Gifted to the tabernacle in Heaven, we look to the earthly tabernacle as a roadmap to understand our role and value. Did you know that we are gifted in Heaven? If not, no worries, I did not think so either. But I do now, and that’s the purpose of this post. God created us in His image to gift us back to Himself. In this post we discuss the following:
- Heaven’s First Gift
- The Gift of the Ears of Our Heart
- The Work of the Tabernacle
- The Furnishings of the Tabernacle
- The Ark of the Testimony (or Covenant)
- The Shewbread
- The Lampstand
- The Gift of The Fragrant Incense
- Gifted to Paths of Righteousness
Heaven’s First Gift
Christmas is a season of generosity and gift-giving celebrated in many nations and cultures. The very first Christmas gift came from Heaven. When Jesus manifested as the Arm of the Lord on earth, many did not recognize Him. He did not look like the conquering King that they expected. Instead, Jesus came humbly as a sheep. He was sacrificed for us so we could become gifts to the Father. And He gave us His precious Holy Spirit. This Gift-giver has to be the most generous gift that never stops giving. As often as we unwrap provisions of His love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy, there is always more.
Jesus is not only the sheep but also our Good Shepherd. We have a unique destination where He joyfully and proudly presents each of us as a gift of the highest value. Where is this place, and how do we get there? Read on.
The Gift of the Ears of Our Heart
The race we run has many signposts and sometimes we will need to shift gears or change direction. However, we cannot find the footpath to Eternal Life without a Guide who knows the Way. Like sheep, we must follow His directions.
It is not necessary to receive a “thus saith the Lord” word from a prophet to hear from the Lord and be led by Him. The Holy Spirit speaks in diverse ways. We hear His Voice in Scripture, sermons, circumstances, through dreams and visions, and even by stars and angels as at the very first Christmas. God understands us and what we know or do not know.
Although visions (like floating TVs or holograms) are hard to miss, we have to be careful to not dismiss them as overactive imaginations. We can learn God’s parabolic language (# ad) to understand our dreams. However, there is a more subtle way that we all hear from God, often without realizing it.
Information or an instruction comes as a sudden incongruent thought. What we hear, often a single word or a very short sentence, aligns to the written Word of God and is usually the answer to a question.
The Work of the Tabernacle
As I awakened one morning, I “heard” a thought from my heart: The Work of the Tabernacle. It did not come from my mind because I was not thinking about it. Now I am grateful I did not discard it. Last month I wrote about Jesus the living Tabernacle who invites us to dwell in His House (the Holy of Holies) within our heart. But there is so much more.
As I pondered The Work of the Tabernacle, I recalled that work is not so much about busyness, as it is about believing:
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6: 27-29)
Jesus also said, I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9)
So, what do sheep do? His sheep enter by the Door, hear Him, respond to His Voice, follow Him, and trust Him. We also discern and steer clear of strangers. Further, we cling to Truth, stay under His protection, and welcome new arrivals to the sheepfold (John 10:1-16). This Door leads to the Holy Place (Exodus 26:36).
The Furnishings of the Tabernacle
The earthly Tabernacle was a shadow of the original in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5). God gave Moses specific instructions regarding the design of the furnishings, starting from the innermost room (Exodus 25). Not by random chance, the order of placing the furnishings is the same order in Exodus 40. The Holy of Holies was first, followed by the Holy Place.
The Ark of the Testimony (or Covenant)
The first piece installed (in the Holy of Holies) was the Ark of the Testimony. This furnishing was covered by the Mercy Seat of pure gold representing the Throne of the Father surrounded by cherubim. Inside the Ark are Our Daily Bread sent from Heaven (manna), the Eternal Priesthood which never fails to atone for us (Aaron’s budded staff), and the Law fulfilled for us (The Ten Commandments). These items are hidden (in the glory of His love) to be revealed in Jesus Christ at the appointed time.
If you can accept this, the Ark is a dimensional portal – it connects two different dimensions: earth and Heaven.
The Altar of Incense, though closest to the Ark, was not the next piece to be installed. Instead, it was the last of the three furnishings in the Holy Place.
After the Ark, the Table of Shewbread was placed. This table continually displayed before God, two rows or stacks of 6 loaves representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Also called the Bread of Presence, the priests consumed it as a shadow of a time to come. The Communion of Jesus the Bread of Life (sent from Heaven) and His Body. Essentially, the Bread of Presence is the Word of God.
For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread (I Corinthians 10:17).
This Bread is special. When eaten, it causes the sheep (those who belong to Him) to believe in Jesus. We hear His Voice and follow the Good Shepherd who became a sheep (Lamb) for us (John 10: 11-16, 27-28).
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled (John 6:26).
Jesus had just multiplied the loaves and fed His followers Bread from Heaven.
Why two stacks of 6 loaves? Perhaps because the number 6 represents man. In Christ, Jew and Gentile (the other sheep) are brought together to form one bread, One New Man (Ephesians 2:15).
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16).
Directly across from the Table of Shewbread is the golden Lampstand. With seven lamps continuously lit, it represents Jesus the Light of the world and the Seven Spirits of God which rest on Him. They are the seven Eyes of the Lord which search the Earth and they manifest as seven colors of light seen in the rainbow. These colors and combinations of colors are seen in spiritual dreams. Heaven’s Dream Messages by fellow blogger Jenny, offers several postings on the meanings of colors.
What does the Lampstand hide? Revelation and discernment (prophetic messages, Scripture, dreams, encounters). When Sheep bypass the Shewbread on the way to the Lampstand, the “revelation” can get flaky. It may find fault with other sheep and create disunity as it lacks the discernment of the Body of Christ.
The Gift of The Fragrant Incense
The last installation in this chamber is the Altar of Incense. This is the place of intercession that bridges Heaven and earth. Here, prayers of the saints are offered in the pattern of our own great Intercessor (Jesus Christ). Our prayers release a pleasing fragrance to the Lord, the Fragrance of Christ which leads to Life.
True intercession begins and ends with God’s perspective. So, if we bypass the Lampstand on the way to the Altar of Incense, we run the risk of praying from our own soul. (The soul includes our will and understanding instead of the revelation of “Thy will be done”).
Gifted to Paths of Righteousness
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me (John 6:37).
To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out (John 10:3).
Jesus said, I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9).
The order of installation of the furniture creates a pathway that leads us back to the Holy of Holies. Our Father in Heaven draws everyone to Jesus. Everyone who responds to Jesus is called out by name. We do not choose Him. He chooses us. Our role is to enter through the Door of salvation and follow His lead on Paths of Righteousness. Then He gifts us back to the Father, in Himself. The location is at the Mercy Seat- the designated meeting place of God with man, where Jesus the Lamb of God, our High Priest, sprinkled His own Blood to atone for us.
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (I John 5:11).
The Levitical priests were gifted to God and served in the earthly tabernacle. (Numbers 18:20). In the same way, we are gifted to God for service in His tabernacle (in Christ).
The Work of the Tabernacle means so much more now than I ever imagined. If you can see this also, let us trust and believe in Him, and recognize the immensity of His Love. Yes, we are blameless before the Father in Eternal Life as His Christmas present. Moreover, our hiding place is the Ark, under the Shadow and the Protection of the Almighty (Psalm 91).
Thank you so much for reading. Have a blessed Christmas!