Today we are reading about the instructions to build the TABERNACLE …. Boy… those are some VERY detailed instructions, right? Let’s first look at the definition of TABERNACLE – the BLB indicates that this comes from the Hebrew word of mishkan which means dwelling place. This tabernacle was intended to be mobile as the people moved towards the Promised Land. (Later we will see where Solomon built the temple which was designed to be a “permanent” dwelling place, but we’ll see how the permanence goes when we get into that far.) AND then we will see where this tabernacle is a foreshadow and blueprint of the Christ to come dwell in us. 🙂
Don’t you think it is TOTALLY awesome that GOD WANTED to be with HIS people? HE WANTED to dwell among them/us. I believe this reality makes it abundantly clear as to why the LORD CHOOSE to reveal Himself to Moses AND the Hebrews in such a miraculous way. After witnessing the thunder and lightning flashes, hearing the very loud trumpet sound, watching the thick cloud of smoke ascend from the mountain as God descended down on it, and feeling the violent quaking of the mountain ….. You KNOW there was fear and trembling (Exodus 19:14-16)!! God wanted HIS people to have a healthy fear for the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever present God. Don’t you think that would be one heck of a deterrent to giving in to sin?? (At least for a little while!) God also chose to reveal himself so HE could reveal the LAW and the design of the tabernacle. These instructions were the ONLY way HIS people would know how to live righteously and worship reverently.
As I prepared to read these chapters, I was afraid I would get totally lost just reading the details. However, God so lovingly pointed things out to me. We WILL read about the construction of the tabernacle SEVERAL times, and you will probably feel as if you are having “deja vu!!” So… just ask God to point out to you what HE would like you to see.
Chapter 25 – God said to Moses to tell the Israelites in verse 1: “…to bring an offering. You are to receive the offering for ME from each man whose heart prompts him to give.” The Hebrews who desired from their heart to give were to bring the BEST things (remember how God told the Israelites to take the gold, silver, and clothing from the Egyptians in Exodus 12:33-36? Well.. NOW you KNOW why… for the tabernacle.) I have to thank my mentor from my on line bible study last year for these picture… Thanks Trish!! This first picture is an overview of what the tabernacle would have looked like.
The ARK is the SAME thing they were looking for in the Indiana Jones movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark”….. pssttt…. Spielberg is an awesome movie director… but he “ain’t” got nothing our ONE TRUE GOD’s story 🙂
In verse 21 God tells Moses to place the “Ark of the Testimony” in the ark and cover it with the atonement cover (MERCY SEAT). Did you see that there are TWO CHERUBIM on the Mercy Seat for the ark where God would dwell between HIS powerful angels? (Ringing any bells…. Yep you got it…. 2 CHERUBIM guard the Garden of Eden and we will eat from the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem.) It will be here in the Most Holy Place that God will meet with the High Priests ONCE A YEAR and he will “commune with thee from above the MERCY SEAT, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” KJV We will read in Numbers 17:1-11 where there will be FOUR items in the ark – the two stone tablets of the 10 commandments, the pot of manna (to show generations to come God’s provision) and Aaron’s staff. The picture below depicts what the ark would have looked like with the mercy seat on top of it.
MERCY SEAT – God was seated here, and from this place He dispensed mercy to man when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there. If you think about this MERCY SEAT being in the MOST HOLY PLACE where ONLY the HIGH PRIEST could go ONCE A YEAR, it meant that God’s people were concealed from the condemning judgment of the law. Mercy Seat comes from the Hebrew word “kapporeth” meaning place of atonement, “a golden plate of propitiation on which the High Priest sprinkled the seat 7 times on the Day of Atonement symbolically reconciling Jehovah and His chosen people,” from the BLB. Hebrews 9 is a great chapter to read about Jesus being our final atonement, the ultimate sacrifice.
Verse 30 – the “bread of the Presence” is to be placed on the special table which will be before him at all times in the Holy Place. The NIV describes this as “bread of the Presence”. The KJV calls it the “showbread.” It is interesting to me that the WORD Presence is capitalized here. I KNOW that means something but I could only guess, so I’ll simply say I noticed it was capitalized. 🙂 The bread would be twelve small loaves, one to represent each tribe of Israel, as well as the entire spiritual Israel. These were set out in the holy tabernacle before Jehovah every week. They were renewed every Sabbath (Lev 24:5-9), and those that were removed to give place to the new ones were to be eaten by the priests IN the holy place (see Matt 12:3-4). The picture below is what the table for the “showbread” would have looked like.
Chapter 26 – Notice that there are different areas for different purposes with in the tabernacle, EACH piece of furniture, each curtain, each table, each pole, each lamp had a purpose. In verse 33 it states: “The curtain will SEPARATE THE HOLY PLACE FROM THE MOST HOLY PLACE.” The ARK of the COVENANT (details given in Exodus 25:10-22) was to go into the MOST HOLY PLACE. The MOST HOLY PLACE was where God would dwell among HIS people. HOWEVER, ONLY a HIGH PRIEST could enter the MOST HOLY PLACE. AND the HIGH PRIEST could ONLY enter the MOST HOLY PLACE ONCE a YEAR.. on the day of ATONEMENT (Lev 16)!! I know I have said this previously but this is SUCH AN IMPORTANT POINT. Other priests could enter the Holy Place to maintain it (to commune with God, to tend to the altar of incense, the lampstand, and the table with the bread of the Presence) as the Lord directed them.
Below is a picture of the lampstand….. remind you of anything?????
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, the curtain/THE VEIL in the temple (which replaced the tabernacle) TORE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
Mark 15:38 — “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
Matthew 27:51-52 — “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.”
THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST GAVE US FREE, TOTAL, COMPLETE, ALL THE TIME access to God, no physical High Priest to stand in the gap ONCE A YEAR… because JESUS is our HIGH PRIEST who tore the veil. You may have heard people say the “veil was torn permanently and completely. When Jesus Christ died for our sins He FOREVER fulfilled the sacrificial requirements and ushered us into the presence of God. At this point I return to the definition of TABERNACLE because NOW, the HOLY SPIRIT DWELLS within our hearts!! WE are the TABERNACLE with God dwelling within us. WOW!!!!! I SHOUT a HUGE PRAISE OF THANKSGIVING TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.
Chapter 27 – The altar of burnt offering would be the first thing that the Israelites saw as they entered the courtyard. Sacrifices were constantly made in this place which served to remind the Israelites that the ONLY way to come before God was with a sacrifice. A sacrifice was the ONLY way their sin could be taken away.
This next picture is what the altar of burnt offering would have looked like
Verse 20 states: “COMMAND” the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lights could continually burn!! I find this an interesting contrast in the use of the word command in this verse to the use of “from everyone whose heart prompts them to give” in Exodus 25:2.
I’d love to hear from you about anything that may have touched you today, or if there were any “light bulb” moments in your reading.
Sharing HIS love,