The Holy Place

Memory Verse

John 8:12 – I am the light of the world: he that

followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall

have the light of life (KJV).


Lesson Text

Exo 25:23-40; 30:1-10; 34:38; Lev 24:1-9;

Ps 141:2; Jn1:4-9; 6:32-35; 44:51;

8:12; 1 Cor 11:17-34; Rev 5:8; 8:3,4


Central Truth

he objects of the Holy Place picture

Christs ministry for the believer.



To understand how the object in

the Holy Place relate to Christ’s

provision of eternal life and pray

for unbelievers to be saved.




  1. Light for The World
  2. Light for The Holy Place
  3. Light for Humanity


  1. Bread of Life
  2. The Table of Showbread
  3. Christ, Our Provision


  1. Prayers of The Saints
  2. The Altar of Incense
  3. Pleasing Aroma of Prayer


Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  1. Mention the objects in the Holy Place.
  2. Explain how two of these items pointed to Jesus’ ministry.
  3. Understand that one item portrayed the ministry of praying



Introducing Lesson

“Never judge a book by its cover. “

This familiar saying advises us to avoid

basing our opinions only on what we

see on the exterior. Physical

appearance does not reveal the true

character and nature of an individual. lf

this is true of people: it was also true of

the tabernacle.


From the exterior, the tabernacle

probably appeared to be a drab, tent-

like structure. But within, one

discovered something far different: a

richly ornamented, beautiful house of

worship. Beyond the mere appearance

of items in the tabernacle lay even

more: symbols of the coming Messiah.

This week’s lesson focuses on

three items in the Holy Place in the}

tabernacle. Two of these items pointed

to Jesus’ ministry – the lampstand and

the table of showbread – and one item

portrayed the ministry of praying

believers – the altar of incense. Far from

only being objects used in Old

Testament ritual, these things speak to

us today of how Jesus ministers to the

sinner and believer, and how we are to

serve God.



Bible reading

Leviticus 24:2. Command the children

of Israel that they bring unto thee

(pure oil olive beaten for the light, to

cause the lamps to burn continually

  1. Without the veil of the testimony, in

the tabernacle of the congregation,

shall Aaron order it from the evening

unto the morning before the Lord

continually: it shall be a statute for

ever in your generations.


John 1:4. ln him was life; and the life was

the light of men.

Exodus 25:23. Thou shalt also make a

table of shittim wood: two cubits

shall be the length thereof, and a

cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit

and a half the height thereof.

  1. And thou shalt set upon the table

showbread before me always.

John 6:48. i am that bread of life.


  1. Your fathers did eat manna in the

wildness, and are dead.

  1. This is the bread which cometh down

from heaven, that a man may eat

thereof, and not die.

  1. I am the living bread which came

down from heaven: if any man eat of

this bread, he shall live forever: and

the bread that l will give is my flesh,

which I will give for the life of the


1 Corinthians 11 :23. For l have received

of the Lord that which also I

delivered unto you, That the Lord

Jesus the same night in which he

was betrayed took bread:

  1. And when he had given thanks, he

brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is

my body, which is broken for you:

this do in remembrance of me.

  1. After the same manner also he took

the cup, when he had supped,

saying, This cup is the new

testament in my blood: this do ye, as

oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of


  1. For as often as ye eat this bread, and

drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s

death till he come.

Exodus 30:1. And thou shalt make an

altar to burn incense upon: of shittim

wood shalt thou make it.

  1. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet

incense every morning: when he

dresseth the lamps, he shall burn

incense upon it.


Revelation 8:3. And another angel came

and stood at the altar, having a

golden censer; and there was given

unto him much incense, that should

he should offer it with the prayers of

all saints upon the golden altar

which was before the throne.


Commentary and Application


  1. Light for The World
  2. Light for The Holy Place

Exodus 25:31-40;

Leviticus 24:1 -4

Exodus 25:31-40 records God’s

instruction concerning the forming of

the “candlestick” (KJV; or more

correctly “lampstand,” NlV) and its

accessories. Each of these items was

made of pure gold. Some estimate

these items weighed between 120

and 132 pounds.

The lampstand had seven

branches, three on each side and one

in the middle (verses 31,32). Each

branch had a bowl “made like

unto almonds, with a knop and a

flower” at its top (verse 33). This bowl

was the reservoir for the oil for the


The fuel for the lamp stand was

pure olive oil “beaten for the light”

(Leviticus 24: 1 ,2). This was a higher

quality of oil than the. normally boiled

olive oil.

While God commissioned the

people to supply the olive oil, the

priests had the responsibility of

keeping the light burning. They were

to enter the Holy Place to tend

the wicks and ensure there was oil in

the lampstand (verses 3,4).




Question: What was the purpose of

the lampstand?

The lampstand was the only

source of light in the Holy Place. lt

provided illumination for the priest as

he did his duties in this sacred place.

Some also believe the lampstand

represented spiritual truth, a type of

Christ, the only Truth (John 14:6).


  1. Light for Humanity

John1 :4-9; 8:12

Question: What does the word

“light” represent in Scripture?

The word light appears hundreds

of times in the Scripture, either in

reference to literal light or figuratively

as a picture of spiritual light. Not

surprisingly, then, the lampstand and

its light point toward the Lord. Jesus


The lampstand provided light for

the darkness of the Holy Place. By the

light of the lampstand, the priests

could see to minister to the Lord. ln a

similar way Jesus provides light for us

in a dark and sinful world.

Question: ln what ways does Jesus

provide light to the world?

Jesus provides light by being life

to fallen humanity (John 1:4).

Humanity is bound in darkness and

spiritual death because of sin. But

Jesus brings the true revelation of

God and eternal life to those bound by

darkness. When we accept Christ as

Savior, the darkness of sin is

removed and it is replaced by the light

of the gospel (Colossians 1 :9-13; 2


The light of Christ has invaded the

darkness of the world. The world,

though, rejects Christ and His truth.

But the world cannot comprehend or

overcome the light. The Light

continues to shine (verse 5).

God wants all people to come to

Christ. He sent John the Baptist to

bear witness to the Light (verses 6-8).

John did not call attention to himself,

but pointed people to Christ, that they

might be saved. ln our day we can

bear witness to Christ and the light He

has given us. Instead of glorying in

ourselves, we need to point others to


Verse 9 further emphasizes the

true or genuine light that comes

through Christ. Though many people,

and even Satan himself, claim to be

the Light, they are false. There is only

one Light, Jesus Christ.

ln John 8:12, Jesus is in

Jerusalem at the end of the Feast of

Tabernacles mentioned in chapter 7.

Light was one of the themes of this

feast. This occasion provided Jesus

the opportunity to proclaim himself as

“the light of the world.” Since He is the

Light, those who follow Him “shall not

walk in darkness, but shall have the

light of life. “

This world, gripped in spiritual

and moral darkness, needs to hear

the good news that Jesus can break

the power of sin. As believers, we

need to follow the example of John

the Baptist, pointing others to Jesus

so they too can be freed from the

darkness of sin.


  1. Bread of Life
  2. The Table of Show bread


Leviticus 24:5-9

On the north side of the Holy

Place was a table of acacia wood

overlaid with gold. Acacia was a

durable, insect-resistant wood that

grew in the Sinai Peninsula region.

This wood provided the perfect

material for the tabernacle


A gold molding was placed


around the rim of the tabletop to

prevent anything from falling off. Gold

rings were attached to the sides of the

table for the two poles used to carry

the table when the Israelites

journeyed. Gold utensils rounded out

the table’s implements.

This table held the “showbread”

(Exodus 25:30, KJV) or “the bread of

the Presence” (NlV).

Question: What was the purpose of

the “showbread”?

The showbread consisted of 12

loaves of bread, one for each tribe of

Israel. Each Sabbath, 12 fresh loaves

were placed in two rows on the table

(verses 5,6). Incense was also placed

on this table along with the bread

(verses 7,8).

The showbread was a symbol of

God’s presence and provision. His

presence through His glory rested on

the tabernacle. The people could be

assured of God’s guidance in their

lives. God also provided manna each

day. His provision for the needs of the

people is represented in the show-


Question: What was done with the

loaves of bread at the end of the

week, on the Sabbath?

On the Sabbath, when the priests

removed the old bread and replaced it

with fresh loaves, Aaron and his sons

took the bread and ate it (verse 9). The

bread, then, served as a memorial to

the Lord, and food for the priests.

The word for “memorial” (verse 7)

can also be translated “offering” (NIV)

or “reminder.” As with the other

features of the tabernacle, God was

reminding His people of His provision.

The bread was the literal provision of

food for the priests, but it spoke of the

spiritual provision He would one day

offer all His children.

  1. Christ, Our Provision

John 6:32-35,44-51;

1 Corinthians 11 :23-26

ln John 6: 1-15, Jesus had just fed

the 5,000. After this miracle Jesus

sent His disciples away while He went

up the mountain to pray (verses 16-

21; Matthew 14:22-27; Mark 6:45-52).

The next day, the people from the

crowd found Jesus and His disciples

in Capernaum. Jesus informed the

crowd they were only seeking Him for

the) food He could provide (John 6:22-


ln verse 30, the crowd demanded

a “sign” from Jesus, not to increase

their faith, but to either challenge His

authority or to judge His authenticity

with the criteria of Moses. After all,

Moses had provided the children of

Israel with manna. The crowd around

Jesus evidently considered the

feeding of the multitude to be a lesser

miracle than the provision of manna

by Moses. Could Jesus do greater

than Moses?

ln Christ’s response in verse 32,

He declared it was God who had given

them this bread. But more than this,

God gave “the true bread from

heaven.” This bread supplies more

than physical nourishment. Unlike the

manna, the sustenance Jesus

offered lasts beyond the present

physical need and reaches into



The “true bread from heaven”

provides true life (verses 32,33). The

people, though, did not understand

the nature of this “true bread.” They

wanted it, probably thinking Jesus

was talking about physical bread. But

Jesus explained that He was “the

bread of life” (verses 34,35).

Question: Why is Jesus called the

bread of Life?

As “the bread of life,” Jesus is the

source of life. Only from Him can we






really obtain life. Not only is He the

source, He is also the sustainer of life

(Acts 17:28). Only through Jesus can

we face every obstacle of life. And only

Jesus can satisfy our spiritual hunger.

The people did not like Jesus ‘

declaration of himself as the bread of

life (John 6:41 ,42). But the hunger that

brings man to God is not humanly

inspired. It is the work of God in

people’s hearts (verses 44,45). Those

who are truly taught of God accept

Christ and His teachings. As the “true

bread,” Jesus meets the real need of

the spiritually hungry by introducing

people to the God for whom their souls

crave. Jesus alone can reveal this

God to us (verse 46).


The result of partaking of the

bread of life is everlasting life (verses

47-51); Those who eat physical food

will die (physically). But those who

partake of the eternal bread

of life will never die (spiritually).

The greatest need of humanity –

eternal life – is found only in Jesus

Christ. Jesus did not come for a select

few. According to verse 51, He came

that all might have eternal life.

Breaking bread in Scripture

indicates fellowship between people.

One of the greatest indicators of

fellowship between believers

and God is Communion. The table of

showbread also points toward this

ordinance of the Church.


Paul’s instructions concerning the

Lord’s Supper describe the ordinance

as a divine revelation (1 Corinthians

11 :23). The two elements, the bread

and the cup, speak of His sacrifice for

our sins. The bread represents His

body (verse 24), and the cup

represents the new covenant in His

blood (verse 25).

Like the “memorial” or reminder

provided by the showbread,

Communion serves as a reminder of

Christ’s sacrifice (verses 24,25). And

like the table in the tabernacle, it

points further ahead, speaking of the

Lord’s return to earth (verse 26).


  1. Prayers of The Saints
  2. The Altar of lncense

Exodus 30:1 -10,34-37

The altar of incense was the

central piece of furniture in the Holy

Place. Like the table of show bread, it

was made of acacia wood

overlaid with gold. Though small in

horizontal dimension (1’/2 feet

square), it was 3 feet tall, taller than

the other items in the tabernacle

(Exodus 30:2). Like the altar of burnt

offering, it had horns; and, like the

table of showbread, a gold rim around

its top. It also had rings through which

poles for carrying it were inserted. It

stood in front of the veil, the entrance

to the Most Holy Place.


Twice daily, morning and evening,

Aaron, the high priest, burned “sweet

incense” on it (Exodus 30:7-10). God

strictly prohibited the burning of any

incense on this altar other than what

He prescribed. He also prohibited the

offering of a drink offering on it. The

altar of incense was to be used for

burning incense. The only exception

was on the Day of Atonement, when

Aaron sprinkled the horns with blood

from the sin offering, thus cleansing

the altar (verse 10).

The incense was a combination of

three “sweet spices” and “frankin-

cense,” blended in equal amounts.

This recipe produced “_a fragrant

blend” (Exodus 30:34-37, NlV)

or “perfume” (KJV). Because this

incense was special, God declared it

“holy,” or sacred and consecrated. He

strictly forbade its personal use

(verses 37,38).

  1. Pleasing Aroma of Prayer

Psalm 141 :2; Rev 5:8; 8:3,4


Question: What does the incense


In the Bible, incense is often used

as a type of prayer. ln Psalm 141:2,

David pictured his prayers as incense

rising with his sacrifice of praise to

God. Our communion with God in

prayer is like the pleasing aroma of the

incense as it rose from the altar.

In John’s vision in Revelation 5,

he saw the four beasts and the 24

elders with golden vials “full of odors,

which are the prayers of saints.” God’s

final wrath must take place before

these prayers can be answered.

In Revelation 8:3,4, John saw

another angel with a golden censer.

The “much incense” indicates the

large amount of “prayers of the saints”

that were rising to God as incense

from at golden altar. These prayers

were probably asking God to send His

kingdom. The scene vividly parallels

Old Testament ritual: coals carried in a

censer from the brazen altar to the

altar of incense; incense placed upon

the burning coals; fragrant smoke

arising from the altar.

Our prayers rise as a sweet

fragrance to God. The Bible confirms

His pleasure in our prayers: 1

Timothy 2:8; Luke 18:1; and

John 16:24. These and many other

promises beckon us to enter a time of

intimacy with God each day – a time

when we enter the Holy Place of His

presence through prayer. ‘

Discipleship in Action

Men and women today are searching for

what the Holy Place typifies: light for their moral

darkness, satisfaction for their spiritual hunger,

and holy intimacy with the One who alone can

bring peace to their hearts. But instead of

turning to Christ, they turn to other things –

drugs, alcohol, false religions – to find what they

are looking for. Yet they still remain in darkness,

stumbling along the broad road to destruction.

If you have never accepted Christ as your

Savior, you are in spiritual darkness. But you

do not need to remain in darkness. Jesus Christ

is the Light of the world. He can bring light and

life to you. He will transform your life, taking you

from darkness and making you a part of His


Jesus is also the Source and Sustainer of

life. Only in Him will you find true satisfaction.

Ministry in Action

This lesson provides an

opportunity to share the gospel

with any unsaved students in

your class. These students

maybe looking for spiritual

satisfaction they are not finding

in other things.

Remind them that Jesus is

the Source and Sustainer of

life. As the Bread of life only He

can satisfy their spiritual

hunger. And the light He offers

will set them free from ‘. the

darkness of sin. Give unsaved

students, the opportunity to

accept Christ as Savior. Pray

with any who respond.


For Further Study








Fruitful Service

“By My Spirit,”

Pure Incense

Offering of Incense

Bread of Fellowship

Light for The Church


2 Chronicles 13:10-12

Zechariah 4:1 -1 0

Malachi 1:6-11

Luke 1 :8-17

1 Corinthians 10:14-17

Revelation 1 :12-20

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