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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Tabernacle - Part I

The Tabernacle

Exodus 25:9 According to all that I show you, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments of it, even so you shall make it.

The Tabernacle of God was a mobile place of worship and meeting place with God.

Jeremiah 17:12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.

The Tabernacle was to be a house of Peace so there is no iron in it's making (a military metal). The Tabernacle was a sign of God's Presence, protection and guidance. It is His resting place with His people. Where He went, they would go. Where He stopped, they would stop. It was a palace for their King (God was their King and Leader) and a place of worship for their God. It was the highest proof of God's grace and mercy towards the Israelites. It was the place where the people could come to make their petitions and from where God issued His responses and commands.

Let's look at the Tabernacle in more detail. The Tabernacle was mobile so it was a tent with curtain walls around the Outer Court.

Exodus 26:1,2 And you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined bleached linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet. You shall make them with cherubs, of the work of a cunning workman. The length of one curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits. And every one of the curtains shall have one measure.

The Tabernacle is measured in cubits which is the measure from the elbow to the tips of the fingers or the measure from the elbow to the root of the hand. Therefore we can't be exact on the measurements. Let's start with the curtains of the Outer Court. They were 7 1/2 - 8 1/2 ft high. The curtain fence covered a rectangle that was 150-175 ft long by 75-87 1/2 ft long. This curtain fence was held up by poles, or pillars, made of acacia (or shittim) wood which was a wood that did not rot. Rather it got harder as it aged. The pillars of support were outfitted with sockets of bronze and caps of pure silver. Wood always symbolizes humanity. Righteous humanity is where God rests on earth today. And we are only righteous through Jesus Christ. We are now the temples of the Holy Spirit.

The curtains were to obscure the Tabernacle from general view and protect it from common entrance. God arranged for one entrance, through a gate on the East side of the compound. Those who came upon the encampment of Israel in the Wilderness would have seen the white Tabernacle curtains in the center of the camp. They would have stood out against the drab colors of sand and the dark colors of the tents of the people. It represented holiness to all who saw it. It was impossible to see inside the Tabernacle from the camp outside: the white linen curtains made a separation between the outside world and the beauty in the Tabernacle. The Gospel of Salvation should shine as a light to the world. But there is separation between the world and the beauty of a relationship with God. Our sins separate us from God. The only way to enter into the presence of God is to go through the prescribed gate, Jesus Christ. We cannot enter any way we choose. All religions DO NOT lead to the same God and salvation. Only belief in Jesus Christ leads to God and salvation. Only Jesus can forgive us of our sins and lead us to a relationship with our Father God. For the unholy, the curtains excluded them from relationship with God. For those who enter through the prescribed gate (salvation through Jesus Christ), the curtains represent protection, shelter, a shield, a defense and glory.

The curtains were made of white, blue, scarlet and purple linen with figures called cherubim worked in the design. From the outside the curtains were white and from the inside you had the colors and cherubim. The colors are white for purity, blue for heavenly or deity, purple for royalty and scarlet for humanity (the blood of Christ). To get the purple color, the Hebrews mixed blue and scarlet together. (Christ is perfect God and genuine man.) The four colors are like the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) that are woven together to present a complete picture of Jesus. The cherubim are angelic beings that represent the righteous government of God, and are the executers of God's righteous judgement. (Ezekiel 1: 5-10)

The curtains had loops all down the sides and they were hooked together with golden clasps. There was not to be any pulling apart so people could enter just any where. There was only one entrance and that was the gate on the East side. Just as there is no way to salvation except through Jesus Christ. God provided one way to salvation and it's through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.

The curtains enclosed a courtyard and the Tabernacle proper. The courtyard is also known as the Tent of the Congregation. The courtyard had only one entrance called the East gate. It was about 30 ft long, beautiful and inviting. Made of blue, purple, scarlet.

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:9)

All Jewish worshippers could come to the gate of the Outer Court to bring a sacrifice to atone for their sins and it was their appointed place of assembly. Jesus is accessible to all who seek Him. The Outer Court was open to the sun and had natural light. The flooring was the sand of the desert. Christ is "a Root out of a dry ground" (Isa. 53:2, referring to Jesus being born a Jew). But although the floor of the Court was the sand of the wilderness, yet it was a sacred enclosure, holy ground. Christ was a human man born a Jew, but He was also God and born of God. He was God-man. Jesus is our sacrifice for our sins. He is our atonement for our sins. All are welcome and invited to enter but they must enter through faith in Jesus Christ. With the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to open the door, none are turned away.

Read my other posts on The Tabernacle.

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