The Tabernacle, Godís Dwelling Place, Part 3 - Lesson 3
In our previous lesson we learned that God meant for the building of his dwelling place, the tabernacle, to be according to exacting requirements.
His specifications and plans for where He was to dwell among His people were tight and changes were not to be made.
We have learned that it was to be built by a freely giving people, a people who were not coerced into giving but a people who wanted to give from a heart who wished Godís house be built to please Him.
It was to be built by a people stirred up, a people excited about Godís house, a people who wanted to be involved, and a people who had a willing heart, a heart that cared about Godís will.
Godís house was not to be built by using the wisdom of this world but it was to be built by using the wisdom of God.
It was to be built in accordance with Godís word and under the guiding hand of the Spirit of God.
This was to be a house far different than anything that came from the world for God was its designer.
Think about this as God builds this church body.
This church is to be composed of a peculiar people.
Have you ever thought of yourself as peculiar?
Well this is what God desires for his people.
It was Godís desire in the Old Testament and it is Godís desire in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament God expressed this in Exodus 19:5,6, Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.
And in the New Testament God expressed this in I Peter 2:9, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
And Titus 2:14, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Now the modern primary meaning of "peculiar" is strange, odd, queer, quirky.
Perhaps you are peculiar by this definition, or at least you know someone who fits this definition.
But this is not what God means by peculiar.
His peculiar means appropriate, that which belongs to Him only.
It means singular, it means special.
So Titus 2:14 in the Amplified Bible reads this way, Who gave himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds.
Now donít you agree that the church ought to be special, donít you agree that it ought to be a body of believers that stand out from the world, built differently from the world, built to Godís pattern.
And that is what is emphasized in the building of the tabernacle for Godís exacting requirement necessary for the building of the Sanctuary of the Lord is that it be built by the divine pattern.
The writer of Hebrews 8:5 reminds us of Godís exact requirement for it brings to our minds the earthly priest, Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.
A study of Exodus 39 and 40 reveals that 17 times we are told that Moses built the Tabernacle "as the Lord commanded Moses."
In addition, at least seven times in other places he is told to make all things according to God's pattern.
Nothing was left to the mind or imagination of man.
Everything was to be made according to God's pattern.
God will only bless and seal that which is done according to the standard of His Word.
What is the lesson here for us?
It is that the church must be built according to the pattern of God that is revealed in his word.
We are to study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
And this applies to us as a church body.
We are not to think on our own when it comes to what the purpose is of the church, for we are to study Godís word to see that purpose and how to accomplish that purpose.
As children of God we are to be careful in following Godís pattern as we help to build His house.
The church is not to be what man decides it to be but what God has decided it to be.
God has so carefully given us instruction in the New Testament by calling the church the body of Christ.
He gives us a picture of the church by having us think about our body.
Now all human bodies have the same basic parts.
We all have hearts, we all have arms and legs and heads and torsos, livers and kidneys etc.
We all function the same but in that sameness God has brought in amazing diversity.
We function the same but we are all individuals and every one of us have a different personality.
But Godís people are to all gather around His word as they function as the body of Christ.
Who is the head of this body but Christ?
When the arm or the leg attempts to be the head everything is distorted and grotesque.
A church where Christ is standing outside the door and knocking is distorted and grotesque.
An arm or a leg that does not follow the instructions of the head is simply crippled.
That is where we find many of the churches of today for they attempt to build the church outside the pattern of Godís word.
As arms and legs, and feet and toes of the body of Christ we are to follow the exacting pattern that God has established for the church and we can only do this by studying the plans that God has given to us in his word.
This was emphasized so clearly in the building of the tabernacle for God will only dwell in that which meets his exacting requirements.
So if we expect our church to be in obedience to God we are to be a people who freely give, a people stirred up about the building of Godís house, a people made willing, a people who build in the wisdom of God, and in the Spirit of God, and without deviation building the house of God by the divine pattern that is given to us in Godís word.
And so it was with the tabernacle for God choose two men as its principal builders, two men who were obedient to His exacting requirements.
The first man was BEZALEEL.
He was a skilled workman filled with wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
As a man filled with the Spirit of God he had a vision of God's plan in his heart.
His very name proclaims that the hand of God was upon his life.
God says of Bezaleel in Exodus 31:2, See, I have called by NAME Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of JUDAH.
Bezaleel means, "in the shadow of God" or "God is my protection."
The name "Uri" means "light" or "splendor."
The name "Hur" means "noble, or free."
As the builder of Godís tabernacle we can see that Bezaleel in making a dwelling place for God, worked in the same manner that Godís spirit works in men today.
He is a type of the Holy Spirit for Bezaleel typifies the work of the Holy Spirit to bring us into: LIGHT, SPLENDOR, THE SHADOW OF God's PROTECTION and make our lives "noble" and "free."
The other man involved in the building of the Tabernacle was Aholiab.
Exodus 31:6 introduces him, And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;
Aholiab was a skilled man who was filled with wisdom and was the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan."
His name means "tabernacle or tent of my father" reminding us that Jesus was the Tabernacle or Temple of His Father.
For in John 1:14 we are told, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
That glory that we behold in Jesus Christ was pictured in the glory that was seen in the tabernacle of old when God dwelt there.
Jesus is the one who BUILDS the Tabernacle, which is the CHURCH for His Father.
The Church becomes a habitation of God by the Spirit of God.
Eph.2:20-22 referring to the church Paul tells us this, And are built (the church) upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
So God dwells only in a prepared house, a house prepared according to divine architecture.
His Spirit constructs his house only on the foundation of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ
This is pictured in the building of the tabernacle where God brought forth his plans which were faithfully carried out by
Moses, Bezaleel and Aholiab who only built to the Divine Pattern.
Now the revelation of the tabernacle to Moses is recorded in Exodus 25 thru 31.
This section of scripture provides exact details that God required in the building of His dwelling place.
In this passage God tells Moses what offerings and material are to be brought for the building of the Ark of the Covenant,
its covering called the Mercy Seat, the table of shewbread, the golden lampstand and what kind of oil to use therein, the curtains, the boards, bars and sockets, the veil, the tabernacle door, the brazen altar, the court, the pillars, the sockets, pins and cords, the Priestís garments and how they were to be consecrated, the golden altar of incense, the atonement money, the brazen laver, the anointing oil, and the incense.
This section closes out with the giving of the Ten Commandments on the two tables of stone.
Following this section in Exodus chapters 32-34 we are given an account of the building of the Golden Calf and the idolatry of Israel followed by the judgment of God.
By the way the forming of the Golden Calf was an attempt to build Godís house without following the pattern of God.
Cain was of the same ilk when he brought the fruit of the ground to God, the fruit that was rejected.
We cannot build the house of God by any pattern other than the pattern that is set forth in Godís Word.
Exodus 31 closes with the intercession of Moses and the second giving of the Ten Commandments on Tables of Stone.
Exodus 35-40 tells us of the final details of the actual construction of the Tabernacle and closes with the placement of the Ten Commandments and the Ark of God.
When all is faithfully done after the pattern that God has provided, the Glory of God filled the Sanctuary.
Now even in the positioning of the tabernacle amongst the tribes some Bible scholars say we can see a shadow of things to come for the tabernacle was to be surrounded by the tribes of Israel in a precise way.
God does all things decently and in order and even in the positioning of the tribes God meant to present a shadow of things to come.
As we know Israel consisted of twelve tribes.
We are told in the book of Numbers chapter two that the Lord spoke to Moses telling him the precise details as to what tribes and where those tribes were to pitch their tents in relation to the tabernacle.
The twelve tribes were divided into four groups with regard to their positioning around the Tabernacle.
Each group of three Tribes had their own particular standard or flag under which they encamped.
The flag which each tribe of the group was under, came from the principal tribe of that group.
Judah, Issachar and Zebulon were in the first group of tribes under the standard of Judah.
This first group was to position themselves on the east side of the tabernacle.
This was the largest group for their armies numbered 186,000.
Think about the headings of a compass, north, south, east and west.
The largest group was positioned on the east side of the tabernacle facing the rising of the sun each day.
If you go to old cemeteries most graves will also be in this position.
If the dead sat up in their grave they would be facing east.
The second group consisted of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin and were under the standard or flag of Ephraim.
This was the smallest group of tribes for their armies comprised 108,100 people.
The third group on the north side were the tribes of Dan, Asher and Naphtali under the standard of Dan.
This group consisted of armies of 157,000 people.
And on the south side were the tribes of Rueben, Simeon and Gad under the standard of Rueben.
The individuals that total this group almost equal the number of the group on the NORTH, 151,450.
Now a view from the air would reveal the tabernacle in the center of the host, the largest host on the east, the smallest host on the west and somewhat equal hosts on the north and south sides.
Some commentators say the positioning of the tribes and the tabernacle would have resembled a cross with the bottom toward the east.
This of course is only conjecture but God did carefully direct this configuration to take place and we have been told that all these things present a shadow of good things to come.
Certainly every child of God sees his savior at the center and all believers surrounding this center.
That perhaps was what God displayed as he so carefully choose which tribes to position around His dwelling place, the tabernacle.