The Tabernacle its construction and furnishings”, Part 40
The Construction or Erecting of the Tabernacle
This is an illustration of the Tabernacle as it is commonly perceived by the majority of “Bible Students”
(as well as many who are not) it meets all the spiritual requirements for which it was designated to
depict, however where it falls short is in its practical or functional application as (a) tabernacle or “tent”
if you will. Now understand that we are not here referring to the structure itself, “THE Tabernacle” (keep
in mind what the Scriptures define as THE Tabernacle with all its various components, boards, pillars,
sockets and curtains) this structure is constructionally sound, even as it was originally designed and
conceived by the Master Architect himself.
However where this particular design or conception of the tabernacle is found deficient is in regards to
that part of it construction (or assembly) which is not specifically elaborated upon in the Scriptures
therefore being left to the discretion of men to determine. What we are speaking of here is in regards to
the “tent” portion of its construction, not the Goat’ Skin Curtains mind you which as we had pointed
out in our previous post were considered the “tent OVER the Tabernacle” no what we are referring to
are the “COVERINGS for the tent” how precisely were these “coverings” erected over the tabernacle.
The practical or functional flaw in the design of this first illustration of the Tabernacle should appear to
be self evident even to those not familiar with basic construction principles that being there is no
support for the roof, all four coverings are merely laid upon the three sided structure totally reliant upon
it alone for support.
In Brother Frey’s “Notes on the Tabernacle” he states the following,
“There is nothing in the Scriptures that specially says that the Tabernacle might have had a ridge-pole!
Some accept this alone as proof sufficient that there was none and that therefore the two outer most
coverings, the seals’ skins and the rams’ skins dyed red were simply draped over the structure like a pall
over a coffin. Those favoring this thought when confronted with the fact that rain water settling upon the
roof might cause these heavy curtains to “belly-in” with the possibility of causing the whole tabernacle to
fall under this added weight, inform us that there just wasn’t any rain falling in the desert; or at least not
a sufficient amount to cause such a problem, they surmise that “the cloud” hovering over the Tabernacle
protected it against any such inclemency’s of weather.” (Page 67)
Now although it is true that the average rainfall where the children of Israel spent the majority of their
time (the “Wilderness of Zin” Num 20:1 located in the northern part of the Sini Peninsula) is presently
stated as receiving less than ten inches of rainfall per year, this does not mean that it has always been
thus, for as you recall when the children of Israel departed Egypt they brought with them all their herds
of cattle, sheep and goats, therefore we must assume that there was sufficient rainfall enough to
produce feed for all these animals, and this too for almost forty years.
Here we have an illustration of the tabernacle as it is depicted in the front of “Tabernacle
Shadows”, however its presence there does not necessarily imply that the Pastor endorsed such
a design, but equally so its presence there may also suggest the thought that he did not reject it
either, the truth however is most likely that at the time of printing it was merely found to be a
suitable illustration. (Somewhat similar to the newest Tabernacle booklet put out by the associated
Bible Students of Central Ohio, in regards to this booklet it will be noted that on the cover the illustration
of the tabernacle depicts the five entrance posts upon which the First Vail hung as being located
“outside” of the curtain instead of being hidden “inside” behind it, as is proper, this we believe was
merely an oversight which does not reflect the true facts as we understand them in regards to the
This particular design satisfies both the spiritual as well as the practical aspects of a tabernacle.
However some may argue that the posts used to support the coverings over the tabernacle interfere with
the tabernacle picture; as all the other post and pillars used in the tabernacle were reflective of some
particular point in the whole tabernacle picture these too must of needs then be representative of
something too. To this we say, not so! Why is this? Because these are merely to be considered as the
typical “accessories” naturally used to erect the “coverings”, accessories typically used in any tent like
structure and therefore not of any specific mention.
Take for example if I say to you, ‘Go to a sporting store and purchase a tent for our camping trip’ would
you return with merely the canvass covering? Heavens No! When you went to purchase your tent you
naturally assumed that all the necessary equipment needed to erect the tent, the poles, the ropes, pins
and of course the canvass covering itself came with your purchase.
All of Israel lived in tents thus they were well familiar with all the essential items necessary to erecting a
tent and thus there was no need for the LORD to go into the details as to how precisely and with what
components the coverings over the tabernacle should be erected.
Here too is another popular view of the “coverings” as they might have been placed over the Tabernacle.
Now although this particular design requires more posts to support it the same principles apply here as
they did in the previous design regardless of the number of posts used to support the coverings, they
still have nothing to do with the tabernacle picture itself, they are merely accessories used in conjunction
with the tent covering.
“Although there is no mention in the Scriptures neither of a ridge-pole nor of supports for the
covering over the tabernacle; nevertheless the name “tent” given to the upper part of the edifice
is itself conclusive of this form, and then these accessories (poles, cords and pins) would of
necessity follow.” (McClintock & Strong Cyclopedia Volume 10 Page 134)
Personally I do not see any legitimate reasons preventing the use of poles in support of a covering tent
over the Tabernacle, first of all as was just pointed out by McClintock & Strong the idea of the various
accessories that accompany the construction of a tent is a given whether mentioned or not. Ask yourself
how many tents have you ever seen which do not require some sort of support system to be upheld? As
was implied did not all the other tents erected by the Israelites encamped about the tabernacle employ
poles, cords and pins? Does the mere absence of any mention of these items in reference to the children
of Israel when they pitched their tents imply that their tents had no such items?
Precisely how and in what way the two final two coverings over the tabernacle were erected is not the
important thing; the important thing is that they do cover the tabernacle. It should likewise be
mentioned that nothing is said nor implied in the Scriptures which would lead us to believe that
the “Goats’ Skin Curtains” were to be completely concealed by the final two coverings in the
same manner as the Goats’ Skin Curtains concealed the linen curtains.
The goat skin curtain as you recall represents the “Sin Offering” both that of our Lord’s share
(pictured by the front six curtains) and that of the Church’s share (pictured by the rear five curtains)
these together are joined by “copper clasps” representative of human perfection, the actual
perfection of our Lord when in the flesh and the reckoned or imputed perfection of the Church. In this
justified human flesh, which we have consecrated to God’s service we are to “fill up that which remains
of the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body which is the Church.” (Col 1:24)
As the Apostle Paul so states it,
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of
God, and not from ourselves; [we are] pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet
not unto despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed; always bearing
about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body.
For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may
be manifested (“rendered apparent”) in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor 4:7-11)
How then might we ask shall this manifestation of Christ in us be rendered apparent if it be
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