Let’s take now the book of Exodus, beginning tonight with chapter 24.
God has delivered the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt. He’s brought them by a miracle through the Red Sea, in which He also drowned the Egyptian army. He has brought them, now, in the wilderness unto the place of mount Sinai where He is going to establish His covenant with them.
As they come to mount Sinai, Moses ascended up into the mount, and there he talked with God, and God said, “Now go down and remind them how I delivered them out of Egypt, and destroyed their enemies, and how I brought them on eagles’ wings to Myself, that they might be a special treasure unto Me above all nations: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation unto the Lord, if they will obey My commands and keep My covenant.
Moses came down and he said to the people, “God has brought you to this place that you might be a special treasure to Him above every nation in the world, that you might be a kingdom of priests, that you might be a holy nation. He asks that you obey His voice, and keep His covenant;” and they said, “We’ll do everything God says.” Moses came back and said, “God, they said they’ll do everything you say.” So God then gave to Moses the covenant, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and then He went on and expanded the judgments.
These chapters, 20 through 23, are known as the book of the covenant. This is the law. This is the law that David referred to in Psalm 1 when he said, “A man meditates in the law of God day and night;” Exodus 20 through 23. Now as we come into the twenty-fourth chapter,
He said to Moses, Come up to the LORD, you, and Aaron, and Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship from afar.
So God now invites Moses, Aaron, and the two older sons of Aaron who will soon be wiped out when they offer strange fire before God at the dedication of the tabernacle; along with the seventy elders: those men that were appointed by Moses to be the judges over the people. And they are invited to come on up into the mountain with the Lord and worship Him from afar.
And Moses alone shall come near the LORD; but they shall not come near; nor shall the people go up with him. So Moses came up and told the people all the words of the LORD, and the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD has said we will do.
So, Moses told them the things that are written in chapters 20 through 23: the law of the LORD and the judgments. And they said, “We’ll do them. All that the Lord said, we’ll keep that.”
Well, Moses wasn’t quite sure that they understood what they were getting into, and so Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. So he wrote them down in a book; and this is the first reference of the written record, the Bible in a written form. First things that were written, as far as having made mention that they were written down, was this covenant that God established with Moses. He wrote them,
And he rose up early in the morning, and he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. So each pillar was representative of one of the tribes. And then he sent young men of the children of Israel, for they did not yet have the Levitical priesthood, and they offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.
Now, a burnt offering was the offering of consecration, an offering of dedication of my life to God: “Lord, I just consecrated my life to you.” I would do that with a burnt offering; the idea of just being consumed for God, and my life being consumed for Him.
The peace offering was the offering of communion, or fellowship. With the peace offering, the meat was roasted, and you got a portion of it, God got a portion of it; and the idea was: you sit down now and you eat your portion, you sit down with God and you eat your portion, and you’re fellowshipping with God and becoming one with God through the eating at the common meal. So it was the communion offering, the peace offering.
The burnt offering was the offering of consecration. And, of course, that consecration was necessary before the real fellowship. That dedication of myself, my life to God, precedes the real, full fellowship with God. And so, they offered both burnt offerings of consecration, and peace offerings of fellowship.
Moses took half of the blood, and he put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. It was usually the custom to take the blood and sprinkle it on the altar. He kept half of the blood in basins. And then he took the book of the covenant, and he read in the hearing of the people.
So, he wrote it down in a book. Now he stands in front of the people, and he reads to them out of the book the covenant that God established. “If they will obey My voice, and keep My covenant…” This is it. This is what God commands. And so, he read it to them.
And they said, All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.
‘We’ll abide by it. We accept it. We acknowledge it. It’s good.’ And as you read this covenant, you find it is good. I don’t have anything to argue with. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” The statutes of the Lord are right. I read them and I say, “That’s right, that’s good. I can accept that. That’s the way I should live.” So they accepted it. They said, “We will be obedient, we’ll obey.”
And so Moses took the blood that he had placed in the basins; and he sprinkled it upon the people.
Probably upon the elders who represented each of the tribes. And it is felt that there were probably six elders from each tribe, and then the four: Moses, Aaron, and his two sons, comprising the four from the tribe of Levi. Six from each of the other tribes.
And he sprinkled the blood on the people. Now, this is then known as a blood covenant. In many cultures, they had the blood covenant, and they would keep it in different ways. Sometimes, men would enter into a blood covenant by killing a sacrifice, and both of them drinking of the blood of that sacrifice: becoming one. In others, they would draw blood from themselves, and they would drink each others’ blood, becoming a part of each other. It was thought to be the most sacred and binding covenant that you could make.
I understand that even today in the Mafia, they have blood covenants. They take and cut their wrists, and they mingle their blood by just rubbing their wrists together.
Moses, in establishing the blood covenant, did so by just sprinkling it upon the people. Of course, they were forbidden by God to drink blood. And so, he sprinkled it upon the people, and he said,
Behold, the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you according to all of these words.
So, ‘you are bound now.’ This was a very sacred rite. ‘You’re bound now.’ You declared your willingness to obey, and this is the blood of the covenant, and God has established it now.
So Moses went up also, with Aaron, and Nadab, and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel; and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in it’s clarity.
This crystal clear, bluish colored sapphire stone that was under the feet of God. Now, it is thought that when, in the Old Testament, it declares that they saw God, that they saw, in reality, a manifestation of God, and none other than Jesus Christ. He is the theophany of the Old Testament: God manifested. Theo-phanis, the manifestation of God. And Jesus is the theophany, the manifestation of God.
So, you read in John’s Gospel, chapter one, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has manifested Him.” The manifestation of God.
Now here, they saw Him, no doubt, in a form. His feet standing upon this paved work of Sapphire stone, as clear as the very heavens themselves. Ezekiel had a vision of God, the throne of God. Isaiah had a vision of God, the throne of God: talks about it in the sixth chapter, “In the year that Kind Uzziah died I saw the LORD, high and lifted up, His train did fill the temple.” John had a vision of God. He describes it in the fourth chapter of the book of Revelation: again, the throne of God. Ezekiel describes the throne of God, the cherubim about the throne, much as John describes in the book of Revelation.
And just an aside now: you get into Ezekiel and John, you’re getting into the point of prophecy. Today’s Santa Ana Register paper, on the front page, on the left hand side, one of the sub-headline stories is that this year, the major banks here in Orange County are going to make a concerted effort to convert you to the debit card. Already, they have installed, in all of the major department stores, and grocery stores, the computer terminals; and the cards that you already possess, Master Card and Visa and so forth, will be able to be used as debit cards. They’ve already begun it in the Lucky’s Market’s, and soon, the major department stores, and all these other stores will begin using the debit card, which is an automatic check writing card.
You give the card to the clerk, they run the magnetic tape, they run the little card though that magnetic tape. It immediately tells the clerk whether or not you have enough money in the bank. It doesn’t tell them how much you’ve got, it just says if you have enough to complete that purchase. And then when you get your bank statement, it’ll show where your money was withdrawn: what store, what time of day, and basically the things that were purchased: whether they be groceries, or whatever. And that’ll all appear on your bank statement; but you don’t have to write a check anymore.
One of the clerks at Lucky’s said they love this new card because when you give them a check, of course, if you’ve stood in line, you know how long when a person gets out their check book: — I hate it. I usually watch as I see people getting out check books, I get in another line. You know, you look at the amount of groceries, you size, you have to use a little strategy here, but you size up the amount of groceries in the basket, and then you watch to see if they’re pulling out cash, or pulling out a check book, and you decide which line is going to go the quickest, because if they pull out a check book, then they have to wait till they get the total, and then they slowly write out their check, and then they hand it over, and they turn the check over and they put this big stamp on it, and then they have to write your driver’s license number, and then they have to write the number of a major credit card, and all, on the thing, and then they look at your ID, and it just takes time. It’s time consuming.
With the debit card: ten seconds, you’re out of there. And the clerk doesn’t have to write all of the information, all of the numbers and all of that. In fact, they don’t even have to write anything. It just goes right into the computer, and it immediately withdraws that amount of money out of your account, just as though you had written a check, it just saves you writing the check. And this whole thing: today’s Santa Ana Register, this morning it came. It’s there on the front page, and all of the major banks: Lloyd’s, Wells Fargo, Interstate, Bank of America, Crocker; they’re all this year going to seek to convert you to go to this debit card, to quit using money, and to quit using the check book. Go the quick, simple, easy way with the debit card.
One step closer. For what does it mean? It means that the hardware is in place, or in this case, the software because it’s computer; the software is in place in the markets and in the department stores now to go to a checkless, cashless society. It is only a matter of time until money will be obsolete. It is only a matter of time until the government will tell you to turn in your money to your bank, and get it into an account, and numbered an account, because money will not be used any longer as a medium of exchange. It’s only a matter of time until they say, “Well, cards don’t work perfectly for identification, we’ll have to insert a computer chip in you wrist, or make some kind of a mark with laser, or whatever in your wrist and in your forehead; and they’ll do your buying and selling with that. It’s coming down, it’s in today’s paper, the headlines. It’s there in the paper today. One step closer.
Come mid-March, especially for the young people, we’re going to start a Monday night class again, going through the book of Revelation, updating the things that are happening around the world today as we look at the book of Revelation. We see God’s time clock is coming to the midnight hour. It’s about ready to start bonging; in fact, this is one of the first bongs, this article in the paper. It’s come into midnight. Exciting days. Exciting days.
So, they saw the vision of God,
But the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hands; so they saw God, and they ate and drank.
In other words, God didn’t destroy them. In His grace, having seen God, they weren’t destroyed. There was that fear that, to see God, would bring annihilation to the man. And so, they make note of the fact that even though they saw Him, He didn’t lay His hand on them. And so, they ate and they drank.
And that’s the idea of the peace offering. You sit down and you fellowship with God. You just become one in fellowship and in communion with God, eating together with Him.
Then the LORD said to Moses, Come up to Me on the mountain, and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law, and commandments which I have written; that you may teach them. So God said, “Come on up, and I’ll give you these tables, or tablets of stone, and the law I have written one them, that you might teach the people.” So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua; and Moses went up to the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, You wait here, until we come back to you; indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you; and if any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.
So, they were ordered to remain back here at the base of the mountain. Aaron and Hur were sort of placed in charge; and Hur is that other fellow who held up Moses’ arms, we really don’t know much about him; and any matter that needed judgment, they could come to Aaron or Hur.
And Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. And now the glory of the LORD rested on mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day, He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
So, Moses left the guys at the base. He and Joshua went on up the mountain, but not to the top; and they waited on this plateau upon the mountain for six days, and then on the seventh day, the LORD called to Moses to come on up, and thus, Moses was thirty-four days there on the top of the mountain with the LORD.
Now, the sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. So, as they looked up to the top of the mountain, it looked like the thing was just a raging fire up there, and Moses walked up on into the thing. So Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and went up into the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain for forty days, and for forty nights. That is a total of thirty-four at the top; six before the LORD said, “Come on up into the higher regions.”
God is a symbol of fire. We read in the Scriptures that, “Our God is a consuming fire.” Fire being used as a symbol of God is a very apt symbol for God because one thing that you can say about fire is that it is universal. We have a scientific word called “irremochosis,” which word means, “the slow burning fire of nature.” It is that slow burning fire whereby everything is gradually being consumed. You put a piece of steel out on the ground, and in a few weeks, you’ll see little spots of brown on it, and little pits. What is that? Irremochosis: the slow burning fire of nature beginning to erode, to rust, to destroy. So everything that we see in the natural universe, subject to this “irremochosis,” slow burning fire; universal.
What can you say about the presence of God? It’s universal. He’s everywhere.
Now, in the New Testament, God, in the figure of fire is that of a purifying fire. But whether God be a purifying fire or a consuming fire is relative to the material. When, in the history of the children of Israel, Hezekiah was king, and the Assyrian armies had come against Jerusalem, and Isaiah was counseling Hezekiah, “Don’t worry. You’re not going to have to lift a spear. God is going to destroy them.” And Sennacherib was sending his fellows up to the men on the wall, and saying, “Hey, don’t trust in your God. None of the other gods were able to deliver from us,” and threatening to wipe them out and all; one morning when the children of Israel woke up, and they looked over the wall unto the fields around Jerusalem, they saw that the army of the Assyrians was wiped out. A hundred and eighty-seven thousand of them were lying dead on the ground. The angel of the LORD had gone through the camp of Assyria that night, and just wiped them out.
And we are told by Isaiah, at that point, a fear gripped the hearts of the sinners that were in Zion, and they said, “Who among us can dwell in the midst of the devouring fire?” I mean, suddenly they became aware and conscious of what it is to dwell in the presence of God, and especially if there’s sin in your life. “Who among us can dwell in the midst of the devouring fire?” Great fear gripped the hearts of the sinners.
God is a fire, and that fire of God is either destroying you, or is transmitting you into permanency. You see, the same fire can destroy, or it can sort of transmit into the eternal in a sense; for that fire that destroys the log that is thrown into it will temper the steel to give it permanency. Same fire.
Now, the question is, what is the fire doing to me? I dwell in the presence of God, I can’t escape it; but what is it doing to me? And it all depends on what I am made of. Am I a child of God? Then that fire of God is purging out the dross and transmitting me into permanency, like gold tried in the fire; that fire of God, that fire of God’s Spirit, just burning out the dross of my life, tempering, bringing me into the eternal. Or, it is destroying me if my relationship with God is wrong.
Moses went up, and the top of the mountain was just like a consuming fire. “Our God is a consuming fire,” the Scripture says; but that all depends. It is consuming if, indeed, your life is out of synch with God.
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering; from everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.
In the Hebrew, literally, “everyone who is driven by his heart to give.” Those whose hearts are driven to give. ‘God has put that compulsion on my heart to give.’ They are the ones who are to give. If you don’t have that compulsion in your heart to give, then don’t. Your giving to God should never be grudgingly, it should never be under pressure, it should never be under constraint. It always has to come from a heart that’s been driven; a willing heart. Thus shall we give to God, for God loves a cheerful giver.
So, God is asking the people to bring Him an offering. It has to be willingly with his heart, or a man driven by his heart,
And this is the offering which you shall take from them; gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, fine linen thread, goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, badgers’ skins, and acacia wood, oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.
The place that brings the people into the consciousness of the presence of God. They are to build now a portable sanctuary. While they are in the wilderness, they’re going to be moving around from place to place, so they’ve got to be able to dismantle the thing, and move it on to the next place where God shows them to park.
Thus, it’s got to be able to be broken down and set up easily, and as we read further on, it is to be set in the middle of the camp, and all of the nations are parked around the sanctuary, the tabernacle, so that it is right in the center of the camp; and the beautiful symbolism is God at the heart of the nation. God at the center of the national life. Oh, how glorious the nation, how strong the nation, when God is at the center of the national life. And when they would pitch their tents, they would pitch them around the sanctuary so that the door of their tents would face towards the center, so when they get up in the morning, and walk out the door, they see the sanctuary in the midst of the camp. The reminder of God in the center of our nation.
Oh, would to God we could live in a place where God was at the center of the national life, where we could just honor God at the heart and the center of the nation itself rather than trying to rule God out of the nation, rule Him out of the public life, rule Him out of the classrooms; tragic, and sad, indeed.
Now, this offering that God has asked, as we discover, are the very materials out of which this sanctuary is to be built; and also, the garments made for the priest, the high priest; the stones that were to be upon the breastplate, representing the twelve tribes of Israel; plus the stones that were upon the ephod, or the shoulder pads of the priest. Again, where he went in before God, he represented and brought, before God, the twelve tribes. And so, as we go ahead and we start to look at this sanctuary that is to be built, we see that these are the basic materials to be used in it’s construction.
That they might make Me a sanctuary; that I might dwell among them, or, in the midst of them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all of it’s furnishings, just so, you shall make it.
And God emphasizes ‘to make it exactly according to the plan that I give.’ Why does He want it to be so precise and exacting? Because we are told in the New Testament that this tabernacle that they made in the wilderness was actually a model of heaven. So this is a model of what heaven, the throne of God, is like. And so, here is that earthly model of what is heavenly.
Now, as God begins to give him the instructions, God, first of all. instructs him for the furnishings that were to be inside of the tabernacle before He gives him the instructions of the tabernacle itself. And the very first thing that God instructs him in making is the ark of the covenant.
The ark is to be made out of acacia wood. It is a little box. A cubit is about eighteen inches. And so, it’s about forty-five inches long, and about two feet – three inches wide, and two feet – three inches height. So, if you can sort of picture it now in your mind, this little box made out of acacia wood; forty-five inches long, two feet – three inches wide, and that deep.
It was then to be overlaid with gold. They were to make four rings, and attach the rings to this little box, and they were to take rods out of acacia wood, overlay them with gold, and they were to insert them through the golden rings, so that the box could be picked up without touching it. These rods overlaid with gold, through these rings, would then be lifted up by the priest, and they would carry the box between them on these rods so that there was never anyone touching the golden box, which was known as the ark of the covenant.
And into this ark, they were to place the two tables of stone, upon which God was to inscribe the ten commandments. So, later on, they were also to put in a jar of manna and Aaron’s rod into this little box.
Now, on the top of the box they were to make a mercy seat of pure gold. This wasn’t wood overlaid with gold, this was to be out of pure gold; the lid, or the top of the box. And it was to be the same length, forty-five inches, and the same width, two feet – three inches. If it were an inch thick, [and it probably was], made of solid gold, it would weigh seven hundred and fifty pounds, and would have an estimated value to be of about three and a half million dollars; this gold, solid gold mercy seat that went over the top of the box.
But on the top of the gold mercy seat there were to be carved these cherubim. Now, when Ezekiel had a vision of the throne of God in chapter one and chapter ten as he describes this vision, he saw the cherubim around the throne of God. The mercy seat is a model of the throne of God in heaven, surrounded by the cherubim; and the cherubim were to be facing inward towards each other, towards the center of the box, and their wings extended and touching the box. They also were to be made of solid gold; but not molded, but rather hammered, or shaped by the hammer into the shape of the cherubim.
John, in the fourth chapter of the book of Revelation, when he is caught up into heaven and sees the throne of God, he also saw the cherubim about the throne of God – and he describes them.
And so, these cherubim that are carved here on the mercy seat, the lid of the ark of the covenant, are symbolic of, again, the presence of God, surrounded by the cherubim in heaven.
God declares concerning it, in verse 22,
There I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the testimony, of all of the things I will give to you in commandment to the children of Israel. ‘So, this is where I’ll meet with you. This is where I’ll speak to you, above this mercy seat.’
Now, only the high priest could go into this little room known as the holy of holies where this ark of the covenant is kept. Except when the time came to transport it; and then the priests would go in, and cover it over, and they would transport it. The people would never see it. They would just transport it without touching it, carrying it between them on the golden rods, or staves, that they had made.
This ark of the covenant had disappeared at the time of the Babylonian captivity. There are rumors, stories: Josephus says that Jeremiah hid it in a cave. A lot of speculation has arisen as to where the ark of the covenant might possibly be today. There are those in Jerusalem who believe that it is possible that it is buried somewhere around the temple mount; and in the future, there are hopes to do some exploration with scientific electronic type gear to see if they might be able to discover where it might be secreted, there on the temple mount.
Other stories place it over on mount Nebo, which is now in Jordan territory. A man, a few years ago, claimed to have found it over on mount Nebo. Krotzer was his name. I examined the pictures that he took of the box that he discovered in the cave, and the pictures of that box does not correlate with the description of the ark of the covenant here, and I have dismissed his claims of having discovered the ark of the covenant, as have most everybody else now. But, it would be exciting if someone would find that ark of the covenant today, extremely exciting.
Now, the second furnishing to go into the tabernacle was a little gold table made of acacia wood, covered with gold, that was to be thirty-six inches long, and eighteen inches wide, and twenty-seven inches tall. It was to be set upon a frame. On the top, the hand-breadth, they were to make this gold ornamentation, and it was to frame it around – no doubt for strength. Again, it was to have four rings made of gold. They are to be put on the corners of the four legs, and again, the poles were to be put through them so that they could carry this little table in the same manner with poles.
There were to be dishes in which the bread was to be brought in, and pans, and pitchers, and bowls, and they were to be made of pure gold.
And you shall set the shewbread on the table before Me always.
So, the twelve loaves of bread were set on this little table, and every Sabbath day, they would change these loaves of bread, and the priests there would eat the twelve loaves of bread, and put on the twelve new loaves.
Also, the third bit of furniture was this golden lamp stand of pure gold. It shall be of hammered work, that is, not molded. It’s shaft, and it’s branches, and it’s bowls of ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece.
So, it’s to be a one piece lamp stand coming up. And out of it, there would be three arms on each side, with cups on the top that would hold the oil. And this was to be the light in this tent, or tabernacle. We have up here a replica, not exact at all, but an idea of the seven golden candlesticks, or the lamp stand with the seven arms coming out; the one center, the three arms coming out each side. And it was thought to be about five feet tall.
Both the table of shewbread, and the lamp stand were captured, or taken, by Titus when he destroyed the temple in 70 AD, and were taken to Rome. On the Arch of Triumph in Rome for Titus, there in the forum, you can see the carving at the top of the Arch of Triumph in which they carved the triumphant entry of Titus into Rome, having destroyed Jerusalem; and they are carrying the lamp stand, and they are carrying the little table. Now, those are the only pictures, or drawings, that history affords us of what the lamp stand and the table may have actually looked like.
In 550 the table and the lampstand was returned to the Christian church in Jerusalem, but in the intervening invasion by the Muslims, it has disappeared; and whether or not it actually is intact today, is a question that is quite dubious. It’s been lost from history; and it could be that they, with so many other things, [works of art and all,] have been destroyed.
You go to Israel today and you’ll find that a lot of the statues, and all that were made by the Romans – all beheaded. The heads are all knocked off. They did not believe that you should have any graven image, and so, they knocked the heads off of all of the statues. You go to Caesarea, and there are some marvelously carved statues out of marble – headless. And they just desecrated the artworks and the land, really.
So, this golden lamp stand was the third bit of furniture.
Now, an interesting thing to me is that in these three bits of furniture, I see the trinity of the godhead. The mercy seat; the place of the presence of God. The table of shewbread; Jesus said, “I AM the bread of life,” thus, representing Jesus Christ. The lampstand; in the book of Revelation, in the description of the throne of God, as John talks about the throne of God, the cherubim about the throne and all, he said, “And there was the lamp stand, with the seven golden lamps, which are the Spirit of God.” So, the purpose of the lamp stand within the tabernacle was symbolic of the presence of the Holy Spirit; the presence of God within the holy of holies, the ark of the covenant, and the presence of Jesus Christ in the table of shewbread.
Now the tabernacle itself: first of all, he was given instructions on the first curtain. Ten of them were to be woven out of the fine linen thread, blue, purple, and scarlet; and they were to weave into it artistic designs of the cherubim. The length of each of them was to be twenty-eight cubits, or about forty-two feet, and they were to each be six feet wide. They were to be attached so that it became a covering forty-two feet wide, and sixty feet long because they made these loops in them, and they attached at the center. They were attached into two basic pieces, and then with looped, tied in the center. And they made the covering over the top of this framework that was to be built, which we will get the description in a moment.
Secondly, they were to make a curtain of goats’ hair. Now, they took the goats’ hair, actually, the fine little soft hair, and they would weave; and it was much like wool. So the second curtain was as wool, and it was to be thirty cubits wide, which would be forty-five feet, and six feet, each one of them. But there were to be eleven of these, and they were to be coupled together in five and in six, and again, attached in the middle, the fifty loops attaching them.
And then, the remnant of the remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, shall hang over the back of the tabernacle.
So, the tabernacle itself was forty feet long, and about fifteen feet wide, and fifteen feet tall. It was made of acacia wood that was fifteen feet long, and two feet three inches wide. This acacia wood had little, sort of, legs cut in the bottom, and they were set then in these silver sockets that were molded, and they would overlay the silver sockets, and then they were attached, and they formed the framework for the tabernacle.
The tent then came over the top, or the covering. First the linen covering, and then the woolen covering. And then over the top of that, and probably on a ridge pole, they were to drape the skins of the animals to make the whole thing water proof.
Inside there was to be another curtain to separate the holy place from the holy of holies. And the holy of holies was a little cubicle fifteen feet cubed. The outer room was thirty feet by fifteen feet, fifteen feet high; and as you would come into the tabernacle, coming under the curtain in the front, on your right hand side would be the table of shewbread, the little golden table three feet long, and a foot and a half wide, with the twelve loaves of bread. On your left hand side would be this golden lampstand, with the candles, or the lamp, burning in the seven little cups at the top.
Directly in front of you would be the curtain separating from the holy of holies. Inside of the holy of holies was this ark of the covenant, this little golden box, with this solid gold lid with the cherubim, and the two tables of stone within the box.
In front of the curtain, as you were in this outer, holy place, there was the altar of incense, where they would offer incense before the LORD, which was symbolic of the prayers of God’s people ascending up to the LORD.
Basically, that’s what the tabernacle was like as you would enter into it. However, you could not enter into it unless you were a priest; and you could not enter into the holy of holies unless you were the high priest, and then you could only enter in but once a year.
And so, if you can picture then, these boards overlaid with gold, the back wall, and the side wall, the front was covered with a curtain. And so, you’d go behind the curtain to come into the front; the whole thing over the top covered with a leather, scarlet, dyed scarlet, this leather covering over the whole thing, and then, over the top of that, the badger skins. They think the badger is a bad translation, and probably should be seal skins. And so, the tabernacle was water proof, but it was the place where the people would meet God.
And then, we will get later on, around the perimeter, there was a fence about seven feet high so that people wouldn’t just approach or come near it, it was protected by this fenced area that was around it.
But it was all portable. These things could be set up in a hurry. These acacia boards could be set in the silver sockets, and the poles, five poles run through them to hold them upright, and then, the putting on of the curtains over the top, and the carrying of the ark, and setting it in the middle; the whole thing was portable, and they could get up and move it in just a matter of hours, and could reset the thing in a matter of hours.
As you read it, from a technical standpoint, it’s a marvelous little building, extremely portable, and it did the job for which it was designed very well.
And so, we have the description of the tabernacle, and then God tells them how they’re to set the furniture in, at the end. As I said, the table of shewbread on the right. As you enter, the open end was always towards the east, table of shewbread on the right, lamp stand on the left, altar of incense in front of you, the curtain inside of that, the fifteen foot cubed walls of gold, and then the ark of covenant, the mercy seat of solid gold, the two cherubim. So, hope you get a picture of it.
Now, we’ll go to the furnishings on the outside, the altar of burnt offerings, and so forth, as we continue. And next week, I want to move like we did tonight. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail. I’m going to leave that for you to study it out. I’ll try and give you just sort of a description and a synopsis of it, and for that reason, we will go through chapter thirty-one for next week. In fact, we might even go through thirty-two. I doubt it, but we might. So, read on ahead, and we’ll go as far as we have time for next Sunday night.
Father, we pray that tonight, You will become the center of our lives, that we might see You, Lord, first thing in the morning. Lord, may we be conscious of Your presence. May Your glory fill our hearts and our lives. May we walk, Lord, in fellowship with You. Bless us, Father, as we seek to do Your will. Give us wisdom. Give us strength. Give us that capacity, Lord, to walk in the way that is acceptable and pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7034