“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, . . . ’Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them’” (Exod 25:1, 8).
“Then you shall . . . anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and shall consecrate it and all its furnishings; and it shall be holy” (Exod 40:9).
God’s care to be separate from sin is especially evident in the arrangements He required for the tabernacle (and later, the temple) — His dwelling place in the midst of Israel:
1) The Lord was enthroned over the cherubim on the Mercy Seat that covered the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was positioned within the Holy of Holies — the enclosed area at the far end of the tabernacle interior, separated from the main part of the room by a heavy curtain (Exod 26:33). There was no entrance or opening to the outside. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter through the veil once a year, stepping inside into the darkness to apply blood to the mercy seat (Lev 16:1, 32-34).
2) The larger part of the room, the Holy Place, was restricted to all of God’s people except the consecrated priests (Exod 28:40-43).
3) Surrounding the tabernacle structure was the courtyard. Only those who were ceremonially clean were allowed to enter through the one gate. No ordinary Israelite was ever permitted within the tabernacle itself.
4) The courtyard was enclosed by a fence. The altar of burnt offering stood within the entrance. Here the blood sacrifices were offered that dealt with the people’s sins and made it possible for them to enter the court of the Lord to worship and pray to Him.
5) The priests and Levities encamped around the entire perimeter of the Tabernacle area, providing an additional buffer between the holy and the common, so that there would be “no wrath on the congregation of the sons of Israel” (Numbers 1:53).
In this way the Lord remained set apart in the midst of His people — separated, not only from all that was sinful, but also from what was common.
(Spotlight 3, Lesson 8 in Doctrine 101: Learning about God)