Week 35: Exodus 25 & 26
Read Exodus 25:1-9
The Tabernacle is an elaborate tent that God calls Moses and the children of Israel to construct during their wilderness wanderings. This portable sanctuary is often referred to as the “Tent of Meeting” because it is the place where God meets with His people.
It has many furnishings, which include the Ark of the Covenant. This was kept in an inner space within the tent known as the Holy of Holies and was accessed only once a year.
But the most important truth that can be said about the Tabernacle is that every detail foreshadows Christ.
A key word in the chapter is pattern.
“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.” (Exodus 25:9, NKJV)
That pattern must be exact as it will point perfectly to Christ in every feature of the Tabernacle. From the color of the fabric of the curtains, purple, which represents royalty; and blue, which symbolizes a heavenly origin; to the gold that represents deity and the gifts of Kings; silver that represents redemption; bronze that represents judgment; etc. All of these point to Christ and His work.
We will also see Christ in the particular furniture in the tabernacle, like the Ark, the Table of the Showbread and the Gold Lampstand.
Read Exodus 25:10-22
This little box is mentioned first because it is the most important item in the Tabernacle,as we will soon see. What the flag is to many nations, this little box was to the people of Israel. It was used to lead them into battle. Numbers 10:35 But most importantly, on the top of this chest was a very holy plate of gold called the Mercy Seat.It was fashioned with two golden cherubim facing the seat with their wings covering it.
And God sits between them:
“The Lord reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved!” (Psalm 99:1, NKJV)
“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!” (Psalm 80:1, NKJV)
The Mercy Seat, is quite literally, God’s throne. Mercy Seat in Hebrew is kapporeth. It means “to cover” over sin. This shows us the most wonderful picture of Christ in His work of atonement. One commentator said,
“The only way for God and man to meet is the precise way and place upon the mercy seat. When a righteous God and a ruined sinner meet on a blood-sprinkled platform, all is well.”
Think of the worse thing you ever did. What is the thing you were most ashamed of? Is it possible to receive absolute forgiveness and pardon? Yes! The blood upon the mercy seat is the blood of Christ. It is potent and effectual to cleanse from all sin.
The bread to be placed upon this table is called “Showbread”or “Bread of the Presence.” The twelve loaves represented the twelve tribes of Israel. These loaves were a constant reminder that the tribes were in the presence of the Lord day in and day out and that they were to be presented to the Lord for His use. Romans 12:1 This table and its bread in the tabernacle is also a reminder that God fed His people with Manna from heaven.
See Christ here:
He is the bread of Life. John 6:35
Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread. We remember that we are not self-sufficient. God gives us everything we need for life. The table of showbread is memorial to these things that point to Christ. He is our provision for our earthly bodies and, more importantly, for our souls.
Indeed, there is bread more important than the loaves we buy at the market. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
Read Exodus 25:31-40
The lampstand had a practical purpose. It illuminated the interior of the Tabernacle shielded from the sun and light. Spiritually speaking, the golden lampstand represents God’s vessels, even us, as a light to the world. Jesus said,
““You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, NKJV)
As Christians, we have a purpose in this dark world, to illuminate others with Christ.
Jesus Himself is, of course, the Light of the World. John 8:12 Who can deny the impact that true Christianity has had on: the value of life, education, democracy, civil liberty, the purity of sexuality, art, music, literature, work ethic, prosperity, charitable organizations, medicine, health, generosity and most importantly, on changing lives?
When Christianity’s influence was greatly hindered in this world, we had the dark ages. If Christians were to be snatched from this planet, what a dark, dark world this world would become.
Reading Exodus 26 is like reading the assembly instructions from an IKEA visit but far more tedious and much richer with the end product. Though it was a tent, it was an elaborate one and well crafted with the finest of elements.
There were two particular partitions:
the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.
The Holy Place is where the priests ministered to and from the people daily. But behind the second thick curtain, was the Holy of Holies. It contained the Ark and Mercy Seat on the top cover. A priest entered here only once a year to bring the blood of animals to the Mercy Seat to atone for the sins of the people.
The tent represents something to us as Christians. God’s church in this world is like the Tabernacle. We do not have a city in this world. We are strangers and pilgrims here. Like the Tabernacle, His presence goes with us from one place to another until we arrive in that Heavenly city to come.
The New Testament reveals much of Christ in the Tabernacle. As we read Hebrews nine, we see that the Tabernacle is actually a copy of something greater and more perfect in heaven. I don’t think we can imagine what really happened when Christ died upon the cross and his spirit entered heaven with his own blood on our behalf. We remember that the earthly veil, a very thick curtain in the Temple that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, was torn in two from the top to bottom in a great earthquake. Matthew 27:51
Hebrews shows us that Christ entered the heavenly tabernacle. He went into the Holy of Holies for us—but with His own blood; and not once a year after that, but once and for all. That torn veil is Christ’s own body that gives us free and bold access to the presence of God. Hallelujah! Hebrews 10:19-21
Christ is the priest. Christ is the sacrifice. Not only so, Christ is the Tabernacle itself where God comes to dwell with man.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, NKJV)
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”” (Matthew 1:23, NKJV)