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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Tabernacle - Inner Court

Inside the Tabernacle Tent

Do you notice how the Tabernacle furniture is arranged? Yes, in a cross shape!

In the previous studies I went over the construction and symbolism of the Tabernacle fence, the Outer Court and the exterior of the Tabernacle tent. See blog entries below
Only the Priests were allowed inside the Inner Court.

Inside the Tabernacle there are only two rooms. The first and larger of the two rooms is the Inner Court, aka Holy Place. Then there is a veil and the second room is the smaller room called the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place. Therefore the inside of the Tabernacle and it's furniture were for a place of communion or fellowship with God.

Today we will look at the Inner Court, the Holy Place and examine it's furniture. You will remember that, in examining the exterior of the Tabernacle we said that the first curtain over the Tabernacle tent was the one see from inside. It constituted the interior ceiling of the Tabernacle. It was made of fine linen and woven or embroidered with figures of cherubim in blue, scarlet, purple. See previous blog entry for symbolism of the colors and cherubim.

We also know, from a previous study in a prior blog entry, that the walls were made of acacia boards overlaid in gold set in sockets of silver. See previous blog entry for symbolism of the walls.

Can you imagine the splendor and magnificence of the gold walls and the colorful ceiling?

What are the 3 items of furniture in this room? A golden Lampstand, a golden Table of Shewbread, and a golden Altar of Incense.

The Lampstand (aka The Candlestick)

Exodus 25:31-40 And you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand shall be made of beaten work; its shaft, and its branches, its cups, its knobs, and its blossoms, shall be from it. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it-- three branches of the lampstand out of the one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three almond-like cups on the one branch, with knob and blossom; and three almond-like cups on the one branch, with knob and blossom, so for the six branches, those going out of the lampstand. And in the lampstand shall be four almond-like cups, with their knobs and their blossoms; and a knob under two branches of it, and a knob under two branches of it, and a knob under two branches of it, according to the six branches, those going out of the lampstand. Their knobs and their branches shall be of it, all of it one beaten work of pure gold. And you shall make the seven lamps of it. And one shall light the lamps of it, so that they may give light on its face. And the tongs of it, and its pans shall be of pure gold. One shall make it of a talent of pure gold, with all these vessels. And see that you make them after their pattern, which was shown you in the mountain.

Once you go past the entrance curtain and into the Inner Court (aka Holy Place) there is no natural light. The only light comes from this large lampstand that is fueled with pure olive oil (which burns without smoking) and wicks. It was made of pure hammered (or beaten) gold. To get pure gold they melted it 7 times, each time skimming out the impurities. The #7 always represents perfection, total purity and completeness. There are 7 items of furniture in the Tabernacle.

1. Brazen Altar
2. Brazen Laver
3. Golden Lampstand
4. Table of Shewbread
5. Altar of Incense
6. Ark of the Covenant
7. Mercy Seat lid of the Ark of the Covenant

This Lampstand was to have a shaft with 3 branches on one side and 3 branches on the other side leading to 7 total lights. The sevenfold radiance of the Lampstand speaks of Christ as the "brightness of God’s glory" (Heb. 1:3). Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Christ to us. The Holy Spirit prepares us for salvation. Once we are saved the Holy Spirit resides in us in order to mature our newly born spirits. He says that the Holy Spirit will convict the World (the work of preparing and wooing people to accept the gift of salvation) and to teach the saved the things of God and remind us of them. We can also be "baptized" in the Holy Spirit which is a separate experience that means we ask God to completely fill us with His Spirit in such a way that we lose control and God takes control. The evidence of this infilling is speaking in tongues but there are other gifts that the Holy Spirit can use, through us, such as healing, prophesying, words of wisdom, etc. When we are letting the Spirit use us to accomplish His Work, these gifts are a natural result. They are not gifts that we can summon up or conjure up like magic. We are only vessels that the Holy Spirit uses. The more broken and humble the vessel, the more the Spirit can and will use. Pride and arrogance is a sure way to lose that power. The Holy Spirit is seen as "seven Spirits which are before His throne" in Revelation 1:4. In Revelation 3:1 Christ is spoken of as "He that hath the seven Spirits of God."

Almond blossoms with almond fruit
Each shaft was to end with a bowl made to look like almond blossoms with ornamental knobs that represent almonds (the fruit of the almond tree) and may have been used to adjust the wicks. The olive oil flowed through the shaft through the branches and up to the almond blossom where the wick was kept trimmed and lit.

Olive tree and olives

"As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world" (John 9:5)

The world rejected the "Light of the World", Jesus Christ. He was crucified by wicked hands because the world esteemed Him not. Now the Light dwells in the Holy Place (aka Inner Court) in God's presence. Praise God, we, who are saved, can enter the figurative Tabernacle and enjoy the Light of Christ. But woe to those who reject Him.

"the way of the wicked is as darkness" (Proverbs 4:19)

The "beaten gold" here speaks of a suffering Christ who is now glorified. Christ's work on the cross was prophesied in Isaiah 53 approximately 700 years before Jesus was born.

For He comes up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He has no form nor majesty that we should see Him, nor an appearance that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken. And He put His grave with the wicked, and with a rich one in His death; although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased Jehovah to crush Him; to grieve Him; that He should put forth His soul as a guilt-offering. He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul. He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify for many; and He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide to Him with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death; and He was counted among the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors.

The pure olive oil represents the Holy Spirit. The Lampstand represents Christ as the root and we are the branches.

John 15:1-5 I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered. And they gather and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you shall be My disciples.

The almond blossom bowls and the almond knob represent the flowering and fruit bearing. If we have the Holy Spirit flowing through us then there should be a natural result, a fruit. What kind of fruit would occur if someone has the Holy Spirit flowing through them?

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Why did God designate the bowls and knobs to look like an almond blossom instead of an apple or pear tree? Because an almond tree is the first of the fruit trees to blossom after winter. Like Crocuses they herald the advent of Spring. They represent the Resurrection of Christ. Just like trees and bushes and flowers have to die in the Winter and then come back in the Spring...Jesus Christ had to die for us and yet He rose again! And with Him, we, who are saved, will also be resurrected to live forever with Him!

The Lampstand was placed in the South side of the Inner Court which represents warmth, light, radiance and blessing.
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Table of the Shewbread

Exodus 25:23-30 You shall also make a table of acacia-wood, its length two cubits, and its breadth a cubit, and its height a cubit and a half. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, and make to this a crown of gold all around. And you shall make to it a border of a hand's breadth round about. And you shall make a golden crown to the border of it, all around. And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet of it. The rings shall be adjoining the border as housings for the staves to carry the table. And you shall make the staves of acacia-wood and overlay them with gold, so that the table may be carried with them. And you shall make its dishes, and its spoons, and its pitchers, and its sacrificial cups with which a drink-offering is made. You shall make them of pure gold. And you shall set upon the table Bread of the Presence before Me always.

Leviticus 24:5-9 And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes of it. Two-tenth parts shall be in one cake. And you shall set them in two rows, six on a row, on the pure table before Jehovah. And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, so that it may be on the bread for a memorial, a fire offering to Jehovah. Every sabbath he shall set it in order before Jehovah forever, from the sons of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'. And they shall eat it in the holy place, for it is most holy to him of the fire offerings of Jehovah, by a never-ending statute.

This is another symbol of communion and fellowship with God. The Table of Fellowship.

Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies

John 6:32, 33 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world'

John 6:51, 52 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you"

It was made of acacia (or shittim wood) overlaid with gold which unites the humanity and deity of Christ. It was to have a crown around the edge to protect the cakes and Frankincense from getting knocked off. This represents our King Jesus who protects His people so that none are lost.

This shewbread consisted of twelve perforated loaves or cakes, made of fine flour; baked, and placed in two rows upon the Table, on which pure frankincense on top of each stack for a memorial. Jesus was pierced by the nails and the spear. The 12 loaves represented the 12 Tribes of Israel. The loaves were all the same size and were equally divided into 2 stacks which indicated that the tribes were equally important to God. There was not partiality. The loaves remained before the Lord for seven days, when they were removed and eaten by Aaron and his sons, in the holy place. The bread was before the face of God always, and represents its acceptableness to Him, and foreshadowed the person of Christ as the One in whom the Father considered His delight.

1 Cor. 10:16, 17 "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we brake, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread".

The Altar of Incense

Exodus 30:1-9 And you shall make an altar to burn incense upon. You shall make it of acacia-wood. A cubit shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth. It shall be square. And two cubits shall be the height of it, its horns from itself. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, its top, and its sides all around, and its horns. And you shall make to it a crown of gold all around. And you shall make two golden rings to it under the crown of it, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides of it you shall make it. And they shall be housings for the staves to bear it with. And you shall make the staves of acacia-wood and overlay them with gold. And you shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy-seat that is beside the testimony, where I will meet with you. And Aaron shall burn sweet incense on it every morning; when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before Jehovah throughout your generations. You shall offer no strange incense on it, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meal offering. Neither shall you pour drink offering on it.

The Altar of Incense (aka the Golden Altar) was set directly in front of the Veil and the High Priest had to pass it to get to the Veil and then into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat were. The golden altar was used for burning incense, which twice every day was offered by the priest after he had tended the wick and oil on the holy lamps. Its horns were also sprinkled with the blood of the sin offering. The incense was burnt on pieces of hot coal, which the priest removed in a censer or fire pan from the Brazen Altar in the courtyard. A censer apparently was a shallow bowl or pan with a handle on it.

This Golden Altar speaks of Christ Himself, and the incense was a figure both of His intercession and the praises which He presents to God. Through Jesus we pray to the Father and praise the Father. The smoke from the incense also represents our prayers and praises through Jesus. Jesus is always before God on our behalf acting as our High Priest, presenting us to the Father, making intercession for us.

Leviticus 16:12, 13 and Numbers 16:46 say the fire on which the incense was laid had been taken from off the brazen-altar, where the sin-offering was consumed,

‘Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Thine altars O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God’ (Ps. 84:3).

Both altars are mentioned and form the solid and abiding rest for our poor and needy soul.

The incense was sacred, for tabernacle service only and if anyone manufactured any for his personal or family use it meant the death-penalty for his presumption (30:28). Only the priests of the seed of Aaron were allowed to handle it. Poured out on burning coals the incense produced a sweet aroma in the Holy Place. It was the offering of the person whose sins had been forgiven by blood and who then went on to express the fragrance of love and worship, which was most pleasing to God

Exo 30:34-38 And Jehovah said to Moses, Take to yourself sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; sweet spices with pure frankincense, a part of each one. And you shall make it a perfume, an incense according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure and holy. And you shall beat some of it very small, and put it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. And the perfume which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves according to the way it is made. It shall be holy to you for Jehovah. Whoever shall make any like that, to smell of it, shall even be cut off from his people.


Frankincense is tapped from the very scraggly but hardy Boswellia tree through slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. Frankincense was lavishly used in the Jewish Tabernacle (and later the Temple). In Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense and myrrh were among the gifts given to Jesus by the wisemen from out of the east.

Frankincense trees and resin

Onycha: Onycha is the operculum of a mollusk found in the Red Sea. It was used in ancient incense and perfume formulas as a fixative to help amplify the overall fragrance of a compound or formula. This needs to be ground into very fine powder and be used in proper ratios to have the desired affect.

Stacte: There are many different interpretations about what plant or tree Stacte is. We believe it is Storax or Styrax. This is a gum resin, but can also be obtained periodically in a powder form the bark of the tree. The gum resin has a chemical type smell. Again it is typically used as a fixative in a fragrance compound or formula. When blended correctly it will create a interesting balsamic aroma.

Galbanum: Galbanum is a gum resin obtained from a large perennial herb that contains resin ducts. The resin is collected by making incisions at the base of the plant. Galbanum resin often has plant particles, stems and twigs in it. It has a very strong green, turpentine scent. Again it is used mainly as a fixative.

Notice that all the incense ingredients were hammered, beaten, gathered by piercing the bark or flower stem. All of this represents Jesus, who was beaten, pierced, crushed for our sins. This incense was described as precious (valuable), sweet, pure and holy. All which describe our Savior.
This incense was to be kept burning perpetually which represents that Christ is eternally before God, the Father, on our behalf.

Rev 8:3-4 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.

Read more of my posts on TheTabernacle.

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