The tie between this tabernacle and latter-day temples is unmistakable. Deep meaning is associated with the physical dimensions and plan of the tabernacle. They were meant to reflect spiritual patterns that are also reflected in temples today. Prayerful study and meditation will help you to comprehend the importance of this ancient dwelling place of the Lord.
While on Mount Sinai, Moses received the revelation detailing the plans for the tabernacle see Exodus 25— When he came down, Moses gathered Israel and they began the actual construction of the tabernacle see Exodus 35— Since Moses used the revelation to guide the construction, there is a close parallel between the two descriptions in Exodus. Note: For purposes of commentary here, the focus will be on Exodus 25—30 , the revelation chapters, and significant additions recorded in the construction chapters will be noted as necessary.
It is significant that, before revealing the pattern of the tabernacle itself, the Lord told Moses that Israel had to demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice to build His sanctuary see v. Mormon taught that if a gift of sacrifice is offered to the Lord with a grudging attitude, not only is it not acceptable to the Lord, but it becomes an evil act see Moroni — Unless Israel had the right attitude about the sacrifice of their materials, it would do them no good.
Modern readers should remember that despite their other faults and failings the golden calf episode took place while Moses was on the mount receiving this revelation , when Israel heard what the Lord asked, they responded with joyous liberality. Their hearts were indeed touched see Exodus —22, 25—26, 29 , and finally Moses had to restrain them, for they gave far more than was needed for the tabernacle see Exodus —7. Because its hard wood endured well and also took a high polish, it was ideal for the construction of the tabernacle.
The dimensions of the tabernacle are described in a unit of measure called a cubit, which is about eighteen inches in length. The student should refer to the chart on weights and measures in Maps and Charts. Much of the furniture of the tabernacle was constructed of shittim wood and covered with gold leaf to give it the appearance of gold. Had the furnishings been made of solid gold, they would have been far too heavy to carry. The ark of the covenant was a chest, or box, of shittim wood overlaid with gold. It was approximately three feet nine inches long, two feet three inches wide, and two feet three inches high.
Staves, or poles, on both sides allowed the priests to carry it without actually touching the ark itself. Inside, the tablets of the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai were placed see v. Hence, it was called the ark of the testimony or ark of the covenant. The ark was placed inside the inner room of the tabernacle known as the most holy place, or Holy of Holies. The ark was viewed with the greatest reverence by the Israelites, and prayers were recited before it was moved or placed in position see Numbers — The lid, or covering, for the ark is described in Exodus — The word cherubim usually refers to guardians of sacred things.
Since Latter-day Saints do not believe that angels have wings, as they are often shown in religious art, the commandment to form wings on the cherubim may raise some questions. Between these cherubim on the mercy seat, God told Moses, He would meet with him and commune with him. The blood of the lamb of Jehovah was sprinkled upon the mercy seat during the sacred day of Atonement. For a complete discussion of the sacred significance of this event, see Reading One scholar discussed the significance of the word hilasterion:.
Dikasterion means the place where dike, justice is done, and therefore a law court. Thusiasterion means the place where thusia, sacrifice is done, and therefore the altar. Therefore hilasterion can certainly mean the place where hilasmos, expiation, is done and made. Because of that, both in the Old and New Testament, hilasterion has a regular and a technical meaning.
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It always means the lid of gold above the ark which was known as the mercy-seat. The word is used in that sense more than twenty times in the Greek Old Testament. Paul, pp. Clearly, then, the ark of the covenant was one of the most significant features of the tabernacle, both in its importance to ancient Israel and also in its symbolic significance. Gold has been highly treasured by men from the earliest times and thus has symbolic as well as monetary significance.
This symbolism clearly explains the use of gold in the ark of the covenant. Silver and brass also were used in other parts of the tabernacle and its furnishings. These two metals have symbolic as well as functional significance. The Encyclopaedia Judaica notes:.
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Silver was reserved for the bases of the frames, for the pillars of the veil, and for moldings in the court. Finally there was bronze, of which metal the altar of burnt offering and its utensils, the bases of the court, and the laves were made. The same principle applied to the embroidered stuff and linen.
The second article of furniture described by the Lord was the table of shewbread. Like the ark of the covenant, it too was to be made of shittim wood with a gold overlay see vv. It had a crown and border probably a rim of gold on the top, or surface, of the table and had rings and staves to provide for easy transport. It was about three feet long, eighteen inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. Various vessels of gold, called the spoons, dishes, covers, or bowls in the King James Version of the Bible, were made for use with the table. This table got its name from the twelve loaves of bread which were placed upon it.
Thus, the cakes would likely have weighed over ten pounds each. The bread was changed each Sabbath and the bread that was removed was eaten by the priests see Leviticus —9. Most scholars and old Jewish traditions agree that wine was also placed on the table along with the bread, although it is not mentioned specifically in the biblical account.
The spoons were actually vessels or cups, rather than spoons as they are known today, and were probably the containers for the liquid. See Fallows, Bible Encyclopedia, s. Thus, the items placed on the table of shewbread have distinct parallels in the emblems of the sacrament.
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The source of light for the tabernacle was the sacred candlestick. Made of solid gold, the menorah was supported by a base which rested upon three feet. Its shaft rose from the base which was decorated by knops spherical ornamentations , bowls enlargements proportionate in size to the knops and upon which were almond blossoms , and flowers disc-like enlargements representing the shape of an almond flower petal. Each of the branches of the menorah was crowned with a light which illuminated the holy place, or first room of the tabernacle. The number seven has sacred significance in the Old Testament, connoting wholeness or perfection see Smith, Dictionary of the Bible, s.
Thus, the light provided in the house of the Lord symbolized the perfect light. The oil for the seven lamps had to be pure olive oil see Exodus that had been consecrated for that purpose. According to Jewish tradition, the Maccabees found only enough consecrated oil for the sacred lamps to last one day. The consecration of new oil took eight days; yet miraculously, the meager supply burned until a new supply could be properly prepared.
See Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, bk. Thus, the sacred menorah was a type or symbol of the true source of spiritual light, namely the Holy Ghost as He bears witness of the Father and the Son. Because the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness at this time, the tabernacle had to be portable.
The walls were formed of panels that could be joined together see Exodus — Then the walls and open ceiling were covered with four different layers of fabric. The inner fabric was made of fine-twined linen. Scholars believe it was either a fine cotton fabric or one made from flax. Because of the length of the tabernacle, ten curtains, or pieces of fabric, were needed to cover it. This inner layer was to have cherubim angels embroidered upon it and was to incorporate, besides the whiteness, the colors blue, purple, and scarlet.
The selvage of these curtains was a special border at the edge of each woven piece that prevented raveling. This border was usually of different size threads and was sometimes of a different weave than the rest of the curtain. By means of golden clasps or pins called taches, the selvages of adjacent curtain segments were joined together, creating the appearance of a single drape over the tabernacle. The nature of the last kind of fabric is not clear; scholars seem to agree only that it was not the skin of badgers. Some scholars believe it may have been the skins of porpoises or seals from the Red Sea which would have given the tabernacle a waterproof outer covering see Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, The tenon was one of two large rectangular dowels at the bottom end of each board.
The tenon fitted into a double base support called a socket that could slip up and down each tenon independently. Since all of the boards were fastened firmly side to side, making a rigid wall, every socket could rest on the ground even when it was irregular. One is immediately impressed with the detail that the Lord gave Moses concerning His dwelling place. The two veils, or hangings for the door, described here are the outer door to the tabernacle the front entrance and the veil which separated the holy place, or first room, from the inner Holy of Holies. This latter veil is properly called the veil of the tabernacle.
Surrounding the tabernacle itself was a large enclosed area protected by woven hangings attached to a movable wall. In this courtyard was located the altar of burnt offerings altar of sacrifice and the laver of water for the symbolic cleansing of hands and feet. Into this courtyard anyone of Israel could bring sacrifices, but only the priests could enter the tabernacle itself. Sometimes, however, the tabernacle referred to in the Old Testament means the whole complex, including the courtyard, and not just the tent itself. Each pillar of the court of the tabernacle was ringed horizontally by silver fillets, which were rectangular bands around each pillar to both protect the wood and beautify it.
The hangings, or the fabric which formed the outer walls of the court, were attached to the top of each pillar and were secured at the bottom by ties to the brass pins which were firmly driven into the ground. Genesis Our God can do the amazing, the impossible, for His good purposes. Though we may succumb to sinful doubts like Sarah Genesis 16 and 18 , they do not have to finish our story. The Lord will bring joyful laughter to our hearts, if we wait in patient trust.
His promises never fail, arriving in their impeccable timing and form.
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Take delight in our omnipotent Redeemer! Rebekah stepped into the unknown, about to marry a man she had never met. Without any hesitation, she decided to go, to obey. Again we ask, why? None of us know what lies ahead, but we know the one true God. We know that He loves and cares, and deserves our obedience. Then she ceased bearing. Leah had finally done it. She reached a heart of worship.
While yearning for love from her husband, fighting for his affirmation, her eyes began to open. Then, with the next child, Leah had grown. She saw that God and His grace was enough, more than enough! He was the only One worthy of her praise, her haven. He had given her the company of many sons, and the blessed company of His heart-lifting grace. Are you weary of people-pleasing? Of those you love failing you, or you failing them?
She lived in a place God was about to destroy. She was a prostitute. From this vantage point, her odds of survival looked minimal. The game-changer was faith — a proper fear of the Lord. Yet unlike her community, she wanted to know this God. She protected His spies, welcomed His will, and so she was saved! You may feel unworthy, but God favors those who fear His Name. If you submit to Christ today, acknowledging Him as the God of all things, all people, all places, you will stand with Him in eternal victory.
By saying these words Ruth committed herself to a new identity. There was no turning back to her family, to the land of Moab. In coming to this quoted moment she lost a husband, and going forward she toiled as a single woman with her grieved mother-in-law. This allegiance would pave the way to having a son Jesse, another man in the line to the Savior. What a blessing!
We also have a new life in Christ, and a new home in heaven. Sometimes we make faith too complicated — do that, read this, be there — but Hannah reminds us of its real essence: a heart overjoyed in its Savior. A meek, prayerful heart that entrusts itself to its Creator. She adores her God, and fully appreciates all that He has done.
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The road to having her son was full of heartache, but it drove her to her knees, and now to this point of praise. She witnesses to us that God is faithful, and that God listens to the humble in heart. We end our journey with Mary. Her words present a degree of humility that should inspire us perhaps most of all. An angel arrives with the most stunning announcement: she will bear the long-awaited Messiah.
A young girl in the poor town of Nazareth, she was what the world least expected. Her pregnancy would mean scandal, disdain and potential death in her pious community. One of my favorite posts written by you: All of these women had stories full of struggles and surprises just like us women.