“But Christ, being come a High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building. . .”

Hebrews 9:11

The earthly, visible and tangible fade from view when the Eternal, Invisible and Triumphant come.

Candlesticks. The table of shewbread. Thick veil/curtain. A golden censer. Ark of the covenant.

Such were the items included in the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the three Temples. Prescribed by God (Ex. 25:8), they were quite elaborate, ornate and exquisite in design and workmanship (Ex. 25:10-27:8).

Even now, with our mind’s eye, we can try to visualize the candlestick, made out of pure gold with its “six branches (arms), bowls, knops, flowers, etc.” (Ex. 25:31-40). Likewise, we can only imagine how beautiful the 3 ½’ long, 1 ½’ wide, 1 ½’ high table of showbread—made from acacia wood and covered with pure gold and having a golden crown molding around the top—was as it sat in the Holy Place.

And, our “spiritual speculation” on the 15’x15’ veil in the Tabernacle. . .the golden censer (ladle or shovel-like device to carry the coals). . .and ark of the covenant. . .can only cause us to sit in quiet reflection at God’s attention to detail and desire for true worship.

But, again, they were only “shadows” (pictures) of things to come.

Every part of the earthly Tabernacle, with its 75’x150’ perimeter fence made out of woven, seamless, white linen, was a picture of the coming Christ. His Life, Death, Burial and Resurrection encompassed all of these things. And, His Ascension into Heaven into the “Holy of Holies not made with hands” (v.11) put an end to the need of such things here on earth.

While it’s good to have a nice place to worship, we must ever guard against filling it with religious artifacts or beautiful, manmade objects lest we end up “worshipping the creation more than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). This doesn’t mean that stained-glass windows. . .bells and carillon systems. . .pictures and paintings, etc., cannot be used. It simply means we must not become so focused upon them that we lose sight of the Holy and Eternal—or, another way to put it is, we spend more time gazing on a “shadow” (picture/image) than we do into the Face of Jesus, God’s Ultimate Reality.

There’s no doubt Solomon’s Temple was exquisite and wondrously beautiful. As one walked into it, no doubt he caught his breath in hushed awe as he saw the glimmering gold, the intricate carvings of the four-winged cherubim everywhere, the splendid detail and color of the woven veil, etc.

But, none of them, dear Pilgrim, could compare to “the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God that’s found in the Face of Jesus” (II Cor. 4:6). None at all! It’s only in our gazing (by faith) upon His loving Face and quietly musing upon His earthly and Heavenly Ministry that we grow silent and then quietly begin to sing, “How Great Thou Art.” Why not stop right now and “worship the Lord in the beauty of His Holiness” (Ps. 96:9)?

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated February 21, 2011

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