I’ve been preaching through the book of Exodus and it’s getting a bit confusing!
One week Christ is the true tabernacle – the person in whom God dwells among his people. The next week is Christ the true High Priest who serves in the temple. Then Christ is the true sacrifice being offered by the High Priest. So which is it? Is he the tabernacle or the priest or the sacrifice?
The answer, of course, is all three and much more besides.
In Exodus alone we see Christ is the Passover Lamb, the manna from heaven, the water of life, the Rock that bears our punishment, the true mediator and prophet and the embodiment of God’s will. Picture after picture in the events, the people and the rites of the Old Testament are all concentrated into one person, Jesus.
So we shouldn’t think of the tabernacle, priest and sacrifice forming one single all-embracing image. Instead we should think of them as overlapping images. Layer upon layer of meaning is accumulating to give us the fullest possible picture of Christ. All of these pictures are required fully to express his person and work. It is in them and through them that we see the riches of God’s grace in Christ. And so they are just piled on top of each other. No one image expresses the fulness and richness of Christ and his work.
That’s why we talk about the Bible being ‘the treasury of Christ’. Out of it we produce jewel after jewel – beautiful pictures of Christ. Each one is to be held up to the light to be appreciated and enjoyed.