Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter the biblical writer expands his description on the furnishings and curtains of the outer court. The first piece of furniture one would see in this open space would be the altar of burnt offerings, then to one side, the washbasin. The finely woven blue, purple and scarlet yarn with twisted linen curtains would surround the entire outer court. The common Israelite would only have seen these outer furnishings because the priests were the only ones allowed to enter into the holy and most holy. The altar would be the place where sinners would sense the cost and weight of sin. This furniture was to be special, as it was covered with shining bronze, however here beauty was not for the eye. Instead, the altar was a tug at the heart. The killings, the bloody rituals, the smell of burnt flesh must have been deeply emotional. The altar’s function was to be a painful reminder of sin’s destructive effects, and yet a place where sinners could be restored through the substitutionary sacrifice.
As mentioned before, the tabernacle was designed by God for worship. In light of this we can learn how we should approach worship today. The first step to worship for the ancient Israelites stirred their souls to reflect what their sins had caused and brought them to repentance. True conversion and transformation still begins with repentance and a complete realization of who we are before God. There is awe and joy - but deep joy, not superficial emotionalism. To celebrate through the clapping of hands, dancing, and rejoicing in this context seems like a contradiction. Deep soul searching as we approach God would be more consistent with the sanctuary model of worship. The Seventh-day Adventist church is unique in its understanding of the Sanctuary message and this sets us apart as we consider our approach to worship.
Giselle Sarli Hasel
School of Visual Art and Design
Southern Adventist University