We study the Tabernacle because …
(Gal 3:24 NRSV) Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.
(1 Tim 3:16 NRSV) Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:
(Heb 10:7 NRSV) Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”
Israel … The Church in the Wilderness
The nation of Israel is spoken of as the church in the wilderness and is a type or shadow of the New Testament church.
(Acts 7:44 NRSV) “Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the wilderness, as God directed when he spoke to Moses, ordering him to make it according to the pattern he had seen.
We have been grafted into this chosen people by faith in Jesus. Paul teaches that everything that happened to them was for our learning and admonition.
The Mosaic Covenant
The book of Exodus is divided into two main sections.
i. Chap.1-19 Historical
ii. Chap 20 -40. Legislative.
(a) Moral Law. Basically the Ten Commandments
(b) Civil Law. The books of the covenant
(c) Ceremonial Law. The religious life of the nation, the priesthood and offerings.
This was simply a portable tent surrounded by various curtains and hangings.
It had three areas called
i. The Holiest of All
ii. The Holy Place.
iii. The Outer Court.
In each area were placed special pieces of furniture.
The Holiest of All: The Ark of the Covenant
The Holy Place: The Golden Altar of Incense, The Table of Shewbread and the Golden Lampstand.
The Outer Court: The Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver.
The Divine Purpose of the Tabernacle
(Exo 25:8 NRSV) And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them.
Forty-three chapters were allotted to the construction and detail of this simple tent. It contains many revelations as to God’s ultimate purpose for humankind.
The Revelation of the Cross
In both the placement of the tribes about the tabernacle and the items of furniture the cross is revealed. God dwells with His people on the basis of the Cross. It is central to redemption and the meaning of the Tabernacle.
The twelve tribes of Israel camped around the tabernacle in four groups.
i. Judah, Issacher & Zebulon EAST. 186,000
ii. Ephrain, Manassah, & Benjamin. WEST. 108,000
iii. Dan, Asher & Naphtali. NORTH. 157,000.
iv. Rueben, Simeon & Gad. SOUTH. 151,000
This placement also illustrates a cross formation.
The time in building
When considering Exod 19:1 and Numbers 9:1 we find that the tabernacle took approximately nine months to build. It then became the habitation of God.
(Mat 1:23 NRSV) “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
The tabernacle was built by the Word and the Spirit. So also in the incarnation.
The sevenfold requirement for building the Sanctuary
i. By Freewill offering. Exod.25:2.
ii. By a People Stirred Up. Exod 35:21,26
iii. By a People Willing. Exod 35:5
iv. By a Free-Hearted People. Exod 36:3.
v. By the Wisdom of God. Exod 36:1-8.
vi. By the Spirit of God. Exod 35:30-35. Zech. 4:6.
vii. According to the Divine Pattern. Exod 25:40.
These principles would be an excellent guide to building the local church to this day.
The approach to God
The tabernacle illustrates the walk of faith. Man must begin at the gate, the one and only entrance, then accept the blood sacrifice of Jesus. He progresses to the washing of water by the Word and the doctrine of baptisms. Then as the believer priest he enters the Holy Place with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Within, the awakened disciple is able to touch the full revelation of the Word of God, the Table of Communion and the Altar of Prayer. Then beyond the veil access as sons/daughters into the very presence of God.