under a special agreement with
presents "Light from the Old Testament"
under a special agreement with
Lesson 7 (Part 2)
The Tabernacle is the most complete and marvelous type or "picture" of Christ in all of the Old Testament. As we study the Tabernacle, you will want to refer frequently to the picture of the Tabernacle and its courtyard here (click to open and view this PDF document, which you might like to print out so that you can have it handy as you go through the remaining lessons.)
The Tabernacle was approximately 45 feet in length and 15 feet in width. The rear end and the two sides were made of boards, standing upright. Each board was approximately 2 feet wide, 15 feet in height, and 2 inches in thickness.
The Tabernacle itself was divided into two unequal chambers. The larger, outer chamber was about 15 feet wide and 30 feet long. It was called "the Holy Place." It contained three articles—the Table of Show-bread, the Golden Candlestick and the Altar of Incense. The priests went into the Holy Place daily, performing their duties.
The smaller, inner chamber was approximately 15 feet by 15 feet. It was called "the Holy of Holies." It contained the Ark of the Covenant with the blood-stained Mercy Seat, overshadowed by two cherubim made of pure gold. This was the dwelling-place of God. God told Moses,
"There I will meet with you, and I will commune [speak] with you from above the mercy seat…" Exodus 25:22
Only the high priest went into the Holy of Holies, and he went in only once a year, bearing the blood of the sin offering.
The Tabernacle stood in a courtyard surrounded by curtains of fine, white, pure linen, about 8½ feet high. The curtains enclosed an area of approximately 175 feet in length and 87½ feet in width.
Inside the courtyard were the Brazen Altar where the daily sacrifices were offered and the brass Laver, filled with water, where the priests washed.
There was but one entrance into the courtyard and this was on the east side. Over the entrance hung a curtain of fine-twined linen in blue, purple and scarlet.
Every detail of the materials and construction of the Tabernacle was according to the pattern which God showed Moses on the mountain. The Bible says,
"Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them." Exodus 39:43
The Tabernacle was set up for use exactly one year after the Passover, when the children of Israel left Egypt. The Bible says,
"Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle." Exodus 40:34
Everything about the Tabernacle speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who lets the Holy Spirit teach him about the Tabernacle will never be led astray into false cults, but will be sure that Jesus Christ is the way to God—the only way.
Let us look down on the children of Israel encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai. We see hundreds and hundreds of tents—as far as the eye can see. In the center of this vast encampment we see the Tabernacle. The courtyard is enclosed by a "fence" of white linen curtains.
There is only one entrance into the courtyard. Just inside that entrance is the Brazen Altar upon which the sacrifice is burning continually. The Brazen Altar points to Christ—the Lamb of God, who died to take away the sin of the world.
Beyond the Brazen Altar is the Laver where the priest washes his hands and feet daily before he goes into the Holy Place. The priest then goes into the Holy Place to trim the lamps on the Golden Candlestick and to place the bread upon the Table of Showbread. Then he goes to the Altar of Incense and places sweet incense on the coals of fire.
On one day out of the year, the Day of Atonement, the high priest goes into the Holy of Holies, into the very presence of God, with the blood of the sin offering. He sprinkles this blood on the Mercy Seat. There the very presence of God was manifested in a glory cloud which is called "the Shekinah glory." It was there that Jehovah, the God of Israel, dwelled with His people. God said,
"There I will meet with you, and I will commune with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony…" Exodus 25:22
In the daytime a great pillar of cloud stood over the Tabernacle like a vast umbrella. The pillar of cloud shaded the children of Israel from the burning rays of the desert sun.
In the evening, as the night shadows fell, the pillar of cloud changed slowly into a pillar of fire! In the night time it became a protective light for the children of Israel. How tender is God's care for His people!
What did the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire represent? It represented the presence of God in the midst of His people. Even the children of the camp understood this. If you were to ask a small child in the camp about the meaning of the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire, he would say, "It means that God is with us."