Purpose of this Session
To explore the Tabernacle (Temple) Prayer model.
To continue our exploration of prayer tracks we will now look at Tabernacle (Temple) Prayer. The Old Testament contains many types and shadows of things to come, the reality and substance being revealed in Christ and the New Covenant.
“For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.” (Rom 15:4 AMP)
“Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ.”
(Col 2:17 AMP)
One of the most extensive and detailed types presented in the Old Testament is the Tabernacle of Moses (and the Temple of Solomon which is based on the same plan of approach to God). The Scriptures teach that this earthly tabernacle was a shadow of the heavenly tabernacle which exists in heaven itself:
“If then He were still living on earth, He would not be a priest at all, for there are [already priests] who offer the gifts in accordance with the Law. [But these offer] service [merely] as a pattern and as a foreshadowing of [what has its true existence and reality in] the heavenly sanctuary. For when Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, he was warned by God, saying, See to it that you make it all [exactly] according to the copy (the model) which was shown to you on the mountain.” (Heb 8:4-5 AMP)
The Tabernacle and Temple present a natural picture for us, defining right approach to the presence of God, and illustrate for us a proper pattern of worship. In no way do we want to go back to an Old Testament approach to the presence of God. Rather we want to embrace the substance and reality that these things pointed to, and enjoy full New Testament fellowship with the Father and the Son. Tabernacle Prayer provides an avenue for such fellowship, by a new and living way through Christ! (Hebrews 10:19-22)
We will look at each element of Tabernacle Prayer in this session.
“Blessed is the man You choose,
And cause to approach You,
That he may dwell in Your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Of Your holy temple.”
(Psa 65:4 NKJV)
Praise God. We have been chosen (John 15:16) and we are beckoned to boldly approach the throne of God.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22 NKJV)
In Tabernacle Prayer we approach the presence of God, drawing close to Him, allowing Him full entrance to every part of our being. Because this is a God ordained pathway, our hearts should be open and expectant for God to speak to us, and to open our spiritual eyes, lifting us from an earthly perspective and bringing us powerfully into heavenly places together with Him.
Such experiences are not uncommon among those who choose to practise this manner of prayer.
The Tabernacle was made up of three main parts: The Outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.
Each brought the worshipper closer to the manifest presence of God, who resided in the Holy of Holies.
Today we have been called to come into the Holy of Holies. We are not called to remain on the outskirts of Christian experience, nor to remain veiled from the very presence of God; but to be men and women who know the fire of God’s holiness manifested in their lives, and the intense reality of fellowship on a deep level with our Father in Heaven.
When Christ died on the cross the veil was torn top to bottom (Mark 15:38), signifying the opening of the ‘new and living way’ into the Holy of Holies.
It is for this purpose, that real intimacy between man and God might be restored, that Jesus died. God’s intention is that each of His children enter in to such fellowship, and not be like the Israelites who preferred to stand at a distance and allow someone else to enter in on their behalf (Exodus 20:18-19). We want to be those who know the ways of God, not mere observers of His works (Psalm 103:7).
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1John 1:1-3 NKJV)
The entrance to the Tabernacle was a wide curtained doorway leading to the outer court. Jesus Himself said that He is the Doorway (John 10:9), and the Way to the Father (John 14:6). Today we enter through faith in Jesus Christ.
“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 NKJV)
The Scriptures also say:
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (Psa 100:4 NKJV)
· At the doorway give thanks and praise to Jesus, and to
the Father. Exalt Him for His sacrifice, His holiness, His
power and His Lordship.
· As you do so picture yourself by faith stepping into the
heavenly courts of the Lord, moving toward His
The Brazen Altar
The first article of furniture in the Tabernacle was a brass altar. Brass throughout the Bible represents judgement, and indeed this was a place of judgement.
Sinners would come to this altar with an innocent animal. The priest would then sacrifice the animal; the innocent for the guilty.
Christ Jesus has become our sacrifice.
For you and I in the new Covenant, He has replaced the brazen altar:
“…“Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb 10:9-10 NKJV)
Through the cross Christ conquered:
o Sickness and disease
o The devil
o Death and hell
o The world
· At the altar (the cross) we acknowledge that through the cross our sin is forgiven.
· We thank God that through the cross Christ conquered the world and the devil, and that they no longer hold our lives captive. We are free.
· We receive the redemptive benefit of healing through the stripes of Jesus.
· We receive the blessing of Abraham, the promise of the Spirit, and freedom from the curse; prosperity, health and wholeness.
· We thank God that the curse of poverty is broken, Christ becoming poor that we might be rich (both spiritually, socially, physically and financially).
· We are delivered from judgement, freed from the fear of death and hell, and forever free from the wrath of God. We are accepted in the beloved, free from condemnation!
· We receive and acknowledge a NEW IDENTITY in Christ. I am a new creature; I am holy; I am sanctified; I am redeemed; I am righteous; I am blessed.
The Blood of Jesus
At the altar innocent blood was shed. It is through the blood of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, that we now have peace with God.
“…and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Col 1:20 NKJV)
It is this blood that paid the price for our redemption, and established an eternal covenant into which we are invited.
“… shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28 NKJV)
At the altar:
We thank God for the blood of Jesus and all its benefits. We are purchased by the blood, sanctified (set apart as holy for God’s perfect purpose), delivered from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God’s Son, redeemed from sickness, poverty and damnation. We have peace with God through the blood. Thank God for the blood!
The Brazen Laver
The laver was made of polished brass (as was used for mirrors in those days). Priests would cleanse themselves here before proceeding.
Today we are sanctified legally through Christ’s blood, and then washed and cleansed through obedience to His Word (Ephesians 5:26).
This is a place where we examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word. We cleanse our conscience, and allow our hearts to be exposed to God’s Spirit. This is our opportunity to be free from any guilt or sense of unworthiness before we approach God’s Person in the Holy Place.
At the laver:
· We confess any known sin, and ask for God’s forgiveness
· Examine our hearts in light of the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and any Scriptural commandment He brings to mind.
· Reflect on the 10 commandments:
1. Do I worship any other gods? Do I put myself before Jesus? Where do I spend my time and money, and does this reflect my profession of faith and love for God? Have we dishonoured God in any way?
2. Do I bow to any idols? Have I placed anything or anyone above God (career, family, money, relationships…)? Ask for forgiveness for dishonouring God by worshipping any idols.
3. Do we use God’s name in an empty way? Do we honour God with our lips but remain far away in our heart and conduct?
4. Do we honour God by walking in the Sabbath rest of faith in His promises? Are there areas of unbelief in my life? Am I trying to accomplish in my own strength what only God can do? Am I resting in God’s faithfulness, or am I fearful?
5. Do I honour my parents? Do I honour those God has put over me – pastors, government leaders, teachers etc? Ask God to forgive any rebellious or independent attitudes.
6. Do I kill by hating? Ask forgiveness for any angry or bitter words that you have spoken, and forgive from the heart any who have sinned against you. Ask God to give you victory over attitudes that dishonour Him.
7. Do I commit adultery or entertain lustful thoughts? Ask for forgiveness and deliverance from any sexual impurity. Ask for forgiveness for any idolatry of sexual images or the human body. Commit your appetites to be conformed to God’s holy standards.
8. Am I stealing from God or anyone else? Have I been faithful to give as God directs (gifts and offerings)? I am honest in my workplace? Have I been a good steward over my own body, and the resources God has placed in my hand?
9. Am I witnessing falsely? Do I lie? Do I believe, speak or act according to anything that is not true? Do I harbour false philosophies and compromised ideals? Do I live what I claim to believe? Ask God to remove every false thing from your heart and mind, and place truth in your inward parts.
10. Am I coveting anything that God does not want me to have – my neighbours house, car, job, reputation, success, lifestyle? Express how grateful you are for all that the Lord has given you.
All of these areas can be sanctified completely through the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:25 NKJV)
The Holy Place
Stepping from the Outer Court we head into the Holy Place. Here, the only light is the light of the seven-branched candlestick, representing the seven-fold Spirit of God, and the age of grace in which we now live. We also find the Table of Showbread, representing the Bread of Life, the Word of God, and Christ Himself. The third piece of furniture is the altar of incense, a place of prayer, praise and worship to the Father.
The Golden Candlestick
First we come to the Golden Candlestick. This represents the light of God’s Word and the Spirit of God. It burned continually, and was constantly replenished with oil. Oil represents the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture, so it is here we recognise, praise, worship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The seven branches of the candlestick can be likened to the seven manifestations of the Spirit of God spoken of in Isaiah 11:2:
“The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”
(Is 11:2 NKJV)
It is here also that we ask the Holy Spirit to distribute His supernatural gifts in our lives (1 Cor 12:7-11) and, through relationship with Him, develop the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).
At the candlestick:
· Praise and worship the Holy Spirit for who He is.
· Welcome a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.
· Declare Him as Lord over your life, and receive the freedom He offers.
· Ask Him for wisdom to solve any problems or challenges you may face.
· Ask Him to give understanding of the Word, and the things of the spirit, and the deep things of God.
· Ask for His counsel, and for the Spirit of counsel to rest upon you to help others.
· Ask for the Spirit of might, to heal the sick, cast out demons and perform supernatural wonders in the Name of Jesus.
· Ask Him to increase your knowledge of the Scriptures, and of other things you need to comprehend.
· Ask that a Spirit of holiness and the fear of the Lord would rest upon you, keeping you from foolishness and sin.
· Call for His help, comfort and strength.
· Love, adore and worship Him.
· Have your spiritual eyes and ears open for His direction.
The Table of Showbread
The Table of Showbread represents the Word of God. Jesus Christ Himself is the Living Word. Praise and worship Him here, and wait upon Him for the SPOKEN Word to your own heart. There are two kinds of Word referred to in the Scriptures: the logos (written) and rhema (spoken). We need the rhema word to inspire faith in our hearts. Jesus said that man lives by the words that proceed from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
We seek God here at the table for the proceeding Word from the mouth of God.
It is here also that we pray for the Body of Christ, the church.
At the table:
· We praise Jesus for who He is, recognise and adore Him.
· Fellowship (sup) with Jesus as invited in Revelation 3:20.
· Wait on Him for the proceeding Word, ask Him to make the logos Word alive to you, so it becomes life to your Spirit.
· Pray for His Body, the church.
· Communion (bread and wine) can also be taken in faith at this point if wanted.
The Altar of Incense
A second altar is found in the Holy Place but for a different kind of sacrifice. The Priest would offer incense on this altar, representing the worship and prayers of the Saints (Heb 13:15-16; Revelation 8:2-6).
It is here that we offer ourselves, and all we are to God the Father. We make ourselves available to Him, and yield to His presence in adoration and prayer. Take the Father’s name and attributes and glorify Him through them. Reject all fear and doubt and embrace the Father’s perfect will for your life.
Sing and pray in the Spirit.
At The Altar of Incense:
· Give praise and honour to the Father.
· Yield yourselves in absolute trust to His perfect will.
· Lift your heart to Him in worship.
· Begin to draw the Spirit of prayer around your heart in preparation to bring your requests to Abba.
THE HOLY OF HOLIES
Stepping through the veil into the next section of the Tabernacle we come into the place where the presence of God was manifest; the place where His glory resided. This veil has now been removed and believers have been invited to boldly approach the throne of God.
The Ark of the Covenant and The Mercy Seat
We now come into the Holy of Holies, with the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat. It is here that the blood of the covenant is placed, remitting the sins of the people, and offering mercy to mankind.
Jesus’ blood has been shed, giving righteousness to all who receive Him.
Thank God that you are the righteousness of God in Christ through the blood, and that you can now stand in God’s very presence without fear.
The tablets of law were in the ark, under the blood stained mercy seat. Thank God that your righteousness is entirely by grace, and that the law is now fulfilled in Christ.
Thank God also that just as Aaron’s rod that budded (also held in the ark) symbolised that Aaron was a chosen vessel, you too are chosen by God to approach and represent Him:
“Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You,
That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple.” (Psa 65:4 NKJV)
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:16 NKJV)
From this place of absolute right standing and holiness before the Father, present your requests to Him reverently and boldly, knowing that He hears and will answer.
At The Ark:
· Recognise the awesome power of the blood of Jesus, and that you are now the righteousness of God in Christ. Praise and thank the Father for this.
· Give God praise that you are redeemed from sin and satan.
· Present your requests to the Father with absolute confidence, using the different kinds of prayer we have been studying.
· Having prayed and presented yourself and your requests to God leave His presence clean and filled, prepared to fulfil His will for the day.
· Rest. J