THE TABERNACLE- INTRODUCTION
CBBI Mini-Series by Richard Lodwick
Ex. 25:9 According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
Rev. 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Well, here we are at one of the most exciting series a Christian can ever delve into. To not have at least a surface knowledge of the tabernacle is indeed to miss out on something astounding and beautiful. It will reveal a depth that only the true and Living God could put into the world and His book.
Preachers and teachers alike should have a good knowledge of the tabernacle, too. Indeed all of us should study to show ourselves approved unto God! Ours is far more than a surface relationship with our God and should be more than just a surface study of His Word. I hope you will see amazing and wondrous things (see Ps. 119:18) and see God and Jesus Christ as never before. As I said, only God could do something like this!
First, I gave you a cursory list of words, weights, and measures. Refer back to them as this study progresses. On it, I also gave you the Hebrew word, how it is pronounced, and a brief definition. Notice what a difficult language it is and the strange pronunciations and spellings. How would you like to be in 1st grade learning that stuff? I would suggest that you look them over completely before going on. There are some things in there that will surprise and amaze you!
This series will be a bit long, in the number of studies, but not so long as to be overwhelming. There is so much to study on this and it is impossible to keep it short. To be too short is to miss out on a beauty that is breathtaking.
I put this together in multiple ways. First, from knowledge and personal study over the years. Second from extended and extensive research into the writings of saved Jews. Third, from word studies in both the Old and New Testaments, so that we do not miss out on the real reason for studying it; the pointing to and picture of Jesus Christ! Now a few introductory comments. (There is so much that could be said, so I’ll be careful to limit it a bit and not get into the actual study of each item.)
First and foremost, I want you to consider something. Only two chapters in the Bible are devoted to a description of the creation of the world and mankind. Some other details, as we have seen in the larger CBBI study, are sprinkled throughout the rest of the Bible in bits and pieces, but for the most part, just 2 chapters are in Genesis on creation. BUT, 50 chapters are devoted to a description of the Tabernacle and its related ministries. Take a moment and meditate on that!
Believers, preachers, and teachers of the Bible should study the Tabernacle and it’s ministries for the following reasons:
- It is necessary for a proper understanding of God’s redemptive program and requirements.
- An understanding of the tabernacle informs sinful people about the Holiness of God.
- Knowledge of the tabernacle is foundational to an understanding of Jesus Christ’s fulfillment of God’s redemptive program.
- The Tabernacle demonstrates how a Holy God can rightfully manifest His presence, grace and mercy to a sinful people.
- The priestly ministry of the Tabernacle, of which Jesus Christ is THE High and better High Priest, reveals how sinful people can approach a Holy God with acceptable worship and sacrifice.
- Study of the priesthood is foundational to an understanding of Jesus Christ’s priestly ministry.
- Understanding the function of Israel’s priesthood enables Christians to have a greater appreciation of their role as believer-priests.
- The sacrificial system within the Tabernacle teaches the great necessity God placed on the need for a blood sacrifice to atone for sin. (Lev. 17:11)
- A proper understanding of the Levitical sacrifices gives Christians a greater understanding of God’s view of the various degrees of sin in the Old Testament.
- A good grasp of the Tabernacle is necessary to understand more than half of the book of Hebrews (and vice versa), as well as other portions of the New Testament, including all of what Jesus taught, was, and did! To NOT have an understanding of the Tabernacle is to, in reality, have only about 1/100th of the understanding and appreciation for Jesus Christ that one should have!
There are 5 names of the Tabernacle in the Bible:
- 1. The Sanctuary (Ex. 25:8)
- 2. The Tabernacle (Ex. 25:9)
- 3. The Tent (Ex. 26:36)
- 4. The Tabernacle of the Congregation (Ex. 29:42)
- 5. The Tabernacle of the Testimony (Ex. 38:21).
For 6 days Moses sat in silent contemplation waiting for direction from God. Then, suddenly, the silence was broken on the 7th day when God said to Moses out of the cloud, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
Lastly here, this was not the idea or design of man or Moses! It was all God’s initiation and instruction! Nothing was left to Moses’ speculation or whim. More than 20 times, in Exodus, you will see, “as the Lord commanded Moses.” God even gave the exact order in which Israel was to encamp around it! And, for almost 500 years it served as a place for God to dwell among His people and a place where His people could commune with Him (Ex. 25:8; 40:34-37). It was an ingenious, prefabricated structure that could be moved at will. It was the focal point of Israels community, culture, and life. One man has suggested that the encampment around it, by tribe, as prescribed by God, took up approximately 12 square miles. It is also estimated that the provisions for the people and animals were in excess of 30 train boxcars of food and 300 tank cars of water per day. And, if the people traveled 50 abreast, it would be a line that stretched for 40 miles. The Tabernacle was to be something of greatest importance and necessity.
There are many ways to put together a study like this. I cannot sit here and tell you, or give a description of, the pattern or method I used. MUCH prayer has gone into this series, and I relied on God, the Holy Spirit, to guide all the way.
Few people realize or give weight to the importance of the Tabernacle, that God gave to it in His Word. I pray that this study shakes you and amazes you, and more than anything else, gives you an awe of God and Jesus Christ that you never had before!
In closing, I hope you stick with this. To miss a week will be to miss out on that week’s beauty, and to miss out on, or lose, a significant piece of the whole picture of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament! If you have questions or comments as to how you are getting along in the study, please get them to me! May we be humble in His presence!
God bless you in this study!
3John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.