Summary: The Tabernacle Study Part 1
Build Me A Sanctuary!
by Rodney A. Fry - Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church
"Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them"
(Exod. 25:8 NIV)
There are many remarkable things about the tabernacle. To begin with, it was the very first place of worship ever built in honor of the Lord Jehovah. And it is most significant that God gave Moses detailed instructions for its building. It was not a construction born out of Moses’ imagination and originality.
Tonight we will concentrate on an overview of this unusual place of worship
I. The Designer.
A. After God had delivered Israel from their four hundred years of Egyptian slavery,
Moses had led them down to the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula.
He had moved, and the people had followed him, as the cloud of God’s glory had moved in the sky above them.
Finally, they came to majestic, awesome, Rocky Mount Sinai. While they were camped at the base of the mountain, God had given Moses the law, and along with it instructions for the building of the tabernacle.
The purpose of the tabernacle was to allow God to dwell among his people in order to meet their needs (Exod. 25:8-9).
Here we see God’s compassion for his people. They knew so little about him, for they had no Holy Scriptures as we do today.
God longed to identify himself with his people and to dwell among them.
God wants fellowship with those who place their faith in him.
B. It was God who wanted to dwell with the people. Never had they asked this of God-God sought them!
But because of the sinfulness of the people, God could not dwell in their midst in just any way. So he prescribed the way that this could be done. Throughout the Scriptures we can note the progress God made in the way he revealed himself to people.
1. He walked in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day and revealed himself to Adam and Eve.
2. He revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush.
3. When the Israelites had been delivered from Egypt, God revealed himself to them in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
4. After Moses had completed the tabernacle as God had instructed him, God appeared over it in the same cloud. "The cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels" (Exod. 40:38 NIV).
5. God later revealed himself in the temple built by Solomon, after the design of the tabernacle.
6. During the New Testament era, God dwelt among his people in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was the radiance of God’s glory among us-the express image of the Father in heaven. Then, after Jesus ascended to the Father, he sent the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer.
II. The design of this strange building.
A. As I have noted, God was careful to layout for Moses the exact design for the tabernacle.
Moses was not given free reign to experiment with some design of his own.
The tabernacle building itself was 45 feet long and about 15 feet wide. The back end of it and the two sides were constructed of boards, and the entrance had a curtain of fine linen in blue, purple, and scarlet. The building itself stood in a courtyard surrounded by a fence made of curtains of fine, pure white linen about 8 1/2 feet high, enclosing an area 175 feet long and 87 1/2 feet wide. Within the enclosure, or courtyard, there were two pieces of furniture. At one entrance to the courtyard there was the "brazen altar," an altar made of brass, upon which the sacrifice of a spotless lamb was burning continually. Between this altar and the tabernacle itself there was a laver, a washing basin, at which the priest washed his hands and feet before entering the Holy Place of the tabernacle.
B. Inside the tabernacle building were two rooms-a larger one and a smaller one.
The larger room was called the "Holy Place," and there were three pieces of furniture in that room. As one entered, at the right was the "table of shewbread." Straight ahead, in front of the curtain dividing the Holy Place from the smaller room, was a golden altar of incense. On the left side of the room were the golden, seven-branched candelabra, the flames of which were kept burning continually.
Next came the smaller room called the "Holy of Holies," the most sacred and awesome part of the tabernacle. There was one piece of furniture inside that room, the Ark of the Covenant. This chest like object contained the two tables of stone upon which the Ten Commandments were inscribed, a pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod, which represented the God-ordained priesthood among the people. Incidentally, no one could enter this room except the high priest, and he could do so only once a year-on the Day of Atonement, when he brought the sacrificial blood in to make atonement for his sins and the sins of the people.