About Jesus      Steve Sweetman

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ch. 25:1-9   ch. 25:10-22    ch. 25:23-30    ch. 25:31-40  

Offerings For The Tabernacle. (ch. 25:1 - 9)


For the next number of chapters in Exodus we will learn all about the Old Testament tabernacle.  Hebrews 9:23 and 24 tells us that this tabernacle is actually a model, or patterned after the heavenly temple.  In some shape or form, even though God is spirit, there is some kind of heavenly temple.  The tabernacle represents that heavenly temple.   I'm not convinced that this heavenly temple as it stands right now is material.  God is spirit, so how would he live in a material temple.  This tabernacle is merely a human replication of something spiritual.  


It is commonly understood that this tabernacle is prophetic of Jesus Himself.  We note in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that God dwelt in Jesus.  The Greek word used for "dwelt" means "to tabernacle", where "tabernacle" is used as a verb, not a noun.  Colossians 2:9 and John 1:14 say the same thing.


Hebrews 10:5 speaks about Jesus, that is, the pre-incarnate Jesus, that a body was prepared for Him.  God prepared a body, or a tabernacle, for the pre-incarnate Jesus to live in while on earth.  This Old Testament tabernacle represents Jesus' body.    


You might want to refer to Revelation  21:3 where you will see the climax to all things relating to the tabernacle and temple of God.  It is the final temple that we see on the new earth.


Before we get into the verses of this chapter, I want to give a brief description of the tabernacle that we will be studying.


The tabernacle was about 75 fee wide by 150 feet long.  The length of the structure ran from east to west.  If you viewed the structure from the outside, you'd first see a white linen fence that was as high as the average man's eye level.  The linen fence had one door, and this door faced the east. 


Once inside the linen fencing, you entered what we would call a courtyard. The first thing that you would see was a brass altar used for sacrifices.  The next thing you would see is a large brass bowl to wash in.


Once in the outer courtyard you would notice a wooden structure.  You would not see the would.  It was covered in animal skins.  This structure was divided in two.  Each room was 15 feet high,  15 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. This was called the Holy Place.


Once in the Holy Place you would see the inner wooden walls were covered with gold.  On the right side of the room was a table with 12 loaves of unleavened bread. On the left side of the room was 7 branched golden lamp stand that was fed with oil.  


As you look beyond the lamp stand you see a veil.  Beyond the veil was the Most Holy Place.  There is some debate over this, but just outside the veil, in the Holy Place, was a gold altar where incense was burned.  Some say this was actually just on the other side of the veil, inside the Most Holy Place.  It appears to me though that this altar of incense was in the Holy Place.


Once entering the Most Holy Place there was one piece of furniture that is described in two parts.  First, you have the ark of the covenant that held the two tables of stone with the Ten Commandments.  This was about three and three quarters feet long, two and one quarter feet wide and high.  A led covered the ark of the covenant that was made of gold.  This is called the mercy seat.  On each end there was a gold cherubim.  Between these two cherubim was said to be the presence of God.  This was His earthly dwelling. 


Israel used this tabernacle for less than 35 years as they wandered in the desert.


All of the things I've just described are loaded with symbolism, as the New Testament states.  Imagine yourself as a Jew.  You'd come to the east side of the tabernacle.  East would face the Garden of Eden.  There is lots of symbolism concerning the direction of east.


The first thing you'd see is the only door into the tabernacle, and of course, we know Jesus is that door as seen in John 10, and He is the "only door".  Yet before you actually got to go into the tabernacle, you would have to pass through the tribe of Judah, since that is where they were told to camp. Of course, Jesus is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.


As you approached the door you would note the white linen fencing.  White represents righteousness throughout the Bible.  We will some day be dressed in white linen.      


Once entering the outer court, the first thing you'd see in the brass altar where a blood sacrifice was made for your sins.  Of course, Jesus blood sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice.  Then you would see the brass bowl where you would wash and be cleansed.  Jesus Himself is seen as our cleansing agent.  His words are said to wash us clean. 


Once the sacrifice has been made for you, and you have been washed, you could then enter the Holy Place , the place where you have fellowship with others.  Of course, only priests could enter here, but according to the New Testament, we as believers, are all priests.


In the Holy Place you will see the table with unleavened bread.  This is also called the fellowship table.  You eat with unleavened bread.  You eat as sinless people, because the blood has been shed in the outer court at the altar, and because you have been washed clean at the brass bowl.  


You glance over to the other side of the room and you see the gold seven-branched lamp stand that represents the prayers of the saints in the New Testament. This room is a place of prayer and fellowship.  


Then, once a year, only one man could enter the Most Holy Place, and he was the high priest.  There, you would be in the presence of God and have fellowship with Him. 


We should note at this time that the veil in the Temple when Jesus died on the cross was ripped, from top to bottom.  This veil was 18 inches thick. This event clearly signifies that the Most Holy Place is now available to all who properly approach it.


I've said that the tabernacle is prophetic of, or represents Jesus.  As with much of prophecy there are also secondary meanings to the prophecy.  I also see three ages described in this temple.  I see that outer court as the Old Testament days where animal sacrifices for our redemption were made.  I see the Holy Place as New Testament days where the oil that lit the lamp stand is seen as the Holy Spirit, and the bread of fellowship as the fellowship of the saints in the presence of God.  I see the Most Holy Place as the new earth, where God Himself will dwell on earth with us.


We should also note that many people see the Trinity and the three aspects to humans in the tabernacle.  That is, there are three parts to the tabernacle, courtyard, Holy Place, and Most Holy Place.  There are three aspects to God, as well as three aspects to man.  That is, body, soul, and spirit.  That being said, not all Bible scholars believe that man is made up of three parts.       


In chapter 25, verses 1 through 9 God tells Moses to have the people of Israel to bring offerings to him.  Note that all the things God lists to bring are things to build the tabernacle with. 


Notice verse two where God  says for those whose "heart prompts them to give."   The building of this tabernacle was to be a matter of the heart.  This is a taste of the New Testament, a taste of better things to come, as the book of Hebrews would put it.  Right from the very beginning, the building of a place where God could live among his people was a matter of the heart.  The same must be true today, but more often than not it isn't. Tradition and structure has taken away much of the heart from the church and from Christianity.


Verse 9 tells us that the tabernacle was to be made "exactly" as God tells Moses, and that applies to the furniture in the tabernacle as well.  We see God is very detailed and exact in what he wants.  Very detailed might actually be an understatement.  This tabernacle represents a few things as I've already mentioned, therefore the things that it represents are detailed as well.  I believe the New Testament temple, that is, the Body of Christ, is to be built to God's exact specifications as well, but we've long since departed from those specifications.  We've built the church after our own specs, not God's, and have suffered for it.


The Ark (ch. 25:10 - 22)      


Verses 10 through 17 describe in detail the structure of the ark.  It was to be built of wood, covered with gold.  It had two rings on each side with a pole on each side going through the rings.  The rings were gold.  The poles were wood, covered with gold.  The poles were there so it could be carried without touching the ark.  Inside the ark would be put the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments on. 


Verses 17 to 22 describe the top part of the ark which would be called the mercy seat.  The top, or the cover, to the ark was to be made of pure gold, with cherubim at each end, looking towards each other, with their wings spread upwards.  The cherubim was solid gold as well.  In between these two cherubim, God would meet with Moses, and the high priests, that would come after him.


Note all the gold.  This stands for royalty, and the all-powerful  and important nature of God.    


The Table (ch. 25:23 - 30)


This section describes the table that would be put in the Holy Place.   Again, it was made of wood covered with gold.  It had four gold rings so two gold poles could be put through the rings to carry it, just like the ark.  The bowls and plates to be put on the table were also to be made of gold.


Note verse 30.  The unleavened bread that was to be placed on this table was to be called "the bread of the Presence".  That would be "presence of God".  Note that Jesus was called the "Bread of Life".  He also told us to eat from Him, which we do in a symbolic way when we take the Lord's supper, often called communion.


The Bread of the Presence was unleavened bread because leaven represents sin, and Jesus had no sin in Him. 


The Lampstand (ch. 25:31 - 40)


In this section God tells Moses how to make the lamp stand.  It is also quite detailed and made of gold.  It was to be made so seven lamps would be lit. 


Each one of the pieces of furniture that is described here I'm sure has special significance to God.  Many Bible teachers over the years have gone into great detail to what each and every little part of these pieces of furniture mean.  I will not do that.  I'm not sure what they mean, and I'm not sure that what people say they mean is really what they do mean.  One person may say one thing and another person say something else.  I will not get involved in that debate, other to say that I'm sure they do mean something to God that speak of Jesus. 

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