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Pastor
Brad
Traxler / Laura Austin Photo

The Tabernacle Experience comes to Ridgecrest on March 1

By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer–      For more than ten years, The Tabernacle Experience has been trucked all over the United States. Seven years ago, it was in Ridgecrest and is returning to the Ridgecrest Seventh-day Adventist Church at 555 West Las Flores Avenue on Friday, March 1, through Sunday, March 10. It is open every day from 12 noon until 7 p.m. A donation of $10 is requested but no one will be turned away if they can’t afford it.

Pastors and their families are free with their families anytime they want to come. Walk-ins are welcome; however, reservations are advised. Please feel free to call to confirm available times or make your reservations online at http://ridgecrestda.com. The tour is 50 minutes.

Pastor Brad Traxler gives an idea about what we can expect to see. The exhibit is set up in a large tent. You enter through a courtyard followed by the Altar of Sacrifice. “That’s where they would actually sacrifice the animals, which, of course, we’re not doing.” The sacrifice “symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ dying for us on the cross that was that part of that sacrifice.”

From there, we move to the Laver, which was for the “priests after they sacrificed the animal and had the blood that they were going to sprinkle in the holy place. They would go over and wash up so that they were clean. The Laver signifies the washing of our souls; God, washing us and then because that’s  part of the process when we give our life to God, He washes us, He cleans us.”

From the Laver, we enter the Holy Place, where we find the Table of Show Bread. “This represents the Word of God. He is coming and being a part of us, a part of our life, and doing His work. The Table of Showbread symbolizes that God is a living word for us because the bread we eat; He’s the bread of life.”

Then we come to the Seven Candlesticks, which “represents the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit living amongst his people.” In the Ancient Tabernacle of Moses, the candles were lit all the time; they never went out. Next is “the Altar of Incense, which symbolizes the prayers of God’s people rising up to Him.”

The last stop is the most holy place. “Only the high priests went into the most holy place and he only went in there once a year and that’s where he went in and brought all of our sins from the year before to the throne of God and in there is the Ark of the Covenant which is a representation of the throne of God in heaven.

“This is all a representation of that. And so it has the cherubims there, people get a chance to see this. It represents the throne of God and one thing that a lot of people haven’t thought about, or they don’t think about much, is the fact that now that is where Jesus is. He went back to heaven. He’s next to the throne of God. It tells us in Hebrews that He’s there as our advocate. He’s there when Satan accuses us. He’s there next to the Father and says, ‘Look at my hands; look at the nail scars. Look at my blood that was shed for these children. These are my children. And so he’s advocating for us in the throne room next to the Father. He’s our advocate and our judge, and our lawyer and everything else. They go over all of these things in the Tabernacle Experience.”

Hosting the Tabernacle Experience was on the books before Traxler assumed leadership on September 10, 2023. He tells us that the church’s campus encompasses five acres with plenty of room to host this event. The campus houses a school with four classrooms and a playground with a basketball court. There is a sanctuary and several sanctuary classrooms dedicated to Bible studies for different age groups. Also on the grounds is a newly remodeled kitchen.

One Thursday per month, there are cooking classes that last an hour, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. March 28 will feature salads and sandwiches, April 25 will teach smoothies and snacks, and October 10 and November 14 are to be determined. All dishes are vegetarian or vegan.

“I really felt that by the age of seven or eight, I would be a pastor someday,” says Traxler. As a young man, “I went way out, kind of chased the world for a few years.” Then, he married and had two children. “I really felt a strong call to come back, to go back to school, get my theology degree, become a full-time pastor. And so I did. At age 36, I went back to school.” He attended Southern Adventist University. “I went back there. Finished up my education. Interestingly enough, I got the first call from my class, and they asked me to pastor a church near Springfield. I went from there up to Alaska. I pastored in Alaska for seven years, down to South Dakota for nine years, then back up to Alaska for another six years”, and now down here.”

Meeting the vigorous pastor, one can’t help but be amazed and honored to hear the story of his own miracle. “About 12 years ago, 13 years ago now, I guess, I was in a car accident and broke my neck. I was a quadriplegic and couldn’t even move a finger for a while. But the Lord just brought me back miraculously. Because they didn’t give me much hope of being able to walk. In fact, in rehab, they said if they could get me from the point where I could get from my bed to the wheelchair on a slide board, that’s probably that might be as far as I would ever get. God just took over, and I walked out of rehab and went back to work within nine months of pastoring. God just continued to open up doors.”

Traxler has continued the church’s traditions but added an emphasis on being a praying church. “Since I’ve gotten here, we are endeavoring to become a house of prayer, and what that means is that everything that we do, absolutely everything that we do if we have a business meeting, we pray. We have a prayer meeting before we ever start. You spend time in prayer and devotion before we ever start. Anything we do, any service we have, anything that happens is bathed in prayer.

“We’re asking that God will show us how to reach our community with Jesus. That’s the big thing. He’ll show us his plan. And he’ll help us to line up in that plan, whatever that is. Since I’ve gotten here, which hasn’t been in very long, but that’s where my biggest focus has been. All that God has done, the miracles that he’s performed in my life just so I can live a normal life, I know what God can and wants to do in our lives and that’s what it’s all about. I mean, that’s why we’re here. And as a church, I want to share that with everybody.”

In closing, Traxler says of the Tabernacle Experience, “I think God is going to do great things. I think it will be a blessing to our community.”