Article of the Month

August 2012

 

  THE JEWISH TABERNACLE   

 

Sometimes our Christian perspectives and understandings can be greatly enhanced when we realize that the writings of the Old Testament contain PICTURES as well as prophecies concerning New Testament teachings. These pictures (sometimes called types, or shadows, or allegories) were designed by God to aid our understanding of the details of His plans and purposes.

Many of us are not totally unfamiliar with some of these Old Testament “types.”  For instance, when John the Baptist saw Jesus and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,” John was pointing out to all of us that Jesus had been pictured in Old Testament times by the Jewish Passover Lamb which was responsible for the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt. (John 1:29; I Corinthians 5:7; Exodus 12:3, 6, 7, 13)  Thus, in antitype, Jesus will be the deliverer of the whole world from the slavery of sin and death.

The Apostle Paul refers to events in the life of Abraham as being allegorical.  That is to say, even though these events actually occurred in Abraham’s life, they have additional significance in picturing things to come. Thus, while it is true that Abraham had a wife named Sarah and a concubine named Hagar, it is more important instructively to know that Sarah was a picture of the covenant which God makes with Christians, and Hagar was a picture of the covenant which God made with the Jews.  Thus each wife and her respective son represented a whole age of God’s dealings amongst men.  (Galatians 4:21-31)

Perhaps the best statement of this whole concept of types, shadows, and allegories is made by Paul in Hebrews 10:1-4.  He says:

 

“For the Law, having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then, would they not have ceased to be offered? 

because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But, in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year, for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”

 

Paul builds nearly all of the book of Hebrew on the content of these verses.  He focuses primarily on the tabernacle sacrifices found in Leviticus 16 — an event which the Jews call Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement.  To this day this is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

There are  many more tabernacle types (found mostly in Leviticus), but this Atonement Day picture is primary because it illustrates the central doctrine of salvation in God’s plan — THE SIN OFFERING — the steps by which God will eradicate sin from the human family.

 

—  A Brief Synopsis  —

 

The annual sacrifices of Leviticus 16 were for the purpose of bringing the people of Israel back under their covenant relationship with God for the ensuing year.  These sacrifices did not really remove sin, they merely PICTURED the removal of sin to come.  The Law Covenant didn’t give life, it merely pictured a time when a New Covenant would give life to the world during the Millennial Age, the time of Christ’s Kingdom and the resurrection of the dead.  (Jeremiah 31:31-34) But, as Paul expressed it, “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.”  So, what is pictured by the bullock and goat of the atonement day?

While Paul (in Hebrews) carefully explains all the minute details of this picture, we can summarize his explanation quite briefly:

The bullock represented the sacrifice of Jesus.  The goat represented the sacrifice of Jesus’ disciples. The atonement day represented the entire Gospel Age (the period between the cross and the full establishment of Christ’s Kingdom).  While more detail is present in Leviticus 16, this is the kernel of the matter.  The picture, or type, is this:  Jesus’ sacrifice opened the way for his disciples to sacrifice with him.  This will take the entire Christian Age to accomplish.  Once these sacrifices are completed, the New Covenant will be in effect for the true and complete blessing of all the families of the earth.

Seen thusly, the bloody (almost seemingly barbaric) animal offerings of the Jewish Tabernacle become beautiful and sacred prophetic pantomimes of the greatest event in history:  the removal of sin from the race!

The study of Leviticus 16 and the many other types represented in the Jewish Tabernacle services is heart-warming and faith-building.  If you would like to pursue the matter in more detail, we offer to you, free of charge, a book entitled Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices.  You may contact us at this website for your copy.

 

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