Summary: #10 in the series on the Tabernacle in the Wilderness
#10 Building a Proper House
The Framework of the Tabernacle
By Pastor Jim May
Exodus 26:15 - And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up.
Tonight, before we enter in beyond the first veil, or door, into the Holy Place, I want us to take a close look at how the Tabernacle was built. Before any rooms could be formed and before any curtains or coverings could be put into place, there had to be something that would support the whole thing. The framework that we will look at now was that support. It had to be strong to withstand the storms in the desert. It had to have a firm foundation so that it would not sink or fall in the sands. And most of all, everything about it had to continue with the overall theme of the Tabernacle in pointing us to the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we examine how the framework was designed and constructed, according the detailed plans that God gave to Moses, you will easily see what each part means and what its intended purpose was. The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies were both contained in a building, which led to the Outer Court. In the remainder of our series we will be examining the furniture and work that went on inside of these rooms in the Tabernacle building. But before we go there, it will help us to know what supports it all and what surrounds it all, allowing us to have the privilege of entering there when the time comes.
The Tabernacle building consisted of a framework of 48 boards overlaid with GOLD. These 48 boards stood in 96 sockets of silver and were braced by five bars on each of its three closed sides. At the entrance of open side of the Tabernacle there was a hanging veil or curtain that was called "the Door of the Tabernacle."
The Door was made of fine linen and was upheld by 5 pillars. This Door gave access to the Holy Place. At the end of the Holy Place there was another hanging curtain. This was the Veil, which was upheld by four pillars and guarded the entrance to the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies.
This curtain before the Holy of Holies is often referred to as the "second veil." Over this whole structure there were other curtains and coverings, which were the ceiling and roof of the Tabernacle that we learned about in our last lesson.
Boards For The Tabernacle made of Shittim wood were placed into position Standing Up.
The fact that these boards were made of shittim wood continues to symbolize to us of the incorruptible nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is referred to as "THE BRANCH," who was cut off, or cut down, from in the land of the living. Because this wood would be shaped into boards, it had to be cut off, or cut down from the living trees in the forest. Jesus Christ is that root out of dry ground that was cut off to become God’s Tabernacle and, in turn, make us vessels and tabernacles as well!
The incorruptible wood of the shittim tree also represents to us the sinless nature of Jesus. Though he was a man, he was also the only man untainted by sin. When He became flesh He tabernacled, or dwelt in a human body, or “temporary tent”, a “temporary home”, among us! Jesus never committed one single sin, nor did the Father allow Him to see corruption in the grave.
When we think about what this shittim wood would mean to us as the Church, the boards symbolize our redeemed nature. When God found us, we were twisted, knotted, and rough just like this wood would have been growing in the desert country where water was scarce and it had to fight to survive.
Through Jesus we are taken through much the same process that these boards experienced. The sinner is cut off from the former old life of sin in the world. He begins a process of sanctification where he will be shaped into something useful for the Kingdom of God, made into BOARDS (stones) that fit together into ONE TABERNACLE (building) with the Lord, and together with Him, and through Him, we become the habitation of God by the Spirit!
1 Peter 2:5, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
Why was Moses instructed to stand the boards upright to form the walls. Why not allow them to be nailed to a frame like we build homes and buildings today?
Nevertheless, God commanded that each board was to be standing up or be upright before the Lord.