The Tabernacle Model of Body, Soul and Spirit
The Temple in Israel is a real and physical structure that we pray three times a day to be rebuilt speedily in our days. First built as a portable, movable structure in the days of our wanderings after being delivered up out of Egypt between 3400 to 3200 years ago. This Tent like structure remained until King Solomon built the beautiful structure many are familiar with a little over 2900 years ago where it remained in use until its destruction by the Babylonians in 587/586 BCE. A rebuilding project was begun by Zerubbabel after the 70 years of exile in Babylon when the Persian King Cyrus issued a decree allowing Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael. However, the Temple did not reach the full glorious splendor it had under Solomon until the Second Temple project undertaken by King Herod the Great around 19 BCE. Eventually that Temple was plundered and burned by the Romans beginning in 67 CE culminating in its total destruction in 70 CE. No Temple since has stood on that precious holy ground even to our day some 2000 years later and continues to be trampled and desecrated by the nations of the world. All that remains for our people is the Western Wall where we gather for prayer and celebrations many times throughout the year.
Thinking of the Tabernacle internally (or its internal, personal and spiritual significance) is, I believe, what keeps the whole concept of the Beit HaMikdash alive in Judaism.
After all, the physical, literal Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim and the pre-Temple (Mishkhan) of the Wilderness and later in Shiloh has been down (not up) for most of the history of Israel. Therefore, from a certain perspective, it must be internal and alive within us or it loses its deeper meaning. After years of study of Torah concerning the Beit HaMikdash I have come to appreciate how HaShem modeled His Sanctuary after the pinnacle of His creation — Man.
The outer Court can be seen as our own physical body or world consciousness (the Outer Man); that which comes into contact with the "corrupt" outside world and is in constant need of “purification and cleansing" It is what makes us aware of the three dimensional world in which we dwell.
The Inner Court (HaKodesh or Holy Place) our self consciousness, what can be called the Inner Man is that which composes the will, emotion and intellect what is referred to as our soul and must be "set-apart" as a kohen; for it is here that we act as a bridge between the world of creation — the Outer Man — and the Creator — may His Name be blessed forever — it is the place where we are aware of our own thoughts and emotions — our self as separate from others.
Finally, the Kodesh HaKodashim (the Holiest of Holies) is the True-Self - our spirit, that which is created in the image and likeness of HaShem Who is Spirit. The unseen self that cannot be realized by the common and where only the Higher Self (Kohen HaGadol) may enter.
It is from here that the very essence and life of Eternity, the Sh’khinah, and the Higher self commune (communicates) in a personal, deeper, intimate relationship with Adonai on a level not known, seen, comprehended or appreciated by the Outer and Inner Man.