Message – The Wilderness Tabernacle
Series: Thru the Bible – Exodus
The Tabernacle was 1st a symbol of Christ
John 1 tells us that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. The word “dwelt” means to tabernacle. Also, the Old Testament tabernacle was a housing for the glory of God which John goes on to say was also in Christ, “And we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, REPLETE with wisdom and truth” and of His glory we have all received and grace for grace”.
This is all said in context with Moses and the Law…let’s read it…
John 1:14-18, “(14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (15) John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ” (16) And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. (17) For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (18) No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
In fact this word for tabernacle is translated as dwell and dwelt and only occurs 5 times in the New Testament 3 of which refer to God dwelling among His people – Here in Jn 1:14, in Rev. 7:15 & Rev. 21:3..that last one starting with verse 1 and reading through to verse 7 says,
“(1) Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. (2) Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (4) And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (5) Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (6) And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. (7) He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”
Heb. 10:19-22, “(19) Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (21) and having a High Priest over the house of God, (22) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Secondarily it is a symbol for all of God’s children.
(Our bodies are called God’s temple. That the word temple refers to the tabernacle is clear from the following verses:)
1Cor. 3:16-17, “(16) Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (17) If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
1Cor. 6:12-20, “(12) All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (13) Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (14) And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. (15) Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! (16) Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “THE TWO,” He says, “SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” (17) But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (18) Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (19) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (20) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
2Cor. 6:14-18, “(14) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (15) And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? (16) And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM. I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.” (17) Therefore “COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE SEPARATE, SAYS THE LORD. DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN, AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU.” (18) “I WILL BE A FATHER TO YOU, AND YOU SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, SAYS THE LORD ALMIGHTY.”
Thirdly the Tabernacle is an illustration of spiritual truths:
Col. 2:16-17, “(16) So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, (17) which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
Heb. 8:1-6, “(1) Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, (2) a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. (3) For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. (4) For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; (5) who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “SEE THAT YOU MAKE ALL THINGS ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.” (6) But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.”
Basic Dimensions of Tabernacle:
(Remember we are using an Egyptian measurement for a cubit of 20.6″ since that is likely the only measurement with which they were familiar having just left Egypt)
1.5 cubits x 20.6” = 30.9”
30.9” x 20 = 618”
618”/12” = 51.5’
1.5 cubits x 20.6” = 30.9”
30.9” x 6 = 185.4”
185.4”/12” = 15.45’
IF the two additional boards were for additional length (which seems totally unlikely) than the figures would look like this…
1.5 cubits x 20.6” = 30.9”
30.9” x 8 = 247.2”
247.2”/12” = 20.6 ’
10 cubits x 20.6” = 206”
206”/12” = 17.16’
The construction and appearance of the Tabernacle:
The Dimensions of the actual size of the tabernacle are derived from its wooden walls.
Apparently the North, South & West sides of the Tabernacle were made of wood overlaid with gold. Remember that all the boards were 17′ tall. An example of a solid board relative to an average human height of 6′ is supplied below for comparison.
There is MUCH disagreement as to what this looked like, from:
- Solid boards connected together by groves and held together by fasteners.
- Though there is little proof that the more permanent temple built by Solomon was intended to mimic the Wilderness Tabernacle in every way, there is ONE place which illustrates that at least in THAT temple the walls were solid.
1Kings 6:15,“(15) And he built the inside walls of the temple with cedar boards; from the floor of the temple to the ceiling he paneled the inside with wood; and he covered the floor of the temple with planks of cypress.”
2. Frames of wood held together by fasteners, with tenons for the base:
MAKE tabernacle WITH the coverings:
Exod. 26:3-4, “(3) Five of the curtains should be joined together, and the other five curtains joined together. (4) Make loops of blue yarn on the edge of the last curtain in the first set, and do the same on the edge of the outermost curtain in the second set.”
2 sets of 5 were coupled together apparently width end to width end making a set of 5 sheets which were 48’ wide and 34.5’ long and then these two “sets” were joined together either by length or by width. Below the only two possible configurations are illustrated and only the lower of the two could have covered the tabernacle.
If joined by length the joined curtains would be:
48’ x 69’…The Tabernacle is 49.77’ [15.45 x 17.16 x 17.16] x 68.66 ’[51.5 x 17.16]
If joined by width the curtains would be 96’ x 34.5’
Clearly the curtains were joined by width otherwise there would be WAY too much material in length and not nearly enough in width.
48’ would come 1.77’ shy of the total EXTERIOR width. This “MAY” have been enough though, to cover the entire INTERIOR if the sides of the tabernacle along with the front beams of the tabernacle were enough to take up the remaining 1.77’ in their thickness.
68.66’ would be .34’ longer than of the total EXTERIOR length. As with the width, this “MAY” have been compensated for by the thickness of the boards.
The next layer of curtains were 30 cubits x 4 cubits and there were 11 of them.
5 were coupled together and 6 were coupled together and then the two sets were joined.
Below is an illustration of the only two ways this could be done and only the second (lower) of the two would work to cover the tabernacle.
Both the construction of the wooden parts and the way in which the covering interconnected with all of it illustrates one clear point – the idea of Echawd is throughout. Union realized in diversity. The man and woman will be ONE (echawd) flesh.
As we stated above the tabernacle represented Christ 1st, the church 2nd & other spiritual truths 3rd.
Jesus went out of his way to describe His union with God, ours with Him and our collective union all together. This shows up at least twice in the tabernacle. That all of the inner portions pointed to Gold = Deity, Silver = Freedom, White = purity and righteousness, Purple, blue and Scarlet = royalty, heaven, mindful and obedient to the law and the blood of purifying & Cleansing – paint a family portrait of love, deference, sacrifice and honor.
John 14:15-20, “(15) If you love Me, keep My commandments. (16) And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— (17) the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (18) I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (19) “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. (20) At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
John 17:20-26, “(20) I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; (21) that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (22) And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: (23) I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (24) “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (25) O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. (26) And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Linen Colors: (All of these color were considered costly)
- Blue – The Hebrew word for this actually means “shellfish”. A brilliant color of blue was extracted from Mollusk shells. It is “suggested” that this color represents Heaven in that the sky is blue but the only descriptive use of blue that I know of is of the tassels on men’s cloths Num. 15:38-40 [READ] – which was intended to remind them of the commandments to obey them – so blue may be a color for rememberance or specifically remembering the law.
- Other uses which may clarify possible to their meanings:
- The priestly robes were blue. – Ex. 28:31
- The Crystal platform under God’s throne is described as “Sapphire”. – Ezekiel 10:1
- The breastplate of the ephod was tied on with strings of blue. – Ex. 28:28
- The linen covering of the tabernacle was tied together with ribbons of blue.
- Other uses which may clarify possible to their meanings:
- Purple – This color may have been obtained by the mixture of scarlet & blue which may contribute to its meaning. IF Blue means from Heaven or Heavenly and IF scarlet represents blood & sacrifice, then this could represent the Royal son from Heaven sent to save. However, it may have also been simply the product of sea snails.
- Scarlet – This color is a little hard to tack down for symbolic meaning. It is compared with blasphemy (the harlot on the scarlet horse Revelation 17:3 – though it’s possible the scarlet here is of imperial dignity, power and authority) & sin (though your sins be as scarlet – Isa. 1:18) but also with prosperity – it was placed upon Jesus to mock Him as king of the Jews (Lamentations 4:5, Matthew 27:28, Revelation 18:12, 16). It is “said” that it can represent sacrifice and therefore blood, but I found no such reference so ultimately I do not know.
Symbolism of the Cherubs:
If you do a simple search for the words Cherub or cherubim you will find very few references and nearly all of them have something to do with God, His glory, the purity of righteousness and holiness and mankind.
There MAY be a difference between one cherub and another, since the bible seems to make particular mention of “covering cherubs” and though they may be another type or at least a different rank. These are said to walk among coals of fire and that fire is either between the Cherubs or within the wheels which are by the cherubs which also contain their spirits – Ezek. 10:17
Lucifer was a covering Cherub and therefore the significance of these holy Creatures who did NOT fall with Lucifer becomes all the more apparent. Lucifer is said to have been in the Eden of God – if this was PRIOR to his fall, it was only shortly beforehand. He was THE anointed Cherub who covers – set in the mountain of God and walking up and down in the middle of the stones of fire.
I do not pretend to understand the role that Cherubs play in relation to God and man but it seems to be weighty and significant. It was a Cherub who was set in Eden to guard the way back to the Tree of Life – Gen. 3:24. It is also quite possible that it is in reference to these creatures (at least in part) that Eph. 3:10 tells us that God intends to use the church to reveal His multi-faceted wisdom.
Goat’s hair properiets:
Wool fabrics come from a variety of animal hairs including the hair of goats including the familiar cashmere, or mohair fabrics.
- The outside fibers of the hair consists of a series of serrated scales which overlap each other much like the scales of a fish.
- Wool is the only fiber with such serration’s which make it possible for the fibers to cling together and produce felt.
- Wool will not only return to its original position after being stretched or creased, it will absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp
- Wool is also dirt resistant, flame resistant, and, in many weaves, resists wear and tearing.
Rams skin properties:
- The fleece of sheepskin has excellent insulating properties.
- It is also resistant to flame and static electricity.
- It is considered by the medical profession to be hypoallergenic.
- It draws perspiration away from the wearer and into the fibers.
- It can trap between 30-36% of its own weight in moisture.
- High tensile strength.
- Resistance to tear.
- High resistance to flexing.
- High resistance to puncture.
- Good heat insulation.
- Leather contains a great deal of air, which is a poor conductor of heat.
There were two sets of curtains:
Holy of holies Veil (curtain):
“(31) You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim. (32) You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold, upon four sockets of silver. (33) And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy. (34) You shall put the mercy seat upon the ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy. (35) You shall set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand across from the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south; and you shall put the table on the north side.”
Tabernacle Veil (curtain):
(36) “You shall make a screen for the door of the tabernacle, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. (37) And you shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold; their hooks shall be gold, and you shall cast five sockets of bronze for them.”
- One for the Holy of Holies
- One for the entrance
Articles within the Tabernacle of Meeting:
There were three articles or furnishings within the Tabernacle of Meeting. From left to right:
- The Menorah, Lampstand or Candelabra
- Incense altar
- The Showbread Table
We will begin to discuss these, what they were and some ways in which they serve as a type and shadow of today under the New Covenant…next week!
There is more information in the audio/video of the actual message. I hope you listen, learn and enjoy!
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