The Tabernacle, The Materials For The Tabernacle Part 4 - Lesson 13
We are learning that in the building of the tabernacle God gives his children opportunity to work with their own hands.
The Apostle Paul recognized the importance of this when he told the Thessalonians in:
I Thessalonians 4:11, And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
Godís plan for his creation is that it be a working creation.
It is never a stagnant creation for life itself teaches that life and work are twin pillars in the structure of creation.
Everything that has life is also working.
Trees and plants and animals are in a constant motion that work brings.
There is no such thing as maturity without work bringing maturity.
There is no such thing as life without growth.
Nothing comes into the world finished.
Everything is made to do its part.
Trees start as acorns which by work, grow into great oaks.
In work itself God desires that we learn about him so the first major assignment for his people was to build him a dwelling place and to build it using their God provided hands.
Within this plan for a dwelling place God intended to instruct His people about Himself, and His purpose for them and their children.
And in this instruction there is much to be learned about Godís character simply in the materials called for in the construction of the tabernacle.
As we have said before God could have provided on earth a dwelling place for himself and it would have been majestic and glorious but he chooses for all of his creation that it be laboring together with him to bring about maturity.
We are not given to create raw materials so God must do that and do that he does by providing them to his children for their perfection, their completion.
Our God, our Father, will not hand over things to His children on a silver platter, ready prepared, ready to eat for He intends in the very preparation of the tabernacle to teach His children about Himself.
This is certainly a lesson for us in child rearing is it not?
But God gives us the gifts of hands for in the making of things much is learned, character is formed, self confidence is enhanced, imagination and creativity is rewarded and encouraged, and value is realized.
In Exodus 31 we are given the desire of God in that His people enter into the task at the raw material level for He calls Bezaleel and Aholiab who are filled with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.
They are called to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
You see the principle of God here is that his economy is one of co-laborship with Himself providing the raw materials and His people providing working hands to perfect those materials into finished products.
As I said last week and I think it worth repeating it is easy to see in our world that even in this detail Satan is against Godís principle of co-laborship.
So this world system is such that we live in an age of ready mix, ready prepared everything, things already made, so that craftsmanship is becoming a thing of the past whether it be in the kitchen, the shop, or the field.
Things are not built by individuals anymore as machines push individuals out and hands are becoming simply parts installers instead of raw material perfectors.
It is no wonder that jobs are disappearing for menís hands are becoming useless hands.
The world system moves us into becoming walking brand names instead of individuals as God intends for us to be.
I remember this demonstrated when a lady who lovingly makes her own greeting cards told me of the reception she received from one recipient who asked her if she couldnít afford Hallmark.
Going through our Christmas decorations each year we see our childrenís hand made ornaments which tie us as a family together.
Some of them were made in Mrs. Donahoeís art class 35 years ago.
What happened to the time when hand made things were valued?
Now we are simply told that prepaid credit cards are the thing to give and giving something home made indicates cheapness.
But God does not think this way for he has indeed given hands for hand work and this study of the building of the tabernacle brings this out.
God gave hands to be exercised in craftsmanship, and not subjugated to only be simply installers.
Our hands are to be holy hands, hands dedicated to Godís work, hands that are to be useful hands, hands to clean, hands to comfort, hands to build up, hands to take down.
God called his children after the exodus to first use their hands to bring raw materials to Moses and to return those God given materials in order that Godís dwelling place be built.
They were to bring the gold, silver, brass, blue, purple, scarlet, and white linen, goatsí hair, ramsí skins dyed red, badgersí skins, and shittim wood, 6Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, 7Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
The gold would picture the heavenly, that which was eternal, the silver a symbol of redemption, of the soul being ransomed or purchased, the brass will bring to mind Godís strength, and judgment in respect to the judgment God placed on Christ for our sins.
The linens, blue for the near heavens reminding us of Christís coming from above, the purple telling us of the royalty of Christ and his coming kingdom on earth, the scarlet colored linen of the blood of Christ that makes our participation in that kingdom possible.
The goatís hair which was to cover the structure of the tabernacle tells us of Godís plan for a scapegoat.
A symbol of our escape from the judgment of God in that God provides a scapegoat in Christ upon whom all blame that would have come our way is now turned upon Christ who bore the sins of the world.
And because of that bearing of sin, I and all who believe can appear before God blameless, clothed in the righteousness of another who gave himself for all who believe.
There are many references in the New Testament that speak of Christ as our scapegoat but two are them are Galatians 1:4, and 1 Peter 2:24:
Galatians 1:4, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
1 Peter 2:24, Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Now the next material the children of Israel were to bring was Ramsí Skin Dyed Red.
Exodus 36:19, And he made a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers' skins above that.
Rams Skin Dyed Red has been described by scholars as skins that had all the wool removed and then were dyed red similar to morocco leather.
The purpose of these tanned ram skins was to provide protective covering for the tent.
It was layered between the goat hair and badger skins.
Abraham used a Ram as a substitute for Isaac.
The ram was a substitute for Isaac so we believe that ramsí skin dyed red speaks of substitution, the red speaking of the blood that is required of the substitute.
Atop the ramís skin covering was another skin covering made of what the King James version of the Bible calls badgersí skins.
There is disagreement as to what animal is actually being referred to here for the Hebrew word for this is: takh'-ash.
Takh'-ash is described in Strongís Hebrew and Greek Dictionary as probably of foreign derivation; a (clean) animal with fur, probably a species of antelope: ó badger.
Various Versions of Exodus 26:14,
King James Version: And he made a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers' skins above that.
American Standard Version: And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of sealskins above.
New American Standard Version: You shall make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red and a covering of porpoise skins above.
New International Version: Make for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of hides of sea cows.
So this skin is what the observer saw as it was the outside covering of the structure.
Commentators say the skin most likely came from the Red Sea.
So we are not sure exactly what this covering was made of but it was the outer covering so it had to be a very durable weather resistant skin, capable of bearing up during the hot sun, drenching rains and high winds with dust and sand storms that swept across the desert.
What this appearance speaks of is not clear but some think it was a rough hewn appearance indicating the humanity of Christ and how he is portrayed in Isaiah 53.
Isaiah 53:2, For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
According to Isaiah, His earthly body had no form or beauty that men should desire Him outwardly.
But God looketh on the heart.
Even though He doesnít have outward beauty, He protects us, we who are the New Testament Tabernacle, the believer, from the elements of fear, guilt, sin, evil, death, loneliness, emptiness and the enemy.
He is our protective separation from the world.
He does this by setting us apart to God, sanctifying us with His Word, watching over us with His loving eyes, and surrounding us with His presence.
Our next God required material is shittim wood, known as acacia wood.
Shittim wood came from Shittim, which was in an area in the plains of Moab, slightly northeast of the Dead Sea.
Acacia was an extremely hard wood that was a mixture of brown and orange in color, a tree that flourished in the wilderness.
The tree was very plentiful in Old Testament times and grew in groves next to fast-moving bodies of water.
It was the craftsmanís prime choice for furniture because of its durability.
It is interpreted in the Greek as "incorruptible wood."
This wood speaks of the sinless Humanity of Christ while He was here on earth.
In a world filled with corruption, Jesus Christ is the only person who is incorruptible.
Because of him in us we are changing from corruption to incorruption.
I Peter 1:4, Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
As the shittim or acacia tree speaks of durability and strength Jesus is the perfect picture of durability, strength and incorruption.
The next material required for the tabernacle was Oil for the light.
The oil was made by crushing olives and was to be used to provide fuel for continuous light in the sanctuary coming from the golden lamp stand.
Exodus 27:20, And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.
Throughout the scripture; the olive tree is a symbol of fullness and fruitfulness, a choice tree among people.
It is a symbol of the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the fullness and fruitfulness it produces in our lives as believers.
In the Tabernacle the oil was used in the Lampstand, which illuminated the inner court, the Holy place.
The Holy place is the place of believers, the place where the believer receives the light, receives the bread of life, the place of prayer offered up to God.
It is the place of the Holy Spirit for the lampstand where the olive oil burns illustrates his work as he illuminates Godís Word to the believer who occupies the Holy Place.
John explained this further in 1 John 2:27, But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
The next required materials were the spices for the Anointing Oil and for Sweet Incense.
There were four spices used in this process.
These spices and incense speak to us of prayer that ascends unto the Lord as incense ascends upward.
Incense always moves from man to God for that is the direction of prayer.
God never prays to us.
David used this illustration of incense in Psalms 141:2, Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
The spices for this sweet incense would include the various aspects or types of prayer, intercession, praise, worship, and travail.
Onyx stones, the next material, are semi-precious stones required of God for those who served in the tabernacle.
The color of these stones is uncertain but their purpose was to be used on the priestís breastplate and ephod.
The Hebrew word for "onyx" (shoh-ham) comes from a root word meaning a flashing forth of splendor.
The names of the 12 tribes of Israel were to be inscribed on the two onyx stones.
Exodus 28:9, And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: 10Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
The picture is this: in Godís eyes, His people shine forth in splendor, as precious gems.
And the last material called for by God was stones or gems set in the Priestí Ephod and Breastplate.
Exodus 28:15, 21, And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. 16Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. 17And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. 18And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. 19And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. 20And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. 21And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
The Priest was to carry the names of Godís children on his chest in front of his heart before God in the Holy place at all times.
We are part of the New Covenant Priesthood unto God.
As our Mediator before God, Jesus bears our names on His chest as the gems and precious stones bore the names of the 12 tribes of Israel on the Great High Priest.
He is always interceding for us before the Father in Heaven as the Holy Spirit intercedes for us on earth.
Exodus 25:1-9, And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. 3And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, 4And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goatsí hair, 5And ramsí skins dyed red, and badgersí skins, and shittim wood, 6Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, 7Onyx stones, and 8And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. 9According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.