Tabernacle Chapter 1
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Studying the subject of the Tabernacle can be a bit like studying details in nature. As the sun rises up over the horizon, it sheds life giving light, reflecting off all of God’s creation, adding color to what was covered in darkness just a short time ago. The rays reflect off the leaves, grasses, and flowers in an ultraviolet aura. Each grass, flower, shrub, and tree serves a unique purpose in the delicate balance of creation. Little is known about the balance, or plan, until each item is individually studied.
As the sun warns the air, and everything it touches, the flowers begin to turn towards the light, and slowly open. One row of delicate pedals after another expand in a calculated, precise performance. Each pedal seems to be more vibrant and detailed then the other. At last the flower fully opens, revealing it’s nectar as an instant reward, and supplies of pollen, reserves for later.
The flower is only one part of the story. Leaves collect the light from the sun, combining it with moisture collected by the roots. As a whole plants are more than the beauty of flowers. They might be compared to an intricately designed factory, with God as the Creator.
In addition to collecting moisture, roots hold the soil in place. Many plants contain useful chemicals used for healing, or are used for food, flavoring, building materials, and many other uses. The closer a plant is examined, the more useful it becomes.
This is much like studying the Tabernacle. Learning the spiritual meaning of just a few items will begin to reveal the beauty of the Tabernacle, one detail at a time.
Many fine studies have explained the relationship between the services of the Tabernacle and Christ’s ministry on earth, and in Heaven. My interest has always been in the detailed construction of the tabernacle, which among other things, illustrates the relationship between God, and man.
My interest in the construction of the Tabernacle may stem from my experience in engineering for over twenty years. I spent fifteen years designing and installing industrial finishing systems, where I was responsible for every detail, from major components costing hundreds of thousands to dollars, to the smallest nut, bolt, and screw.
To ensure a smooth and successful installation, I had to know the fit, form, and function of every part, in addition to the sequence of assembly. Each part had to be available on the construction site when it was required, and located on the truck so the first parts unloaded could be quickly staged. Most importantly, every part had to be designed to fit, and function properly with every other part in the system. Every part had a purpose, and a story behind it.
Finishing systems consisted of multistage industrial washers, drying ovens, paint booths, and cure, or bake ovens. Many of these systems were designed to fit into large factories, taking up most of the available floor space. Working with heat and moving air required a high degree of balance. Many components were custom designed to properly operate and maintain the balance of the system.
This is what intrigues me about the Tabernacle, the balance. How one part relates to the others, in both the physical and spiritual sense. How the structure is fitted, and held together. How it was designed to be easily, and quickly assembled, and disassembled, for easy transportation. For years I had been asking myself, why does the Bible include such a detailed account of the Tabernacle? It must be important, otherwise God would not have repeated so many of the intricate details.
So what are the real stories behind the details in the Tabernacle? To understand the construction of the Tabernacle a collection of details must be analyzed. Among these details is an understanding of the designer, materials, how the materials were obtained, constructed, how they fit together, and finally, the function of each element, and its relationship to the other items.
Let’s first get a basic understanding of the designer, God. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
God created the world, and all that is in and around it, including the sun, moon, and stars. Everything in the earth, beneath, and above. Which includes the air, water, fish, birds, trees, grass, flowers, animals, and insects. Also the ground, dirt, clay, sand, iron, copper, brass, silver, and gold. God created it all. God saved the best for last. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)
From the very beginning, man was given dominance over all God created upon the earth. God’s kingdom is the universe, but on the day man was created, God put Adam in charge of this planet. From the very beginning, God put man in a position to shape the destiny of this planet. Considering the fact, man was created in God’s image, man must have been equipped with the ability to maintain earth in the fashion intended. So what went wrong?
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, (Revelation 12:7). Behind the scene a war was brewing. A battle for dominance over the universe. Satan came down to this planet, and took the image of a serpent, to trick Eve into eating from the one tree God had strictly forbid. Once the first sin was committed, the planet was changed on many levels. The garden where God once walked with man, is now gone, along with the tree of life. Where once there was only beautiful flowers, endless fields of grass, trees bearing fruits and nuts beyond imagination, weeds and thorns sprang up. Sin had a profound effect on this planet. But with all this change, man still maintained a form of communication with God, and had a job to do. A part to play in returning this planet to its original nature.
There is no question, God created the universe. But why did God have man build a Tabernacle? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just create one? God could have spoken a Tabernacle into existence. Wouldn’t that have insured the perfect detail one would expect to find in a structure dedicated to the God of the Universe?
The Tabernacle was not the first project God put in the hands of a man. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. (Genesis 6:14).
After only a few generations, sin had exceeded epidemic proportions. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (Genesis 6:6-7)
For some reason God chose to use water to destroy almost every living creature on earth. It may have been God’s way to show the universe what would happen if everything started over from scratch, except for the fact, sin and temptation were still part of the equation. Why did God use water? Maybe because this world began under water. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
Why did God have Noah build an ark? Wouldn’t it had been easier to just whisk Noah, his family, and all the creatures off to some safe area? Why didn’t God completely restart from scratch? New animals, birds, insects, and human race? But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8).
Was this the only reason God spared Noah and his family? Or is there a lesson to learn? Is this showing us, man has a role to play in the plan of redemption?
Noah and his family may have been the best this planet had to offer at the time, but the fact remains, the flood did not remove the effects of sin.
A few generations later, God talked to a man named Abram, promising him a new land, an inheritance beyond description. Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: (Genesis 12:1-2)
Pay attention to the promises God gave Abram. The first promise did not include anyone but Abram. It wasn’t until God showed Abram the land that He added a second detail of the promise. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. (Genesis 12:6-7)
God is consistent. Notice how He reveals one detail at a time. The same is true when studying the Tabernacle. It was never meant to study from an overall view. When looking at the final design, many of the spiritual details will be over looked. The most important lessons are concealed in the details.
The story of Abram teaches another important lesson. Abram now had the promise of an heir. Both him, and his wife had reached an age well past child bearing. So Sarai thinks about the situation, and as far as she is concerned, comes up with the perfect plan. Sarai tells Abram his heir should come from her Egyptian slave.
What a play on circumstances. After Hagar gives birth to Ishmael, Sarai treats her worse than a slave. Little did she know, a few generations later, the nation promised to Abram would serve for over four hundred years as slaves in Egypt. Just a coincidence, or another spiritual lesson?
This may have been God’s way of showing what happens when His instructions are not followed to the letter. In Sarai’s eyes, one little detail was changed. She thought it was for the better. It cost the Abram’s heirs a four hundred year set back. God knows how to deal with altered plans. No matter how bad we mess things up, God has a way of fulfilling His plan.
Knowing the importance every detail of the Tabernacle has, this can be a very difficult subject to study. The lessons are scattered through out the Bible. God spread the answers to the spiritual meaning of the Tabernacle over thousands of years He communicated these lessons through dozens of His prophets. Considerable care, and prayer must be given to properly interpreting the countless spiritual lessons the Tabernacle holds.
That is what this book is about, collecting and sharing the hundreds of Bible texts which reveal the details, and spiritual meanings behind the constriction of God’s Tabernacle on earth.
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