The tabernacle was the center of worship to God by the people of Israel while wandering through the desert. It was a tent-like structure that stood within a court enclosed by linen curtains. The tabernacle consisted of three parts: the outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies.
The first part of the tabernacle was the outer court.
The outer court was a place of sacrifice and a place of cleansing. The priest ministered to the people, and prepared themselves to minister to the Lord in the outer court.
Self-examination is critical to our relationship with God. If we are allowing sin to stay in our lives God will not hear our cries.
When we come before God and confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us.
When we ask Him to give us clean hands and a pure heart He will.
When we come to Him with a broken heart He is near.
When we bring to Him the sacrifice of a broken spirit and contrite heart, He will accept it.
Psalm 24:3-4 NKJV
“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.”
Job 22:30 NKJV
“He will even deliver one who is not innocent;
Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”
Ephesians 1:7 NKJV
“In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”
Psalm 51:17 NKJV
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart –
These, O God, You will not despise.”
Psalm 34:18 NKJV
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
God desires that all people delivered from captivity (sin) would be priests unto Him.
Exodus 19:3-6 NKJV
“And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountains, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles‘ wings and brought you to Myself.
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
Because of disobedience and sin, not all of the people were allowed to become priests that ministered unto Him. God chose the tribe of Levi to minister unto Him. That is why it is so important for you to examine yourself on a continual basis and especially if you want to minister to the Lord.
Deuteronomy 10:8 NKJV
“At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him, and to bless in His name, to this day.”
The second part of the tabernacle was the holy place.
The Holy Place was the first part of the tabernacle that was hidden by a tent. In the holy place the priests ministered unto the Lord by burning a sweet smelling incense. The incense that was burned in the holy place represents praise, worship and prayer rising up to God as a sweet smelling incense.
Psalm 141:2 NKJV
“Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
As Zacharias was burning incense before God, and receiving the elements on the table of showbread, he was having an intimate relationship with God.
It was during this time that God performed a miracle in his life – God meet Zacharias’ need during his ministry unto God. God can and will do the same thing today. God wants to minister to us just like He did Zacharias in the Holy Place. God wants to meet our needs, but first, we must minister to Him.
Hebrews 13:15 NKJV
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
We were chosen by God to be a priest. We were chosen to be His own special people. As a priest we are to proclaim His praises. We are to offer up sacrifices of praise.
1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV
“Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”
Psalm 134:2 NKJV
“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
And bless the Lord.”
Psalm 103:2 NKJV
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits.”
1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV
“Give thanks to the Lord, the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”
The third part of the tabernacle was the holy of holies.
The Holy of Holies was the second part of the tabernacle that was hidden by a tent. It was there the very presence of God came to dwell. Once a year the high priest went into this part of the tabernacle on behalf of the people and God communicated with him.
Ezekiel 44:17-18 NKJV
“And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they put on linen garments, no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.”
When the priest went in to minister to God, it had to be the way that God had instructed them. The priest could not enter any way he liked. There was a certain way to enter then and now.
Today, God does not communicate with us only one time a year. He communicates with us all the time in our spirit.
At the moment of the death of Jesus, the veil between the holy place and the most holy place was torn into. From that moment on we all have access to the Father through the Son. Each believer became a priest at Calvary.
1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
As a priest we can go before God in prayer on behalf of our needs and the needs of others. When we join with others in prayer our prayers become even stronger.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 NKJV
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”