STUDY 1: An Introduction to the Tabernacle and It’s Purpose

“LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.” –  Psalm 26:8 (KJV)

1. 1 - TABERNACLE - WITH BORDERS.jpg
A DEFINITION OF THE TABERNACLE 

The Lord said to Moses, “…let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25:8 (KJV). “I will put My tabernacle in your midst, and My soul shall not loathe you” (Leviticus 26:11).

The Tabernacle (which in Hebrew is: מִשְׁכַּן‎‎, mishkan and means “residence” or “dwelling place”), is also referred to by Yahweh God as the “Tent of Meeting” (Exodus 40) and comprised of both a “Holy” and “Most Holy” place which was surrounded by a fenced court area.

The Tabernacle represents how the plan of God proceeds during the age of Sacrifice (the Gospel Age), as distinguished from the Temple of Solomon, which represents how the plan of God proceeds during the Millennium.

LENGTH OF TIME OF OPERATION

When was the Tabernacle first set up?

The Tabernacle was first set up “on the first day of the first month in the second year”nearly a year after the nationwide exodus of the Israelites from Egypt (Exodus 40:2, 17).

The Isaelites departed Rameses “in the first month, on the fifteenth day” (Numbers 33:3), that would be Abib 15, 1445 BC. The Tabernacle was set up Abib 1, 1444 B.C.

Abib is the month later named Nisan, as in Nehemiah 2:1, after the Babylonian captivity, deriving from the Babylonian month name Nisanu.) Abib/Nisan falls somewhere within our months of March and April. It changes in relation to our months because the Jews use a lunar calendar (months of 29 or 30 days), with an extra month inserted in the year periodically to maintain the seasons.

How long was the Tabernacle in use?

The Tabernacle and all its furnishings and surrounding court equipment was transported by the 3 clans of Levites (Kohathites, Gershonites and Meraritessee Numbers chapter 4) on their 40 year journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

It continued in use during the Period of Judges for an unknown period of time. 1 Samuel 1:9 suggests that some other temporary structure may have been used by the time of Eli, the high priest.

The most sacred article of the Tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant. This was captured by the Philistines during the time of Eli, who tumbled backward on hearing the news, and died at the age of 98 (1 Samuel 4:14-18). Four generations later, Solomon built a temple as the dwelling place of God.

When the ark had been captured by the Philistines it remained in their control for seven months (1 Samuel 6:1). Because of the plagues it caused them, the Philistines returned the ark to the Israelites, ultimately residing at Kiriath Jearim (1 Samuel 6:21). Twenty year later the Philistine oppression was broken by God under the leader of Samuel (1 Samuel 7:2 and following).

Solomon’s Temple superseded the Tabernacle. It was founded “in the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel in the month of Ziv” (1 Kings 6:1)

{Note: “Ziv” in Hebrew meaning “light” or “glow” and after the Babylonian Exile, the name of this month was changed to being called “Iyar” and falls in April-June on the Gregorian calendar}.

The Temple was founded in 966 B.C. It was part of seven years in building, and when complete the ark was moved into the Temple (1 Kings 8).

THE PURPOSE OF THE TABERNACLE

“The Tabernacle was necessary as a way to define Israel’s obedience to God, to unify them as a nation, and to bring organization to their daily life.” (The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Nov.-Dec. 2002, “Approaching God”, Br. Regis Liberda).

Most importantly, the Tabernacle served as a place where the Israelites could be reconciled to God.

The most sacred time of offerings was the annual Day of Atonement. On that day the high priest made atonement for the sins of himself, of the other priests, and for the transgressions of all the Israelites. On that day only, the high priest went into the Most Holy. With him he brought the blood from a bullock, and subsequently the blood of a goat. (Refer to Study 7 of “Beauties of the Truth” on this website titled “The Priests. The Day of Atonement.”)  We read about this in Leviticus 16:30:

“God said, ‘For it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the Lord.’ ”

In the book of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul indicates that our access to the privilege of the Most Holy and the presence of God was not available until the blood of atonement was brought to the mercy seat. The blood of bulls and goats, Apostle Paul points out, was a picture of a higher reality. This greater reality was the sacrifice of Christ, an offering which needed no annual repetition, as the type, but was given once, efficacious for all time.

“Therefore, brethren, [we have] boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:19, 20).

Further confirmation comes from Apostle Paul’s second epistle to Timothy. There it says that our new spiritual privileges are “Now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).

Thus everything surrounding the Tabernacle arrangement pointed towards the Messiah, Christ Jesus, our anti-typical high priest who entered into the greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not made with hands and not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood. Jesus entered the anti-typical Most Holy place (the Divine Realm, Hebrews 9:24) once for all, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:11-14; 27-28) – the spirit begotten.

(While in the flesh, the difference between the Bride of Christ Class and the Great Company Class is not distinct, as it is when the judgment is completed at the end of the age).

260px-Stiftshuette_Modell_TimnaparkAbove is a model of the Tabernacle in Timna Valley Park, Israel

A COPY AND SHADOW

In Hebrews 8:5 (NIV), the Apostle Paul wrote that the Aaronic priests serve at a sanctuary [the Holy and Most Holy compartment] that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’”

The Tabernacle which God commanded the people of Israel to construct in the Wilderness of Sin, and in connection with which all their religious services and ceremonies were instituted, was, the Apostle Paul assures us, a shadow of good things to come.

In Colossians 2:17 we read, “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”

In fact, the entire nation of Israel, it’s laws, religious services and ceremonies were typical. Our understanding of God’s plan and work of salvation is enhanced by carefully studying those “shadows” which the Israelites were caused to repeat year by year continually until the Gospel age introduced their antitypes—the realities.

1 Peter 1:10-11 (ESV) reads, Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.”

Furthermore, Apostle Paul explains, “1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.

 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins Hebrews 10:1-4 (NIV).

GOD’s DETAILED PRECISION

We see how God requires SERIOUS DETAILED PRECISION in ALL our works that we do for Him as ‘PITS’ = ‘Priests In Training’ through how God instructed Moses to make the Tabernacle.

In Exodus 25:40 (NKJV) God tells Moses “And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”

Every detail in this work was to be performed exactly as God instructed, in the type, because it illustrated something greater and more important to come afterward.

So that the people might not become careless in performing this work exactly how God instructed, the usual penalty for any violation was death.

Let us look at some of PRECISE instructions the Israelites had to adhere to:-

Exodus 28:42-43(NIV)“Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh. Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants.”

Numbers 4:15 (ESV) – “And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, as the camp sets out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry these, but they must not touch the holy things, lest they die. These are the things of the tent of meeting that the sons of Kohath are to carry.”

1.2 - CARRYING ARK.jpg
Numbers 4:19-20 (NAS) – “But do this to them that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy objects: Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load; but they shall not go in to see the holy objects even for a moment, or they will die.”

Numbers 18:7 – “But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain (Vail). I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary (the Holy and Most Holy) is to be put to death.”

2 Samuel 6:6, 7 (KJV) – “And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.”

Leviticus 10:1, 2 (NIV) – “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.”

Realizing God’s care in making the “shadow” gives us confidence in its correctness, that not one jot or tittle of it shall fail until all be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18), and awakens in us so great an interest in God’s plan leading us to examine closely and search carefully for the meaning of those shadows. And this, with God’s promised blessing, we now purpose to do, assured that “he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” – Matthew 7:8

Hebrews 9, 27-28.jpg

The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle too makes known
     God’s mighty plan, so vast, so real;
The bullock and the goat are shown;
     What sacrifice these types reveal!

The altar and the laver stand
     Within the Court, by sacred Word,
Then Altar, Table, Lamps so grand,
     Within the Holy of the Lord.

Oh wondrous thought! We here can dwell!
     To holiest place we can draw nigh;
And these great things so sacred, tell
     Of heavenly joys we’ll have on high.

So while the Harvest still is here,
     And ere descends the pall of night,
We have the peace that knows not fear,
        And praises God for Truth’s glorious light.

Poems of the Way (page 108)

 

Acknowledgement:

We wish to thank Br. David Rice for his great zeal in the Lord’s work and patient endurance in the editing and sharing of content for this post in the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” series on http://www.BIBLEStudentsDAILY.com

 

References:

Special thanks to Br. Regis Liberta for source material from his article “Approaching God,” (The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Nov.- Dec. 2002).

 

Further Suggested Reading:

STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud By Day And The Pillar of Smoke By Night  URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy and The Most Holy  URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/20/study-4-the-court-holy-place/

STUDY 5: The Camp. The Israelites.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

STUDY 6: The Levites
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/18/study-6-the-levites/

STUDY 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

STUDY 8: The Tabernacle Coverings
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/02/study-8-the-tabernacle-coverings/

STUDY 9: The Gate. The Door. The Vail.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

 

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/02/study-1-an-introduction-to-the-tabernacle-and-its-purpose/

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Save

Save

Save

Save

2 thoughts on “STUDY 1: An Introduction to the Tabernacle and It’s Purpose

    1. Thank you for your kind words of appreciation toward our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ for Yahweh allowing the opportunity to share about the ‘Beauties of the Tabernacle’ with perhaps (we hope and pray) greater clarity of detail than once known. We do ask for prayers for this series to be a blessing to all whom Father Yahweh sends here to read it so that devotion can increase to the Giver of Life and His Son our Redeemer, through whom all blessings flow.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s