Have you ever thought about how our universe displays the glory of God? It does. Think of how the Trinity of God is on display: The universe is a spectacular testament to the Trinity. All the universe is composed of space, time, and matter yet all the universe is space, all the universe is time, and all the universe is matter. One of the greatest displays of God as a Trinity is human beings. All of us are composed of three parts. We are all physical (body), all psychological (soul), and all spiritual (spirit). There are many more examples which could be cited but suffice it to say, God’s handiwork is seen in all His creation (Psalm 19:1, Ephesians 2:10).
This is no more true than in the temple of the Old Testament. Revelation 21:22 says, “I saw no temple in it (the New Jerusalem), for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb ARE its temple” (emphasis and edits mine). God is the Temple and He is seen in every facet of it. Remember the temple had three parts: the Outer Court (visible to all), the Holy Place (visible only to the priest), and the Holy of Holies (visible only to the high priest). The temple reflects God, its Designer and Maker. The Outer Court reflects the body of God, the visible God seen in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Place reflects the soul of God, the Holy Spirit. The Holy of Holies reflects the spirit of God, the Father, who is at the center of the temple.
The furniture in the temple equally reflects God as a trinity. The seven articles include the two in the Outer Court: the bronze altar and the laver, the three in the Holy Place: the candelabra, the table of showbread, and the golden altar of incense, and the two in the Holy of Holies: the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat.
Let’s look at the typology of each piece of furniture beginning with the Outer Court. The Outer Court pictures Jesus Christ. The bronze altar was where animals were slain and offered to God as sacrifices for the sins of the people. This is the picture of the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross was where the Lord Jesus was slain and offered to God as the perfect sacrifice for our sin. The laver pictures the baptism of Jesus Christ. Before the priest could begin performing his duties he had to wash in the laver. So, too, before Jesus could begin His ministry He had to be baptized by John in the Jordan River.
The Holy Place had three pieces of furniture. The Holy Place pictures the Holy Spirit. The 7-prong candelabra reflects the seven-fold Spirit of God (Isaiah 11:2). The candelabra illuminated the Holy Place even as the Holy Spirit illuminates Christians in the truth of God’s Word. The second piece of furniture in the Holy Place was the table of showbread. Just as the showbread represented God’s provision for His 12 tribes, so the Holy Spirit is God’s provision for us. He lives in us and guides us into all truth (John 14:16, 17). Finally, the golden altar of incense was where incense was burned. This pictures the Holy Spirit carrying the sweet incense of our prayers to God (Romans 8:26, 27).
Lastly, the Holy of Holies had two pieces of furniture. The Holy of Holies pictures God the Father. The ark of the covenant contained the two stone tablets of the law of God, a golden jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded. The law of God is pictured in the tablets, the jar of manna pictures the provision of God the Father for His children, and Aaron’s rod pictures the miracles of God the Father to display His glory to His people. Finally, atop the ark of the covenant sat the mercy seat. The mercy seat was where the High Priest sprinkled the blood once a year on the Day of Atonement. Only the death and shed blood of an animal could atone for sin and obtain God’s mercy and forgiveness. The mercy seat pictures the throne of God the Father where mercy and forgiveness are shown to sinners but only through the blood of Jesus Christ.
My prayer is that I did justice to God’s amazing reflections of Himself.