The Tabernacle

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THE tribe of Levi was divided into three families, under his three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Each had his own separate place of encampment around the Tabernacle, and to each was committed a peculiar charge and burden. The Merarites, who encamped on the north, watched over, erected, and carried all the solid framework of the building, the pillars of the surrounding courts, together with the sockets of silver and brass.
The Gershonites pitched towards the west, and had under their care the curtains, hangings, and coverings of the Tabernacle and court, which they also bore on the journeys: whilst to the Kohathites, whose camp was south, were allotted the charge and carriage of the holy vessels. Thus was all distributed among these three families of Levites, and the burden of one was kept distinct from that of another.
In like manner, we may divide the truth under three heads: the solid foundation and framework, without which the Tabernacle itself could not be spread abroad, portray the great verities on which the whole of salvation rests, viz: the Person of Him who is God and Man, the eternal, unchanging, and unchangeable Son of God, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.
The varied colors, as well as costly materials, of which some of the beautiful draperies were fashioned, attracted and pleased the eye of the beholder, both by their brilliancy and tasteful arrangement. So does the eye of faith explore and delight in the display of God manifest in the flesh. The character and ways of Jesus, and His blessed work accomplished on the cross, reveal Him to us, and make Him manifest as the Son of God.
The holy vessels of different forms and adapted to different uses, but all to one end-that Israel might have access to God-represent the priestly offices of Christ, which depend on the glories of His person, and result from the perfection of His work.
In pursuing the subject, this subdivision will, in measure be retained. But, though prominence be given to one aspect or portion of truth, yet the Spirit of God would always have us contemplate the one undivided Christ. If His character be displayed, it is in order that He may be revealed. If His offices are more particularly before us, it is that we may " know HIM." The soul is not nourished by mere abstract statements of the character, or even of the work of the Lord. HE is the living bread: His flesh and blood must be eaten, as He says, " As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth ME, even he shall live by me."-John 6:5757As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57).
When Moses received directions from God respecting the Tabernacle, the order in which the vessels and parts were enumerated, was different from that in which they were subsequently made. Thus the Ark, the Shewbread table, and the Candlestick were first described to him; then the Curtains, Coverings, Vail, and Door; after that, the altar of Burnt-offering, and Boards, and Bars, of the Tabernacle. In the order of construction, the Curtains, Coverings, Boards, Bars, and Sockets-in fact the whole Tabernacle was first fashioned before the Vail and Door, or any of the vessels were made. The order followed in this exposition will be, first to consider the various Curtains and Hangings, and the Courts formed by them: and subsequently, the Boards, Bars, Pillars, and Sockets; first the Gershonite, and then the Merarite charge. In doing so, the Vail has been selected by way of commencement, because we have a distinct Scripture in the New Testament, directing us to its typical signification. " The Vail, that is to say, His flesh."-Heb. 10:2020By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Hebrews 10:20). And if we can, by means of this key, unlock some of the hidden treasures contained in this type, we shall be better able to arrive at the true interpretation of the other parts.