To the ordinary Bible reader, when it comes to the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and all of the offerings, such effort can seem tedious and not worth the effort. In fact, many Christians who are Bible lovers, if asked, would have to confess that when it comes to reading Exodus, Numbers and Leviticus which details the precise measurements, construction of the tabernacle and a list of all the intricate instructions for the offerings and feasts...they tend to skip over these areas deeming them not that important for today.
As one of those who quickly skimmed through these chapters, I soon discovered my error. After being introduced to a book by Rev. Alex W. Ness called Pattern for Living, studying and meditating on these chapters of the Bible became my mission. They are full of deep, spiritual teachings regarding Jesus Christ. They also provide wise counsel for the way we are to live our daily lives.
God desired a people to live on a high spiritual level with Him. He chose Israel to fashion her into a "Holy nation." Israel was redeemed by blood and became God's own. God planned the tabernacle in the wilderness, then the temple to be His dwelling place among His people. Jesus, however, is the substance of all Old Testament types and shadows. Mankind was created to be a dwelling place for God. To clearly grasp and understand God's purpose for our lives, a study of the Tabernacle is crucial.
Why the wilderness?
The tabernacle was built to be portable. It was for a people on the move, like pilgrims in the desert. Israel had been delivered from the idolatry and bondage of Egypt. In the wilderness they were totally dependent upon God for protection, provision and guidance. The temporary, movable tabernacle was a reminder to the people that God was in their midst. Just as the Ark of the Covenant was to be progressively moved, God, likewise, would move from the Tabernacle to the Temple, ultimately taking up residence in the "perfect man" who is being built up for "an habitation of God," (Ephesians 2:20).
In the present age of "grace" the redeemed have been delivered from darkness and the bondage to sin and have been translated into the light and freedom of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Christians exist in the "wilderness" of this world living for, worshiping and loving Christ while awaiting entrance into His everlasting Kingdom.
God is a God of detail
The construction of the tabernacle, down to the minutest detail, was conceived in the mind of God and conveyed to Moses. Moses carried out God's divine plan to the letter. When studying and meditating on the construction of the tabernacle, we can only be in awe of God; a God of order who leaves nothing to chance. When reading the specifications given by God, we can not help but be impressed with the attention given to what may appear to be insignificant details. For instance, Jesus is represented in the loops, pins, stakes and cords of the tabernacle. God even chose the craftsmen to make all of the parts and utensils. Bezaleel and Aholiab were naturally and supernaturally equipped to do their jobs.
"When God sought to redeem men from sin and build for Himself a spiritual house to fill with His own presence and glory, He knew where to find His two workers, namely, the other two of the Blessed Trinity. His beloved Son, our divine Bezeleel, and the Holy Spirit, our divine Aholiab, labor together to complete the temple not made with hands, the church, God's own habitation by Christ and through the Spirit." (All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible by Lockyer, 1973)
Two chapters of the Bible tell about the creation of the world. More than fifty chapters are devoted to the Tabernacle in the Old and New Testaments. God took six days to create the world, yet He spent forty days with Moses guiding and directing him on how to build the tabernacle. This could strongly indicate that the work of "Grace" is more glorious to God than the work of Creation. Three times in the Book of Exodus we are given a complete account of all the parts of the Tabernacle.
Below are some specific revelations found in the study of the Tabernacle:
* We see God, His Son, the Holy Spirit, the individual believer and the church clearly at work in the Tabernacle bringing about the fulfillment of God's ultimate dwelling place as revealed to John on Patmos.
* We see God coming to man seeking a dwelling place and fellowship, and man responding readily by willingly giving all he had.
* We see God in His holiness, unable to fellowship with sinful man, so Jesus Christ came as the God-man to shed His blood and apply His blood of propitiation on the Mercy Seat. The story of redemption is illustrated beautifully throughout the Tabernacle studies.
* The Veil separating God and man was ultimately removed and a place of prayer, intercession, fellowship and acceptance was provided.
* The light that would remove darkness and reveal the beauty of prayerful fellowship at the Altar, and food and communion at the Table, was a provision of God. The covering beauty and security of those within could only be grasped and enjoyed by those who had attended to His provision at the Brazen Altar and Laver. It is all because of Him. It is all from God to man.
* The doctrines of Redemption, Substitution, Reconciliation, Atonement, Diety and Humanity of Jesus Christ, effective prayer, fellowship with God and one another at the Lord's Table, positional and practical Sanctification, righteousness of Christ, imputed righteousness of believers, the Priesthood of Christ and of His saints, the doctrine of Holiness and Perfection, of God and man, the Pattern and ultimate intention of God, is all to be found in the study of the Tabernacle. Pattern for Living by Rev. Alex W. Ness, 1979
An intense study of the tabernacle provides the real meaning and purpose of life. It would, therefore, behoove every person that has answered the call of God on their lives to work together in building according to the pattern given in God's Word. Jesus Christ is the pattern Son. All believers are predestined to come into full stature of that Son.