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How Is the Tabernacle Fulfilled in Jesus?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Fulfilled, Part 12

by Steve Ham on March 17, 2011
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Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., explains how elements of the tabernacle were fulfilled in and by Jesus Christ.

For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary. (Hebrews 9:2)

Today’s big question: how is the tabernacle fulfilled in Jesus?

Antique furniture stores are fun to walk through. You might come across a simple chair or table built many years ago—even hundreds of years. The dents and scratches on the piece remind you of the people who may have used it. Perhaps you can imagine the conversations at an old dinner table about the family’s daily life or exciting new inventions.

Often, an antique piece will come with a certain history, making it even more valuable. It may have been owned by a famous person, or perhaps it was used in a momentous event. It’s just furniture, but to the collector it is much, much more.

Hebrews 9 takes us on a journey as we consider the tabernacle furniture. This furniture had a past, but more importantly, is known for the One to whom it pointed, and what was going to happen to and through Him. In this chapter, we get a glimpse of all the furniture that was inside the two rooms of the tabernacle.

In the first room were the lampstand, the table, and the showbread. Each of these items had great significance, revealing a lot about what Christ fulfilled through His work on the Cross. Before the priest even entered the curtain, he would have offered sacrifice on the brazen altar and washed for cleansing, which pointed to the forgiveness and cleansing we have in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

  1. The altar of incense, on which the priests burned incense, allowed them to take the aroma of incense into the second room. This reminds us that Jesus is our great Intercessor. It is through His work on the Cross that He takes our needs before the Father as a pleasant aroma.  
  2. The table held the bread of the presence. This bread was prepared and consumed by the priests. There was one loaf for each tribe, reminding us that Jesus is the bread of life for His people.
  3. The golden lampstand continually burning was a reminder to us that Jesus both lights our path and shines on us to expose our sin. 

Everything we see in the tabernacle was a shadow and picture of the One to come. Jesus is the great fulfillment of these Old Testament symbols. Everything in the tabernacle is fulfilled in Him. On the Cross, Jesus completed the work as the great Mediator between God and man. Tabernacle furniture was a constant reminder of man’s sinfulness and need for a Savior. Today, the tabernacle furniture is a great reminder of what Jesus has fulfilled. 

Today’s big idea: the tabernacle is a great reminder that Jesus has fulfilled the role of mediator between God and man.

What to pray: thank God that His Word so consistently points to Jesus. 

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