This Sunday we will be continuing our sermon series: God with Us: From the Temple to the Manger. We will continue where Pastor Bryan left off from last week in terms of how God began establishing a system to dwell among His people in the Old Testament. Pastor Bryan's sermon walked us through how God commanded Moses to construct the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:8-9) so that He could dwell in their midst. This system was incredibly complicated and specific down to the smallest detail. God had a very specific design for how He would dwell among them so that His presence wouldn’t harm or kill anyone.
One of the provisions God commanded was that there be two curtains, or veils, to separate the people from the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The first curtain was at the entrance of the Tabernacle and the second curtain separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place was where the ark of the covenant was placed and where the presence of God resided and appeared. Why does all this matter? Well, as time went on God commanded that a temple should be built for His presence to dwell within. The Tabernacle was always a mobile and temporary option while the temple was to be a more permanent fixture in the midst of God’s people. Long story short, the tabernacle became obsolete and the temple replaced it.
In the Old Testament, we learn about the first temple, also known as Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6), as well as the second temple, known as Zerubbabel’s temple (Ezra & Nehemiah). Fast forward to the time of Jesus and we see that Herod the Great had renovated Zerubbabel’s temple as well as constructed the entire temple mount area as well. This is the same temple Jesus was found lingering at when he was a young boy (Luke 2:46), where Jesus would later teach (John 7:14, 37), and also where Jesus flipped a few tables in response to the sacrilegious buying and selling of goods (Mark 11:17). So, with all this in mind, we can now properly be prepared for the sermon this coming Sunday.
We will be digging into the historical reality that the veil of the temple (Herod's Temple) was torn in two when Jesus breathed His last on the cross. While the mention of this reality is short (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45) it has massive implications for how we relate to God and how we view sin, atonement, and justification.
If access to the presence of God was limited to one High Priest once per year that certainly doesn’t sound like “God with us” does it? But if the veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, then access to the presence of God is now available for anyone and everyone who draws near with repentance and faith in Jesus (Romans 10:8-13). The veil being torn in two now also means that the temple is obsolete, animal sacrifices are obsolete, Levitical priests are obsolete, and the unlimited access to God the Father is now a tangible reality due to the sacrificial death and the spilled blood of Jesus on the cross. Hebrews 10 is one of the most poignant chapters of the implications of the veil being torn in two. I’d encourage you to read it today or this week. These are just a few of the massive implications of the veil being torn in two.
I hope you’ll be meditating on some of these passages this week as we prepare to hear from God’s Word on Sunday and I hope you'll worship with us on Sunday morning as well.
I’m praying for you all and look forward to sitting under the authority of God’s Word with you as well.
For the Kingdom,