The Children of Israel had been miraculously delivered from Egyptian bondage. They had personally experienced the crossing of the Red Sea as well as many other of God's direct interventions in their lives. At Sinai, they heard the very voice of God as He clearly spoke His commandments. Later "Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying . . . And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle . . . even so shall ye make it." Exodus 24:18, 25:1, 8, 9.
Those Israelites had spent their entire lives in captivity. They had much to unlearn as well as much to learn. Yes, they needed an intensive course in God's ways, but by far of greatest importance was the opportunity to personally know their Maker. The LORD wanted close proximity to His people – to "dwell among them"— in order to accomplish all of this.
Regarding the construction of the sanctuary, note that Moses was to make it "after the pattern" shown. Where was the sanctuary after which it was patterned? The book of Hebrews is one place that provides the answer. "We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. . . Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount" Hebrews 8:1, 2, 5.
In speaking of the LORD, Psalm 102:19 states "For He hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth." In Psalm 103:19 we read "The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all." "The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven" Psalm 11:4.
What a God we serve who set up a personal dwelling place among His creation here on earth as a miniature of His heavenly headquarters!
What lessons might we learn from the sanctuary?!
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.