The Tabernacle, What The Tabernacle Foreshadowed - Lesson 8
In our previous lesson we learned of the Mosaic Covenant.
Mosaic meaning pertaining to Moses for Moses was Godís chosen vessel to whom he gave moral laws, civil laws and ceremonial laws.
The moral laws were basically the ten commandments, the civil laws involved person to person relationships and ceremonial laws ordered the religious life of the nation primarily shown in the giving of the Tabernacle, the Priesthood and the Offerings.
God intended for this body of law to set this body of people, called Israel, apart from all other nations in order that it would be Godís light to the dark world around them.
The Mosaic Covenant differed from the covenant that God made with Abraham for this covenant was a conditional covenant in that the blessings that God promised were directly related to Israelís obedience to the moral, civil and ceremonial laws.
Godís blessings were directly related to how faithful they were in keeping the law for departure from the law would bring punishment.
They were to be a separated and called out people and in this they were to be a witness to everyone around them that Jehovah, their God, was a covenant keeping God.
God boasted of their status before him in:
Deuteronomy 4:8, And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
These laws, pertained to every aspect of their lives, guiding them from the beginning of their nation in the wilderness, setting them apart as a peculiar nation, even to the day in which we live.
Law systems of most nations of the world have evolved from Godís law system.
The Bible records how great these laws are, but it also records the misery that comes to multitudes of lives as a result of neglecting them.
The Bible is full of the ups and downs of this people which always resulted from their obedience or disobedience to these laws.
Godís justice demands punishment for disobedience for disobedience is alien to Godís order of things in his creation.
It is obvious from our own experiences when there is no penalty there is rebellion.
Godís realm has no place for rebellion and there will never again be rebellion in Godís house for God will bring all things to a successful conclusion.
His justice will be carried out perfectly and in that carrying out of justice, Godís plan is that a door of mercy be opened that those whose sins are covered by the blood that was shed to fulfill Godís justice, are given entrance into Godís realm.
Jesus Christ fulfilled Godís justice for Godís justice required that the wages of sin be paid.
God did not change his mind about that but he provided the perfect one to pay those wages.
Godís mercy comes to the fore for God accepts in Jesus Christ the paying of the penalty for my sin and your sin.
The tabernacle portrays how God extends his mercy without abolishing his law, without forgetting justice.
The tabernacle was meant to reveal to Israel their sinfulness and their need for a Savior, and it is the Mosaic Law that Christ Himself said that He did not come to abolish but to fulfill, meaning that he kept the law perfectly and by believing on Him we join ourselves to that perfection.
The law is also, according to the Apostle Paul, a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
It was designed to be a foreshadowing of the bearing of sin by Christ, the perfect sacrifice and the perfect high priest, the only one who was acceptable to pay the wages for sin.
The Mosaic Covenant was never meant to provide salvation, it was only meant to point to the need for God himself to intervene in a life that was without hope for there is none righteous no not one except Christ himself.
Therefore, the Mosaic Covenant itself, with all its detailed laws, could not save people.
It is not that there was any problem with the Law itself, for the Law is perfect and was given by a Holy God, but the Law had no power to give people new life, and the people were not able to obey the Law perfectly.
The Mosaic Covenant was simply a prelude to The New Covenant in Christ which brings the fulfillment of the promises made in Jeremiah 31:31-34,
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
So everything that God does aims toward a people who have the law written in their hearts.
The gospel preached to Israel through the tabernacle, through its priesthood, its rituals, offerings and furniture, was based upon principles found in the New Covenant for the tabernacle was only a stop along the way to the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.
The problem with the Jew today is that he is still wrapped up in a teaching covenant only designed to bring him to the new covenant.
The new covenant has been here for 2000 years but darkness prevents the Jew from loosing himself from that which was only to be a foreshadowing.
God only has one gospel and that gospel, that good news is all wrapped up in one Savior His Son, Jesus Christ who came to reveal that which was previously presented only in shadow form in the tabernacle.
There was nothing in the tabernacle itself that provided for the salvation of the Israelites for the keeping of the law never was meant to justify them.
As we are today they too were justified by faith, but they in a coming sacrifice versus we being justified in a past sacrifice.
The only thing lacking in the Gospel preached through the tabernacle was that Christ had not yet died as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The tabernacle was designed to show to man his sinful condition and that sinful condition prevented him from standing before God.
It showed clearly the justice of God, what God required of those who were to stand before Him.
But it was simply knowledge that was being given so that man would yield himself to a Holy God admitting that He was without hope in himself and if salvation were to come it must come by the hand of that Holy God who himself would pay the wages of sin.
In witnessing the substitutionary sacrifice of bulls and goats day after day the Israelite was to see himself in a hopeless condition and only by God providing a perfect lamb whose blood would cover his sins, would there be any hope of salvation.
That message that was communicated to the Israelites was communicated by ritual but when the true lamb came it was not just another ritual.
It was a coming with the power to let us stand before God and have a not guilty judgment declared on our behalf and to take away the power of sin that had put us in bondage since the fall of Adam through whom sin passed upon all men.
We are only saved today because of the perfect Lambís sacrifice.
We are born again because of the perfect Lamb being slain.
We are free to walk through the gates of heaven knowing that the acceptable lamb has been sacrificed on the altar on our behalf and his sweet smelling savor has satisfied the justice of God.
We will not claim that we are there based on anything we have done for our ability to stand in Godís presence is only because of Christís willingness to humble himself and shed his blood on our behalf.
John, as reported in the book of Revelation witnessed the lamb that was slain and he wept before the Lord wondering why no man could open heavenís book of redemption.
But there was found one lamb, a slain lamb who was worthy.
All of the many thousands of bulls that were sacrificed at the tabernacle altar only foretold of that one lamb who was worthy.
That one was also the only one found to unloose the seven seals of the book revealed in the book of revelation and that one was pictured as the lamb that was wounded.
6And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
So the gospel message of the Tabernacle is that there is only one person who is worthy to be the lamb that taketh away the sin of the world.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, worthy is the Son of God Jesus Christ, who came into this world to be that lamb.
Now as to the history of the tabernacle it is a history that parallels the history of the nation of Israel itself.
Both came into existence at the same time for both were given the divine purpose of revealing Godís unfolding revelation of himself to mankind.
There is only one Israel for God desired that his message come though the line that was begun by faithful Abraham.
God chose Israel to be the proclaimer of that message by which He intended to divinely bless the world and the tabernacle was his means in how this blessing would be accomplished.
In our study we find the children of Israel in the desert after the greatest exodus of a people from one nation to another has taken place.
All that these people knew was of Egypt for many generations had passed since Joseph, the son of Jacob had died.
God heard their cries and sent Moses to lead them back to the land of their fathers, a land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
They had increased in size from seventy people in Jacobís time to an estimated population of more than 3 million souls.
They were a motley group of mostly liberated slaves who were only acquainted with hard labor for the Egyptians.
They did not know war, self government and their knowledge of God was very limited.
There was no written word of God and anything that they did know had been passed to them from generation to generation.
God chose to take them to the promised land by a circuitous route and that gave Him much time for instruction in the establishment of a nation.
Exodus 13:17, And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 18But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
So they traveled by way of the wilderness to the Red Sea to Mount Sinai where God began to establish them as a nation.
From Egypt, the Israelites sojourned 45 days before reaching Mt. Sinai.
While they were in the wilderness, God gave them laws through Moses to govern themselves.
Moses communed with God on Mt. Sinai on several occasions, two of which lasted 40 days.
During the first 40 day occasion God gave Moses the pattern for the tabernacle.
I imagine that Moses fully intended to begin construction of the tabernacle when he returned from the mountain but remember that instead of construction he was faced with a crisis situation, a crisis of rebellion.
Remember the Israelites earlier had heard God deliver the Decalogue which is the ten commandments and had heartily agreed to keep it but because of Moses extended absence they quickly reverted to idolatry.
Mosesí interceded on behalf of the people and prevailed upon God from consuming Israel in His wrath.
Exodus 32:10-11,14, Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? ÖÖ.. 14And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
God knew his man.
After this the construction of the tabernacle did not begin for another 42-days, after the Israelites departure from Egypt.
During the next seven months, named and anointed workers constructed it from freewill offerings of the congregation and according to the pattern God gave Moses.
Some 11 months and 15 days after their departure from Egypt, the tabernacle was completed and set up.
Exodus 40:17, And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.
It was at this time that the pillar of cloud, which had guided them from Egypt, covered the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord filled it.
The presence of the cloud over the tabernacle signified the guiding presence of the Lord.
When it rested over the tabernacle, they were to rest, and when it was taken up, they were to follow.
Some 50 days later, the pillar of cloud was taken up for the first time (Numbers 10:11) and the Israelites began their journey to the Promised Land.
They had been at Mt. Sinai for 11 months and 20 days.
While they were there, God had revealed to them everything necessary for their well-being, which was dependent on their obedience.