Overview of the Tabernacle in Detail

Jun 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Special Features (click on Article name)

An Overview of the Tabernacle

“The Lord was represented first by the typical Tabernacle”

“The humble Tabernacle whose glories were all hidden, typified the presence of God with his people in the present time, while the glorious Temple typified the Church in glory during Christ’s Millennial reign.”

tabernacle The Tabernacle of old was to Israel, not only the symbol of the atonement, but was also the dwelling place of God among his people. It was built by Moses according to a pattern shown him in the mount. (Heb. 8:5; Exod. 25:40)

We like to think of that ancient edifice as a symbol or picture of Christ Jesus, who, while on this earth, was virtually a tabernacle or sanctuary in which God dwelt by His Spirit. As Moses was required to leave behind him, his people—the nation of Israel—and ascend into the mountain (Exod. 24:18) to obtain this vision, i.e., to “see” the pattern according to which he was to build the dwelling-place of God—the Tabernacle among the people —so too must we respond to the invitation of God by consecration to separate ourselves from the “people of the land,” and climb the “mountain of spirituality” in order to obtain from God that vision of Christ Jesus, according to which we too are to build our “tabernacles” to be the dwelling-places of God among the people. (See 1 Cor. 3:16.)

The Tabernacle of God is in 1 Sam. 3:3 called “the temple of the LORD.”

“The Tabernacle of the Lord, in this study styled the Temple, was located at Shiloh, a few miles north of Jerusalem. The priest in charge was Eli.”

“The Apostle speaks of each body, each member of the new creation, as a Temple, a Tabernacle, in which for the time being the holy Spirit dwells. From this standpoint we should be careful to have our bodies as clean, as pure, as holy as possible. We cannot transform our flesh to make perfect that which was born in sin and shapen in iniquity, but in proportion as the holy Spirit is received by us and in proportion as it has the control of us, in that same proportion there will be a gradual transforming power of the holy Spirit to work in us to will and to do God’s good pleasure . . .“We firmly believe that all who receive that grace of God into good and honest hearts will surely experience a cleansing work—that the Truth will tend to make them cleaner physically as well as mentally. We are not advocating outward cleanliness as godliness, but an inward cleanliness which will do all it can to accomplish an outward cleansing. And very generally it succeeds—the filthiness of the flesh in various senses of the word begin to disappear. In proportion as the spirit of righteousness and truth and love enter into the heart, filthy words, filthy conduct, filthy habits, filthy appearance, all begin to come under the control of the transformed mind.”

As Moses, so that he might receive an indelible imprint of the “pattern” upon his heart and mind, was in the presence of Jehovah God forty days and forty nights during which he fasted—for he neither ate nor drank (Exod. 48:18; Deut. 29:9)—so likewise must we “fast” from all such “food” and “drink” as are common, i.e., natural, for the natural man. Moses fasted for forty days and forty nights; but the period of our “fasting” is for the full period of our consecration to God.

“We remind our readers . . . that there are other appetites besides for food and drink which may properly be considered in connection with this matter of fasting—all the various desires of the flesh need restraining, and such self-restraint and the bringing of our minds, our thoughts, our words, our conduct and our food under such restraints as will be most beneficial to us as new creatures in Christ, is the very essence and spirit of true fasting, and such fasting will surely bring a blessing and permit a closer approach to the Lord and a keener realization of his love and favor.”

“The pattern of the Tabernacle was delivered by God to Moses. (Exod. 25:9, 40) Bezaleel and Aholiab were the chief constructors, and it is said (Exod. 31:3–6) that they and the other workmen were filled with the spirit of God, in wisdom and in understanding, to make all that God had commanded. The people so freely offered for the service of the work, that they had to be restrained from bringing. The stuff was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much. (Exod. 36:6,7) The tabernacle with all its furniture was brought to Moses when complete, and on the first day of the first month of the second year . . . he reared it up and finished the work. (Exod. 40:2,17) When the whole building was set in order, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. (Exod. 40:34) The cloud, the token of the Divine Presence, had the appearance of a fire by night and by its rising from or abiding on the Tent, determined the journeyings encampments of the children of Israel. (Num. 9:17,18) The Tabernacle accompanied the children of Israel during their wanderings in the desert, and in the different stages of the conquest of the land of Canaan. The conquest complete, it was fixed in Shiloh as the place which the LORD had chosen. (Josh. 18:1) Here we find it in the earliest (Judges 18:31) and latest days of the Judges (1 Sam. 1:3). At the time of the capture of that ark God forsook the Tabernacle, and the Tabernacle was removed from Shiloh. We find it some years later with its priests and its table of shewbread at Nob (1 Sam. 21:1), and in Solomon’s reign with its altar of burnt-offering and ministered at by Zadok the high priest at Gibeon (1 Chron. 16:39,40). After the building of the Temple it entirely disappears from the history.” (The Cambridge Companion of the Bible, p. 395)

“A state of things which was rapidly assimilating the worship of Jehovah to that of Ashtaroth, or Mylitta, needed to be broken up. The Ark of God was taken, and the Sanctuary lost its glory: and the Tabernacle, though it did not perish, never again recovered it. (1 Sam. 4:22) Samuel treats it as an abandoned shrine, and sacrifices elsewhere, at Mizpah (1 Sam. 7:9), at Ramah (1 Sam. 9:12; 10:3), at Gilgal (1 Sam. 10:8; 11:15). It probably became once again a movable sanctuary. For a time it seems, under Saul, to have been settled at Nob. (1 Sam. 21:1–6) The massacre of the priests and the flight of Abiathar must, however, have robbed it yet further of its glory. It had before lost the Ark: it now lost the presence of the high priest. (1 Sam. 22:20; 23:6) What change of fortune then followed we do not know. In some way or other, it found its way to Gibeon. (1 Chron. 16:39) The anomalous separation of the two things, in the original order, had been joined, brought about yet greater anomalies; and, while the Ark remained at Kirjath-jearim, the Tabernacle at Gibeon connected itself with the worship of the high places. (1 Kings 3:4) The capture of Jerusalem, and the erection there of a new Tabernacle, with the Ark, of which the old had been deprived (2 Sam. 6:17; 1 Chron. 15:1) left it little more than a traditional, historical sanctity. It retained only the old altar of burnt-offerings. (1 Chron. 21:9)” (Smith, Dictionary of the Bible, “Tabernacle”)

Symbolism of the Colors

WHITE bespeaks the fullness of light. It embodies all colors. It symbolizes sinlessness, i.e. righteousness and purity (Rev. 19:8) and by extension, also light, truth and life.

“Under the symbol of white raiment the Lord throughout his Word represents the righteousness of those whom He accepts as His people. Their righteousness in the future state will be personal righteousness or holiness.”

BLUE is the color of the heavens when the sun is present in them. But let the sun depart, and these heavens become dark; and were it not for the light of the distant stars (suns) and at times of the moon, they would at such times be absolutely black. The blue then is the result of a most favorable reaction on the part of the heavens to light, to the presence of the sun. So too, the most favorable reaction a saint of God can give to the light and presence of the TRUTH is faithfulness. By this token, blue—the heavenly color—becomes a most apt symbol of faithfulness.

“The Hebrew word rendered blue is primarily the name of a shell-fish, and derivatively of the dye yielded by it. As the word is nowhere in the Old Testament affixed to any of the hues of nature, we look in vain to the  Hebrew Scriptures for aid in determining whether it is correctly rendered`blue.’ Its equivalent in the Septuagint is a word applied by the ancients to the clear firmament and the deep sea. Philo and Josephus agree with the Septuagint in the selection of a Greek equivalent, and testify that the color intended is that of the sky. We are to understand, however, a darker sky than that of New England or Old England; for in the lands of the Bible the atmosphere is clearer, and the firmament consequently deeper and darker, than in moister climates. There are days when even in northern latitudes the transparency of the sky seems to extend to an infinite depth . . . “The fact that the ancients attributed the same hue both to the firmament and to the sea, also indicates that, when speaking of the heavens as blue, they had in mind a very dark shade of the color, such as reflected from the peculiarly saline waters of the Mediterranean.” (Atwater, The Sacred Tabernacle of the Hebrews, ppg. 211, 212)

“Blue implies faith. The very heavens cast this beautiful color into the eyes of all observers, and that while they reflect on the importance of a faithful law-giver. The necessity of maintaining full control of the stellar system is evidenced when we are told that the system containing more than a thousand million suns with their satellites is traveling at about twelve miles a second through space, and yet order and harmony are so accurate that positions and eclipses may be gauged thousands of years apart with perfect accuracy. `Thy faithfulness,’ says the Psalmist, `shalt thou establish in the very heavens.’ (Psa. 89:2)” (Frederick Lardent)

“The robe of blue of one piece shows his heavenly nature (blue is the color of the peaceful heavens).”

SCARLET is the color of the shed blood which by the typical priests was sprinkled on and before the Mercy seat to bring in atonement for the sins of the people. It is a most fitting symbol of the sacrifice unto death. In the instance of Jesus, reference is, of course, to the RANSOM SACRIFICE whereby the atoning merit was supplied. It is very significant that the Hebrew text in Exod. 25:4, etc., where the translators have rendered it `scarlet’ is made of two words which literally translated mean `scarlet of a worm.’ This particular worm, by being crushed to death, furnished with its lifeblood the prescribed dye for the scarlet thread used in connection with the Tabernacle and its ritual. In Psa. 22:6, David speaking as it were for the ‘man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’ cries out, “I am a worm, and no man.” Thus was Jesus crushed, until on the cross of Calvary he cried, “It is finished” and bowing his head he died.—John 19:30 The Church too, has entered into a covenant of sacrifice with Jehovah, and like unto Jesus, her consecration is also unto death. And by God’s grace her ‘daily dying’ (1 Cor. 15:31) is accounted as the making up of that which is left behind of the afflictions of Christ, for the body’s sake. (Col. 1:23,24) Thus in faithfulness unto death—though supplying no ransom or atoning merit—she nevertheless, secures for herself the right and privilege to become the channel of that merit (of Christ’s Ransom Sacrifice) unto the world. Truly, we are baptized for the dead!

“In the Hebrew, this word `worm’ is Tolaheth Shane, and means `scarlet worm.’ It refers to certain worms gathered in the Arabian peninsula, for the purpose of producing a beautiful scarlet color of dye, with which the Orientals, at the time of Moses, the Israelites also, were accustomed to color their garments. Some of the furnishings of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and part of the vail, were this bright crimson color.

“The blood of the red or scarlet worm was different than the blood of other worms, also different than the blood of human beings, in that it would neither coagulate nor change color . . .

“In order to get the blood of these scarlet worms, the Orientals would take a mortar and crush them, and then dip their garments or curtains into the blood, and the fabrics would come out a most beautiful scarlet hue.

“The red worms had a certain monetary value, but it was only because their blood was useful as a dye; and consequently, they were worthless, as far as a dye was concerned, unless their blood was taken from them.

“This meant a crushing process—a squeezing out of every drop of blood, every bit of life. In a word it meant death! While the scarlet worms were alive, naturally their blood could not be used to color fabrics, but when death came their blood was available. Jesus, before his death, was God’s potential sacrificial Lamb, but not until his blood was shed did he atone for the sins of the world.” (Bostrom, The Scarlet Worm)

PURPLE is the color with which the royalty of ancient times arrayed itself; so too, the Caesars of a later day. It accordingly becomes the symbol of royalty. It is interesting to note that purple results from the blending of blue with scarlet. (These three colors are frequently in combination in the curtains, veils, and garments of the typical priesthood.) Symbolically, this seems to betoken that faithfulness (blue) unto death (scarlet) by which the anti-typical priesthood—Christ and his Church —attain unto the royalty (purple) of the kingdom. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.” (Rev. 5:12; 2:10)

It will undoubtedly have been noted that the order in which the colors blue, purple, and scarlet is set forth is always the same. (See Exod. 25:4; 26:1,31,36; 27:16; 28:5,6,8,15; 35:6,23,25; 36:8,35,37; 38:18,23; 39:1,2,3,5, 8,24,29) This does not necessarily imply that this was the specific order in which they were to be woven into the fabric so long as the three were all finally included.

Since the blending of the blue and the scarlet produces purple, it was appropriate that the covering cloth for the altar of burnt-offering was purple (Num. 4:13) to testify to this fact, that Jesus had been faithful unto death, and that for this God had highly exalted him to the royalty of the Kingdom!

“Wherefore God . . . hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” (Phil. 2:9)

Symbolism of the Metals

GOLD is the most precious of all the ancient metals—the first and the last to be mentioned in the Bible—and is the symbol of that which is divine, and more specifically the divine nature itself. (Tabernacle Shadows pg 18)

“The metal is mentioned throughout the Scriptures in connection with things divine: the golden vials, the golden lampstand, the golden table of shewbread, the golden altar of incense, the golden crown, the golden breastplate with its precious jewels; also the ark of the testimony with its lid and cherubim of fine beaten gold.” (Frederick Lardent)

SILVER is the symbol of truth in general, but perhaps more specifically that TRUTH which centers and deals with the RANSOM—the redemption accomplished in Christ Jesus. (Tabernacle Shadows pg 114) The Tabernacle’s 100 sockets which supported the whole structure were made of silver—the ransom or redemption money paid as a poll tax by the Israelites. (Exod. 30:12–16; 38:25–27)

COPPER, While most all metals in a pure and unoxidized state have a silvery luster, copper is the exception—its color approaching most nearly that of gold. It is a symbol of that human nature possessed by Adam and wherein he was created ‘in the image’ and likeness of God, thus of human perfection.

“Most of the metals have a silvery color . . . Two exceptions are gold, which has a yellow color, and copper, which has a red color. . . . [Copper] soon obtains a protective coating of oxide, which gives it a reddish-brown color. . . . In moist air, water and carbon dioxide cause copper to form a coating of verdigris, a green basic copper carbonate. . . . When these coatings adhere firmly to the metal, they protect the metal from further corrosion.” (Fliedner & Teichman, Chemistry, Man’s Servant, ppg. 366, 423, 459)

Adam’s original knowledge concerning sin was more or less theoretical. However, he soon learned concerning it from the practical standpoint when, as a result of it, he suffered death (dying, with all of its concomitant evils). Perhaps this practical knowledge, which will remain his after his regeneration, will serve (as does the verdigris to the copper, preventing further corrosion) as a preventative against contamination throughout all of his future existence.

“Still, God designed to permit evil because, having the remedy provided for man’s release from its consequences, He saw that the results would be to lead him, through experience, to a full appreciation of `the exceeding sinfulness of sin’ and of the matchless brilliancy of virtue in contrast with it—thus teaching him the more to love and honor his Creator, who is the source and fountain of all goodness, and forever to shun that which brought so much woe and misery.” Copper represents the human nature in its perfection.

“The word nechosheth is improperly translated by `brass’ since the Hebrews were not acquainted with the compound of copper and zinc known by that name. In most places of the O.T. the correct translation would be copper, although it may sometimes possibly mean bronze, a compound of copper and tin. Indeed a simple metal was obviously intended, as we see from Deut. 8:9, 33:25, and Job 28:2. Copper was known at a very early period, and the invention of working it is attributed to Tubal-cain (Gen. 4:22).” (Smith, Dictionary of the Bible, “Brass”)

We know that man in his original creation was absolutely perfect until he fell into sin, and that Jesus in order to redeem him had to be an exact corresponding price for him. This was reflected by the “copper serpent” (of a pure metal, not an alloy) that was suspended on the pole for the “bitten ones” to look at, and by so doing were made whole. (Num. 21:6–9) Of course the serpent symbolized sin, but who will deny that in some way that `brazen serpent’ must have represented the sinless Christ Jesus: for is it not by looking upon him who was hanged (lifted up) upon the cross, that all who will are healed?

“The serpent on the pole represented Christ on the cross. True, the serpent represents sin, vileness, evil, pain, suffering; while our Lord Jesus could be our Redeemer only because he was holy, harmless, separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26) . . . The serpent represented the atonement transaction better than any other emblem could . . . ‘He was made sin for us’—treated as the one in whom centered the sin of the whole world.”

“The lesson outlined in the type is that not only was it necessary that Christ should die for our sins, but that none could be saved through his death except by looking unto him, exercising faith in the merit of his great atonement- sacrifice.”

“Adam, the name which is given in Scripture to the first man. The term apparently has reference to the ground from which he was formed, which is called in the Hebrew Adamah. The idea of redness of color seems to be inherent in either word.” (Smith, Dictionary of the Bible)

It is possible, also, that man in his original creation—in the blush of health —had a more ruddy complexion than he has today—the redness of his blood evidencing itself through the delicate, but immaculately perfect texture of his skin! Strong’s Concordance defines word #119 (‘âdam) as “to show blood (in the face), i.e. flush or turn rosy.” Be this as it may, he was created after the image of God, and after his likeness held dominion.

“Let us make man in our image. . . . God created man in his image.” (Gen. 1:26,27)

God is a free moral agent; so too, is man. But the image of God in man lies more particularly in the fact that he has: “Similarly mental powers of reason, memory, judgment and will, and moral qualities of justice, benevolence, love, etc. ‘Of the earth, earthy,’ he was an earthly image of a spiritual being, possessing qualities of the same kind, though differing widely in degree, range and scope.”

Thus, since gold—yellowish in color—is the accepted symbol for God and His divine nature, then, copper—yellowish-red (not reddish yellow)—is a most apt symbol for man, who though human in nature, was nevertheless created in God’s image.

“It is noticeable that all the furniture inside the Tabernacle was of gold, or covered with gold, while in the ‘Court’ everything was of copper . . . These two metals, gold and copper, were used, we think, to represent two different natures—copper, representing the human nature in its perfection, a little lower than the angelic nature; and gold representing the divine nature, far above angels, principalities and powers. As gold and copper are much alike in appearance, yet different in quality, so the human nature is an image and likeness of the divine, adapted to earthly conditions.” (Tabernacle Shadows pg 17)

Source and Use of the Materials

“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass [copper], and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and rams’ skins dyed red and badgers’ [seals’] skins, and shittim wood, oil for light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” (Exod. 25:2–7; see also 35:5–9)

This is the list of materials requested of the children of Israel by Jehovah God for the Tabernacle which was to be built as a dwelling place for Him among His people. In the course of time more than enough material was brought so that orders had to be given that no further contributions should be made. (Exod. 36:5–7) This is how these materials were used:

GOLD — 29 talents, 730 shekels (Exod. 38:24) Altar (incense) …its rings Exod. 30:1–4; 37:25–27 …its staves Exod. 30:4,5; 37:27,28 Ark …its rings Exod. 25:10–12; 37:2,3 …its mercy seat Exod. 25:17,18; 37:6,7 …its staves Exod. 25:13; 37:4 Boards …their rings Exod. 26:29; 36:34 …their bars Exod. 26:29; 36:34 Candlestick …its lamps Exod. 25:31,37; 37:17,23 …its appurtenances Exod. 25:38; 37:23 High Priest Garments …bells Exod. 28:33,34; 39:25 …Breastplate, rings & chains Exod. 28:15–27; 39:8–16,19 …Ephod—its rings Exod. 28:6,27; 39:2,20 —its curious girdle Exod. 28:8; 39:5

—and shoulderpieces Exod. 28:(7); 39:(4) …Ouches—breastplate Exod. 28:(20); 39:13 —shoulderpieces Exod. 28:11,13; 39:6,16 …Plate (crown) Exod. 28:36; 39:30 Pillars (door) overlaid Exod. 26:37; 36:(38) —their hooks Exod. 26:37; 36:(38)

—their chapiters Exod. 36:38 —their fillets Exod. 36:38 —(vail) overlaid Exod. 26:32; 36:36 —their hooks Exod. 26:32; 36:36 Table …its rings Exod. 25:23–26; 37:10,11,13 …its dishes, etc. Exod. 25:29; 37:16 …its staves Exod. 25:28; 37:15

Taches (linen curtain) Exod. 26:6; 36:13

It is also probable that the bars of Num. 4:10,12 on which the candlestick and its appurtenances, and the instruments of ministry of the Sanctuary, were carried were like the staves, made of shittim wood and overlaid with gold, though this is nowhere so stated.

SILVER

The silver redemption money consisted of 100 talents and 1775 shekels.

“When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel, after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. This shall they give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs), an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.” (Exod. 30:12–16)

This is how that silver was used:

Board Sockets Exod. 26:19,21,25; 36:24,26,30; 38:27 Court Pillar Chapiters Exod. 38:17,28 …Fillets Exod.  27:10,11,(12)(14)(15)17; Exod. 38:10,12,17,28 …Hooks Exod. 27:10,11,(12)(14)(15)17; Exod. 38:10–12,17,28 Gate Pillar Chapiters Exod. 38:19,28 …Fillets Exod. 27:(16)17; 38:19,28 …Hooks Exod. 27:(16)17; 38:19,28 Vail Pillar Sockets Exod. 26:21; 36:36; 38:27

We are not told how much of this was gathered as a free will offering; nor are we told as to what purposes it was put. Apparently the only silver used in the Tabernacle and its furnishings was collected as redemption money:

“And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and three score and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: a bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand five hundred and fifty men. And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the vail; an hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them.” (Exod. 38:25–28)

COPPER — 70 talents, 2400 shekels (Exod. 38:29) Altar (brazen) …grate/rings Exod. 27:1,2,4; 38:1,2,4,5,30 …its staves Exod. 27:6; 38:6 …its vessels Exod. 27:3,19; 38:3,30 Laver Exod 30:18; 38:8 Pins Exod. 27:19; 38:20,31 Sockets …Court pillars Exod. 27:10,11,17,18; Exod. 38:10,11,17,31 …Door pillars Exod. 26:37; 36:38; 38:30 …Gate pillars Exod. 27:17; 38:19,31 Taches (goats’ hair curtain) Exod. 26:11; 36:18

BLUE, PURPLE, SCARLET

Evidently some of this material was originally in the form of threads subsequently to be woven into cloth by the women (Exod. 35:25); yet some of it, as thread, had to be embroidered onto the white linen, or otherwise woven into it (Exod. 35:35). We shall endeavor to here make the distinction between those things wherein the Blue, Purple, and Scarlet were woven into solid cloth (Cloth) and those where these materials were used as threads

(Thread)

Cloth

Blue Purple Scarlet
Altar (brazen) Num. 4:13
Altar (incense) Num. 4:6
Ark Num. 4:6
Candlestick Num. 4:9
Inst. Ministry Num. 4:12
Lacers    —Breastplate Exod. 28:28; 39:21
—Crown Exod. 28:37; 39:31
Robe Exod. 28:31; 39:22
Table Num. 4:7 Num. 4:8

Thread

Blue Purple Scarlet
Door Exod. 26:36; 36:37 Exod. 26:36; 36:37 Exod. 28:15; 39:8
Garments:—Breastplate < Exod. 28:15; 39:8 >
—Ephod

<

Exod. 28:6; 39:2 >
—Curious Girdle

<

Exod. 28:8; 39:5

>

—Pomegranates

<

Exod. 28:33; 39:24

>

Gate

<

Exod. 27:16; 38:18

>

Tabernacle Curtains

<

Exod. 26:1; 36:8

>

—Loops Exod. 26:4; 36:11
Vail

<

Exod. 26:31; 36:35

>

LINEN

Curtains …Court Exod. 27:18; 38:9,16 …Tabernacle Exod. 26:1; 36:8 Door Exod. 26:36; 36:37 Garments …Bonnets Exod. 28:(40); 39:28 …Breastplate Exod. 28:15; 39:8 …Breeches Exod. 28:42; 39:28 …Coats—Broidered Exod. 28:39; 39:27

…Coats—Regular Exod. 28:(40); 39:27 …Ephod Exod. 28:6; 39:2 …Girdles—Curious Exod. 28:8; 39:5 …Girdles—Linen Exod. 28:39,40; 39:29 …Mitre Exod. 28:39; 39:28 …Pomegranates Exod. 28:(33); 39:24 Gate Exod. 27:16; 38:18

Vail Exod. 26:31; 36:35

GOATS’ HAIR

(cashmere cloth) …Curtain (tent) Exod. 26:7; 36:14

RAMS’ SKINS

(dyed red) …Curtain (covering) Exod. 26:14; 36:19

SEALS’ SKINS

…Altar, etc. (brazen) Num. 4:14 …Altar (incense) Num. 4:11 …Ark Num. 4:6 …Candlestick, etc. Num. 4:10 …Curtain (topmost) Exod. 26:14; 36:19 …Instruments of Ministry Num. 4:12 …Table Num. 4:8

SHITTIM [ACACIA] WOOD

…Altar (brazen) Exod. 27:1,2,8; 38:1,2 …its staves Exod. 27:6; 38:6 …Altar (incense) Exod. 30:1; 37:25 …its staves Exod. 30:5; 37:28 …Ark Exod. 25:10; 37:1 …Bars Exod. 26:26; 36:31,(32,33) …Boards Exod. 26:15; 36:20 …Pillars—Court (?)

—Door Exod. 26:37 —Gate (?) —Vail Exod. 26:32; 36:36

(It is also probable that the bars of Num. 4:10,12 on which the candlestick and its appurtenances, and the instruments of ministry of the Sanctuary, were carried, were like the staves made of shittim wood, overlaid with gold. Of course this is nowhere so stated.)

OIL

…Anointing Exod. 30:24 …Light (lamps) Exod. 27:20

SPICES

Anointing Oil Sweet Incense

Calamus Exod. 30:23

Cassia Exod. 30:24

Cinnamon Exod. 30:23

Frankincense Exod. 30:34

Galbanum Exod. 30:34

Myrrh—Stacte* Exod. 30:23 Exod. 30:34

Onycha Exod. 30:34

* “The Hebrew nataph signifies to drop or distill. As the exudation of all gums is in drops, the etymology does not help us. But it is evident from the context in Exodus that a fragrant gum is intended. Many identify the stacte here mentioned with the gum from the libneh. But stacte means primarily myrrh. . . . It is most likely then that nataph and its LXX and Vulgate equivalent stacte, refers to myrrh in drops or tears, which is the purest form.” (Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible)

PRECIOUS STONES

Agate (breastplate) Exod 28:19; 39:12

Amethyst (breastplate) Exod 28:19; 39:12

Beryl (breastplate) Exod. 28:20; 39:13

Carbuncle (breastplate) Exod. 28:17; 39:10

Diamond (breastplate) Exod. 28:18; 39:11

Emerald (breastplate) Exod. 28:18; 39:11

Jasper (breastplate) Exod. 28:20; 39:13

Ligure (breastplate) Exod. 28:19; 39:12

Onyx (breastplate) Exod. 28:20; 39:13

Onyx (shoulderpieces) Exod. 28:9,12; 39:6,7

Sapphire (breastplate) Exod. 28:18; 39:11

Sardius (breastplate) Exod. 28:17; 39:10

Topaz (breastplate) Exod. 28:17; 39:10

It is highly improbable that the stones as named in the KJV are necessarily the ones actually referred to in the Hebrew text.

“All attempts to derive edification from the nature of these jewels must be governed by the commonplace reflection that we cannot identify them; and many of the present names are incorrect. It is almost certain that neither topaz, sapphire nor diamond could have been engraved, as these stones were, with the name of one of the twelve tribes.” (Chadwick, The Expositor’s Bible, “Exodus,” p. 402)

“When ye go, ye shall not go empty; but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourns in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment . . . ye shall spoil the Egyptians.” (Exod. 3:21,22, Revised Standard Version)

“Let every man borrow [“ask”—RSV] of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.; and the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.” (Exod. 11:2,3)

“He brought them forth also with silver and gold.” (Psa. 105:37)

“And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed [“asked”—RSV] of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them [“let them have what they asked”—RSV] . . . and they spoiled the Egyptians.” (Exod 12:35,36)

The Hebrew word shaal means “ask” or “asked” (Young’s Concordance) and not “borrow” or “borrowed” as in the KJV. The corresponding action is “gave” and not “lent” as in the KJV. (See also Leeser’s translation.)

“It is important to note in this connection that the terms `borrowed’ and `lent’ in Exod 11:2; 12:35,36 are improper and misleading translations of the Hebrew word shaal, giving the impression of a command to dishonesty on the part of God and a dishonest transaction on the part of the Israelites. The Israelites did not borrow, but asked for (as in the R.V.) jewels of silver and jewels of gold and garments. And the Egyptians did not lend, but allowed their request. Thus the Israelites had some reward for their long service, though it was only granted by their oppressors under fear to refuse them.”

It has been suggested that since the materials of which God’s Tabernacle was made really was of that which Israel had received from their Egyptian hosts before their exodus in response to their requests (Exod. 3:21,22; 12:35,36), that what is here represented is what the world (represented by Egypt) has given us as an education, business acumen, etc.

This, however, does not seem quite logical to us, for that which we offer in dedication for the Lord’s Sanctuary must be in the nature of a free-will “heave-offering” (Exod. 25:2, margin), and is thus a dedication of what we are—our hearts, pure and simple. Insofar as our possessions are concerned, these must first be transmuted so as to become a part of the self which is then completely dedicated to the Lord. Then not only what we are but also what has become ours becomes an acceptable offering unto the Lord! This “transmuting,” insofar as Israel of old was concerned, had taken place for we read:

“And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.” (Exod. 36:5–7)

Silver Free Will Offering

Among the free will offerings of the children of Israel toward the erection of the Tabernacle and for its service, there were three metals: gold, silver and copper. (Exod. 25:3–7; 35:5–9,22–28)

We are specifically told in Exod. 38:24,29–31 as to how the gold and the copper were used, but not so about the silver. Verses 25–28 do tell us something about silver that was used for silver sockets, hooks, chapiters and fillets. But this, however, was not the silver of the free will offering of the people, but rather of the redemption money—the poll-tax, assessed in accordance with God’s decree as set forth in Exod. 30:12–16.

Accordingly, we are not told as to the quantity of silver contributed as a free will offering of the people, nor is there anything said as to how or for what purpose it was to be used. Were it not for the fact that it is enumerated among the free will offerings—Exod. 25:3; 35:5—we might reasonably conclude that the only silver which came from the people was that by way of the redemption money.

Since, then, we are not justified in any such conclusion, we can only conjecture as to what purpose the silver of the free will offering served; but it will at best be just a guess. Is it possible, and probable, that it was used to remunerate those who used their time and talent to bring about the eventual erection of the Tabernacle?

Edward E. Atwater has this to say about the matter:

“So far as appears, the silver contributed at the commencement of the work, be it more or less, was not used in the construction of the edifice or its furniture. Of course, the artisans who gave their time and skill to the work must have been paid out of the public treasury and it is not improbable that they were paid in silver.” (Atwater, The Sacred Tabernacle of the Hebrews)

Jesus himself declared that “the laborer is worthy of his hire.” (Luke 10:7) On the basis of the conjecture, and since silver is the symbol of the Truth, we are suggesting that God himself remunerates the “builders” of the antitypical Tabernacle with a knowledge of the Truth.

Who are these “builders”? All who have had anything to do with bringing about the development of the highest and noblest in the character of those who by way of suffering and persecution are thus perfected—made vessels of honor for the Sanctuary of God.

True, these “builders” may not always have known just what they doing; and we can well understand that many a laborer engaged in the work supervised by Bezaleel and Aholiab of old, may have been similarly ignorant of the true nature of his work.

The candlestick, to glorify the Holy of the ancient Tabernacle, had to be of beaten work. (Exod. 25:31)

“The Lord’s followers in the present time are called upon to suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake, not because it is either reasonable or proper, but because the Lord, wishing to test, prove, and polish His people is willing to permit the evil, opposing influences to prosper and to persecute and oppose His ‘members,’ and thus to serve His cause in the preparation of His elect for a future work of service. Thus the persecutors of the body, as did the persecutors of the Head, are cooperating to fulfill the divine plan in a manner they little suspect.” (R4813)

So it is that many people in this world have had a share in the building of the antitypical Tabernacle of God, and in the fashioning of its vessels and furnishings. Ignorantly, they have misused and abused both Jesus (Acts 3:17) and his followers—the Church. He was not of this world (John 8:23), nor are we (John 17:16); if they hated him, surely they will hate us, too (John 15:18,19: Matt. 10:22). And yet, our God and Father overrules it all (Rom. 8:22), so that by way of it we are made meet for “the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12). Jesus was thus perfected by suffering (Heb. 5:8,9) at the hands of these “builders” and so also shall we be (1 Pet. 5:10).

“The sufferings which count in the development of the `new creature’ are those voluntary and willing endurances on account of the Lord and the Lord’s Word and the Lord’s people;—the hardness which we endure, as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ, while seeking to do not our own wills, but to have perfected in us the will of our Captain, the will of our Heavenly Father.”

We have suggested that Jehovah God will repay these “builders” not with special punishment for the things which they did in their ignorance, but with the “silver coin” of the Truth, because, unwittingly, they have accomplished some of God’s purposes concerning His people. Such “builders” are among the “world of mankind,” and are not of “the flesh,” per se, nor the devil who is not ignorant of what he does.

One reason why God will repay these “laborers” in the “silver coin” of the Truth, is that the Truth has the power to set men free (John 8:32). For over 6,000 years men have been in bondage to sin, ignorance, superstition and fear; but when the knowledge of the LORD covers the earth as waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14), it will make them free (as it has already made us) to serve the Lord. No wonder then, that “God will have all men to be saved (from Adamic death) and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) Only the Truth can afford them “the fullest opportunity of salvation from the curse” into the glorious liberty of sonship with God. (Rom. 8:21) What a beautiful symbol of the Truth is this silver!

“We have two memorable instances in Scripture where life was bartered for silver: Joseph for twenty (Gen. 37:28) and the Son of God (Zech. 11:12; Matt. 26:15) for thirty pieces. The idea, therefore, of price or value especially attaches to this metal. It ranks also with us as one of the precious metals: and though not displaying the brilliant glory of the gold, it is yet especially beautiful by reason of its soft purity and unsullied whiteness: and, like the gold, it corrodes not and wastes not in the fining pot, though subject to the intense heat of the furnace.

“The silver, used in the construction of the tabernacle, was all derived from the Atonement money.

“. . . [God] enjoined that, whenever Israel was numbered as His people, every man must give a ransom for his soul. The price was fixed by God Himself. Each man, whether poor or rich, must bring the same. One could not pay for another; but every one must tender his own ransom-money of pure silver and of perfect weight. ‘Half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs), a half-shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.’ (Exod. 30:13) Other Gospel truths here shine out. When the question came

to be one of ransom, the poor and the rich, the foolish and the wise, the ignorant and the learned, the immoral and the moral, stood on the same level. Each person was estimated by God at the same price. He proved Himself no respecter of persons. And so it is still.” (Soltau, The Tabernacle, “The Priesthood and the Offerings,” ppg. 82–84)

Shittim [Acacia] Wood

Undoubtedly, the use of shittim wood in the construction of the Tabernacle and its furniture was to keep it light and portable. However, the fact that Jehovah so particularly specified shittim wood (Exod. 25:10,23; Exod. 26:15,32; 27:1,6; 30:1) leads us to wonder as to whether there might not also be some reason beyond the merely utilitarian that was here divinely intended.

We believe (though we have been unable to find it anywhere so stated) that the shittah tree from which this wood was obtained was, in some sense of the word, an evergreen. In Isa. 41:19, it is listed among other evergreen trees: “the cedar, the shittah tree and the myrtle . . . the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree.” If this is a correct thought, then the tree was among those which did not pass through the cycle of “life and death” every spring and autumn, year after year. However, this much has been definitely established: insects did not attack it (Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, v. 4, p. 507); it is aromatic or “scented” (Seymour, The New Garden Encyclopedia, “Acacia”); its wood was virtually incorruptible. It is interesting that the Septuagint renders the Hebrew “shittah” by a Greek word meaning “incorruptible wood.” This suggests everlasting though mortal life —i.e., mortality.

By mortality we mean that state or condition wherein death is a possibility, though not necessarily a probability. We do not here refer to that state or condition in which a man was born in sin and is unjustified, for he is already dead; but to one having been justified by faith, and who therefore enjoys a faith restitution, and may be considered as possessing mortality if for no other reason than that of having something acceptable to lay down in sacrifice.

If this is a correct thought, then the use of shittim wood as a basic material in the construction of the altars, the table of the shewbread, and the ark of the covenant, seems almost imperative.

Let us consider the altar of burnt-offering which stood in the Court and represented the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Though the doctrine of the ransom is the most basic tenet of the Christian faith, there is perhaps none that is less clearly understood.

Many fail to recognize that the term “ransom” implies an exact correspondence between that which is to be ransomed and that which ransoms. It is true, in common usage this is rarely associated with the term: one army General may be the ransom price for a whole regiment of common soldiers, or $200,000 may be the ransom price for one kidnapped child.

In the Biblical sense, however, the thought of an exact correspondence is most certainly implied: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” (Lev. 24:20; see also Gen. 9:6) Since Adam, a perfect man, had sinned and therefore had been condemned to death, only another perfect man could ransom him from the power of death and the grave. The Apostle Paul states it clearly when he declares:

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men . . . but not as the offence, so also is the free gift (The Ransom); for if through the offence of one (man) many be dead, much more the grace of God, which is by one man, Christ Jesus, hath abounded unto many.” (Rom. 5:12–15)

Copper, as we have suggested, represented human nature in its perfection, which no angel nor other creature (save man) could ever have possessed. Mortality, the state or condition in which death is possible, is common to other creatures besides man.

As if to show that he who would give himself a ransom for Adam and his race would be a man (i.e., not an angel, nor any other being or creature) and therefore mortal, God seems to have specified that the altar of burnt offering should be made of shittim wood overlaid with copper. Here we have mute testimony which says that the perfect humanity (copper) of Christ Jesus was identified with mortality (shittim wood)—a corroboration of that New Testament doctrine which teaches that it was the man Christ Jesus that gave himself a ransom for all. (1 Tim. 2:5,6)

By faith in this doctrine, the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus (the altar of burnt-offering), one enters the Court condition. In faith he progresses toward the door of the Holy. Here, by way of consecration, he is begotten to a new hope and a corresponding new nature. In these he remains until, passing the second vail, he enters the Most Holy—the spirit-born condition. The present “in part” (1 Cor. 13:9,10) condition, represented by the Holy of the ancient Tabernacle, is for the saint of God the place of his spiritual growth and development. Here he receives the enlightenment from the golden candlestick; here he is fed by the bread of presence from the golden table; and in this light and strength he is privileged to offer incense at the golden altar. The light from the candlestick and the bread of presence both represent those deeper aspects of God’s Word which are so essential to the well-being of the new creature. Yet all this is only his in hope (the hope to which he has been begotten), and which hope is the “anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail.” (Heb. 6:19) What lies beyond the vail? It is the realization of the glorious hope that some day this “perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:54, RSV—but see also Weymouth), and death is swallowed up of victory. This glorious hope which causes one to purify himself (1 John 3:3) is reflected in the articles of furniture placed in the Holy of the typical Tabernacle. The table and the incense altar were made of shittim wood overlaid with gold. Death is still a possibility while we tarry in the “in part” condition, and will be until it is swallowed up of that victory which shall be ours if we remain faithful unto death.

Beyond the vail stood the ark of the covenant, and it also was made of shittim wood overlaid with gold (we do not have reference to the lid). Placing it in the Most Holy beyond the vail was intended to show what the Church would inherit in passing “beyond the vail” of death. Thus did the ark represent the glorified Church, no longer living in hope of attaining glory, honor and immortality; but having attained it, possessing it—the perishable will have put on the imperishable, and the mortal will have put on immortality. Death will have been swallowed up and will no longer be a possibility.

He who is no longer dead in trespasses and sin and whose fleshly existence is now identified with Jesus (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:21; 2 Cor. 4:9,10; Col. 1:24) radiates a sweet fragrance—a benign influence upon all with whom he comes in contact. For, like Jesus, he will be seeking always to be doing those things that please the heavenly Father (John 8:29). Surely he will be doing good unto all men as he has opportunity (Gal. 6:10), and such a fragrance as this is never identified with the old condemned dead man. Thus is shittim wood fragrant.

Perhaps it is also that which makes the shittim wood fragrant that protects it against the onslaughts of insects. Thus even while a Christian still possesses mortality, because of his identification with Christ Jesus he possesses that same indwelling spirit by which sweet, benign influences emanate toward all men. This protects him against the onslaughts of destructive evils: “quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, gossip, conceit, and disorder.” (2 Cor. 12:20—RSV)

“Briefly stated, the Tabernacle was a house constructed of a series of boards of shittim [acacia] wood, `overlaid’ or plated with gold.” (Tabernacle Shadows pg13) “Shittim (Hebrew: ha-shittim), the name of the wood which comes from the acacia tree, mentioned 26 times in connection with the tabernacle and its furniture (Exodus 25–38).” (Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary) “Shittah Tree, Acacia seya L. Dilile (Hebrew: shittah), a gnarled, roughbarked, thorny tree of the pea family. The acacia or shittah tree of Isaiah 41:18 is mentioned only this once in the Bible, but its wood (shittim) is referred to many times. Shittim wood is insect repellent; a very beautiful close grained wood, orange when cut, turning darker with age. It was used to fashion the Ark of the Tabernacle (Exod. 25:10). The shittah tree yields gum arabic and gum senegal.” (Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary) “The symbols of the tabernacle derived from the vegetable kingdom are acacia, cedar, hyssop, flour, wine, oil, spices of different kinds, pomegranates, and almonds. Of the two sorts of timber which stand at the head of this list, the latter was used only in rites of purification, and therefore in small  quantity . . . When the Hebrews, many generations later in their history, erected a stationary and permanent sanctuary at Jerusalem, cedar was used to cover the walls of the edifice on the interior surface, fulfilling thus the same office as the acacia in the tabernacle. Both having extraordinary durability, either might be employed to represent that idea; and, as they were equally beautiful, the question which of the two should be elected might be determined by considerations of convenience. Acacia, easily procured in the vicinity of Sinai, was by its small specific gravity preferable to cedar for the portable sanctuary of the wilderness; on the other hand, cedar could be conveniently obtained by Solomon from the Phoenicians in exchange for the productions of Palestine, and was as little liable to decay as acacia. The substitution of cedar for acacia, because more conveniently obtained, goes to show that they were both significant by reason of the durability which belonged to them in common; and the most natural interpretation of this capacity to resist corruption would make it indicate the idea of life.” (Atwater, The Sacred Tabernacle of the Hebrews)

Chief Artisans

Incidental to the erection of the Tabernacle, Jehovah God specially called (i.e., raised up) two artisans—Bezaleel and Aholiab. The two artisans specially called and endowed of God to build the antitypical Tabernacle are Christ Jesus and his Church!

It is interesting to note how God Himself, through the Prophet Isaiah, has identified Christ Jesus as the antitypical Bezaleel. Let us observe this by comparing these two texts:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding and knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” (Exod. 31:1–4)

“And there shall come forth a root out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the LORD.” (Isa. 11:1,2)

But the identification does not end here! The scriptures indicate that God called Bezaleel by name. This is but another way by which the holy Spirit of God would direct our attention to the deeper significance of the name. It is not a mere coincidence that Bezaleel means “the shadow of God.” Could any description of Christ Jesus be any more fitting than this? Does the Apostle Paul not speak of him as being “the express image” of the Father’s person? (Heb. 1:1–3)

Bezaleel was the son of Uri, and Uri means “light.” John bears testimony of Jesus, that he was “The true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9) And Jesus himself declared, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)

Uri was the son of Hur, and Hur means “noble” according to Cyrus A. Potts’ Dictionary of Bible Proper Names. According to the Oxford University Press’ Dictionary of Proper Names, it means “cavern.” Both of these thoughts serve to establish the identity of the antitypical Bezaleel. Who will deny the nobility of Jesus, the one who was rich, but for our sakes became poor (2 Cor. 8:9); the one who left the realms of light to enter the shades of night, there to taste death for every man (Heb. 2:9)? Only the truly noble make such sacrifices! The shades of night involved not only an existence upon this sin-cursed earth, but a passing into the cavern—the grave, the state of death—by the only human creature who had the right to live forever. What a wonderful savior!

Hur was of the tribe of Judah, and Judah means “praised.” How significant! Jesus in his prehuman existence in the realms of heavenly glory, being the very highest and noblest of all God’s creatures, received the homage and praise of all the spiritual and angelic hosts. All during the Gospel age he has received the praise of all God’s truly consecrated saints. And throughout all of the ages of eternity he will be praised by all creatures in heaven and on earth. (Phil. 2:9; Rev. 6:9–14)

Thus he who in his prehuman existence was of the praised in glory, in order to become the light of the world, in the nobility of character, humbled himself under the mighty hand of God to become the man Christ Jesus.

And being found in fashion as a man, “he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8) Thus God has highly exalted him and “given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.” (Phil. 2:9–11) To him has God committed the major responsibility of preparing the materials for, and of erecting, the great antitypical Tabernacle of God.

After declaring (Exod. 31:4,5) how that He endowed Bezaleel “to work in gold, and in silver, and in copper, and in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in the carving of timber, to work all manner of workmanship,” God says, “And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.” (Exod. 31:6)

Here too, we believe, the identity of the Church as the antitypical Aholiab is clearly indicated, for Aholiab means “the Father’s tent.” Can there be anything which more strikingly sets forth the Church’s true function during this age as the Tabernacle of God in which He dwells by His Spirit? That which is true of the church collectively, is of necessity true of each member individually. We are, even as the Apostle declares, sanctuaries of God. “Know ye not, that ye are a sanctuary of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)

Aholiab was the son of Ahisamach, and Ahisamach means “my brother has supported.” How true! Surely, without the support of Jesus, our elder brother, we could do absolutely nothing. We are merely branches and must look to the vine for support. “I am the Vine, ye are the branches . . . without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Ahisamach was of the tribe of Dan, and Dan means “judge.” God has ordained that the Church shall in due time judge the world. (1 Cor. 6:2) But all those who shall be of that Church are admonished to judge themselves now. Under the caption “Proper Judging of Ourselves” we quote:

“The Apostle Paul refers to our proper growth as a new creation and our proper judging or criticizing of ourselves, saying, ‘Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the reverence of the Lord.’ (2 Cor. 7:1) ‘Let a man examine himself’—let him note the weaknesses and filthiness of his fallen fleshly nature and seek to cleanse himself, ‘putting off ‘ the deeds of the ‘old man’ and being renewed, changed from glory to glory, more and more into the image of God’s dear Son, who is our Exemplar as well as our Redeemer and Lord. But the Apostle Paul urges that we cleanse not only our flesh as much as possible, but also our spirits, or minds, that the new mind, the holy resolution, or will, be given full control, and that every thought be brought into captivity to the will of God as expressed by and illustrated in Christ.” (New Creation pg. 409)

Since the very purpose of raising up these two artisans was, as is clearly stated (Exod. 31:7–11), incidental to the building and the erection of the Tabernacle of God among the Israelites, is it unreasonable to conclude that the work of their antitypical counterparts, Christ Jesus and the Church, is also incidental to the “building” and “erecting” of the Sanctuary of God (Heb. 8:2) the Tabernacle of God which is one day to be among men? (Ezek. 37:27)

“Then will be fulfilled that which was written: `The Tabernacle of God [God’s dwelling, the glorified Church] is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be [become] His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things [the reign of Satan, sin and death] are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.’ Rev. 21:3–5.” (Tabernacle Shadows pg.76)

It will be noted that it was Bezaleel who was specially “named” (Exod. 31:2) and was given the pre-eminence and special endowments “to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass (copper), and in cutting stones, to set them, to work in all manner of workmanship.” (Exod. 31:4,5) So it is also that the antitypical Bezaleel, Christ Jesus, has been given the pre-eminence “in all things” (Col. 1:18)

GOLD—those things that pertain to the divine and its nature.

SILVER—the Truth, and perhaps more particularly, with that Truth which has to do with redemption; for it will be recalled that the sockets supporting the Tabernacle structure as a whole, were made of the silver, the redemption money, paid by the Israelites as a poll tax. (Exod. 30:12–16; 38:25–27)

COPPER—the human nature of the man Christ Jesus and the justified humanity of the Church, sacrificed unto God so that the world of mankind may in the age which is to come have an altar unto which they may bring their “offerings.”

It is also he, Christ Jesus, the antitypical Bezaleel, who oversees in the matter of the:

CUTTING OF STONES—Surely he enters into and oversees all the trials and experiences which have to do with the “preparing” of the “precious stones” (Ezek. 9:11) the peculiar “treasure” of God, the jewels (Mal. 3:17) for their “setting” in the “breastplate of judgment” (righteousness). (Tabernacle Shadows pgg. 35,36)

CARVING OF TIMBER—In the type, the timber referred to was no other than the shittim (acacia) wood used exclusively in the Tabernacle. The counterpart of this, we suggest, is the perfect humanity of Jesus himself, and the justified humanity of the Church, but more particularly comprehended in the word “mortality.” The vessels of the Tabernacle, like the table of the shewbread, the incense altar, the ark of the covenant, and the boards, were all made of shittim wood, but were overlaid with gold; suggesting, perhaps that those identified with the antitypical Tabernacle have, first of all, a mortality which will in time “put on” “immortality, a corruptible (not corrupt) which must “put on incorruption.” (1 Cor. 15:53, 54) It is this mortality that is now being dealt with in a “cutting off” here and a “cutting off” there, involving what the Scriptures call a “circumcision of the heart.” (Col. 2:11; Rom. 2:29)

It is suggested that the “carving of timber” spoken of in this passage of Scripture has reference to the fallen race, who, by way of this “workmanship,” would be blessed in their restitution.

Though it is true “Bezaleel” will work with the fallen human race in due time, as one would with timber, it does not seem to us that the account of Exodus 31 has reference to this. The particular work for which Bezaleel was called was incidental to the establishment of the Tabernacle of God among the Israelites, which antitypically will be the whole world of  mankind, being blessed by the presence of the Church, the Tabernacle of God with them.

Aholiab was Bezaleel’s chief assistant. So is the Church to Christ Jesus. She cooperates with him, her Head, her Lord, her Master, in bringing everything into subjection to that mind which was in and is Christ Jesus.

“Solomon was a type of the greater son of David who was also the Son of God. Solomon indeed built the typical house of the Lord, but Christ, the antitypical son of David and Son of God is now building the true, the antitypical temple, the church which is his body, a temple of the holy Spirit, a house of sons.”

Most Bible aids such as books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc., say that the name Bezaleel means “IN the shadow of God.” I agree that Jesus’ life on this earth was a protected one, as if he ever and always walked in the very shadow of his Father, God. However, I also believe as did the Apostle Paul that he was “the express image of His person” (Heb. 1:3); and also that in him, as Benjamin Wilson declares in his Emphatic Diaglott, “dwells all the fullness of the Deity bodily” (Col. 2:9); that Jesus was really “the shadow of God.” This is also the significance of the words of Jesus to Philip:

“Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father . . . Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (John 14:9,10)

In the Hebrew tongue the name Jesus is Yahshua meaning “Yah(weh) is Savior.”

“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:19–21)

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9–11)

“Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Heb. 1:4)

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  1. http://koti.phnet.fi/petripaavola/Tabernacle

    Tabernacle with gorgeous photos!

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  2. Can you see how the Church has Fallen….
    If our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit… and they are……but we are not taught this in our churches today……….is this not the falling away from the Truth of the Gospel….are we not teaching another gospel?
    can not the absents or denying of the Holy Spirit in the Church be the Abomination that Maketh desolate?
    Thank you for the Truth that You are Teaching…….Jesus Bless You….Mrs. B

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