Summary: The final message in the Exodus series focuses on Christ as the substance of all things that were a part of the Law. The Tabernacle, Furniture, and Priesthood were all shadows of what was to come in Christ.
Shadow to Substance
CHCC: May 3, 2009
This is the last sermon in a series we’ve been doing on the book of EXODUS. For the last 2 Sundays, Ronnie talked about the TABERNACLE and its FURNITURE. He mentioned the extremely DETAILED instructions that God gave for how the Tabernacle was to be built.
There are chapters and chapters full of these instructions. For example, Exodus 26:30-31: 30And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount. 31And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made…
I got to wondering if we followed Biblical Instructions to the letter when we built this Worship Center 6 years ago. I had to go to an obscure section of the Bible to find out. Turn with me to II Hezekiah chapter 20:
* Thou shalt build thy Worship Center in a rectangular shape with raised ceiling, oak accents, and green industrial grade carpet.
* Thy chair shalt be cushioned for comfort, yet thou shalt forswear sleep when thou sittest there-upon.
Well, so far, so good. Let’s skip down a few verses…
* Thy screen shall be in the front and thy sound booth in the back
* Though thou hast not exterior windows, thou shalt hang stained glass somewhere in thy building.
* Thou shalt remodel thy brides’ room, fashioning a small coffee shop where thou shalt serve a fine Mexican blend …
The question is, why DON’T we find those kinds of detailed instructions in the New Testament? God gave so much detail to the nation of Israel that it took Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy to hold it all. The design of the Tabernacle became more or less the design of the Temple and stayed the same for a thousand years. If the Temple is ever rebuilt, they will use that same detailed design again.
So why is there not one single verse in the New Testament that tells how to build a Worship Center, or even what kind of music to use, or what the order of worship needs to be? The answer to that question is found in the word NEW.
When you use the word “new” in Greek, you can use one of two words: NEOS – New in the sense of production – “I have a new car” If it’s the way we buy cars, it’s a used car – but it’s new to us.
When you see the word NEW Testament – the word is KAINOS. This is NEW in the sense that it was not previously in existence before … like a new invention … or a new baby!
The OLD Testament (or Covenant) is as different from the NEW Covenant as a SHADOW is from the REAL THING. When we talk about shadows, I’m reminded of one of my favorite childhood heroes --- the boy who refused to grow up --- good old Peter Pan. How many of you know the Peter Pan story? Do you remember the part where he lost his shadow? He asked Wendy to sew it back on for him. He thought he just HAD to have that shadow in order to function.
Unfortunately, some of us hang on to the LEGALISM of the Old Covenant that same way. We feel like we just HAVE to have a long LIST of detailed RULES and REGULATIONS or we can’t function. But (praise God) Jesus didn’t leave a long LIST of rules for His Church. (I’m not a detail person, if you didn’t already know. I leave the list making to my wife Susan, or Ronnie, my co-pastor, or Lois, my secretary.
The Old Covenant was made with a NATION, but the NEW Covenant is made with INDIVIDUALS.
1. National to Individual
In Exodus, God set up a relationship with His Nation. He divided them by tribes (with Levites and the tribes of Judah, Reuben, Gad, Simeon, etc.) --- and He gave them laws and ceremonies and instructions for their Worship Center.
A few years ago I visited a replica of the Jewish tabernacle out behind a Baptist church in Schertz. Everything had been built to the proper scale according to the Biblical instructions. I was amazed to discover how large everything was and how much room there was in the courtyard of the tabernacle. How large the brazen altar of sacrifice was, and how large the laver was. The Altar was big enough for a true Texas sized Bar-B-Q, and the Laver was big enough to climb into. I was intrigued to see what the inside of the holy place looked like and what the furniture looked like, with the table of showbread, the golden candlestand, and the altar of incense.