Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Tabernacle: A Foreshadow of Messiah... Part 3 - The Tabernacle

We come now to the actual tent of meeting, the tabernacle of the living God.

Everything that we have seen in the courtyard serves to make sinful people acceptable to appear in the holy presence of the Most High through the wonderful grace of God.  This was done through the reconciliation, redemption, and sanctification at the altar and laver.  We are now ready to abide with the Almighty.

The Structure

The tabernacle did not have solid ceilings such as a house would have.  The tent of meeting had four coverings... two of skins and two of woven carpeting. 
  1. The Badger Skins - This outer covering was not attractive at all.  This covering is a portrait of the Son of God; as Isaiah says in chapter 53:  "He has no form or comeliness;  and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.." 
  2. The Rams' Skins - The second covering of the tabernacle was made from the skins of rams and dyed red.  The ram was the animal for sacrifice; also used in the consecration of the priests.
  3. The Goats Hair - This inner covering was also called "the tent."  We are reminded of the garment and the appearance of the prophets.  In Acts 3:22, Peter applies these words with absolute clarity to the Messiah:  "For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren."
  4. The Fine-twined Linen - The innermost covering was skillfully woven linen with blue, red, purple, and cherubim.  Again, we have the colors representing the attributes of the Messiah:  righteous, heavenly, sacrificial, and royal.  The Cherubim of gold, express holiness, above the Mercy Seat and on the Veil, guarding the place of God (Gen. 3:24), barring any from God's presence unless they came by His provided way.  The covering was two curtains, joined together in two sets of five - foreshadowing the body of Messiah made up of both Jew and Gentile. 
Like the entrance to the courtyard, the entrance to the tabernacle was also on the east side.  Five pillars - acacia wood covered in gold - supported the curtain of the entrance through which the priests had access to the front part of the tabernacle.  This is the first appearance of gold in the tabernacle.  The curtain featured the same colors as the courtyard gate, but the doorway was smaller - 10 cubits (about 15 feet) square.

The walls of the tabernacle were boards of acacia, overlaid with gold.  What a picture of a worthy dwelling place for the Almighty God!  The entire length of the tablernacle was thirty cubits (about 45 feet).  The Holy Place was twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide, and the Holy of Holies was a ten-cubit cube (about 15 feet).

The boards of the walls were held together by poles of acacia overlaid with gold.  Each side had four poles, which helped to provide strength and stability to the entire structure.  From Ephesians 4:  "the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."  One pole remained almost invisible.  It ran horizontally through the middle of the boards and served to bind them from within - a picture of the Messiah Who is in control.  Only when all the poles were inserted in their places did the whole structure have the stability God wished it to have.

Coming soon:  The Holy Place.  Stay tuned!

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