Elder. G. E. Jones
SAMMONS PRINTING COMPANY
Printers and Publishers
Jesus Christ is the central theme in the tabernacle, even as He is the central figure in all scripture. He said to the Jews, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." John 5:39. In the afternoon of the day of our Lord's resurrection two of His disciples were journeying from Jerusalem toward the village of Emmaus. As they journeyed they talked together over all that had recently taken place. While they walked and reasoned Jesus drew near as a stranger and asked them what manner of communications they were having with one another, and why they were so sad. They asked Him if He were a stranger and had not heard of Jesus who was a prophet mighty in deed and word, and how the chief .priests and rulers had condemned Him and had Him crucified, and how the women had found His grave empty, and had astonished them by saying they had seen an angel which had said He was risen from the dead. Then Jesus said to them, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" Then, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them all the things concerning Himself. After their eyes were opened to know Him, and He had vanished out of their sight they said, "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way?" Luke 24:13-32.
When God made the earth He concealed beneath its surface vast stores of treasure that lay hidden from men. They walked to and fro over this hidden wealth for years unconscious of its existence. But there it was all the while awaiting the time when someone would probe beneath the earth's surface and find it. Even so, when God gave to us the holy scriptures He concealed beneath its surface a vast wealth of spiritual truths for His people. Paul speaks of the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto glory. 1 Corinthians. 2:7. In the tabernacle, its furniture, and its service, God concealed an inexhaustible mine of spiritual truths for us. For years many of us have passed over this hidden wealth, unconscious of its existence. But all the while it has been there awaiting our discovery. As step by step this writer has been led to see the glorious truths hidden in this structure, he has been made to marvel, his heart has leaped for joy, and he has been given a more profound respect for the wisdom of God as shown in the inspired scriptures.
May the Holy Spirit so lead us, and enlighten us as we go into the study of this great subject that we shall so see Christ revealed in the word that our hearts shall burn within us. May we behold His divine perfection, His glorious attributes, His divine love, His willing sacrifices for us, and the all-sufficiency of His matchless grace. Bowed down with grief and sorrow, and hindered by their unbelief in His resurrection, those disciples on the road to Emmaus had not recognized their Lord and Savior. But when He had expounded the scriptures, and their eyes had been opened, then that which had been dark to them was now as clear as the noon-day sun. So beneath the surface of the scriptures concerning the tabernacle, the glorious truths about Christ have long lain hidden from our eyes. But as we attempt to walk amidst the concealed truths of this ancient sanctuary may the Spirit of God open our eyes and hearts to see and rejoice in the marvelous truths contained therein.
I wish to acknowledge the assistance of my wife and the boys of the Jonesboro Bible School in helping me study out the construction of the tabernacle, and in making a model for study. In the last of the book, the reader will find the instructions as to how we made our model for the tabernacle. What we did, others can do.
In closing this introduction, I wish to remind the reader that this is a subject that demands patient and careful study on his part. Take plenty of time and endeavor to concentrate on the scriptures given. If he will do so I am sure that he will find it one of the richest fields of thought he has ever entered. At times the writer has been so filled with joy that he could scarcely continue writing, and he has been made to say in the words of the song writer —
"I stand amazed in the presence Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me, A sinner, condemned, unclean.
How marvelous, how wonderful! And my song shall ever be,
How marvelous, how wonderful! Is my Savior's love for me."
-- G. E. Jones
CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE
A DWELLING PLACE
A tabernacle is a dwelling place. In Hebrews 11:8-9 we read, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go into a place which he should afterwards receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, DWELLING IN TABERNACLES with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." Then in 2 Corinthians. 5:1-4 we read, "For we know that of our earthly house of this TABERNACLE were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this (tabernacle) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. If so being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we should be unclothed, but clothed upon, that morality might be swallowed up of life." Again in Revelation 21:1-3 we read, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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."
From the scriptures we see that a tabernacle is a dwelling place. In the case of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Hebrews 11:8-9), as well as with us (2 Corinthians 5:1-4), it represents a temporary dwelling place. But in the case of God in Revelation 21:1-3, it represents a permanent and an abiding dwelling place. We shall enlarge on this as we go further in this study.
A DWELLING PLACE FOR GOD
In Ex 25-8 we read where God said unto Moses, "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them " Here we see the purpose of the tabernacle that was built in the wilderness. It was to be a dwelling place for God among the Children of Israel. Here we have presented to us a most sublime and consoling thought. God has revealed His desire and purpose to dwell among His people. What condescension on God's part! What rich promises for those who are His people! The God of all the universe has desired and has purposed to dwell among His people, to commune with them and bless them, and to be their God, and to bestow upon them the fullness of His glory and joy. Can we believe it? Can we by faith begin to comprehend what all this has meant to us in the past, what it means to us now, and what it shall ever mean to us in the ages to come?
Not only did this tabernacle, and the dwelling place of God in the tabernacle, foretell the dwelling of God in Christ among men at His first advent, and God dwelling among us and in us through the Spirit, but it foretold the return of Christ to dwell among men in the thousand years reign. Finally, it speaks of God dwelling among men in the eternal age after the consummation of all things. It foretells the time when God shall dwell among men, and be with them, and be their God. Exodus. 21:3. It foreshadows the time when God shall banish all our troubles, and shall wipe all tears from our eyes; and when there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, nor heartache. Revelation 21:4. Only yesterday I assisted in a funeral of a man and his wife, two members of a church where I preach. They were drowned when the truck in which they were riding went into a flooded ditch that had overflowed the road. As I witnessed the grief and heartache of the children and other loved ones, I felt a deep longing for the time when the tabernacle of God will be with men, and He shall dwell among them, and death and sorrow will forever be past for His people. What a glorious thought that God has purposed to dwell among men! What it will all mean only eternity will unfold.
In our study of the tabernacle, we shall see how, and on what grounds, God can and will dwell among His people. God is Holy. Man is a sinner. But His divine wisdom had devised a way whereby He can meet the sinner in peace, commune with him, and dwell among men in justice and grace. Not only did God devise that plan, but He, Himself, has worked it out in perfect keeping with his Holy character. These things we shall see unfold to us in the tabernacle and its services.
The idea of the tabernacle of the testimony had its origin with God. The human mind could never have foreseen the truths typified in it, nor the glorious future foretold in it, nor could we have devised such a structure that was so fitting in its types and figures. What a remarkable testimony it bears to the inspiration of the word, and to the wisdom that designed it! The idea of God dwelling among men is foreign to the thinking and philosophy of men. They think of a God who keeps Himself at a distance from men; not of a God who delights to dwell among men. When Nebuchadnezzar demanded of the magicians and astrologers and wise men of the Chaldeans that they recall his forgotten dream and to give its interpretation, they said to him, "It is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, WHOSE DWELLING IS NOT WITH FLESH." Dan 2:11.
For some time I have been studying the opposition to the reign of Christ and His saints on this earth from the third century to the present time. The foundation of that opposition is found in man's inability to grasp the idea that God can return in the person of Christ and dwell among men. The thing that offended the Jews the most in the teachings of Jesus was His claim to be God in the flesh. Jesus said to them, "Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of these works do ye stone me?" They answered by saying, "For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God." John 10:32-33. They failed to see in Him God manifest in the flesh.
Had they known their scriptures, they would have expected their Messiah to be God in the form of man. Had they understood the lesson of the tabernacle, they would have recognized that God was in the flesh dwelling among men in the person of Jesus Christ. Their inability to grasp the idea that God purposed to tabernacle among men, kept them from knowing the Christ when He came. Men's inability to grasp that idea today causes them to stumble over the return of Christ to reign, and to reject that doctrine. I have in my possession a book written by a prominent Amillennialist. Right here is found the basis of his objection to the doctrine that Christ will return to the earth to reign. Let us away with such unbelief and philosophies of man and stand upon the word of God. Let us remember that He has said, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways." Isaiah. 55:8. In the statement, "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8), we have revealed God's purpose to dwell among men.
As has already been implied, God found a dwelling place among men in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. He was God manifest in the flesh. 1 Timothy 3:16. We read where Paul said, "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell." Colossians 1:19. Again the apostle said, "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Colossians2:9. Our Lord said to His disciples, "The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works." John 14:10. So God found a dwelling place (or tabernacle) among men in Jesus Christ, when He came and dwelt among them. "And the word was made flesh, and DWELT AMONG US, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth." John 1:14.
When we compare the verses just quoted with the statement, "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8), then the meaning of the tabernacle begins to shine upon us. First and foremost, it was designed to reveal unto us Christ and His redeeming work, and His rule and reign among men.
Then, God dwells among us today in the person of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the hearts of His people. "Now therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ, Himself, being the chief cornerstone; and in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an HABITATION OF GOD through the Spirit." Ephesians 2:19-21.
Many, many passages could be given to show that God dwells in His people through the Spirit. Jesus talking to His disciples about the Spirit said, "HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, and shall be in you." John 14:17. All this God does on the basis of what Christ has done for us. Not only did God dwell among men in the person of His Son, but because of what Christ accomplished by His death and resurrection, God can dwell in us and among men in the person of the Spirit.
Next, God shall again dwell among men in the person of His Son when Christ returns to earth to reign for a thousand years. Here I wish to give the following quotation from the Smith-Goodspeed translation: "Thus sayeth the Lord: I will return to Zion, and I will DWELL in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called, The Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the Holy Mountain." Zechariah 8:3. Then the Lord goes on to say, "If it seem incredible in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, in my sight will it seem incredible?" Zechariah 8:6. The idea of God dwelling among men may be incredible with men, but not with God. He revealed that very purpose when He commanded the people to make the tabernacle. Though the idea of our Lord's return to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem is incredible in the eyes of men, yet God declares it is not incredible in His eyes. Then let us lay aside all human reasoning and meekly and gladly accept the word of truth.
The Lord made the land of Palestine for a place for Him to dwell in. After the children of Israel had safely passed through the Red Sea, they sang a song of triumph. In that song they described the fear that would come upon the inhabitants of Palestine. Then they told of the Lord bringing them into the place which He had made for Him to DWELL in. "The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold of the inhabitants of Palestine. ... Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till the people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance (Palestine), IN THE PLACE, O LORD, which thou HAST MADE FOR THEE TO DWELL IN, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. The Lord SHALL REIGN for ever and ever." Exodus 15:14-18.
When we compare this passage with the many passages about the Lord reigning in Jerusalem, and dwelling in the midst of Jerusalem and Zion, it becomes clear that Christ will return to Palestine to dwell among His people Isaiah 24:23; Jeremiah. 3:17; Ezekiel 43:7; 43:9; Psalms 76:2; Joel 3:17: 3:21; Zechariah 2:10; 8:3- 8. Finally, when the redemptive work of Christ has been completed, and He has reigned until He has put all enemies under His feet, and the last enemy, death, shall have been destroyed, (when death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:14) then will come the new heaven and the new earth and the Father Himself shall have His dwelling with men. Revelation 21:1-4. Then God's ultimate purpose in redemption will have been accomplished. His desire and purpose to dwell among men shall have been brought to pass. The incarnation of Jesus Christ, His death, His resurrection, and His return to this earth to reign a thousand years were all in God's great plan for bringing this about. He shall not stop short of complete redemption for His fallen creation.
In this connection it is well for us to consider the order in which God had the children of Israel to encamp about the tabernacle, keeping in mind that it was built for a dwelling place for God among that people. That arrangement is found in Numbers 1:52-3:38. In Numbers 1:52-53, we read where God said, "And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts. But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony."
There was an outward arrangement and an inward arrangement. The outward arrangement was given first, and the inward arrangement was given next. We read where Paul said, "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual." 1-Corinthians 15:46. Man has the outward birth before he has the inward birth. When Christ was first on the earth He dwelt among the children of Israel in their unconverted state. When next He dwells among them, they will have been born again. In Ezekiel 37:26-28, we read, "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. My TABERNACLE shall be with them: yea, I will be their God and they shall be my people. And the heathen (Gentile nations) shall know that I, the Lord, do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be with them forevermore."
This shows us that at our Lord's return, God's tabernacle will be in the midst of a converted Israel, dwelling in natural bodies, and able to multiply; whereas at His first advent He dwelt among an unbelieving Israel. This would seem to be one reason why God first gave the order of the outer arrangement of the camp and then gave the inner arrangement.
In the outward arrangement, the first mentioned was the camp of Judah, on the east side, consisting of the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, with the standard of Judah. Numbers 2:1-7. On the south side was the camp of Reuben, consisting of the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad, with the standard of Reuben. Numbers 2:10-17. On the west side was the camp of Ephraim, consisting of the tribes of Ephraim. Manasseh, and Benjamin, with the standard of Ephraim. Numbers 2:18-24. On the north side was the camp of Dan, consisting of the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali, with the standard of Dan.
Next came the inward arrangement of the camp, with the Gershonite division of the Levites pitched behind the tabernacle, westward. Numbers 3:21-26. These had charge of the tent and its coverings, the hanging for the door of the tabernacle, the hangings for the court, the curtain for the gate of the court, and the cords. On the south side, next to the court, was pitched the Kohathite division of the Levites. These had charge of the furniture and the hanging for the veil. Numbers 3:27-32. On the north side was the Merarite division of the Levites. These had charge of the boards, bars, pillars, sockets, and vessels thereof, and the pillars of the court, their sockets, their pins, and their cord. Numbers 3:33-37. Moses and the priests pitched on the east in front of the gate. Numbers 3:38.
From this we see that the whole camp was built around the tabernacle, which was God's dwelling place in the midst of them. Thus, the tabernacle was in the very center of the camp, and God's dwelling place was in their very midst. When God builds, He builds around Jesus Christ, His Son, in whom He dwelt among men. Christ is to be the very center of all our life and its activities. Israel, pitched around the tabernacle, saw the glory of God resting upon it. Exodus 40:34-38. Even so, when we are built around Jesus Christ, and He is the very center of all our thoughts, devotions, and activities, we, too, shall behold His glory, and God shall manifest Himself to us. What a beautiful picture we see in all this! In these things God is saying to us, "Let me build you around my Son, and you, too, shail behold my glory, and I will commune with you, and manifest myself unto you."
But we must not rob Israel of her golden promises. First of all, these things apply to Israel. God was talking about them when He said to Moses, "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." Exodus 25:8. First of all, God is teaching that Jesus Christ, in whom He dwelt, came of the lineage of Israel. It was Israel that was to make Him a tabernacle. It was Israel of whom Jesus Christ was to be born.
Next, God was picturing to us, and to Israel, in the arrangement of the camp, with the tabernacle in the center, the scheme of things in the millennial age. Jesus said to the twelve apostles, "When the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28. His worldwide reign will be built around Himself and Israel, with the twelve apostles reigning over the twelve tribes which we see grouped around this tabernacle. The Lord has not cast off Israel forever. He said that He would not do so. "If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them." Jeremiah. 33:25-26. "I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord." Amos 9:8. "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee." Isaiah. 54:7. The same one whom God forsook for a time He will gather with great mercies. If the first pronoun "Thee" in this verse refers to Israel, so does the last "Thee" refer to Israel. Now, just how would it sound to read the verse like this, "For a small moment have I forsaken thee (National Israel), but with great mercies will I gather thee (The church)." The same one forsaken for a small moment is the same one gathered with great mercies. In Israel (all twelve tribes) gathered around the tabernacle, we see Israel (all twelve tribes) gathered again, with the Lord dwelling in their midst. "The place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will DWELL in the midst of the children of Israel forever." Ezekiel 43:7. "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may DWELL among them." Exodus 25:8.
THE DIVISIONS OF THE TABERNACLE
Counting the outer court, there were three divisions to the tabernacle: the outer court, the holy place, and the most holy place, sometimes called the Holiest of all. Hebrews 9:3. The tabernacle proper consisted of the holy place and the most holy place. They were separated by the veil. "And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy place." Exodus 26:33. The holy place was in the front of the tabernacle, and the most holy place was in the back of the tabernacle. The priests went in the holy place to minister every day. But the high priest alone went into the most holy place on only one day of the year, which was the day of atonement. "Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people." Hebrews 9:6-7. See also Leviticus 16:2-31.
The tabernacle was a tent-like structure which was made of boards overlaid with gold which stood upright, and on the top of which were laid four layers of curtains, which shall be described in another section of the book. Around this tabernacle there was erected a court made of linen curtains hung upon silver rings made in pillars of brass which were set in sockets of brass. Exodus 27:9-18.
THE DIMENSIONS OF THE TABERNACLE
The tabernacle was thirty cubits long, twelve cubits wide, and ten cubits high. There were twenty boards on both the south and north sides. These boards were a cubit and a half wide and they stood upon their ends. Each board had two tenons in the lower end which were set in two sockets of silver. Twenty times one and a half cubits makes thirty cubits. This was the length of the tabernacle. The boards being ten cubits long and standing on their ends made the tabernacle ten cubits high. Exodus 26:15-21.
At the west side, or back end, there were six boards plus two corner boards, making eight in all. Exodus 26:22-25. Eight times a cubit and a half makes twelve cubits, the width of the tabernacle. The court around the tabernacle, was one hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and five cubits high. The gate to the court was twenty cubits wide and was in the east end of the court. On each side of this gate there were hangings fifteen cubits wide. These dimensions may be found by reading Exodus 27:9-18. Later on in this work we shall study the structure of the court along with its typical significance.
For the benefit of the reader, I will say that a cubit has been generally reckoned as about eighteen inches. But the student will find it more convenient to remember all the dimensions of the tabernacle and its furniture in terms of cubits, rather than in feet and inches. Besides, the symbolism of the tabernacle is worked out on the basis of cubits and not our measurements of inches and feet.
The holy place was twenty cubits in length, twelve cubits wide, and ten cubits high. The most holy place took up the remaining ten cubits of the length of the tabernacle. Thirty cubits, which was the whole length of the tabernacle, minus twenty cubits, leaves ten cubits for the length of the most holy place. This is seen by where the veil was hung, which was under the taches. Exodus 26:33. This shall be brought out more clearly in our study of the curtains.
SIGNIFICANCE OF BIBLE NUMBERS
Before proceeding to examine the material of the tabernacle and studying their meaning, it is necessary to consider the meaning of some Bible numbers. This has been one of the most profitable and enlightening fields of study this writer has ever entered. Since beginning this treatise, the writer has had a thing to open up to him which he has sought for eighteen years to understand. Now it is as clear as the noon day sun. He found this light by studying the meaning of some Bible numbers which occur over and over in the tabernacle. In the outset of this part of the book I can confidently promise the reader a spiritual feast. The very fact that one of the books of the Bible is called "The Book of Numbers" shows that God is interested in numbers and that certain numbers bear an indelible stamp of design.
(A). Number Three.
The number THREE stands as a figure of the resurrection. This has been known to the writer for years, but now it is clearer than ever. When the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign He said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was THREE days and THREE nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be THREE days and THREE nights in the heart of the earth." In another place when they asked Him for a sign, He said, "Destroy this temple, and in THREE days I will raise it up." John 2:19. In John 2:21 we read, "He spake of the temple of his body." During our Lord's personal ministry, He raised three people from the dead; the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-15); the daughter of the ruler Jairus (Luke 8:41-55); and Lazarus of Bethany (John 11:43-44). There were three people raised from the dead in Old Testament. I Kings 17:17-23; II Kings 4:18-35; and II Kings 13:21. In raising the widow's son, Elijah stretched himself upon the body of the child THREE times. 1 Kings 17:21. When Elisha raised the Shunammite's son, he put (1) his mouth upon the child's mouth, (2) his eyes upon the child's eyes, and (3) his hands upon the child's hands.
When Pharoah said to Moses, "Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land," Moses said, "We will go THREE days journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as He shall command us." Exodus 8:25-27. The three days journey put Israel beyond the Red Sea where we have another figure of the resurrection. Exodus 12:37-14:27.
When Israel came to Jordan just before crossing over into Canaan, they encamped THREE days before crossing. Josh 3:1-2. The waters of Jordan were parted THREE times. Joshua 3:14-17; II Kings 2:6-8; and II Kings 2:13-14.
In connection with our groaning and waiting for our bodily redemption, Paul used the word OURSELVES three times. "And not only they, but (1) OURSELVES also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we (2) OURSELVES groan within (3) OURSELVES, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." Romans 8:23. This will take place at the resurrection of the saved.
IIn speaking about our resurrection, Paul said, "There is one glory of the (1) sun, and another glory of the (2) moon, and another glory of the (3) stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is THE RESURRECTION of the dead." I Corinthians. 15:41-42.
This by no means exhausts the proof about the number THREE standing for the resurrection, but it is sufficient proof.
The number THREE also stands for the Trinity. "There are THREE that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these Three are one." I John 5:7. I have often wondered if the Three days and nights our Lord lay in the grave did not have something to do with the Trinity. In Hebrews 9:14, we find that (1) Christ, (2) through the Spirit (3) offered Himself unto God. All three were involved in His resurrection. John 2:19; Romans 8:11. So will all three be involved in our resurrection. John 6:40; and Romans 8:11.
(B). Number Four.
Four is a number that stands for creation. This word is used FOUR times by Paul in Romans 8:19-22. "For the earnest expectation of the (1) CREATURE waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the (2) CREATURE was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected the same in hope, because the (3) CREATURE itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God, for we know that the whole (4) CREATION groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now " In the Revised Version all four times the word is CREATION.
Why the number FOUR should stand for the first creation is understood when we examine Genesis 1:26. "And God said let US make MAN in OUR image, after OUR likeness " The plural pronoun is used three times with reference to God. So there are four parties in this verse. The first three are the Trinity who did the work of creating. The FOURTH person is the man who was created. When the first creation was marred by sin, the same divine Trinity (Three) had to work again to form a new creation and again man, a fourth party, was involved. Thus we have three persons working twice, and man being made twice. Two times three plus two times one equals EIGHT, a new creation. (2x3+2x1=8). This will be discussed later.
In Revelation 4:6 we read, "And round the throne, on each side of the throne, (FOUR sides) are FOUR living CREATURES." R. V. Then in Revelation 4:9-11, we read, "And whenever the living CREATURES give glory and honor to him that sitteth on the throne, —the twenty-four elders fell down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crown before the throne, singing, 'Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst CREATE all things and by thy will they existed and were CREATED.' " R. V. We notice that it is when the FOUR living CREATURES give glory to God that the elders worship Him because of CREATION.
Going down into the next chapter, we find that when the Lamb takes the book of seven seals that the FOUR living CREATURES and the elders sing, "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every (1) kindred, and (2) tongue, and (3) people, and (4) nation." Here we have the FOUR words, kindred, tongue, people, and nation, used showing that Christ will save some from all God's creation.
In this connection let us read Acts 10:10-13. He (Peter) fell into a trance, and saw heaven open, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the FOUR corners, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of (1) fourfooted beasts of the earth, and (2) wild beasts and (3) creeping things, and (4) fowls of the air and there came a voice to him, "Rise Peter; kill and eat." In this vision we find a vessel like a sheet knit at FOUR corners, and four different creatures in it. By means of this vision the Lord was teaching Peter that the gospel was for all humanity.
Now let us read Revelation 5:13. "And every CREATURE which is in (1) heaven, and (2) on the earth, and (3) under the earth, and such as (4) are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, (1) Blessing, and (2) honour, and (3) glory, and (4) power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."
In the sixth chapter when the Lamb breaks FOUR seals in succession we hear the FOUR living CREATURES (Beasts—King James) speaking out. FOUR horsemen ride out on horses of FOUR colors, and they kill with FOUR things, (1) the sword, (2) hunger, (3) death, and (4) the beasts of the earth.
In Revelation 7:1, we find FOUR angels standing on the FOUR corners of the earth holding the FOUR winds of the earth. Then in Revelation 9:13-15., we find John heard a voice from the FOUR horns of the golden altar saying to the angel with the sixth trumpet, "Loose the FOUR angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates." The FOUR angels were loosed which were prepared for (1) an hour, and (2) a day, and (3) a month, and (4) a year.
God has stamped the number FOUR all over His creation. There was a river in Eden with FOUR heads. There are FOUR phases of the moon. There are FOUR seasons of the year. There are FOUR kinds of flesh, (1) the flesh of men, (2) of beasts, (3) of fishes, and (4) of birds. I Corinthians. 15:39.
Jesus said to His disciples, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, (2) and in all Judea, (3) and in Samaria, (4) and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:8.
(C). Number Five.
The number FIVE stands for grace. Five is four plus one. (4 and 1 is 5). We have seen that FOUR stands for God's creation, or man in his natural state. As such he needs grace. When God created man, His ultimate aim was to manifest His grace. Paul says that God "Hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: THAT in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His GRACE in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:6-7. Then the apostle speaks of the "GRACE which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." II Timothy 1:9. So God had grace in mind before He created man.
In Ephesians 4:1-3, we read where Paul said, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all (1) lowliness and (2) meekness, with (3) longsuffering, (4) forbearing one another in love: (5) endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Here are five things mentioned in connection with the believer's walk. The last is keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of PEACE. In all of the salutations, GRACE comes before peace. "GRACE be to you, and PEACE, etc." Ephesians 1:2. So it is grace that enables the believer to walk worthy of his calling.
The Holy Spirit as COMFORTER is mentioned FIVE times. In John 14:16; 14:26; 15:26; and 16:7, we have the COMFORTER promised. In Acts 9:31 we read, "Then had the churches rest … and were edified and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the COMFORT of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied." This makes FIVE references to the COMFORTER.
There were FIVE ingredients in the holy anointing oil, which was a symbol of the Holy Spirit. They were (1) myrrh, (2) sweet cinnamon (3) sweet calamus, (4) cassia, and (5) oil olive or olive oil. Exodus 30:23-25.
In Numbers 3:45-51, we find that FIVE shekels of redemption money had to be paid for the redemption of the first born of the twelve tribes which exceeded the number of the Levites. In Ephesians 1:7 we find that we have redemption through the blood of Christ according to the riches of his GRACE. This stamps the number FIVE as standing for grace.
In Romans 8:28-30 we find FIVE things mentioned in connection with God's election of GRACE. (1) God foreknew them, (2) He predestinated them, (3) He called them, (4) He justified them, and (5) He glorified them. In Romans 8:33 we find Paul is speaking of the elect. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" In Romans 11:6 we find that election is of grace.
The word HOPE is used FIVE times in succession in Romans 8:24-25. "For we are saved by (1) HOPE: but (2) HOPE that is seen is not (3) HOPE: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet (4) HOPE for? But if we (5) HOPE for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." Then in II Thessalonians. 2:16 we find that we have been given a good HOPE through GRACE.
In I Pet 1-2 we find Peter writing to the strangers throughout (1) Pontus, (2) Galatia, (3) Cappadocia, (4) Asia, and (5) Bithynia. He calls them Elect according to the foreknowledge of the Father. Then he goes on to speak of the inheritance to which God according to His MERCY had begotten them. First, that inheritance is incorruptible. Second, it is undefiled. Third, it fadeth not away. Fourth, it is reserved in heaven. Fifth, they were kept by the power of God for that inheritance.
There were five things God promised to do for Abraham. First, He would make him a great nation. Second, He would bless Him. Third, He would make his name great. Fourth, He would bless those that blessed him. Fifth, He would curse those that cursed him. Genesis 12:2-3. Here we see GRACE shows itself. As the result of this, Abraham was to be a blessing.
We find FIVE things God said He would do for Jacob. First, He would give him the land on which he was sleeping. Second, He would be with him. Third, He would keep him in all places where he went. Fourth, He would bring him again to this land. Fifth, He would not leave him until He had done all He had promised. Genesis 28:13-15. As a result of these FIVE things, God would do for Jacob, he would spread abroad and would be a blessing.
Here we find GRACE giving, GRACE accompanying, GRACE keeping, GRACE bringing home, and GRACE not forsaking. Now let us read John 3:14-15, and see what we find.
(1) As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
(2) Even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
(3) That whosoever believeth in Him
(4) Should not perish,
(5) But have eternal life.
We find the same in John 3:16.
(1) For God so loved the world,
(2) That He gave his only begotten Son,
(3) That whosoever believeth in Him.
(4) Should not perish,
(5) But have everlasting life.
In 1 Pet 5-10 we find that the God of all GRACE has called us In Heb 2:9 we find that God's Son by the grace of God tasted death for every man. In Hebrews10:29 we find the Holy Spirit called "The Spirit of GRACE” Then in Acts 18:27 we find people believing through GRACE, so in John 3-16 we have: First, the God of all GRACE loving; Second, the Son by the GRACE of God tasting death for every man; Third the Spirit of GRACE who enables one to believe; Fourth, the sinner who needs GRACE and was perishing; and Fifth, the sinner receiving everlasting life, or saved by GRACE. In the first three numbers we see the Trinity giving, suffering and enabling. In the number FOUR we see the creature who was perishing being met by the God of Grace; and in number FIVE we see him saved by Grace.
Now let us see GRACE displayed in the number FIVE in Hebrews 9:14.
(1) "How much more shall the blood of Christ,
(2) Who through the eternal Spirit
(3) Offered himself without spot to God,
(4) Purge your conscience from DEAD works
(5) To serve the living and true God.
Again we see the trinity working in Grace in the first three. Again they find the creature, the sinner, in number FOUR, in a condition of death. Then in number FIVE we see him alive and serving God. Note how in John 3:14-16 both times the creature is met by God in number FOUR. In number FOUR in John 3:14-15, the creature was in a perishing condition. In number FOUR in Hebrews 9:14 we found him in dead works. In each case in number FIVE we find him saved by God's GRACE.
In Hebrews 9:14 in Numbers One, Two, and Three we see the Son, the Spirit, and the Father. In number FOUR we see man in dead works. In number FIVE we see a man made alive and ready to serve God. So number FIVE brings man to where he has been saved by GRACE.
Much more could be brought, but this is sufficient to show that the number FIVE stands for grace. We find this number used over and over in the tabernacle. There are FIVE bars on each of the sides, south, north and west, and at the entrance at the door there are FIVE pillars. The hanging of the court was FIVE cubits high. In one place we find FIVE curtains coupled together to make one curtain. Then another five were coupled together to make one curtain, and these two broad curtains were coupled one to the other. Then we have five more curtains coupled together to make a broad curtain. This one is coupled to another broad curtain made of six narrow curtains. Each of these twenty-one narrow curtains going into the broad curtains were FOUR cubits wide.
(D). Number Six.
Six is the number of man as related to his works. He was created on the sixth day, Genesis 1:16-31. Because of his sin he was condemned to work under a curse. God said to him, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. ... In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground." Genesis 3:17-19. He was commanded to work SIX days. "SIX days thou shalt labor and do all thy work." Exodus 20:6. There were SIX things which men did, or attempted to do, at the tower of Babel. (1) They took brick. (2) They burned them thoroughly. (3) They had slime for mortar. (4) They set out to build a city. (5) They set out to build a tower that would reach unto heaven. (6) They were going to make them a name. Exodus 11:3-4.
Nebuchadnezzar, in his attempt to unify all religions in the work of his golden image, made an image sixty cubits high, SIX cubits broad, and they played SIX different kinds of musical instruments when he called on the people to worship that image. Dan. 3:1-5. In Revelation 13:16 we read, "And he causeth all, both (1) small and (2) great, (3) rich and (4) poor, (5) free and (6) bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. In the same connection, we find that the two-horned beast, who is the false prophet (Revelation 19:20), does SIX things. (1) He does great wonders. (2) He deceiveth them that dwell on the earth. (3) He has an image made of the beast. (4) He gives life unto the image of the beast. (5) He causes the people to worship the image of the beast. (6) He causes people to receive a mark in their foreheads or right hand in order to buy or sell. Revelation 13:13-17.
The giant Goliath who defied the armies of Israel, whom David slew with a stone in the name of Lord God of hosts, had six pieces of armor. They were (1) an helmet of brass; (2) a coat of mail; (3) greaves of brass on his legs; (4) a target of brass between his shoulders; (5) a spear; and (6) a shield. I Samuel 17:5-7.
Thus, the number SIX is seen to be the number of man as related to his works toward self advancement or self improvement It ignores God's power and God's grace. It is a denial of the doctrine of depravity. It is expressive of man's efforts to save himself by his own wisdom and works. The SIX things they undertook at the building at Babel were for the purpose of keeping themselves from being scattered abroad upon the earth. They said, "Lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:4. The tower they were going to build was to reach unto heaven. They were going to climb up to heaven by their own works. They were going to make for themselves a name. Verse 4.. Here we see the element of boasting. We are told that salvation is not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:9. Grace, which men despise and reject, brings a sense of humility, and riot of pride and boasting.
This effort on the part of men failed. God was displeased and confounded their language, and they could not understand one another's speech, and they were scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth.
Goliath was seeking to save himself from death with his SIX pieces of armor. Men hope to save themselves from eternal death by their own works.
In the work of the beast and the false prophet we see a political, religious, and economical combination. In the worship of the beast and his image (Revelation 13:8 and 13:15) we see all false religions headed up in the beast. In Revelation 13:7 we see that he is to have power over all kindreds, tongues, and nations. Here all political power will be headed up in him. In the mark of the beast, which people must receive to buy or sell (verses 16-17), we see all economical power headed up in the beast. This will be the culmination of man's wisdom and efforts to save himself from war, religious divisions, and economic disaster. It will fail as did man's efforts at Babel, and as did Goliath's effort to save himself. We are told in I Corinthians. 2:6 that the wisdom of this world comes to naught.
Six is one more than FIVE—In man's efforts to save himself he ignores the all-sufficiency of God's grace and promises, which causes him to trust in his own works. Those who expect to make a better world by their wisdom and works ignore prophecies of God's word and despise and reject what God's word abundantly teaches, namely, that Christ will return to earth to reign and set things in order.
SIX lacks one of being SEVEN, the number that denotes completion. Man's work brings nothing to completeness.
Only in the beast with SEVEN" heads we see the final end of human government.
(E). Number Seven.
The number SEVEN denotes completion. God finished His work of creation and rested on the seventh day. Seven days make a full week. In the book of Revelation we find SEVEN candlesticks representing seven churches. There is a book of SEVEN seals. There are SEVEN angels with SEVEN trumpets. The Larnb is pictured with SEVEN horns and SEVEN eyes. This number occurs so often in the BIBLE that most people know its significance.
The word rule or reign is connected with the Lord SEVEN times in the book of Revelation. Revelation 11:15; 11:17; 12:5; 19:6; 19:15; 20:4; and 20:6. The last two times it is connected with the thousand years reign. This shows that the thousand years reign will consummate our Lord's work on this present earth. In Revelation 22:3-5 we have the throne of God and the Lamb connected with the new Heaven and the new earth. This makes the EIGHTH time our Lord's name is connected with the word reign. In our next topic we shall see that eight represents a new beginning. So the reign of Revelation 20:6 will be connected with the old earth." The one of Revelation 22:3-6 will be connected with the new earth.
This will come in as we study the tabernacle and its services. We will see how it pictures a complete redemption for us.
(F). Number Eight.
The number EIGHT signifies a new beginning. Since there are seven days in the week the EIGHTH day would begin a new week. There were EIGHT people saved in Noah's ark to begin repopulating the earth. The male child of the Israelites was circumcised on the EIGHTH day. "Ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token (or sign) of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is EIGHT days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations." Genesis 17:11-12. This circumcision of the flesh was a sign or type of the circumcision of the heart, or the new birth. "He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and the circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not the letter." Romans 2:28-29. Then we read, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." II Corinthians. 5:17.
Saul was Israel's first king. He proved to be a failure and God rejected him. Then God sent Samuel to anoint David, the EIGHTH son of Jesse, to be the second king. I Samuel 16:10-12. So in David we see a new beginning.
After Moses had consecrated Aaron and his sons they awaited seven days before the tabernacle (Leviticus 8:1-35) and on the EIGHTH day they began their service. Leviticus 9:1-2.
Now let us pause here long enough to consider again the arrangement of the camp. We have seen that there was an outward arrangement, and an inner arrangement around the tabernacle. We have seen that the outward arrangement was given first. Numb. 2:3-31 and 3:17-38. The outward arrangement consisted of FOUR camps, each consisting of the three tribes. They were the camp of Judah on the east, Numb. 2:3-7; the camp of Reuben on the south, Numb. 2:18-24; the camp of Ephraim on the west, Numb. 2:10-16; and the camp of Dan on the north, Numb. 3:25-31. These in the outward arrangement had to pitch FAR OFF. "Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: FAR OFF about the tabernacle shall they pitch." (Each camp had a standard, and each tribe an ensign. Verses 2; 3; 10; 18; and 25.) Then we read in Numb. 1:53, "But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of the testimony, that there be no WRATH upon the congregation." The outer group consisted of FOUR divisions. This represents man in the old creation which is fallen, and is under a curse. They are by nature children of "WRATH." Paul teaches that we "Were by nature the children of WRATH, even as others." Ephesians 2:3. In the same connection, he said, "Ye who sometimes were FAR OFF have been made nigh by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:13. So this first group of FOUR standing FAR OFF, subject to the WRATH of God, represents the old man, dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1. A new order or arrangement had to be made to keep the WRATH of God from coming on that group. So next we see the Levites grouped around the tabernacle in FOUR divisions: the Gershonites, Kohathites, the Merarites, and Moses and the priests. Exodus 3:17-18. Now we have EIGHT groups, which represents the new creation or the new birth, the outer arrangement being made first and the inner arrangement made last. And right in the center of the whole camp was the tabernacle in which God was dwelling, so here we have the new birth pictured, and Christ in us The hope of Glory." Colossians 1:27. The light of the pillar of cloud and fire rested on the tabernacle in the very heart of the camp. Exodus 20:38. Paul said, "For God who commands the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus." II Corinthians. 4:6. There is no limit to what could be said on this point. We have the two births; the outward and inward man; and Christ in our hearts; and the glory of God's presence in the inner man as a testimony of being saved from the WRATH to come.
Right after telling us about the inner arrangement of the camp, the Lord goes on to tell of the number of males of the Levites from a month old and upward. That number was twenty-two thousand. Numb. 3:29. Then He told Moses to number all the FIRSTBORN of the children of Israel, that is of the twelve tribes in the outer group, from a month old and upward. Vs. 10-43. There were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three. This group of FIRSTBORN exceeded all the males of the Levites by two hundred and seventy-three. God accepted the Levites instead of the FIRSTBORN of the other tribes. Verse 34. This odd number of 273 had to be redeemed with FIVE shekels apiece. Numb. 3:45-51.
This shows that the FIRSTBORN represents the birth of the flesh, or first birth. Such stand in need of redemption. This group was redeemed with FIVE shekels of money apiece. FIVE stands for grace. Money stands for riches. In Ephesians 1:7 we read, "In whom we have REDEMPTION through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the RICHES of his GRACE."
Let the reader keep in mind that this 273 that had to be redeemed did not come from the Levites but the other tribes, those in the outer arrangement.
After discussing number THIRTEEN we shall come back to this 273 who were redeemed and find something amazing.
(G). Number Ten.
The number TEN occurs several times in our tabernacle study. It evidently represents God's law as found in the TEN commandments. Exodus 20:1-17. Since Christ came to fulfill the law, we might expect to find in the tabernacle a number expressive of the law. The picture would be incomplete without it. The TEN commandments were given in connection with God's revelation about the tabernacle. It was the work of Christ, about whom the tabernacle speaks, to fulfill the law.
(H). Number Twelve.
The number TWELVE represents divine government, or government by divine appointment. Jesus said to His apostles, “Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory ye also shall sit on TWELVE thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28..
We find TWELVE princes in Genesis 17:20 and in Numbers 1-44 In Rev 12-1 we see a symbolic woman (representing Israel) with a CROWN on her head with TWELVE stars.
There are twelve months in the year, and there are twelve signs in the zodiac. There are twelve hours of day and twelve in the night when they are evenly divided.
(I). Number Thirteen.
The number THIRTEEN stands for REBELLION. To Go beyond divine government is to be in Rebellion. To go beyond the number TWELVE is to go to number THIRTEEN. Since Twelve stands for divine government, then THIRTEEN stands for rebellion. In Genesis 14:4 we read, "Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the THIRTEENTH year they REBELLED." Nimrod, who led the rebellion at Babel (Genesis 10:10 and Genesis 11:1-9), was the THIRTEENTH, named from Ham. Those names are as follows (1) Ham, (2) Cush, (3) Mizriam, (4) Phut, (5) Canaan, (6) Seba, (7) Havilah, (8) Sabtah, (9) Raamah, (10) Sabtechah, (11) Sheba, (12) Dedan, and (13) Nimrod. Abraham was 86 years old when his son by the bondwoman was born. Genesis 16:16. The next verse takes up the story of his life when he was 99 years old, or THIRTEEN years later. God said to him, "I am the Almighty (all powerful) God; walk thou before me, and be thou perfect." Genesis 17:1. This was a rebuke to him for resorting to the bondwoman to give birth to the heir.
Moses said to Israel, "From the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came to this place, ye have been REBELLIOUS against the Lord." Deuteronomy 9:7. The words "Rebel," "Rebellion," "Rebelled," "Rebellious," "Rebel" (noun), and "Rebels" are used THIRTEEN times concerning Israel’s conduct in the wilderness. Those words are found in Numbers 14:9; Numbers 17:10; 20:10; 20:24; 27-14- Deuteronomy 1:26; 1:43; Deuteronomy 9:7; 9:23; 9:24; 31:27 (twice) and Psalms 78;8.
A close reading of the 78th Psalm shows that the wilderness experiences of Israel are under consideration. Notice verses 15-24. This shows that the word "Rebellious" in the eighth verse applied to them in the wilderness. But the third verse of the 107th Psalm shows that it applies to Israel after her dispersion. So Psalms 107:11 does not apply to Israel in the wilderness. That leaves just THIRTEEN times the words Rebellious, Rebel or Rebellion applies to them in the wilderness.
Counting the tribe of Levi there were 13 divisions to this rebellious nation of Israel. Those tribes were: (1) Reuben, (2) Simeon, (3) Judah, (4) Issachar, (5) Zebulon, (6) Ephraim, (7) Manasseh, (8) Benjamin, (9) Dan, (10) Asher, (11) Gad, (12) Naphtali, and (13) Levi. The first twelve tribes with their twelve princes are listed in Numb. 1:5-16. In Numb. 1:47 we read, "But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them." That is, they were not numbered among the twelve because they were taken out for the service of the Lord's sanctuary. When there was a rebellion against the priesthood of Aaron (Numb. 16:1-50) the Lord had the 12 princes of the 12 other tribes to bring their rods with their names written on them. Then Aaron, the priest, of the tribe of Levi brought his rod with his name on it. These rods, 12 for the other tribes and one for Aaron made THIRTEEN. They were put in the tabernacle. The next day Aaron's rod had budded, bloomed, and was yielding almonds. Numb. 17:1-8. The Lord said to Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept as a token against the REBELS." Numbers 17:10.
Israel was no more rebellious than any other nation. Their rebellious nature only pictures the depravity of all mankind by nature.
On the THIRTEENTH day of the first month, Haman secured a decree signed to have all the Jews in Persia put to death on the THIRTEENTH day of the twelfth month. Esther. 3:11-13.
The word DRAGON, which refers to the devil, is found THIRTEEN times in the book of Revelation. Revelation 12:3; 12:4; 12:9; 12:13; 12:16; 12:17; 13:2; 13:4; 13-11; 16-13; 20-3 and twice in Revelation 12:7. He became the first to break away from divine government, so he was the first rebel.
Now we are ready to consider the two hundred and seventy-three of the first born who were redeemed with FIVE shekels each. Here we find something to make us marvel. The Lord said, "Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle and the Levites shall be MINE: I am the Lord. And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen (273) of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites; thou shalt even take FIVE shekels apiece by the poll after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them:…and thou shalt give the money whereby the odd number of them is to be REDEEMED, unto Aaron and to his sons.” Numb. 3:34-48.
We have seen that the number THIRTEEN signifies rebellion Now let us divide the 273 by 13 and we see we have exactly 21 (273 divided by 13 is 21). A few days ago the writer knowing that THIRTEEN was the number for rebellion, decided to divide the number 273 by 13. He found it went into that number exactly twenty-one times. This caused him to do some more investigating. Then he found that there were recorded exactly twenty-one acts of disobedience on the part of the people from Egypt to Moab. The key is found in the statement of Moses in Deuteronomy 9:7, "From the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came into this place, ye have been REBELLIOUS against the Lord." So the time to begin counting begins with their departure out of Egypt. Those 21 acts of disobedience are found in Exodus 14:11-12; 15:23-24; 16:2; 16:19-20; 16:27-28; 17:1-4; 32:1-6; Leviticus 10:1-2; Leviticus 24:11-14; Numbers 11:1-3; 11:4-34; 12:1-15; 14:1-4; 14:40-45; 15:32-36; 16:1-33; 16:41-46; 20:1-6; 20:9-13; 21:4-8 and 25:1.
Those 21 acts of disobedience were the outward fruits of the rebellious nature they had. That rebellious nature is a symbol of man's depravity. Those outward acts picture the fruits of man's depraved nature. That rebellious nature shows the disposition of the natural man toward God. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7. So the number THIRTEEN shows the rebellious nature of the natural heart of all mankind.
The only remedy for a rebellious disposition is redemption through GRACE. This is what is pictured by the 273 firstborn being redeemed by FIVE shekels apiece. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His GRACE." Eph 1:7. Redemption by grace gives a man a disposition to obey God rather than to rebel against Him. Now let us take the number 13 signifying rebellion, from 21, the number of Israel's disobedient acts, and we have EIGHT left. This number indicated a new nature, the born again person. Not only does redemption through GRACE, pictures by the 273 being redeemed with FIVE pieces of money, take care of our rebellious nature, but it brings forgiveness for all the sins our depraved nature brought about. In the 13 x 21 we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Romans 7:13. In the redemption of that 273 by FIVE pieces of money, we see the exceeding riches of God's grace. Ephesians 2:7
God said to Israel, "I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26. So GRACE takes away or subtracts. Now let us take away that stony heart or rebellious nature represented by number THIRTEEN and see the result. Twenty-one (the number of Israel's acts of disobedience), minus THIRTEEN leaves EIGHT, the new nature, or the new heart God said He would give. Ezekiel 36:26. Then let us subtract Five, the number for GRACE, from THIRTEEN, the number for rebellion and we have EIGHT left, the number for the new creation. (13 minus 5 equals 8).
But GRACE also adds. Let us add THREE (the trinity) and FIVE (GRACE) and we have EIGHT, the new nature. Grace (5) adds to us the divine nature. In II Peter 1:4 we learn that we are partakers of the DIVINE nature. The Father is said to dwell in us. Christ dwells in us. Jesus said, "If any man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23. Then the Spirit is said to dwell in us. Jas. 4:5. So we have in us GRACE (5) and the divine trinity (3) and that makes eight, the new nature.
( J). Number Twenty-one.
From what we have seen above about Israel's disobedience and rebellious nature, it seems that TWENTY-ONE would represent the sum total of man's sinful acts. When God redeems He redeems from all our iniquities. "He shall redeem Israel from ALL his iniquities." The redemption of the 273 FIRSTBORN took care of (13 x 21) Israel's rebellious nature multiplied by her transgressions.
The difference between the number SIX and the number TWENTY-ONE in their typical significance seems to be that SIX denotes man's work, under the leadership of Satan, in seeking to save himself, apart from God's grace and power.
The builders of the tower of Babel sought to save themselves from being scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Their efforts failed. Genesis 11:4-8. Goliath's SIX pieces of armor were for the purpose of saving his life. They failed to do so. The exaltation of the beast as ruler over all nations, and as head of all false religions will be the result of a combination of religious and political power in an effort to keep humanity from destroying civilization It will fail. On the other hand, TWENTY-ONE represents the sins of man under the influence of His depraved nature. The lusts of the flesh lead to adultery, drunkenness, stealing, covetousness, extortion, anger, foolish talking, etc. None of these are done to the end that the doer of them might be saved, but because of his depraved nature.
(K). Number Forty.
The number FORTY seems to represent a testing or trying. Israel was tested FORTY years in the wilderness. Jesus was tempted of the devil FORTY days. Luke 4:1-2. When Moses was up in the mountain FORTY days, Israel grew impatient and made a golden calf. Exodus 24:18 and Exodus 32:1-7.
(L). Number Six-Hundred.
As yet this writer has not found this number used in connection with the tabernacle. But since it is important in counting the number of the beast, about which there has been much said and written, this writer wishes to digress long enough to consider this number.
This number is found connected over and over with warfare. "And he (Pharoah) made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: and he took SIX HUNDRED chosen chariots, and all the chosen chariots of Egypt." Exodus 14:6-7. In Judges 3:31 we read where Shamgar slew SIX HUNDRED of the Philistines. In Judges 18:7-29 we find that the tribe of Dan sent SIX HUNDRED men appointed with weapons of war. Verse 11. In Judges 20:47 we find that SIX HUNDRED of the warriors of the tribe of Benjamin fled to the rock Rimmon. In I Samuel 13:15 we find that Saul had with him about SIX HUNDRED warriors to do battle with the Philistines. The head of the spear of Goliath weighed SIX HUNDRED shekels of iron. When David pursued the Amalekites and overthrew them he had SIX HUNDRED warriors. 1 Samuel 50:1-20. Notice especially the ninth verse.
All these things show us that this number is connected with warfare. In reading about the beast, we find where men will say, !:Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make WAR with him." Revelation 13:4.
(M). Number Sixty-Six.
The numbers SIXTY and SIX, or Sixty-six is connected with idol worship. In Dan. 3:1 we find that Nebuchadnezzar made an image SIXTY cubits high and SIX cubits broad. He attempted to unify all religions in the worship of his image. Thus he was seeking to make himself the head of all religions. He was king of Babylon. He passed a decree that all must worship his image and that those who refused should be put to death. Dan. 3:1-28. He exalted himself above the God of heaven and defied Him. When the three Hebrew children refused to worship his image, he said unto them, "Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands." Dan. 3:15.
All this foreshadowed the work of the beast. He will exalt himself above all that is called God. II Thessalonians. 2:3-4 and Revelation 13:6-7. He will have an image erected and will have a decree passed that all men shall worship his image or be put to death.
Now let us add SIXTY SIX to SIX HUNDRED and we have the number of the beast SIX HUNDRED THREESCORE and SIX, or 666. Revelation 13:18. It shows us that the beast will be an irresistible warrior, against whom the world cannot stand, and that he will seek to unify all religions in the worship of himself and his image. This shows us what the beast will be. It is useless for us to try to find out who he will be, as Paul tells us he is not to be revealed until his time. II Thessalonians. 2:6-8.
ITS MATERIAL AND CONSTRUCTION
(A). Its Sides or Walls.
The sides or walls of the tabernacle were made of shittim standing up. These boards were ten cubits long and a cubit and an half wide and were overlaid with gold. "And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half the breadth of one board." Exodus 26:15-16. "And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings with gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold." Exodus 26:29.
The boards were TEN cubits high. We have seen that the number TEN represents the law. There were TEN commandments. Christ met every requirement of the law and fulfilled it for us. Matthew 5:17.
The shittim wood was a desert growth and pictures the human nature of Christ. Isaiah speaks of Christ as a root out of dry ground. "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground." Isaiah. 53:2. The gold with which the boards were overlaid evidently represents the heavenly, or divine nature of Christ. The street of the New Jerusalem which John saw descending out of heaven was pure gold. "And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." Revelation 21:21. See also Revelation 4:2-3; 5:8 and 8:3. Thus in the shittim wood overlaid with gold we have set forth both the divine and the human nature of Christ.
Each of the boards had two tenons in the lower end and these tenons were set in sockets of silver. "Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle. And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward. And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons. . And for the second side of the tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards: and their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board." Exodus 26:18-21.
The twenty boards on each of the sides north and south made the tabernacle thirty cubits long as each board was a cubit and a half wide and they stood on their ends. Exodus 26:15-16. This has already been pointed out. As each of the boards had two tenons there had to be forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards on each side. These sockets were holes in bars or plates of silver.
Silver is generally recognized as a symbol of redemption. It was used for redemption money. "When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then they shall give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel: (A shekel is twenty gerahs:) a half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord. . . . The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls." Exodus 30:12-15. "If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord," then he shall bring for his trespass unto the Lord a ram without blemish and of the flocks, with thy estimation by SHEKELS OF SILVER, after the shekel of the sanctuary." Leviticus 5:15. "And for those that are to be REDEEMED of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites; thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekels of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: . . . and Moses took the REDEMPTION money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites." Numbers 3:46-49.
From the above we see that the shekel of the sanctuary was a shekel of silver, and that this silver money was used for redemption. We have already seen that the tabernacle was built for a dwelling place for God among the children of Israel. "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." Exodus 25:8. If God dwells among His people He can only do so on the basis of redemption. All the boards of the tabernacle were set in sockets of silver, this indicating that God's dwelling among men is based upon redemption. This redemption came through Jesus Christ who was both human and divine. This two-fold nature of Christ we have seen in the shittim boards which were overlaid with gold.
In giving the instructions about the boards we find that the order in which the numbers of the boards were given was for the south side, the north side, and the west side.
There were twenty for the south side, twenty for the north side, and eight for the west end. These boards stood upright. By adding the boards on the south and north side we have forty boards. Christ was tempted forty days by the devil. "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil." Luke 4:1-2. He stood upright through all this temptation. In Isaiah. 28:16 we read, "Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a TRIED stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation." Christ is that foundation and He is the foundation of our salvation.
The EIGHT boards in the back show us that it was the second Adam (I Corinthians. 15:43), the head of the new creation, who was being tried, and who stood upright through it all.
The boards were held together with bars of shittim wood which were overlaid with gold. There were five bars to the side. These bars were put through rings of gold made on the boards. The middle bar reached from one end of the tabernacle to the other. This left two bars for the top row of rings and two for the bottom row. This will be seen by reading Exodus 26:26-29.
We have seen that number FIVE stands for grace. Each of the sides, south, .north, and west had FIVE bars, Exodus 26:36-37, and at the door were FIVE pillars. Thus on every side we have a picture of grace. John said that Christ was full of GRACE and truth. "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we behold his glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father,) full of GRACE and truth." John. 1:14.
In Christ, represented by the tabernacle, the believer is shut in by grace on every side, and surrounded by the boards set in sockets of silver representing redemption.
There we find five bars to the side and the middle bar went from end to end, Exodus 26:26-28. This made three rows of bars to each side, and thus three rows of rings to the side. This shows that in Christ dwells the fulness of the Godhead (the Trinity) bodily, Colossians 2:9, and that all THREE were involved in our salvation by grace.
(B). Its Curtains.
Over these upright boards there were laid four layers of curtains. The first layer of curtains was made of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work. Exodus 26:1-6. This, when laid over the boards, was called the tabernacle. "And thou shalt make fifty taches (pronounced tacks) of gold and couple the curtains (linen curtains) together with the taches: and it shall be one TABERNACLE." Exodus 26:6.
Over the linen curtains as a covering there was laid a layer of curtains made of goat's hair. Exodus 26:7-13. These, when put together, were called the tent. "And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the TENT together, that it may be one." Exodus 26:11.
As a covering for this tent of Goat's hair there was laid over it a covering of ram's skin dyed red. Then above it as another covering was laid a covering of badgers skins. There are no dimensions given concerning the last two layers of curtains. As there is no mention of any ridge pole it would seem that these curtains were laid flat across the top and held tightly in their place by means of tent pins and cords. Exodus 27:19—35:18.
We have seen that the number FOUR stands for creation. By means of the vessel like a sheet knit at FOUR corners, and FOUR kinds of creatures in that vessel (Acts 10:11-13) the Lord was showing Peter that the gospel was for every nation, Acts 10:35. So in the FOUR layers of curtains we see a covering for men of all nations.
(1). The Linen Curtains.
There were ten linen curtains which were twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. These curtains were laid over the walls crosswise, or over the tabernacle from south to north. "Thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them. The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure." Exodus 26:1-2.
We have seen that the tabernacle was twelve cubits wide. When laid across the walls these curtains would hang down the sides eight cubits on each side. The length of the curtains we have seen to be twenty-eight cubits. Twenty-eight cubits less twelve (the width of the tabernacle) leaves sixteen cubits to hang down the outside of the walls. This would be eight cubits on the south side and eight on the north side. From front to back, or from east to west, the tabernacle was thirty cubits long. (There were twenty boards a cubit and half in length on each of the sides south and north. Ex 26-15-21) Since the boards were ten cubits long and stood on their ends the height of the tabernacle was ten cubits Exodus 26:15-16. So it would take forty cubits of curtains to reach from the front to the back and the ten cubits down the back side. The number of linen curtains was ten. Their width was four cubits. Exodus 26:1-2. Ten times four cubits equals forty cubits.
Five of the ten curtains were coupled together to make a broad linen curtain, and the other five were coupled together to make a second broad linen curtain. "The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and the other five curtains shall be coupled one to another. And thou shalt make loops of blue UPON the edge of the one curtain (the broad one made of five,) from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make IN the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second; that the loops may hold one of another. And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle." Exodus 26:3-6.
From this we see that five of the linen curtains four cubits in width (V. 2) were coupled together to make one broad linen curtain. The other five were coupled together to make the second wide curtain. This would give us two broad linen curtains twenty (5x4 cubits) cubits wide and twenty-eight cubits long. It is likely these narrow curtains were sewed together. Upon the edge of one curtain there were fifty loops of blue. In the edge of the second there were fifty loops of blue. The loops being upon the edge of one, and in the edge of the other made the edges to fit together perfectly with no overlapping of the curtains. Fifty taches of gold ran through the loops to fasten these two broad curtains together.
By reading Exodus 26:33 we see that it was the broad curtains that were coupled together with the taches, not the ten narrow curtains, four cubits in width. We also find out where the veil was hung. "And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy." There was but one veil, and since it hung under the taches there was but one row of golden taches. So these fifty taches of gold coupled together the two broad linen curtains which had been made out of the ten narrow ones.
We have seen from the verse above that the veil was hung under the taches. When five of the curtains four cubits in width (verses 2-3) were made into one broad curtain that curtain would be twenty (5 x 4) cubits wide. So it would be twenty cubits back from the front where the taches coupled this curtain to the other broad curtain. This shows us that the veil was twenty cubits back from the front end since it hung under the taches. Since we have already learned that the veil divided between the holy place and the most holy place was twenty cubits long and the most holy place was ten (30 — 20 equals 10) cubits.
There were FIVE of the linen curtains FOUR cubits wide made into one broad curtain, and FIVE were made into another. Thus we have both the number for creation (FOUR) and the number for grace (FIVE) coupled together. In creation God was planning to display His grace: The two broad linen curtains each made of FIVE narrow ones met over the place where the veil was hung, Exodus 26:38. The veil represented the flesh of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:20 we read of the new and living way, which Christ has consecrated for us. "Through the veil, that is to say his flesh." The rending of the veil, or death of Christ, made both Jew and Gentile one. Ephesians 2:14. So both Jew and Gentile are represented in Christ, and grace is for both. This seems to be the lesson of the two broad curtains, each of which is made up of FIVE narrow ones, meeting over the place where the veil was hung.
Let the student keep in mind that these curtains were twenty-eight cubits long. When five narrow curtains were put together to make a broad curtain that broad curtain, while five times as wide as one narrow curtain, was of the same length as the narrow curtains.
The blue, purple, scarlet and the cherubims of cunning work were embroidered into the linen curtains by those whose hearts the Lord had filled with the Spirit of God and wisdom, and understanding and knowledge to do such work. "And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel … and He hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; and to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Ahioliab … them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work and of those that devise cunning work." Exodus 35:30-35.
From the above passage of scripture we learn some very important lessons. The purpose of the tabernacle was to how to us God in Christ reconciling man unto Himself. It speaks of Christ and His redemptive work. To do the cunning work necessary to such a structure men had to be supernaturally endowed with wisdom and skill. Even so did men have to be supernaturally inspired to write the scriptures in which Christ is set forth before us in all His divine attributes and perfection. None but men inspired of God could write the scriptures. Bezaleel and Ahioliab were endowed to work and to teach others in whom God put wisdom and understanding. "Then wrought Bezaleel and Ahioliab, and EVERY wise-hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding." Exodus 36:1.
Those who impart to others the truths that are set forth in the word of inspiration must be enlightened by the Spirit of God to set forth these truths, even as God put wisdom in all who did any work on the tabernacle. God first revealed the pattern unto Moses. All the instructions about how it was to be made were given to him in the mountain. Exodus 25:40. "Look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount." After that others had to be endued with wisdom to teach and to carry out what had been revealed to Moses. So must men be filled with wisdom from God to teach and carry out what has been revealed in the word of God. Paul prayed that the Colossians "might be filled with the knowledge of His (God's) will in all wisdom and SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING." Colossians 1:9.
We have seen that the linen curtains were embroidered with cunning work in blue, purple, and scarlet, with cherubims. Over these curtains was laid a rough covering of goat's hair. Thus the glory and beauty of the linen curtains was not seen from the outside, but was only visible to the priests who went into the tabernacle. Even so the beauty and glory of Christ is only seen and appreciated by those in Christ. Unbelieving Israel saw no beauty in Him. "When we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." Isaiah 53:2. So, the rough goats' hair presents Christ as viewed by a lost world. But the linen curtains with their beautiful cunning work of blue, purple, scarlet and cherubims show us Christ as seen by the believer who is in Christ.
Blue, which is the color of the sky, would seem to show us the place from whence Christ came. Purple denotes royalty, or kingship. When they mocked Christ as King of the Jews they put on Him a purple robe and a crown of thorns. John 13:2-3. Scarlet is the color of blood, and indicates His suffering. In one place it is said they put a scarlet robe upon Jesus. Matthew 27:28. So both the scarlet and purple colors were connected with Christ's humiliation. The fine linen represents righteousness. In Revelation 19:8 we read, "The fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Christ said to the church of Laodicea, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white rainment, that thou mayest be clothed." Revelation 3:18. Therefore the righteousness of the saints is the righteousness of Christ. So in the blue in the curtains we have a man from heaven. In the fine linen we have a sinless man. In the purple we have a royal man. In the scarlet we have a suffering man. In the blue we see a man from heaven. In the purple we see Jesus as our King. In the scarlet we see Him suffering for our sins. In the fine linen we see in Him our righteousness. As the beautiful work of the linen curtains was delightful to the eyes of the priests who went into the tabernacle, even so do we find our delight in what we see in Christ. David said, "One thing have I desired of the Lord , that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, TO BEHOLD THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD, and to enquire in His temple. Psalms 27:4. Again we read, "Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us." Psalms 90:16-17. Then in Psalms 96:6, we read, "Honour and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary."
In everything in the tabernacle we see uniformity, beauty and perfection. The linen curtains were all of one size. They were made to fit perfectly. The boards were all alike and of one measure. Everything denoted divine perfection and beauty.
(2). The Curtains of Goats' Hair.
There was made for the tabernacle of linen curtains a covering of goats' hair curtains. There were eleven of these goats' hair curtains, whereas, there were only ten of the fine linen curtains. The breadth of the curtains of goats' hair was the same as the breadth of the linen curtains, that is, four cubits. But they were thirty cubits long, or two cubits longer than the linen curtains. That would allow them when laid over the linen curtains to go a cubit below the linen curtains on each side of the tabernacle. The extra curtain doubled over the forefront of the tabernacle. Five of these goats hair curtains were put together to make a broad one, and six of them were put together to make a second broad one. They were coupled together with fifty taches of brass. The broad curtain made of the six narrow ones was laid over the front part of the tabernacle and the sixth curtain in this broad one doubled in the forefront of the tabernacle.
"And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make. The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall be of one measure. And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle. (This shows the purpose of the extra curtain). And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one (broad one) that is outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second. And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, and put the taches in the loops, and couple the tents together, that it may be one. And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the tabernacle. And a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side of that which remaineth of the length of the curtains of the tent, it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle on this side and that side, to cover it."
We have found that the tabernacle was thirty cubits long and ten cubits high. So the distance from the front of the tabernacle on top to the back end and down the back side would be forty cubits, or the length (30 cu.) plus (10 cu.) the height. There were ten linen curtains four cubits wide. Ten times four cubits equals forty cubits. So these ten linen curtains would exactly reach from the front end on top to the back (30 cu.) and leave ten cubits down the back side which was ten cubits high. (The boards stood on their ends and were ten long. The eleven curtains of goats' hair four cubits in length, when put together would reach (11 x 4 cu.) forty-four cubits. One curtain of four cubits doubled over the forefront. This left the remaining forty cubits to cover the top and go down the back side. After one narrow curtain, the sixth, in one broad curtain, has been doubled that left the width of five of the curtains (5 x 4 cu.) to reach back to where the brass taches coupled the front broad curtain to the back one. This would place the row of brass taches twenty cubits back from the front and exactly over the taches of gold in the linen curtains. The back goats' hair curtain made of five narrow ones was (5x4 cu.) twenty cubits wide. Ten cubits of this one, or half of it would cover the remaining ten cubits of the top and leave the other half to cover the ten cubits behind the tabernacle. In other words, the goats' hair curtains covered four cubits in the forefront of the tabernacle, the thirty cubits on top, and the ten cubits behind it. Add these figures and we have forty-four cubits. This explains why there had to be eleven curtains four cubits wide. Eleven times four makes forty-four.
The ten linen curtains plus the eleven curtains of goats' hairs makes twenty-one, exactly the number of sins recorded against Israel in the wilderness: Here we see a perfect covering for their sins. Not all of those twenty-one sins had been committed when the 273 were redeemed in Numbers 3:45-51. This shows that when that redemption took place God's foreknowledge took into consideration those future sins and accounted for them also. This shows that when God saves a person He not only redeems him from his past sins, but from his future sins. "By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." Hebrews 10:14. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10. "And you, being dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him, having forgiven you ALL trespasses." Colossians 2:13. How beautifully that is seen in the redemption of the two hundred and seventy-three. Numb. 3:45-51.
Then the curtains being only thirty cubits long would reach the twelve cubits across the tabernacle and leave eighteen cubits, or nine cubits on each side. This would make it come a cubit below the linen curtains on the south side and on the north side.
Whereas the linen curtains, which formed the inner layer, were coupled together with taches of gold we find that the goats' hair curtains were coupled together with brass taches. Brass seems to be a symbol of judgment. Jesus said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:14-15. The serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness was made of brass. "And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he, beheld the serpent of brass, he lived" Numbers 21:9. The fiery serpents had been sent among the children of Israel as a judgment upon them because of their murmurings. Numbers 21:5-7. The judgment was taken away when they looked upon the uplifted serpent of brass. Here we have a picture of Christ taking our judgment upon Himself.
The curtains of goats' hair seem to carry out the same thought. On the day of atonement Aaron took two goats and presented them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle. One goat was offered as a sin offering. Aaron laid his hands upon the head of the other goat and confessed over him the iniquities of Israel and the goat was sent away by a fit man into a land not inhabited to bear away the iniquities of Israel. Leviticus 16:7-10 and 16:20-22. So, the two goats taken together picture Christ dying for our sins and bearing away our sins forever. The goat over which the .iniquities of Israel had been confessed together with the slain goat shows Christ dying for our sins and bearing them away for all time. The curtains of goats' hair coupled together with brass taches' sets forth this same truth.
We notice that there were SIX narrow curtains of goats' hair coupled together to make one broad curtain, and FIVE were coupled together to make another broad one, Exodus 26:9. We have seen that SIX stands for the works of man. The question arises then where do the works of man come in? It was man that took Christ and put Him to death because they saw no beauty in Him. "When we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." Isaiah53:2. They did it to save themselves from the Romans. "Then gathered the chief priests and Pharisees a council, and said, what do we? (Notice man's work) for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and our nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not, and this he spoke not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together.”
Let us now study the goats' hair curtains in the light of this passage. First, I wish to call attention to what that council said, "What shall we (men) DO?" Here we have the works of men symbolized by SIX. The thing they decided to do was put Jesus to death. This is what is represented by the SIX curtains of goats' hair. This eleven goats' hair curtains made a covering. "Thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: Eleven curtains shalt thou make." Christ died that we might have a covering for our sins. So the work of these men in putting Christ to death was necessary to the plan of salvation.
Next, we see GRACE in the 51st verse. "Being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation." Here is GRACE, represented in the FIVE curtains of goats' hair that made up one of the broad curtains. In Exodus 26:9, we see that one of SIX curtains was in front or came before. So do we see the works of men in John 11:47-50 before we see GRACE in John 11:51.
Next, we see in the death of Jesus that not only would Christ die for that nation, but that "He should gather together in ONE the children of God scattered abroad." Now let us read Exodus 26:11 in the light of this verse and see how they fit together in the picture. "And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, and put the taches into the loops and couple the tent together, that it may be ONE." When the SIX curtains of goats' hair and the FIVE were coupled together the TENT was ONE. By the death of Jesus all of God's children, Jews and Gentiles were made ONE in Christ. "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice and there shall be ONE fold and ONE shepherd." John 10:16. So in John 11:47-50 we see the works of men, represented by the SIX goats' hair curtains, connected with the death of Jesus. Next, we see the GRACE of God in John 11:51-52, represented by the FIVE curtains. Next, we see all of God's children, Jew and Gentiles made ONE by the death of Jesus, represented by coupling the SIX and the FIVE together to make the tent ONE.
In Exodus 26:9, we see that the SIXTH curtain was doubled in the forefront. This left FIVE of the SIX to reach back and couple to the back curtain, made of FIVE, making them meet over the veil as did the linen curtains.
Lastly, let us see how men's works failed to do what they expected. They were going to put Christ to death so the Romans would not come and take away THEIR place and nation. That is exactly what happened after the death of Christ So they did not prevent the Romans from taking away their nation. But God brought grace out of it all and someday Israel will be restored because of the death of Christ.
(3). THE CURTAINS OF RAMS' SKINS.
To go over and cover the tent of goats' hair curtains there was made a covering of rams' skins dyed red. This was the third layer of curtains. Nothing is said about how long or how wide this covering was. It is just stated, “And thou shalt make a covering of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering of badgers' skins." Exodus 26:14.
In order for this covering to be made there had to be death on the part of the animals from which these skins came. These skins were dyed red. This suggests the shedding of blood. So in the covering of rams' skins we have a picture of death and the shedding of blood. In Hebrews 9:22 we read, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission."
The death of the rams which furnished the skins for this covering speaks of atonement. On the Day of Atonement a ram was used for a burnt offering. Leviticus 16:2-3. Thus, these were representative of the atoning blood of Christ.
This covering of rams' skins dyed red was laid over the tabernacle showing that all who are in Christ are under the blood. This covering of rams' skins together with the covering of badgers' skins, sheltered all that was beneath from any rain, wind, hail, or storms that might come. Even so, the death of Christ shelters all who are in Him from the storms of God's wrath and judgment. "A man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest: as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." Isaiah 32:2. That MAN is the MAN Christ Jesus.
(4). THE COVERING OF BADGERS' SKINS.
The fourth and last layer of curtains was that of the badger skins. This was laid over the curtain of rams' skins these animals also had to die for their skins to be used, Every way we turn we are confronted with something that speaks of death, the shedding of blood, and substitution and covering for our sins. In the word of God we read, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered.” Romans 4:7.
(5). THE VEIL.
The next thing we shall consider is the veil of the tabernacle. It was hung under the taches and separated the holy place from the most holy place. The ark of the testimony on top of which the mercy seat rested was the one piece of furniture that was within the veil, or in the most holy place.
"And thou shalt hang up the veil UNDER THE TACHES, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy place." Exodus 26:33.
In Exodus 26:1-6 we found that the taches of gold coupled together the two broad linen curtains, each of which was made of five narrow curtains, four cubits in width. This made each broad curtain twenty cubits wide. So these curtains were coupled together with the taches twenty cubits back from the front. Since the veil was hung under the taches it was twenty cubits back from the front of the tabernacle. So the holy place was twenty cubits long and the most holy place was ten cubits.
This veil has a two-fold significance. We learn this in the book of Hebrews. First of all, the place within the veil, or the most holy place, represents heaven where Christ went to intercede for us. In Hebrews 19:20 we read, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made.an high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."
In the second place the veil was a type of the flesh of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:19-20 we read, "Having therefore, brethren, 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." The veil in the tabernacle stood between the priests and the most holy place. None could enter that place save the high priest, and he but once a year. Heb 9:8: "The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while yet the first tabernacle was yet standing." But when Christ on the cross “cried with a loud voice, and yielded up the ghost, then the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." Matthew 27:50-51. This rending of the veil opened the way to the most holy place. There was nothing now to keep man from entering. This rent veil pictured the rent flesh of Jesus Christ. By His broken body and shed blood He has removed every barrier between a holy God and a sinful people. The way is open to the mercy seat. Every hindrance has been removed. God can now act in mercy and grace because of the rent veil or flesh of Jesus Christ. Not until the flesh of Jesus was rent was the way into the holiest of all made manifest. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16.
Let the reader keep in mind the difference in what God has always seen and what man has seen. From before the foundation of the world God has seen the rent veil, or the flesh of Jesus, and could save men on the merits of Christ. But it was not until Christ died that men's eyes were opened to see what God had seen all along, or to really understand the meaning of the Old Testament figures. Now we have the glorious privilege of entering by the aid of the Spirit into the glorious secrets and wisdom that were in the mind of God in ages past. Paul said, "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory." 1 Corinthians 2:7.
At this point let us consider the 50 gold taches and the 50 brass taches that coupled the curtains together exactly over the place where the veil was hung. In Exodus 26:23 we read, "Thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches." To get the significance of the taches all we need to do is to read Leviticus 23:10-16. In verse 10 we find that the Lord commanded Israel that when they reaped their harvest they were to bring a sheaf of the first fruits unto the priest. Next, we read where it is said, "And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you on the MORROW after the SABBATH shall the priest wave it." Leviticus 23:11. Here, we have the picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Sabbath was the seventh day of the week. Exodus 20:10. The MORROW after the Sabbath would therefore be the first day of the next week. By reading Matthew 28:1-7 we find that our Lord was raised from the dead on the first day of the week, or the MORROW after the Sabbath. In 1 Corinthians 15:20 we read, “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the FIRSTFRUITS of them that slept.” So the waving of the firstfruits of the harvest was typical of the resurrection of Christ. Now let us read Leviticus 23:15-16. “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven SABBATHS shall be complete; even unto the MORROW after the seventh SABBATH shall ye number FIFTY DAYS; and ye shall offer a NEW meat offering unto the Lord. Something new took place just 50 days after our Lord's resurrection. The Holy Spirit descended in all His power on the day of Pentecost, just 50 days after our Lord was raised from the dead So, the fifty taches that coupled the curtains together were typical of the Holy Spirit and His work.
Those taches coupled the curtains together right over the place where the veil was hung. Before the Holy Spirit could descend to lead and guide, and enlighten us, Christ must die, and be raised from the dead. The veil of the flesh of Christ had to be rent. Moses had to smite the rock of Horeb, which was a type of the smiting of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4), before the water came forth to quench the thirst of the children of Israel. Exodus 17:1-6. All that the Spirit does, He does as the result of the rent veil of our Lord's flesh, and His resurrection. On the day of Pentecost Peter said, "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear". Acts 2:33. Then how fitting it is that the taches, both in the linen curtains, and the curtains of goats' hair came right over the place where, the veil was hung. We have seen that there were FIVE narrow linen curtains, each FOUR cubits wide, that were fastened together to make a broad one. And five more were fastened together to make a second broad one. Exodus 26:1-3. These two broad ones were coupled together with 50 taches of gold, and it made ONE tabernacle. And these two broad curtains met and were joined together into ONE by the 50 taches of gold, right where the veil was hung. Exodus 26:33. On the other hand there were SIX curtains of goats' hair, four cubits wide, fastened together to make a broad goats' hair curtain, and FIVE more FOUR cubits wide fastened together to make another. Exodus 26:7-11. These were coupled together with 50 taches of brass. The broad one made out of six curtains was in the front. This was one more than was found in either of the broad linen curtains. But here again the wisdom of God and the marvels of divine inspiration are displayed. The sixth curtain was doubled in the forefront of the tabernacle. This made the taches to come right over the veil, and couple the two broad curtains of goats' hair together at the veil. No wonder Paul shouted, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Jesus Christ." Galatians 6:14. No wonder he said, "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto us who are called, Christ the power of God, and the WISDOM of God." "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God." Romans 11:33.
It was the 50 taches that joined the curtains together and made them one. It is the Holy Spirit's work to bring us to Christ and make us one. And He does that by virtue of the rent veil or the flesh of Jesus. Christ prayed that His people should be ONE. John 17:20-21. We are made ONE by the Holy Spirit pictured by the 50 taches, which were over the veil and made the curtains to become one right over the veil. The Holy Spirit makes the Jew and Gentile ONE by virtue of the death of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:14-15. By virtue of His rent flesh (the veil) GOD is to gather together in ONE all things in Christ. Ephesians 1:10. This, God will accomplish through the work of the Spirit symbolized by the 50 taches.
In the case of the linen curtains they were coupled together with the taches of gold. It is the work of the Spirit that enables us to believe in Christ and become clothed with the perfect righteousness of Christ, represented by the fine linen. "The fine linen is the righteousness of the saints." Revelation 19:8. It is ours by reason of the rent veil. It was also the work of the Spirit through which Christ offered Himself unto God. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." Hebrews 8:14. In that offering Christ was bearing the judgment for our sins. That is why those taches were of brass. The Holy Spirit coupled together the death of Christ, brought about by the works of man (Represented by the SIX curtains), and the GRACE of God, represented by the FIVE narrow curtains in the other broad one. How marvelous are the ways of God.
Within, or behind the veil was the most holy place. In this place there was no window, lamp, or candle. No earthly light ever shined in that place. But when the high priest entered on the Day of Atonement the glory of the presence of God, who was typified as dwelling above the mercy seat between the cherubims, lit up the place. Leviticus 16:2. In Psalms 80:1 we read, "Thou that dwellest between the cherubims SHINE FORTH." The only light that can ever banish the spiritual darkness of men, and illuminate the minds and hearts of men, is the heavenly light that lighted that place. Because of the rent veil of the flesh of Jesus all men may have access to that light and may behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The wisdom of men cannot bring us there. “After that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (Of the cross of Christ) to save them that believe." 1 Corinthians 1:21. Because of the death of Christ that light now shines in our hearts. II Corinthians 4:6. May the Lord be praised for it.
(D). THE HANGING FOR THE DOOR.
"And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needle work. And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them." Exodus 26:36-37.
We notice that the pillars for the door were set in sockets of brass. All the boards were set upon sockets of silver as were the sockets for the pillars of the veil. The sockets of brass were at the threshold. All within the tabernacle rested on sockets of silver. When the priest passed over the threshold he left behind all that was of brass and stood on the ground where all the boards and pillars for the veil rested on sockets of silver. Behind him was that which spoke of judgment and on every side was that which spoke of redemption. So when we enter into Christ we leave behind all judgment and stand on the ground of redemption. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1. "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24.
Christ said of Himself, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture." John 10:9. A door is a way of entrance. Jesus also said of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6. To enter into the tabernacle, or to approach the holy of holies, one had to go through the door. If we approach God we must do so through Christ.
The pillars at the door were set in sockets of brass. He who is our door had to suffer the judgment due us for our sins. When we enter in by Him who is the door, we are saved. We are then placed on redemption ground and for us there is no more condemnation.
There were FIVE pillars for the door. "And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple and scarlet and fire twined linen, wrought with needlework, thou shalt make for the hanging FIVE pillars," etc. is our number for GRACE. "By me if any man enter in he shall be saved." John 10:9. "By GRACE are ye saved through faith." Ephesians 2:8. This gives us the symbol of GRACE all around the tabernacle, on all sides and the top, and at the base redemption in the silver sockets.
There were FIVE bars on each side, south, north, and west Then we have FIVE pillars in the doorway. Above we have two broad linen curtains, each of which is made up of FIVE narrow ones. Then on top of this we have a covering of goats' hair. One of these broad curtains was made of FIVE narrow curtains. So here we have GRACE represented to us SEVEN times in the tabernacle itself. This is the number of completeness. Paul said, "Ye are COMPLETE in Him, "which is the head of all principality and power." Colossians 2:10. So we are saved with a complete salvation. We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ represented in the fine linen. We are coupled together and sealed by the Holy Spirit, represented by the fifty taches. Over us we have the blood, represented by the covering of rams' skins dyed red. Then beneath our feet are the silver sockets representing an eternal redemption.
"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word;
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?"
(E). THE COURT.
Around the tabernacle was a court made of fine twined linen hung on hooks of silver on pillars of brass. The pillars of brass were set in sockets of brass, and they had fillets of silver. Exodus 27:9-10. The court faced the east, as did the tabernacle. Exodus 27:13. It was one hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide, and the hangings around it were five cubits high. "The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty cubits everywhere, and the heighth five cubits of fine twined linen, and 'their sockets of brass." Exodus 27:18. The south and north sides were one hundred cubits, while the west end and the front of the court were fifty cubits. Exodus 27:9-16. There were twenty pillars of brass in each side, south and north, and ten pillars in the west end, and eight in the east end. The corner pillars, however, would be counted twice, even as a corner post in a fence would be used for a fence in two sides of a yard or field.
In the east end was the gate. It was twenty cubits wide. The hanging for it was made of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework. There were four pillars of brass in the gate. These were set in sockets of brass and had silver hooks and fillets. Exodus 27:16-17. On each side of the gate there were hangings of fine twined linen fifteen cubits in width. There were three pillars for the hangings on each side of the gate. Exodus 27:13-15. The twenty cubits in the gate plus the fifteen cubits on each side would make fifty cubits, the breadth of the court. Since the hanging for the gate was twenty cubits and the hangings on each side of it were fifteen cubits these hangings would have to meet edge to edge to exactly enclose the fifty cubits in front. Thus each end of the hanging for the gate would hang on the same pillar as did the hangings which they met on the sides. So the two corner pillars in the gate were also used for the hangings on each side. So actually there were only eight pillars in the east end.
The fillets on the pillars were narrow bands of silver at the top of the pillars. They may be made in a miniature model of the tabernacle and its court by painting the top of the pillars the color of silver.
The blue, purple, scarlet, and fine needlework in the hangings for the court were found only in the hangings for the gate. As one approached the tabernacle from the wilderness he first saw the linen hangings on pillars of brass with hooks and fillets of silver. There is set forth in this the perfect righteousness which God demands and which the sinner does not have. The sinner not being able to meet the righteous demands of God's law, is convicted by the Spirit and made to see his condemnation before God. His condemnation and judgment is set forth by the pillars of brass. But those pillars of brass were tipped with fillets of silver, symbolizing redemption. At the same time the Spirit convicts the sinner of failing to meet God's standard of righteousness, and shows him that he is under condemnation, He also offers to the sinner redemption. This brings us to the gate of the court where we see the hangings of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen. This shows that the righteous demands of God were met in Jesus Christ, the royal man from heaven who suffered for our sins. And that gate of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen, hung on hooks of silver, is an invitation to the sinner to come and find redemption through the shed blood of the righteous man from heaven. Standing before the gate the condemned sinner may hear the blessed invitation: "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:22.
A gate speaks of the way of approach to the court. There is but one way of approach to God. Jesus said, "No man cometh to the Father but by me." John 14:6. The scarlet in the hanging of the gate speaks of the shed blood of Jesus on the basis of which God can invite men to approach Him.
TOWARD THE SUNRISE
Both the tabernacle and the court faced the east, or toward the sunrise. In Malachi 4:2 we find Christ spoken of the Sun of Righteousness. "Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings." Isaiah 60:1 we read: "ARISE, shine; for thy light is and the glory of the Lord in risen upon thee." Thus in the eastward look of the tabernacle Israel was taught to look for the coming of the promised "Sun of Righteousness", Jesus Christ their Messiah and Saviour. So we are taught to wait and look for His return. "We have a more sure word of prophecv whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the DAY DAWN, and the day star arise in your hearts." II Peter 1:19. For us, Christ at His appearing, will be the day star proclaiming the approach of the day. "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." Revelation 22:16. To Israel Christ will be the "Sun of Righteousness" at His return to the earth. Facing the east, the tabernacle teaches us to watch for the coming of Him of whom the tabernacle speaks.
At His return to Israel Jesus Christ will come from the east. "Afterward He brought me to the gate that looketh toward the east: and, behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of THE EAST: and His voice was like the noise of many waters; and the earth shineth with His glory." Ezekiel 43:1-2. In Revelation 1:12-16 John gave us a description of Christ in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. In that description John said that His (Christ's) voice was as the sound of many waters. So the one in Ezekiel 43:2, who comes from the way of the east, and whose voice was like the noise of many waters, can be none other than Jesus Christ.
But let us read further in Ezekiel's prophecy. "And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the EAST. So the Spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold the glory of the Lord filled the house. And I heard Him speak unto me out of the house; . . . and He said unto me, Son of man, the PLACE OF MY THRONE, and the place of the soles of MY FEET, where I will DWELL in the midst of the children of Israel forever." Ezekiel 43:4-7.
Here Ezekiel tells us that the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. In Hebrews 1:2-3 we read where God "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, . . . who being the brightness HIS GLORY, and the express image of His person, . . . when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." So the glory of the God of Israel, whose voice was like the noise of many waters, was Christ. He is the one whom Ezekiel saw coming from the EAST.
In Ezekiel 43:1-7, we see one entering the eastern gate, who is to sit on His throne. He said to Ezekiel, "The place of my THRONE, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever." V. 7. This is none other than the promised Son of David, who should sit upon David's throne. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the THRONE of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth and forever." Isaiah 9:6-7. As Son of David, this person (Christ) was a man. But He was also God. Isaiah said He was the Mighty God. He was a child born, a human being, yet God. Then in Ezekiel 44:1-2 we find the gate toward the east was shut, "Because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered by it." The person in Ezekiel 43:1-7 who comes into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east, is the same person who in Ezekiel 44:2 is called "The Lord, the God of Israel." Here is the Christ, the Messiah of the Jews, man, yet God, and God, yet man. In John 1:1 we read, "In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Then in John 1:14 we read, "The WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth."
This is He of whom the Psalmist was speaking when he said, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." Psalms 24:7. This is Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2) and of the whole earth (Zechariah 14:9), when He shall return to earth in His glory. Matthew 25:31.
From these verses we see that when Christ returns to sit His throne, and DWELL in the midst of the children of Israel He will come from the east. So the tabernacle, which represents God's dwelling place among the Israelites, facing eastward foretells the coming of Christ, in whom God dwells, to sit upon His throne at Jerusalem and to dwell among the children of Israel. Ezekiel tells us that He will come from the east. And the Lord said to Ezekiel, "Son of man, the place of my THRONE, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I WILL DWELL in the midst of the children of Israel forever." Thus we see the significance of the statement in Exodus 25:8, "Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."
In the day of the Lord, when Christ comes to make war against Israel's enemies, as they will be gathered against Jerusalem to battle, He will descend to the Mount of Olives which is east of Jerusalem. "Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day (when He comes to fight against the nations) upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the EAST." Zechariah 14:3-4. From that mountain east of Jerusalem He will no doubt enter the temple, or house of the Lord, as Ezekiel tells us. Ezekiel 43:1-7.
In Ezekiel, chapter forty to the end of chapter forty-two Ezekiel gives us a prophecy of the temple which shall be built by the Jews in the future. This is the house into which the Lord, the glory of the God of Israel, will enter from the east. Ezekiel 43:1-5. "The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple. But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifer of silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years." Mal. 3:1-4.
Yes, the Lord will suddenly come to His temple, and He shall come by the way of the east. When He comes the earth will shine with His glory. "The glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and His voice was like the noise of many waters; and the earth SHINED with His glory.” “The EARTH shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9.
Our Lord compared His return to lightning coming out of the EAST. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:27.
In confirmation of the above let us now read Ezekiel 44:1-2. "Then He brought me BACK the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the EAST; and it was shut. Then saith the Lord unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; BECAUSE the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered it (eastern gate) therefore it shall be shut." This is in keeping with the prophecy in Ezekiel 43:1-7, and is positive proof that Christ will come from the EAST when He returns to sit on His throne and to dwell in the midst of Israel. The eastern gate being shut after the Lord returns may signify that the prophecies concerning Christ's return have now been fulfilled. Christ, "the Sun of Righteousness", being come into His glory, the eastern gate through which He has entered will be shut. Israel need no longer look for their "Sun of Righteousness" to arise. He will have arisen on them with glory and their Sun will no more go down. "Thy Sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended." Isaiah 60:20. Their God will be dwelling in the midst of them.
THE FURNITURE OF THE TABERNACLE
(A). THE ARK OF THE TESTIMONY.
The first thing about which God gave instructions was the Ark of the Testimony. Exodus 25:10-16. It was the first article of furniture to be put in its place. Exodus 40:18-21. It occupied the leading place in God's communications to Moses. In the last chapter of Exodus we have the setting up of the tabernacle and its dedication. When the work of dedication was completed then the pillar or cloud covered the tabernacle and the glory of God filled it. Exodus 40:34. In the opening verse of the next book, Leviticus, we read, "And the Lord called unto Moses and spake unto him OUT OF THE TABERNACLE." Leviticus 1:1. Then in numbers 7:89 we read, "When Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubims." God had now come down from Mt. Sinai where He spoke in judgment and had taken His seat on the mercy seat that was upon the ark where He could speak to His people in mercy.
The position of the ark was most significant. Its place was within the veil, in the most holy place. Thus it formed the base of God's throne of grace. Everything about it speaks of mercy and grace for the sinner. But it, together with the mercy seat, also speaks of a satisfied law, and of the terms on which a Holy God can meet His sinning creature in both mercy and peace.
On the Day of Atonement the high priest went within the veil and sprinkled the blood upon the mercy seat that was upon the ark. Leviticus 16:1-15. Notice especially verses 14-15. This was typical of the work of our High Priest, Jesus Christ, in Heb 9:7, we read, "But into the second, (Most Holy Place) went the high priest alone once each year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.” Then a few verses below we read, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, …neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 9:11,12.
Now let us read Hebrews 4:14-16. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into THE HEAVENS, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto THE THRONE OF GRACE, that we may obtain MERCY and GRACE to help in the time of need."
From these verses we see that the mercy seat resting upon the ark, which was within the veil, was typical of the throne of grace within the heavens where Christ, our High Priest, has gone.
An Ark is designed to preserve intact whatever maybe placed within it. An ark carried Noah and his family and all that was therein, safely through the flood. The mother of Moses placed him in an ark that preserved him from the waters of the Nile River. So the Ark of the Covenant was designed to preserve God's covenant unbroken in the midst of an erring people. In this ark of the testimony were placed the tables of stones on which were written the ten commandments. Exodus 25:16, and Deuteronomy 10:1-5. This shall be more fully discussed later on.
Now let us read the instructions which God gave Moses about the construction of the ark. "And they shall make an ark of shittim wood; two cubits and an half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and an half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and an half the heighth thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shall make upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in one side of it, and two rings shall be in the other side of it. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee." Exodus 25:10-16.
From the above we see that the ark was two cubits and a half long, and a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. It was overlaid with pure gold within and without. It had four rings of gold in the four corners. Through these rings of gold were placed staves of shittim wood covered with gold. By means of these staves the ark was carried by the Levites when the people were journeying from place to place during their sojourn in the wilderness. These staves were not to be taken from the rings, but they were to be always left in them.
First, let us notice that the ark was overlaid with gold WITHIN and without. Wherever the word speaks of this it is always stated within and without, never without and within. Exodus 37:1-2. "Man looketh on the outward appearance but God looketh upon the heart." I Samuel 16:7. With Him, outward righteousness to be acceptable must be the result of an heart that is right before Him. David said to the Lord, "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts." Psalms 51:6. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for making the outside clean and leaving the inside full of extortion and excess. He told them to first cleanse that which was within the cup and platter. Matthew 23:23-26. Again, our Lord said, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things." Matthew 12:35. The world expects to be made acceptable unto God by outward deeds. The word of God teaches that we must first be made right within.
Jesus Christ did the will of God in all things because He was pure gold within. He was sinless within and without. It was His delight to do the Father's will. "Then, said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is written in my heart." Psalms 40:7-8.
By reading Exodus 25:16 and Deuteronomy 10:1-5 we find that the law of God, the tables of stones containing the Ten Commandments were placed within the ark. This pictures to us the law of God within the heart of Christ. This was the tables of stones as given the second time. Deuteronomy 10:1-5. The first time the Ten Commandments were given in stones Moses threw them down in anger when he found Israel had made the golden calf to worship. "And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount." Exodus 32:19. This signifies what man has done to God's holy law. He has broken the whole law. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Jas. 2:10. The second time Moses was called into the mountain and received the Ten Commandments in a second set of stones. This time they were not broken, but placed intact within the ark. This typified what Christ did for God's law. He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth, shall pass, one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17-18. He was made under the law. "When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Galatians 4:4-5. Being made under the law, He obligated Himself to keep the law. This He did in every respect. In so doing He furnished the obedience which the law demanded of man, which man could not render. Having rendered that obedience which God's righteous law demanded He paid man's penalty for a broken law by dying as a substitute for the sinner. This however, will be more clearly brought out in our study of the mercy seat.
As we have seen, the ark had rings of gold made at the four corners. Through these were placed staves of shittim wood overlaid with gold. The ark had to be carried as Israel journeyed in the wilderness. Here we have set forth the pilgrim life of Jesus while He was in the world. He had no certain abiding place. He said of Himself, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests: but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20. "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not." John 1:10. It was prophesied of Him, "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen on me." Psalms 69:8-9. He was indeed a stranger and pilgrim in the world. This was the meaning of the rings and staves by which the ark was borne from place to place.
We read where God said to Moses, "The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it." The staves were to remain in the rings upon the ark. They were not to be removed. It was to be in constant readiness to be moved. Here we see pictured the constant readiness of Christ to do His Father's will. Jesus said of Himself, "The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him." John 8:29.
(B). THE MERCY SEAT.
"And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth thereof. And thou shalt make two cherubim's of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shalt thou make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel". Exodus 25:17-22.
Here we have one of the most interesting and profitable and heart stirring lessons to be found in the word of God. The very name of this article of furniture, "The Mercy Seat", shows its meaning. It speaks to us of mercy and grace. It tells us of a God who delights to show mercy. It tells of the basis on which He can and does show mercy. In it God unfolds unto us His great loving heart which yearns over His fallen and sinful creatures. It speaks to us of the great love wherewith He loved us. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead In sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-7.
To truly appreciate these verses in Ephesians we need to read the verses that come before and see the dark background on which Sovereign mercy and grace are displayed. In those verses we find that we were in times past dead in trespasses and sins, walking after the course of this world, indwelt by the spirit of Satan, having our conversation in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind; and were children of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3. We were also without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, having no hope, and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:11. Into this dark and dismal situation mercy and grace stepped forward and completely changed the picture. "BUT GOD (what depth of meaning in these two words), who is RICH IN MERCY, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we dead in sins, hath quickened us," etc. Of all this the mercy seat speaks in the sweetest of tones. In that mercy seat we see the great compassion of the heart of God. Mercy is for the sinful and unworthy. Being sinners we need mercy. God being love, delights to show mercy. O what tenderness and pathos we see in that mercy seat. The very thought of it stirs the deepest emotions of our hearts and melts our eyes to tears. In it we see hope for the hopeless. In it we see forgiveness for all our sins. In it we see balm for our sin sick and weary souls. In it we see a fountain for our cleansing. In it we see a refuge from the wrath to come.
"From every stormy wind that blows,
From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat:
Tis found beneath the mercy seat.
There is a place where Jesus sheds
The oil of gladness on our heads;
A place than all beside more sweet:
It is the blood bought mercy seat.
Oh let my hand forget her skill,
My tongue be silent, cold and still,
This bounding heart forget to beat
If I forget thy mercy seat.”
This mercy seat, being two and a half cubits in length, a cubit and a half in breadth, would exactly fit the top of the ark on which it rested. What fitness we discover in all God's plans and ways! Not one thing was done in vain. There is no overlapping in His divine pattern of things. Everything about the ark and mercy seat, as well as in all the tabernacle, was harmoniously related to each other. So it is in God's great system of truth. There can be no discord in divine revelation. Like the strings in a great musical instrument, or like the different instruments in a great orchestra, everything is in tune with the other. In everything we see the master mind of God. In everything we see the stamp of divine inspiration, and a wisdom that was infinite in its reach.
In giving the instructions for the ark the Lord told Moses to put in it testimony which He should give him. Exodus 25:16. In His instructions about the mercy seat, He repeated what He had said about the testimony. "And thou shalt put the mercy seat above the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put THE TESTIMONY that I shall give thee." Exodus 25:21. Since God had already told Moses to put the testimony in the ark, to of the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for us. It shows us that the way to mercy's door is a blood-sprinkled way. Not the labor of our hands could fulfill the law's demands. Not our zeal, our good works, our good intentions, nor our observance of rituals and ceremonies could for us atone. Every step of the way is marked by the blood of the cross. The way to the loving, outstretched arms of mercy is by the blood of Christ. It is stained with crimson all the way.
"There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
E'er since by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wound supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die."
The blood-sprinkled mercy seat resting above the tables of stones shows us judgment mingled with mercy. The broken tables at the foot of Mt. Sinai demanded judgment. But that judgment was borne by Him, who alone could keep the law unbroken, when He died for us. So here we find that "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Psalms 85:10. Here the Father plants the forgiving kiss upon the cheek of the returning prodigal, and puts upon him the best robe of all, the perfect righteousness of Christ.
This blood-sprinkled mercy seat speaks to the sinner of pardon and peace. It shows us the loving kindness of God in giving His Son to reclaim us. It shows us the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who came to lift us from our fallen state into a glorious place of sonship with God.
"In loving kindness Jesus came,
My soul in MERCY to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame,
Through GRACE He lifted me.
He called me long before I heard,
Before my sinful heart was stirred,
But when I took Him at His word,
Forgiv'n, He lifted me.
His brow was pierced with many a thorn,
His hands by cruel nails were torn,
When from my guilt and grief forlorn,
In love He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me,
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise His name, He lifted me!"
THE CHERUBIMS UPON THE MERCY SEAT
In the cherubims at each end of the mercy seat we have a beautiful picture. These cherubims were made of beaten gold and stood on each end of the mercy seat with their faces turned inward and looking down upon the mercy seat. Their wings were outstretched toward each other and overshadowed the mercy seat. We find in Genesis 3:22-24 that after man had sinned in eating of the forbidden fruit that God drove him from the garden, and placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, Cherubims, and a flaming sword, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Here was judgment mingled with mercy. Had man been permitted to eat of the tree of life he could have perpetuated his bodily existence and would have lived forever in a state of rebellion against God. So while it was a judgment to drive man out, it was also an act of mercy to keep him from eating of the tree of life in his rebellious state.
But at the mercy seat we find no flaming sword. We see faces full of compassion looking down upon a place of mercy and grace, a place where God can meet a sinner in peace.
These cherubims were made of beaten gold. The beaten gold speaks of the bruising of our Saviour which He endured that we might find mercy. We read where Isaiah prophesied of Christ as follows: "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting." In Matthew 27:26 we read: "Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified." Then we read in Matthew 27:30 "And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head." Isaiah said, "He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our Iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5.
A scourge was made of a heavy broad strap of leather in which were fastened slugs of lead. It was applied to the bared back of the victim. Every time this scourge was laid across our Saviour's back the flesh was broken and the blood flowed. In the beaten gold of the cherubims upon the mercy seat we see a picture of the scourging our Saviour received and the wounds in His hands and feet as he was nailed to the cross. Every time the hammer fell to beat out the gold for the cherubims upon the mercy seat, it sounded out the strokes of our Saviour's scourging and the blows of the hammers which nailed Him to the cross. Because of all this suffering on the part of Jesus Christ God can meet a sinner in mercy.
The outstretched wings of the cherubims over the mercy seat speak to us of a safe refuge for the sinner, a place where those who trust in Christ are sheltered from all harm. Here we find a hope that is both sure and steadfast, a hope that holds us safe amidst the storms and tempests of life. We are told that our hope entereth into that within the veil.
"God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it with an oath; that by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that WITHIN THE VEIL; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec." Hebrews 6:17-20.
So the mercy seat within the veil represents a sure refuge for a guilty sinner. The outstretched wings of the cherubims over the mercy seat symbolize a place of certain refuge. David said, "BE MERCIFUL unto me, O God, be MERCIFUL unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast." Psalms 57:1. By trusting in the Lord, David found grace for his needs, and an unfailing refuge beneath God's wings of mercy.
"Jesus, lover of my soul,
let me to thy bosom fly,
while the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high!
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
with the shadow of Thy wing."
A DIVINELY APPOINTED MEETING PLACE
The mercy seat was the place appointed of God where He would meet His people. "And there will I meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel." This speaks of a place where God will meet the sinner in mercy. It is not only a place of His appointment, but a place which He Himself has provided, in terms satisfactory with Himself, and in keeping with divine justice.
This appointed place where God meets the sinner in mercy is a place of propitiation. In Romans 3:24-26 we read, "Being justified freely by His GRACE through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath sent forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."
The word translated "Propitiation" in the above quotation is from a Greek word which Young's Concordance tells us means "Place of propitiation." Jesus Christ, through His death, resurrection, and ascension provided a place of propitiation where God can be righteous and FREELY justify the sinner who believes in Jesus. The mercy seat resting above the unbroken tables of the law proclaims God as being righteous in justifying the one who has faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. It speaks of a place of propitiation through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. When a Holy God and an unworthy sinner meet on a bloodstained platform all is forever settled. God is forever satisfied and the sinner is forever saved. God has justified the sinner, and who can lay anything to his charge? "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God THAT JUSTIFIETH. Who is he that condemneth?" Romans 8:33-34. Justice has been satisfied, divine love and wisdom have been fully shown, grace has been displayed, the sinner has been saved, and God has been glorified.
Not only was the mercy seat a place where God met His People, but it was a place where He would commune with them. God is not content to just forgive the sinner and take away his guilt, but He goes still further and makes this known to him by communing with the one He meets in mercy. He speaks to our hearts in tenderness and love. Thank God that there is a conscious communion between God and the pardoned sinner. In the heart and soul of the forgiven sinner God communes with him through His spirit. This communion of God unto the sinner whom He meets in grace at the blood-sprinkled mercy seat gives that person an assurance that all is well with his soul.
"When peace, like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
My sin, Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin— not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul."
May the Holy Spirit so lead us as we think upon the mercy seat until we see the riches of God's grace as we have never before seen it. May our understanding be enlightened until we see in that blood stained mercy seat the wisdom of God and the all sufficiency of His redeeming grace through Jesus Christ. Resting in that finished work of Christ may our spirits be lifted above the groveling things of this vain world until we can sing in the words of the song writer:
"There, there on angel wings we soar,
And sin and sense molest no more;
And heav'n comes down our souls to greet,
And glory crowns the mercy seat.
Ah! Whither could we flee for aid,
When tempted, desolate, dismayed;
Or how the hosts of Hell defeat,
Had suff'ring saints no mercy seat?"
(C). THE TABLE OF SHEWBREAD.
Thus far our study of the tabernacle furniture and its meaning has confined us to that which was within the veil in the most holy place. Within that veil we have seen the work of Christ in our behalf before God's throne of mercy. It gives us the position of the believer within the heavenlies as he is represented before the Father in the person of His High Priest and Federal Head, Jesus Christ. Now, we are ready to come without that veil and see the believer in Christ occupying the place of a worshipper. Not until the atoning blood of Christ has made us acceptable before God's presence can we truly take our place as worshippers and offer up unto Him praise and adoration. How fitting it is then, that the ark and the mercy seat should be mentioned before the table of shewbread, (Exodus 25:10-23), made before the table of shewbread (Exodus 37:1-10), and set in place before it was, (Exodus 40:1-4) and (40:20-22). The divine order of things is always the right order. And the table of shewbread is always the third in order of the furniture. Now let us endeavor to study the table and its meaning.
"Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the heighth thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof. Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them. And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them. And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread alway." Exodus 25:23-30.
On this table, stood food for the priests of God. In Leviticus 24:5-9 we read, "And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenths deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord. Every Sabbath shall he set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron's and his sons', and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual covenant."
Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are priests. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." 1 Peter 2:9. "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father." As believer priests we feed upon Christ who is the bread of life. Jesus said of Himself, "I am the Jiving bread which came down from heaven: if a man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John 6:51. Christ is not only our salvation, but He is our spiritual food. The believer delights to feed upon the riches of His grace which builds him up and makes him to grow stronger and stronger in the Lord. As a child grows larger and stronger through eating physical food, so the more we meditate and think upon what Christ means to us, the more we grow in grace and the stronger we become in the Lord.
This shewbread was to be kept continually on the table before the Lord. It is essential to our spiritual growth that we have Christ ever before us where we can feed upon Him continually.
As this tabernacle was built as a dwelling place for God among the children of Israel there had to be twelve cakes upon the table. Though the priests alone ministered in the sanctuary, yet God dwelt among all the tribes, the one as well as the other. He provided for all the tribes by giving them manna from heaven. Thus all the twelve tribes had to be represented in the twelve cakes.
Twelve is an important number in God's dealings with Israel. He chose twelve apostles. The twelve apostles are to sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28. The New Jerusalem had twelve gates, and at those gates are twelve angels. On those twelve gates are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Revelation 21:12. The city has twelve foundations, and on these twelve foundations are the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Revelation 21:14.
The cakes were made of unleavened bread. "And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar. And he shall take of it his handful of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the Lord. And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation shall they eat it. It shall NOT be baken with leaven." Leviticus 6:15-17.
Leaven is a symbol of evil, impurity, false doctrine, strife, and vain glory. "Know ye not that a little leaven leaventh the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." I Corinthians 5:6-8. The Passover, which was a type of Christ, who is called our Passover, was eaten with unleavened bread. Exodus 12:8-11; see also Matthew 17:6-12. Thus in the unleavened cakes upon the table of shewbread we have another picture of the sinless, spotless character of Christ Jesus. "Ye know that He was manifest to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin." I John 3:5.
The table of shewbread was placed in the holy place on the north side. "And he brought in the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the Lord commanded Moses. And he put the table in the tent of the tabernacle northward, without the veil. And set bread in order upon it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses." Exodus 40:21-23.
(D). THE CANDLESTICK.
The next article of furniture mentioned was the candlestick. Exodus 25:31-40. It was also the next one in order in which they were made. After the table of shewbread was brought in and set in its place then the candlestick was brought in and set over against the table of shewbread, on the south side of the tabernacle. "And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table on the side of the tabernacle southward. And he lighted the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses." Exodus 40:24-25. The Lord's priests need light as well as food. Christ provides both for us. Jesus said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life". John 8:12. To worship and serve aright we must have the light of divine truth. Over and over again the Lord said to Moses, "And look that thou make them after their pattern in the mount." Exodus. 25:40; 25:9; 39:42; 40:19, 21, 23, 27, 29 and 32. In all these things God is seeking to impress His people that if they worship and serve Him in an acceptable way, they must do so according to a revealed pattern. Through His churches which teach the word through the power of the Spirit the believers in Christ are given the light which they need.
The candlestick with the seven lamps symbolize not "THE CHURCH" as we so often hear the expression used, but THE CHURCHES (plural) of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Revelation 1:12-20 John saw Jesus Christ standing in the midst of seven golden candlesticks. Jesus said unto John, "The seven candlesticks are the seven churches," Revelation 1:20. So, the seven lamps on the candlestick in the tabernacle evidently represent the same thing, the churches (plural) of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This writer cannot accept the theory that the tabernacle as a whole, or even the holy place, represents the church. There was but one tabernacle. The word of God teaches that there was a plurality of churches. The word "Church" is found in the plural form thirty-three times in the New Testament. In this connection let me suggest to the reader that he make a list of all the places where our Lord used the word "Church". He will find this in the book of Matthew and in the book of Revelation. Set these scripture references in order one under the other. Then read each reference and write after it either "Local body" or "Universal church" as each verse indicates. Then do the same with the book of Acts, the book of Romans, the two books of Corinthians, the book of Galatians, and on through the New Testament . He will be surprised at the evidence that accumulates showing that a church is a local body.
Next, this writer cannot accept the theory that the holy place is a type of church because Hebrews 4:14-16; 6:19-20; and 9:7-12 shows us that in the most holy place we have a type of heaven. The priest had to go through the holy place to reach the most holy place. That theory would teach church salvation. The lamps on the candlestick shed their light in the holy place and on the way the priest had to go toward the most holy place. The churches may give us light and instructions as to how to worship and serve Christ, and how to grow up in Him as we travel along the road to glory, but they do not save us. They may teach us about Him who does save, but Christ Himself does the saving, and not the churches. We must be careful not to put the churches between the individual and his Saviour. Much precious truth has been obscured by trying to see the church, or rather the churches, where God meant for us to see Christ. Many of the precious promises of God to Israel have been stripped of their meaning by trying to apply them to what some people call "The Church". Many theologians have put "The Church" to the forefront and Christ in the background. With them "The Church" is everything, and Christ has been stripped of His saving power. God's word teaches us that Christ should have the preeminence in all things. Colossians 1:16-18. But with too many "The Church" has the preeminence in all things.
The reader may find the instructions for making the candlestick in Exodus 25:31-40. Since this is a lengthy passage the reader will be left to read it for himself. We find that it was one work of beaten gold. It had one shaft. On each side of this shaft were three branches, vs. 31-33. There were seven lamps, v. 37. Evidently the seventh lamp was at the top of the shaft, and three were on the branches on each of the sides. A talent of gold was used in making the candlestick and its vessels. Exodus 25:39. This would be worth more than $26,000.00 in our money today.
The branches of the candlestick all came out of the same shaft. This shows us that scriptural churches all had a common origin. They were all of the same kind of material.
For the candlesticks there were made tongs and snuff dishes. All who have ever had any experience with a tallow candle or a kerosene lamp know how char forms on the wicks and interferes with the candle or lamp giving light. For the lamp to give its best light this char has to be kept snuffed or trimmed off. So it was with the candlestick. The high priest, who dressed the lamps, had to keep the accumulation of char snuffed off. So it is with the churches. There is continually accumulating that which hinders them from giving their best light. Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, has to keep us trimmed. That in our lives which hinders the churches from giving their true light must be trimmed away.
The tongs for the candlestick were used by the high priest in trimming the wicks of the lamps The snuff dishes were vessels into which the char was deposited after being trimmed off. It was not to be thrown upon the floor to soil and defile the sanctuary of the Lord.
The lamps were kept burning continually by means of olive oil which was supplied to the lamps by the high priest. "And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the Lord." Exodus 27:20-21. In Exodus 30:7 we find where Aaron dressed (trimmed) the lamps. This typifies the work of Christ giving to us the Spirit of God, who alone can cause °our lamps to burn and our lights to shine. As charred wicks interfere with the flow of oil to the light so does that which is dross in our lives interfere with the work of the Spirit of God in and through us.
The lamps were to be caused to burn continually. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light' to burn continually. Without the veil of the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute FOREVER in your generations." Leviticus 24:1-4. Here we have set forth in type the perpetuity of the churches. "Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, amen." Ephesians 3:21.
(E). THE GOLDEN ALTAR OF INCENSE.
The next article of furniture to be considered is the golden altar of incense. It was brought in after the candlestick was placed and its lamps lit, and was put in the holy place before the veil. "And he lighted the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses. And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the veil: and he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the Lord commanded Moses." Exodus 40:25-27.
The incense which was burned upon this altar pictures the prayers and worship of the saints of God. We read where David said, "Let my prayer be set before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." The in Revelation 8:3-4 we see where it is written, "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne."
The incense was made of sweet spices. "And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary." Exodus 37:29. These sweet spices gave forth a pleasing and delightful smell. This sets forth the delight there is to be found in the worship and service of God, both to God and to those who worship Him in Spirit and truth.
The description of this altar is found in Exodus 30:1-4, "And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof; the horns thereof shall be of the same. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof: and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about. And two golden rings shalt thou make to it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for the staves to bear it withal." No strange incense was to be burned upon this altar. "Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon." Exodus 30:9.
All efforts at worshipping God by the unhallowed powers of nature come under the head of "strange fire." The Lord must be the object of our worship. We are not to go before the Lord to commemorate Mother's Day, or Father's Day. All such is out of place in our worship of the Lord. We need to worship and praise Him, and to commune with Him. A lot of modern singing is nothing but strange fire. The singers, rather than Christ, are exalted. We are not to sing that someone can see how well we can sing, but to lead the minds and hearts of the people to adore and worship God. A lot of singing we have today should be relegated back to the barn dance from whence it came. It is set to a swing time tune, and stirs the feelings in one's feet rather than in his heart. If we would go back to the old-time songs and congregational singing we would notice a difference in our services.
We notice that no burnt offering or meat offering was to be offered upon this altar. This is very significant and we shall discuss this after studying the brazen altar.
(F). THE BRAZEN ALTAR.
Now we come out of the tabernacle to the brazen altar which is before the door of the tabernacle. "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. And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass." Exodus 27:1-2.
This brazen altar, when considered with the burnt offering gives us a most profitable and soul-stirring lesson. It was the place where the sacrifices and offerings were burned, with the exception of the sweet incense which was burned on the altar of incense.
The brazen altar was outside the tabernacle, and in the court of the tabernacle. It was set before the door of the tabernacle. "And he set up the hanging of the door of the tabernacle And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle." Exodus 40:28-29.
This altar represented the cross of Jesus Christ. There were FOUR horns on the FOUR corners. To these four corners the sacrifice was tied. In Psalms 118:27 we read, "God is the Lord, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifices with cords, even unto the HORNS of the altar." When we read this verse, along with Psalms 22:16 the Lord does indeed give us light. In that verse we read, "They pierced my hands and my feet." Christ had two hands and two feet. By means of FOUR nails driven through His two hands and two feet He was fastened to the cross. After His resurrection our Lord appeared to His disciples and showed them His hands and feet. Luke 24:48. Thomas said he would not believe the Lord was raised unless he could see the prints of the nails. So here we see the meaning of the four horns.
That altar was FIVE cubits in length and FIVE cubits in breadth. In Hebrews 2:9 we read that Jesus by the GRACE of God tasted death for EVERY man. That altar had FOUR sides. It looked east. It looked west. It looked north. And it looked south. That death and His grace was for all of earth's people, represented by the number FOUR. In Revelation 5:9 we read, "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seal thereof: for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred (1), and tongue (2), and people (3), and nation (4)”. Its FOUR sides show that through the death of Christ God offers grace to every nation. That altar looked toward the yellow races in Asia. It looked toward the black races in Africa. It looked toward Russia, toward the battlefields in Korea, toward America, and toward every lost person of Adam's race.
This altar was made of shittim wood covered with brass. Brass symbolizes judgment. The brazen serpent which Moses lifted up as a remedy for the judgment that came upon Israel in the wilderness was a type of Christ. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:14-15. This brazen altar pictures the same. It speaks to us in the sweetest of words of One who suffered for us on the cross and forever took away the judgment of all who believe. It tells us, "He that believeth on Him is not condemned." John 3:18. It speaks of eternal life and salvation. That altar was three cubits deep. There was a grate on it. The sacrifice was laid on the altar and burned to ashes. Those ashes went through that grate and sunk down three cubits deep. When Christ died He went down into death for three days and three nights.
But the number THREE is also associated with the resurrection. This altar speaks of death, not forever, but only for THREE days. It speaks of One who conquered death and is alive forevermore.
Now, let us consider the burnt offering in this connection. "And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake to him out of the TABERNACLE of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering: and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: but his inwards and his legs shall be wash in water: and the priest shall burn all upon the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord."
First, let us notice that God was now speaking to Moses out of the TABERNACLE, v. 1. Before this God had been speaking to Moses out of the mountain of Sinai, which was a place where God spoke in judgment and wrath. Now that the tabernacle is erected and dedicated God comes down from the mountain and takes His seat above the mercy seat between the cherubims. Now He can speak in mercy, and of a way whereby sinful men may be accepted of Him.
The offering for the burnt sacrifice had to be a male. Jesus Christ, God's Son, was a male, and Mary's firstborn son. Luke 2:7.
In the next place the animal had to be without blemish. Here we see a picture of the spotless character of Christ. "He was manifested to take away our sins: and m Him was no sin " I John 3:5. He "Was in all points tempted like as we are vet without sin." Hebrews 4:15. Peter spoke of Him as a "Lamb without blemish and without spot", I Peter 1:19. Not only was He without sin, but He must have been without any blemish or defects in His body. Born without a depraved nature He could not have been otherwise. He was the most perfect specimen of humanity the world ever saw, the only perfect Lamb, sinless, and spotless, and perfect in form.
"Majestic sweetness sits enthroned
Upon the Saviour's brow;
His head with radiant glories crowned,
His lips with grace o'erflow,
His lips with grace o'erflow.
No mortal can with Him compare,
Among the sons of men;
Fairer is He than all the fair
Who fill the heav'nly train,
Who fill the heav'nly train."
Next, we find that the offering was to be offered voluntarily. He said, "I lay down my life that I may take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself." John 10:17-18. He "For the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2.
By laying his hand upon the head of the offering, the person bringing the offering accepted it as a substitute for himself and acknowledged himself as being a sinner worthy of death.
This offering was accepted of God to make an atonement for the one offering it. We read where Paul said that God "Hath made us accepted in the beloved." Ephesians 1:6.
Next, the animal was to be killed and its blood was to be sprinkled all over the altar. So did the blood of Christ stain the cross crimson.
The animal was flayed and cut to pieces, and laid on the altar and burned to ashes. To flay means to remove the skin. This animal that was without blemish when taken, was now marred beyond recognition. Here we have a picture of the merciless treatment our Saviour willingly bore that He might make an atonement for our sins. They crowned Him with a crown made of thorns. Matthew 27:29. They scourged Him with a scourge, a heavy strap of leather with embedded slugs of lead. Every time that scourge fell upon His back the flesh was torn and the blood flowed. They slapped Him in the face, and smote Him on the head, until as the prophet foretold, "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form than the sons of men." Isaiah 52:14. That perfect specimen of manhood, that body that was without a defect, was torn and rent. They drove the cruel nails through His hands and feet. They pierced His side until His life's blood poured out in a stream and stained the cross, and purchased redemption for you and me.
"Once I was straying in sin's dark valley,
No hope within could I see;
They searched through heaven and found a Saviour
To save a poor lost soul like me.
O what a Saviour, O hallelujah,
His heart was broken on Calvary;
His hands were nail-scarred,
His side was riven,
He gave His life blood for even me.
Death's chilly waters I'll soon be crossing,
His hand will lead me safely o'er;
I'll join the chorus in that great city,
And sing up there forevermore.
O what a Saviour, O hallelujah,
His heart was broken on Calvary;
His hands were nail-scarred,
His side was riven,
He gave His life blood for even me.”
Now let us contrast the brazen altar on the outside of the tabernacle with the golden altar, which was on the inside. We have seen that the burnt offering was for the purpose of making an atonement. Leviticus 1:4. No burnt offering was to be burned on the golden altar (Exodus 30:4), but on the brazen altar. The brazen altar represents the death of Christ by which we are reconciled to God. He did all that is needful to our salvation. We are not to seek to add to His perfect work on the cross by offering our own works, worship, and devotion as means to bring about our salvation, or to keep us saved. The brazen altar is the altar of Christ where He offered Himself to God. The golden altar is our altar where we offer ourselves to God, not to be saved, but because we are saved To burn a burnt offering or meat offering, or pour a drink offering on the golden altar would be to offer our worship and service to God for salvation, or to keep us saved That would be to ignore the finished work of Christ. But thanks be unto God, we can humbly, thankfully offer our whole heart's devotion unto God at the golden altar, because Christ gave Himself for us on the brazen altar (the cross), and redeemed us for all time to come. When we realize that Christ has saved us once for all (Hebrews 10:10), then our fears are removed, and we are free to joyfully, gladly offer to Him our heart's devotion at the golden altar. Then it becomes sweet indeed to worship Him. Then indeed, the sweet incense (Exodus 30:34-36) of the golden altar fills our hearts with delight, and is well pleasing unto God.
Over and over again I have heard a certain sister tell how much her spiritual life has meant to her, and how much happier she has been since she found out that she was saved forever. Neither has the thought of this made her careless in her way of living, but all the more devoted to her Lord's services. The motive that prompts our service and devotions should always be the love of Christ, and never the fear of being lost. Paul said, "The love of Christ constraineth us." II Corinthians 5:14.
(G). THE BRAZEN LAVER.
The last article of furniture to be considered is the brazen laver. It was set in the court between the brazen altar and the tabernacle. Exodus 40:30. It was the last article of furniture to be put in its place. After it was placed the court was reared up. Exodus 40:33.
We find the instructions for making this laver in Exodus 30:18-20. "Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: when they go into the tabernacle."
In Exodus 38:8 we find that this brazen laver was made of looking glasses, or mirrors of brass. "And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it brass, of looking glasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." Here we have a most practical lesson for us. In it we see the believer's preparation for worship. Each day before the priests went to burn incense before the Lord, or to do any service, they had to go by the laver and wash their hands and feet. This cannot represent baptism, as some may teach, because it was to be done over and over again, and it was the hands and feet that had to be washed. The soiled hands and feet of the priests, already sanctified, anointed and set apart for worship, represented defilement of sin from which we need to be cleansed over and over.
Let the reader keep in mind the difference between the guilt of sin and the defilement of sin. We are saved from the guilt of sin once and for all (Hebrews 10:10) by the death of Christ. We are cleansed from the defilement of sin by humbly confessing to God our sins. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9. The pronouns "we" and "us" show that the writer, John, was including himself in this verse. We get rid of the guilt of sin once for all when we repent and believe in Christ. But believers often become defiled with sin. This does not cause them to be lost, but unfits them for worship and service. We get rid of this defilement by confessing our sins to God. Then we are prepared to worship God aright This, then, is the lesson of the brazen laver.
This laver was made of looking glasses. A looking glass shows us what is wrong about ourselves. That is what God's word does for the believer. David asked, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his ways?" Then he answered by saying, "By taking heed thereto according to thy word." Psalms 119:9. So the Bible, God's mirror, shows us our sins and shortcomings. It tells us not to speak evil, one of the other. James 4:11. It tells us to put away lying and speak the truth, every man with his neighbor. Ephesians 4:2. It tells us to let no corrupt communications proceed out of our mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying. Ephesians 4:29. It tells us to "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32. It tells us to be chaste in our conversation. I Peter 3:2. It teaches us to be patient. It tells us not to engage in foolish talking and jesting, but to give thanks. Ephesians 5:4. Then it tells us that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9. This cleansing is what is represented by the water in the laver, in which Aaron and his sons washed their hands and feet. Paul said, "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:22-27. This is the lesson of the brazen laver.
Brass stands for judgment. At the brazen laver is where the believer judges himself. How strict we should be in judging ourselves and how lenient of the other person! What a difference this would make with us.
Every time Aaron and his sons went into the tabernacle to appear before the Lord they had to wash their hands and feet. Every time we go to the service of the Lord we should spend a few quiet moments before the Lord in examining ourselves, and then confess our sins to Him humbly, and with a petition for grace to overcome all these things, ask Him to prepare us for the house of worship. It is better to let the dinner go uncooked, or the dishes unwashed, than to go into the presence of God to worship with our lives unwashed from defilement. What a difference it would make in our services. What a difference in our lives. How the power of God would rest upon us.
Here at the brazen laver is the place to unload that unforgiving spirit. Here is the place to lay aside our grumpy disposition, our malice, envy, and sulkiness.
How do we go to the house of God to worship? Do we go there in love, kindness or with a grudge? Let us come to the brazen laver, judge ourselves, and go away with a heart that is joyful, full of praise and glory. That is the lesson the brazen laver has for us. Let us heed it and profit thereby. Our prayers would be answered. Our hearts would be light, and our souls would be refreshed with the dews of heaven. If this were put into practice in our lives a revival would soon sweep the land.
THE HOLY ANOINTING OIL
"Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Take thou also unto thee principle spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, and of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: and thou shall make it an oil of holy anointment, an ointment compounded after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, and the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whosoever toucheth them shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.” Exodus 30:22-30.
Here we see that nothing is left out. The tabernacle and every piece of its furniture to the smallest thing, priests and all, were anointed with this holy anointing oil which is a type of the Holy Spirit. If we preach, we should have the Spirit upon us. If we pray, it should be in the Spirit. If we sing, we should do so in the power of the Spirit. If we teach, the Spirit must be in the teaching. The people, the preachers, the singers, and all, should have the Spirit upon them. We are not to sing for show. We are not to preach for show, but in the Spirit of true worship. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth." John 4:24.
How much worship we have today that is not the result of the working of the Holy Spirit! People are called upon to lead the song service, or to sing in quartets, who do not even know the Lord, or whose lives are so filled with worldliness that all spiritual power is excluded. People who belong to the Lord mix, mingle, and take part in community singings where anybody, whether saved or unsaved, may take a leading part, direct the activities, or take a prominent part in the singing. Paul said, "Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and SPIRITUAL songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord," Ephesians 5:19. How can unsaved singers speak in spiritual songs?
How can they make melody in their hearts? How can such singing profit or bless us? Is the anointing of the Spirit upon their singing? Then how much out of place it is for the children of God to throw themselves into a mixed multitude where the unsaved have as much part as the saved, or where the chief purpose of those who sponsor the singing is to advertise and sell some new song book about three or four times a year.
Now let us listen further to what God has to say. "And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an HOLY anointing oil unto ME (God) throughout your generations. Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be HOLY unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people." Exodus 30:31-33. When we call upon unsaved people to contribute to our spiritual worship we are seeking to pour this anointing oil on a stranger. Those who sing for the Lord must do so in the power and under the influence of the Spirit. Oh, that we might put into practice this lesson!
Everything that Jesus did He did through the power of the Spirit. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. Luke 4:2. After His temptation He "Returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee." Luke 4:14. When He opened the book of Isaiah to read, He read where Isaiah prophesied of Him, and said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18-19. When Jesus had closed the book he said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." V. 21. When Christ died He offered Himself through the Spirit without spot unto God. Hebrews 9:14. If we follow the steps of Jesus, we too, will do everything in the power of the Spirit. What a difference it would make in our worship and services if we followed the teachings of this lesson. Before we sing, teach, preach, worship, or write, we should ask that the Spirit use us, then yield ourselves to Him to be used.
This holy anointing oil was not to be put upon a stranger. "Whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people." Exodus 30:33. The stranger represents the lost sinner, one who is a stranger to grace. "Wherefore remember, that ye being in times past Gentiles of the flesh, who are called the uncircumcised by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and STRANGERS from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." Ephesians 2:11-12. So the lost man cannot receive the Spirit of God. Jesus said to His disciples, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever: even the spirit of truth; whom the world CANNOT receive." John 14:16-17. In Galatians 6:4 we read, "BECAUSE ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
This forever establishes the fact that salvation comes before water baptism. In Acts 10:44-47 we read that the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before baptism. "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. … Then answered Peter, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"
Those who teach that water baptism is necessary to salvation, when confronted with this passage of scripture, say that this was a special case to convince the Jews that the gospel was for the Gentiles. This is what the vision was for that Peter had upon the house top. God said that the holy anointing oil was not to be put upon a stranger. Jesus said that the world CANNOT receive the Spirit. If God gave the Holy Spirit on this occasion to unsaved men then God went contrary to what He Himself taught in the lesson of the holy anointing oil, and He went contrary to what Jesus taught when He said the world CANNOT receive the Spirit. The scriptures were broken, God contradicted Himself, and He has become the Author of confusion in His own work. But that is impossible. Jesus said, "The scripture CANNOT be broken." John 10:35. The only scriptural conclusion is that those Gentiles were saved without water baptism.
If those who teach such a doctrine would give more heed to the lesson taught in the holy anointing oil they would not make such gross errors.
THE DEDICATION OF THE TABERNACLE
Before the tabernacle or any of its furniture was used it was first dedicated and sanctified unto the Lord. In Exodus 40-1-38 we find that dedication. First, Moses anointed the tabernacle and every piece of furniture, to the smallest detail. Then he anointed the priests. Exodus 40:9-16. After that each piece of furniture was put in its place, beginning in the most holy place and ending with the laver in the outer court. This gives us the order of God's approach to man. The ark was given first, and on it was the mercy seat. Next was the table of shewbread, then the candlestick, then the golden altar, and next the brazen altar, and then the laver.
By starting at the ark of the testimony and going from there to the brazen altar we see God in Christ, coming from glory to humiliation, shame and death, that He might take us from a state of death, shame, and humiliation back to glory with Him. He took part in our shame that we might share with Him in His glory.
Going the other direction we have man's approach unto God. The first article of furniture he came to was the brazen altar, which represents the cross of Christ. Then comes the laver, which was between the brazen altar where we obtain salvation in Christ, and the door of the tabernacle. When first saved we are not only saved from the guilt of sin, but also from the defilement of sin, and later on we become defiled and have need to be cleansed from that again and again.
Next, the believer is ready for the spiritual food from off the table of shewbread for the light of the churches, symbolized by the candlestick, and for worship and devotion, pictured by the golden altar of incense. Then finally he beholds himself as having already entered the heavenlies in the person of Christ, his representative, where his life is hid with Christ in God. Ephesians 2:6, and Colossians 3:3.
After the furniture was all placed the court was set up. Then the pillar of cloud rested upon the tabernacle and ABODE thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle, vs. 34-35. If the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle then the children of Israel went forward in their journey. If it was not taken up, then they journeyed not until it was taken up, v. 37. Here we have a profitable lesson in the leadership of the Spirit. If the Spirit of God leads the way, then it is time for God's children to act. If the Spirit does not lead them then they should tarry and wait upon the Lord. When God wanted Israel to go up at Kadesh-Barnea and possess the land they refused to go. When God condemned them to wander forty years in the wilderness because of their sin, then they attempted to go up without the ark and Moses, and they were smitten before their enemies. Numbers 14:1-45. So when we seek to do something in our own strength we will fail. We should not tarry behind when the Spirit leads. Neither should we run ahead of the Spirit of God.
Let the reader take notice of the fact that not until the tabernacle and every article of its furniture had been dedicated with the anointing oil, was it put into use. Christ did not enter His personal ministry until the Spirit came upon Him. Everything we do, or say, or use for God's services should first be consecrated to the Lord.
THE FIRST BORN AND THE LEVITES
The firstborn represents those who have only had the first birth. God rejected Cain, the firstborn of Adam, and accepted Abel the second born. The same was true in the case of Ishmael and Isaac, and Jacob and Esau. In the land of Egypt God smote all the firstborn of the Egyptians, and the firstborn of Israel had to be sheltered by the blood of the Passover lamb. Exodus 12:3-13. The 273 who had to be redeemed in Numbers 3:45-50 were of the firstborn who exceeded the total number of males of the Levites. So the firstborn pictured those who have only been born of the flesh.
But we find the firstborn belonged to God up until a certain time, and then the Lord took the Levites in the place of the firstborn. In Exodus 13:2 we read where the Lord said unto Moses, "Sanctify unto me the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast: IT IS MINE." But in Numbers 3:45 we read where God said, "Take the Levites INSTEAD OF THE FIRSTBORN among the children of Israel, … and the LEVITES shall be MINE: I am the Lord."
Now what is the meaning of all this, and why did the Lord make the change? Has something taken place that God did not see? Not at all. It is all according to the divine pattern of things. When God said that the firstborn were His the law had not yet been given, and the firstborn had never become accountable unto the law. The law had already been given and Israel had already broken it by making the golden calf when God told Moses to take the Levites instead of the firstborn. The lesson is that small children who have never arrived at the age of accountability belong to the Lord. Though sinners, yet they are not condemned. "The law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression." Romans 4:14. Paul said, "For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." Romans 7:9. How well this fits in with God's treatment of Israel from Egypt to Sinai. They sinned over and over from Egypt to Sinai, but not one time did God send a plague, strike one dead, or threaten one with death. But after the law was given it was a different story. The people brought death and judgment upon themselves by their disobedience.
When Israel came under the law then a different arrangement had to be made about the firstborn. The Levites had to be taken in their place and the odd number had to be redeemed with FIVE pieces of money. Numbers 3:45-50. So the child is in a safe condition before he comes to the time when his sins are accounted to him. After that he must have a substitute and must be redeemed by grace, of which the FIVE pieces of money in Numbers 3:45-50 was a type.
Counting the priests, there were four divisions of the Levites. (The priests were from that tribe.) Those divisions were: the Gershonites, the Kohathites, the Merarites, and the priests. The location of these four divisions has already been given in Chapter two, and the work the first three were to do has already been given. The reader will find that in Numbers 3:14-38.
In the 28th chapter of Exodus we read about the priests, and their garments, and instructions for their consecration. The chapter is a lengthy one and the reader will be left to go to the Bible for himself. But there are a number of things to which it is needful to call attention.
First, those priests were chosen beforehand by the Lord. Before they were ever clothed with their special garments, or anointed. Even so were we chosen in Christ beforehand. In Ephesians 1:4 we read, "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love."
The next thing to which we should give notice is that these priests had to be clothed in special garments before they could minister before the Lord. "And take thou unto thee Aaron, thy brother, and his sons with thee from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron, thy brother, for glory and for beauty." Exodus 28:1-2. Even so, must we be clothed in righteousness which God provides before we are ready to stand before the Lord.
First article of Aaron's apparel was the ephod with two onyx stones on the shoulder pieces. "And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. It shall have the two shoulder pieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; so it shall be joined together. And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to all the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth." Exodus 28:6-10. Aaron was the high priest of Israel, and as such was a type of Jesus Christ, our high priest, though not so perfect a type as Melchisedec. Sin makes necessary an intercessor or advocate who shall plead our case before God.
This ephod was a garment like two aprons fastened together at the shoulders, and girded to the body with a girdle, or belt. This beautiful garment was made of fine twined linen interwoven with cunning works of threads of blue, purple, and scarlet, and tiny wires of gold. These garments were made for beauty and for glory. It speaks of the glory and beauty of our Lord's work in our behalf. The scarlet thread shows that His blood was shed for us. The purple threads show us that He bore our sins, and is now our advocate before God, and is also King. The blue and gold speak of His heavenly character and glory.
The shoulders on which the onyx stones were placed, with the engraven names of the twelve tribes, teach us that Christ is our strength. David said, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer." Psalms 19:14.
The curious girdle with which the ephod was girdled around the body of the priest, speaks of our Lord's work in our behalf. Before Jesus washed the feet of His disciples He took a towel and girded Himself. John 13:4.
The next piece of Aaron's apparel was the breastplate of Judgment. This was made of gold, of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen. Exodus 28:15. It was foursquare and was made double. Exodus 28:16. In it were set four rows of precious stones, three to a row, and on these were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Vs. 16-21. It was fastened to the shoulder pieces of the ephod with chains of pure gold, running through two rings of gold on the upper corners of the breastplate. At the lower corners of the breastplate, on the inward side, were two rings of gold on the ephod underneath. A lace (or tie) of blue fastened the lower end of the breastplate to the ephod by means of these rings and ties. This was to keep the breastplate from swinging when the priest stooped over. Vs. 26-29.
This breastplate was over the heart of the priest. "And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment UPON his HEART, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually." Exodus 28:29.
The heart is the seat of affection. This shows the love that Christ, our high priest, has for His people. Our very names are upon His heart. "Having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end." (R. V. Unto the uttermost). John 13:1. He ever loves us and ever interceeds for us. "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25.
The next piece of apparel was the robe of the ephod. It was worn underneath the ephod. On the hem of this garment there were golden bells and pomegranates. A bell was between each pomegranate. When Aaron went into the most holy place he passed out of view of the other priests and the people. But as the music of these golden bells was wafted from beyond the veil it fell on the ears of the waiting people as a blessed assurance that their priest was living, and that God was accepting the offering. Even so has Jesus Christ, our high priest, gone beyond the veil for us. We cannot see Him with our physical eyes, but from beyond the portals of glory the Holy Spirit has come as a witness that our Priest and Saviour is living. Within our hearts ring the golden music from heaven as a blessed assurance of our acceptance before God in the person of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, and our Priest. Exodus 28:31-35.
The other pieces of the priest's apparel were: an embroidered coat of fine linen, the mitre, worn upon his head, a plate or crown of pure gold with the words "Holiness to the Lord" engraven upon it, and fine linen breeches. Exodus 28:36-43.
This plate with "Holiness to the Lord" engraven upon it was upon the forehead of the priest. That shows, first of all, that the mind of Christ was absolutely holy, and that God wants us to be holy in our thoughts and in our minds.
The mitre upon Aaron's head would seem to be typical of the glory and honor of Christ. When we compare Exodus 28:2 and Hebrews 2:9 this conclusion is justified. "And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for GLORY and beauty." “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, CROWNED with GLORY and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” The mitre was upon Aaron's head for GLORY. Christ is crowned with GLORY and honor, and a crown is worn upon the head.
The word for "Crown" in Hebrews 2:9 is "Stephanas", which denotes a victor's crown. The word for a kingly crown is "Diadema", and is the word found in Revelation 19:11-21 where we read, "On His (Christ's) head were many crowns". In Revelation 19:16 He is called "KING of KINGS, and LORD OF LORDS." Aaron was a priest, not a king, and could not wear a kingly crown, but one denoting victory.
Aaron did not enter his priestly work until the EIGHTH day after his consecration. See Leviticus 8:1 to 9:1. Notice especially Leviticus 8:35 to 9:1. The EIGHTH day would be the beginning of a new week. Christ arose from the dead on the morrow after the Sabbath, the beginning of a new week. Leviticus 23:10-11; I Corinthians 15:20 and Matthew 28:1-7. So, the mitre and crown on Aaron's head, and the crown of glory of our Lord, represented victory over the devil through death. It is through death that Christ destroys him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Hebrews 2:14. This verse follows closely after the one that speaks about Christ being "Crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man." This is conclusive proof that the crown of Jesus in Hebrews 2:9 is a crown denoting His victory over the devil through death, not His kingly crown. Aaron's mitre which was for glory typifies this.
In the consecration of Aaron and his sons the anointing oil and the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled upon their garments. Leviticus 8:30. The blood was put on the tips of the right ears of the priests, upon the thumbs of their right hands, and upon the great toe (or big toe) of their right feet, Leviticus 8:24. The ear is for hearing. The hand is for working. And the foot is for walking. Like Christ, our ears should always be ready to hear what God says. "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth to the churches." Revelation 2:11. Our hands should be under the control of the Spirit of God. "I will therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up HOLY HANDS." I Timothy 2:8. Our feet are to be ready to go where He wants us to go, and only where He wants us to go. Paul speaks of us having our "Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." Ephesians 6:15.
THE REBELLION AGAINST THE PRIESTHOOD
In Numbers 14:1-33 we find that there arose a rebellion against the priesthood of Aaron. Four men by the names of Korah, Datham, Abiram, and On led a company of two hundred and fifty to protest against Moses and Aaron. They claimed that all the people were holy, and presumed to take censers and burn incense before the Lord. This rebellion met with swift retribution. The Lord caused the earth to open its mouth and swallow up these men alive. They went down alive into the pit.
Here is a most solemn lesson of warning to any and all who seek to take the place of Christ and put themselves between the sinner and God. The so-called priests of today who presume to take the place of Christ and place themselves into the priesthood need to take warning. A fate awaits them like unto that which came on Korah and his men.
After these rebels had been swallowed up alive by the earth, the Lord told Moses to have the twelve princes of the twelve tribes to bring their rods, and for Aaron to bring his rod for Levi. Each man's name was written on his rod and those rods were placed in the tabernacle, where they stayed overnight. The next day the rod of Aaron budded, brought forth blossoms, and was bearing almonds. The Lord had this rod of Aaron to be placed in the ark of the testimony as a witness against the rebels. Numbers 17:1-11
The old dead stick which Aaron had been carrying as a walking stick for months, if not for years, had now come to life, and was bearing fruit. This budding rod in the ark of the testimony is a witness to the quickening power of Christ. "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will." John 5:22.
This writer has already touched on some of the offerings in the book of Leviticus. He will not attempt to go further. To do so would expand this volume beyond the writer's purpose. The reader may find an able discussion of those sacrifices and their meanings in C. H. Mclntosh's Notes on the Book of Leviticus.
THE ORDER OF THE MARCH
The journeying of Israel in the wilderness was governed by the pillar of cloud and fire. "At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud rested upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and journeyed not. And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed. And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was .by day or night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up they journeyed." Numbers 9:18-23.
Let the reader study closely every word in this passage. It is full of meaning for us. The movements of the children of Israel were governed by the pillar of cloud and fire that abode upon the tabernacle. When it was God's will for them to move on that cloud lifted from the tabernacle and moved on to the place where God wanted them to camp, and there it stopped. It might be lifted by day. It might be lifted by night. But whether day or night the children of Israel had to break camp and follow. So are we to be ready to follow the Spirit both when and where He leads. It is not ours, but His, to choose the time and place for us. If the cloud abode on the tabernacle the children of Israel were to abide where they were. They were not to take up and move of their own accord. The Lord determined whether they should go or stay. It is not ours to say when we go or when we stay. All that is for the Lord to determine. The cloud might tarry two days, or a month, or a year, but however long it might tarry, or however short a period it might tarry, the movements of Israel were to be determined by the Lord. We may accomplish what the Lord has for us to do in a certain place in a short time. Again, it may take us a longer time. But whether long or short, we are to go or stay as His Spirit leads. To move when the cloud did not move was to be disobedient to the Lord. To stay when the cloud moved was also to be disobedient to the Lord.
Then another lesson we get out of this is that we sometimes serve the Lord better by not doing, than by doing. On the other hand we may serve better in doing, than in not doing. If the Spirit does not lead us to do, then we had better not do that thing. There is a great deal of so-called "Christian Activity" among us today that is just so much energy of the flesh and of the will of man. This amounts to less than nothing. It confuses, misleads, and destroys. There is too little service rendered in the power of the Spirit. There is also too little waiting on the Spirit. Sometimes the Lord would have us cease from our activities and wait upon Him. Much feverish activity apart from the Spirit only serves to weary and confuse us. The Lord says to us, "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalms 46:10. He also says, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31.
The reason so many soon grow weary is that they have not first waited upon the Lord, to be renewed in strength. They start out in the energy of the flesh and soon grow weary and faint. Let us pray that we may learn this lesson.
Then, on the other hand, the Lord would have us to go forward. As He said to Moses, "Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward." To refuse to go forward when the Spirit leads is to lose, like Israel, a golden opportunity to go up and possess the land, and to be turned back to wander for years in the wilderness of confusion. Many a church has come face to face with a golden opportunity to accomplish great things in the name of the Lord. The Spirit was pointing the way, but through the influence of the wrong leadership, or through doubts and fears and a lack of faith, they have let that opportunity slip from them, and they are today floundering around in strife, confusion, discord and defeat.
Let us pray earnestly to know the will of God. Let us have our hearts open to know and do His will, then have faith to move forward. If we are doubtful of His will, let us, like Gideon, put out the fleece, until God shows the way. Judges 6:36-40.
Neither is it ours to choose the time when we shall take our departure from this world. That belongs to the Lord. It may be soon, or it may be long. It may take place by day, or it may take place by night.
PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY
When the time came to move the tabernacle, then Aaron and his sons came and took down the veil, and covered the ark with it. Over this they put a covering of badger's skins, and spread over this a blue cloth (Numbers 4:5-6). The table of the shewbread, along with its vessels, was covered first with a cloth of blue, vs. 7. Over this was placed a scarlet cloth, and the same was covered with a covering of badger's skins, vs. 8. Next the candlestick and its vessels were covered with a cloth of blue, and then put within a covering of badger's skins, vs. 9-10. The golden altar of incense was first covered with a blue cloth, and on top of this was a covering of badger's skins, vs. 11-12. Next, the ashes were removed from the brazen altar. The altar and all its vessels were covered with a blue cloth, and then badger's skins, vs. 13-14. While this was being done the Levites were not to go in and look while the holy things were being covered. Leviticus 4:18-20. Curiosity has no place in the service of the Lord. Everything should be holy.
When all this had been done the Kohath division of the Levites came to bear the furniture, and the priests appointed every man his work. Numbers 4:15 and 4:19.
When they set forward on their journey the standard of the camp of Judah, with its three tribes, went first. Numbers 10:14-17. The tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonites and Merarites set forward with the tabernacle, the Gershonites with the coverings, the curtains, the hangings for the door, and the hanging for the court, (Numbers 3:23-26 and 10:17) and the Merarites with the boards, the bars, the pillars, sockets, pins, and cords. Numbers 3:33-37. These had wagons on which to haul what was under their charge. Numbers 7:3-8. The Kohathites, however, carried the furniture on their shoulders by means of staves placed in rings. Numbers 7:9; Exodus 25:14; 25:28; 27:7; 30:4.
After the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari had set forward with the tabernacle they were followed by the standard of the camp of Reuben, Numbers 10:17-20. Next came the Kohathites carrying the furniture. Numbers 10:21. These were followed by the camps of the standards of Ephraim, and that of Dan, in the order mentioned.
But in Numbers 10:33-36 it seems that the ark of the Lord led the way. "And they departed from the mount of the Lord three days journey: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days journey; to search out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the Lord was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, 'Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee.' And when it rested, he said, 'Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.'"
This passage indicates that the march pictured our Lord's resurrection, our resurrection, our Lord's return, and the restoration of Israel. The three days journey is a picture of death and resurrection. Our Lord took that three days journey before us, even as the ark went before them. When the ark was set forward the Lord's enemies were scattered. Because of His death and resurrection our Lord's enemies will be scattered at His return. Paul said that Christ, "Having spoiled principalities and powers, he had made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Colossians 2:14-15. Then when He comes for His people they shall have the victory over death. "Then shall be brought to pass the saying, Death is swallowed up in victory." I Corinthians 15:54. The last of all Moses said, "RETURN, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel." Here we have a picture of our Lord's return to Israel at His second advent to the earth. This ark was going before to "SEARCH OUT A RESTING PLACE for them", that is, Israel, v. 33. Now let us read Jeremiah 30:10: "Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity ; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in REST." In Isaiah 14:1-3 we read: "For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their OWN LAND … and it shall come to pass in the day THAT THE LORD SHALL GIVE YOU REST from thy sorrow; and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve." Again we read where the Lord said, "Jacob shall return, and be in REST and at ease, and none shall make him afraid." Jeremiah 46:27. So when Moses said, "Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel," he was foretelling our Lord's return to Israel to give them REST. The resting place of Numbers 10:33 foretold this future rest for Israel, which Christ's RETURN shall bring.
When the ark of the Lord went before them in the three days journey they departed from the mount of the Lord. That mount was the mountain of Sinai where the Law was given. It was a mountain of judgment and condemnation. It was a mountain where Israel had failed and made the golden calf. It was a mountain of human shame, for there they had stripped themselves naked before the golden calf. Exodus 32:25. It was a place of bondage. And now grace, typified in the ark, was leading them away from that place of bondage, condemnation, failure and shame to a resting place. So God's grace leads us out of our bondage, our sin, our failure, and our shame, to a resting place in Christ.
"Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thy self,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of earth's sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life's storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee."
Then, as a result of that grace, and the leadership of Christ, who is grace personified, some day these bodies of ours, which are now subject to vanity, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21. And in our joyous expectation of this our souls leap with joy, and our eyes fill with tears, while we sing:
"Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever THY GLORIOUS FACE TO BEHOLD,
Jesus, I come to Thee."
ICHABOD — THE GLORY DEPARTED FROM ISRAEL
Now, we come to a thing that is remarkable in its typical significance. We have seen that God's dwelling place among the children of Israel was in the tabernacle, and that He was represented as dwelling between the cherubims just above the mercy seat, which rested upon the ark of the covenant. We have also seen that all this represented God in Christ, dwelling among His people. When Eli was high priest God pronounced judgment against his house because of the wickedness of his sons, Hophni and Phinehas. In I Samuel 2:12 we read, "Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial (or Devil): they knew not the Lord." God revealed to Samuel that He was going to judge the house of Eli, and do a thing in Israel, at which the ears of all that heard it would tingle. I Samuel 10:18.
Sometime after this the children of Israel went out to battle against the Philistines and were defeated. Then the elders of Israel said, "Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it come among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh (Christ is called Shiloh, Genesis 49:10), that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God." I Samuel 4:3-4. The ark was taken out to battle and Israel was smitten before the Philistines, Hophni and Phinehas were slain, and the ark was taken by the Philistines, vs. 5-11. When the news reached Eli he fell backward off his seat and broke his neck and died, vs. 17-18. About this time the wife of Phinehas was ready to give birth to a child. When she heard the news that the ark had been taken, and that her husband and father-in-law were dead, she bowed herself and travailed. She gave birth to a son and named him Ichabod, which means, "There is no glory", saying, "The glory is departed from Israel; because the ark of God was taken." Then she died. I Samuel 4:19-22.
In all this we see a picture of what happened in connection with Israel's rejection of Christ, His crucifixion, the abolishment of the Law, and the fading away of Israel's glory. It was the wicked priests, backed up by the elders, or Sanhedrin court, who took Christ and delivered Him to the Gentiles to be crucified. "While He yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the CHIEF PRIESTS and elders of the people." Matthew 26:47. Then follows the story of the arrest of Jesus and His trial before the priests and elders. "Now the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death." Matthew 26:59. The priests and elders were both implicated in taking the ark from the tabernacle in Shiloh. I Samuel 4:3-4. After trying Jesus before their court they took Him to Pilate, a Gentile ruler, to be put to death. "The chief priests and elders of the people took council against Jesus to put Him to death: and when they had bound Him, they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, the governor." Matthew 27:1-2. After the priests and elders had taken the ark it fell into the hands of the Philistines.
In the ark being taken and the glory departing from Israel we have a picture of the death of Christ and the cutting off of Israel. In the eleventh chapter of Romans we read about Israel, as a nation, being broken off the tame olive tree, and the Gentiles, represented by the wild olive, being grafted in. Jesus said to the Jews, "Therefore say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." When Jesus was weeping over Jerusalem He said, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Matthew 23:38. So the glory of God departed from Israel when they rejected Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and delivered Him to the Gentiles to be put to death. That is what was pictured when the newborn child was named "Ichabod", and his mother said, "The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken." I Samuel 4:21.
But this is not the end of the picture. God's word does not leave Israel in this plight without any hope, though many Bible teachers so think. To complete this picture we go to the next chapter. Perhaps the reader has already noticed that I did not quote Matthew 23:39 in connection with Matthew 23:38. It belongs to our next chapter, while verse 38 belongs in our present chapter, "The Glory Departed From Israel."
ISRAEL'S GLORY RETURNS
When Jesus said to Jerusalem, "Behold your house is left unto you desolate", He went on to say, "For I say unto you, ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matthew 23:38-39. Here our Lord is teaching that Jerusalem shall see Him again, and at that time Israel will accept Him and rejoice at His second coming.
When David came to power and his throne was established in Jerusalem he purposed to bring back the ark to its rightful place in the tabernacle. In 1 Chronicles 15:1 we read, "And David made him houses in the city of David (Jerusalem), and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent." Here is a new tent, or tabernacle, for the ark. This represents the body of our Lord's resurrection, in which He will return to Israel. Next we read, "Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister to Him forever. And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the Lord unto his place, which he had prepared for it." 1 Chronicles 15:2-3. Then followed the story of the bringing of the ark up to the new tent at Jerusalem, and there was great joy and rejoicing on that occasion. 1 Chronicles 15:4-28. They brought up the ark with shouting.
Now, if the glory of God departed from Israel when that ark was taken, then the glory of God returned to Israel when the ark was brought back. We notice that this was when David was king over Israel. Even so, when Christ, the Son of David, shall return to sit on His throne at Jerusalem (Jeremiah 3:17), then Israel's glory will have returned to her. In Isaiah 60:1-3 we read where the prophet Isaiah said to Israel, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and HIS GLORY shall be seen upon thee." Here we see that the glory of God will have returned to Israel. As it departed from Israel when they rejected Christ and had the Romans crucify Him, so it will return to Israel when they accept Christ, and He comes to sit on David's throne in His new tabernacle, the body of His resurrection. The joy this will bring to Israel is pictured by the joy that came upon Israel when the ark was brought back. Then will the words of Moses in Numbers 10:36 be come to pass: "And when it (the ark) rested, he said, "RETURN, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel." All Israel shall be re-gathered to their land and builded again around the Lord. "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah (two tribes) shall walk with the house of Israel (ten tribes), and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers." Jeremiah 3:17-18. Then God will, indeed, be dwelling among them in the person of Christ, who will be sitting on His throne at Jerusalem, and Israel will be builded around Christ and His throne at Jerusalem, even as the whole camp was assembled around the tabernacle, which was God's dwelling place among them. Now we can see the meaning of the words, "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." Exodus 25:8.
THE NINETY-SIX TENONS
In this connection let us notice the ninety-six tenons under the forty-eight boards. There were twenty boards on the south side, twenty on the north side, and eight in the west end. Exodus 26:18; 26:22; 26:25. There were two tenons in each board, and these set in sockets of silver. This would give us ninety-six tenons in the forty-eight boards. We have seen that eight (8) is the number that stands for the new birth. Eight goes into the number ninety-six exactly twelve times. These were set in sockets of silver, representing redemption. This gives redemption for the twelve tribes of Israel, or the whole house of Israel. The Bible teaches exactly that. In Ezekiel 36:26-28 we read, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye (Israel) shall dwell in the land I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." Then in Hebrews 8:10-11 we read, "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall"; teach every man his neighbor, saying, Know the Lord: for ALL shall know Me from THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST." In Isaiah 60:21 we read, "Thy people also shall be ALL righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified." In Deuteronomy 30:4-6 we read, where Moses said to Israel, "If any of thine be driven out even to the uttermost heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee: and the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; … and the Lord thy God will circumcise thine HEART, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart." This shows a complete conversion for the twelve tribes who shall possess the land after Christ's return. This, however, has nothing to do with any Jews who may have died in unbelief, but only with those Jews still alive at that time. None but Jews with the new birth will be permitted to inherit their land in that age.
In connection with the promise God gave to Abraham about giving him Canaan for an everlasting possession, God instituted the rite of circumcision, requiring the male children to be circumcised on the EIGHTH day, Genesis 17:8-12. Then God said, "And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant." Genesis 17:14. In this God was teaching that the Israelite who is not circumcised in heart, or born again, shall have no part in the possession of Canaan land, when Israel is finally restored. This is the lesson of the ninety-six (8 times 12) tenons set in the sockets of silver: a complete redemption for restored Israel, and the new birth for each and every Jew who goes into the reign of the Lord.
In Ezekiel 43:7 we read where the Lord said to Ezekiel, "The PLACE of my THRONE, and the place of the soles of my FEET, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever, and my name, shall the house of Israel NO MORE defile." This is the lesson of the ninety-six tenons in the sockets of silver. This convinces the writer that Israel will have no part in the rebellion after the thousand years, Revelation 20:7-9. That rebellion which the devil will start when loosed, will begin in the land of Gog and Magog (Russian territory) and spread to other Gentile countries. Israel will remain obedient, because they will all be circumcised in heart. Deuteronomy 30:4-6; Hebrews 8:10-11; Ezekiel 43:7.
Please do not charge this writer with teaching salvation for every Israelite who has ever been in the world. He does not so teach or believe. But he does teach that the twelve tribes will all be restored to their land, and such as are spared to go in and possess it will ALL be regenerated, or born again Jews. This is the lesson of the ninety-six tenons as well as direct quotations from the Bible.
This book has been a growth. Three years ago, upon the request of some boys in the Jonesboro Bible School, I set in to teach about the tabernacle. Upon the suggestion of my wife we set about to construct a model for study. This year we went over it the third time and its meaning unfolded as never before. Upon the request of my son-in-law, Eld. J. N. Farish, I set about the writing of this book. I shall never regret the same. Though I have studied the word of God for over forty years, and have been a Bible teacher for twenty years, yet I can truthfully say that the Bible is a new book to me. The study of the tabernacle has in no wise changed my doctrinal convictions, but it has deepened them. It has thrown fresh light on a thousand texts. It has brought a refreshing that is like a breath from heaven. While I wrote, I taught at school on this subject and have preached on it over and over to the church where I am pastor. People have wept, and humbled themselves, and shouted, and the church has taken on new life.
While writing the book, I would retire to sleep, and often in the middle of the night new thoughts would come flashing to my mind, My soul would be stirred with the glory of it all. It has been easier to preach, to write, and to teach, even though at times my body was worn to the point of exhaustion. I have marveled at the great wisdom of God. I have been humbled before the matchless Christ, and I have been filled with His Spirit. May all glory and honor be to Him who is due all our adoration and praise. Apart from His grace we are nothing.
I confidently believe that the principles shown forth in the tabernacle, if applied, would solve all our problems.
Ever since I have been preaching, which is forty years, and even before that, I have believed in the final restitution of Israel to the land God gave to Abraham. I rejoice to see them gathering back to the land of promise, though I know further trials await them before the Lord finally establishes them in that land. One wish and thought, while writing this book is that I might help some Jews to see their Messiah, the Christ of glory, revealed in the tabernacle. In Psalms 122:6 we read, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee." I long for the time when Israel shall be established in Jerusalem in peace, and when the enmity between the Jews and Gentiles will be gone, and "Ten men shall take hold out of all the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you." Zechariah 8:23. Someday the oneness of the Jew and Gentile, which is so beautifully pictured in the broad curtains meeting and being made ONE right over the veil, will have been fully accomplished.
The reader will notice, perhaps, that I have often made more than one application of these types. This is justified in the word of God. Isaac is used both as a type of the believer in Christ, and as a type of Christ, Himself. In Galatians 4:28 we read, "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." Then in Hebrews 11:17-19 we read, "By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a FIGURE." If this was a figure, of what could it have been a figure except of God offering up His only begotten Son, and receiving Him again, raised from the dead? So we see that Isaac was a two-fold type, both of us, and of Christ. In making a two-fold application of types in the tabernacle, I am only following Bible examples. Others can be found.
I have a desire to write one more book before laying down my pen. If the Lord spares me to write it, the title of it will be, "A More Sure Word of Prophecy." In that book I expect to have much to say about Israel's hope.
In closing, I wish to say that I have written these things for the good and edification of any and all who may read these pages. The truth is not mine. It belongs to the Lord. God forbid that I should in any way hold back from anyone that which is good. Therefore, anyone who desires to do so, may use anything I have in this book, in sermons, in teaching, in writing articles, as they see fit. All I ask is that it be used for God's glory. My heart's desire is satisfied in putting out the book. If I do not get my money back, or if I do not receive credit from men (and I am due none), I can rejoice in knowing I have helped others. The Lord will reward me some day.
I realize this work is imperfect, even as all works of men are imperfect. Even now, after finishing the book, I see some things I overlooked. But the Lord has richly blessed me in writing it. My heart's desire is that those who read its pages shall be as richly blessed. As I had to go over these things again and again, so will you need to read this book again and again before you grasp many things. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
HOW WE MADE OUR MODEL
Instructions for building the tabernacle were given to Moses in Exodus 25th to 30th chapters. These instructions were carried out in chapters 35 to 40. These instructions we tried to follow as closely as we could interpret them. Certainly, we had to use substitute materials throughout. The purpose was only to build a model for study.
SCALE: One inch per cubit. Where the Bible said a cubit, we used an inch.
BOARDS: There are 48 boards. These are made of 1/2 inch 5-plywood, l ½ inches wide and 10 inches long. They are painted with two coats of gold paint. The tenons are nails, with the heads cut off, driven into the bottom of each board. About 1/2 inch of the nails are left sticking out, and fit in the sockets (holes drilled to fit them) in the 5-plywood base.
RINGS: Small screw eyes, 3 to a board, spaced: center, and 1 1/2 inches from top and bottom of each board.
BARS: Because wooden bars would be too easily broken, we used heavy wire. Welding bar has been suggested. 5 bars to each side, south, west and north. The middle bar is the full length of the building. The top and bottom bars are in two sections each. These bars go through the rings to hold the boards together in a steady wall.
PILLARS: These are of 3/8 inch dowel sticks, 10 and 3/4 inches high. Sockets are drilled in the base and also in the chapiters to fit these pillars. 5 pillars are at the door and 4 at the veil. These also are painted gold.
CHAPITERS: This is a head piece, or arch, made of 3/4 inch wood square, 11 ½ inches long. These are to brace the pillars and side walls. One chapiter is for the door pillars and one is for the pillars of the veil. Into these chapiters are screwed the hooks for hanging the veil and the hanging for the door. On the ends of these we made small extension brackets to fit over the side wall and hold it steady. These all are painted gold. This, which I failed to comment on, perhaps represented Christ as the head of all things
CURTAINS: 1st—Linen curtains. This is white Indian Head Linen, stitched to appear like ten curtains, five of which make up one piece and five another. These two are then fastened together at the selvages with loops and tacks. Notice Exodus 26:4. These loops are UPON the edge of one, and IN the edge of the other. This allows them to meet edge to edge with no lapping. This is called ONE tabernacle. We could not have fifty loops and tacks, on account of the size of our model, so we spaced them two inches apart. Our tacks are common paper tacks, with two prongs at the back which spread open after inserting through the loops The veil was hung under these tacks, v.33. These curtains are embroidered with, blue, purple, and scarlet in designs of angels and scroll work.
2nd—Goat's hair curtains. These are of a woolen coat material of a tan color, made the same as the linen curtains, with the exception that there are 11 of them seamed to represent five curtains in one piece and six in the other. The sixth curtain doubles down over the forefront of the tabernacle, making the tacks come over the veil. This is called the tent, v 11.
3rd—Ram's Skin Dyed Red. This is red oil cloth, 34 inches long and 32 inches wide. Into the two side edges of this we placed common dressmaker eyelets, four to each side, to which we tied cords. These in turn are tied to nails (tent pins), which are inserted into holes to fit them drilled in the base.
4th—Badger's skins. This is white oil cloth used wrong side out (to make it look different), the same size or a little larger than the red one. Eyelets, tent pins and cords are used here, too, being spaced between those on the red ram skin curtains, and fastened the same way in the base.
5th—The Veil. This is of white Indian Head Linen, 10 inches by 11 ½ inches, embroidered like the overhead linen covering; with angels and scroll-work, in blue, purple and scarlet. Hebrews 9:3 speaks of the "second veil". Therefore we made the veil like two veils hung together (one on either side of the pillars). This allows the high priest to pass through the veil and permits no daylight to shine into the most holy place. There is a cord run through the 3/4 inch hem at the top, and fastened at each end. Through small holes cut in this hem at the proper places, the cord is hung over the hooks on the chapiter. Thus the veil is hung in place.
6th—Hanging for the Door. This is also of white Indian head of a size to fit the door, and embroidered in blue, purple, and scarlet, but without the cherubim figures.
The Base—This is a piece of ½ inch 5-pIy ply-wood, 34 inches long and 24 inches wide. In the center of this is the foundation for sockets for the boards, 30 inches long and 12 inches wide. The sockets are holes, drilled to fit the tenons on the boards. At the place for the veil are 4 sockets drilled to fit the 4 pillars for the veil. All these 100 sockets are painted silver, as Exodus 38:27 shows. At the door entrance are sockets drilled to fit the 5 door pillars. These sockets are painted brass. On the outer side-edges of this base are holes drilled to fit the tent pins for the two skin curtains. All the inside space on this base, not needed for the sockets for boards, pillars, or pins, was sawed out and discarded. The part left still unpainted was painted to represent grass, or the ground on which the tabernacle was erected. In order to have this so it can be more easily handled and packed this base was later sawed into two pieces and hinged together. The underside was padded so the hinges would not interfere with the level of the base.
The Furniture—This was made and painted according to Bible descriptions. The crowns of gold around the tops of the ark, table of shewbread, and golden altar are made of the little metal blade found in waxed paper cartons. Rings for the staves are the same little screw eyes used on the boards. Staves are of anything available that will fit in these things. The mercy seat is not yet completed. For the present we are using a flat lid on the ark, with two small plastic dime store angels. We hope to find a whittler or worker in ceramics to make the mercy seat and cherubims all in one piece. Cakes of shewbread are small discs of cardboard glued in place, 2 stacks, 6 cakes in a stack. The candlestick is sawed out of one piece of wood with a jigsaw. The altars both have a top grate of hardware cloth. The horns on the altars are whittled out and nailed in place. The laver is a medicinal eye cup, with a stem, obtainable from a drug store.
The Court: This is 50 inches wide and 100 inches long. The 54 pillars are of ½ inch dowel sticks 6 inches high. This allows for room at the bottom to sink into the socket, and also room at the top for the silver fillet to show above the hook on which the curtain hangs, leaving 5 inches for the curtain. The hooks are made by spreading open the little screw eyes. A hole should be bored in the dowel for inserting the hook. Each corner pillar will need 2 hooks, one for the side curtain, and one for the end curtain. The sockets, drilled to fit the pillars, are made in screen door framing. This framing, in order to be easily handled and packed for carrying about, is made sectional, joined with tongue and groove joint as screen doors are made at the corners. There are 4 sections of each side and 2 of each end. These joints are made so they can be pinned together by a pillar when placed in the socket thereat. There are 20 pillars on each side. This makes 19 spaces between them for sockets. The 100 inch length divided into these 19 spaces gives the distance between the sockets, center to center. The west end is spaced the same. The east end is different. There are three pillars at each side of the gate, for a curtain 15 inches long. The third socket is 15 inches from the corner one, with the second one halfway between. These "third sockets" are also for the gate to be hung upon, which needs 2 more, spaced evenly between, making 4 for the gate. These sockets and pillars are painted brass (just a shade darker than the gold, to make it look different) with a silver top on each pillar.
The curtains for the court, of white Indian Head Linen, are made according to Exodus 27:9-18. A cord is run through the hem at the top and securely fastened at each end. Small openings are then cut at the proper places so this cord can be hung over the hooks on the pillars. There is no embroidery on any of the court curtains except the gate.
The Priest's Garments: These can easily be made by following instructions in Exodus 28:2-43. For this we used a softer material for the white linen. The stones on the breastplate are tiny colored beads. The shoulder stones are small metal pieces. The golden chains are from a necklace. The golden bells are Christmas jingle-bells. The pomegranates are embroidered. The crown, tied on with a blue lace or string, is of cardboard covered with gold foil with the inscription typed on a piece of ribbon and glued on. The gold in the embroidery can be the fine wire found in electric motors. (See Exodus 39:3).
The Encampment: We had standards made of cardboard to be inserted in dowel sticks, high enough to show above the court. These standards bear the names of each camp, and are placed accordingly around the court. This, when used with the lessons drives home the truths concerning the tabernacle.
Make a model for yourself. Study it in the light of the scriptures and you will be amazed.
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726