The Tabernacle, Godís Dwelling Place, Part 4 - Lesson 4
Scripture is very clear as to the specifications that God requires be followed in any place where he chooses to dwell.
We are learning from the exacting requirements for the construction of the tabernacle, the exacting requirements that must be met in order for his dwelling place to be in the hearts of men.
The tabernacle then, is a lesson in the physical that teaches the truths of the spiritual, for when God chooses to dwell in you there are exacting requirements that you must meet.
God does not dwell in a heart that is not repentant.
God will not dwell in a heart that has not been born again by His Spirit, a heart whose sins are not under the blood of Christ.
God will not dwell in a heart that has not believed on His Son.
We use the Roman road in our personal evangelism to lead a person to Christ but the first Roman road is taught in the tabernacle.
It is a picture of God dwelling in a prepared house, prepared according to His 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 materials are to be brought for the building of the tabernacle, first mentioning the Ark of the Covenant that was kept in a place called the Most Holy Place.
An ark is simply a box or container and in this case it is a container for the tablets of the ten commandments, a golden pot of manna, and Aaronís rod or staff.
The most holy place, where this ark is kept, is the climactic place of the whole tabernacle structure for that is where all the other furnishings point.
That the tablets of the Ten Commandments are in the Ark shows us that God intends for all of his creation to operate according to His law.
We know that Jesus was our lawkeeper, for with our sin nature we cannot keep the law, but Godís intention in raising us up to heaven is for us to also perfectly keep his law.
For there will be no lawbreakers in eternity for all in eternity will love the law and operate according to Godís law.
The Arkís covering is called the Mercy Seat, which shows Godís mercy for those who cannot keep the law, a mercy that extends to the provision of one who is able to keep the law, God himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
In the area outside of the most holy place is an area called the Holy Place.
It contains the: the table of shewbread, the golden lampstand and the golden altar of incense.
At the entrance to the Holy place is the tabernacle door, a picture of the coming door, the door that must be traversed in order to get to the Most Holy Place.
Outside of the Holy Place you will find the laver, the cleansing place, then the Altar of Burnt Offerings, the place of sacrifice, and the outer courtyard, and the gate into the courtyard.
In addition to what Iíve just described God in Exodus 25 thru 31 gives exacting requirements for the making of:
the curtains, the boards, the bars and sockets, the veil, the court, the pillars, the pins and cords, the Priestís garments and how they were to be consecrated, the atonement money, the anointing oil, and the incense.
The following passage of Exodus 25 thru 31 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 forsook Godís word and brought the fruit of the ground to God, the fruit that was rejected.
Others of this ilk were the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, who presented spurious or illegitimate fire before the Lord which he had not commanded them to do, and they were consumed.
God gave Noah exacting instructions for the building of an ark and all who rejected that one safe place were destroyed.
It is a fearful thing to try to build Godís house outside of the pattern that He commands.
We cannot faithfully build the house of God by any pattern other than the pattern that is set forth in Godís Word.
Doesnít it make sense that the owner of the house should have his house built according to his plans?
Who are we to so interject our thoughts and desires?
Exodus 34 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 Ark of God and the Ten Commandments.
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 group was privileged to be on the gate side of the tabernacle for the gate to the courtyard was on the east side.
This tribal group, Judah, Issachar and Zebulon, was the largest group for their armies numbered 186,000.
Think about the headings of a compass, north, south, east and west for according to these headings was the tabernacle placed.
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 for this is the direction scripture tells us that Jesus Christ will appear at his second coming.
We find this in Matthew 24:27, For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Have you ever wondered why the sun rises each day in the east.
This is not a coincidence or something from chance for Christ shall come from the east and every day when the sun rises in the east God intends for us to remember that Christ is coming.
Also in speaking of the future temple Ezekiel refers to the gate that looketh toward the east.
Ezekiel 43:1-7, Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: 2And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. 3And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. 4And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. 5So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house. 6And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.
The second group positioned on the west side of the tabernacle, 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, a view from the east looking west, would reveal the tabernacle near 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.
This certainly is at least God telling us that our lives are to be God centered lives, Christ centered lives.
That perhaps was what God displayed as he so carefully choose which grouping of tribes to position around His dwelling place, the tabernacle.
In our following lessons we will be studying the details of the tabernacle which was simply a portable tent with various curtains and coverings over a wooden structure located within an outer courtyard.
The portable tent was divided into two areas, one called the Holy place where the The Golden Altar of Incense; The Table of Shewbread; The Golden Candlestick was placed and the other called the Most Holy place, the location of the Ark of the Covenant with its contents, and covered by what is called the mercy seat.
The Outer Court contained the Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver.
The purpose of the tabernacle is to show man the way to God.
In one word it is the Way.
The Tabernacle is a picture of God's plan of salvation to man, a picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is illustrated in seven main ways:
The Way of Introduction is shown in the gate of the outer court.
Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, Enter ye in at the strait gate...because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life.
It is interesting to see the physical layout of this courtyard and how small it is.
The gate is singular and narrow.
There is only one gate into the courtyard. It is placed at only one place.
The Way of Reconciliation of God to man is pictured in the brazen altar.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21, To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The brazen altar is the place of sacrifice, and it shows a subsitutionary sacrifice will only be accepted by God for we are without merit as a sacrifice.
As a blemished animal was rejected as a sacrifice we too come to the altar with blemishes and are rejected.
Only the unblemished was accepted which pictures the absolute need for God himself to be our sacrifice.
The Way of Separation is pictured in the laver.
John 13:10, Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save
to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
John 15:3, Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
The Way of Illumination is pictured in the golden candlestick.
John 8:12, Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
The Way of Satisfaction of is pictured in the table of showbread.
John 6:35, And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that
cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Hebrews 13:15, By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise
to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
1 John 1:3, That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We can only have communion with the Father by being perfect, by keeping Godís law perfectly.
And this can only be done through an intermediary, Godís son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The picture of the tabernacle is a picture of approaching God through Jesus Christ,
We pray to God in Christís name for our name holds no weight with God.
Only if we follow Godís exacting pattern, a pattern though Jesus Christ will we be accepted in the Ark of God.