Chapters 25--28 minutely prescribe the construction of the Tabernacle and its furniture, while chapters 35--40 describe the execution of the task. The materials for the Tabernacle were supplied, by divine commandment, by the people's offering, and included three metals, colored fabrics, animal skins, wood, oil, and precious stones.
The minute repetitions in these chapters of the materials used in the construction of the Tabernacle and of the vessels and the furniture of that place of worship is precious to the spiritual reader. Why this repetition? Because the Tabernacle, its curtains, its boards, its hooks, its sockets, its pins, its spoons-- everything connected with it, displayed to God's heart the infinite perfections and glories of His dearly beloved Son.
The Tabernacle and its furnishings are a picture of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:11) and God's program for man's salvation. The Tabernacle was to be 45 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 15 feet high, made of boards, covered with curtains, and facing the east. It was to be divided into two compartments: (1) The Holy Place, the east 30 feet of the Tabernacle, containing the Table of Shewbread on the north side, the Candlestick on the south side, and the Altar of Incense in front of the veil; and (2) The Most Holy Place (the Holy of Holies), the west 15 feet of the Tabernacle (a perfect cube) containing only the Ark of the Covenant.
The veil, which separated The Holy Place from The Most Holy Place, was to be made of "blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen" and was to be exquisitely embroidered with Cherubs.
There was to be an outer court (fence) around the Tabernacle, approximately 150 feet long, 75 feet wide, facing the east, with a gate in the east end. Just inside the gate there was to be placed a brazen altar for the general sacrifice of animals; then about midway between the altar and the Tabernacle was to be placed a brazen laver, a great brass bowl to hold water, for the priests to wash their hands and feet before ministering at the Altar of Incense.
The Ark of the Covenant was a chest made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It was a picture of Christ; wood speaking of His humanity, gold of His deity. It contained the two tables of stone upon which were inscribed the Ten Commandments, a golden pot of miraculously preserved manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.
The Mercy Seat was the top of the Ark, a lid of solid gold. There was a Cherub at each end. Between the Cherubim was the Shechinah, the cloud in which Jehovah appeared above the Mercy Seat. The New Testament word for "propitiation" means "mercy seat.".
The Table of Shewbread held special bread which pictures Jesus Christ the Bread of Life, and the Word of God, which is our spiritual food. The Candlestick was made of one piece of pure gold, again emphasizing the deity of Christ, the Light of the world. The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit and the seven branches typify the perfection of Christ.
The veil speaks of Christ's earthly body. When Christ died on the cross the veil was rent in twain, thus providing direct access to God through Christ. This marked the end of the Law, priesthood, and sacrifice. To go back to the Law is to sew up the veil that was rent on the day Christ died.
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