Things Worthy of Not in Connection With the Tabernacle and Its Service

 •  12 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Things worthy of note in connection with the tabernacle and its service.
A good deal of discussion has occurred 'over the meaning of the word, ATONEMENT; a word only to be found in the Old Testament, though the thought connected with the word is amply set forth in the New Testament. Indeed, it can be truly said that the word only occurs in the Old Testament, but not the thing itself. That could not be known in connection with Jewish sacrifices, which could never put away sin. Atonement itself is only found in the New Testament, for it is only known in the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God on Calvary's cross.
A great deal of unhappy modernistic capital has been made out of the meaning of the English word, AT-ONE-MENT, treating it as no more than two parties coming to an agreement. If the English word were the exact translation of the Hebrew word employed, then the meaning of the English word-ATONEMENT-would be significant. As a matter of fact, this not being the case, we must fix our attention on the meaning of the Hebrew word translated atonement in our Bible. The Hebrew word employed is Kaphar, which means to cover. It is only by the death of Christ, by His atoning blood, that sin is covered, and its consequences averted. So we read, " Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered " (Hebrew, Kasah) (Psa. 32:11<<A Psalm of David, Maschil.>> Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psalm 32:1)). " Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people, Thou hast covered (Hebrew Kasah) all their sin " (Psa. 85. 2). Kaphar and Kasah both mean to cover. " It is the blood that maketh an atonement [Hebrew kaphar] for the soul " (Lev. 17. 11). How beautifully the New Testament answers to all this, " The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin " (1 John 1:77But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)).
Our first parents were covered by coats of skins, procured by the death of innocent victims, by blood-shedding, typical of redemption. Noah's Ark was covered by pitch within and without, so that it passed safely through the waters of judgment. The children of Israel were covered in their tents when Balaam looked upon them; and, bidden to curse, could only..& bless, typical of the result of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, „‘ when the believer is looked upon as blessed of God, which 1. blessing is forever his. God can be, and is righteous, in blessing the believing sinner. Let nothing weaken our conception of the grand atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ..
Wherever the word " brass " is used in Scripture it should be rendered copper, as already noted. Copper is a pure metal and is fire-resisting in the highest degree among the metal'
The following table gives the degree of heat that the following metals will stand, beyond which they would melt:-
Brass .. 1650° Fahrenheit
Silver .. 1761°
Gold .. 1946°
Copper .. .. 1982°
The word, " Candlestick " (Ex. 25:3131And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. (Exodus 25:31)) should be correctly translated Lampstand. The context shows this, for it was fed with oil. But, as already stated, we will adhere to the word employed in our Bible to save confusion.
It must be carefully noted that not only are there many types in connection with the Tabernacle, but there are also contrasts. This must be so seeing the Antitype is none less than the Son of God, and what type can adequately set Him forth in all His glorious fullness, or the wonderful results that flow from His death?
Let one instance here suffice. In the Tabernacle none but a priest could enter the Holy Place, and none but the High Priest could enter into the Holiest of All, and that but once a year.
In Christianity every believing sinner is a priest, and has liberty to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus at all times, that is to be consciously in God's presence. Not one person once a year, but all believers at all times. How great is the contrast!
" The veil is rent, our souls draw near
Unto a throne of grace;
The merits of the Lord appear,
They fill the holy place."
There was an ascending scale in connection with the Tabernacle. The metals used were:-
In the Court .... brass and silver
In the Holy Place.. silver and gold
In the Holiest of All .. pure gold alone
In the Court the ordinary person could come. In the Holy Place the priests only.
In the Holiest of All the High Priest alone.
What there was Not in the Tabernacle.
We can learn a good deal from the silence as well as the speech of Scripture, by its omissions as well as by what it states.
As we enter the Tabernacle we notice there is no lock or bolt on the entrance. God would signify that He is ready at all times for the approach of the sinner.
There were no cherubims, symbolizing judgment, worked in the Gate of the Court, nor on the Door of the Tent, whilst cherubims were worked on the Vail separating the Holy Place from the Holiest of All.
God would thus signify His perfect grace in meeting the needy sinner.
There were no steps to the Altar.
"Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine Altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon " (Ex. 20:2626Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon. (Exodus 20:26)). God would thus teach us that no preparation on our side will help us to come into His presence, that turning over a new leaf, dropping sinful habits, becoming religious, doing the best we can, is not the way of approach. The sacrificial death of Christ alone and fully suffices. " By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2.: 8, 9). No steps to the Altar.
There was no measurement for the Brazen Laver.
The Laver filled with water, typical of the cleansing quality of the word of God, sets forth the holiness that befits those, who have to do with God, and there is no limit to that. " Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect " (Matt. 5:4848Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)).
There was no extinguisher provided for the Golden Candlestick. God would ever give to His people the light they need. Christ is our light. We are the children of light. There is no withdrawal of that at any time.
There was no window provided for the Tabernacle.
No light of nature was needed where God Himself provided the light. What a lesson for the believer to learn! All the fullness of the Godhead resides in a blessed Man risen and exalted, even in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are complete in Him, and need no light of nature. We have all spiritual knowledge communicated to us in the Holy Scriptures, and we have an infallible Teacher, the Holy Spirit of God.
There was no seat provided for the priests, for their work was ineffectual, only shadows and types, wonderful as they were, so we read, " Every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man [the Lord Jesus Christ], after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God " (Heb. 10. 11, 12). Thus we have the contrast we spoke of, in this case between the incomplete work of the priests, and the completed work of Christ.
The following measurement and weights may be useful to the reader:-
1 cubit.. .. 1 foot, 9.888 inches
1 shekel (silver).. 2s. 3.37d. (at 5s. an ounce)
1 talent of silver £342 3s. 9d.
1 talent of gold.. £5,475
We must remember the purchasing power of money has fluctuated greatly at various times; in olden times it was far greater than at the present time.
There were two Arks
Deut. 10:1-51At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. 2And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. 3And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. 4And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. 5And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the Lord commanded me. (Deuteronomy 10:1‑5) relates how the Lord instructed Moses to make an Ark of Shittim wood, and bring it with two Tables of stone up to the Holy Mount, when he went the second time into God's presence, just after the terrible incident of the idolatry of the Golden Calf. So Moses made an Ark of shittim wood, and placed the two Tables of stone in it, thus showing that the law pure and simple was never brought into the midst of Israel, but that God had Christ, and the way of blessing in sovereign grace in the atoning death of Christ ever before Him, even for the sinner, who had broken the law.
When God called Moses the first time up to the Holy Mount with all its accompanying signs and sounds, the whole Mount shaking, the thunders and lightnings, the thick cloud covering the Mount, the trumpet loud sounding and waxing louder and louder, we are told that Moses said, " I exceedingly fear and quake " (Heb. 12:2121And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) (Hebrews 12:21)). And what was the first commandment of the ten? We read, " Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me " (Ex. 20:3-53Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (Exodus 20:3‑5)).
As Moses came down the Mount with the two naked Tables of stone in his hands, he heard the voice of singing. When he got within sight of the camp, it was to see the golden calf, and the people stripped naked, according to the horrible idolatrous custom of heathen lands dancing before it.
The very first commandment was thus most grievously broken. The anger of Moses waxed hot, and he cast the Tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the Mount. What an ordeal for Moses! He could well realize that to bring the naked Tables of the law into the camp would have meant the destruction of the whole camp, for all were involved from Aaron downwards in this terrible idolatry.
What was he to do? He would have to think rapidly and decisively. The Tables of stone had been furnished by God Himself, and the Ten Commandments were written by His own fingers. It was a tremendous thing to smash them on the mountain side. It showed the spiritual intuition and great moral courage of this wonderful servant of God.
So now we see the provision of God in calling Moses to bring an Ark of Shittim wood in order that the naked law might not be carried into the camp. The two Tables, the Tables of the Testimony, were put inside the Ark, prefiguring that there would come One, who would perfectly keep the law, hide it in His heart, and that God would have One upon whom He could call to effect blessing for those, who broke the law, and were repentant.
Not only were the Ten Commandments communicated to Moses, but at the same time all the instructions as to the Tabernacle and the Sacrifices were given. This shows that the law pure and simple was never given to man, but that with it the way was pointed out by shadows, types and prophecies, how sinful men could approach God through the atoning sacrifice of our Lord.
The Ark of Shittim wood that Moses made was only temporary, for we read in Ex. 37 how the wise-hearted Bezaleel made an Ark of Shittim wood, covering it with " pure gold," and in this Ark the Tables of Testimony were eventually placed. The interval between Moses receiving the law, and the setting up of the Tabernacle was thus mercifully bridged.
The Eastward Position
The Tabernacle was always pitched towards the east, so that the Mercy Seat should face in that direction. The Gate of the Court (Ex. 27:13, 1413And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits. 14The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. (Exodus 27:13‑14)) was eastwards. The blood of the Sin offering was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat eastward (Lev. 16:1414And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. (Leviticus 16:14)). What was the reason for this? As the sun arises in the east, so the Tabernacle was pitched in that direction, typical of the time when " The Sun of righteousness [even our Lord Jesus Christ] shall arise with healing in His wings" (Mal. 4:22But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)), bringing peace and security, and God's " new order " to this troubled world. We read, " The children of Israel set forward... and they journeyed... toward the sun-rising" (Num. 21:10, 1110And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in Oboth. 11And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched at Ije-abarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrising. (Numbers 21:10‑11)). " The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day " (Prov. 4:1818But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18)).
The ritualist, who affects the eastward position, only proclaims by his slavish and unscriptural adherence to the "shadow," that he knows little or nothing of the glorious Substance, the Fulfiller of these types, our Lord and Savior. Ritualism, moral deadness, spiritual darkness, superstition, bigotry, and persecution of what is true and real, often go together. It is to be feared that the Eastward Position, as practiced by the ritualist, is one of the means by which an arrogant priesthood seeks to enslave the laity.
Divine Guidance
" The LORD your God... went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day (Deut. 1:3333Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day. (Deuteronomy 1:33)). When Moses completed the rearing of the Tabernacle, a cloud covered the Tent of the Congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Provision was thus made for Divine guidance for the people in their journey. When the cloud was stationary the people rested; when it moved, they moved and followed the direction it took. If the journey were by night, the fire was their sufficient guide " He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night " (Psa. 105:3939He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night. (Psalm 105:39)).
Thus God would teach us the lesson of dependence, and how we should ever seek His-guidance. We are not sufficient of ourselves to map out our own paths, whether as individuals, or in relation to the Church of God. How full of thoughtful care are all God's ways. We may well trust Him to do far better for us than we can do for ourselves.