There is a saying that “The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.” Paul said, “Theses are a shadow of things to come.” (Colossians 2:17) One of the clearest examples of this in found in the Tabernacle or the Temple built in Jerusalem.
First, there are concentric areas that you must go through to approach the Lord. Anyone, except those who are unclean, can enter the outer court. This includes Gentiles. The next area is the court of women. Any Jew can enter this area, but only Jewish men can enter the next area, the inner court. Only the priests can enter the actual Temple, and finally, only the High Priest can enter the Holy of Holies, where the Spirit of the Lord dwelt.
All of these areas represent the growth steps that a Christian experiences. Of course, because of the wonderful Grace of our Lord, approaching the Lord is not limited to Jews or men or priests. In fact, Peter tells us that Christians are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.” (First Peter 2:9)
In the Temple there are items that represent the Church today. Before a priest could enter the Temple, he had to bathe in a giant laver. He had to immerse himself, which is a picture of baptism. In the Holy Place of the Temple stands the golden lampstand, built according to a design given to Moses by the Lord. The lampstand represents the Word of God. David said, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”. (Psalm 199:105-106) There is also the altar of incense representing the prayers of those who love the Lord. (Psalm 141:2)
Inside the Holy Place is the table of shewbread on which were loaves of consecrated bread. This represents the communion table and the Lord’s Supper which we now celebrate. All that is missing is the grape juice or wine representing the Blood of Jesus. The Blood of Jesus was shed outside the Temple, outside of Jerusalem, but on the same holy mountain.
So we see that the Temple of God is a foreshadow of God’s Plan for us. It includes baptism, the Word, prayers to the Lord and the Lord’s Supper. The Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said, “I make known the end from the beginning . . .” (Isaiah 46:10). The Lord Jesus told his disciples that He would not partake of the Lord’s Supper “until it finds fulfillment in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16). I look forward to gathering around that table with the Lord. Maranatha!