Jesus is our great High Priest, who makes a way for those who follow Him to have fellowship with the Father. As we examine the details of the tabernacle recorded in Exodus 26-27, we'll see shadows of heaven and of Christ Himself, and come to appreciate Jesus even more.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
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Hebrew Terms: מִשְׁכָּן; mishkan - tabernacle; פָּרֹ֫כֶת; paroketh - veil
Figures Referenced: Josephus
Cross References: Exodus 20:4; Exodus 20:24; Numbers 21; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Kings 1; 2 Kings 18:4; Ecclesiastes 5:2; Zechariah 3; Zechariah 4:6; Luke 24:27; John 5:46; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:6-12; Hebrews 13:1-12;
Topic: The Tabernacle
Keywords: tabernacle, tent, Holy of Holies, Holy Place
Turn in your Bibles tonight to the Book of Exodus Chapter 26. As you're doing that, let me just say a couple of things. First of all, how unique you are, how unique this is. I don't know many churches that take their congregations to every verse of the Bible who are going and studying the Tabernacle and Exodus and Leviticus and Numbers in-depth as we are. And so I applaud you for that. That's a hunger and a thirst for truth that God has given you. Never take that for granted. Always thank Him for that. I know that I'm very thankful to the people so ready and willing to learn and to study and to expand their knowledge of God and I would also say that there's good chunks of the New Testament you'll never really understand unless you understand some of the chapters we're reading because the Book of Hebrews for example in the New Testament is largely based upon some of the truths we're covering tonight in the Book of Exodus.
So, I say that we're unique. I applaud you. I'm glad that you're not just wanting a pep talk you know or a hyped up session. I think there are a lot of people who wants sermonettes and I'm glad that you're not one of them. Sermonettes or for Christianettes. I'm glad that you're bonafide Christians. I also want to thank our team. You're going to understand the Tabernacle tonight after the night if you pay attention and you remain for -- through the whole evening, but we have a great video team that's upstairs that plans during the day along with me by giving you visuals so that you're able to see what we're reading in the text and they'll pop up on the screen so we have our whole hosts with Dave Darrell and his crew upstairs that have been working, slaving over a hot video stove, you might say during the way to provide this. And I also am happy to say that thank you Sam we have a model of the Tabernacle up here quite small, but -- thank you, two people clapped about the Tabernacle.
Thank you oh 20, oh 30. Wow! Okay. Of course, inside is the Ark of the Covenant, I can't show it to you. No, it's right here actually but it's a bigger one, but it's much smaller than the one we had last week when we went outside. They gave the exact spec and dimension, it was the scale. But you're going to be able to see a little of this tonight as we go through it. Let's have a word of prayer.
"Father, thank you for the opportunity to gather together, first of all to have a situation like this, a country where we have the freedom of assembly, we can gather together, we can worship you freely and not just as our law say according to the dictates of our heart but according to the dictates of Your word. Now we can learn Your plan, we can learn the dispensations, the constitutions, the covenants that You made with mankind throughout history and how that applies to us and how it is fulfilled in Christ and making our knowledge of your dealings much greater and more rich than ever before. Thank you Lord for a wonderful flock of committed Bible students who really want to know and want to grow. In Jesus' name, amen."
At the beginning, I just want to say, please do not tune out tonight. Now I say that not that you ever would, but I know what we're dealing with and if you've read ahead you know what we're dealing with. It's going to be sort of like reading a dictionary or a set of blueprints. It's nothing really compelling about opening up blueprints or a dictionary and, "Wow that's awesome!" It can sort of feel that way to you and I as we go through these next few chapters because we're going to be dealing with the details, the specs if you will of the Tabernacle structure; the courtyard, the dimensions, the furnishings, the implements that are used, the garments that will be sewn, all of these specs.
So for us, thousands of years removed in a technological western society, the Tabernacle may not interest us but you got to know something, it really interested the children of Israel. To those people, this was all important. To this group of people, this was the center of everything. This is where they would go to meet with God to approach God, to give God their worship, later on the choirs would gather to sing.
This is where sacrifices were made. This is where they approach to meet with God was performed at the Tabernacle itself. It's the center of their camp. It's the center of their life. And if you'll remember, if you do remember from last week if you were here when we met outside, I gave you some of the dimensions of the courtyard. I'm going to reiterate a couple of them tonight and we're going to try to tie symbols on it and tie it together. But if you were to approach the Tabernacle, you'd see a big cloth, a linen tent that was seven and a half feet tall. The measurements of that big court that housed everything were a 150 feet deep or long, 75 feet wide.
Inside that courtyard were a couple of furnishings, one of which we'll look at tonight. In the center more toward the back toward the western end was a tent-like structure called the Tabernacle Proper, as I'll explain tonight. That's where all of the interaction between God and the priest took place in that Tabernacle. Look at the Tabernacle structure sort of like the structure of the covenant. God made a covenant with people and the structure whereby all of that took place, how the convent work was based upon this Tabernacle.
Now around the Tabernacle were people. There were the tents, the camps, the tribes, the 12 tribes of Israel scattered in all four directions, two to three million of them. So this structure was the center of the camp. Look at it like a wheel, a spoke. This is the hub of the wheel and the people are the spokes. So the picture, if you were flying overhead is life revolves around the worship of God. It's very similar, in fact it's based upon this what the Europeans did in Europe when they built their hamlets in their towns, they always stuck a church in the middle of the town with the big spire or a big turret something that would be seen for miles around, it was in the center of town, the town was built around the church. The idea is the worship of God is in the center.
So, I'm going to have our cameraman come back up if you don't mind and I'll kind of walk you around this so once again and then we'll right into the text. So you would approach it from this side and this is actually oriented in the proper direction because this is the eastern side and so you would talk in through the eastern gate, that's where you meet the priest. He would take the animal. The animal will be slaughtered on these little benches here. This large altar in the courtyard is one of the furnishings we want to look at tonight. It was made out of bronze. That's where the animals were killed. That's where blood was taken and it was once a year taken by the priest through the little veil here. And can I just pull these off? Oh yes I can, watch this. Oh look at that. Okay, well you can't see it. Oh there you go. Now, we're showing it.
Okay, so we're looking at this structure that Chapter 26 describes tonight in detail. We'll give you the specs, the blueprint. It's 15 feet across or 15 feet wide and it's 45 feet long, and it's divided into two sections; the antechamber or the foyer and then the Holy of Holies. In this meeting room, this 15 feet by 30 feet Holy Place, there are three things. On one side is the Table of Showbread, on the other side is the candelabra with the menorah. Right up toward the front on the end is a little golden altar of incense.
Then there's a veil, very important. The New Testament makes a big deal about the veil. And on the other side of that is the Ark of the Covenant, the cherubim, you can see the tops of them that spanned that. And this is where the priest would take the blood from the sacrifice here in through this first veil, into the second veil and would sprinkle it on the mercy seat once a year on the Yom Kippur to make atonement for the people.
Now, this Tabernacle had four different coverings and Chapter 26, we'll go through all of them. Verses 1 through 6, we'll tell you about this first covering of the Tabernacle which is made out of linen. The Chapter 26 Verses 7 through 13, we'll go through the second covering and this isn't the right color by the way for this one, it should be black. And then the third one should be red and then the fourth one should kind of a grayish brown.
I'll explain them and you'll read about them tonight. That's Chapter 26. Thank you very much. Let's get into Verse 1, it says, "Moreover, you shall make the Tabernacle with 10 curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple and scarlet thread with artistic designs of cherubim," that's the plural for cherubs in Hebrew. "And you shall weave them" So we're dealing with the Tabernacle proper, the tent structure proper, that 15 foot by 45 foot tent building that was in the center of this courtyard toward the western end.
In Hebrew the word is "Mishkan" that's the tent dwelling proper where God hung out. There were four layers of cloth for the roof. The fist was linen and that's described in Verse 1. Then into that linen fabric was to be cherubim or angelic beings. They're to be woven into a few different places, not only that linen but the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies.
Now this brings up a question. If you're a Bible student you might say, "Now, wait a minute, didn't the second commandment forbid the making of any image of any likeness of anything that is in heaven or on earth, so why does God then say, make this cherubim?" Is God contradicting the second commandment which says, "Don't have any images" by saying, "Now, make an image of the cherubim." Is God allowing the art you might say to usurp the commandment? Or is He contradicting Himself? Because as I mentioned the veil is going to have cherubim. The Ephod of the high priest will have ornate engravings and sewing patterns of bells and pomegranates. The mercy seat has a likeness of angelic beings carved cherubim and also the menorah, the candelabra will have flowers and knobs that represent images of a tree on the knobs and flowers that are ornately carved on the side of it.
So does God violate His own command by having this in the Tabernacle? No is the answer and for two reasons. Number one, none of those images are an image of God per se and number two, the Tabernacle according to the Book of Hebrews we saw last week is a model of the courtroom of heaven itself where there are cherubim and angelic beings surrounding the throne of God. So number one, none of these represent God and number two this is a model of what's going on in heaven.
Jesus said that God is spirit, so that nothing on earth can represent God fully and totally that's why God says, "Don't make an image" because God is spirit, you'll never make anything with physicality that represents who God is and His essence and nature, so he forbids the making of images. But the idea is not art in the Tabernacle. However, if the art leads to a misunderstanding of who God is, if for example I cast an image and say, "This is what God looks like" or "Here's a picture, this is what God looks like."
Now I'm limiting the nature of God by the image that I have made and it can diminish the capacity or the attributes of God on my own heart. Then it can become wrong. I'll give you a slightly oblique example but an example nonetheless. In the Book of Numbers Chapter 21 when the children of Israel are dying by the numbers, by the hundreds because they're complaining. God said, "Moses, take a bronze serpent, put it on a pole, lift it up and whoever looks at that bronze serpent will be healed and will live." So he did that. Later on, that very icon became an object of worship. The children of Israel began worshiping that and it became simple. So King Hezekiah, the Bible said, "Destroy the bronze serpent that Moses held up in the wilderness because the people were burning incense to it and calling it Nehushtan which means literally a thing of brass. But they labeled it as if it were a god to be worshiped.
So, it was something that God used for good. It was an object, an implement but it became an object of worship and thus it became wrong. In Verse 2, "The length of each curtain shall be 28 cubits, the width of each curtain four cubits. Every one of the curtains shall have the same measurements. Five curtains shall be coupled to one another. The five curtains shall be coupled to one another. You shall make loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain. On the selvage which is the woven edge of the cloth of one set and likewise you shall do on the outer edge of the other curtain of the second set. Fifty loops you shall make in one curtain and 50 loops you shall make on the edge of the curtain that is on the end of the second set that the loops maybe clasped to one another. And you shall make 50 clasps of gold and couple the curtains together with the clasps so that it may be one Tabernacle."
So this is the first layer, there are four layers. The inner layer as you were standing in the Holy Place or in the Holy of Holies and you would look up, you would see linen that would be the white. It will be a shining, reflective surface. And according to the rabbis, the linen was made of a specialty of yarns that had four different threads in each main thread and they get very, very technical and say that here's the recipe for it and you can't make anything that you would wear at home with that kind of construction, this is only for the Holy Place of the Tabernacle.
So you have in the first layer, you have two sets of five curtains that are held together by gold clasps and by little loops of blue yarn all held together to form the first layer of ceiling. Now the total area covered by this cloth, remember, 45 feet by 15 feet across by 15 feet high. It was to be an entire covering. The second layer, the goat's hair, Verse 7, "You shall make curtains of goat's hair to be a tent," literally a roof so above the white on top of that you wouldn't see it but you know it is there is a layer of black goat's hair. If you go to Israel today, and you look at the Bedouin Community, these wandering communities of Bedouins, they have black wool, black sheep wool or goat's hair tents that they're dotting the entire landscape of Israel and the Middle East.
So, white covered on top of that by black goat's hair. The length of each curtain shall be 30 cubits or 45 feet, the width of each curtain four cubits, 11 curtains shall all have the same measurements. "And you shall couple five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves and you shall double over the sixth curtain at the forefront of the tent. You shall make 50 loops on the edge of the curtain that is the outermost in one set and 50 loops on the edge of the curtain of the second set, and you shall make 50 bronze," not gold, that was the first that was the linen but the second or black goat's hair has a different kind of a clasp. This is the brass or the bronze.
"Fifty bronze clasps, put the clasps into the loops and couple the tent together that it may be one. The remnant that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains shall hang over the back of the Tabernacle. And a cubit on one side and a cubit on the other side or 18 inches of what remains of the length of the curtain of the tent shall hang over the sides of the Tabernacle, on this side and on that side to cover it."
You get the idea? "The black goat's hair covering, the second covering is longer than the linen covering and would extend over the tent and into the dirt to protect the linen from dirt, dust, the elements, et cetera." So it has to go longer, it would completely block anything out, any light etcetera out because it would – there would be over adjoining, it would cover over it. So, the second layer, the first layer you had 10 curtains. The second layer you have a set of five and then a set of six bronze clasps hold it together. And then Verse 14 the second two are mentioned and that is the ram skins and the badger skins.
"You shall make a covering of ram skins, red for the tent, dyed red for the tent and a covering of badger skins above that." These outer two layers are given no measurements and so we assume they were the same measurement as the black goat's hair. Can't be sure but no measurements are given, so we assumed that. So these are the outer two layers. There are four coverings, four layers. You'd also notice there are four different colors for the cherubim and the veils and the temple or the Tabernacle. We'll bring out of little more symbolism of that in just a moment.
The ram skins and the badger skins. Now, some translations will say that the badger skin is actually a porpoise skin because it talks about sea creatures. And so some translations will say, porpoise skins, whatever it was, the outer skin was the most weather protecting of all the layers. So you have a room basically that is kept light tight and weather tight from the elements. Verse 15 begins with the boards, "And for the Tabernacle, you shall make the boards of acacia wood standing upright. Ten cubits shall be the length of the board, a cubit and a half shall be the width of each board." Now stop right there.
If you're reading a New International Version, it doesn't say board, it says frames. There's a little bit of an in-house dispute among Tabernacle scholars, whoever they are. Some say that these are boards that were solid pieces of wood. Josephus tells us that they were three inches thick each board. But because it can be translated frame, some assumed that rather than solid pieces of wood that they're like lattice frames that you have crossbeams that support the vertical beams so that you have a lighter weight structure than something that's solid wood. I leaned to the solid wood because of the elements being out in the wilderness because of the wind that's going to blow. I just think it would be more protective, that's how I read it.
Verse 17, "Two tenons shall be in each board for binding one to another. Thus you shall make for all the boards of the Tabernacle." So you have these pieces of wood that protrude out, they're going to a mortise or in this case a socket. "And you shall make the boards for the Tabernacles, 20 boards for the south side. You shall make 40 sockets of silver under the 20 boards, two sockets under each of the boards for its two tenons." So these sockets are bases or pedestals to keep the boards erect and intact.
"For the second side of the Tabernacle, the north side, there should be 20 boards. And for the 40 sockets of silver, two sockets under each of the boards. For the far side of the Tabernacle westward, that is the back of the Holy of Holies, two sockets shall be -- or under each of the boards." I hope you're not getting bored yet with all these.
"You shall also make two boards for the two back corners of the Tabernacle. They should be coupled together at the bottom. They should be coupled together at the top by one ring thus it shall be for both of them. They shall be for the two corners." So there shall be eight boards with their sockets of silver, 16 sockets, two sockets under each board. So you have these pieces of wood or frames if you prefer that are 15 feet tall and two and a quarter feet wide that will be placed together and held together because each of the pieces of wood will have rings and so that poles can be slid through the rings holding these boards together upright.
And so, why don't they just make one fifteenth foot wall instead of all these boards? Easy, you got to carry this to the desert. So, you want to break it down into smaller increments and place it on wagons and take it through the Sinai Desert, you want to take as many parts as you can. So they would hold it together by these poles or bars, that is in Verse 26. "You shall make bars of acacia wood, five for the boards and one side of the Tabernacle, five bars for the boards on the other side of the Tabernacle, five bars for the boards in the side of the Tabernacle for the far side westward. The middle bar shall pass through the midst of the boards from end to end. You shall overlay the boards with gold, make the rings of gold as holders for the bars and overlay the bars with gold." So, do you get the picture? There are vertical boards held together by five poles that have rings on the boards, the pole is slid to the ring.
The center pole is one solid piece. You have smaller poles holding the sections together but one long pole right down the middle of the five to give it some stability. And God is giving the exact measurements for them. You'll also notice that the two back corners of the Tabernacle which is the Holy of Holies, I know you can't see it up there, but you can see it on the screen. If you're looking at this structure and you go to the very back of it which is where the Holy of Holies was, the two corners were the boards were, were somehow specially strengthened so it would have more stability especially to that section.
Verse 26, "You shall make bars of acacia wood. Five for the boards on one side of the Tabernacle, five bars for the boards on the other side of the Tabernacle, five bars for the boards on this" -- did I already read that part? Okay, Verse 30, "You shall raise up the Tabernacle according to its pattern which you were shown on the mountain." Now, do you remember what acacia wood is? Acacia wood is the common wood that grows in the Sinai Desert. It's a scrubby little bush, but the trunk can get quite thick and the wood is more dense than even modern day oak and longer lasting. It's rougher but it's solid, it will last for generations.
Now Verse 31, we get to the veil, the partition between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place. "You shall make a veil, in Hebrew "pārōket" woven of blue, purple and scarlet thread and fine woven linen. "It shall be woven with artistic design of cherubim. You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold upon four sockets of silver." So this veil curtain is suspended by four wooden posts that have gold hooks.
"You shall hang the veil from the clasps and you shall bring the Ark of the Testimony in there behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the Holy Place and the Most Holy." So you got this tent, 45 feet by 15 feet. The Holy of Holies forms a perfect cube. It's 15 feet wide, 15 feet deep, 15 feet high. The chamber or the Holy of Holies before that is 15 feet high and 15 feet wide, but its 30 feet, it's twice the distance. It's called the Ark of Testimony, why? Because inside is the testimony, the Ten Commandments. God's testimony to men would be kept inside the ark and I'm opening it up and it says with a little note. It says, "We love you Skip" on the inside of the ark. I thought I'd find Ten Commandments or something or Indiana Jones hat or something but it's not.
Verse 34, "You shall put the mercy seat upon the Ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy. You shall set the table outside the veil and a lampstand across from the table on the side of the Tabernacle toward the south and you shall put the table on the north side." So, do you understand? This is the Holy Place, not the Holy of Holies. And in that first chamber, the Holy Place as you would walk in the first veil to your right would be the Table of Showbread as you can see in the picture. To your left would be the golden lampstand, the menorah. And right in front of you would be The Golden Altar of Incense which is right before the veil that takes you into the Holy of Holies.
Now, when you get to the New Testament, you find that the veil is a big deal. Here it's separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. By the New Testament era, a temple has been constructed and we are told that the veil is 60, not 15, 60 feet tall by Hebrew writers and Alfred Edersheim, historians, 60 feet tall, 30 feet wide and as thick as a man's palm or four inches thick. It's the breadth of a hand, so four inches thick. Imagine cloth four inches thick, historians tell us there were 72 squares of material woven and patched together, this is the New Testament Temple. It took 300 priests to move one of those 72 squares, and they would clasp them together and maintain them every year. Four inches thick, 60 feet tall, 30 feet wide, it's enormous in the temple. And I'm giving you all of that detail because we know what happened when Jesus died on the cross.
The moment that he died, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Not from bottom to top, you could tie that veil in the New Testament time to horses and have them go in two directions, you'd never tear it, we're told. It was torn from top to bottom. God ripped the veil. God disturbed their worship service. God was kicking the door in so to speak and saying, "You're all welcome. There is no separation. We can hang out together. You, because of the blood of my son, once and for all, can have fellowship with the living God." That was the message God was trying to get across.
Now, unless you understand the system of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies and the blood that was taking in by the priests, etcetera, etcetera. Unless understand all of that, you'll read the book of Hebrews and go, "Huh?" You'll be clueless. It's all based upon this. So listen as I read to you Hebrews Chapter 9, a couple of few verses. "When these things were all in place, the priest went in and out of the first room regularly as they performed their religious duties," that's the Holy Place. "But only the high priest goes into the most Holy Place and only once a year and always with blood which he offers to God to cover his own sins and the sins of the people that they have committed in ignorance."
"By these regulations, the Holy Spirit revealed that the most Holy Place was not open to people as long as the first room in the entire system that it represented were still in use." That is Judaism. This is an illustration pointing to the present time, for the gifts and the sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the conscience of people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and ritual washing, external regulations that are in effect only until their limitations can be corrected. And so Christ has now become the high priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered the great and perfect sanctuary in heaven not made by human hands and not part of this created world. Once and for all of time, He took the blood into the most Holy Place, not the blood of goats and calves. He took in His own blood and with it, He secured our salvation forever.
That's the huge salvation point that the theologians of the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews was trying to get across that the Tabernacle and all of its furnishings spoke of something greater, something that was going to be perfected, a New Covenant that would take away the Old Covenant. One report tells us that even though God ripped that temple veil in two from top to bottom, allowing people to come in that they sewed it back up. They sewed it back up and continued sacrificing animals, going through the rituals, doing their religious thing until the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Boy that is just like people, isn't it?
God removes the barrier, man puts the barrier back. God uncomplicates it, simplifies it, man adds the complications back in. We love our religion. We love our works. We love to say, "I made a sacrifice. I brought an animal. I've worked hard. I prayed a lot." We like to earn something. God was saying, "You don't have to earn anything. You can't earn anything. I'll give it to you. You can have fellowship."
Listen, any system that complicates what God has simplified is an insult to God, whether that's Protestant religion or a Catholic religion or a Jewish religion, whatever complicates what God simplifies, insults God. If He's gone to the work, the trouble of ripping the veil and saying, "Come," who are we to go? I can't come. I'm not worthy. I haven't worked hard enough. I haven't been religious enough. Are you nuts? Run in there. Then the Book of Hebrews say, "Therefore let us come boldly that we might receive grace to help in time of need." You can right into the throne room of God and say, "Hey dad," because you have a relation to Him based upon what His only begotten Son did for you and I on the cross.
Verse 36, "You shall make a screen for the door of the Tabernacle." Now again, this is the Tabernacle tent we're talking about, not the courtyard wall. The courtyard is in the next chapter, this is the tent proper.
So, if you were out in the courtyard and you are moving toward the Holy Place, you'd come to a first veil called here a screen. The screen has all of the same colors as the veil inside that separates the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, but it doesn't have the cherubim, same color, same yarns, same materials. "You shall make a screen for the door of the Tabernacle, woven of blue, purple and scarlet thread and fine woven linen made by a weaver."
Now, some people like to see symbolism. The blue they say symbolizes heaven. The purple is the royal color like a king would have on a purple robe. Scarlet speaks of sacrifice, that's certainly possible. It's interesting that we have four colors. And if you're a New Testament believer, you think of, at least I did, four Gospels, four testimonies. The number four draws our attention to the four Gospels and so we wonder, is there a parallel? Well perhaps. Because in the Gospel of Luke, you have Jesus portrayed in His righteous humanity, he's the only perfect person that ever lived, symbolized here by the white fabric.
Then, in the Gospel of John, you have the deity of Jesus Christ. He is God portrayed in human flesh, symbolized by the blue, heaven. In the Gospel of Matthew, he's a Jewish author with the Jewish background writing that Jesus is the fulfillment and is the king of the Jews, the king of Israel corresponding to the purple or the royal color. And then finally, the Gospel of Mark shows Jesus as the suffering servant, the suffering servant. And the correlation here is the red or the scarlet. "You shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Their hooks shall be of gold. You shall cast five sockets of bronze for them."
So, just in case you're listening very closely, you have seen the difference between the two veils, one veil, the outer veil to get inside the Holy Place, the inner veil to the Holy of Holies. The inner veil has four pillars covered with gold. The outer one has five pillars covered with gold and the embroidery. The embroidery and the interior chamber has cherubim. The one on the outside does not, but it has all the same threads and all the same colors.
Verse 1 of Chapter 27, look how we're moving along. Now, pause for a moment. We began with the inside of the Tabernacle and we're moving now toward the outside, we probably wouldn't do that. We would begin with the outside because that's what we see. As we approach it, we see the fence around it, seven and a half feet tall, we see that. And if we were to move closer, we'd see that piece of furniture and that piece of furniture, then we work our way in. But because God always works from the inside out spiritually, He begins where He is. The throne room of God between the cherubim, the Ark of the Covenant, the mercy seat and He describes the Tabernacle from the inside out.
Now, we're going outward into the outer courtyard. Remember that courtyard is 150 feet long or deep by 75 feet wide. If you are walking through the courtyard from the entrance gate, the first thing you would see raised up on an altar of earth was a bronze altar with a grate in it, that's where the sacrifices were made. So, here you are wanting to get close to God. The message you get is you can't get close to God unless you have a sacrifice. You need an atoning sacrifice. You need a substitution. If you heard the theological term "vicarious atonement", anybody, vicarious atonement? Okay, just a couple more, you need to know what that is. Vicarious atonement means a substitute in your place to atone for your sins.
Vicarious atonement, substitutionary atonement, an animal would be killed to allow you to have fellowship with God. That's the whole idea of this. So the only basis for worship is sacrifice. Verse 1, "You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long, five cubits wide. The altar shall be square and its height shall be three cubits, so, seven and a half feet square and four and a half feet tall. "You shall make its horns on the corner of these angular protrusions."
"Its horns shall be at one piece with it. You shall overlay it with bronze." Now, all of the articles inside the Holy Place and Holy of Holies were made out of gold. All of the articles in the outer courtyard are made out of bronze. Why is that? Well, let's go on, I'll tell you in a minute. "And you shall make its pans to receive the ashes, its shovels, its basins, its forks, its fire pans and you shall make all of its utensils of bronze. You shall make a grate, isn't that great? A network of bronze and on the network, you shall make four bronze wings at its four corners." So, inside this bronze altar structure, half way down was this bronze grate, so that the ashes of the burn carcass of the animal could fall down to the ground. And you shall put it under the rim of the altar beneath but the network maybe midway up the altar and you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood and overlay them with bronze."
Some of you are going, "I'm confused," because back in Chapter 20, God said, "You shall make me an altar of Earth", right? Not anything of man's hands, you make me an altar of Earth. So, what is this altar of sacrifice and all of the specs being given by God all about? It is believed because of both of the scriptures side by side the one in Chapter 20 that I mentioned and this one that the altar of sacrifice would be lifted up either on dirt or stones that the altar was the Earth or the stone itself and all of these was, was enclosure to keep the animal parts within but that the altar proper was the Earth fulfilling what God said back in Chapter 20 and this is just a retaining box to keep in the animal parts, to keep in the ashes, etcetera, though dirt was placed under the bronze incasement.
"The poles shall be put in the rings. The poles shall be put -- shall be on the two sides of the altar to bear it. You shall make it hallow with boards," because it mean you have to pick it up as we shown on the mountain so they shall make it. I'm going to stop right there. Are you getting the symbolism?
Children of Israel are all around the Tabernacle. They're on the outside, God is on the inside. If you want to get to the inside, you have to bring a sacrifice. Someone has to die for you or in this case something has to die for you. An innocent little lamb has to be slaughtered. Its blood spill, its life taken, its blood applied then you and God can come together. All of the articles of furniture on the inside where God hangs out are gold, speaks of His preciousness, His singularity, His uniqueness, His deity, His holiness, His purity. All of the articles on the outside deal with humanity and the judgment on sin for humanity. That's why brass, bronze in the Bible is seen as the Metal of Judgment. Because on that altar, on that bronze altar that's where animals where sacrificed. That's where sin was dealt with. That's how you could approach God as having your sins dealt with, judged on that altar. So, it becomes the Metal of Judgment.
This bronze altar and I'm – Oh, I can't pick it up its cemented, but you're seeing a picture of it I think on the screen. This bronze altar becomes a symbol of Jesus. Now, the New Testament authors talk about the veil and talk about Tabernacle, all symbolic of Christ. The Altar of Sacrifice was also a picture of Jesus. Okay, God's on the inside, man's on the outside. This is the outer core, that's where sins is dealt with. This is considered still the outside. This is considered the inside, the Tabernacle proper. Listen to what the writer of Hebrew says, this is in Chapter 13 Verses -- I'm just reading a few verses, Verses 1 through 12 and not all of them.
"We have an altar from which the priest in the temple on Earth have no right to eat. Under the system of Jewish laws, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, but the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. After they were sacrificed, burned outside the camp.
So Jesus suffered and died outside the City Gates, that's outside the City of Jerusalem to make his people holy by shedding his own blood. Now remember what we read, this seven and a half foot square bronze altar had four angular protrusions called horns. Blood was smeared on the four horns symbolically. Later on to grab a hold of one of the horns of that altar meant that you were safe. So when we get to 1st Kings Chapter 1, David is old. He's still the King, but he's old. Solomon is next in line, but one of his kids, one of David's sons Adonijah thinks, "I don't want Solomon to be king. I think I want to be the king," so he announced his candidacy for king.
And that the way he did it is he took 50 horsemen and he took a big party and start to marching for the streets of Jerusalem and they were going to announce his candidacy for king at a big party. Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon finds out about this, tells David who's really old and sort of ups and minds he says, "David, we got to do something," and so he pronounced that Solomon is the king and they pour oil on him and anointed him as king.
And when Adonijah, the Usurper finds out, he runs into the tent it says the Tabernacle where this altar was in grabs holds of the horns of the altar. Meaning I'm safe, I'm touching the place of atonement, you can get to me. So Solomon says, "I'll tell you what, let him go and if he axed uprightly he will live, but if he shows that he's not worthy and he breaks his covenant promises then we'll kill him. It didn't matter where he is". But that was sort of the place of sanctuary that was seen in that time.
In Verse 9, we get to the courtyard, this open enclosure that we're talking about here. "You shall make the court of the Tabernacle. For the south side, there will be hangings for the court made of fine woven linen, hundred cubits long. It's 150 feet on one side. And its 20 pillars and their 20 sockets shall be bronze.
The hooks of the pillars and their bands shall be silver. You get the picture? You have linen curtains suspended by 20 different pillars seven and a half feet apart. Likewise along the length of the north side, there should be hangings a hundred cubits long with these 20 pillars and their 20 sockets of bronze and the hooks of the pillars and their bands of silver. Along the width of the court on the west side, there shall be hangings of 50 cubits, that's 75 feet with their 10 pillars and their 10 sockets. The width of the court on the east side should be 50 cubits. The hangings on the one side of the gate shall be 15 cubits with three pillars and three sockets. This is the entrance gate on the eastside of the Tabernacle fence. And on the other side, there should be hangings of 15 cubits with their three pillars and their three sockets. For the gate of the court, there will be a screen, 20 cubits long. That's 30 feet long, woven of blue, purple, scarlet thread, fine woven linen made by a weaver. It shall have four pillars and four sockets. So, 75 feet by 150 feet, half the length of a modern American football field; a lot sized for a modern home site you might say, modern size.
Now, the curtains were seven and a half feet tall. How tall was the Tabernacle proper, the tent? Fifteen feet, so you could always see it. As you're looking outside, you could really see what's happening inside the court because its seven and a half feet tall unless you're Goliath, you're not going to see over it.
So the priests were able to work in privacy. Nobody could see them. This altar was raised up so you might be able to see a priest standing on the platform offering a sacrifice, but all of the workings of the Tabernacle were kept from sight. Just the fact that you could not rush into this court yard and that you were kept out and kept from site, sends a message I think that is before we come to God, to meet with God, before we want to come and hang out with him there should be a pause. I know we have freedom. We can always come into his presence, that's the New Testament teaching, but I do believe our worship should be thoughtful. I think we should think it through and plan it through before we come to worship. I commend to you a text out of the Book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 5, Verse 2, let me read it to you. "Do not be rush with your mouth and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God, for God is in Heaven, you're on Earth. Therefore, let your words be few".
Pause before you come into the presence of God. So it's not just routine, it's not just route. "I'm meeting with God. What will I say to God? How will I act in God's presence?" it has to be very intentional you see, very deliberate. Verse 17, "All of the pillars around the court shall have bands of silver. Their hook shall be at silver their sockets of bronze. The length of the court shall be 100 cubits, the width 50 throughout and the height five cubits, that's seven and a half feet, made of fine woven linen and its sockets are bronze." All of the utensils of the Tabernacle for all of its service, all its pegs and all of the pegs of the court shall be a bronze.
So these were like 10 pegs, they kept the material thought. We know it when this like around here, don't we? So you can imagine building something to spec that would withstand the winds of the desert like Sinai like here would have to be pretty substantive and so this was accounted for. "And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, that is the menorah that is the lampstand to cause the lamps to burn continually. Regularly everyday they said, lamp oil was put, olive oil was put in to these lamps to keep them burning.
You know how kids learn by pictures? Now we got a lot of pictures up on the screen tonight. Not just kids, we all learn by pictures. But kids in particular when you show them a picture of something, they learn so well and so I think what we have like here are pictures not only of what Heaven is like, but according to Hebrews picture of what Jesus is like and what He did.
I think the Old Testament is filled with such pictures so we can understand his work and we can appreciate his work more fully. When Jesus rose from the dead and he was joining himself to those two guys on the road to Emmaus and he started talking to them and says, "And beginning at Moses," the writings of Moses, see Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. He didn't have Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Romans, Acts and Revelation. This is what he taught them. Beginning with Moses and all of the prophets, He revealed to them what the Old Testament said about himself.
They remember what he said to the Pharisees, he said, "If you would have believed Moses, you believe in me because Moses wrote about me". Moses wrote about Jesus. Well certainly, when you see how he fulfills the Tabernacle and its functions and the priesthood and the sacrifice and the veil these are pictures that helps us understand what he did.
So I believe that when Jesus begun to Moses and talk to the prophets, I think he say, "Hey, you guys remember the Tabernacle? Let me show you how it fulfills the coming of Messiah." Now, I don't know for sure but if he was beginning at Moses he must have included some of this. I always thought that was one bible study I wish would have been recorded either on tape or DVD or just in writing. Verse 21 and we'll close it off.
In the Tabernacle of meeting outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel. So the lamps twice by God here are commanded to be tended, to be filled. What is oil a symbol of in the scripture? He said I heard a few people say the Holy Spirit, more technically the enabling, the empowerment, the ability of the Holy Spirit. It says, "When David was anointed with oil as king, the Holy Spirit came upon him". In fact, the very concept of messiah, the root word for messiah means to smear with oil. It is you're anointing or designating someone with olive oil to be God's special ambassador. That's the idea of the messiah. The anointed one, the one who is been smeared upon with olive oil it becomes a symbol of the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Okay now, I want to connect the dot with you, fast forward at least in your mind, if not write this down.
To the Book of Zechariah almost the end of the Old Testament, Zechariah Chapter 4, you know where I'm going with this? In Zechariah Chapter 4, Zechariah gets a vision and the angel goes, "Zechariah, what do you see?" So Zechariah does tell them what he saw. He goes, "I see a lampstand, the menorah, the golden lampstand." And above that seven-branched lampstand, I see a bowl hovering above the bowl and seven tubes from the bowl going into the seven lamps on top of that Menorah, that lampstand. And then I also see on either side is an olive tree.
So here is Zechariah getting a vision, get this of an automated Menorah. Olive oil going directly from the olive tree into that receptacle bowl fed by gravity tubes into each of the receptacle, now preceptor do this everyday to fill it up, it was automated. Without any kind of human agency, without any kind of human ingenuity, it was just being pumped in. And then the angel said, "Now Zechariah, you know what this means?" And then he tells them. "You tell Zerubbabel," who's the Governor of Jerusalem, "It's not by might, it's not by power, but it's by my spirit," says the Lord.
Now let me give you the interpretation. Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest were just sweating bullets thinking Jerusalem will never really be rebuilt and the enemies were coming against us and we're getting discouraged to do the work and what are we going to do? We'll never finish it. And God comes along and says, "You don't have to worry. Even a part from human effort and human agency and human intervention, I am going to make sure that my people carry out the plan that I have set in order for them. Jerusalem will be built up and I will tend over my people not by might, not by power, but by my spirit" says the Lord.
In other words, I'm going to keep this city and these people and my plan for these people going without any human ingenuity or agency whatsoever. "I'll used you, but I'm not dependent upon you," that's the message of that, not by might, not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord. So I want to close with that as an application. What keeps you going? What keeps you going as a believer? What fuels your fire? What empowers you?
In fact, let me ask you this question, do you feel sort of a burned out in the Lord's work? "I just sort of -- I just been -- so I just -- how can I keep going? I feel so burned out". Do you feel burned out or do you feel filled up? Are you pouring the oil in yourself? "Yeah, oil. Got to get oil, got to get oil. Okay, I'm ready. I want more oil, more oil," or how about the automated Menorah? Dig in that. Because the olive trees, the bowl just keep it coming Lord, not by might, not by power, but by my spirit," says the Lord. You know, Paul said in the New Testament, "He who is began a good work and you will finish it continue it, until the day of Christ complete it, He'll complete it." I want you to take that to heart tonight.
Let's pray. "Lord, a lot of material has been covered, lots of pictures have been seen and diagrams to help us understand what you by your spirit were telling your people in the Old Testament that if they want to meet with you, that they were specifications. They were on the outside you were on the inside they couldn't just come they had to come with the sacrifice, blood had to be shed. Sacrifice had to occur in order for worship to occur. How thankful we are in taking this picture and comparing it to the New Testament that our great high priest appears through the veil into Heaven itself and displaying his own blood once and for all made our approach to you not by works, not by power, not by might, but something you have done, we haven't earn it, you've given it. Lord, I pray that if anything your people would simply appreciate what Jesus has done all of the more and thinking what our spiritual forebears had to go through in the Tabernacle."
"Thank you Lord that you always desired to be with people and how you desired to be in the very center of their community and I pray that every believer here tonight would keep Jesus in the center of their lives and the center of their marriages and the center of their families and the center of their work plans and vacation plans that Jesus would always take uppermost and front and center in our community. I pray for us as a church Lord. I know the tendencies of churches to stray from truth and stray from the word and make it all about a production and make it all about them rather than all about you. I pray you keep us from that. And Father, we repent if in any way we have done that. And we pray that as the song says we would get back to the heart of worship because it's all about you and the Tabernacle shows us it's all about you. Thank you that we're the covenant people and it's anew and a living way made by our high priest Jesus Christ in his name."