The Lord has met Moses on the mountaintop and given him instructions regarding the ark, mercy seat, table, and lampstand. In chapter 26, the instructions continue with the materials and construction of the tabernacle itself.
Remember that at this description, we are looking at the tabernacle as a pattern or representation of heaven. The writer of Hebrews said that the priests...
Hebr. 8:5 ... serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "SEE," He says, "THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN."
So these things are a pattern, or model, of what is in heaven.
As the detailed tabernacle descriptions arise in future studies, we will look at the tabernacle from other angles, including being representative of Jesus Christ, the way we should pray, and spiritual truths for ourselves and lives.
The tabernacle would be constructed with layers of materials: two curtains and two coverings. The first, inside layer would be visible only from the inside of the tabernacle. This inner layer was made of ten curtains that were fine linen with blue, purple, and scarlet material.
There were to be images of cherubim embroidered or woven into these curtains. Remember that the tabernacle is a model of heaven. We know that there are bunches of angels around heaven and God's throne.
Matt. 18:10 "... angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven."
Rev. 5:11 And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne...
Rev. 7:11 And all the angels were standing around the throne...
With the inner curtains embroidered in this way, when you entered the Holy Place, you would see cherubim all around.
The next layer of curtains were eleven curtains made of goats' hair. With larger measurements, these curtains completely cover the fine linen curtain. No one could see inside unless they entered in through the single door.
Such is heaven as well. There is one door, one way. Jesus said,
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Luke 13:23-24 And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" And He said to them, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able."
There is one door, one way in. No one would be able to see inside the tabernacle unless they came in the one entrance that God designed.
Now there are two coverings for the tabernacle, possibly only for the roof.
The inner, bottom covering was to be rams' skins dyed red. What the outer covering was is subject to mystery. The Hebrew word, "TACH-ash" is rendered in the NAS "porpoise skins," in the NIV as "hides of sea cows," and in the King James as "badgers' skins." Many commentators conclude that what is meant here is "seal skins." Whatever it was, it appears that this outer covering was used as a rain repellent - a waterproof cover.
The appearance of this heavenly dwelling place is not all that impressive from the outside. The true beauty cannot be seen except from the inside. This is a picture of heaven as well. As we try to imagine from the outside, we have no grasp at all of the beauty of heaven. Paul wrote,
Rom. 8:18 ...The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
And as he told us of being caught up to heaven, he said he was,
2Cor. 12:4 ...caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
We have not a clue of the beauty and glory waiting for us.
These gold-plated boards for the walls of the tabernacle were to sit in silver sockets. Each socket was a full talent of silver, about 250 pounds.
Exod. 38:27 And the hundred talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary and the sockets of the veil; one hundred sockets for the hundred talents, a talent for a socket.
Now what about heaven does this represent? Silver in the Scriptures speaks of redemption. The first-born son was to be redeemed with silver (Dt. 18:16). It also speaks of blood, as the price for Jesus' life was 30 pieces of silver. The silver sockets were what connected the tabernacle to earth. What has connected heaven to earth? What made it accessible. Jesus blood, His redemption for us.
The veil acted as a partition between the two rooms inside the tabernacle - the holyof holies, where the ark was to be placed, and the holy place, where the rest of the furniture sat.
The priests would enter the holy place daily to maintain the lamp and weekly to change out the showbread. But they were never allowed behind the veil. Only the High Priest was permitted behind the veil, and he could only enter once a year, on the Day of Atonement.
This again is a picture of heaven, but as it was formely. Heaven is no longer veiled to us. Remember that when Jesus was crucified,
Mark 15:38 ...the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
This signified an opening. The writer of Hebrews wrote,
Hebr. 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.
And again, he writes,
Hebr. 10:19-20 ...Brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh
Now, any priest who may enter the Holy Place may enter the Holy of Holies. Fortunately, we are to Him a kingdom of priests.
Similar to the veil screening the Holy of Holies was the veil which screened the doorway.
Here there are five pillars instead of four, and sockets of bronze rather than silver. Bronze speaks of judgment in the Scriptures. We may enter the Holy Place once we have stood before the judgment seat of Christ.
Everything outside the tabernacle tent then represents God's kingdom on the earth, as we read now of the altar of sacrifice.
The altar of sacrifice was to have horns on its four corners. Sacrificial blood was to be put on the horns by the high priest once a year for atonement. Another purpose for the horns was to use them to bind sacrifices to the altar. We read in Psalm 118:
Ps. 118:27 The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
Halfway up the altar was a bronze net, like a barbecue screen. This would allow the ashes to drop down and be removed with the pails.
The rectangular court was surrounded by a large linen fence, with pillars every three cubits.
At one end was a single gate, the material being the same blue, purple and scarlet color as the two veils.
Just to be inside the tabernacle courts was a blessing. The psalmists wrote,
Ps. 84:10 For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Ps. 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
During the Great Tribulation, the newly-rebuilt temple will not have a court. John writes,
Rev. 11:1-2 And there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who worship in it. And leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
The lampstand was to have clear oil of beaten olives as a fuel source. It would be the priests' duty to maintain the oil, keeping the light going.
Next week, chapters 28-30. We'll pick up the pace a little and see the garments and consecration of the priests, as well as the two final pieces of the tabernacle, the altar of incense and the bronze laver.