And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)
From the beginning, God’s intentions toward mankind has been clear — He has always wanted to be in a close, intimate relationship with His most beloved creation. We see this expressed in and through the garden. If you consider that Eden was a region in which the garden was planted, and within the garden itself, there was a more intimate section — the midst of the garden — where the Tree of Life was, then you can see a pattern for the Sanctuary that would come later. Eden would correspond to the court; the garden would correspond to the Holy Place and the midst of the Garden corresponds to the Holy of Holies.
Therefore, the function and purpose of the Sanctuary was not primarily to accommodate sacrifice and offerings. It was much more than a place to house the priests; it was the place God chose to dwell among His people. The priests and offerings were necessary in order that fallen man could approach a Holy God, but the fact that He wanted them to approach Him at all speaks to His original intent — to have a relationship.
The Hebrew word שכנתי sh’khanti, translated as “dwell among them,” can be literally rendered as “dwell in them.” The point would be that, not only does He wish to reside among His people as a whole, but He also desires to dwell within each of us as individuals. This has been His objective from the beginning and remains so today. Thus, we are reminded that Paul taught that we, as followers of Messiah, are “temples of the Holy Spirit” and, as such, fulfill that which He ordained from the beginning.
Consequently, we must walk worthy of such a high calling and honor and keep our temple clean from impurities and things that offend. Furthermore, as His priests, it is our duty to continually present ourselves as “living sacrifices” as we are continually conformed to the image of the Son of God. May His Presence dwell with all of you and may you continue to be a welcome and proper abode for the Almighty.
Blessings and Shalom,