The Tabernacle of Moses ~ Study 3
The Tabernacle of Moses ~ 3
Quiet ( ah…) – I got the family out of the house at record speed this morning, (slightly faster than a snail). The reports are created and ready to mail and the new account of 27 points of entry is now on line, ( I work from home). Now I take a deep breath and pray. Pray that the Holy Spirit massages His word, life and love in my heart, as I again turn and face the Tabernacle.
Ever go traveling and see many new sights, but come to one in particular and you say to yourself, ‘now this one I want to remember’, while you pull out that Canon digital camera and take a snap shot of it. We are at such a place. Traveling through the Word of God and here stands before us the Tabernacle of Moses. Let us too, take a mental picture.
AH join in ~ bible study! Reviewing first the structure in detail.
Let’s take an aerial view, as if looking down from a helicopter ride, hovering over the Tabernacle. We see a large cloth like fencing that surrounded the outer court, rectangle in shape, measuring approximately (in U.S. measurements) 150 ft long, and 75 ft wide, and have to mention 7.5 ft high, (no peeking over this fence). It was made of linen curtains stitched together. The structure sits east to west. There is only one entry way, and always faces east. Remembering this is a ‘portable’ structure, designed for travel.
The entry gate is 30 ft wide. Once inside the courtyard, with no roofing, there are only three visible objects within the fencing. First the Altar of Burnt Offering, then directly ahead of that, the Bronze Laver (or water basin).
There is a smaller structure, just beyond the water basin, this is called the ‘Tent of Meeting’. This is roofed, and not that glamorous from the outside, but once in side, that changes. There are two rooms within, the total measurement is 45 ft long and 15 ft wide. Once inside we enter the Holy Place, this room is the larger of the two, 30 ft long and 15 ft wide. Its contents are the Golden Lampstand, Table of Shewbread, and the Altar of Incense. There is a veil that separates the two rooms, beyond this veil, the Holy of Holies, also known as the Most Holy Place. This room is a perfect cube, 15 ft. by 15 ft. Only one object is here. The Ark of the Covenant.
The design of this Tabernacle has tremendous lessons for us, one of which is visual, implying that approaching a Holy God, takes structure, and detail, some places may not be as glamorous as others, but once in the presence of God, it holds awe struck moments. In all aspects – we are called. .to draw near . ( Heb. 10:22, Eph. 2:13, James 4:8)
One scholar points out, that the 3 rooms (if you will) hold significant meaning for the life of the believer and our quest for the Living God, this done in the process of worship.
When God created man, He created him body, soul and spirit, (1 Thess. 5:23)
The Outer Court – place of sacrifice … body
The Holy Place – place of worship … soul
The Holy of Holies – place of true communion … spirit
Back in our helicopter…. from our view we can see the positioning of the tribes outside the courtyard. God is an orderly God, He gave strict instructions where each tribe was to take their position and camp around the Tabernacle. Israel consisted of 12 tribes, and they were divided into four groups, (this is found in the book of Numbers chapter 2).
North: Tribes of Gad, Simeon, Rueben – totaling 151,450
South: Tribes of Dan, Asher, Naphtalli – totaling 157,600
West: Tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin – totaling 108,100
East: Tribes of Judah, Issacher, Zebulun – totaling 186,400
The tribe of Judah is closest and directly in front of the entry way to the courtyard. This could be symbolic of Jesus being the first point of entry, to the presence of God. Jesus’ lineage comes from the tribe of Judah, by blood and adoption, by tradition, legally and physically ~ both genealogies in Matthew (chapter 3) and Luke (chapter 1) list Judah.
We now end our helicopter ride, (pause and fix your hair!) and stand facing the gate. There is a curtain loosely hanging over the entry way. This is the only way in or out. No going over the fence, no going under, and definitely no back door. The fence of the law says ‘stay out’ but the door of the grace of God in Christ says ‘come in, whosoever will.’ Jesus said 8 times in the gospels ‘whosoever will’ all of which point to action to be taken by the believer. Remember last week we looked at the need for the ‘I will.’ of God. This is where the two meet, He will…. we will.
Jesus says in John 10, that He is the gate ‘I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture’ (v.9) In the book of Acts, Peter filled with the Holy Spirit says . ‘It is by the name of Jesus Christ, salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’ (v. 10, 12)
The gate ….what a beautiful type and shadow of coming to Jesus, standing before Him, and because of Him, He grants us access to the Father. Jesus says in John 14:6 ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ In today’s society many suffer from what I would call NTS ‘narrow thinking syndrome’, they hear this and think ‘that is just too narrow, and there has to be other ways’. God put in the heart and soul of every man and woman the desire for Him, for the divine. Yet leaves it up to us to come to Him and find Him, and choose Him. No – it is not too narrow, it is wide enough for the whole world. Again …. the ‘whosoever’. The most foundational verse of many of our Christian walks holds this to be true. John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
Definitely an ‘I will..’ of God meeting with the ‘whosoever will’ of man. It doesn’t stop there, it is continuous. The giving of God and the believing of man.
We first encounter the altar which stood just inside the gate. It had a large frame made of wood and covered with brass (or bronze). It had four horns, one in each corner . There was a fire burning continually in it’s belly. There was nothing sentimental or attractive about this large piece of furniture, it was blood-stained. But without it, no one could proceed into the Tabernacle. ‘It’s place at the entrance of the Tabernacle teaches us that Christ’s sacrifice, of which it is a type, stands at the very entrance of all our access to and communion with God.’1
The gate is where the priest would come and meet with the Israelite on an individual basis. The tribesman would come to sacrifice and worship. The worshipper would lay his hand on the head of the animal he brought to sacrifice to identify with the offering (Lev. 1:1-9). The priest would then slay the animal in the place of the Israelite and offer it on the brazen altar.
Here at the altar the priests sacrificed various offerings to God, some offerings were for their own sins and the other for the sins of the people. The whole purpose of the burnt offering was, a person might become accepted before God and forgiven (Leviticus 1:4) The offering had to be without blemish. This foreshadows the Lord Jesus, Who was examined by Pontius Pilate, who declared “I find no fault in Him at all” (John 18:38).
I want to briefly share 8 points of need for the blood, found in scripture through the process of God providing access to relationship with Him. While reading these, see if there is place where we need to pause… and consider and apply Jesus to an area of our lives… (some of this list is not original with me, but taken from a wonderful ‘boring-geeky looking’ book called Christ in the Tabernacle – by A.B. Simpson – a great read by the way)
First – First blood – in the garden, after the fall, God shed blood to clothe Adam and Eve ‘the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them’ (Gen. 3:21). The Lord is still ‘covering up for us’ isn’t He.
Second – Protective blood – the blood was to be placed over the door posts of the homes of the children of Israel, to escape death, the passing over of the angel of death. Just prior to their exodus from slavery in Egypt. (Ex. 12)
Third – Atoning blood – the blood that was shed, on the altar (courtyard of the Tabernacle) for the washing away guilt, and penalty… to stand in our place of ..obligation. Another’s death instead of our death. A life given instead of mine, – head bowed. (Ex. 29, Lev.1)
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I
have given it to you upon the altar to make
an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood
that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Lev. 17:11)
Fourth – Cleansing blood – the cleansing of one marked as ‘unclean’, (Lev. 14), a leper was sprinkled with blood of a sacrificed animal by the priests. Declared now ‘clean’. We too are now ‘clean’ before a Holy God.
Fifth – Covenant blood – (Heb. 9:19) Moses took sacrificed blood and sprinkled the book, the commandments. God’s covenant with man, is covered with blood. Every promise found in the Bible has been touched by Jesus Christ, endorsed it, purchased it .. for us.
Sixth – Consecrating blood – When dedicating the priests for worship, the right thumb, ear and toe were touched with blood. Setting them apart. (Lev. 8) We too are ‘set apart’. Our lives covered with the blood of Christ.
Seventh – Redeeming blood – We find blood on the mercy seat. (Lev. 16:14,15) Grace . Mercy!
Eighth – Final blood – Jesus’ blood.
‘The Son of man must suffer many things,
and be rejected of the elders and chief priests
and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day’.
(Jesus says of Himself – Luke 9:22)
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)
And they sang a new song: “You (Jesus) are worthy to
take the scroll and to open its seals, because you
were slain, and with your blood you purchased
men for God from every tribe and language and
people and nation.” (Rev. 5:9)
John continues on .
In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who
was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom
and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (v. 12)
Worthy is the LAMB.
Next week …. more….
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 You thrill me, LORD!)
I came across your devotionals on The Tabernacle of Moses.
This is our third week on the subject and this week we will cover “The Court Fence” and “The Gate of the Court”.
I enjoyed your devotions on the subject and your style of writing.
Keep up the good work, and may God bless you and your family.
December 6, 2007 at 9:42 pm
Pastor Jim ~
it is an honor that you would read a portion of my ‘dig’… I LOVE the word of God, it never disappoints! Enjoy your journey. Take plenty of time to ‘pause’ — take snap shots, and look for those treasures that await…. humbly consider the sacrifice… dip in the water at the water basin, feel the heat from the lamp, take of the bread on the table, and smell the wonderful fragrance of His presence! Jesus!
In His grace,
December 6, 2007 at 9:55 pm
I, too, have been blessed by your writings on the Tabernacle of Moses. I’ve been teaching a Sunday School class from the Ervin Hershberger book “Seeing Christ In The Tabernacle” and was searching the internet for additional information on the Gate and The Courtyard when I found your website. God bless you and thank you for your additional insight into the Tabernacle of the Wilderness.
January 19, 2008 at 7:45 pm
It is a joy to serve in a way that you too benefit. Enjoy God’s presence! May your class share your excitement.
January 19, 2008 at 10:25 pm