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This is another installment in a series that has been adapted from my 11-part MP3 teaching series on A. W. Tozer’s spiritual classic, The Pursuit of God.

“The interior journey of the soul from the wilds of sin into the enjoyed presence of God is beautifully illustrated through the Old Testament tabernacle,” writes Tozer. Each sinner seeking to worship God gained entry by way of a single opening into a large outer courtyard surrounded by a wall. The first thing you encountered was a brass altar upon which burnt sacrifices were offered. It was a picture of redemption – the price of sin was a payment in blood. The next thing you encountered in the courtyard was the laver, used for washing. It was a picture of cleansing. Having been redeemed by a blood sacrifice, it was now necessary to wash away the sin and proceed as one who is now cleansed through the purifying water of confession.

To proceed into the holy place, one had to pass through a veil. Once inside the holy place, to the left would be the golden lamp stand, to the right would be the altar of shewbread, and toward the back stood the altar of incense. No natural light was permitted in the holy place. The only light came from the burning candles in the golden lamp stand. The flames form the golden lamp stand spoke of Christ, the Light of the World, as well as pointed to the Holy Spirit, who would some day manifest himself in tongues of fire. The shewbread illustrated Christ as the Bread of Life and pictured our communion meal with God. The altar of incense represented the fragrant prayers of the saints going up to God.

But the worshiper who had come this far and had enjoyed so much still had not entered the presence of God. A second veil separated the holy place from another space, the most holy place, the Holy of Holies, where there was but one piece of furniture – the Ark of the Covenant. It contained the Tablets of Law given by God to Moses, which speaks of the righteous requirements of God, as well as other items. Covering the top the Ark was a heavy slab of thick gold that could be removed. That slab of gold was called the mercy seat, upon which the figures of two Cherubim perched, guarding the holiness of God. It was the place of propitiation, or the place of “satisfaction.” Hovering above the mercy seat dwelt the very presence of God himself in awful and glorious manifestation. No matter where the tabernacle traveled, upon being set up, only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and that but once a year on the Day of Atonement, with the blood of an animal which he sprinkled on the mercy seat. In effect, the blood would put off the righteous requirements of the law for another year.

The interior journey of the soul from the wilds of sin into the enjoyed presence of God is beautifully illustrated through the Old Testament tabernacle.

Wishing you God's grace and peace,

Ken Boa
Reflections Ministries

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