So Moses is still up on Mt. Sinai talking with God. God gave him the 10 Commandments along with directions on how to live justly. Now, God’s giving him very specific instructions — a blueprint — on how to build the Tabernacle — the first church or temple. It’s where the Israelites were to worship, bring sacrifices, and come near to the presence of God. I’m going to share bits and summarize here, but I encourage you to read them all to grasp how precise God gets with the details. Let’s dig in….
Exodus 25-27 – Instructions for the Tabernacle
The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. 3 Here is a list of sacred offerings you may accept from them:
gold, silver, and bronze;
4 blue, purple, and scarlet thread;
fine linen and goat hair for cloth;
5 tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather;
6 olive oil for the lamps;
spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense;
7 onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece.
8 “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. 9 You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.
The materials used to build the Tabernacle were all from gifts — offerings from the people. However, the people had to be “moved to offer them.” They had to be offerings from the heart — not as an obligation. God saved you — you have to give back in gratitude. These items were given of free will.
Plans for the Ark of the Covenant – Chapter 25
10 “Have the people make an Ark of acacia wood—a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. 11 Overlay it inside and outside with pure gold, and run a molding of gold all around it. 12 Cast four gold rings and attach them to its four feet, two rings on each side. 13 Make poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. 14 Insert the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. 15 These carrying poles must stay inside the rings; never remove them. 16 When the Ark is finished, place inside it the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you.
17 “Then make the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—from pure gold. It must be 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. 18 Then make two cherubim from hammered gold, and place them on the two ends of the atonement cover. 19 Mold the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. 20 The cherubim will face each other and look down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they will protect it. 21 Place inside the Ark the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. Then put the atonement cover on top of the Ark. 22 I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.Exodus 25:1-22 NLT
Then, God gives Moses the specifics for…
- The Table — this is where the “Bread of the Presence” was to remain in front of God at all times.
- The Lampstand — or what we know as the menorah, made of pure gold.
- The Tabernacle — the “dwelling” place of God. It was a mobile tent, yet it was sturdy enough to withstand the weather. It was where God could dwell with them — “God with us”! Where have we heard that before? Yes! Immanuel — God with us!
- The “tent” or cloth coverings, called “curtains” were here made of different materials depending on what the purpose of the curtain was. When Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn and there was no longer a barrier between us and Him!
- The framework, or tent poles, were made from acacia wood. Acacia was plentiful in the area and a very strong wood.
- All together there were 10 curtains, which varied in cloth and design.
- Everything had its place and purpose, as we read in chapter 26…
31 “For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. 32 Hang this curtain on gold hooks attached to four posts of acacia wood. Overlay the posts with gold, and set them in four silver bases. 33 Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
34 “Then put the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—on top of the Ark of the Covenant inside the Most Holy Place. 35 Place the table outside the inner curtain on the north side of the Tabernacle, and place the lampstand across the room on the south side.
36 “Make another curtain for the entrance to the sacred tent. Make it of finely woven linen and embroider it with exquisite designs, using blue, purple, and scarlet thread. 37 Craft five posts from acacia wood. Overlay them with gold, and hang the curtain from them with gold hooks. Cast five bronze bases for the posts.Exodus 26:31-36 NLT
Next God Specifies the Plans for…
- The Altar of Burnt Offerings
- The Courtyard
- Light for the Tabernacle
19 “All the articles used in the rituals of the Tabernacle, including all the tent pegs used to support the Tabernacle and the courtyard curtains, must be made of bronze.
Light for the Tabernacle
20 “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. 21 The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the Lord’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.Exodus 27:19-21 NLT
Aaron, who along with Moses, was from the tribe of Levi, become the priests in charge of the Tabernacle.
God Dwelling with Us
I’m borrowing from “Jesus in all of Exodus — a Video Devotional” again. (They’re just so on-point!)
God has always wanted to live with his people. That’s what the Garden of Eden was for. And now, in the tabernacle, God is making the first giant step in restoring the presence he had with humanity back in Eden.
Basically, the instructions for how to build this tent start at the center and work their way out. The mercy seat in the holy of holies is the central part of the tabernacle. We can think of it like a king’s throne. This is where God would appear and meet with his people, like he met with Moses on the mountain.
Next, there is the bread of the presence which represents the 12 tribes of Israel . In front of that is the golden lampstand which continuously shines on the bread. This was to be a constant testament to the fact that God’s presence is with his people.
Outside of the tent, in the outer court of the tabernacle, there an altar. The altar is where sacrifices would be made. This reveals that people cannot just approach God as they are. Their sin must be dealt with through sacrifice.
Everything in the tabernacle is sectioned off by curtains. The more dense and ornate they become, the closer one would get to the holy presence of God. This fact shows us that the closer people get to God the more protection is needed. The structure of the tabernacle conveys one strong message – God is holy. He is set apart, glorious, and perfect.
Where is the Gospel?
Which is what makes Jesus coming to earth so magnificent. Jesus is the final tabernacle because he is the tent in which God fully dwells in the flesh (John 1:14).
But Jesus doesn’t just fulfill the tabernacle itself, but every part of the tabernacle. He is the actual holy of holies because he is the actual presence of God (Colossians 1:19). Jesus is the bread of life who is present for his people (John 6:35). He is the light of the world that shines on them eternally with his protection (John 8:12). He is the final sacrifice on the altar that allow us to enter into the holy place of God (Hebrews 10:12).
Furthermore, at Jesus’ death the curtain covering the holy of holies ripped open to show that there is no longer separation from God and his people. All who belong to Jesus have been turned into little tabernacles in which he dwells through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). And eventually, Jesus will return and transform the whole world into his new tabernacle (Revelation 21:3). For he will dwell in it with us forever.Jesus In All Of Exodus – A Video Devotional:
God with Us!
This is from yet another study in the free YouVersion Bible app.
Imagine what it would be like to live back in the days of Moses when the God of Heaven personally lived in the Tabernacle of Israel. The very presence of God was living among His people! Did you know that God tells us today that we are His tabernacle, and God’s Spirit lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)? Imagine that—God’s Spirit lives inside of His followers! If God visited His tabernacle in your heart today, would He find it in order—neat and tidy according to His specifications; or would He have to do some demolishing and renovating? Is your heart prepared for God’s dwelling inside of you?Deliverance: A Study In Exodus:
King David wrote in Psalm 24…
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
5 They will receive blessing from the LordPsalm 24:3-6 NIV
and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.
All you have to do is sincerely…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.