Empty Ritual in the Temple Full of God’s Glory.

Study Series Note: This study is the eighth in a series that examines the Bible’s sacred places (tabernacle, temple, etc.). Previous studies focused on the tabernacle, as well as creation and the Garden of Eden as a Temple.

Previous posts discussed how the tabernacle and temple mediated the presence of the holy God to his covenant people. The temple and its service allowed Yahweh to dwell in the midst of his people and allowed the people to maintain an exclusive covenant relationship with the God of the universe. Solomon built the Jerusalem temple at the height of Israelite national power around 960 b.c.e. For the next few centuries, the temple and its service continued. As time passed, the prophets increasingly warned Judah’s kings, priests, and people that true faithfulness to the Lord was more than a matter of following temple rituals. Solomon's_Temple_JerusalemThe Lord dwelt in the temple, but the temple did not contain him like some genie’s lamp. Yet, some Israelites treated the temple as a charm. They reasoned that if the Lord dwelt in the temple, then he would thwart any enemies that threatened his house and the city that surrounded it. The covenant relationship between God and his people (a relationship cultivated by Moses and King David) had given way to pagan superstition and a magical mindset that sought to manipulate God for human purposes. The temple rituals remained, but the true covenant faithfulness for which the temple existed was largely abandoned. Continue reading

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Study 6, part 2: Christ Enters the Heavenly Tabernacle

Study Series Note: This study is one in a series of studies on the Bible’s sacred places (tabernacle, temple, etc.). Previous studies focused on the Creation and the Garden of Eden as a Temple.

The last study was devoted to the tabernacle, the portable tent temple, which the Lord established as a place to dwell with the people of Israel. (If you haven’t already, you can read the first part of study six here: https://throughandto.com/2017/02/15/study-6the-tabernacle-in-tents-holiness/#more-752) Understanding the concept of holiness was shown to be crucial for understanding the function of the tabernacle. The tabernacle (along with the later temple) and its priesthood mediated the holiness of God to his wayward people.

Although priests were intermediaries, they still had to go through many rituals to be able to move across the buffers to holiness. They still needed to offer sacrifices for their own sins, and certain actions rendered them unfit for the priesthood. The Book of Hebrews presents Jesus as the perfect high priest who is able to enter the true heavenly tabernacle. Continue reading