303 – Psalm 15 – Symbolic
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have lived closer to the time when the Bible was written. Being so far removed from the original writings, both in time and culture, makes it too easy for us to read past important concepts. From our Western and modern mindsets, we simply miss important details unless we dig for them.
Psalm 15:1 (NKJV)
1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
You’ll remember that YHWH instructed Moses to build the “tabernacle” in the wilderness.
Exodus 25:8-9 (NKJV)
8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.
The book of Exodus provides us with wonderful detail about how the Tabernacle was laid out. Once you walked through the gate you were in the “court of the Tabernacle”. The first piece of furniture you encountered was the altar where the sacrifice was killed, prepared, and burned. Next was the laver where the priests ceremonially washed before they could go into the “tented” portion.
If you were a Hebrew and had a sacrifice you could enter the outer court but only the priests could go into the tent (tabernacle) to minister. Inside were the table of shewbread, the golden candle stick, and the table of incense. There was a very thick veil walling off the area known as the most holy place (holy of holies) which only the high priest could enter once a year.
There is one very crucial piece of information we don’t learn about the Tabernacle until the New Testament reveals it. Let’s spend a few minutes in Hebrews chapter nine. I hope you’ll read the chapter.
In Hebrews 9:1-5 the author provides a concise summary of the “earthly sanctuary”. Next, in verses 6-10 we are told of the limitations of the Tabernacle and the services performed within.
Hebrews 9:8 (NKJV)
8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.
The very next words are found in verse 9, “It was symbolic”. The Old Testament Tabernacle was literally the center of the Hebrew wilderness wanderers led by Moses. It was erected in the middle of the camp with each of the twelve tribes organized around it to the north, south, east, and west.
Look next at the powerful verse Hebrews 9:11.
Hebrews 9:11 (NKJV)
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
The Old Testament tabernacle, and temple by extension, were simply symbolic structures with ceremonies pointing forward to the heavenly tabernacle where Jesus Christ ministers as the one and only true High Priest. Jesus is qualified to minister by the shedding of His own blood. He was the only acceptable sacrifice before a Holy God. Hebrews 9:12 makes it clear there was no need for Jesus’ sacrifice to be repeated yearly like the Old Testament day of atonement. “…He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption”!
When Jesus was crucified the temple veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place where the presence of God dwelled was torn into two huge pieces. The tear was made from top to bottom. God tore the veil, not man!
Now we all can dwell where God dwells – in the Holy of Holies! Now read Psalm chapter five again. Do you have a more full understanding of what King David was talking about?
Though Psalm fifteen is only five short verses long it is a powerful reminder of YHWH’s righteousness and how privileged the believer is to be able to dwell with Him through Christ Jesus.
YHWH is truly worthy of all praise, worship, and adoration!