Three times in the Old Testament, God puts pen to paper to design what would become His dwelling place in the earth. In each of these cases, God went into great detail describing the size and dimensions of these construction projects. They were the tabernacle of Moses, the temple of Solomon, and the temple of Ezekiel. The measurements had to precise, because they were reflecting something very specific.
Tabernacle of Moses Scriptures
Ex. 25:40 "See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain..."
Solomon's Temple Scriptures
1 Chr.28:11-12 Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, it's buildings, it's storerooms, it's upper parts, it's inner rooms and the place of atonement. He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his ,ond for the courts of the temple of the Lord and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things... V.19 "All this," David said, "I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan."
Ezekiel's Temple Scriptures
Ezekiel 40:4 "...Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see... I saw a wall completely surrounding the temple area."
Ezekiel 44:5 The Lord said to me, "Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning the regulations regarding the temple of the Lord..."
Ezekiel 43:10 "Son of man, describe the temp,e to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple- its arrangements, it's exits and entrances- its whole design and all it's regulations and laws.
Although each of these designs were given at different periods in Israel's history, we can see that the structure did not change at all with the passing of time. God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The reason why the temple design was never updated, is because it was to be a reflection of the tabernacle that is in heaven. And that tabernacle, like God, is unchanging. Hebrews 8:5 says, "They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: 'See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'"
Because the real tabernacle is in heaven, Jesus could not complete his atoning work in an earthly temple. Hebrews 9:11 says, "When Christ came as a high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man- made, that is to say, not part of this creation... V24 For Christ did not enter a man- made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own..."
Paul further adds to this in 1Cor.3:16, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you." In other words, you yourself are designed after specific pattern and structure, and just like the tabernacle and temple models, if the Old Testament houses the presence of God in the earth, so do you.
The tabernacle prayer concept was originally introduced to me through Dr. David Cho. When I heard this teaching about it, I sensed the presence of God, and I knew I was into something. Basically, Dr. Cho teaches people to pray through the various furniture pieces of the tabernacle and their meaning in light of Christ's finished work, using this as a tool to access the presence of God. Since I first heard the teaching, I have modified it a bit as I learned more over the years, but I thank God for using Dr. Cho to introduce these concepts.
Power of Pattern
I have heard it said, "Choose your habit, and your habit will choose your life." The tabernacle prayer is nothing more than a mental and verbal discipline in faith that causes us to continually possess the mind of Christ, and cast off all other obstacles to God's purpose. When it comes to prayer, we are often guilty of praying according to how we feel at the moment. The danger of this is that our feelings are not the most accurate or reliable source for truth. Our feelings are faster and more powerful than the truth we know. Left unchecked, our feelings have the power to take us somewhere so far away from and so contrary to truth, that it can leave us bound. This mission of truth in our lives is to set us free. Feelings are not necessarily bad, but they can be dangerous when they start leading our lives. We are effective in life when our feelings are subject to the truth that we know. We are helpless in this struggle unless we develop a habit of continually keeping the truth before us. This is what Paul meant in Colossians 3 when he tells us to, "set our minds on things above." What are those things above? Perhaps they are no different from the models and patterns that God has clearly laid out in the earth.
The Bible makes the connection between our spiritual lives and our physical lives. The life of the believer is likened to a race. In 1 Cor.9:24 we are instructed to, "Run in such a way as to win the prize. Everyone who competes I the games goes into strict training..." 1Timothy 4:8 says, "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things..." Physical training is only effective through repetitions over time. Results are only achieved through reps over time. It is no different with the spiritual man. It will require reps over time to get results. This is what tabernacle prayer is. It repeatedly keeps our minds renewed to the word of God, and keeps our feelings subject to that truth. It is a habit that continually leads us into the presence of God. And it's true effects are felt over time.
A car's purpose is released through the turning of the ignition key. No matter what the driver feels like, or what situation he may be facing, the car will never function until he follows the pattern of putting the key in the ignition and turning it. That is the pattern that must be followed in order for the car's purpose to be realized. In the same way, the tabernacle prayer is a pattern that must be followed in order for us to truly understand on a regular basis what has been accomplished for us, who we really are, what we really have, and what is required of us.
In the Old Testament the tabernacle was a physical structure that the priest would enter to perform duties required by the law of Moses. But in the New Testament we are introduced to the temple that we have become in Christ Jesus, and the true tabernacle that is in heaven. The Old Testament is described as a shadow, and the New Testament is the reality. Our salvation was purchased once and for all in the real tabernacle, which cannot be seen. This means that it must be accessed by faith. Hebrews defines faith this way: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." So as we enter the real temple, it is by faith that we do so- being certain of what we do not see, knowing that the world of the reality is the world we access by faith, and we know that without faith it is impossible to please God.
Scripture says that faith without works is dead. The work of faith is to speak. It is as we confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that we are saved according to Romans 10:9-10. Scripture goes on to say that it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with you mouth that you confess and are saved. Tabernacle prayer is something that does not work unless you speak the word! The words that we speak are more powerful than we realize. Mt.12:34-35 says, "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in him." Notice that words are "things." They are invisible realities that directly address not only the natural world, but also the spiritual world. It is by faith that we step into the spiritual tabernacle.
ENTER THE TABERNACLE
In the Old Testament model, the first thing the priest encounters when entering the tabernacle is the brazen altar. This is the place of sacrifice. Before advancing further into the chambers of the tabernacle, the believer must recongize the importance of the brazen altar. It is the place of sacrifice, and without sacrifice, no one can advance to the next piece of furniture.
The bronze altar has four horns. I developed a simple mental exercise to help me "walk around the horns of the altar," which forces me to mentally process all the principles of the brazen altar and apply them to my life.
Horn 1: The sacrifice of Jesus.
Here I recount verbally the the demonstration of God's love for me. I remind myself of the sacrifice, of the suffering and pain endured by Christ. I also remind myself of the shame he endured, paying the price not only for my sin, but also for my shame. I remind myself that Jesus experienced painful separation from the Father, so that I can experience joyous union with the Father. My entire value and worth is tied to the cross. I am here reminded that I have been forgiven, accepted and loved.
The magic does not happen when God loves me, but when I see myself as one who is beloved. This changes everything. It means that I must be reminded of it. It was the wisdom John used. Jesus loved all his disciples, but John saw himself as the beloved disciple. In the other three Gospel accounts, the writers refer to John as John. but in John's Gospel, he refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. It was the personalization of this love that made the difference for John, and it does the same for me as well.
-Isaiah 53; Romans 5:8; Ps. 100:4-5
Horn 2: The Covenant
Hebrews 9:16 relates the covenant that was made on our behalf to a will. A will is only put into effect upon death. Every will has benefits and beneficiaries. I qualify as a beneficiary on no merit of my own. It is His love that qualifies me to receive all the benefits of the will. It is important that the beneficiary is well versed in his benefits, otherwise they are useless to him.
First of all, it is important to understand this covenant was not drawn up between me and God. It was drawn up between God the Father, and God the Son, sealed the precious blood of Jesus. I am the beneficiary. There is nothing a beneficiary does to earn or deserve benefits. They are free. Goods received are never paid for. They are signed for.
Beneficiaries: 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 2:1;
Benefits: Galatians 3:13-14; Genesis 24:1; 1:28; Psalm 103:1-5
Horn 3: The Blood and the Conscience
We can suffer sometimes as Jacob did when he encountered God. In Genesis 28 God appeared to Jacob and told him the type of blessing He had in store for him. But in Jacob's thinking there was no capacity to revive what God was trying to give him. In our minds, our history often stands in the way of our destiny. This is the very purpose of the blood of Jesus. The primary target of the blood of Jesus, and the entire new Testament ministry, is the conscience. The word comes from the Greek word "suneidesis," which means, "joint knowledge" or "co- perception." In short, conscience is the manner by which I perceive myself and my standing. It is the internal answer to the question, "Who am I?" If I don't like my answer, I spend my life trying to "do something" to "be somebody." But if I like my answer, "I do something" because "I am somebody." In the former, things are done out of ambition, and can cause a lot of damage along the way. In the latter, things are done out of love, and the building goes up. Applying the blood of Jesus on my conscience through faith means that I am no longer an enemy unto myself. I have accepted the status that God has given me for free in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:21-22 puts it this way: "But now God has reconciled you... to present you holy and blameless in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation, if you continue in your faith." There is no greater freedom than the freedom I experience within my own self. Free indeed.
-1 John 1:7; Hebrews 10:19; 9:13; Romans 8:1; Colossians1:21-22; 1 Timothy 1:19
Horn 4: Love Your Neighbor
It is only the fully supplied restaurant that can serve meals. If we have been well supplied in horns 2 and 3, it will change how we perceive and handle relationships. It is here that I freely release all who have offended and hurt me. Doing this also kills any strategy the enemy may be building against me (2Cor.2:10). Allowing bitterness to grow in my heart will lead to my own downfall.
-Mark 11:25 (Amplified version good here); Matthew 18:23; Matthew t:14; 1Peter 3:9; 2Corinthians 2:10; John 13:34; 1Corithians 13; Hebrews 12:15
This is where the priests wash their hands and feet before moving forward in the tabernacle. Nothing carried from the outside is ever supposed to come to the inside of the tabernacle. It is the stuff on the inside that is supposed to affect the outside.
The bronze laver was made out of hammered bronze, and mirror- type material, so he could not only wash himself from the dust, but also see himself as clean before advancing. What this means for us Is that we cannot move forward in the tabernacle until we can see ourselves cleaned from the "dust." Dust means the things that we bring with us from the outside: peer pressure, societal pressures, family pressures, culture, past failures, insecurities, guilt, shame, fear, inferiority complex etc. The devil is a liar! It is here that we see clearly the pure reflection of God's finished work in me. You might notice that the laver is very similar to what the blood does for the conscience (third horn). It is. So vital is the principle of a clean conscience to our life, that it needs repeating. The blood is for conscience (Heb.9:14; 10:19). The water is for conscience (1 Peter 3:21). I usually scrub down in three specific areas at the laver.
According to 1 Peter 1:23 and James 1:18, I have been born again of the incorruptible seed of the word of God. We know from Genesis that every seed produces after its kind. Therefore, incorruption is my portion. Jesus was the living word/ seed made flesh. He walked incorruptible in a corrupt world. His power, miracles, and authority did not come from his ability, but from his identity. Then He says these words in John14:12, "Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." How? If Jesus' power, authority and miracles came from identity and not ability, then my power, authority and miracles should also come from identity and not ability. But if I do not see myself properly by way of identity, I will never operate in my divine nature.
-Identity: 2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; 1 Peter 1:23
The authority we have over the devil is only as strong as my realization of it. A policeman's authority is rooted in his understanding of the badge that has been placed on his uniform. The seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19), were left speechless when asked by the demon, "Who are you?" Because they had no answer, the demon was able to overpower them. Had they had an answer, it would have been a different story. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Much of your destiny is tied to how you answer that question. We need to remind ourselves of our authority in Christ Jesus over all the power of the devil.
-Authority: Genesis 1:26; 2 Corinthians 13:6; Luke 10:19; John 16:22
We are called out of, and born of the word of God. I believe there is a word for every purpose in God, including your life. Consider that John the Baptist saw himself as the fulfillment of Is.40:3. Jesus saw Himself as the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2. The early apostles saw their lives as the fulfillment of the Psalms and the prophet Joel. We are not here randomly, we are here as the fulfillment of a prophetic word.
-Ephesians 1:11; 2:10; 4:7; 1 Corinthians 15:10 (I usually take some time to remind myself of my individual calling and assignment here).
One piece of furniture prepares you for the next. Every piece of furniture up until this point was outside in the outer court, fed by the external light of the sun. But the inner courts are governed by internal illuminated light- the golden lamp stand. Also in this room is the table of show read, and the altar of incense. The outer court is where I speak to myself, but the inner courts is where God speaks to me.
The two main pieces of furniture I like to focus on are the golden lamp stand, and the table of showbread. The lamp stand is the source of light for the inner courts. The priests were instructed to keep it burning continually. The bread was to placed on the table regularly. So in this room we are looking at light and bread. Light represents the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost a flame came to rest on each head. Bread represents the word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3; Amos 8:11; Job 23:12). So, when we combine these two, we have bread (Word) revealed by the light (Holy Spirit). This is the room of revelation of the word.
2 Corinthians 3:15-17 explains: "Even to this day when Moses (Word) is read, a veil,covers their hearts. But when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom." In short, this the place where we pray in the light of the Holy Spirit and ask the Lord to reveal His word to us. It requires praying in the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:14 says, "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays..."
Every lamp stand needs oil to function. In Zechariah 4, the lamp stand is described with two olive trees on either side of it. This is significant. Oil provides light, but olive trees provide the oil. Spiritually, the olive tree represents divine relationship. Ps. 133 says, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity. It is like precious oil..." Zechariah 4 says, "These two (olive trees) are the 'sons of oil'..." this is 1 John 1:7 says, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another..." Our fellowship creates light.
Fellowship is deeper than friendship. Fellowship as God sees it is tied to the word of God, and the order of God. "When Balaam saw the order of the tents of Israel, the Spirit of God came upon him..." (Numbers 24:2). Oil is something that flows from top down, through kingdom- ordered relationships. It is the place where hearts are committed to each other out reverence for God. Consider the relationship of Elijah and Elisha. It was the anointing that Elisha wanted, but to get it he pursued relationship. I, therefore, use this place to pray for the people who have spiritual authority in my life, and those who I am in divine relationship with. The wise virgins in Matthew 25 were not wise because they understood the mystery of the lamp, but because they understood the mystery of the oil. The lamp is nothing without the oil.
After this, I ask the Lord to speak to me. I ask what is on His mind. I go to the Scripture asking him to reveal in it what He wants me to see. Asking is key (Zech.4). Is.55:2 says, "Listen, listen to me and eat what is good. Why spend your labor on what does not satisfy." there is something He is itching to tell me. I always hold a pen.
Most Holy Place
For a long time this room was confusing for me. It would seem that once I have heard from God, there is nothing else left for me to do. After all, Jesus told Martha that "only one thing is needed." and that one thing was listening to what Jesus had to say. I never started teaching tabernacle prayer until I understood the Most Holy Place, and when I understood it, things changed.
The Inner Courts is for us to receive from God.But the Most Holy Place is where God receives from us. Everything that God reveals in the Inner Courts is not just for preaching material. It was supposed to produce a greater worship and adoration of Him. The book of Revelation gives a picture of the throne room of God. We see 24 elders surrounding four living creatures with eyes all over their bodies. They are continually bowing before the throne and giving worship and praise to Him who lives forever. Eyes all over means they can see- they are full of revelation. But what they do with that revelation, is worship.
From the very beginning, intimacy with His highest creation was God's desire. This is why when Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple tore from top to bottom. The veil separated the Most Holy Place the inner Courts. When God reveals something, it is for the purpose of greater intimacy- kind of like marriage. This is why Scripture makes the connection between the marriage covenant, and the relationship between Christ and His church.
This is the last room of the tabernacle.
There is a place in God that is truly beyond any experience this world has to offer. For those who find that place, little else matters. David found that place. Ps. 27:4 says, "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple." Moses said, "If your presence does not go with us, don't send us up from here..." Anna knew this place. It caused her to worship at the temple 24/7. These people saw something. They experienced something that I believe we have yet to experience. I believe tabernacle prayer is one of the best tools I have found to take us there.