In Genesis, Adam and Eve have a relationship with God we have a hard time relating to. It’s interesting to see their special fellowship with God and the close interaction they share with Him. They forsake that relationship in trying to become as great as Him, and angels are put in guard around the garden, forever cutting that relationship off between God and man.
Fast forward to the establishment of the nation of Israel. In the middle of their tents, as they travel to the Promised Land, is God’s tabernacle. Physically, He is in the center of their community as He is to be in the center of their lives. They would come to that central location for sacrifice and intercession, seeing the horror of sin in the gore of their sacrifices. The priests would intercede between God and the people, and none could come into God’s direct presence except for one sacrifice once a year.
The Curtain of Separation
A curtain was separating the Holy place from the Most Holy Place, embroidered in blue, gold, and scarlet with cherubim woven into the pattern. The same angels that guarded Eden from Adam and Eve emblematically protect God’s most Holy Place in the tabernacle. Later, God’s people have a temple, a solid, impressive structure serving as God’s center among His people. The curtain partitioning the Most Holy Place in the temple of Herod is now sixty feet high and very thick.
In Matthew 27:50-51, that curtain is torn from top to bottom. Imagine tearing a curtain sixty feet high. This is an act of God, and Hebrews 10:19-20 says Jesus wipes out those boundaries between God and Man. In John 14:6, Jesus says access to the Father is through Him.
Previously, access to God was through the curtain guarding the Most Holy Place. The tree of life was guarded by cherubim. Jesus claims to remove those barriers. Now access to life and God are through Him.
We no longer need continual sacrifices atoning for sins as illustrated in Hebrews 9. Instead of entering a physical tabernacle, Jesus enters Heaven. Instead of His blood needing sacrifice time and again, His sacrifice is once and for all. No more is intercession accomplished by one man approaching God once a year. Now we access the Father directly through His Son. He removes that barrier created by sin.
The Barrier Removed
God does not dwell in a structure made by hands, but He now dwells among His creation. Acts 17:24-25 speaks to this exact point. In Acts 7:44-50, Stephen reinforces the concept that God is not contained in a physical structure. Heaven is His home, and Earth is His footstool. Also, I Corinthians 3:16-17 and describe our personal bodies as temples to God. He cannot exist where sin resides, so we must purify ourselves for Him to live in us.
II Corinthians 6:16-17 assures that we can live and walk with God as Adam and Eve did in the garden. Ephesians 2:19-22 calls us God’s temple, His dwelling place, and Hebrews 10:19-22 again calls on us to cleanse ourselves so we may draw near to Him. We have to acknowledge our sins as in Colossians 1:21-22. Then, we have to strengthen our faith in our resurrected Savior. We must accept His forgiveness and have our sins wiped clean as in Acts 2:38.
Romans 8:9-11 reminds us we are not controlled by sin if Christ is in us. Rather, we are controlled by His Spirit. We live directly in His presence. The sacrifices and curtain of the tabernacle and temple served as a reminder of a barrier of sin standing between man and God. Hebrews 4:16 and Romans affirm that Jesus removes those barriers, so we can approach His throne in full knowledge that nothing can come between us and God.
lesson by Ben Lanius