This week, we learned about the tabernacle. The tabernacle was the place where God dwelled, the place where He would meet with His people. God gave very specific instructions on how the tabernacle was to be built and how to make the furnishings for the tabernacle: the ark of the covenant, the lampstand, the table for the bread of the presence, the curtains, the altar of incense, the tent coverings and frameworking, the bronze basin, and the altar of burnt offering.
The tabernacle was built like a giant tent and whenever there was a cloud that hovered over the tabernacle, it meant that God’s presence was there and His glory filled the tabernacle–this was God’s sign for the Israelites to stay camped in their current situated area. When the cloud would lift from the tabernacle, it would be the sign for the Israelites to pack up, move, and take the tabernacle with them. God continued to dwell in the company of His people through a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night…always making His presence known to His people.
Even though the Israelites now had God’s tabernacle in their midst, only priests were allowed to enter the first section of the tent (the Holy Place). People would bring their offerings to the priest and the priest would offer the sacrifices for them and perform certain rituals inside the Holy Place. The innermost section of the tent was separated by another very thick and heavy curtain and was called the Most Holy Place. Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place and this would only happen once a year on the Day of Atonement, a day of cleansing, of repenting for all the sins of Israel.
There were lots of different rituals that would be carried out through the tabernacle, showing how we have a Holy God who wants to be close to us, but there is a degree of separation that exists between God and His people because of our sin. Sin cannot dwell in the presence of a holy God and only through very strict rituals of cleansing and purification could the priest even enter the tent. However, the Good News that we could take away from this lesson is that because of Jesus Christ, who became our better high priest, He was able to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, atoning for us once and for all. There is now no more need for animal sacrifices on the altar of burnt offerings because Jesus is the perfect spotless lamb who paid it all; there is no more need for the priests to routinely wash themselves in the bronze basin before the tent of meeting because all who have sinned and confess they believe have been cleansed by the blood of the lamb, making all welcome into the place where His glory dwells. In fact, Jesus became the living tabernacle for us when He entered earth as fully man and fully God, and when He died, rose from the grave, and ascended into heaven, He gave us His Spirit so that we no longer need to have a physical tabernacle to meet with God. Instead, we get to BE the tabernacle where God dwells within us. How amazing is that??
As a follow up to the lesson, FaithKids were invited to take turns going inside the tent because all who believe now have access to meet with God. Inside the tent, they were encouraged to write a special letter to God detailing some of their favourite activities that they get to enjoy with Jesus, who became the bridge to bring people back to God.
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