In the final chapter of Exodus, Moses assembles the tabernacle; a dwelling place for God in the midst of a congregation of people who, in the first chapter of Exodus, were oppressed slaves.
He begins by erecting the tent of meeting. Then, he places the Ten Words into the ark of the covenant, positions the mercy seat over it, and brings it into the tent. Afterward, Moses screens the ark with a veil, separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place; creating a room within the tent where the presence of the Most High would dwell among men.
Yet apart from atonement for their sins, God’s holy presence would destroy them. Only one man (the high priest) could enter the Most Holy Place, once each year, in order to make atonement on behalf of the people; and not without blood.
For Moses, putting the veil into place that first time was a single, fleeting moment in history. God, however, being all-knowing and unbound by time, knew from its first installation the exact moment the veil would be torn in two, our atonement satisfied once and for all, so His presence could dwell not only with us, but in us. And God knew it would cost His only Son; the ram in the thicket, the spotless lamb, the true High Priest who would make atonement for our sins through His work and with His blood.
So as I read Exodus 40, I was overcome by the magnitude of that first moment the veil was put into place, and the reminder that God deeply desires to dwell with man. It has been His heart from the beginning. When His wrath and mercy met at the cross in the broken body of His Son, whom He made to be sin on our behalf though He knew no sin, the veil (that protected sinful man from His holiness) was forever torn so we might draw near to God without fear.
We are redeemed from the curse of the law because He became a curse for us, and His righteousness is now ours. What manner of love He has given us, that we should be called His sons and daughters, welcomed into His kingdom! He wants to dwell with us. He loves us. And until He returns, may we cling to the promise that we will one day stand before Him, holy, blameless, and above reproach, resting in Christ’s work, dressed in His righteousness, to dwell with Him forever.
by Shiana Stallard