The Law was born on the glory of the mountain, written on stone tablets by the finger of God and encased in the ark. The ark was made of pure gold and it alone was found behind the veil – in the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies. It was behind the veil where the presence of the Lord came down and His glory shone above the mercy seat of the Ark.
Just on the other side of the veil, in the Holy Place, stood the Altar of Incense – which would continually burn the holy Incense, pleasing to the Lord. Inside the Holy Place were also the Table for the Bread of the Presence and the Golden Lampstand – both pointing forward to Jesus, the Bread of Life and the Light of the World.
The Holy Place and the Most Holy Place comprised the tabernacle which was made of the finest linen with blue, purple and scarlet yarns. The Tabernacle was surrounded by the court. The Bronze Basin, used for ceremonial washings, stood between the Bronze Altar and the entrance to the Tabernacle. After offering a sacrifice on the altar, the priest would then wash in the basin before entering the Holy Tabernacle.
Each act – every priestly duty – was ordained by God to daily remind the people of their sin and His holiness.
Time marched forward and God’s word was diluted. The priests and religious leaders of Jesus’ day distorted God’s holy law to exalt themselves and to line their pockets with the people’s guilt offerings. Jesus was disgusted. The holy tabernacle was defiled by pride.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in (Matthew 23:13).
Jesus, who perfectly fulfills every requirement of the law… Jesus who would become the final Passover Lamb… Jesus, the God of the Covenant laments over His people.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate (Matthew 23:37-38).
The word “house” was an expression for “temple.” The temple, the dwelling place of God, is desolate. And Jesus weeps.