The Tabernacle in the Wilderness. Part Three

“And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8.”

The Tabernacle in the wilderness which became the center of all worship of the children of Israel during their journeyings was designed by God Himself in heaven.

It was a perfect replica of something which already existed before; it is a picture, a type and shadow of the Lord Jesus Christ, where God meets man, and where deity and humanity meet in one person.

The Shadow of the Cross. And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits. Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it. Exodus 27:1,8.

The first article of furniture the sinner passing through the eastern gate of the tabernacle encountered, was the altar of burnt offering. The word “altar” means “to lift up.”

The altar, the place of lifting up. Points to the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which He Himself said: “And, I if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me John 12:32. The altar was the place of substitutionary sacrifice. The blood of the animal was poured out at the base of the altar, and the body was consumed upon the altar itself.

It was the place of death. The place where the ravages of sin were put to death. It stood between the gate of the court and the approach to the tabernacle. It barred the way to everyone who would come. One could not approach the tabernacle except by way of this altar, which of course, speaks of Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was both a way to God, and a barrier to God.

Here I am following the order given in the Bible of the explanations of the articles used in the tabernacle.

The Altar of Incense. Exodus 30:1,6,9. Read. The altar of incense was made of shittim wood overlaid  with pure gold. It is again a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity, and the gold speaking of His unchangeable deity. It was three feet high and one and a half-feet square. It was the tallest piece of furniture in the holy place, and speaks of the highest act of worship possible, that of prayer and priestly intercession.

The altar of incense, which symbolized daily prayer to God, was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ as our intercessor. This intercession is spoken of in Hebrews 7:25: Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

The altar of Incense held the central position in the holy place directly in front of the veil and the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies. The incense was to be offered as a continual offering upon coals taken  from the Brazen altar at the door of the tabernacle.

It is the most complete type of our savior now in heaven as our interceding High Priest. The writer of Hebrews informs us: For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Heb. 9:24.

Incense is a common Biblical figure for prayer and for intercession on the part of God’s people. David says in Psalm 141:2, Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense. The golden altar is a flat denunciation of any claim to perfection in walk which the priest or we might make.

The claim of sinless perfection, the presumption that the old nature is completely eradicated, root and branch, is a blunt denial of the priestly office and the intercessory work of the Lord Jesus Christ today at the right hand of God.

Only the Blood. Exodus 30:9,10 read. The basis of the efficacy (the power to produce an effect) on the golden altar lay in the blood, taken from the altar at the door of the tabernacle. In regards to the golden altar we read: And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements.

The intercession and the incense received their value completely and exclusively from the blood shed at brazen altar. Everything rests upon the blood of the Cross, the death and the resurrection, and the shedding of the blood of Christ. More will be said in an upcoming teaching on the significance of the blood.

The Ransom Money.  Exodus 30: 11-16. “And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.”Ex.30:16.

The word “atonement” means “to cover.” This ransom money was collected and used in the service of the tabernacle. It was not a free will offering; it was a requirement.

The ransom money amounted to a half shekel of silver (about one-fifth ounce).    Since the tabernacle stood on the silver foundation, it pointed to our redemption in Christ. We are redeemed from an evil world of corruption and are set aside (sanctified a process) to the sacred service of the Lord.

The money which was silver was used in the foundation pieces which held the boards of gold. Judas was paid thirty pieces of silver for leading the Pharisee to Jesus. Matthew 26:15.

The Bronze Laver. Exodus 30:17-21. Read. The priests used the laver to cleanse their hands and feet. It had a top piece and a bottom piece. Exodus 38:8 reveals where Moses got he brass or bronze, to make the laver. Brass as we know speaks of the judgment of God, able to withstand the fire of testing. Water is symbolic of the Word of God. Here at the laver the “sins of the saints” taken care of. At the altar the “penalty” of sin was settled forever, but at the Laver the “defilement” of sins committed by the believer after regeneration are provided for completely.

The Laver speaks of separation from the world through confession of sin and cleansing by the Word of God. It speaks self-judgment and yielding to God for His service alone.

The looking glasses of that day were not made of glass but highly polished bronze. The Laver was made from the looking glasses of women of Israel, which they had carried from Egypt on the Passover night. A mirror reflects  the natural features of the individual person looking into it. Looking glasses were for the glorification of the flesh, and the gratification of the old nature. They are a symbol of human vanity and human pride.

The laver, then speaks of separation from the flesh and the world, and from the old nature with its pride and lusts, habits and sins.

In summary the floor of the Tabernacle was dirt, there were no chairs, the priests could never sit down. His feet were always on defiled dirt floor. Now this cleansing was accomplished by the washing with the water in the Laver.

Three Rooms The Tabernacle, therefore, had three compartments, an outer court (place of sacrifice) The Altar of sacrifice, where the sacrifice was totally consumed.

An inner room called the holy place (place of worship) where there would be no outside light only the Light of the Lampstand, and where there was a Table of Showbread, and the Altar of Incense.

The innermost room or compartment, the Holy of Holies (place of spiritual communion with God and victory in Christ). The Ark of the Covenant where God would commune with the high Priest once a year on the day of Atonement. The Ark had three memorials within, Aaron’s rod that budded, the pot of Manna, and the tablets of stone on which God wrote the Ten Commandments.

One most never forget to mention what was between the two cherubim who guarded the Throne of God. Above all within the Ark was a Mercy seat where God was present. In that place the manifested presence of God was witnessed by the shekinah glory which was a blinding light. So much so the high Priest had to pour incense over the coals and swing the incense pot enough to fog the room, so the priest would not be blinded or struck dead if the proper sacrifice had not been offered.

The high priest with one hand swung the pot of incense and in the other sprinkled the Mercy seat with the blood of the sacrifice and God would postpone the sins of Israel until the next year until the Lamb of God came as the promised Messiah.  James 2:13 says in the latter half of the verse: “Mercy triumphs over Judgment.” At the Mercy seat which was a throne of judgment God extended His Mercy to Israel.

An example of the intensity of the Shekinah light occurred When Saul of Tarsus was knocked off his high horse on the road to Damascus in Acts Chapter 9. Saul became Paul and was blind for three days.

God clearly wants to live in a three-room house. When He made Adam, He created him as a three-room dwelling place for Himself. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is spoken by Paul about our tri-part being. Adam had a body and a soul and a spirit. This three part being reflects the image of God in which he was created. As a tabernacle for God, he was God’s dwelling place here on earth.

But Adam sinned, and the Lord departed, because He will not dwell with sin. But when the Last Adam came, the Second Man, Christ Jesus, He became the temple of God. This temple (Jesus) again had three rooms; a body, a soul, and a spirit. He was perfect man, and therefore was the fit tabernacle for the dwelling place of God.

But He went to heaven, and since God wants to live in a house upon this earth, He now dwells in the believers individually, and the Church as the Body of Christ collectively, and He wants us to open the entire house to Him : our body, our soul, and our spirit.



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