The Tabernacle, its Spiritual Significance, Part 24
“And let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show
you, that is the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall
make it.” (NKJ Exod 25:8-9)
When Moses was up in Mount Sinai God showed him the “pattern” (the plan, the layout, the design) of
the Tabernacle and all the instruments that were to be used within it (Exodus Chapters 24–31) and he
was instructed to make the Tabernacle and the instruments (furnishings and etc.) exactly as God
showed him (not to deviate in any way from this pattern). This same exactness applied to all the various
services and ceremonies connected to the tabernacle as well. Every jot and tittle had to be exactly
performed in the type because it illustrated something better and more important to come afterward;
specifically it represented the call of the church, “the true tabernacle” which the Lord in “due time”
would erect himself, not man.
The call of the typical Levitical Priesthood with its various services and ceremonies as well as the typical
tabernacle structure itself was to serve as an “example and shadow of the heavenly things” to
come (Heb 8:5), thus the importance that everything connected with it conform strictly in accordance to
the pattern which was given Moses by the Lord.
“Many of the old Jewish commentators supposed, that Moses was shown by God a real material
structure, which actually existed in the heavens, far grander than its earthly copy, after which he was to
have the tabernacle fashioned. Some recent Christian writers, without going these lengths, suggest that
"an actual picture or model of the earthly tabernacle and its furniture was shown to him". But
the words of the text, as well as those of Acts 7:44, and Hebrews 8:5, are sufficiently justified, if we
take a view less material than either of these - i.e., if we suppose Moses to have had impressed on his
mind, in vision, the exact appearance of the tabernacle and its adjuncts, in such sort that he could both
fully understand, and also, when necessary, supplement, the verbal descriptions subsequently given to
him. It is unnecessary to inquire how the impression was produced. God who in vision communicated to
Ezekiel the entire plan of that magnificent temple which he describes in Chapters 40-42, could certainly
have made known to Moses, in the same way, the far simpler structure of the primitive Tabernacle.”
With the foregoing we are in general agreement. The “true tabernacle” (“tes skekes tes alethines” —the
tabernacle the true one) is not some material structure to be found in heaven, the true tabernacle is
the Church, the “body of Christ” complete, perfected, the fulfilled Tabernacle, the real or
intended one, not the material structure which was built here on earth by human hands, but the one
the Lord is building.
“… Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect
tabernacle not made with hands that is not of this creation.” Heb 9:11
Nevertheless in respects to the before mentioned we have no difficulty in accepting the idea that Moses
may have seen (perceived) “an actual visual model of the earthly tabernacle and its furniture” as
stated this could have been easily impressed upon his mind in visions not so much different from those
which were received by the prophet Ezekiel.
“We have it upon the highest authority, that, not only in its grand outlines, but in all minutest
details, everything was to be made "after the pattern" which God showed to Moses on the
mount. (Exod 25:9) And so we also read in Acts 7:44, and Heb 8:5; 9:23, teaching us, that Moses
was shown by God an actual pattern or model of all that he was to make in and for the sanctuary.
This can convey only one meaning. It taught far more than the general truth that the only means of
approach to God is that which is indicated in the tabernacle. For, God showed Moses every detail to
indicate that every detail had its special meaning, and hence could not be altered in any, even
the minutest, particular, without destroying that meaning, and losing that significance which
alone made it of importance.
This is important to remember as we continue with our study.
Nothing here was intended as a mere ornament or ceremony, all was symbol and type. As symbol, it
indicated a present truth; as type, it pointed forward (a prophecy by deed) to future spiritual realities,
while, at the same time, it already conveyed to the worshipper the first fruits, and the earnest of their
final accomplishment in "the fullness of time."
We repeat, everything here had a spiritual meaning - the materials of which the ark, the dresses
of the priesthood, and all else were made; colors, measurements (i.e. Dimensions), numbers,
vessels, dresses, services, and the priesthood itself - all proclaimed the same spiritual truth, and
pointed forward to the same spiritual reality, viz., God in Christ in the midst of His Church.” (The
Bible History, Old Testament, Page 151)
Many students of the Tabernacle make it their goal to study the various services and ceremonies
connected with the tabernacle to see just how and in which way these typical events correspond
antitypical, but at the same time they fail to understand how the very design and layout of this
structure points out many of those very same truths.
“…Many Christians, similarly without a wish to infract the divine law are disposed to take too great
liberties and to introduce too large a degree of their own interpretations and ideas into divine word—
without sufficient care to hold exactly to the instructions of the word as given by the Lord. This is
always a mistake; the only wise and proper course for any is to take heed particularly to the Lord’s Word
and to allow themselves little, if any liberty, beyond the very letter of that Word. The lesson to Spiritual
Israelites here is—“See thou make all things after the pattern I show thee in the Holy Mount.” If
we need divine instruction at all on the subject we need to follow these instructions carefully. We cannot
improve upon them. Any alteration means injury to us.” (Z.’07-204; R.4022)
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