"Moore" weekly highlights

By now, I’m sure you’re all getting accustomed to my weekly review and ramblings regarding my recent Beth Moore Bible study. If I fit a few more ‘R’s into that sentence I could have made it a tongue twister. However, that’s not the reason for my post. I have to say that last night’s study left me feeling a little flat. Now, that may have something to do with the fact that I was fighting a migraine (and losing) all day, or it might have something to do with her interpretations of the lampstand that was found in the holy place in the tabernacle.

One of the questions that’s been plaguing me over the past couple of weeks is one that I wish I could email and ask her, because it’s one that’s really preventing me from getting on board, 100% committed, with this study. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m enjoying the study very much, but at this point, she and I seem to be some conflicting viewpoints on the tabernacle. The question that I would ask her is this:

“Does she believe that in Heaven God intends to re-establish the Jewish sacrificial system using an actual tabernacle?”

The reason I would pose what may seem like such an idiotic question has to do with some of the things she’s been saying repeatedly in her study and in the weekly DVD sessions that we’re watching. She continues to maintain that the tabernacle that was shown to Moses on the mountain was a literal picture of a heavenly reality – not a symbolic or figurative one. She believes this because the Lord says to Moses several times over the course of the construction phase of the tabernacle, “make sure you build it exactly according to the pattern I showed you on the mountain.” And she believes that the symbolism of the tabernacle that John wrote about in Revelation is not symbolism at all, but a literal picture of the tabernacle and what is to come.

Here’s where I have a problem with this line of thinking, and there are a couple of points I’d like to make.

First, and I think this is the most important point, if God intended for the old covenant that he made with Moses to be re-established in Heaven (the covenant that requires the sacrificing of animals), then why would he bother to do away with that covenant and establish a better covenant with us for the forgiveness of sins through the shed blood of his son Jesus Christ? I don’t believe he would have done such a thing to his only son if he was planning on reverting to a system that was never intended to forgive sins. Hebrews 10:8-18 tell us that God does not want or require the blood of bulls and goats as atonement for sin since Jesus willingly offered himself as the once for all time sacrifice for forgiveness of sins.

“Christ said, “You do not want animal sacrifices or grain offerings or animals burned on the altar or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (although they were required by the law of Moses). Then he added, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to establish the second. And what God wants is for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands before the altar day after day, offering sacrifices that can never take away sins. But our High Priest {Jesus} offered himself to God as one sacrifice for the sins, good for all time. Then he sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled as a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he perfected forever all those whom he is making holy {believers in Christ}. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. First he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts so they will understand them, and I will write them on their minds so they will obey them.” Then he adds, ” I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” Now when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. (Emphasis added to draw my point)

Second, I am frustrated by Beth’s willingness to take parts of the Bible as figurative and literal as it fits into her theology. In this study I’m seeing her maintain a stance that the tabernacle on earth is a literal copy of the tabernacle that’s in heaven, she’s also maintaining that the Garden of Eden is a literal copy of a garden in Heaven. She is also literally applying and tying in visions that some of the prophets had (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zachariah) with some of the articles found in the tabernacle. However, she states that the 2 witnesses mentioned in Revelation are just figurative because, in her opinion, we as believers who make up the church body are the 2 witnesses.

Third, if we continue to look in Hebrews, I think Jesus himself in his death on the cross clearly demonstrates that the old Jewish sacrificial system (including the tabernacle and the Temple) has been replaced forever – never to be seen again, either on Earth or in Heaven. That the Jews are no longer God’s only chosen people, that Gentiles have been grafted into that tree of life. Follow me here, I think you’re going to see where I’m going with this.

“The old system in the law of Moses was only a shadow of the things to come, not the reality of the good things Christ has done for use. The sacrifices under the old system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.” Hebrews 10:1-2

“So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered the great, perfect sanctuary in heaven, not made by human hands and not part of this created world. Once for all time he took blood into that Most Holy Place, but not the blood of goats and calves. He took his own blood, and with it he secured our salvation forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ritual defilement {not from SIN}. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death {SIN}, so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, so that all who are invited can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.” Hebrews 9:11-15 (Emphasis added by me)

“That is why the earthly tent and everything in it – which were copies of things in heaven (***see comments below) – had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. For Christ has entered into heaven itself to appear now before God as our Advocate. He did not go into the earthly place of worship, for that was merely a copy of the real Temple in heaven (***again, see comments below). Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the earthly high priest who enters the Most Holy Place year after year to offer the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, he would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But no! He came once for all time, at the end of the age, to remove the power of sin forever by sacrificial death for us.” Hebrews 9:12-26 (Emphasis added by me)

In these verses, the English phrase “copies of things in heaven” loses the essence of the Greek word that’s used. The Greek word means shadows, figurative images as seen in a vision or dream; it is not referring to actual physical objects. How do I know that, you may ask? Let me answer that with another question – is there sin in heaven? No. So why would there be an actual tabernacle where sacrifices and atonement for SIN are made?

If we look at the figurative translation of this phrase, we can see that the tabernacle was a tangible version of a heavenly reality – a reality that the Jews were and are looking forward to in the embodiment of the Messiah, and we as Christians can look forward to through salvation in Jesus Christ.

1. The Tabernacle is a picture of God’s plan of salvation.

2. The Altar of Sacrifice represents Jesus Christ – the spotless, sinless lamb of God.

3. The Laver (basin) represents the cleansing of sin through believer’s baptism.

4. The Lampstand represents scripture or the church – casting light (truth) into a dark world and leading the way to salvation.

5. The Bread of the Presence represents the ever present Holy Spirit and/or the Lord’s Supper, which is our way of remembering Christ’s death and resurrection.

6. The Altar of Incense represents the prayers of the saints – the same saints who are now in heaven with Christ.

7. The Veil represents SIN – the same sin that separates us from God. The same veil that was torn in two from top to bottom when Christ died on the cross. The power and separation of sin is broken by Christ’s death – there is no need for a veil any longer…we can boldly approach the Mercy Seat.

8. The Mercy Seat represents the Throne of God. Before Christ, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies to offer a blood sacrifice for sin. Now, Christ is our Advocate (see Heb. 9:24 above) – he’s our High Priest who offered HIS blood at the Throne of God as a one time atonement for sin.

I don’t know about you, but I believe that placing too much emphasis on the tabernacle and the significance of it in our lives is an antiquated belief that completely discounts the sacrifice that Christ made for us. I think we need to focus on the symbolism, yes, and then rejoice in the fulfillment of it through Christ’s life, ministry, death and resurrection on the cross.

Thanks for sticking with me this far. I know this was a long post today, but I felt I needed to purge. I hope some of you will leave your thoughts in the comments section and let me know how you interpret it all.



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