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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:In the Bible reading from Exodus today, we read about the Sanctuary. Today, I'd like to share with you the spiritual significance of the Holy Place.
The Holy Place
The term “Holy Place” is translated from the Hebrew word (6944)
Qodesh is "a sacred place or thing; rarely abstractly sanctity: - consecrated (thing), dedicated (thing), hallowed (thing), holiness, (X most) holy (X day, portion, thing), saint, sanctuary."
The actual Tabernacle stood in the west half of the courtyard. It was divided into two compart-ments, or rooms. While the width of the two rooms was the same, the length of the first room, the holy place, was twice as long as that of the most holy place. The walls of the central structure were made of acacia boards overlaid with gold and connected with silver hardware (Exodus 26).
The Holy Place where the priests set out the bread of the Presence was a room 20 cubits long by 10 cubits wide and 10 cubits in height (30 feet x 15 feet x 15 feet). Its sides were formed by the golden upright frames. The beautiful linen curtain with its pattern of cherubim could be viewed through the framework in the front and on the ceiling. There were four golden pillars at the entrance and in the back of the room was the holy veil behind it was the Ark of the Covenant. Inside the room every piece of holy furniture was golden. The golden lampstand was on the left, the table of showbread was on the right, and the golden altar of incense was in the back of the room, placed before the veil.
The Curtains and Coverings
The curtains of the Holy Place were blue, purple, scarlet and had gold embroidered cherubim on them (Exodus 26:1-4)
This inner covering was covered with goat kids’ skin (white) covering (Exodus 26:7). And the goat hair curtain was covered with a red dyed ram’s skin layer, covered with a brown layer of antelope skin (badger’s skin is wrongly translated… It was a clean animal, as Strong’s points out – an antelope) (Exodus 26:14).
It is interesting to note that while the sanctuary would have been stunningly beautiful on the inside, it was very plain on the outside. Simple brown antelope skin is what the viewer would have seen from the external view. This is like our Saviour. As it says in Isaiah 53:2 “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Yet, inwardly, Yahshua was glorious through the perfection of His lovely character.
In the same way, we are to be lovely in character. The externals should be well cared for and kempt, but the true beauty is inside.
1 Peter 3:3-4 “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Acacia Wood Overlaid with Gold
Acacia wood was a strong, resilient wood that grew up in desert climates. It could survive the harsh environment because its rood grew very deep. The tree itself never grew tall. In fact, most acacia trees only grow to a height of 15-30 feet. This tree was not affected by disease nor animal infestations because of the strong odor in the fiber of its wood. Insects would not burrow into it. Therefore, some scholars present that acacia wood signifies perfect humanity as displayed by Yahshua.
In John 1:14, Yahshua was the Word who became flesh and "tabernacled" among men. The Tabernacle was also comprised of gold signifying the divine character of God Himself. Gold is used frequently in the Old Testament and the New Testament as a building material for God's house, God's temple (1 Corinthians 3:12; Hebrews 9:4-5; Revelation 1:12,20; 21:15).
John 1:1 says that the Word was with God and the Word was God. This same "Word" who taber-nacled among men (John 1:14) was God. He was the uncreated, Eternal, omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (everywhere present) God come in the flesh to earth. His humanity was perfect. He was without sin, without blemish, without "spot," without "wrinkle," and without any negative thing.
Also, this gold overlaid wood points to what Yahshua wants to do with us. We are to be the perfected humanity overlaid with the pure gold of God’s Character. This is a symbol of a sealed individual. And the Holy Place shows us what it takes to be sealed.
Each item of furniture in the Holy Place shows the elements we all need - daily, in order to sustain victorious, spiritual life.
Just inside the holy place on the left (south) side, stood the golden menorah that had seven candlestick branches (see Exodus 25:31-40). They were not wax candles as we know them, but lamps fueled by pure olive oil. The priests trimmed the wicks daily and refilled the bowls with oil so that the menorah would constantly be a source of light for the holy place. Yahshua said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12).
He also said, "Ye are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). The Olive oil in the lamps symbolized the Holy Spirit that illuminates the church. The lamp is a symbol of the Word, as well (Psalm 119:105).
- Light is truth – thus the lamp stand shows that those who will be sealed will have the light of truth in them.
- The olive oil is the indwelling Holy Spirit – thus the lamp shows that the power source of the sealed individual will be the Holy Spirit.
- The Menorah itself represents Christ the Vine – as we are the branches, we only bear fruit (light) while we abide in Him and He in us.
Matthew 5:14-16 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."The Table of Shewbread
Opposite the lamp was the table of showbread on the north side. It was constructed of acacia wood and covered with gold (Exodus 25:23-30). On it were kept 12 loaves of unleavened bread (Leviticus 24:5-9). These loaves were symbolic of Christ, Who is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). There was also “wine” (grape juice) representing the Yahshua’s Blood and the necessity for daily claiming it.
On the Table of Shewbread, there were TWELVE loaves of unleavened bread - the number 12 represents God's Governmental perfection. The number 12 signified the 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles of Yahshua who were to feed God's people with the bread of life - which is also a symbol of the Bible (Matthew 4:4). It is the number or factor of all numbers connected with government: whether by Tribes or Apostles, or in measurements of time, or in things which have to do with government in the heavens and the earth.
We may personally partake of the spiritual showbread by daily "eating" from the Word of God. Yahshua is the Word of God, made Flesh. But He is also the Living Bread. The Bread is the Word. And it only when we daily eat of the Word of God that we may be nourished - spiritually.
The altar of incense was located directly across from the door standing against the ornate veil that separated the holy place from the most holy place. Like several other items in the sanctuary, it was also made of acacia wood and covered with gold (Exodus 30:1-3). It was much small than the altar in the courtyard and contained a brass pot that held hot coals from the brazen altar of burnt offerings. It was here that the priest burned a very special blend of incense which filled the sanctuary with a sweet-smelling cloud, representing the prayers of intercession and confession of the believers sweetened by the Holy Spirit (Exodus 30:8).
The Holy Place represents the process of sanctification. This corresponds to the wilderness wanderings of Israel. The pillar of fire was their menorah, and the manna was their shewbread. The pillar of cloud was their cloud of incense.
Sanctification is the process in the Christian's life of learning to obey. It is made up of a series of justifications. Each time we sin we ask for forgiveness, and we are justified again. However, God offers more than forgiveness when we confess. In 1 John 1:9, He promises us that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
We may personally experience the incense through prayer. Prayer is breathing - spiritually.
It is that "cleansing from unrighteousness" that constitutes sanctification. The key ingredients in our sanctification are a devotional life in the Word, prayer, and witnessing. The sanctuary's bread, incense, and lamp represent these elements.