had a crown round about it which indicated that the bread was never to be allowed to fall off and become desecrated by falling onto the ground.
I take this to represent the will. When we get in here the first thing that has to be dealt with is the will. Bread goes through two main processes. It’s ground and it’s baked. The will of the believer has to be ground and baked. It has to be broken up and it has to be passed through the fire of testing. Then the will that has been broken and purified in testing becomes the bread that sits upon the table before the face of God.
This became so vivid to me this morning that God is always looking down on one thing in my life: my will. Is my will His will? Do I say as Jesus said, “Not my will but thine be done”? God looks down day and night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on that bread. It’s set out before Him. That is the food I offer God. I have nothing else to give God that He needs from me. He can get anything else He wants without me. The only thing I have to offer God is my will. That He cannot have unless I give it to Him because He made me that way. So, that is my offering day and night continually before God, “My will is yours, God.” It’s been ground, all that selfishness has been ground out. It’s been baked, it’s been tested, I’ve been in situation after situation where I had to choose: did I want God’s will or my will? When it’s been ground and baked, it’s fit to put before God. And, it has to stay there day and night.
Not only that, but the yielded will becomes God’s will. God’s will is our food. For when Jesus met the woman of Samaria at the well, you remember, He was tired and hungry. He sent the disciples into the city to get bread. Then the woman of Samaria came. He talked to her, revealed Himself to her, changed her life. When they came back with food He said, “I’m not hungry.” They said, “What have you had to eat?” He said, “My food is to do the will of my Father.” See, the yielded will is what you offer to God but it’s also what feeds you. To do the will of God is your food. It feeds you, it gives you divine, supernatural strength.
I’m not saying this in any way to boast but you couldn’t do what I did last night and be as fresh as I am this morning if it wasn’t the will of God. God showed me some years back. I’ll just tell you this. He said, “If you are to fulfill the ministry which I have for you, you’re going to need a strong, healthy body.” And He told me I was putting on too much weight; I would have to check on that. That was in 1962 and I look back now over 10 years and I see I couldn’t have survived if God hadn’t given me that warning. But when you’re doing the will of God, friend, you have supernatural strength. Consider the illustration of Jesus. He was actually physically tired. It says “being weary by the journey he sat on the well.” He was hungry but when He ministered to that Samaritan woman it fed Him, it restored Him. So, in the area of the will, the will surrendered to God is God’s food. That’s what He feeds on. That’s the only thing I can give Him that He can’t get without my giving it to Him. God doesn’t need my cleverness, He doesn’t need my gifts. He doesn’t need me to heal the sick. He can do it a whole lot better without me. The only thing I have to offer to God, put on that table, expose before Him is my will. And remember, your will is exposed to God day and night. God sees it, He knows when you’re going back to self-will and self-pleasing and stubbornness and rebellion. It’s there. I want you to picture that, there before the face of God day and night—is your will.
That’s the will. Don’t forget the table has got a crown around it. Because, when your will is yielded, you’re a victim, you’re living and reigning in life with Christ with the yielded will.
On the other side is the seven branched candlestick. The candlestick actually had ten lamps. It’s rather interesting. You had the middle stick which went up and had four bowls. Then out of it went two branches on either side, each which had one bowl. Two more branches on either side, each of which had one bowl. Two more branches on either side, each of which had one bowl. You know that in the city of Rome in the arch of Titus there is a stone representation of the seven branched candlestick which Titus took from the temple in Jerusalem when he sacked the temple in 70 A.D. So, we know approximately from history what the seven branched candlestick looked like. And, of course, this is what the Jews call the menorah, which means “the light.” It really is the symbol of the state of Israel and it’s always been a sacred symbol for the Jewish people.
What I want to point out is though it has seven branches there was something special about the central branch. The central branch has four bowls. Remember, it was not a candlestick but a lampstand. Every one of these had a lamp in it filled with oil. There were seven branches. If you counted the number of bowls there were 10. Ten by Jewish law is the number for congregation, it’s the smallest congregation. Less than 10, you don’t have a congregation. One of the significances of the number 10 is the number for congregation. Ten virgins, 5 wise, 5 foolish, and so on.
Now, as I’ve said already, the candlestick or the lampstand is the major type of the church. In the area of human personality, it represents the mind. First, the will. Never try and be clever before you’ve yielded your will because you’ll be clever to your own destruction. The first thing is the table of shewbread, the yielded will. Then comes the illuminated mind. The seven branched candlestick filled with oil and set on fire speaks of the illumination of the mind. Seven is distinctively the number of the Holy Spirit. Turn to Revelation for a moment and let me show you two passages there. Revelation 4, this is the great throne chapter. Sometime you want to read Revelation 4, count the number of times the word “throne” occurs in this chapter. Remember the seats on which the elders were sitting are correctly thrones. The whole thing is just full of thrones. The first thing John saw when he got there was a throne. This is the throne level of the universe. There are four major orders. Thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. The higher level is thrones. That’s the administrative level of the whole universe. In the spirit John was caught up to the throne level in Revelation 4 and you’ll find the whole of it centers around the throne surrounded by thrones. In the midst of it here, verse 5:
“Out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
The Holy Spirit is one, yet seven. The great type in nature of the Holy Spirit is the rainbow which is light refracted into seven colors. There was a rainbow around the throne, incidentally.
Look on into Revelation 5:6:
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures ...”
Don’t say beast because it’s wrong. The beast is in Revelation 13—the wild beast. It’s a different word in the original. These are living creatures. In Revelation, the antichrist in chapter 13, he’s the wild beast. Verse 6:
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns [a horn is a type of strength] and seven eyes [a type of understanding], which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”
The seven eyes is the picture of the Spirit of God giving spiritual understanding. Some people are confused by the fact that there are seven Spirits and yet the Holy Spirit is one. I say there are seven forms of the one Spirit.
If you turn to Isaiah 11 you get the clear revelation of the seven Spirits. This is a prophecy of the Messiah fulfilled in Jesus. In the first 3 verses you have this clear unfolding of the seven Spirits of God. The rod out of the stem of Jesse is Jesus.
“There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch [that’s one of the great titles of Messiah in the Old Testament] shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”
There are the seven Spirits. If you go verse 2, the spirit of the LORD, number one; the spirit of wisdom, number two; understanding, number three; counsel, number four; might, number five; knowledge, number six; fear of the LORD, number seven.
If you put it on the candlestick you see that the central one is the Spirit of the LORD. This is the central column with the four. Then we have on either side wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the LORD. This Spirit of the LORD is the Spirit that speaks in the first person as Almighty God. You find in Acts 13 as certain prophets and teachers waited upon the Lord and fasted the Spirit of God said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” The Holy Spirit spoke in the first person as Almighty God.
Now, the candlestick represents the illuminated mind, the mind that’s been filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit and illuminated. Its light is shed upon the shewbread, the will which is, again, a type of Christ. Our minds are illuminated only when we look on Jesus Christ.
Keep your finger in Isaiah 11, we’ll come back there for a moment. Notice in Ephesians 4:22–24. This is what Paul says all Christians are obligated to do.
“That ye put off concerning the former way of life the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man ...”
The candlestick filled with oil is a type of the renewing of the spirit of your mind. It’s letting the Holy Spirit move in and take control of your thinking.
Turn back to Isaiah 11 for a moment and I want to show you what this amounts to in practical experience. Isaiah 11:2–3.
“The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD ...”
Again, this is one thing that Charismatics must learn. The more you have of the Holy Spirit the more you’ll have of the fear of the LORD. Even Jesus, the Son of God, was made by the Holy Spirit of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. The Hebrew that’s translated “make him of quick understanding” means literally “make him of quick scent, quick to smell.” You’ll notice it goes on:
“... he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.”
This is what I was speaking about—this is the spiritual sense of smell which isn’t confined to eyesight and to hearing. This is what the shepherd must have when the wolves come amongst the sheep because the wolf looks like a sheep but smells like a wolf. If you judge by the sight of your eyes or the hearing of your ears, you’ll say, “That’s a sheep.” But when you’re of quick scent in the fear of the Lord you diagnose a wolf by the smell.
I want to emphasize this that the outworking of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is that you’re of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. See, this is the essence of receiving things from God. The Holy Spirit is the administrator of the total riches of heaven. If you snub the Holy Spirit, you’ll end up a spiritual beggar. If you go one way and the Holy Spirit goes another, guess who is going to lose? Not the Holy Spirit, but you. It’s being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The mind that’s illuminated is reverent, sensitive, responsive. It’s the next step in the way into the holiest.
Then we come to the golden altar of incense on which there was a special incense that was never to be used in any other context. The incense that was used to burn and worship before God was never to be used in any secular setting. On the contrary, no one was ever to offer any other kind of incense before God. The two older sons of Aaron—Nadab and Abihu—offered strange incense before the Lord and died right there on the spot. This is a tremendous warning. We have got to offer God pure spiritual worship. The worship that we offer to God is never to be offered in any other direction. There’s two lessons. You must not offer that holy incense in any other place and you must not offer any other incense in the Holy Place. There’s two aspects of truth.
The golden altar of incense is essentially the linking point between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Though it stood in the Holy Place, its function was in the Holy of Holies because it was used when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. He took with him two things: the blood of the sin offering to sprinkle before God and the censer filled with incense from the golden altar. As he sprinkled the blood, he swung the censer and that cloud of sweet smell rose up before the presence of Almighty God on the mercy seat. This teaches us that the way into the holiest is with the blood but not with the blood alone, with the incense. The only way of access into the presence of Almighty God is worship. You cannot get into the Holiest of All without worship.
Going back to the Holy Place and identifying the golden altar of incense, I locate in it the emotions. See, we’ve had the will, we’ve had the understanding, now we have the emotions. Emotions have a valid part to play in our spiritual relationship with God. When we turn our affections toward God and turn our emotions towards Him and offer Him our love, we’re on our way into the holiest. The expression of emotion in love and praise moves into worship.
There was a lady that asked me—and I know she was not satisfied with my answers—“What’s the difference between praise and worship?” Praise moves into worship. As you do, you move out of the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies. It’s the censer swung with the sweet-smelling smoke going up from it.
I don’t believe definitions in human words are going to do much good. As I say, “It is better felt than ‘telt.’” I believe by the help of the Holy Spirit I can create in you an understanding, a picture of what God is showing us.
Now, we come into the Holiest of All. There’s only one piece of furniture, it’s the ark. It was a rectangular box of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold. The ark typifies Christ. The acacia wood is humanity, the pure gold is pure divinity. As I say, in the Bible the ark is always a type of Christ. There are two main arks (there are others), but there’s the big ark of Noah and the little ark of Moses. The big ark is you in Christ, your place of salvation, refuge from judgment, the flood. The little ark is Christ in you. This is in the Holy of Holies. This is where we’re getting to. You see, we’re going inside ourselves if you understand what I mean. All this progress is inside our own spiritual being.
We come into the Holy of Holies, there’s this box overlaid with pure gold covered with the mercy seat which typifies God’s forgiveness and reconciliation. The one important truth is the size of the mercy seat was identical with the dimensions of the ark. In other words, if you want to be under the mercy of God you must be in the ark which is Christ. There is no other place of mercy.
On the mercy seat was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement the blood representing the sin offering which dealt with sin. Over the mercy seat were the two cherubim. One cherub at either end turned with their faces towards the center of the mercy seat with their wings reaching out over and touching tip to tip over the center of the mercy seat. The cherubim, I believe, typify worship and fellowship. Face to face it’s fellowship. The outstretched wings and the bowed bodies are worship.
As I pointed out, God made two identical, one to face the other. I think as we go back into the revelation of the world before Adam there was a time when Lucifer—who later became Satan—was the anointed cherub that covered the throne of God. There was only one. You’ll find that in Ezekiel 28. I can’t take time to get the reference. He became proud because of his own beauty, rebelled and fell. So if I may say it reverently, God said, “We’ll never take that risk again, we’ll always have two, one viewing the other. And each will know the other is as beautiful as himself.”
That goes far beyond that because when we come into the place of fellowship with God we come to the place of fellowship one with another and we look each other in the face. That’s where we come to face to face fellowship with God and with one another. You know, it’s a very hard thing to be absolutely open and honest with your fellow believers. In that place there is face-to-face fellowship over the mercy seat and the blood that was sprinkled there. That is the only place of true fellowship, it’s in the spirit, it’s face to face, it’s over the mercy seat and over the blood.
I said the three functions of the spirit are worship, fellowship and revelation. I believe they come in that order. The way in is worship. Through worship we enter into fellowship with God and with one another. And, out of our worship and our fellowship we receive revelation. That’s the only safe revelation. Please notice that revelation, if I’m right, is the ultimate. You cannot bypass any stage of the progress and come to genuine revelation. You’ve got to go by the brazen altar, the brazen laver, the table of shewbread, the candlestick, the golden altar of incense and come right into the presence. Then you get reliable revelation. Any other revelation is extremely questionable.
Lots and lots of people want to prophesy and have the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge but their revelations are questionable. We’re not assured of the source. The only true revelation comes in the Holy of Holies. God said, “If you’ll come in there, I’ll meet with you and I’ll speak with you mouth to mouth and face to face.”
Let me point out this about the light of the Holiest of All. There was no light, none whatever, not even a candle or a lamp. The only light was the personal, supernatural presence of God—what the Jewish people call the shekinah glory. Shekinah means “the dwelling.” When God dwelt among His people, His glory illuminated that site.
Let me point out about the coverings of the tabernacle for a moment. I’m not going on much longer. It was extremely well protected. There were four coverings over the tabernacle. There was not a ray of light that would filter in from outside. It was totally dark in there. The innermost covering was a beautiful woven work of fine linen: blue, purple, scarlet, cherubim and weaved work. This is the inner nature of the redeemed believer but it’s not seen from the outside.
Over that was a curtain of goat’s skin. The goat is always the type of a sinner. Over the curtain of goat’s skin was a curtain of ram’s skins died red. Goat’s hair and ram’s skin. The ram is the type of the prince, the ram is the princely offering and the princely creature in the symbols of Scripture. The ram’s skins died red typify Jesus. We sung that hymn this morning, “When I survey the wondrous cross upon which the prince of glory died.” Jesus is the prince, the ram.
You know, when that hymn was originally written, let me tell you this, the words have been slightly changed. When it was originally written it was this: “When I survey the wondrous cross where the young prince of glory died.” It brings out a very important thing. Jesus was a young man in the prime of life when He died. Personally, I prefer those words, I wish they didn’t change it.
The ram’s skins dyed red typify the prince who gave Himself for the sinner. The ram who died to cover the goat.
Over above that were badger’s or sealskins. Thick, heavy, shaggy, not very attractive. That’s the outward appearance of the church; it’s the outward appearance of the believer. It’s the outward appearance of Jesus. He has no form nor comeliness. When we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire. But as we go down inward we get to that which is truly glorious and beautiful.
So, you have the inner beauty, then you have the acknowledgment of the sinful nature, the goat’s hair but covered by the atonement of the ram’s skins dyed red, then protected by the outer physical frame in which the whole thing dwelt.
Coming back now to the ark in the Holy of Holies, just one more thing I want to say. There were three things in the ark when it was in the tabernacle. The two tables of stone, the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded. When the ark was moved into Solomon’s temple the pot of manna and the rod that budded were removed. The only thing that remained permanently in the ark there was the two tables of stone. Because, let me say this, as I understand it, the tabernacle represents the church in this dispensation. The temple of Solomon represents the glorified, reigning church in the ages to follow. There are certain significant differences. In Solomon’s tabernacle the cherubim stretched their wings right across the Holy of Holies from wall to wall. There was no more hidden pot of manna, there was no more revelation because everything had been brought out into the open. The only thing that remained permanently in the ark was the two tables of stone.
Coming back to the tabernacle, you and me and our present experience, there are three things in that ark. The first one is the tables of stone. I say that that typifies God’s holy law written in our hearts, the unchanging law of God’s holiness. That, I believe, is the thing that provokes worship. We worship and bow before the unchanging, eternal, inviolable holiness of Almighty God. That will never be taken out of us, that’s forever and ever and ever.
The pot of manna and the rod, they typify things that later will be in a different area. The pot of manna typifies feeding with God, fellowship. Jesus said to one of the churches in Revelation, “I will give you to eat of the hidden manna.” There is a hidden manna in the place of fellowship with God where you feed on God. Jesus said, “He that eateth of me shall live by me.”
The rod typifies revelation. There was a contest to see if anybody other than Aaron had the right of access in the priesthood. The rods were taken from the heads of the 12 tribes and laid up before the Lord. The next day when Moses went in there was one rod that had budded supernaturally overnight. That was Aaron’s rod. That was God’s attestation of Aaron. The setting aside of all the other rods and the rod that budded was placed inside the ark. That budding rod is revelation.
Will you notice again the order? It’s worship, fellowship, revelation. But the rod is also a type of authority all through Scripture. The scepter, the rod of the ruler. When you have true revelation, friend, you have authority. It’s revelation that gives authority.
Shall we just go through the progress once more and then we’ll close. You come into the Outer Court through the eastern gate. You’re confronted with a great brazen altar that speaks about sin, deals with sin and sets aside sin, deals with the carnal, rebellious nature and makes it possible for you to offer the burnt offering of total dedication to God. You move on to the brazen laver, which speaks of the Word of God— first as a mirror and second as a cleansing, sanctifying agent. You must not ever pass that brazen laver without pausing to wash your hands and your feet in it. Jesus redeemed the church by His blood that He might sanctify it with the washing of water by His Word. Both processes are essential: He came by water and by blood.
We come in through the first veil and we have the Holy Place. Three items of furniture. On the right- hand side the table of the showbread, representing the will totally yielded to God: “Not my will but thine be done.” The bread ground and then baked. It’s always before God, God always looking down into my will. I tell you, if there’s one thing that’s gripped me this morning as I’ve never seen it before, it’s the fact that God watches my will 24 hours a day. He knows the moment my will swerves away from His. All that follows in here is dependent on the will. You cannot have understanding, you cannot have revelation, you cannot have worship, you have no access where your will is not right.
After the will comes the mind. The mind illuminated, the mind renewed by the Spirit of God, light comes forth. Then we have the emotions turned towards God in praise and adoration. The passage from the soul into the spirit is by the emotions from praise into worship. The swinging of the censer of worship taken from off the golden altar gives us direct access into the presence of God where there is no light but the light of God’s presence. No other source of light. There you meet with God in front of the ark, which is a type of Christ with the mercy seat upon it which is a type of the atonement where the blood has been sprinkled, the incense is swung to and fro, the cherubim reach over and touch their wings. Under the wings of the cherubim God said, “And over the mercy seat I will appear and I will talk with you face to face and mouth to mouth.” That’s the place of communion, that’s the way into the holiest.
In the ark there are the three things that typify the functions of the spirit. The law, typifying God’s law written forever in our spirit. Friend, you don’t need the law of Moses when you have God’s law written in your spirit. That’s what the whole of Hebrews is telling us. It isn’t just by chance that God’s law is written and graven in your hearts forever. There’s the tables of stone, the law written in your heart. The pot of manna, the secret place of feeding with God in fellowship. And the rod of revelation and authority. Worship, fellowship and revelation, that’s the way into the holiest.
May God bless you and may God help both you and me to meditate on this because I’ve just touched the fringe of the whole area of truth. My desire is not to tell you everything but to get your started searching for yourself.
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