Sacred Space in the Bible

The most striking use of sacred room in the Previous Testament appears to be employed to reflect the romantic relationship that exists between God and Israel, His picked folks. The same knowledge of sacred room is also evident in the New Testament in which the romantic relationship is between God and ‘spiritual Israel’, by the human being of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:29).

Both of those Israel and the Christian Church are ideally God-centred communities which have been picked by God and established aside (made holy) from the relaxation of the world (Leviticus 29:two Exodus 19:fifty six 1Peter one:15-16 two:9). If it is the romantic relationship In between God and his picked folks which constutes sacred room, then the relaxation of mankind who stay exterior a romantic relationship with God also stay over and above the boundary of sacred room and are thus in profane room. Imagine of the romantic relationship between God and his folks as a circle (God) within a circle (God’s folks). Outside the house of the circle of God’s folks (sacred room) are the relaxation of mankind (profane room). This conception serves as a template for the numerous illustrations of this kind of sacred room located in the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

In both equally the Previous and New testaments this romantic relationship between God and his folks is established on a covenant, which is fundamentally a agreement, or mutual arrangement, between two events. In accordance to Genesis, the Hebrew book of beginnings, Adam and Eve, our primordial dad and mom, lived within a specially established garden east of Eden (two:8). The garden of Eden can be viewed to correspond with the higher than design of sacred room, with both equally Person and Female residing within its boundaries, in a harmonious romantic relationship with their Creator. However, this arrangement was preserved on the foundation of a divine command, that male “should not eat from the tree of knowledge of excellent and evil” (two:seventeen). When Adam and Eve disobeyed the command, the arrangement was nulified and they have been both equally pushed exterior the garden into profane room, into a world of dying (3:seventeen) that was never ever meant to be, and no for a longer period in a perfect romantic relationship with God (Genesis 3).

Both of those the Previous and New testaments current a way again for mankind into sacred room (or romantic relationship) with God.

In the Jewish scriptures, the phone of Abr(ah)am illustrates the transition from sacred to profane room. The Lord instructs Abraham to depart at the rear of the pagan influences of his fathers house and state, and journey to Canaan in which he is promised to develop into a ‘great nation’ (Genesis 12:one-two Joshua 24:two-3). In accordance to a specified Jewish commentary on the Pentateuch, this separation was vital for reasons of religious cleanliness (Hertz, J.H ‘ed’, 1960, p.forty five). And so, Abraham made the transition from The profane realm of idolary into the sacred realm of the genuine worship of the One particular Correct God.
The most unforgettable account in Biblical record, about a transition from the profane to the sacred, has to be the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

The Crimson Sea can be viewed to correspond with the boundary between the sacred and profane spaces. The Israelites, as Gods picked folks, passed by the Crimson Sea (a kind of mass baptism) to safety, whereas, when the Egyptians attempted to cross around the Crimson Sea they all perished (Exodus fourteen:26-30). It would seem to be that sacred room can be damaging in the direction of those people who are not permitted to enter into it.

From the Crimson Sea the Israelites have been led to another location of sacred room at the foot of Mount. Sinai, in which Israel willingly enter into a covenant with God (Exodus 19:8). Yet again, the sacred can be viewed as damaging. Limitations are put around the foot of the mountain, setting it “aside as holy” (Exodus 19:23) and any unwarranted tactic is to be punished with dying (Exodus 19:12-13). Also, the Israelites should be ritually clean right before they can tactic the sacred location.
The location around Mount Sinai corresponds properly with our strategy of sacred room. The folks should wait exterior the boundary of the mountain in profane room right until they are ritually pure (Exodus 19:10-11, fourteen), only then are they permitted to cross the boundary into sacred room.
The mountain by itself corresponds with the interior circle in which God dwells and manifests himself (Exodus 19:3, 16, 18, 20). Entrance into this sacred room is regarded as “conference with God” (Exodus 19:seventeen), even further illustrating that a romantic relationship between God and mankind is something that requires place within sacred room, in a single sort or another.

The arrangement of the Israelite camp, in the course of the forty a long time invested in the desert wilderness also conforms properly with our design of sacred room. The twelve tribes have been arranged around the Tent of Conference (numbers two) in which God experienced made his dwelling (Exodus 25:8 40:34). Inside of the Tabernacle of God there was an location deemed to be most sacred recognized as the Holy of Holies, or Most Holy Put, which was divided from the Tabernacle by a curtain and housed the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 26:33). The substantial priest of Israel was on your own permitted to enter the Holy of Holies, and then, only as soon as a calendar year when he would sprinkle blood around the include of the Ark, building atonement for the sins of Israel (Leviticus 16). Unauthorised entrance into the Holy of Holies, as at Mount Sinai, was punishable by dying (Leviticus 16:4) and also ritual purity was vital (Leviticus 16:4). The Tabernacle, especially the Holy of Holies, corresponds with the sacred room of the interior circle, the bordering camp fits with the sacred room of the outer circle, though the profane location, the Desert widerness, lies exterior the boundary sacred room. Later on, the Temple of Jerusalem came to switch the desert Tabernacle, sharing the same arrangement of sacred room as that of its predecessor, with a Holy of Holies as its most sacred location (one Kings 6), that served as a dwelling place for God (one Kings 8:13).

In the New Testament, the higher than design of sacred room as a God-centered sacred location continues to be conceptually the same, although there is no distinct sacred geographical locale these kinds of as that at Mount Sinai or the Temple of Jerusalem. Instead, sacred room is located in the invisible religious realm (John 4: 20-24). It is now Jesus, as God incarnate who occupies the interior circle, and is the middle of consideration relative to the Lord God of the Previous Testament (Psalm 141:8: Hebrews 12:two Philippians two: 9-11). Also, Jesus replaces the purpose of substantial priest as mediator and purifier, delivering obtain for God’s folks to the interior circle with no the menace of dying (Hebrews 8:two 10: 19-22: Romans five:one-two).

The kingdom of God, which is related with both equally heaven and earth (Matthew 6:9 16:18 18:18) also conforms to the same design of sacred room.
In the book of Revelation there is a symbolic representation of the kingdom of God, with God’s throne in the centre (the interior-most circle) surrounded by ‘twenty-4 elders’ (the outer-most circle) who have been interpreted by New Testament scholar William Hendriksen as “in all probability symbolizing the total church of the aged and new dispensation” (1995, p.85).

In the gospels there is mention of a profane location over and above the kingdom of God that is described as both equally a ‘fiery furnace’ and a place of “darkness, in which there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12 13:41-42).

The closing description of God’s Kingdom is located at the stop of the book of Revelation. It is described as “a new Jerusalem” descending from heaven:

And I heard a great voice out of heaven stating, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with males, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his folks, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 21:3 kjv

Yet again we have a obvious representation of sacred room as an location of romantic relationship between God and his folks. At the centre of the new heavenly Jerusalem is “the Lord God Almighty and the lamb” (21:27 N.I.V). Outside the house the metropolis wall, in profane room, are all those people who do evil and are excluded from the sacred room of God’s kingdom (21:8 22:15). Also, obtain to the tree of life is restored indicating that the kingdom of God is a restoration of the untainted romantic relationship mankind experienced with God in the starting in the garden of Eden (Revelation 22:fourteen).