When Not Even Moses Could Enter the Tabernacle

617
Model of the tabernacle, as seen in Israel, Timna Park (Photo: Ruk7/Wikimedia Commons)

We are about to celebrate the Passover, the Feast of Redemption, a celebration of the deliverance of the Children of Israel from their slavery in Egypt. Families will gather around their tables and enjoy a Seder meal. Within this meal, each item of food symbolically represents a part of the story. This meal takes place on the 14th day of the Biblical month of Aviv (also known as Nisan). However, in this blog I don’t want to focus on the Seder meal and all of the amazing symbolism within it. You can find hundreds of great blogs and books that cover that subject. In this blog, I want to bring your attention to something else that takes place on the 1st day of the month of Aviv.

We read in Exodus 12:1-2:

Now Adonai spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, 2 “This month will mark the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year for you.

It amazes me that even though G-D directly made the 1st of Aviv Israel’s new year, most of the Jewish world, as well as most believers in Yeshua, pass by the date with almost little to no acknowledgement. For many, the 1st of Aviv is merely the day we begin to empty our homes of Hametz (yeast products) in preparation for celebrating Passover.

However, there is something that happened on the 1st of Aviv that was not only miraculous, but also contains a lesson that is vital for us today, especially those of us who believe in Yeshua.

We find this event in Exodus 40. While I encourage you to read the entire chapter, for the sake of space, I will only post a few of the verses in this blog.

Exodus 40:1 Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 2 “On the first day of the first month, you will set up the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting.

In this verse, we read that G-D spoke to Moses to set up the Tabernacle on the first day of Aviv. Just a little further down in Exodus 40:16-17, we read that Moses did what G-D commanded and set up the Tabernacle on the first day of Aviv.

Moses did so, just as Adonai had commanded him. 17 Now it happened during the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, the Tabernacle was raised up.

So, on the first day of the month of Aviv, the day Israel celebrated the New Year, Moses set up the Tabernacle. If nothing else significant happened on that day, this event alone is enough to cause us to celebrate. On the first day of Aviv, the Tabernacle of G-D was set up by Moses. After all the work and preparations to build and prepare the Tabernacle to the exact specification provided by G-D Himself, the Tabernacle was finally completed, set up, and inaugurated. I know this is not a commanded Feast Day, but there are so many non-commanded days we observe as memorials, certainly the day the Tabernacle was completed and set up should be remembered yearly.

While the Tabernacle was completed and set up on the 1st of Aviv, that is not the only thing that happened on that day that we read about in Exodus 40. If we keep reading through the chapter, we get to Exodus 40:34-35:

Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle. 35 Moses was unable to enter into the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud resided there and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle.

Think of what an amazing experience it was to see the cloud fall and the glory of G-D fill the Tabernacle. But, notice that when the Spirit of G-D filled the Tabernacle, Moses was unable to enter because the cloud resided there. I wrote above that not only did something miraculous happen on the 1st of Aviv, but that there was also a lesson for us today.

The miracle was the visible presence of G-D falling like a cloud and His Spirit filling the Tabernacle. The lesson is that just as the Tabernacle became a home where G-D’s Spirit dwelt, we are temples of G-D, as we read in 1 Corinthians 3:16:

Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that the Ruach Elohim dwells among you?

But, the fact that we are the temples, or tabernacles, of G-D’s Spirit isn’t the lesson I want to share with you. The lesson is that although Moses oversaw the entire process of the Tabernacle’s construction, once the Tabernacle was set up, the Spirit of G-D filled the Tabernacle so full that even Moses couldn’t enter. This should be the same with you and I today. Yes, we must prepare ourselves to be the tabernacle or temple of G-D, but once we are prepared and once we welcome His Spirit into our Tabernacle, we must let His Spirit fill us so completely that there is no space or room for our spirit at all.

One last thought as you consider this: it was only after G-D’s Spirit completely filled the Tabernacle that the Children of Israel could follow the lead of the Cloud about where to go and what to do.