KEY SCRIPTURE Hebrews 9:11 & 8:5, 1 Corinthians 3:10-11
Part A Hebrews 9:11. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a GREATER and MORE perfect TABERNACLE, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Part B Hebrews 8:5. 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 shewed to thee in the mount.
Part C. 1 Corinthians 3: 10-11. But let every man TAKE HEED how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
How often do you hear preaching or studies on the Tabernacle of Moses? I've selected three scriptures to highlight its importance. After all, it's the pattern and example of things to come that rarely if ever, gets explored.
The Bible informs us that Israel's Tabernacle in the desert was the biblical example of the spiritual one we are to erect in our hearts (Albeit substandard). Shouldn't we, therefore, pour our efforts into exploring that?
The Tabernacle was a tent-style house of God and Israel's place of worship after God released them from Egypt. As the tribes camped under Mount Horeb (Mount Sinai), Moses climbed the mount to speak with God. He then returned with more than the ten commandments, as seen in the movies. God gave him the entire civil law to rule the people, the ceremonial law to rule the new priesthood and modes of worship, and the precise pattern to make, erect and work within the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle remained the centre of worship for many generations until King David designed a permanent Temple for the Lord, which his son Solomon built.
We hear sermons discussing elements of the Tabernacle, such as Christ being a perfect High Priest and a perfect offering. Still, the High Priest and the offerings were merely components of the full example of what is in the heavenlies. When do we hear about the rest of it?
Part A tell us that Christ is the High Priest of a greater and more perfect Tabernacle. Wouldn't that comment alone get us studying Moses' substandard model to better comprehend the more perfect design?
God instructed Moses to be accurate, "See, saith he, that thou make ALL things according to the PATTERN shewed to thee in the mount." Isn't Paul's warning to us in Part C similar?
Without a pattern of how we are to build our Tabernacle, we stumble along looking at scriptures in the hope that we're making what God wants. We produce what we think is right. But, who amongst us is building to a pattern as exacting as Moses did in the desert? (See Exodus chapters 25-40)
1 Corinthians 3:12-14 continues the warning but still doesn't provide us a full pattern. " Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest (revealed): for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward."
Surely, if the living God expects us to be involved in a better and more perfect option, wouldn't He supply the blueprint as clearly as He did for Moses? Wouldn't God want us to get this divine building right? In fact, wouldn't our Tabernacle, being considered more perfect, be more important?
Every wise builder builds according to blueprints. He prepares the land, lays the foundations and constructs the building according to a set pattern. Within that pattern is the order of structure. 1 Corinthians 3:12-14 above shows we are to do the same.
God told Moses to use certain materials and specific sizes and shapes, and build in a particular order. Some components were interlocked, layered, and sewn into other pieces. The measurements of heights, lengths and widths were precise, and even the coloured dyes for curtains and garments became part of the pattern. Certain jewels represented peoples and tasks, as did gold, silver and brass. Everything God required in that blueprint was specific, available, and used in its order. Even the gold was more refined the closer it got to the Mercy Seat. Do we think those components could be symbolic?
With that level of detail in the old Tabernacle, combined with the fact that God didn't seem to leave a New Testament blueprint other than "Follow Christ", is there a hidden language in the old Tabernacle blueprint? Furthermore, can the former priesthood teach us about our conduct as part of the New Testament priesthood? Also, do the former sacrifices hold spiritual answers for today?
We already have the answer to why God used a white curtain to surround the Tabernacle in a windswept desert instead of a more practical dyed one? Because white represents righteousness. ("And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Revelation 19:8)
But we could ask ourselves questions such as, why did King Solomon place 60 warriors around his bed; the same number as posts around the Tabernacle? Or why those posts, made of brass, had caps of silver? Or why the couplings on those posts holding up the white curtain seem like hands?
Moreover, we're told the 'gospel' is Jesus Christ. Yet Hebrews 4:2 tells us, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them (Israelites in the desert): but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."
What gospel was preached unto those Israelites? When did those desert dwellers hear of Jesus Christ? Can the full gospel be somehow hidden in the components, measurements and workings of Moses' Tabernacle?
When we were kids, my father told us that the Bible stands on the five books of Moses. Is this what he meant?
Dear Lord, these questions leave me with a lot more questions. I don't often look at the Tabernacle, but see there is more in it than I know. Please direct me to the scriptures you want me to see as I look closer at it.
Photo by Brett Jordan