As the Jews left Egypt and headed toward the Promised Land, God had all along intended them to be His special people. As time progressed, the Jews were to be given a personal relationship with the Creator that no other nation before them ever had. The center for this meeting place between God and man was to be the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle Was Designed by God
God Himself directed Moses to build a Tabernacle for Him and as a place to meet with Him. Although it was basically a fancy tent, it is important to see that God had given the very design of it to Moses – and of everything in it.
Exodus 25:9 “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”
There was nothing left to the imagination. God was very detailed in its description. This is because its design is patterned after the actual Temple and Tabernacle in Heaven:
- Hebrews 8:2 “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
- Heb 8:5 “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”
- Revelation 15:5 “And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.”
The Tabernacle Was Symbolic
Everything in the Tabernacle was there for a purpose. Again, it was symbolic of spiritual truths concerning Christ. Everything in it foreshadowed Christ and His work for us, but I will only explain some of it here:
- Hebrews 9:6 “Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.”
- Hebrews 9:8 “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.”
- Hebrews 9:11 “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building.”
The Structure of the Tabernacle
The Tabernacle had two parts to it – the courtyard and the Tent. The courtyard was surrounded by a fence of “fine twined linen.” Posts were placed every so many feet which held these curtains in place.
The Tent was made of boards that made up its walls. The boards were placed on sockets, and poles helped to keep them in place. Most likely, there were also cords that were used to anchor the posts and curtains around the courtyard.
The Tent was also covered in several fabrics. It has a roof of goats hair, and multiple fabrics were used to cover the walls. On these, cherubim were embroidered on them.
Six Pieces of Furniture in the Tabernacle
Starting From the Outside…
A. In the Courtyard
- The Brazen Altar – picturing Christ’s future and final sacrifice for us. This is where the sacrifices were made. They were to be continual, as well as special ones that people brought. Brass is a symbol of Judgment.
- The Laver – A place for washing. It symbolizes that the Spirit and blood cleanses us from daily sin so that we may minister to God in service.
B. In the Holy Place (the First Room)
- The Golden Candlestick – It is the light for service and speaks of our enjoyment in Christ. He is our Light. The candlestick was made of beaten gold, because He was bruised for our iniquities. He also is our Light, through the Spirit, guiding us into spiritual truth.
- The Table of Shewbread – Christ is our Bread and Source of Life. He came down from Heaven and was broken for us, that we might have life. He is also the Life and sustenance of the believer.
- The Altar of Incense – on this special altar, only a specially prepared incense could be offered. No other would be accepted by God. Christ is our Intercessor, and He makes our prayers to be heard in Heaven.
C. In the Inner Most Holy Place
- The Curtain – It prevented all from entering or from even seeing into the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter this space, and it could only happen once a year. Symbolically and physically, it prevented anyone from entering except as God appointed – the Door to God was not yet open.
It was this curtain that was ripped from top to bottom when Christ died. This clearly symbolized that Christ had opened the way to God for everyone. It was not only available for a special class of priests – but now it is “whosoever will” may come directly to God through Christ.
- The Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat – made of wood and gold. It was basically a wood box that was gold plated with a solid gold lid. The wood spoke of the humanity of Christ, and the gold of His Divinity. On top of its cover were two cherubim made of gold. The cherubim and mercy seat speaks of God’s holiness, but that He reaches toward mankind in mercy through the Tabernacle and all it represents in Christ.
God Promised to Meet Israel at the Tabernacle
Here are some of the promises:
- Exodus 29:42,43 “This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.”
- Exodus 33:9 “And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.”
The Supernatural Presence of God on the Tabernacle in the Wilderness
After the Tabernacle was completed exactly according to God’s instructions, God blessed it with His presence – as He promised:
Exodus 40:38 “For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”
Evangelist Mike Valles
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