The Tabernacle - 2

The Structure

Ivrim (Hebrews) 8:5Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of ’Elohiym when he was about to make the tabernacle; for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shown to thee in the mount.

Shemot (Exodus) 25:8-9And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furnishings thereof, even so shall ye make it.

I thought it would be proper to begin this week's lesson with the actual structure itself, or Himself. Scripture will show us over and over that this structure was designed for a very real purpose, and was a perfect picture of a coming Messiah. This is why YHVH was adamant about His instructions being carefully followed. There are some who believe, as this writer does, that Moshe (Moses) had already seen this tabernacle on the mount, when in the presence of the Almighty, and was perhaps carrying blueprints for its construction, so to speak. This could be part of the meaning behind the words of Yeshua', "... thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ...". The word tabernacle is translated from several words, and there are several other English words that refer to the tabernacle. There are basically two Hebrew words that are translated as tabernacle. These are mishkan (משכן) and ohel (אהל). These words are used interchangably throughout the Tanakh to speak of the structure in general. They do represent two different aspects of the structure. The word ohel generally speaks of the overhanging tent apparatus, and the mishkan of all the items that lift it up. The word ohel speaks of a tent like structure or covering. The verbal root of this word is ahal, which means to radiate or shine forth. Ohel is more of a description of what our eyes behold when looking at the tabernacle. God always places His people under some kind of tent for the physical eye. Surrounding the tabernacle would soon be the tribes in divisions of three under the tent of one chosen tribe. The more common word for tabernacle however, is mishkan. This word means, basically, a dwelling place, but has a much deeper and more profound background. I have found in my years of study, that usually the first occurrence of a word is the most trustworthy foundation for its subsequent meanings and cognates. The verbal root or building block of mishkan is shakan (שכן). This word is translated as to dwell, to remain, to habitate or continue. It first appears in Genesis chapter 3:

Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 3:24So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

The words He placed is literally translated as "He caused to dwell" or shakan. God will shakan between two cherubim above the atonement seat in the tabernacle. To dwell involves more than one entity. This is why the word shakan is also the word for neighbor. God has always longed to dwell with his human creation. Generally, we think of God as separate from us and having no need of us. We think of God as an eternal being, self-contained, and eternally alone with respect to the short time man is here. But the Scriptures describe a Creator who longs to be our Father, and is constantly reaching out to those who would be His child, redeeming them and forgiving them. In the garden ’Elohiym dwelt with Adam and walked with him. When Adam ate from the tree of life, He walked with him. God made Adam's heart perfect and created him from the inside out. This was the Creator's desire from the beginning. Adam chose to turn from God's way and was removed from God's intended dwelling place. ’Elohiym would now guard the tree of life by causing cherubim to dwell at the east of the garden. Man would not have access to the tree of life because of sin. Only a man without sin could enter beyond the cherubim. He would have to enter from the east and from the outside in, and only then could man once again shakan with his Creator. God, in his foreknowledge of man's eventual condition, provides this man before Adam is driven out. HE gives us the "seed of the woman", and so begins the dwelling place of God. The following are several scriptures describing the dwelling places of the Creator.
Shemot (Exodus) 29:45-46; Yehoshua‘ (Joshua) 22:19; Melakhiym Alef (1 Kings) 6:11-13; Mizemor (Psalm) 68:16, 74:2; Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 57:15; Yo’el (Joel) 3:21; Yochanan (John) 6:56; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 6:16; and 1 Yochanan (1 John) 4:12.

The tabernacle of the wilderness, as it is known by, will be the focus of our study. But it is important to see that where God chooses to dwell is where He dwells. We cannot theologically manipulate Him to dwell or abide in places that He does not dwell. He chooses to live in a clean place. This is why it is imperative to know biblically what is clean and what is not clean. Uncleaness (tamei) and sin (chatta') are not synonymous terms. There are things God created to be clean and things that are created unclean. Before God commands the tabernacle to be built he "cleans" His people. In Exodus 19 YHVH has delivered His people and proclaimed,

Shemot (Exodus) 19:4You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you unto myself.

He then gives them the famous ten commandments in chapter 20. This is always God's pattern. First He delivers you by His grace and then He gives the rules. Adam is created perfect, then given one commandment. Noah finds graces in the eyes of YHVH and then is given instructions to build an ark. Israel is born on eagles' wings and then given the law. First you must become a child in order to be given instructions from a Father. It should never be a question of whether the children of God should obey the commandments or not. The truth is that a true child of God is the only one expected to obey commandments. In Shemot 24, before Moshe goes back to the mount, YHVH commands Moshe to cleanse the people again. "And Moshe took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which YHVH hath made with you concerning all these words.". Now that He has cleansed his people He instructs them to build Him a place to dwell.

The picture He is going to give portrays His intentions in the garden. He will instruct them beginning from the Most Holy Place outward. God begins again to show His people His will. All that is holy and righteous is to begin in the Most Holy Place. The tabernacle is to be divided into three distinct areas. The Most Holy Place, the Holy Place, and the court. I hope to show that the Most Holy Place defines the heart of man, the Holy Place the mind or soulish area, and the court, the body. In the Most Holy Place there is only one article. There is really only room for one item to be there, with only one person allowed to enter it. Next week we will begin where God begins, the ark of His covenant.

Shalom Alecheim!