The Tabernacle


Yochanan (John) 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.

Ever since I have "known the Lord" I have also known that there were false religions and pseudo-Christian organizations. I was taught that Yochanan (John) 1:14 was the Achilles heel for all the so-called cults. It was one of the first scriptures I memorized, and it was always the silver bullet on my ecclesiastical ammo belt. It was the proof that Yeshua‘ was YHVH, and YHVH put it there to issue the mortal wound to all religions that stood against the divinity of the Messiah. Nearly 30 years later I still stand firm that Yeshua‘ the Messiah is YHVH in the flesh, but Yochanan 1:14 is far more than just apologetic ammo. I have taught on the subject of the tabernacle of Shemot (Exodus) 25 for many years now, but never with the view that I have experienced since breaking away from traditional, modern Christian teaching. It has taken me a long time to wake up and realize that the foundation of faith in the Messiah is found in the foundation. It is found in the former things. It is found in the beginning. It is in Torah. Actually, it was recent discoveries in DNA research that has been the most profound influence for me. This we will discuss later. For now, we are going to go through the tabernacle step by step the way YHVH designed it. We will discuss all the articles and furniture, and how they are a beautiful picture of not only the Messiah, but ourselves.

The very first thing we must define is how YHVH, according to the Scriptures, speaks to man. The Scriptures reveal to us that there are many ways in which the Creator reveals His will and intellect to us. We must first grasp the fact that what we read is from the intellect of YHVH and not man. If there is information in the Scriptures that is chukim, or hard to understand, then it is due to the ineptness of the student and not the teacher. There are many instructions that are straightforward and to the point, such as the Ten Commandments. "Thou shalt not murder" is in your face. There are some concepts taught in parables. Some instructions are given in a contrast style or a doublet style such as the Proverbs. We have discussed in the past about the scriptural teaching tools of p'shat, remez, drash, and sod.

In Numbers we are told:

Bemidebar (Numbers) 12:6-8And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I YHVH will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moshe [Moses], is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even plainly, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of YHVH shall he behold.

So you see there are many ways in which the teacher teaches. In Hoshea YHVH reveals similar teaching methods.

Hoshea (Hosea) 12:10I have spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.

YHVH uses similitudes. We get the word similitude from the word similar. The Hebrew word used here is damah. This word should ring a bell (idiom!). This word is used primarily to denote the idea of likeness or like unto. For example, in Isaiah 14:14 , in speaking of the King of Tyre (who I believe is a clear remez of hasatan) it says:

Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 14:14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.

Here, the word damah is used to express the irrational, unlikely desires of this king. In the Psalms, damah is used to express a more positive kind of comparison:

Mizemor (Psalm) 89:6For who in the heavens can be compared to YHVH? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to YHVH?

Good question! The word damah is only translated in Hoshea 12 as similitude. The word used most often to express a likeness, picture, or type is the word t'munah. This is the word YHVH uses in Exodus:

Shemot 20:4Thou shalt not make unto thee any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven ...

The word t'munah is from the word miyn. This word is translated as like kind or after it's kind in Bere’shiyt (Genesis) chapter one. Well, back to our word damah. Remember when I said that this word should ring a bell? Well, damah is one of the cognates of the word for ground or earth and is also translated as ADAM! So what does this mean? Well, it means a lot, but it should be the subject of another time. To give you something to chew on, go to Bere’shiyt 1:26, and see the tandem-like arrangement of the word for man (adam) and the phrase after our likeness.

In this study I will show you, through the tabernacle similitude, a wonderful picture of the Messiah, of the kehillot (church), and of the human body and nature. The tabernacle is a picture of something much greater, but we must not fall into traditional, modern theological trappings. By this I mean the allegorizing and spiritualizing of the older Scriptures. I am going to show you designed types and pictures, but we must not forget that this was a real place in real time with real meaning and purpose for real people. We must not fall into the trap of thinking that physical things were for Israel and the spiritual things are for the church. Let's look at some references to the tabernacle in the New Testament. Ivrim (Hebrews) 8:5 and 9:1-24 both make clear statements that the tabernacle in the wilderness was a figure or picture of the Messiah, and of a greater and more perfect tabernacle. Sha’ul (Paul) certainly believed that there was something to be learned about this greater tabernacle from the first tabernacle. When we study the first tabernacle, we learn to express the purpose of a greater tabernacle. But it is just as important that when we understand the function and intention of the greater tabernacle, that we can gain more insight into the first tabernacle. Did you understand that? This kind of reciprocal relationship is also seen in the bond between the Old and New Testaments. One cannot be fully understood or functional without the other. I have known this to be true for a long time, but could never grasp the vastness of this truth. I finally saw it by using the very concept I had been teaching for years. In trying to explain the truth of the new birth to Nicodemus in Yochanan 3:12, Yeshua‘ said, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you heavenly things?". Heavenly things are understood by the earthly things. I had been told all my "Christian" life that my body was the temple (a permanent structure originally patterned after the tabernacle) of the Holy Spirit. Wow! I thought. Pretty neat (that's a word we used in the sixties). So what do I do with that piece of information? I did what most faithful congregants do. Nothing. I was fed a heavenly, spiritual concept, but had no idea what to do with it. Why? Because I did not know anything about the earthly structure. I knew nothing of a tabernacle or temple, other than it was a "Jewish" thing from the fuzzy, irrelevant, obsolete past.

It is only recently that this closed loop relationship between the Old and New Testaments and the first and greater tabernacle began to come into better focus. I found it through recent studies of DNA. That's right! DNA. So-called science, for decades, has known that matter, particularly humans, are made up of cells. Our modern science textbooks still teach our children that matter began as "simple cells" and evolved into more complex cellular structures. With the advent of microbiology, we now know that there is no such thing as a simple cell. Scientist Michael Denton puts it this way:

Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, each is in effect a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up of 100,000,000,000 atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the nonliving world.

This simple cell turns out to be a miniaturized city of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design, including automated assembly plants and processing units featuring robot machines (protein molecules with as many as 3,000 atoms each in three-dimensional configurations) manufacturing hundreds of thousands of specific types of products. This is only what science has discovered so far. Is this all by chance? All without a designer? True scientists have known this for decades. Science until recently has been able to identify and model the zillions of sequences of coding required in the cell to have life, but were unable to explain where the information comes from to perfectly line up these sequences. Enter DNA. DNA was discovered to be the source or blueprint of this extremely complicated process. Proteins could not be manufactured or functional without the DNA source providing the defining and guiding information. But lately, it has also been discovered that the DNA or source of creative information cannot fully function without the protein molecule. WHAT! The DNA source of information to form the protein cannot fully function without the very thing it's information gives life to? In others words, these two entities are a closed loop system. Simply put, they need each other. Without the information contained in the DNA science sees only the results found in the protein, and cannot explain what it really means. Without this information it is impossible to know what to do with what it produces. Wow again, I thought. This microscopic earthly picture describes the very relationship that exists between the two Testaments. Without the information source of Torah (DNA) we cannot define the words of the New Testament, and once we have defined the New Testament, we can now go back and fully understand the Old. Once a protein has been built from the information stored in the DNA, the protein result provides information needed to understand the DNA. As a sidebar, I began to wonder. YHVH is the information source for His human creation. Does He need us? Can He be fully understood outside of His creation? Do we need each other? I cannot answer that.

I am proposing that the Greater Tabernacle, the more perfect tabernacle, cannot be understood outside the first tabernacle. Once we grasp the fullness of the first tabernacle, then we will be able to properly fulfill the purpose of the greater tabernacle. Armed with that information, we can more fully appreciate the first tabernacle. Both tabernacles need each other.

Ephesians 2:19-22Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua‘ the Messiah himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Shalom Alecheim!