Altar of Burnt Offerings
Altar of Burnt Offerings
Laver
Laver
Golden Candlestick
Golden Candlestick
Table of Shewbread
Table of Shewbread
Altar of Incense
Altar of Incense
Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant

“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”

Isaiah 26:19-20

“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”

John 10:7

“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you, seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Doctrine and Covenants 88:63


The door of the tabernacle was a hanging curtain at the front of the sanctuary.  This door was the sole entrance into the Holy Place.  The scriptures state it was comprised of the following colors: white, blue, purple, and scarlet.  In addition, Exodus 26:36 says the curtain was to be “wrought with needlework” or artistry.  As with the gate and veil, the pattern as was revealed to Moses is unknown.  The portrayal depicted here my artistic representation.  While the dimensions of the door are not specified, I have assumed a 10 x 10 cubit height and width.  The Holy Place was more holy than the outer courtyard, and the door provides the boundary or the separation.

How Does the Door Relate to Jesus Christ and the Plan of Redemption?

The Most Holy Place was separated from the Holy Place by the Veil.  The Holy Place was separated from the courtyard by the Door.  The Veil and the Door are representations of the two obstacles which prevent us from returning to the presence of God.  The door of the tabernacle is a representation of the obstacle of spiritual death and how it can be overcome through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual death is separation from God and His influences.  This form of death was introduced into the world by the Fall of Adam.  By transgressing the law of God, which forbade eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden and the presence of the Father.  Adam and Eve’s disobedience therefore caused them to be separated from God and His direct influences.  Adam and Eve were prevented from entering into the garden and God’s presence as cherubim and a flaming sword were placed to guard the way.  The Book of Mormon prophet Samuel taught, “All mankind, by the fall of Adam, being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.”

The prophet Alma taught the following regarding spiritual death in relation to the Fall:

“…Behold, it was appointed unto man to die – therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth – and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man.  And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.  Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.  Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.” (Alma 42:6-9, emphasis added)

The process required for an individual to enter in through the door, and the centrality of the doors location within the tabernacle, are symbolic of the expediency the Lord places upon redemption from spiritual death.  Indeed, the importance of entering into this room and remaining there, spiritually speaking, cannot be overemphasized.  Through the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, every person who has ever lived on this earth, no matter what they have done, will be redeemed from spiritual death.  The Book of Mormon prophet Samuel again teaches that the resurrection of Jesus Christ “redeemeth all mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord” (Helaman 14:16-17).  All individuals will then be judged.  Those who have not walked on the strait and narrow path will not be able endure the presence of the Man of Holiness, and will suffer the second death (see Rev. 21:8).

Another way to explain this concept is as follows.  Every person starts out in the presence of God in the Most Holy Place.  Through the fall of Adam, every person comes down to earth when they are born, leaving the Most Holy Place, and ends up outside the Gate of the tabernacle.  They are then free to choose any course, but there is only one way back to the Most Holy Place.  Every person has a time granted for them to choose their course and this is the time of our mortal probation.  At the end of our probation, i.e. when we die, we will all be brought back to the Most Holy Place because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The difference between those who can stay, and those who will have to leave, is personal obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel (which is possible because of the grace of God).  In order to enter the Most Holy Place, literally speaking, the high priest had to go through an extensive preparation as detailed in Leviticus 16.  In order to enter the Most Holy Place, spiritually speaking, every person must offer their lives in similitude of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.  A person who fails to offer this sacrifice, will NOT receive the grace of God in washing away their sins.  They will be as Uzziah who attempted to touch the Ark of the Covenant without having prepared himself as was required by the law.  Bottom line, you want to be in the Holy Place, spiritually speaking, when you physically die.  This is why the Door of the tabernacle is so important.  The central point of the entire tabernacle was this door, the central point of our mortal lives, is to enter through this door, and to remain their until we physically die, spiritually speaking.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

Spiritual death is overcome through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, a change of heart towards obedience to the will of God (i.e. repentance), baptism by immersion by an authorized agent of the Lord, by confirmation into the Lord’s church, and by living your life in such a way as to invite or receive the Holy Ghost into your life.  A person who does this is worth to have the personal guidance and companionship of the Holy Ghost.  This pattern is demonstrated and taught symbolically in the tabernacle.  In order for an individual to enter the Holy Place, they had to enter in through the only entrance of the tabernacle complex, the gate.  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is they only way back to the Father.  The gate of the tabernacle is therefore a symbol of faith.

Repentance

Next, a sacrifice of a male lamb without blemish had to be offered upon the altar of burnt offerings.  A drink offering accompanied the animal sacrifice and was brought into the holy place and poured into a dish on the table of shewbread.  After the death of Jesus Christ, instead of animal sacrifice, we are commanded to offer a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  Repentance is a change of heart, a recognition of one’s inability to progress any further without the grace of God, as well as a sincere desire to be a true disciple of Christ.  The altar of burnt offerings is a symbol of repentance.

Baptism

Before the priest could enter into the holy place they were required to wash in the laver.  The penalty for disobedience of this commandment was death, and implementation of the penalty was reserved to the Lord.  After washing, the priests would then take the drink offering into the holy place and pour it into a bowl that was placed on the table of shewbread.  The laver is a symbol of baptism.  Through baptism an individual makes a covenant to be willing to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ and serve God until the end of their mortal lives.  Those who refuse baptism will not be permitted entrance into the kingdom of God, which is symbolized in holy place.  Just as the priests would suffer death if they attempted to enter in to the holy place without washing, those who refuse baptism will suffer death in the sense that they will never live in the presence of God.

Confirmation

After all of these requirements were met, an individual was permitted to enter in the door at the tabernacle into the holy place.  Those who have faith in Jesus Christ, and repent of their sins, and are baptized by authorized agents, will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost through confirmation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The priests who entered into the holy place were able to enjoy greater access to additional ordinances, greater light, greater knowledge, and additional oneness with God.  Entering into the door of the tabernacle into the holy place is symbolic of receiving the Holy Ghost in one’s life, and overcoming spiritual death, through Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

The door of the tabernacle stands at the center of the entire tabernacle complex.  The centrality of the door is very symbolic of the utmost importance it is in our mortal lives to receive the influence of the Holy Ghost.  Entrance into the holy place, i.e. overcoming spiritual death, is not a permanent condition.  Just as people voluntarily enter the room by complying with the ordinances of God, they can just as easily leave by failure to observe the laws of God.  For thus saith the scripture “my spirit will not always strive with man” (see Gen. 6:3).  The most important object of our mortal lives should be striving to receive the influence of the Holy Ghost in one’s life.  Those who are willing to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ, and to always remember him, and to always keep his commandments, are in a state symbolically and literally speaking, of having overcome spiritual death, through Jesus Christ.