Jesus, the Tabernacle and You (Lev 24)

Leviticus 24 opens with descriptions of two unique items found in the Tabernacle. Remember, the Tabernacle was the place where the people of Israel met with God before they entered into the Promised Land.

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, “I have not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy, but fulfill.” Jesus completes every command and every prophecy. He is the fulfillment of God’s word. The gospel writer John calls Jesus “the Word made flesh”.

The Tabernacle and its items help us see Jesus even more clearly.
  • The Tabernacle was where God dwelt among the people. John 1:14 tells us that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. The Greek describes the Tabernacle with the same verb—in direct correlation, Jesus is the “tent of meeting”—where ever Jesus is, God dwells. In similar fashion, believers in Jesus are God’s temple according to 1 Corinthians 3:16. God dwells with us through the Holy Spirit.
  •  The Tabernacle’s lamps where to always shine. By the command of Leviticus 24:1-4, the lamps in the Tabernacle where to burn without end. The light was to shine regularly as a symbol of God’s regular presence among the people. Jesus declares that he is the “light of the world” (John 8:12). This declaration comes during the Festival of Lights (Hanukah). Similarly, Jesus tells his followers that they will be the light of the world in Matthew 5:14. Jesus goes on to tell his followers to “shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
  •  The Tabernacle bread was always present on the table. Leviticus 24:5-7 describes the bread. This bread of the Presence was 1) made of fine flour, 2) baked in 12 loaves, 3) arranged in two piles of six loaves each on a table of pure gold, 4) covered with frankincense, and 5) served as a memorial food offering to the Lord. The bread could only be eaten by Aaron and his sons in a holy place and was set out every Sabbath day (Leviticus 24:8–9). In John 6:35, Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Jesus is the holy one who provides the soul with sustenance and is ever present. 1st Corinthians 10:17 says, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” In the world in which we live, Jesus’ followers represent God’s presence in the world today.
The temple of God. The light that shows God’s glory. The bread of God’s presence. Each of these descriptions from the Tabernacle are fulfilled in Jesus and passed onto and into his followers today. Our lives today, much like the Tabernacle in the ancient world, are to help connect people far from Jesus with his love, grace, mercy and truth.