Last week, we started a construction project - the building of the tabernacle.
Last week I only did one chapter as to spend more time on the "big picture".
Reading the details of Chapters 25-40 can be tedious and tough to read. Unless you understand that you are reading word-pictures, and realize that all the facts, figures, dimensions and materials all have to do with our worship of God.
Like I said last week, the principals of the New Testament are pictures in the "Old".
Remember the riddle: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
So donít eat more than you can handle at any one sitting!
So why is all this stuff so important? Glad you asked! J
Part of life is knowing the rules. You canít compete in any sport until you know the rules of the game.
Most aspects of our life, be it work, home, family, and spiritual life, all involve rules. Some are so obvious we donít even think about them.
Worshipping of God has a set of rules too. A rule (or a law) is basically a limitation on behavior. If it is ok, or not ok, to do something, that is a rule.
We tend to think of rules as "negatives". Most rules are for our own good. They set up boundaries; they make things "fair". As I stated some weeks ago, the 10 commandments are a set of rules for happiness in life.
That is why understanding the word-pictures of the tabernacle is important.
God is showing us, through visual examples, the rules for worship.
These rules are not to make us rigid in our worship style, but to set boundaries as to what is acceptable and unacceptable Christian behavior.
Much of the New Testament speaks of these very same principals.
The tabernacle is also full of Jesus-oriented prophecies. That is, individual items and materials are prophetic (future-telling) of Jesusí ministry.
We can see different aspects of Jesus ministry, life & death through "pictures" in the tabernacle. To study the Bible is to study Jesus.
Remember a love-relationship with someone means we want to get to know them. We want to know all about them.
God wants us to know him in a love-relationship manner. The tabernacle is full of "word-pictures" for that relationship.
Iím going to cover a lot of ground this lesson. The parts, dimensions and materials of the tabernacle all have symbolic meaning (again, word-pictures). Last week I explained a lot of the rules of Bible interpretation, and Iím not going to cover all of them again.
The most important Bible interpretation rules include:
Context: Read a verse within the context of its surrounding passage.
Is the doctrine/principal being taught consistent with the rest of the Bible?
Look for consistent word usage. Usually a word or a term has consistent meaning throughout the Bible.
The New Testament "reveals" the Old Testament. Many of the idioms of the tabernacle are explained in the New Testament.
Last week, we covered the pieces of furniture inside the tabernacle. Remember that the tabernacle is being described from the center outwards. God starts with the most holy piece (the Ark of the Covenant) and works His way outward.
We described the Ark of the Covenant, the table of showbread and the lamp stand.
With that, letís get on our tool belts, put on our hard-hats, and start building!
First section this week, the coverings of the tabernacle. 26:1 And you are to make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twined linen, and blue and purple and scarlet; you are to make them with cherubim, the work of an artistic designer.
There are going to be 4 separate coverings over the tabernacle. The innermost covering is being described first.
This was the most beautiful of the four coverings.
I talked about the significance of the colors last week. To summarize, "blue" represents "the heavens", purple is for royalty, scarlet is red (blood sacrifice) and the base color is white, which represents "purity". Cherubim designs are woven into this tapestry. The cherubim also speak of Jesus, as was discussed in last weekís notes.
The "beauty" of the tapestry can only be seen from the inside. The same can be said about our relationship with God! It is not until one commits their life where they appreciate the beauty of being a Christian and our relation with God.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornmentÖ it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1st Peter 3:3 NIV)
The length of each curtain is to be forty-two feet long and the breadth of each curtain is to be six feet wide-one measure for every one of the curtains. 26:3 Five curtains are to be joined together, one to another, and the other five curtains are to be joined together, one to another.
The curtains were separated into manageable pieces. When they were combined, it became too heavy to manage, and therefore were separated into five pieces. When assembled, it becomes one unit.
The exact dimensions, in the original "cubits" also has significance in typology. "Five" in the scripture is associated with grace. (Like last week, I recommend E.W. Bullingerís book "Numbers in Scripture" for a detailed study and support of number arguments.)
A lot of commentaries will discuss the inner-curtain as a model of grace, and focus on the number "five" (which numerically symbolizes grace) for support.
The study of numbers ("numerology" is a whole topic unto itself. Some people get very obsessed by it, others very bored by it. After reading Bullingerís book, Iím convinced there is a lot of truth to the consistency of number usage. For further study on this topic, you can read this book and others like it.
The length is important in proportion to the other covers. This tapestry will not be visible as the other covers completely overshadow this one.
And you are to make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and in the same way you are to make loops in the outer edge of the other curtain in the second set. 26:5 You are to make fifty loops in the one curtain, and you are to make fifty loops on the end curtain which is on the second set, so that the loops may take hold of one another. 26:6 Then you are to make fifty gold clasps, and join the curtains together with the clasps, so that the tabernacle is a unit.
There is a strong emphasis on "unity". There are many parts, but they all form one tabernacle. Different Levite priests were assigned responsibility for the put up/tear down of each piece. Together, they are one ministry team, just as Christians are today.
"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Romans 12:4-5 NIV)
Later in this chapter, we are going to read about the wood-frames that is the basic support. This tapestry hangs over the boards. The clasps hook the tapestry to the boards.
You would think if one is building a structure, the boards would be described first. After all, you need the upright wood first to hang the tapestry.
Remember God is describing this thing "backwards". The tapestry represents coverings. Each of the 4 coverings are significant. This is the most beautiful, and therefore the most holy of the four.
Covering #2, goat-hair. 26:7 And you are to make curtains of goats' hair for a tent over the tabernacle; you are to make eleven curtains. 26:8 The length of each curtain is to be forty-five feet, and the breadth of each curtain is to be six feet-one measure for the eleven curtains.
Letís logically assume that most Hebrews knew the Genesis stories. Iím sure most of the Hebrew people spent their evenings telling their children the stories of their ancestry. Those stories were passed down from generation to generation about Adam & Even, Noah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, etc.
This is important as some of the word-pictures relate to those stories.
"Goats" have a negative association in most of the Genesis stories. This does not mean God hates goats. It simply means the animals are used as a negative analogy type, just as leaven (or yeast) is a negative word picture for "sin".
Here are some examples of goats as a negative word-picture in the Bible:
When Jacob wanted to deceive his dying & dim sighted father Issac, he wore goatskins to make him seem more hairy (like his brother Esau, who Jacob was impersonating. (Genesis 27:16)
When Josephís 11 brothers were trying to falsely convince their father Jacob that Joseph was killed, they smeared goatís blood on his coat (Genesis 37:31).
Later, when God sets up an annual day for the Israelites to collectively fast and repent of their sins, a goat is slaughtered on behalf of their sins. A second goat is to be set free as a symbol of God accepting the goat sacrifice. This is where we get the term "scapegoat".
(See Leviticus 16:8-10 for more details).
What this implies, is that goats are used symbolically as a type of sin, or specifically, sin being judged. Even Jesus himself used this analogy: Jesus said:
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. (Mat 25:32-34 NIV)
Whatís my point of all this? Glad you asked! J
When you read about goat covering, think of "sin". The goat was sacrificed as a substitute for our sins (get the picture?). Remember the whole tabernacle is a set of "visual pictures". (If you forget all these details, just think goats = bad when you read your Bible!
Continuing with the goat skins covers. 26:9 And you are to join five curtains together by themselves, and the six curtains by themselves. And you are to double over the sixth curtain at the front of the tent. 26:10 And you are to make fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and fifty loops along the edge of the curtain that joins the second set. 26:11 Then you are to make fifty bronze clasps and put the clasps into the loops and join the tent together so that it is a unit. 26:12 Now the part that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, you are to let hang over at the backside of the tabernacle. 26:13 And the foot and a half on the one side, and the foot and a half on the other side, of what remains in the length of the curtains of the tent, will hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on this side and that side, to cover it.
The goat skin covers fully covered the linen tapestry. There were 10 pieces of the linen tapestry. We have 11 pieces of the goatsí hair tapestry. The visual picture here is of the "sin overshadowing the beauty of the linen tapestry". The picture here is of that of the world not seeing the beauty of God, and our Lord Jesus due to its sinful nature.
Last thing on goats. The goat skin covering was probably black in color. Visualize this black covering over the white tapestry. This is another "visual" of darkness over the beauty of the veil. This is another visual picture of goatskin representing sin.
Here is some additional thoughts on the "goat is bad" analogy:
The linen covering hung from gold curtain rings, speaking of Godís deity.
The goat hair hung from brass curtain rings, speaking of Godís judgment.
Brass (or bronze, very similar material) always speaks of judgement
Jesus himself uses this analogy in the Book of Revelation:
"To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze." (Revelation 2:18 NIV)
Covering #3 and #4 26:14 And you are to make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and over that a covering of hides of fine leather.
First, the ram skins. Again, lets think like one of the two million Hebrews:
Genesis 22 has the story of Abraham offering his son Issac. An angel interrupts the actual offering, as Abraham was about to plunge the knife into Issac.
Caught in the bushes was a ram that was a substitute offering (Genesis 22:13)
Therefore, we think of ram as a substitute offering for our sins.
Finally, we have the "fine leather" covering. There are some translation issues with this one. Here are some different renderings:
"covering above of badgers' skins." (King James, New King James)
"covering of porpoise skins". (New American Standard Bible)
"fine leather", (Revised Standard Version(s))
"hides of sea cows." (NIV)
A majority viewpoint is that this was a sea-animal, found in the Red Sea and the Nile. The skin was used for leather. It was commonly used for sandals.
At the end of the 40 years in the dessert, Moses makes an interesting statement:
"During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet." (Deu. 29:5 NIV)
Imagine clothing & shoes with a 40-year life span.
For those of us who hate shopping, Iíd love a pair of those shoes!
Therefore, the animal-leather covering speaks of preservation.
A lot of commentators point out that porpoise skins or badger skins are ugly creatures.
Here is this beautiful tabernacle with its top cover being down right ugly.
The typology is: The beauty can only be seen from the inside. Same with our relationship with Christ. The outside world doesnít see the beauty.
Other commentators pick up on the Old Testament description of Jesus, as he was beaten on the cross.
"And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him." (Isaiah 53:2b NKJV)
Now lets put the four coverings together:
The first is fine linen. It speaks of the holiness of God. The interwoven cherubim also speaks of aspects of Jesusí ministry (man, lion, eagle, oxÖsee last weekís notes.)
Next comes the goat covering. This speaks of sin.
Next comes the ram covering. Th is speaks of the substitute for our sins.
Finally comes the badger skin, which speaks of preservation. This cover also hides the beauty of God only for those who know Him!
Anybody else see the gospel here? The holiness of God. Our sinful life. The substitute death, and our life being preserved! (You know I just love this stuff! J)
Again, the principals of the New Testament are pictures in the Old Testament.
Next we have a new topic, the wood frames. 26:15 And you are to make frames for the tabernacle out of acacia wood standing upright. 26:16 Each frame is to be fifteen feet long, and each frame is to be two feet three inches wide, 26:17 with two projections for each board, set in order one against another. You are to make all the frames of the tabernacle in this way. 26:18 And you are to make the frames for the tabernacle: twenty frames for the south side, 26:19 and you are to make forty silver bases to go under the twenty frames, two bases under one frame for its two projections, and likewise two bases under each frame for its two projections; 26:20 and for the second side of the tabernacle, the north side, twenty frames, 26:21 and their forty silver bases, two bases under the one frame, and two bases under each frame. 26:22 And for the back of the tabernacle that faces west you will make six frames. 26:23 And you are to make two frames for the corners of the tabernacle on the two back sides. 26:24 At these two corners they must be doubled from the lower end and completed together at the top in one ring. So it will be for both of the corners. 26:25 So there are to be eight frames and their silver bases, sixteen bases, two bases under one frame, and two bases under each frame.
OK, big chunk of text. Donít panic! Letís break it down.
The boards are the "frame" of the tabernacle. The 4 tapestries rest on the boards.
The wood is made of acacia wood. Again a strong durable wood only after it is grounded up and preserved.
The boards are covered with gold. Again the "humanity" (wood) and "royal deity" (gold) of Jesus being portrayed in word-pictures.
Again, all the numbers have symbolic meanings in the original "cubit" sizes. The number "ten" is used a lot ("ten cubit high walls"). The number "ten" is associated in the Bible with human responsibility. Here we have the walls separating the worshipers of God from non-believers. It rests on brass (judgement), yet there is still "human responsibility" of committing our life to God.
The frames rested on silver sockets.
Silver, Levitically, speaks of blood. God required a "ransom" of every person as a reminder that God has bought us (at a price). Weíll get to this in Exodus 30. The shekel coin was silver.
Also, when Judas betrayed Jesus, it was for 30 pieces of silver.
Therefore, the entire tabernacle was supported with silver sockets.
Or symbolically, the entire tabernacle rests on blood! (You can see where Iím going here!). Just as we "rest" on the blood of Jesus!
"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." (1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV)
Next, we have crossbars. 26:26 And you are to make bars out of acacia wood, five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, 26:27 and five bars for the frames on the second side, and five bars for the frames on the back side facing west. 26:28 And the middle bar in the midst of the frames will reach from end to end. 26:29 And the frames you are to overlay with gold, and you are to make their rings of gold to provide places for the bars, and you are to overlay the bars with gold.
The first set of golden-wood bars went up and down. These cross bars go left and right, uniting the whole system.
Some commentators see all this "wood" as a type of the church. We are "covered" in the tapestry that represents Christ. The basis for this view is Jesusí comment of "I am the vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5). Combined they form "the body of Christ". Here is a typical comment defending this viewpoint:
"Four bars would run horizontally on each side, linking each board; and one bar would be invisible, running in the middle of each board This speaks to both the visible and the invisible unity among God's people; the system of linking bars could both be seen and was invisible. David Guzik.
And you are to set up the tabernacle according to the plan that you were shown on the mountain.
This phrase is repeated three times (25:9; 25:40; and here in 26:30). God gave Moses a vision, and Moses was to repeat the vision to the people.
"God works the same way in leaders today; giving them a vision of what His work should be, and having those with the vision pass it on to others who will do much of the actual work." David Guzik.
Remember I mentioned earlier that the tabernacle is separated on the interior into two areas, one being about 1/3 and the other is the 2/3. This next section describes the veil that separates the two sections. 26:31 And you are to make a veil of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twined linen; it is to be made with cherubim, the work of an artistic designer. 26:32 And you are to hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold, set in four silver bases. 26:33 And you are to hang the veil under the clasps, and bring the ark of the testimony in there behind the veil. The veil will make a division for you between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.
The "Holy of Holies" (or "The Most Holy Place", depending upon your translation) is the most sacred area of the tabernacle. It is the smaller "1/3" of the covered area of the tabernacle.
Only the ark and the lid were placed in the "Holy of Holies".
It was pitch-dark in this room. Only once a year (Yom Kippur), the high priest would draw back the veil and enter it. The light from the candlestick would then expose the ark.
The "veil" symbolically separates the holiness of God from the people.
The key word in Verse 33 is "division". It supports this argument.
The New Testament writer of Hebrews also makes a comment about the veil:
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest (Holy of Holies) by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (Hebrews 10:19-20a, NKJV)
Hebrews compared the veil to the "flesh" of Jesus. The crucifixion of Jesus tears down the barrier within the tabernacle (or later, the temple, which is the same design as the tabernacle).
In the Gospels, when the veil in the temple is split, it is torn from topto bottom. Only God himself could have done this. It is symbolic of God the father accepting Jesus sacrifice and now having no separation between us & the father.
The veil in the temple (according to historians) was 18 inches thick!
When we see this tabernacle model in Heaven, there is no separation between the Holy of Holies and the rest of the covered tabernacle. Or if there is, youíll see a torn curtain!
Paul also uses a veil analogy. He used it to talk about a veil Moses used to cover his face, but the principal also applies here:
"But their minds (Old Testament Hebrews) were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. (2 Corinthians 3:14 NIV, emphasis added.)
Wrapping up this section: 26:34 And you are to put the propitiatory lid on the ark of the testimony in the Holy of Holies. 26:35 And you are to put the table outside the veil, and the lamp stand opposite the table on the side of the tabernacle facing south; and you are to place the table on the north side. 26:36 And you are to make a hanging for the entrance of the tent of blue and purple and scarlet yarn and finely twined linen, the work of an embroiderer. 26:37 And you are to make for the hanging five posts of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks will be gold; and you are to cast five bronze bases for them.
Why the light stand and table of show bread outside the holy of holies?
God is the light of the world, but until the veil is "torn from top to bottom", there is still that separation between God and Man.
The same principal applies to the table of showbread. This speaks of preservation, even in Old Testament times.
The "light of this world" and "preservation during time on earth" does not speak of salvation, since they were outside the veil. They do point the way to the Holy of Holies. It wasnít until Jesus was crucified that salvation could begin.
Remember, weíre dealing with word-pictures in this section.
In Luke Chapter 16 thereís a story (not a parable) that implies the Old Testament saints were not in heaven until Jesus was resurrected. They were taken care-of in another place until the resurrection. This is why Jesus is associated with the Jewish festival of "first-fruits". Jesus was the first to be resurrected.
This brings up a question: How were people saved in the Old Testament?
I would argue, not by keeping the law, but by faith in what Jesus was going to do, just as we are saved by what Jesus did. Everybodyís salvation is based on what Jesus did. This is a reason why Jesus argued so much with the Pharisees. The Pharisees thought they were saved due to their "ability" to keep the law.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews supports this argument:
"But those (Old Testament) sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:3-4 NIV, emphasis added.)
Something interesting I noticed was missing from the whole tabernacle - No flooring!
Here are all these details on wall coverings, support system, roof coverings, yet no floor coverings. (For those of you who donít know, my daytime occupation is as a real estate appraiser. We tend to penalize properties where the floor is missing! J)
I also noticed that when they describe the priests clothing, nothing is said about shoes.
It does say they are to wash their hands and feet before entering.
Just as Moses was required to take his shoes off at the burning bush (Exodus 3:5),
I "suspect" the priests were also barefoot. In that passage, God told Moses to take off his shoes as "Heís standing on holy ground". The same principal applies here.
In that culture, barefoot is a sign of slavery. The priest is a "servant" of God.
I also think it is another visual reminder of what God told Adam after he had sinned.
"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." (Genesis 3:19 NIV)
The bare ground is the reminder of what we are "resurrected dust". I believe God designed the lack of flooring to keep the priests humble before him.
"In the tabernacle, we can look up and see the glory of God, or we can look down and see the dirt. It is a reminder of where to keep our focus when we have problems. Look to God, not down on our problems." Pastor Jon Curson.
OK, weíve now finished the inside of the tabernacle. Time for a break. Go ahead, Iíll wait. All done? good!...Here comes the next section. Next comes the pieces of furniture outside of the covered structure, but inside the fencing. This area is called "the outer court" in most translations. The first item we come to in the outer court is the "alter of sacrifice". 27:1 And you are to make the altar of acacia wood, seven feet six inches long, and seven feet six inches wide; it is to be square. And it is to be four feet six inches high. 27:2 And you are to make its four horns on its four corners; its horns will be part of it. And you are to overlay it with bronze.
Again, we are now in the outside (open) area of the tabernacle, or "the outer court"..
This alter is referred to as "the brazen alter", as it is all brass (or bronze).
Remember we are working backwards from Godís perspective. This brazen altar is the last thing we come to before we enter the covered area of the tabernacle.
It is the altar of sacrifice.
This is the altar where the animal sacrifices are laid.
The four horns on the corners are where the animals are tied down. (Letís face it, the animals, may not voluntarily cooperate with the sacrifice! J)
associated with this altar is covered in bronze, or brass. They are the same material, and vary according to Bible translation.
Bronze or brass is associated with judgement because this material is capable of withstanding high temperatures.
The word "horns" in the Bible is usually associated with "authority", or more specifically government authority. Since the animals had to be tied to these horns, they are symbolic of submission to authority.
For example, the Book of Daniel speaks of creatures with 10 horns (Daniel 7).
The interpretation is ten powers of authority (government)
How do we know this? Daniel tells usÖ
"The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom."
And you are to make its pots for the ashes, and its shovels, and tossing bowls, meathooks, and firepans-you are to make all its utensils of bronze. 27:4 And you are to make a grating for it, a network of bronze; and you are to make on the network four bronze rings at the four corners of it. 27:5 And you are to put it under the ledge of the altar at the bottom, so that the network will come halfway up the altar. 27:6 And you are to make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and you are to overlay them with bronze.
Notice the word bronze used over and over again for emphasis.
All the utensils associated with working the altar were bronze-based.
The grating was the place to lay the animals.
Think of a BBQ grill cover and you get the idea!
I can go into a whole sermon here about Jesus being our sacrificial animal for our sins, but by know (hopefully) youíre getting the picture! Being presented for us.
And the poles are to be put into the rings; and the poles are to be on two sides of the altar when carrying it.
Like the furniture pieces inside the tabernacle-proper, this altar was to have poles ready. It was to be portable. The idea is that God goes where we go. Anytime we sin, God is there ready to forgive our sins. The way to forgiveness is always before us!
You are to make the altar hollow, out of boards. Just as it was shown you on the mountain, so they must make it.
Like the last section, God emphasizes the importance of obedience. He ends this section with the command to build it exactly as he showed it to Moses.
This makes me wonder how God "showed" it to Moses. Was it like a big movie screen in front of his eyes? Iíll have to ask that to Moses one day! J
Why was it hollow? Simple, thatís where the ashes fall. Again, think BBQ pit!
Next set of directions is for the curtains that form the outer courtyard. 27:9 And you are to make the courtyard of the tabernacle. For the south side there are to be hangings for the courtyard of fine twined linen, one hundred fifty feet long for one side, 27:10 with its twenty posts and their twenty bronze bases, with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 27:11 And likewise for its length on the north side, there are to be hangings for one hundred fifty feet, with its twenty posts and their twenty bronze bases, with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 27:12 And the width of the court on the west side is to be seventy-five feet with hangings, with their ten posts and their ten bases. 27:13 And the width of the court on the east side, toward the sunrise, is to be seventy-five feet. 27:14 The hangings of one side are to be twenty-two and a half feet long, with their three posts and their three bases. 27:15 And on the second side there are to be hangings twenty-two and a half feet long, with their three posts and their three bases.
Hereís a summary: The courtyard fencing is the outside dimensions. The whole thing is about 150 feet by 75 feet. The entrance is on the east. Therefore, the two long sides are the north and south side, and the two short sides are the west and east side.
We have a whole bunch of white curtains connected by a set of vertical posts.
The bases are all bronze. On the top of each post are silver hooks. By now, all you readers should have your "picture-principal" antennas out! J
The curtains hang on silver hooks. Silver, as mentioned, speaks of the blood of Jesus. The whole structure hangs on Jesus blood, just as our redemption is dependent upon it.
The base is bronze. Again, this is judgement. This is the barrier between those who are in Godís kingdom and those who are outside.
The tabernacle is always to face the East. When the temple was built centuries later, the only entrance was to the east. Back in the Garden of Eden, the cherubim guarded the way to the east to prevent Adam/Eve from re-entering the garden.
Whatís the deal with "facing the east"?
In the Book of Numbers, Chapter 2 , we learn that the 12 tribes all camped around the tabernacle. The 12 tribes were divided into four groups. Three camped to the south of the tabernacle, three to the east, three to the north and three to the west. There was a "lead" tribe, and the other two would camp directly behind the lead tribe.
The lead tribe to the east was the tribe of Judah. The Messiah was to predicted come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10). Jesusí lineage was from Judah. Therefore the only way into the tabernacle was through Judah!
Therefore, when you read of someone coming "from the East", or The East Gate in Bible prophecy, it is associated with "The Messiah" (Jesus).
If you go to the "old city" of Jerusalem today, "The East Gate is blocked off. Modern religious Jews believe the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through that gate. (The gate was blocked off centuries ago by Arab factions, thinking they could "stop" the Messiah!")
Hereís an interesting side note: In the Book of Numbers, it gives the population of each tribe. If you look at the stated population of the 3 tribes to the north, and the 3 to the south, it is about the same. There was a lot more people of the 3 tribes to the east and a lot less people of the 3 tribes to the west. Therefore, from a helicopter, all 12 tribes are camped in the shape of a giant cross!
(You just know I love this stuff! J )
And for the gate of the courtyard there is to be a curtain of thirty feet, of blue and purple and scarlet yarn and finely twined linen, the work of an embroiderer, with their four posts and their four bases.
The entrance to the courtyard is the same "curtain" (same design, layout, and colors) as the curtain-entrance to the covered area of the tabernacle and the same curtain-entrance to the "Holy of Holies". Whatís with that?
As Iíve stated many times, each of these are a "picture" of some aspect of Jesus or His ministry.
The cherubim with its four faces (man, ox, lion, & eagle) each represent a different picture of Jesusí ministry. Each Gospel focuses on one of those aspects. I covered that last week.
There is four colors, white (base color), blue (heavenly) purple (royalty) and scarlet (shed blood).
There are 3 "doorways" for this structure. The 1st doorway leads to the outer court. The 2nd leads to the covered area, the tabernacle-proper. The 3rd doorway leads to "The Holy of Holies".
There are good books on the tabernacle as a model of our relationship with Christ. As one progresses further in faith, one goes "deeper" in the tabernacle. Yet all entrances point to Jesus. The further one goes into a deeper relationship with Christ, the simpler the message is. It is always the cross.
To quote Jesus himself: "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:9 NKJV)
Wrapping up the courtyard construction: 27:17 All the posts around the courtyard are to have silver bands; their hooks are to be silver, and their bases bronze. 27:18 The length of the courtyard is to be one hundred fifty feet, and the width seventy-five feet in the west and in the east, and the height of the fine twined linen hangings is to be seven and a half feet, with their bronze bases. 27:19 All the furnishings of the tabernacle used in all its service, even all its tent pins and all the tent pins of the courtyard, are to be of bronze.
Weíve covered the symbolism of all the materials here, and let it go at that.
Last topic this week, the oil for the light. 27:20 And you are to command the Israelites that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, so that the lamps will burn regularly
Oil is needed to keep the lamps lighted. "Oil", symbolically speaks of the Holy Spirit. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to illuminate our understanding of God. We should pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us as we pray and read the Word.
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26 NIV)
In the tent of meeting outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons are to arrange it from evening to morning before the Lord. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for generations to come.
"evening to morning" is a colorful way of saying a full day and night.
The emphasis is on the nighttime.
In Hebrew, the day begins at sundown.
The High Priests were in charge of being "light bearers" to the darkness.
I believe the Gospel writer John has is appropriate comment here: "In him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:4-5, NIV)
Aaron and his sons were to be the "High Priests". In order to be a priest in Israel one had to be a direct descendant of Levi (thus the joke, you canít be a priest unless you have Levi genes" J). Aaron, Moses brother was from the tribe of Levi. His direct descendants were the "head-priests", so to speak.
Next week, we are going to spend a lot more time talking about the functions of the High Priest. It is interesting to think about the fact that the "uniform" of the high priest was part of the tabernacle.
Last summer, I read Ray Steadmanís commentary on Levitcus. He taught me something that changed my whole view of "the priests", which Iíll get into next week. As a teaser, donít read about the function of the priest and think this has nothing to do with you, remember that God called us to be priests!
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom andpriests to serve his God and Father- (Revelation 1:5 and 6 emphasis added.)
If youíve made it through all this construction, you can handle any other section of the Bible. Congratulations, youíve made it through the toughest part of Exodus! Hopefully, it will get easier from here!
Letís Pray, Father, thank you for the visual pictures you have laid before us. Let your Holy Spirit illuminate us and how you desire to be worshipped. Help us to understand your methods and rules for worship, not just for our benefit, but so that you may be glorified. We ask this in Jesus name, Amen.