STUDY TEXT FOR THIS WEEK'S LESSON: Exodus 25:23-40; 30:1-10; Lev. 24:1-9; John 1:4-9; 6:44-51; 8:12; rev. 5:6-10; 8:3-4
CENTRAL TRUTH: The objects of the Holy Place provide a picture of Christ's ministry.
KEY VERSE: John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (KJV).
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me. you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life" (NLT).
The Holy Place
LET'S GET STARTED
The Holy Place contained three pieces of furniture: the lampstand, the table of showbread) bread of the presence), and the altar of incense. All three pieces were designed by God himself. They foreshadow teachings in the New Testament and symbolize important truths to believers today. This lesson is far more than a historical look at this part of the tabernacle; it is also a practical look at how our lives become the tabernacle of God today. This week's takes us deeper into the tabernacle as we consider the Holy Place. Only the priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place; there they performed many of their duties. While they entered the Holy of Holies (Most Holy Place) only once a year, they entered the Holy Place every day. However, we have the blessing of seeing God's hand at work as He fulfilled His promise of redemption.
Part 1- Light of the World.
Light for the Holy Place- Exodus 25:31-40; Lev. 24:1-4
The Holy Place measured 13 feet by 30 feet and stood in the western half of the courtyard. Behind the Holy Place was the Most Holy Place, which was 15 feet square and was separated from the Holy Place by a special linen curtain with intricate embroidery. Our next lesson will discuss the Most Holy Place more thoroughly. Only three pieces of furniture were in the Holy Place. On the south side was the lampstand. The lampstand had seven branches (Exodus 25:31-32), and each branch had a lamp cup "shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals" (verse 33). This bowl was the reservoir for the oil. The fuel for the lampstand was "pure oil of pressed olives (Leviticus 24). God commissioned the people to supply this high-quality olive oil, and the priests were to enter the Holy Place to tend the wicks and add oil to keep the light burning. While the lampstand served the practical purpose of providing illumination for the priest as he did duties, light is seen throughout the Scripture as a metaphor for the guidance and direction God gives His people. The ultimate light for God's people is seen in Jesus, the Light of the World (John 8:12).
REACT? What was the purpose of the lampstand, both physically and spiritually?
Light for Humanity. John 1:4-9; 8:12
Just as the lampstand provided light in the Holy Place so the priests could see to minister, Jesus provides light for us in a dark world. His light brings life to fallen humanity (John 1:4). Humanity is bound in darkness of sin and spiritual death, but when we accept Christ as savior, that darkness is replaced by the light of the gospel (Colossians 1:12-13; 2 Cor. 4:3-4). The world cannot overcome His light (John 1:5). God wants all people to come to Christ, He sent John the Baptist to bear witness to the light (verses 6-8). John did not call attention to himself, but pointed people to Christ, that they might be saved. Like John, we can point others to Christ, "the true Light." In John 8:12, Jesus was in Jerusalem at the end of the Feast of tabernacles. Light was one of the themes of the world." Since He is the Light, those who follow Him "shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." this world needs to hear the good news that Jesus can break the power of sin.
REACT? What does light represent in Scripture?
PART 2 --Bread of Life
Table of the Bread of the Presence- Exodus 25:23-30; Lev. 24:5-9
On the north side of the Holy Place was a table of acacia wood overlaid with gold. A gold molding surrounding the rim of the tabletop, and gold rings ere attached to the table for the two poles used to carry the table when the Israelites journeyed. Gold utensils rounded out the table's implements (Exodus 25:25-29). This table held the "showbread," or "the Bread of the Presence"--twelve flat loaves of bread, one for each tribe of Israel. Each Sabbath, twelve fresh loaves were placed in two rows on the table (Lev. 24:5-6). Incense was also placed on this table along with the bread (verses 7-8). The bread symbolized God's presence and provision. God also provided manna each day. His provision for the needs of the people is represented in the showbread. On the Sabbath, when the priests replaced the old bread with fresh loaves, Aaron and his sons took and ate the old bread. It was a weekly reminder of the covenant of God with the people of Isarael. The bread served as a memorial to the Lord, and food for the priests. while the bread was literal provision of food for the priest, it spoke of the spiritual provision God would offer all His children.
REACT? What did bread symbolize to the people of Israel?
Christ, Our Bread of Life-- John 6:44-51
Jesus' listeners would have been familiar with God's provision of manna (bread) in the wilderness for their ancestors and with the bread that was on the table in the Holy Place. But now, God gave them "bread from heaven" (John 6:50). Unlike the manna, the sustenance Jesus offered lasts beyond the present physical need and reaches into eternity. Unlike the Bread of the Presence, which was eaten only by the priests, the Bread of Life is free to all who accept Him. The people were interested in physical bread. But Jesus explained that He is "the Bread of Life." Jesus is both the Source and the sustainer of life (Acts 17:28). Only Jesus can satisfy our spiritual hunger. The result of partaking of the Bread of Life is everlasting life (verse 47-51). those who eat physical food wil die (physically), just as the Israelites ate the physical manna and died in the desert. But those who partake of the eternal bread of life will have eternal life (verse 51).
REACT? Why is Jesus called the Bread of Life?
PART 3-- The Players of God's People
The Altar of Incense-- Exodus 30:1-10
The altar of incense stood in front of the veil, the entrance to the Most Holy Place. It was 11/2 feet square and 3 feet tall (verses 3-5). it had horns, a gold rim around its top, and rings through which poles were inserted to carry it. Twice daily, the high priest burned "sweet incense" on it (verse 7). This was to be done "from generation to generation." God wanted older generations to teach younger generations to obey His commands. even today, if we do not teach God's Word to future generations, the Church will become extinct. God prohibited burning any incense on this altar other than what He declared "holy" and forbade its personal use (verses 34--38). God also prohibited other offerings on the altar of incense with the only expectation on the Day of atonement, when Aaron sprinkled the horns cleansing the altar with blood from the sin offering (verse 10).
REACT? What does God expect us to pass onto the next generation? How do we do that?
The Fragrance of Prayer -- Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4
In John's vision, he saw the four beasts and the twenty-four elders with "gold bowls. filled with incense, which are the prayers of God's people" (Revelation 5:8). God treasures our prayers as a sweet fragrance. John saw another angel with a gold incense burner. The "great amount of incense" (Revelation 8:3) indicates the amount of "prayers of God's people" that were rising to God as incense from a gold altar. The people of Israel often complained about their circumstances. Sometimes our prayers also seem like complaints, but as we surrender to God, our prayers will rise as a sweet fragrance to him. He wants us to enter the Holy Place of His presence through prayer.
React? What does the incense represent?
WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
God wants us to be like the Holy Place. Jesus is the Light for our world and the Bread for our spiritual sustenance and growth. Our prayers are sweet incense rising to God. Our world desperately needs this message.
LIVING IT OUT
- Be sure to feed your soul by feasting on the Bread of Life.
- Find a way to shine the light of Jesus to an unbeliever this week.
- Let your prayers be a sweet aroma to God.
- DAILY BIBLE READINGS:
- MONDAY: Faithful Service. 2 chronicles 13:10-12
- TUESDAY: "By My Spirit." Zechariah 4:1-9
- Wednesday: Pure offerings. Malachi 1:6-11
- Thursday: The word Dwelled Among Us. John 1:11-14
- Friday: Bread of Unity. 1 Corinthians 10:14-17
- Saturday: The Light of Christ. revelation 1:12-20
See You In Sunday School Next Week!!!!