Why We Should Study It
The Hanging of the Court
The Entrance to the Court
The Brazen Altar
The Laver of Washing
The Table of Shewbread
The Golden Altar
The Ark of the Covenant
The Boards and Sockets
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The purpose of this book is to present in simplest form a typical study of the Lord Jesus Christ as He was represented by the various articles and materials of the Tabernacle. The book as a whole will provide the student of the Word with an outline and will serve as a guide for a more comprehensive study of the subject.
A study of the Tabernacle is a study of Exodus 25 to 40. It is hoped that the reading of this book will encourage interest among God's people in Old Testament illustrations and foreshadowings of Christ, and thus honor Him in delighting in and teaching this portion of His Word.
I wish to acknowledge here His Grace in making possible the writing of the following pages.
Sherman M. Milligan
At the time this article was written, Sherman Milligan was pastor of Hollisterville Baptist Church (near Scranton, Pennsylvania) and taught evening Bible classes in the surrounding towns. The booklet from which this document was scanned was printed in the parsonage kitchen on a small press that used lead type and is dated 1936. According to the title page, copies sold for 25 cents. Pastor Milligan also authored a pamphlet about typology, and he later wrote a full-length book, Notes on the Revelation, which was the basis for numerous Bible-school and home studies he taught until his death in 1980.
These things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. —I Corinthians 10:11
The importance of studying the Tabernacle is clear to the Spiritually enlightened mind, to the true Bible taught believer. To him, if for no other reason, this importance rests upon the fact that it was ordained of God (Exodus 25:1, 8), and that its record is a part of His written Word (II Timothy 3:16).
But by many professed teachers of the Word of God its significance is rejected; and for this rejection the Scriptures give the reason: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14).
Through the revelation by The Holy Spirit the believer can know the Things of God, and he is greatly blessed when he becomes willing to learn them.
It Was The Dwelling Place Of God
God dwelt within the curtained enclosure as though He did not dwell anywhere else (Exodus 25:8. II Samuel 7:6). It would not have been more real for one to have entered His Presence in the Heavens than it would for him to have pushed aside the Veil of the Tabernacle and entered His Presence there (Exodus 25:22). And when Israel had any matter to bring to His throne, they thought in terms of the Mercy Seat upon their Ark of the Covenant, rather than of His throne above (Numbers 7:89).
It was a perfect type of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as such it spoke the message of II Corinthians 5:19, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. It also spoke the words of our Lord as when He said, "I am the Way . . . no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6), for it was the only means in Israel by which man could come to God. He was uniquely Israel's God, His testimony to the nations being that salvation is of the Jew. Any one who would come to Him then, could do so only by entering the Gate of Israel's Tabernacle.
It Foreshadowed the Coming of Christ - Hebrews 10:1
The shadow of a person or thing announces that he or it is coming or is near. The Tabernacle announced the coming of the Redeemer, the opening of the way to God (John 5:46). Its articles illustrated every phase of Gospel preaching: the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ; His blood Atonement; His perfect Righteousness; His Heavenly Origin; His Humanity and Deity; His first and second Advents; His Death, Burial, and Resurrection; the believer's union with Him; and all that is freely offered through the work of the Cross (Hebrews 9:8-12).
It was made of the finest materials. They were freely contributed by the children of Israel and, for a band of slaves just a few months delivered from exacting bondage, it was wonderfully done. More than a ton of gold was used, more than four tons of silver and approximately the same amount of brass. The wood used was of the most incorruptible kind, the hard, desert-grown acacia. There was fine twined linen with needlework skillfully done. And covering the Tabernacle proper were the skins of animals. These materials, typifying Christ, spoke of Israel, though desert pilgrims, as being rich in Him (Romans 10:11-12. II Corinthians 8:9).
The correct method for us to approach the study of the Tabernacle is to approach it as Israel did, learning the lesson of the outermost portion first. In the Book of Exodus, however, where the instructions for the building are recorded, the description begins with the inside. This is God's method of describing it. It is God coming out making it possible for man to come in. The way of salvation is always made clear by God revealing it and never by man discovering it. This foreshadowed the Lord Jesus Christ when He came out from the Glories and went to the Cross, opening the way to God for man. We read of Him, "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the Ivory Palaces." Psalm 45:8.
There were three major divisions in its construction: the Outer Court which was open to all who would bring sacrifices to be burned upon the Altar; the Holy Place into which the priests of Israel alone entered to perform the duties of the Tabernacle; and the Holy of Holies which was the dwelling place of God. These three divisions illustrate three stages of Christian experience. The Outer Court which contained the Altar of Burnt Offerings and the Laver of Washing suggests salvation and cleansing; the Holy Place which contained the Table of Shewbread, the Golden Candlestick, and the Altar of Incense, suggests the place of service; and the Holy of Holies which contained the Ark of the Covenant and the Presence of God suggests the place of fellowship.
The Holy Spirit has given us these three divisions in the New Testament. The Gospels which climax their message in the Cross describe the first stage of Christian experience, that of believing unto salvation and cleansing through the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16). The Book of Acts which describes the Church in its Missionary program is the Church in the place of service (Acts 1:8). And the Epistles which lead us into "Heavenly Places" and of ever being "with the Lord" speak of fellowship (I Thess. 4:17. I John 1:3).
The Court, then, was the outermost division of the Tabernacle; and a hanging encircling it shut it off from the common walk of the Camp. This hanging was one hundred cubits long on each side, and fifty cubits on each end. It was suspended from hooks of silver attached to pillars of brass, and except for twenty cubits which formed the Gate it was made of white fine twined linen.
This curtain of white represented the righteousness of God. God's standard of righteousness has never changed, though He has seen fit to describe it to man in various ways. The Ten Commandments, given to Moses on Mount Sinai, were a declaration of what He is; the white hanging of the Court testified that He is such that man cannot approach Him; the Lord Jesus Christ in His first advent was His standard in a body of flesh, testifying that no man hath seen God at any time; and His standard in the world today is the lives of His saints which have been cleansed and made white in the Blood of the Lamb (1 Corinthians 6:11). God has ever kept the white hanging before the eyes of men, telling them what He is and what they must become e'er they can enter His Presence.
These expressions of the righteousness of God, however, have never been inviting to the approach of man. In the giving of the Law the people asked that God might not speak to them any more. The white hanging of the Court testified that man was on the outside, and no Israelite could approach it without being conscious of the great distance and difference existing between him and God. Of the Lord Jesus Christ we read that some who heard Him said, "This is an hard saying, who can hear it?" and many went back and walked no more with Him (John 6:60-66). And the inner circle of believers, with God in their midst, testifies to the unsaved that he is separated from God and has no part in the matter (II Corinthians 6:14-17).
In the Life of Christ
The life of the Lord Jesus Christ corresponded to the white hanging of the Court. People wondered who he was. They said "Is not this the son of Joseph?" and in saying it they knew they were wrong. Some speculated that He was Elijah or Jeremiah, or at least one of the prophets. But Simon Peter, acting as a true Israelite, looked upon the white barrier of His life and said "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).
Men who hated Him sought to mar the spotless white. They complained that He ate with publicans and sinners. They said that He performed His miracles by Beelzebub the prince of demons. They tempted Him, seeking to catch some unholy words from His lips, And they crucified Him between two malefactors. But through it all the white remained unsoiled; and thus did the Lord Jesus display the righteousness of God, answering to the constant white hanging of the Court.
Men spoke of Him then as they do today, calling Him "Good," and yet questioning His Deity. These merit His rebuke, as when He said, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but . . . God" (Matthew 19:17). By this He would have them know that the expression of His life was the expression of the life of God.
His life was a constant testimony against those whose lives were contrary to the Word of God, and they sought to silence that testimony as quickly as possible. Before He came their wickedness could be paraded as righteousness, and when He had come he said, "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sin (John 15:22). His life was as a barrier to them, telling them that they were separated from God. They did not like to think this of themselves, and in crucifying Him they thought they had removed it. But the barrier remains.
In the Lives of Believers
For more than nineteen hundred years believers have been the dividing line between God and the world; God in their midst and the world outside; and again it is the story of the Tabernacle. There is no other compelling force in the world today reminding men of the righteousness of God than the lives of His people. The Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthian Church, says, "Ye are our Epistle . . . known and read of all men" (II Corinthians 3:2).
The Court-Hanging in the midst of Israel was a constant source of conviction to the Camp. The Israelites by looking at it, judged sin as sin and put it away. And of this day in which we live we read that the Mystery of Iniquity doth already work, only He who now letteth (hindereth) will let (hinder) until He be taken out of the way. II Thessalonians 2:7. (The expressions "Letteth" and "Let" are from an old English form meaning "to Hinder"). By this we are made to understand that the iniquity which would flood the earth is being hindered. The "He" of this passage refers to the Holy Spirit. He is doing the hindering work, but He is doing it through the lives of believers. He works in and through them the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; and as long as this testimony is being maintained in the world, the world is convicted and sin is hindered.
If the Hanging had not encircled the Court no one would have known what was common and what was Holy in Israel. Today the world tramples upon what was once the Holy ground of the Church. This could not have happened if the standard of Holy living had been maintained. They enter what was once the Sanctuary of God, find no trace of His Presence, and are unafraid. And by this they are led to believe that they can tread His Sanctuary in the Heavens. What an illusionment!
It is true that in the lives of believers the white Hanging will become defiled, but it need not remain that way. It can be made white again as soon as it is seen to be marred. We read, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). And "If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with the other, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7). The danger comes when the robes of believers' walk are defiled and allowed to remain that way (Ephesians 5:8. I Peter 2:9-12).
In the Cross
The Hanging of the Court was suspended from hooks of silver. Silver everywhere in the Tabernacle typified the price of Redemption, and Redemption always points to the Cross. God was dwelling in the midst of Israel; but this was possible only because He was protected from their defiling touch by that which typified the righteousness wrought through the Redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Likewise, the righteousness of believers originates in and is sustained by the work of the Cross. God could not justify the believing sinner, nor forgive and cleanse His saints, except for the finished work through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:9).
The entrance to the Court was called the Gate. It formed a part of the Court-Hanging, but unlike the rest of the Hanging it consisted of four colors. They were Blue, Purple, Scarlet and White. It was suspended from four pillars.
While the purpose of the white Hanging of the Court was to keep Israel out, the purpose of the Gate was to lead them in. It was an invitation to every man and woman to come to God. God does not delight in telling man that he is separated from Him, but He tells him in order that man might accept the provision which He has made for him to come to Him. The Lord Jesus Christ whose earthly life seemed to serve as a barrier, and caused men to turn away, was on His way to the Cross to become the Gate by which they might enter in. And the believer who has the Presence of God within and who keeps the world on the outside, also preaches the message of salvation, telling them how they might find Him (Romans 10:8,9).
The Number Four
The number "Four" appears often. In the Scriptures it is the world number; and in the Tabernacle it described God as He has been pleased to reveal Himself in the world. The Scriptures speak of "four corners of the earth," also of "four winds of the earth." There are only four great world powers described in the Word of God. And four Gospel stories describe the earthly life of the Lord Jesus Christ. This number as representing Him in the Tabernacle clearly answers to what is spoken of Him in the Gospels. Each Gospel emphasizes some characteristic of His Person. Matthew describes Him as the King; Mark describes Him as the Divine Servant; Luke describes Him as the Perfect Man; and John describes Him as the Son of God.
In the colors of the Gate the White formed the background and continued to represent the righteousness of God. It testified that God maintained His righteousness while inviting the believing sinner to come to Him (Romans 3:26). It is not the goodness of God in passing over sin (as some think) which saves men, but the righteousness of God in judging it. If God could pass over the smallest sin and still be Holy the death of the Lord Jesus Christ would never have been necessary.
The White corresponds to the Gospel by Luke and typifies the Lord Jesus Christ as the Perfect Man. Luke writes plainly of His Virgin Birth and describes His Divine Humanity. He records the words of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, saying, "That Holy Thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Only a perfectly righteous person could be a substitute for sin and a Gateway to God. The righteousness of God in the redemption of sinners shines forth as we read, "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21). The penalty of sin was executed upon His sinless Person on the Cross; and in exchange righteous Blood flowed from His veins. God was propitiated.
Blue is the color representing Heaven and speaks of our Lord's Heavenly origin. Then God came down upon Mount Sinai to meet with Moses, we read that under His feet was the paved work of a sapphire stone, as it were the body of Heaven in its clearness (Exodus 24:10). The sapphire is a precious stone of a bright blue color, and it is here referred to as representing Heaven.
This color corresponds to the Gospel by John which describes our Lord as the Son of God. John says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father" (John 1:1,14).
The Lord Jesus Christ confirms what the Apostle John says of His Person. He says, "I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me" (John 6:38). He identified Himself with the Father, saying, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30); "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9); and in His prayer in the seventeenth chapter of John He says "Now, O Father, glorify thou me with shine own self with the Glory which I had with thee before the world was" (vs. 5). How well He could say "I am the way, no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6). He came out from the Ivory Palaces and He knew the way back.
The White and the Blue have paved the way for us to speak of what the Lord Jesus Christ did as typified by the Scarlet. Scarlet is the color of blood and speaks of His sacrificial death. The river through the Word of God from the early chapters of Genesis into the Book of the Revelation. In Genesis it is the firstling of the flock, a lamb brought by Abel and sacrificed upon the altar. And in the Revelation it is still the Lamb, in the midst of the Throne of God, slain from the foundation of the world.
The testimony of the Scarlet can never be omitted from the invitation offered to sinners to come to God. The man who righteously entered the Tabernacle in Israel acknowledged that all that it represented was the only way to Him, and the testimony of the Scarlet was present.
This testimony, however, has not always been pleasing to men. Many have been offended. Peter who confessed that the Lord Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, was offended when He spoke of His death on the Cross. Peter was willing to acknowledge the White Hanging, but he was not willing to accept all that our Lord must be as the Way to God. The Lord Jesus Christ could have lived among men ever so long, exhibiting the righteousness of God, but if He had not died, He never could have brought men to Him. The offense of the blood is so magnified today that many ministers, supposedly preaching the Gospel, exclude it from their message; but where it is left out, the Gospel is not preached, nor the way to God expressed (Hebrews 9:22).
The Scarlet corresponds to the Gospel by Mark where the Lord Jesus Christ is described as the Divine Servant. In Mark emphasis is placed upon His obedience to God and the work which He did, the many miracles which He performed; and in His death He is still the Servant obeying the Divine will. He, who "Being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant, and . . . humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross" (Philippians 2:5-8).
Purple is the color of Royalty and speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ as King. He is THE KING. He will some day be revealed as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS, and His Kingdom will fill the whole earth. Doubtless He has been the King of angels from ages almost eternal; but as such He does not fill a place in the salvation of men. It is the Kingly dignity and power of Heaven come down to earth to be strong in the behalf of His creatures who are bound in the shackles of the enemy. He has met the enemy in a great battle on the Cross and has defeated him. He has "spoiled principalities and powers" (Colossians 2:15); He has "Led captivity captive" (Ephesians 4:8) and as a great King He gives "Gifts unto men," sharing with them the riches of His triumph. "The gift of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:23).
The meaning of the Purple corresponds to the Gospel by Matthew which is the Gospel of the King and the Kingdom. In it the King is in the midst of Israel. He was born King. When the wise men arrived in Jerusalem from the East, they asked "Where is He that is born the King of Israel?" He declared Himself to be King by sending His disciples forth to announce that the Kingdom was at hand. As in the other Gospels, His eternal Deity is declared—"This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). He was not merely a man, He was greater than David, the greatest King Israel had ever had. And Psalm 24 asks "Who is this King of Glory?" The answer comes back, "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle." No one else could have set the captive free.
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free.
His Blood can make the foulest clean,
His Blood availed for me.
The Four Pillars
The number "Four" in the pillars which supported the Hanging of the Gate reminds us that the Gospel is to be preached to "all the world." It suggests the "four corners of the earth." The Lord Jesus Christ was lifted up (on the Cross) that WHOSOEVER believeth on Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:14,15). Isaiah foresaw the extent of the Gospel invitation and wrote, "Look unto me and be ye saved, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, for I am God and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:22). The Apostle John writing after the Cross says, "He is a propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2). And in Revelation 5:8-9 we read of Redeemed ones who will be around the Throne of God, and who will sing, "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy Blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation."
As in the white Hanging of the Court, the believer is identified with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gate. He is the true Gate, but the believer is His representative in the world. All four of the characteristics of Him as typified by the four colors are made good to the believer. The believer's righteousness is the righteousness of God, corresponding to the White (II Corinthians 5:21); his citizenship is in Heaven which corresponds to the Blue (Philippians 3:20); He is identified with Christ in His death on the Cross, so that he can say "I am crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20), which corresponds to the Scarlet; and his calling is to be a king and priest unto God (Revelation 1:6), which corresponds to the Purple. He only is a recipient and steward of the Truth of the Word of God; and he holds in his life and testimony the only invitation for men and women to come to Him.
The believer is also typified by the four pillars. In obedience to our Lord's command he has gone into all the world to preach the Gospel.
The Brazen Altar rested just inside the Gate of the Court. It was made of acacia wood overlaid with brass. A solid brass grate was passed through the center of it, to which were attached four brass rings; four horns of acacia wood overlaid with brass rested on the four upper corners; and two staves of the same materials were passed through the rings. Fire was kept burning upon this Altar continually.
The Brazen Altar was the Divinely appointed way in Israel for man to offer his sacrifice. It was the place of Atonement, the place for the covering over of sin. The Old Testament word "Atonement" is always the translation of the Hebrew word "Kaphar" which literally means "to cover." Daily, upon the Altar, sins were being covered with sacrificial blood (Leviticus 17:11). Thus the purpose of the Altar was to take care of Israel's sin question before God.
It was a type of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. In Israel it told the approaching worshipper that he was a sinner, and that he could make no further progress toward God until the sin question was settled. This testimony was borne to him by its outward appearance of Brass.
Brass was the metal used mostly in the construction of the Outer Court. It spoke of Divine righteousness in judging sin. First, it testified that sin must be judged, and, secondly, that sin must be judged righteously. Righteous judgment upon the sinner is that he must die (Romans 6:23. Ezekiel 18:20); but this judgment can be visited upon a substitute. The Israelite in meeting the demands of the Altar, brought a living sacrifice, laid his hands upon its head to identify himself with it, confessing it as his substitute, then slew it and burned it upon the Altar. Thus the sinner died in his substitute.
This, truly, is the message of the Cross. The fact that our Lord's death was necessary is God's message to the world that man is a sinner (Galatians 2:21); and the fact that He died is His message that sin has been righteously judged—a Substitute has been put to death. The person who would come to God today must face the message of the Cross—that he is a sinner, and that the Lord Jesus Christ died in his stead (II Corinthians 5:21).
The brass-covered Horns of the Altar pointed, as it were, to the four corners of the earth, testifying that there is none righteous, no, not one; and that all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God (Romans 3 10,23).
The Acacia Wood
The acacia wood provided the inner construction of the Altar and gave to it its form. This wood was secured by Israel from the desert plant called the shittah tree. It grew in the almost barren waste lands of the desert and was the most incorruptible wood to be found.
It typified the incorruptible and indestructible Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As it grew in the dry waste lands, so He is spoken of as "A root out of a dry ground" (Isaiah 53:2), and as it provided the form of the Altar, so He, who was in the form of God, took upon Him the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16); and was found in fashion as a man, the form upon which God would judge sin. Though fire burned upon the Altar continually, its form was unchanged; and though the fire of God's wrath spent itself in the bosom of the Lord Jesus Christ, consuming away the sin of the world, His form, too, remained unchanged. His Humanity was indestructible (Acts 2:25-27).
The staves of the Altar served as a means for carrying it. It was to accompany Israel in their wilderness journey. The four horns pointed again, as it were, to testify that its message of redemption was for the whole world.
We recall the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples that if any man would come after Him, he should take up his cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). The disciples' cross was His Cross, and they were to share with Him in its effect in the world When they stood with Him after His resurrection, having believed on Him, He said, "Go ye into all the world." They were to go, and wherever they went they were to carry the message of His Cross.
The Laver of Washing was a receptacle filled with water, and was located between the Brazen Altar and the Door of the Tabernacle proper. In the Scriptures it is called the Laver of Brass as it was made entirely of that metal. The brass used in its construction was a contribution of brass mirrors by the women of Israel.
At the Laver the priests of Israel were washed completely—bathed all over (Leviticus 8:6). This was a part of their consecration into the ministry of the Tabernacle, and for each priest it happened just once. But daily, as they passed back and forth between the Brazen Altar and the Holy Place, they stopped to wash their hands and feet (Exodus 30:19, 21).
The Brass Mirror
The typical significance of the mirror aspect of the Laver is clear. It typified the Word of God. The brass continued to represent God's unyielding character in judgment; it was the Divine mirror; and it described man as he really was.
The Apostle James likens the Word of God to a mirror when he says, "For if any man be a hearer of the Word . . . he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass" (James 1:23).
The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, has always been a true biographer of man. The Scriptures of which He is the Author, describe man as he really is. Every fault and failing are carefully recorded.
The standard as typified by the Laver is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Living Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). As man is brought into contact with the Scriptures he is made conscious of the presence of a predominating Holy Figure, the Person of the Lord. And like the Israelite in the presence of the Laver, he is convicted of sin and the need for cleansing (I John 3:3. II Corinthians 7:1).
The Laver not only judged the Israelite of his condition and need for cleansing, but it contained that which ceremonially was able to make him clean. Likewise, the Word of God which convicts man of sin, also contains the means for making him clean. It tells him of cleansing through the Blood, that the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin. It speaks of the washing of the water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26). The Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples, "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you" (John 15:3). And He prayed in John 17, "Sanctify them through Thy Truth, Thy Word is Truth" (vs. 17).
The Complete Washing
As the priests of Israel were washed "all over" just once, it typified something which happens just once to believers today. It typified Regeneration. Regeneration is sometimes called "the new birth" or "born from above"; but whatever it may be called, it is the process by the Holy Spirit whereby the believing sinner is born into the family of God. In II Corinthians 5:17 he is called "A new creature." And in Titus 3:5 we read of the "Washing of Regeneration." Thus we gather that the believer, when he is Regenerated, is washed, is born into the family of God, and is made a new creature—bathed all over.
Washing The Hands and Feet
Although the bodies of the priests of Israel were bathed completely just once, they bathed their hands and feet often (Exodus 30:19, 21). The hands and feet of the priest of God suggest those members by which, in his work and walk, he is brought into defiling contact with the world.
Positionally, the believer today is perfectly and eternally clean (I Corinthians 6:11); but by living in the world he becomes defiled in his walk. (All True believers in this dispensation, according to New Testament teaching, are priests of God.) A defiled priest of God is hindered in his service. God cannot use him. And to be clean he must come often to the fount of cleansing, the Word of God, where his defilement is taken away, his hands and feet made clean, and he is fitted for service.
The Door was the entrance to the Tabernacle proper and like the Gate of the Court, it consisted of a hanging of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen. It was suspended from hooks of gold attached to five pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold and set in sockets of brass.
The purpose of the Door was to admit the redeemed and cleansed priests of Israel to the Holy Place. This division of the Tabernacle contained three pieces of sacred furniture, the Table of Shewbread, the Golden Candlestick, and the Altar of Incense; and these three articles characterized it as the place of Service. In it the Golden Candlestick was to be kept burning, representing the "Light of the World"; the Shewbread was to be placed on the Table, representing food for the Lord's people; and Incense was to be burned upon the Golden Altar, representing the ministry of intercession. Thus the priests of Israel entered the Door to perform that service.
The Person of Christ
Like the Gate of the Court, the Door represented the Lord Jesus Christ as the way in. In the Gate He was the entrance to redemption, and in the Door He was the entrance to service. The colors continued to represent characteristics of His Person and, in their typical significance, demanded that His Person in absolute Lordship be accepted before any service could be performed in Holy Things, or be pleasing to God (John 13:13. Colossians 3:23,24).
The Gold-Covered Pillars
Gold was the most prominent metal used in the Tabernacle proper; it represented the Glory of God; and it was entirely hidden to those on the outside (I Corinthians 2:9-10). In typifying the Lord Jesus Christ it spoke of His Deity. That Deity in its rightful place is the "Brightness of God's Glory" (Hebrews 1:3). Thus it represented Him Glorified. In His first advent and incarnation our Lord emptied Himself of the manifestation of Deity, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7). But after His death on the Cross He was to return to the Father to take upon Him again the Glory which He had set aside. That Glory would be taken upon Him, however, as a man; and this answers to the pillars being made of acacia wood which represented His Humanity.
Thus the Door represented Christ, not as being lifted up on the Cross, as in the Gate, but as being raised up and Glorified in the Heavens. It is from thence that He directs the service of His people, as the hanging was suspended from hooks of gold.
The Five Pillars
Five pillars supported the hanging of the Door; and as the number "four" in the Gate corresponded to the four Gospels, describing our Lord's earthly life, the number "five" reminds us that five Epistle writers wrote of Him, describing His ascended Lordship. And all of this corresponds to the testimony of the Book of Acts, the fifth writing of the New Testament, that the God of our Fathers hath Glorified His Son Jesus (Acts 3:13).
The Candlestick, burning in the Holy Place, would be the first article noticed after entering the Door. No measurements of it are given. It was entirely of gold, beaten of one piece, and made in the form of an almond tree. It consisted of six branches and a main stem, providing for seven lamps. And the oil which supplied the lamps was pure olive oil, beaten especially for that purpose.
The Candlestick was to give light in the Holy Place, the place of service. Express mention is made of it in connection with the Table of Shewbread (Exodus 40:24), and the Altar of Incense (Exodus 30:7-8), also of its light shining upon itself (Exodus 25:37). The priest of Israel as he performed the duties of the Tabernacle was guided by it. It was the only light he had; and the oil was to be supplied sufficiently "to cause the lamp to burn always" (Exodus 27:20).
Entirely of Gold
To say that the Candlestick was entirely of gold is to say that the acacia wood which typified our Lord's Humanity formed no part of it. It emphasized His Deity and Glory. In it He is not the representative Man, but the eternal God (John 12:42).
The Light of God in the world is His Word; and it speaks of Him who in the beginning was the Word, who was with God, and who was God (John 1:1). It is true that He who is the Word became flesh, but he did not become flesh to be the Word. It speaks of the outshining of God in any and every expression of Himself; and as typifying the Lord Jesus Christ it represented Him as the "Fullness of the Godhead" (Colossians 2:9). No measurements are given, and no measurements can be given to Him who is Infinite and Eternal.
Its Beaten Form
Although the wood representing His Humanity is not present, an expression of His redemptive work is not wanting. The form of the Candlestick was likened to an almond tree. To be made into this form it was beaten. The thought of fruit-bearing is also associated with it. Each branch of the Golden Tree consisted of a knob, supposedly the bud, then followed the flower, and finally the bowl for the oil, made like unto an almond, representing the fruit. The expression that it was "beaten" suggests suffering and speaks of our Lord's suffering on the Cross. The fruit bearing suggests the result of His suffering which is the salvation of men and women. In order for the gold to take the form of the fruit-bearing almond tree it had to be beaten; and in order for men and women to be saved, it was necessary for the Lord Jesus Christ to die (John 12:24. Hebrews 2:10).
The Seven Lamps
Seven is the Divine number of perfection. The seven lamps of the Candlestick represented it as the perfect light-giver. No part of the Holy Place was left in darkness. The servant of God needs no other light for service than the light of His Word (Psalm 32:8).
Seven flames burned in the seven lamps, and these typified the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, He appeared to them in cloven tongues like as of fire. He had come to lead them into all Truth; and the flames shining upon the Candlestick surely represented Him who alone is able to illuminate the Word of God. It is His prerogative to take the things of Christ and show them unto us (John 16:15).
From the many times that oil is used in the Scriptures to typify the Holy Spirit it may be difficult for us to see it used in any other light. But for the oil of the Candlestick to represent the Holy Spirit, another difficulty arises when we consider the expression that it was "beaten" (Exodus 27:20). In connection with the Candlestick we said that being beaten it suggested suffering and pointed to the Cross. The Person of the Godhead who suffered on the Cross was the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 3:18).
To consider the beaten oil as representing Christ is to remember the Gospel record of Him in the Garden of Gethsemane where He is pictured before going to the Cross (Matthew 26:36-46). The word "Gethsemane" means "oil-press"; and the Garden was presumably an olive grove. The trees were there producing the olives, and the press was there in which they were crushed to secure the oil. What a fitting picture of Him, and a perfect foreshadowing of what happened to Him on the Cross. He was the True Olive, crushed to produce the oil to effect the light of man's salvation. And it is the oil from Calvary that the Holy Spirit (the flame) uses to produce fruit in the world (Matthew 26:28).
The Table of Shewbread was located on the North side of the Holy Place. It was made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Two gold crowns encircled the top of it; four gold rings were attached to the corners; and through the rings were passed two staves. On it rested twelve loaves of Bread, placed there each Sabbath Day by the priests of Israel.
The Shewbread was placed on the Table as an offering to the Lord. It is expressed as being "Most Holy" of the offerings made by fire (Leviticus 24:9). And as it was taken from the Table to be replaced by that which was freshly baked, it became food for the priests of Israel.
In their typical significance the Table and the Bread represented the Lord Jesus Christ, Glorified in the Heavens, as the delight of the Father, and as the source of Spiritual food for His people. The expression "Most Holy" describes the offering as being that which is closest to the heart of God, the fulfillment of His desire, the satisfaction of His affection.
Gold and wood were combined in the construction of the Table. These materials, in addition to always representing the Deity and Humanity of Christ, bear a message peculiar to the article into which they have been fashioned. The Table sustained the "Most Holy" offering; and that offering represented our Lord as having perfectly performed the will of God. The performance of His will, however, necessitated our Lord's incarnation and honoring Him as a man. He is called the "Second Man" in I Corinthians 15:47. The first man, Adam, dishonored God; but the Second Man honored Him perfectly. He honored Him first in His life, and then honored Him again in His death by removing the dishonor of the first man. Thus, as a foundation for such an offering, it was necessary for the wood and gold to be combined in the Table (John 17:4,5).
The loaves of Bread, like the acacia wood, typified the Humanity of the Lord Jesus. They pointed to the time when He would appear in the Heavens as a man. He would make that appearance after He had completed the Father's will on earth, after His death, burial, and resurrection. Thus the placing of the Bread on the Table spoke of His resurrection acceptance by God the Father. The loaves were baked, and this spoke of His death on the Cross, as the One who had passed through the fires of God's wrath. But when they were placed on the Table the baking process was finished, as our Lord when He appeared in the Heavens, had finished man's redemption (John 19:30).
The Sabbath Day
The priests of Israel were to change the Bread on the Table and eat it in the Holy Place on the Sabbath Day. Whenever we think of sabbath we think of "rest." It was a rest period in Israel. Sometimes it was a day, sometimes a year; but in either case it was a complete cycle of time. In Israel's Sabbatic Year there was no sowing or reaping. It pointed to the time when the sowing and reaping will be over, the eternal Sabbath Rest of God. Thus the placing of the Bread on the Table and the eating of it by the priests of Israel on the Sabbath Day spoke of our Lord as being the delight of the Father and the food and satisfaction of His people in the eternal Heavens (Psalm 16:11. 17:15).
The Number Twelve
The number "twelve" in the loaves reminds us of the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel, and suggests that God's offering of delight is identified with His people. If the blood sacrifice represented the believing sinner at the Brazen Altar, the Shewbread represented him in the place of acceptance in the Holy Place.
How wonderfully this typified the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Shewbread, as being identified with His Church. In I Corinthians 12:12 the Holy Spirit likens the Church to a body, as being made up of many members. He says, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." He is speaking of the Church, but He calls Her by the name "Christ." And in Ephesians 5:30 He says, "For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." Even now as He sits at the right hand of the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ is there as our Representative. We read that He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS (Ephesians 2:6). As He is, so are we before Him, "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).
The Table of Shewbread, like the Brazen Altar, included a means for being carried. The Altar provided redemption for sinners; and the Table provided food for the redeemed. The Lord Jesus Christ represented the believing sinner in judgment on the Cross; and He represents him now in the place of acceptance before the Father. To know that He is there in that capacity is sustaining food to the child of God. Thus, as the Gospel message of salvation is to be preached "in all the world," so the message which speaks food to the saved is to be carried likewise (Jeremiah 15:16).
The Golden Altar was the last article approached in the Holy Place. It rested directly in front of the Veil which separated between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. It was called the Golden Altar, in that, unlike the Brazen Altar which was made of acacia wood overlaid with brass, it was made of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold. A crown of gold encircled the top of it; and like the Brazen Altar, there were horns on the corners. Two gold rings were attached to two of the sides, and through the rings were passed two staves.
This Altar served as a place for burning Incense. No other sacrifice was offered upon it. Thus from it a Holy Fragrance ascended before the Throne of God and permeated the Tabernacle. The fire used for burning the Incense was carried as live coals from off the Brazen Altar. On the Day of Atonement the Incense, which otherwise was burned upon the Altar, was placed in a Golden Censer to be burned and carried beyond the Veil into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest of Israel.
The typical significance of the Altar is that it represented our Lord as being glorified at the right hand of the Majesty on High; and the burning Incense represented His present unceasing intercession before the Throne of God for His people.
The gold and wood combined in the Altar represented Him, the eternal "Son of God," now glorified as the "Son of man." He is there, not in some spirit form, but as a Man. We read, "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God" (Hebrews 2:16-17). "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5).
The crown of gold which encircled the top of the Altar speaks of Him as being crowned—crowned with the eternal glory which was His before the world was. Eternity is embodied in Him as the Great Intercessor. "He is able to save unto the uttermost (eternally) all that come unto God by Him, seeing He EVER LIVETH to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). And "knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more death hath no more dominion over Him" (Romans 6:9).
The Incense which burned upon the Altar described the nature of our Lord's intercession. It was composed of four sweet spices Stacte, Onycha, Galbanum, and Frankincense; and these represented Him in the perfection of His Person and work. As it issued from the burning coals it was acceptable and well pleasing in the nostrils of God. It spoke of Him of whom God has said "I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). Everything about our Lord's Person was perfect; and everything He did likewise. Thus the burning Incense typified His intercession as that of presenting all that He is and all that He has done before the Throne of God; and this in the behalf of redeemed ones, those who are His (priests) in this dispensation. Whatever smell of earth and odors of imperfection may have accompanied the priests of Israel into the Hold Place of the Tabernacle, they were lost in the perfect fragrance and perfume of the burning Incense. And for earth-smelling, imperfect priests of God today, the offence to the nostrils of God is removed by the Fragrance of the Lord Jesus Christ representing them in the Glory (Ephesians 1:6).
The Coals of Fire
The coals of fire being taken from the Altar of Sacrifice and placed upon the Altar of Incense associated the ministry of the two Altars with each other; and in the antitype the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross is vitally associated with His present intercession. On the basis of what He did on the Cross He is able to intercede for them who have believed.
The Day of Atonement
The Altar of Incense was not located directly in the Presence of God. It was outside the Veil, except on the Day of Atonement. But on that day it was represented by the Golden Censer of burning Incense which was carried by the high priest of Israel through the Veil into the Holy of Holies—into the Presence of God.
God's great Day of Atonement for man was the day when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross. On that day the Veil of the temple, separating between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, was rent in twain; and the Altar of Incense which had been outside the Veil was in the Presence of God. We are living in the day of the rent Veil when we have a Representative and Intercessor in the Presence of the Father (Hebrews 9:24).
The staves in the Altar of Incense suggest that it, too, was to be carried. It was to accompany God's people in their wilderness journeys.
Before our Lord ascended to the right hand of the Throne of God He told His disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel; and then He said, "Lo, I am with you always." He would accompany them in His ministry of intercession into those remote places to which they would go.
The Veil, like the Gate of the Court and the Door of the Tabernacle, consisted of a hanging of blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen. Upon it were also embroidered the figures of Cherubim. It was suspended from hooks of gold attached to four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold and set in sockets of silver.
The purpose of the Veil was to separate between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. In the Holy Place were the priests of Israel, and in the Holy of Holies was the Presence of God. No person dared to go beyond that Veil except the high priest once each year with the Blood of Atonement. It testified to Israel that the way to God was not perfectly opened. But on the Day of Atonement it served no longer as a barrier. It was the way into God's Presence.
This third hanging of the three-fold entrance of the Tabernacle continued to represent the Lord Jesus Christ as the way of man to God. In the Gate, opening to the Brazen Altar and the Laver of washing, He was represented as the way of redemption; in the Door, opening to the articles of the Holy Place, He was the way to service; and in the Veil, opening to the Most Holy Place, He was the way to the Presence and fellowship of God. But by each hanging of these three entrances a requirement was placed upon the approaching worshipper. Before he could enter the Gate he was to be accompanied by a sacrifice; before he could enter the Door his sacrifice was to be burned upon the Altar as his substitute and he was to be completely washed at the Laver; and before he could enter the Veil the Blood of Atonement was to be carried to be placed upon the Throne of God.
The significance of the Veil, therefore, as the way in, is vitally associated with the Day of Atonement. It was observed just once each year, and the Veil was entered only on that day. A year is a complete cycle of time. As Dr. Seiss remarks, "A year is a full and complete period. There is no time which does not fall within the year." It represents the entire course of the ages. In all that God has done and will do, there is just one great Day of Atonement, and one opening to His Presence.
In connection with the Golden Altar we stated that God's Day of Atonement for man was the day when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross, and that on that day the Veil of the Temple was rent in twain. In Matthew 27:51-52 where the account is given, we read that it was rent from the top to the bottom. Also, "The earth did quake; and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose."
"From the top to the bottom" would indicate that the rending was by God; and He carried it into the heart of the earth where man was bound in the chains of death and the grave. What a rending that was! From the Presence of God to the foulest, most destitute of man's condition, the way was opened.
The Veil was a type of our Lord's body; and we must remember that the way into God's Presence was not made possible by the so-called goodness of God in passing over sin; but by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ paying the penalty for it on the Cross. When our Lord died it was "God in Christ" dying for the sins of man, not overlooking them. In order to accomplish this He took upon Him the form of man, a body of flesh. We read, "Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us through the Veil, that is to say His flesh . . . let us draw near" (Hebrews 10:19-22).
As the entrance of the Veil in Israel was THE event of the year, so our Lord's opening of the Presence of God for man was THE event of the ages. It was opened just once, and it will remain open . . .
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.
The Blood of Atonement
After entering the Veil, the high priest of Israel placed the Blood of Atonement upon the Mercy Seat, the Throne of God in the Tabernacle; and of the Lord Jesus Christ we read, "By His own Blood He entered in once into the Holy Place . . . into Heaven itself, now to appears in the Presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:12,24).
The gold-covered pillars and hooks of gold represented Him as being glorified. As it hung upon these the Veil demanded an acceptance of His resurrection and ascension into the Glories. If He is not now before God as a Man, with a body that has been crucified, rent on the Cross, the way to God Is not open. But He is there, and in His hands and feet and side are the "wounds" of Calvary (Hebrews 6:19).
The Ark of the Covenant with its covering of the Mercy Seat was the only article in the Holy of Holies. It was made of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold, and a crown of gold encircled the top. Four gold rings were attached to the four corners, and through the rings were passed two staves. The Mercy Seat or covering on the top was a solid piece of gold, and on both ends, as parts of it, were the beaten forms of Cherubim.
As has been suggested, the Ark of the Covenant served as the Throne of God in Israel. It also was a repository of three articles sacred to Israel. They were the Ten Commandments or Law of God, the golden pot of Manna, and Aaron's Rod that budded. And in the journeys of the people through the wilderness it went before them to seek out a resting place.
The Ark of the Covenant represented the Lord Jesus Christ as the Throne of God. He is the repository of God's eternal Covenant of Grace. But as its appearance was entirely of gold it represented Him as the embodiment of all that God's Throne must be. God's Throne is God Himself in what He demands of and bestows upon His creatures; and these must always be according to His nature.
The Wood and the Gold
The wood and the gold combined in the Ark, as in the other articles, speak of our Lord's Humanity and Deity respectively; and as represented here they formed the foundation of the Throne of God. It was a meeting place between God and man; and as such it had to be a Mercy Throne, a Throne of Grace. Only through the mediatorial work of the "Man Christ Jesus" is it possible for God's Throne at any time to be a Mercy Throne. Thus the necessity for the wood and gold, representing Him in His Incarnation, and as the Glorified Man.
The Ten Commandments
The Law in the Ark described God's Throne as God's Throne only can be described—a righteous Throne. It represented His Holiness, His unchanging nature. There is no compromise with sin; He knows all, sees all, and judges all; "the wages of sin is death," and "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Such was the nature of the Ten Commandments, and such is the nature of His judgment. Grace as it was represented by the Mercy Seat does not eliminate righteousness. It is a misrepresentation of the Throne of God to teach or suggest that He can or will overlook sin. Sin which is not judged in the Person of man's substitute on the Cross must be judged in the person Of the sinner in the lake of fire. The Law pointed to our Lord as the standard of God's judgment. We read, "He hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained" (Acts 17:31).
The golden pot of manna in the Ark was placed there as a memorial of Israel's wilderness food. To Israel the manna was bread from Heaven, and as such it typified the Lord Jesus Christ. It foreshadowed His first advent and death on the Cross. He said, "I am the living bread which came down from Heaven: if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world . . . for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:51,55).
Israel's journey through the wilderness foreshadowed the believer today as living in the world. The true believer, walking worthy of his vocation, finds no satisfaction in the world apart from the finished work of the Cross. In John 6:55 the flesh and blood remind us of the bread and wine in the Communion Service. That Service represents the highest type of fellowship—the REMEMBRANCE of His death till He comes.
An omer of manna was the amount placed in the golden pot. It was the amount measured to one man for a day, a day's supply. Thus it spoke of God's eternal day when the Lord Jesus Christ will be the satisfaction of all His redeemed ones. Then will they truly say, "All that I want is in Jesus."
Aaron's Rod that Budded
It was called "Aaron's rod" as it was the rod bearing his name among twelve rods representing the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel; and by which God established the testimony of His choice of Aaron for their priest. Much trouble had arisen through the contention of some that they had as much right to stand before God as did Aaron. In response to their contention, "The earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up" (Numbers 16:32). The Lord then instructed Moses to take a rod from each of the princes representing the tribes of Israel, their names were to be written upon them, and Moses was to "lay them up" before the Lord in the Tabernacle. By these, once and for all, He would establish His choice of Israel's priest.
And the following day when Moses entered the Tabernacle to look at the rods, he saw that the rod of the tribe of Levi with Aaron's name upon it had brought forth buds, had blossomed blossoms and had yielded almonds, while the other rods remained the same as before. The rods were shown to the people and Israel accepted God's testimony. Aaron's rod was then placed in the Ark of the Covenant as a continual witness against any who would question his priesthood.
Aaron's rod was a perfect type of our Lord's resurrection. The rods were cut off from the life of the tree. Aaron's rod was no exception; and it typified Him Whom the prophet says "was cut off out of the land of the living" (Isaiah 53:8). In bringing forth buds, blossoms, and fruit, it was represented as having life in itself, and foretold the words of Christ who said, "For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself" (John 5:26). And again, "I lay down my life, that I might take it again" (John 10:17,18).
In our Lord's resurrection from the dead He transcends the authors of all heathen religions; and by this He confounds everyone who attempts to compare Him with them, or who question His unique right to stand as man's Representative before God. They were cut off out of the land of the living, and they remained dead. There cannot possibly be any comparison between the dead and the living.
As the living One He bears fruit, the fruit of eternal life in believing sinners.
The Mercy Seat
The Hebrew word from which Mercy Seat is translated describes it as having been covering for the Ark. It is the translation of the word "Kapporeth" which is derived from the Hebrew root word "Kaphar," meaning "to cover"; and this is the word which is translated "Atonement" more than seventy-five times in the Old Testament. Thus the Mercy Seat of God's Throne is vitally connected with His work of Atonement, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.
God who was represented by the Law within the Ark views man today through the Mercy Seat, the finished work of the Cross, and sees him as being perfectly covered. He is covered with every merit and attribute of Christ; and God is reconciled. Likewise the believer views God through the Mercy Seat, the Cross sees Him as being perfectly satisfied, and he too, is reconciled. Thus God and man are reconciled to each other by viewing each other through the Cross. And as the Mercy Seat was entirely of gold it spoke of this reconciliation of being entirely through a Divinely wrought Atonement.
The forms of the Cherubim were a part of the Mercy Seat. They were of one substance with it, beaten out of the same piece of gold. Thus their significance is vitally associated with it. Besides their appearance in the Tabernacle they are spoken of in Genesis, Ezekiel and the Revelation. Wherever they appear they seem to be guarding or vindicating the righteousness of God in His dealing with man. That vindication is of great importance in connection with God's dealing with sinful man in Grace; and it is through their representative characteristics that they can say "Holy, holy, holy" to this action on the part of God. In the first chapter of Ezekiel and the fourth chapter of the Revelation they are referred to and described in the likeness of four living creatures, the likeness of a lion, an ox, a man and an eagle.
These four figures turn our attention again to the four Gospels, describing the earthly life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The lion is the king of beasts and corresponds to Matthew where our Lord is described as King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah; the ox in the Old Testament was the creature of service and sacrifice and points to Mark where He is the Divine Servant obedient unto death; the appearance of a man points to Him in the Gospel of Luke where He is described as the perfect Man; and the eagle which in its flight soars high in the Heavens, points to the record of His Heavenly origin, the gospel according to John.
The staves characterized the Ark as not being at rest in the wilderness. Like Israel, it was to keep moving; and in their journeys it always went before to determine the place where Israel should camp, until it finally led them into the land of Canaan.
The Lord Jesus Christ, our Ark of the Covenant, has gone on before His people today to seek a resting place; and He, too, will not rest until He has led His people into the Heavenly Canaan, the eternal rest of God.
The boards of the Tabernacle formed three sides of the enclosure comprising the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. They were the sides facing the North, South, and West; while the hanging called the Door formed the side facing the East. There were forty-eight boards in all, and were of equal dimensions, being ten cubits high and one-and-one-half cubits broad. They were made of acacia wood overlaid with gold and set in sockets of silver. Five bars united them to each other and held them in place. Four of the bars were passed through rings on the outside, while the fifth bar was in the midst, or passed through the middle of the boards.
These boards served as a framework of the Tabernacle to support the various curtains which covered it. But as they were not seen from the outside, being covered by the curtains, they represented to the camp of Israel the hidden glory of God, and the Holy Places of His Presence and ministry. And as they were united to each other they described the unity of God's dwelling place.
Like the other articles of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, they represented the God-Man glorified. They represented Him, not as He is seen by the world, but as He is seen by God. The world may see Him as represented by the acacia wood without the gold, a man having no form nor comeliness, and without beauty; but God sees Him as being all gold, with the acacia wood of His Humanity hidden beneath His Deity and Glory.
The typical significance, however, pointed to our Lord's mystical body, being made up of many members, and which is the church. Individual believers are baptized into one body called "Christ" (I Corinthians 12:12). Thus the boards represented the glorified Church as the dwelling place of God.
As members of the body of Christ believers are partakers of the Divine Nature, and before God they are clothed with His Glory. In some judicial manner God reckons the Church as being complete, as being raised up and seated in Heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6). Also, we read "Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified" (Romans 8:30). The boards suggest the high calling of believers before God. God sees believers only in the likeness of Him of whom they are a part.
The dimensions of the boards were equal. No board was higher or lower than any of the others. None was more glorious than its fellows. Likewise, all true believers are in Christ, equally acceptable with God, and equally glorious.
The Silver Sockets
The silver sockets in which the boards were set represented the believers' standing in the redemptive work of Christ. We have stated that silver everywhere in the Tabernacle represented the price of redemption and pointed to the Cross. Each board was set in two sockets, and each socket weighed nearly one hundred pounds and was worth nearly two thousand dollars. Thus the ninety-six sockets under the forty-eight boards weighed nearly five tons and were worth nearly two hundred thousand dollars.
The price of the sinner's redemption is great; and the price which our Lord paid satisfied the demands of Divine Holiness. But it was of more value than silver. We read, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold . . . but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18,19).
Each board was securely founded; and likewise each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is eternally secure. He said concerning His sheep, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." This is the first socket, and the second one is close by—"No man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:28-29).
By means of the bars the boards of the Tabernacle were bound together. This represented the unity of believers standing in Christ. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one hope of their calling (Ephesians 4:4-5).
The four bars on the outside corresponded to the number "four" as it appeared elsewhere in the Tabernacle, answering to our Lord in the four Gospels. It is by means of what He is and what He has accomplished as described by the four Gospels that believers are united in one body.
The fifth bar in the middle of the boards helped to bind them together, but unlike the others it was hidden. This beautifully corresponds to the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. It is He who dwells in believers as the hidden Person of the Godhead, and Who baptizes them into one body. He does not speak of Himself but delights to take the things of Christ and show them unto us. And we are reminded here of the "fifth" writing of the New Testament, the Book of Acts, which is the Book of the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Four Coverings overspread the Tabernacle proper. The innermost of these was the most detailed. It consisted of "Fine twined linen, and blue and purple and scarlet; with cherubim of cunning work" (vs. l). These curtains were made into two sets of five curtains each and the two sets in turn were joined to each other by means of loops of blue and taches of gold. The second curtain was made of eleven curtains of goats' hair; the third was made of rams' skins dyed red; and the outermost Covering was made of badgers' skins.
These Coverings served to protect the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies from the elements of nature. But more important, like every other barrier connected with the Tabernacle, they separated between the Holiness of God and the defiling touch of Israel.
In approaching the typical significance of the Coverings we are faced with what appears to be a multiplied use of the number "four." There were four Coverings in all; four colors were employed in making the linen curtains; and the Cherubim, representing four figures, were embroidered upon them. Surely the Divine meaning of the Tabernacle is complex; only eternity will fully reveal it; and we are forced now to exclaim with the Apostle Paul, "Great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into Glory" (I Timothy 3:16). The expressions of this verse seem to correspond with the mysteries of the Tabernacle Coverings.
The Badger Skins
The Covering of badgers' skins described the appearance of the Tabernacle to the camp of Israel. It was the least beautiful of the four, and everything else was hidden beneath it. It typified the outward appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in His first advent. The prophet Isaiah foretold the expressions of men concerning Him He says, "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isaiah 53:2).
The skins represented the death of animals and pointed to the degree of our Lord's disgrace before the world. It was the disgrace and repulsion of the Cross. And the next verse by the prophet reads, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid (turned away) as it were our faces from Him" (vs. 3). Such is the appearance of our Lord before the world; and such their attitude toward Him.
Rams' Skins Dyed Red
To any one with a knowledge of Gospel truth the rams' skins dyed red speak for themselves. They represented a covering of blood. This Covering of the Tabernacle was not seen on the outside; and the world does not see God's true purpose in the Cross; but it was to place a covering of blood between Him and a sinful world.
When Abraham was about to make an offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah, he was directed of God to substitute him with a ram. And rams were constantly used by Israel in their bloody sacrifices.
The Lord Jesus Christ is God's great Substitute for sinners; and in His eternal dwelling place the Blood of Christ will ever stand between Him and the believers' sin.
In connection with this Covering, in the original Hebrew the word "hair" does not appear, and neither does the word "skins"; but the fact that it is described as "curtains" would indicate that it was made of goats' hair rather than of goats' skins. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia also states that the word for "she-goat" is used elliptically (in a shortened form) to mean goats' hair. And if these deductions are correct the thought of death is not attached to this Covering.
Perhaps the most prominent use of goats in connection with the Tabernacle was on Israel's Day of the Atonement. On that day two goats were selected and presented to the high priest. One was slain and its blood was carried by him into the Holy of Holies and placed on the Mercy Seat. It provided a covering of blood between God and Israel. But all of this we have seen was typified by the Covering of rams' skins dyed red.
The second goat was not slain; but on the basis of the blood of the first goat the sins of Israel were confessed upon its head, and it was led away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness, unto a land not inhabited.
Thus there seems to be a corresponding note between the live goat of the Day of Atonement and the Covering of goats' hair on the Tabernacle; and the type in both instances pointed to our Lord as the resurrected and living One Who upon the basis of His shed Blood is able to take the sins of believers and cast them into a "land not inhabited." This represents in the believing sinner's experience the place where his sin question is removed.
The Linen Curtains
The linen curtains with their blue, purple, scarlet and figures of Cherubim were beautiful. They represented the inward and hidden beauty and glory of Christ; also the final stage of the believer's experience, his glorified position in the Heavens.
The four Gospel characteristics of our Lord were again present; and the Cherubim were there to guard against any intruding into the HOLY Place of God except by the Divinely appointed way.
By means of the Coverings God was enabled to dwell with man, both being covered (atoned) by that which typified our Lord's Person and work on the Cross, and His glorified position in the Heavens.
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