1 The LORD told Moses, 2 “On the first day of the first month you should put up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. 3 And you should put in it the ark of the testimony, and you should hide the ark with the veil. 4 And you should bring in the table and arrange it, and you should bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. 5 And you should put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and set up the partition for the door of the tabernacle. 6 You should set the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, 7 and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 8 And you should set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court. 9 “Then you should take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it may become holy. 10 You should also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar may become most holy. 11 You should also anoint the basin and its stand, and consecrate it. 12 Then you should bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and should wash them with water 13 and put on Aaron the sacred uniform. And you should anoint him and consecrate him, so that he may serve me as priest. 14 You should bring his sons also and put coats on them, 15 and anoint them, just as you anointed their father, so that they may serve me as priests. And their anointing should admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.” 16 This Moses did; according to all that the LORD instructed him, so he did.
The raw materials had been collected. The furniture had been carefully constructed and preserved. The tabernacle structure had been painstakingly built, including all its intricate details that connected each part to the other. But before the tabernacle could be used for the purpose God intended, it had to be anointed with sacred oil, and its priests and high priest had to be ceremonially washed and anointed with oil as well.
Oil was a cleansing and protective agent. Once a person or animal was washed clean, oil was used to prevent further contamination and protect against disease or pestilence. It’s symbolic, spiritual significance was connected to that practical one. A place, structure or person anointed with oil was declared pure, and protected against future impurity. Such a place, structure or person was set free to serve the intended purpose.
The LORD had instructed Moses and the architects and artisans working for him to select the best materials, carefully design and construct a sacred structure, and for the finishing touches, both the tabernacle and those who would serve in it would have to be washed and anointed. It was – and they were — to be prepared for service fit for the LORD himself. A generation of slaves were lifted up to become a generation of priests, with God himself in their midst.
This generation needs some preparation if we are to be what God has destined us to be. The good news is that Christ has done it. The New Testament teaches that “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” So, we are ready to serve. Even though we are still “being sanctified” the finishing touches that prepared us for service have already been applied.
LORD, we confidently enter your presence and serve you and your people, trusting in Christ, who has perfected us for all time.
 Hebrews 10:14 ESV.