Messianic Rabbi: When Not Even Moses Could Enter the Tabernacle

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Shawn Akers

We are about to celebrate Passover, the festival of redemption. During Passover, Jews and Christians celebrate the deliverance of the children of Israel from their slavery in Egypt, and many families gather around their tables and enjoy a Seder meal.

Within the Seder meal, each item of food symbolically represents a specific part of the deliverance story. This meal takes place on the 14th day of the Biblical month of Aviv, also known as Nisan.

However, I don’t want to focus on the Seder meal and all of the intricate symbolism in it. You can find hundreds of great blogs and books covering that subject. In this blog, I want to direct your attention to something else that takes place on the 1st day of the month of Aviv.

Exodus 12:1-2 says, “Now Adonai spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, ‘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 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 little or no acknowledgement of it. 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.

Instead of passing the day by, we need to look at it more closely. There is something that happened on the 1st of Aviv that was not only miraculous, but it also contains a lesson that is vital for us today, especially those of us who believe in Yeshua.

We find the significant event in Exodus 40. While I encourage you to read the entire chapter, for the sake of brevity, I will only write out a few of the verses.

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

In this verse, G-D spoke to Moses and told him to set up the Tabernacle on the first day of Aviv. Just a little further down in Exodus 40:16-17, 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. 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 1st 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. I know this is not a commanded feast day, but we observe so many non-commanded days as memorials. Certainly, the day the Tabernacle was completed and set up should be remembered yearly.

On the 1st day of Aviv, the Tabernacle of G-D was set up by Moses. After all the work to build and prepare the Tabernacle to the exact specification provided by God Himself, the Tabernacle was finally completed, set up, and inaugurated.

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. It says, “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle. 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. When the Spirit of G-D filled the Tabernacle, the cloud was so powerful that Moses was unable to enter. Not only did something miraculous happen on the 1st of Aviv, but like I said earlier, there is an important lesson for us today.

The miracle happened when the visible presence of G-D fell like a cloud and His Spirit filled the Tabernacle. Just as the Tabernacle became a home for G-D’s Spirit to dwell, we are temples of G-D who become homes for G-D’s Spirit to dwell. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul says, “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that the Ruach Elohim dwells among you?”

The fact that we are temples or tabernacles for G-D’s Spirit to dwell isn’t the lesson I want to share with you. Here’s the lesson: 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 to 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.

Here’s one last thought for you to consider: only after G-D’s Spirit completely filled the Tabernacle could the Children of Israel follow the Cloud’s lead and go wherever G-D directed them. {eoa}

Eric Tokajer is the author of Overcoming Fearlessness, What If Everything You Were Taught About the Ten Commandments Was Wrong?, With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context.

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