The Tabernacle Articles

The Ark

What study on the Tabernacle would be complete without a detailed examination of the ark? This may be the one item people most question, at the same time, assuming they know the answers.

The ark is the heart of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle is designed around the ark, which contains the ten commandments, plus a number of other important items including a container of manna, and Aaron’s budding staff. A list of laws given to Moses were also added to the side of the ark.

Physical descriptions of the ark are recorded in Exodus 25:10-22, and Exodus 37:1-9. The ark is two and one half cubits long, one and one half cubits wide, and one and one half cubit high. Converting these dimensions shows us the ark is forty five inches long, twenty seven inches wide, and twenty seven inches high.

The ark is constructed of wood, overlaid with pure gold. It is interesting the Bible specifies pure gold. By definition, the word pure means morally and ceremonially clean. This may also indicate the thickness of the gold, and the manner in which it was applied.

The ark may have been covered in gold leaf, a very thin covering, much thinner than paper. To form thin sheets without holes, gold must be free of impurities. Pure gold is very soft, and easy to form. Purifying gold also served as a spiritual lesson for the Israelites and us.

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Gold taken from Egypt may have come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. We are told, Aaron made his molten calf from earrings. To withstand normal wear and tear, resist scratching, and hold its shape gold jewelry is formed from a much harder material than pure gold. Metals such as silver, copper, or nickel are added to harden gold. These materials also alter the color.

The Bible tells us, Moses burned Aaron’s golden calf in a fire, which had a hardening effect. He then beat it into dust, cast it into water, and made the Israelites drink it. Based on the fact Moses was able to beat the golden calf into dust small enough to dissolve in water, we know the gold used for the calf contained large amounts of impurities.

Gold used to cover the ark was pure, making it possible to form into very thin sheets. The gold from Egypt may have been in the form of jewelry, and maybe the idols worshipped in Egypt. To purify gold, it had to be melted. In the molten state, impurities separate from the gold. Once the impurities are removed, the pure gold can be formed into sheets.

The Bible uses the purification process to illustrate faith. The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 1:7 KJV.

We can only imagine the spiritual lessons the Israelites must have learned as they watched the gods of Egypt melt away, impurities float to the top where they were scooped out and discarded, cast onto the ground, and mixed with dust.

To Israel, the images of those gods cast into the melting pot represented a lifetime of oppression. Egyptians believed the strength of their gods gave them dominance over the Israelites. They also gave the gods credit for light from the sun, rain, crops, and fertility. This may have been one reason Egyptians had a controversy with the Israelites. The Bible tells us they feared Israel, based on their ability to reproduce. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Exodus 1:9-10 KJV.

The ark contained four rings, one on each corner. These rings were also made of gold, but the Bible does not specify pure gold. The reason for this is logical. Pure gold would have been too soft to bear the weight of the ark, which was carried over long distances, supported by the four rings.

The rings were cast in gold. In this case, they would have undergone the same heating, and purification process as pure gold. Once purified, other metals in the proper proportions would be added to provide the required hardness. Silver and brass added to gold also have a spiritual meaning discussed in other chapters.

Two staves, or poles were fabricated from wood, and covered in gold. The poles were not covered with pure gold, but an alloy, or mixture, making the gold hard enough to endure the rigors of travel. The covering on the staves must have been much thicker than the covering on the ark. This also made the wooden poles much stronger. Wood possessed properties of strength, and light weight. A covering of gold alloy added strength, beauty and durability.

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The ark contained the testimony given to Moses, which is covered by the mercy seat, made of pure gold. The mercy seat is the same size as the ark, two and one half cubits, by one and one half cubits. On top of the mercy seat stood two cherubims made of gold, formed of a single piece, formed by hammering.

The cherubims were placed at the ends of the mercy seat facing one another, with their wings spread out over the mercy seat. This is where God appeared to met with Moses.

Before we can accurately study the spiritual meanings of the ark, we must first understand the physical aspects. The arc was made of wood covered in pure gold. The ark was designed and constructed to carry God’s law, the ten commandments. The mercy seat, made of pure gold, covered the law. This was a sign of God’s salvation, which covers sins. This salvation came through His son, Jesus. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29 KJV.

The cherubims are a reminder of God’s kingdom in Heaven. All the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, and let all the angels of God worship him. Revelation 7:11, Hebrews 1:6 KJV.

Four rings attached to the four corners supported two staves, used by the Levites to carry the ark. The priests were an example of people. Not only were they to physically carry the law, they were to make the law a life study. The law was to become a part of their lives, a part of their being, both physically, and spiritually.

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. (19) And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 KJV.

And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; Numbers 3:12. The life of the priest was a living example of the connection between man and God. The Levites did not receive an inheritance of land. This illustrated the fact, life as we know it is temporary. Instead, priests were given a portion of the sacrifice. They also received the tithe. The best of the first fruits were given to support the Levites. A portion of the Tabernacle service was designed to meet the physical needs of the priests. In return, priests were to maintain the Tabernacle, its services, teach the law, and the testimony of God. They were instructed to, “gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:” Deuteronomy 31:12 KJV.

The ark was made up of only two elements, gold and wood. Understanding the spiritual meaning of these two elements may teach more about the ark than the physical details.

Pure gold completely covered the ark, inside and out. The mercy seat consisted of pure gold. Gold also represents God’s law, and His word.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Psalms 19:8-10, Psalms 119:72, Psalms 119:127 KJV.

To find the spiritual meaning for shittim wood, we have to use a little deductive thinking. The word shittim is used almost exclusively in association with the Tabernacle. When searching the word wood, a number of texts provide a definition outside the general contexts of the subject. Wood comes from trees, which is the most logical word to examine.

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree. I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. Psalms 92:12, Psalms 1:3, Jeremiah 17:7-8, Jeremiah 11:16, Psalms 52:8 KJV.

Trees spiritually represent people. Since wood for the ark came from a tree, the wood used in the ark must spiritually represent people.

What a fitting spiritual symbolism for the ark, gold and wood, representing God’s law, and His people. The law is divided into two groups. The first four describe our relationship with God, the remaining six, our relationship with other people.

Gold lining the inside, and outside of the ark is pure, the perfect representation of the law. The rings are cast from a harder material. To achieve this, the gold must be mixed with other materials, such as silver, or brass. Laws in addition to the ten commandments were carried in the side of the ark. These included the sacrificial laws and ceremonies pointing to Christ. Sacrificial and ceremonial laws were not required until after sin. The rings were designed to carry the ark. The earthly ark was carried through the wilderness by Levites for forty years. There was never any reason for the ark in Heaven to wander for forty years.

The ark was carried by two wooden staves, or poles, covered with gold. Here again we see the symbol of man, covered by gold, which represents God’s law, and His word. The gold covering of course added strength to the wooden poles.

The fact the ark was carried shows how the law required an effort on man’s part. Because the ark was to be carried only by the Levites, portrays the responsibility they carried as priests, representing God, and teaching His law.

The entire design of the ark symbolizes the relationship between God and man. The law rests upon the gold, which never deteriorates. Wood, used to produce the shape and form of the ark, symbolizes the need for man to maintain the shape required to carry the law.

The covering, known as the mercy seat, is pure gold. Mercy comes only through the sacrifice of Jesus. Pure gold represents Jesus’ perfect life. The mercy seat covers the law, just as Jesus’ perfect life covers the law for us.

Cherubims of gold represent the angels in the Heavenly courts. They show the reverence we should have for the law, which represents God’s character. They also represent cooperation between the Heavenly host and man. Pure gold shows the aid provided by angles is perfect, because of their perfect obedience, and cooperation with God.

Overall, the ark symbolizes, cooperation between God, His angels, man, and the law which are at the center of understanding. Once we understand how to interpret the symbols of the ark, we can begin to understand the other details of the Tabernacle.

Reference texts:

KJV Exodus 25:10-22. And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. (11) And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. (12) And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. (13) And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. (14) And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. (15) The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. (16) And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. (17) And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. (18) And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. (19) And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. (20) And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. (21) And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. (22) And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

KJV Exodus 30:6. And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.

KJV Exodus 37:1-9. And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it: (2) And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about. (3) And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by the four corners of it; even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it. (4) And he made staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. (5) And he put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark. (6) And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof. (7) And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat; (8) One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof. (9) And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims.

Korah and the Incense Burners

This is an in depth look at Korah and the time he gathered a number of Levites to challenge Moses. Why did Korah feel he could challenge Moses? What we the consequences? What do the symbols point to? What does that event teach us about modern Christianity?

Numbers 16:1-7 NLTse One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. (2) They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. (3) They united against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD’s people?” (4) When Moses heard what they were saying, he fell face down on the ground. (5) Then he said to Korah and his followers, “Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence. (6) Korah, you and all your followers must prepare your incense burners. (7) Light fires in them tomorrow, and burn incense before the LORD. Then we will see whom the LORD chooses as his holy one. You Levites are the ones who have gone too far!”

This is another story that’s usually skipped over, or people take it out of scripture, and try to make it stand on its own. Based on previous chapters, we already know, this story has a direct bearing on previous stories. We may not see it now, but with the right amount of time and prayer, details will begin to reveal themselves.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: The Book of Numbers
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Here Korah confronts, attacks, and challenges Moses’ authority. Korah is a Levite. We see how Korah decided to join forces with people from the tribe of Reuben. We could look back to see what Reuben represents. I know a lot of people who would look at that connection and immediately look back at sections like Jacob’s, or Israel’s prophecy concerning his sons, blessings he placed upon them, and warnings Jacob gave them before he died in Egypt. There are other stories and other ways you can study this. You can use the rule of first mention. Look back at the first stories Levi and Reuben are mentioned in. Look at their birth order and who their mother was.

Those are lessons for another book or study. Here we want to look at the connection to the Tabernacle and not be drawn too far off the subject. I was going to skip this story until I saw a connection with the Tabernacle about 2/3rds through this chapter.

Korah was one of Moses’ relatives. He may have been an uncle or a cousin. With 250 members opposing Moses, he was facing off against some close relatives. That fact tells us, Moses had no choice but to leave matters in God’s hands. Moses didn’t want to fight against his relatives or their friends.

We also see a movement from the enemy which began with the Egyptians who left with Israel, traveled with them for two years, then convinced Israel there was a better life. Israel never tasted the better life the Egyptians talked about. Israel never tasted anything better than the manna God gave them. Israel had their freedom for the first time in generations. But that didn’t hamper the enemies plans. It only altered them a little bit.

Isn’t it true, when a person is born again and becomes a new believer, that’s when the enemy steps up his attacks? Satan takes evil angels and demons off some people and rallies his forces around every new believer in an attempt to win them back as quickly as possible. Moses gave us an excellent illustration of that battle.

 

Korah looked at those two prophets walking around the camp telling people how to return to God. They told people about the mistakes they made by turning God down and the life God intended for them. While Egyptians started from the outside working their way in with their message of the better life the world had to offer, God’s prophets told people about a life they never imagined. They told them about the kingdom or society God planned for them, where everyone communicated directly with God, and all His people were priests and prophets. Those elders shared what God showed them.

The two prophets explained what that food brought back from the promised land showed. That food showed them the life God had planned for them. They explained to the people why God’s first personal meeting with them was at the mountain he chose, and why He began their education with the Ten Commandments. Then they reminded the people about the oath they swore to God and promises they made to God. Those prophets told the people how they quickly gave up on God’s law, but God never expected them to keep the full extent of the law. That was what the sacrificial system was supposed to teach them. Sin carries a penalty, but that penalty was transferred to the sacrifice.

Those two prophets told people how much more was in the promise land, and how God planned to move the present inhabitants out. They told Israel how those people turned their backs on God, made their own religions, appointed their own priests, and built their own idols and alters. Israel should have seen the connection between the people they would replace and the sins they committed by moving away from God. But the enemy had other plans to counter those thoughts. The enemy had other people waiting in the wings ready to move Moses out of place and seize power for themselves. The enemy knew how easy it was to get people to do what he wanted them to do. All Satan needed to do was promise them power and glory.

Israel should have seen how the food brought back from the promised land exceeded all their expectations. That food from the promised was much better than the food those Egyptians described. There should have been no doubts of misunderstanding. God was not only capable of giving them a better life than ever imagined, He was ready to fulfill His promises.

Korah should have learned from the reports he heard. But be concentrated on his pride and jealousy. Since the day Korah watched those seventy elders climb that mountain with Moses, something raged within him. He wanted to be a part of that group. He thought he deserved to be a part of that group. But he was left behind.

When Korah heard those two prophets describe the promised land, it reminded him about the stories the seventy elders told about that banquet they attended on God’s mountain. It reminded Korah about how he felt left out and neglected. Those stories sparked a rage inside Korah that burned into a raging fire.

Korah had been talking to the other leaders in Israel since the day he watched Moses, Aaron, his sons, and those seventy elders climb God’s mountain. Korah paid attention to what the other leaders said and what the people thought. Korah figured out how he could use that to his advantage.

Korah agreed with the people when they made negative comments about Moses and Aaron. Especially how Moses appointed Aaron high priest because he was his brother. And how Moses made his sister Miriam a prophetess. Korah told those people how Moses was protecting himself by keeping the leadership in the family. It wasn’t difficult to get people to agree. Korah learned how to tell people what they wanted to hear.

Korah’s plan was to take charge himself. It seemed like the perfect opportunity. Korah had the other leaders dress in their best clothes. Clothing they took from Egyptian houses. Then to make it look official, Korah had all the leaders carry incense burners.

Korah should have known it was against the law to use the incense recipe for personal purposes. Using the usual techniques of the incense maker, blend the spices together and sprinkle them with salt to produce a pure and holy incense. Grind some of the mixture into a very fine powder and put it in front of the Ark of the Covenant, where I will meet with you in the Tabernacle. You must treat this incense as most holy. Never use this formula to make this incense for yourselves. It is reserved for the LORD, and you must treat it as holy. Anyone who makes incense like this for personal use will be cut off from the community.” (Exodus 30:35-38 NLTse). But Korah convinced himself, he was a leader in God’s eyes. Korah looked back and remembered God’s offer to be a nation of priests, and used that to his advantage. It wasn’t hard to convince people that offer was still valid. The deception worked two ways when people agreed with Korah, convincing them, his actions were right and holy. Korah and his followers also convinced themselves, Moses misunderstood God’s intentions, and they needed to correct the situation before it was too late.

Korah had incense burners made for all the leaders who followed him. Korah designed his so they were taller and grander then the simple pans used by the priests. Incense burners like Korah’s design were not part of the pattern for the Tabernacle. Aaron’s sons misused the incense burners, or fire pans designed for the alter, and God destroyed them. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over them. In this way, they disobeyed the LORD by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. So fire blazed forth from the LORD’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.'” And Aaron was silent. (Leviticus 10:1-3 NLTse). Korah and his followers should have learned a lesson from that event, but their pride blinded them.

God knew how to use that mistake to his advantage. It was time to repeat another lesson. “Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence. Korah, you and all your followers must prepare your incense burners. Light fires in them tomorrow, and burn incense before the LORD. Then we will see whom the LORD chooses as his holy one. You Levites are the ones who have gone too far!”

Do You Want the Priesthood Too?

Numbers 16:8-11 NLTse Then Moses spoke again to Korah: “Now listen, you Levites! (9) Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the LORD’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them? (10) Korah, he has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites. Are you now demanding the priesthood as well? (11) The LORD is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?”

Moses directly addressed Korah and the Levites with him. Moses knew who the leaders behind the plot were. Moses didn’t try convincing the other people they were misled. Moses pointed out the responsibilities those people were given. Isn’t it better to serve God the way chosen for you to serve, before you decide how you want to serve? Don’t people have to first learn how to carry out orders before they start giving God suggestions on how they think they should serve?

Look what’s happening here. Korah is making the same mistake Aaron made when they were waiting for Moses to come down from that mountain. Korah was one of the leaders who convinced Aaron to take the role of high priest. Korah was among the leaders who created a whole new religion. Korah suggested services and features that golden calf should have. Korah saw how those ideas didn’t work. But did he learn anything from that experience? Evidently not. Korah made a few little changes, ran the ideas past a few people he knew would agree with him, and when the time looked right, made his move to seize power.

It’s true, God was working hard to draw Korah and the other people closer to Himself. But people wanted to establish that relationship on their own terms, in their own way, and following their own steps, process, and timing. They wanted fame, glory, notoriety, and leadership roles before they began the process of sanctification, the process of being right with God.

Let’s look at this story from the facts we’ve collected. Korah wanted to be in charge. He convinced people to make him their leader. Korah promised those people leadership roles if they supported him. Let’s look at this from God’s view. Korah wanted to tell people what to think, now to worship, and how to act. If God placed Korah in the leadership role he wanted, what was going to stop Korah from using the same qualities, methods, and skills he used to gain that position, and try to convince God, he had better ideas and better ways of running everything? Nothing was going to stop Korah from abusing whatever power he had. Korah would misuse power the same way Israel made gluttons out of themselves when God gave them the meat they asked for. Korah was no more prepared to lead then Israel was prepared to enter the promised land. See how all those stories fit together? God was not teaching lessons that are difficult to understand and follow. We understand what lengths God went to teach those people once we look back to see how all those stories are related.

Moses Tried to Talk to the Leader of Reuben

Numbers 16:12-14 NLTse Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they replied, “We refuse to come before you! (13) Isn’t it enough that you brought us out of Egypt, a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us here in this wilderness, and that you now treat us like your subjects? (14) What’s more, you haven’t brought us into another land flowing with milk and honey. You haven’t given us a new homeland with fields and vineyards. Are you trying to fool these men? We will not come.”

When Moses called the next group of leaders, they refused to come. They had their minds made up. They were convinced Moses was trying to kill them. They forgot God decided how they should pay for their doubts. Moses didn’t decide how they should be punished, God did. We have to remember, Moses is dealing with the group of people God said would wander in that wilderness until they died. Those people would never see the promised land. That began a series of events. Some of them led to open rebellion. Other events were plots and schemes behind the scenes.

You can see a half truth in their statement to Moses, as well as a distinct link to Korah. It is true, those individuals were not in the promised land. But people they appointed went to the promised land for forty days. It seems they appointed the wrong people. At least they decided to believe the wrong group of people. That was an example of majority rule. Something they were hoping to use to their advantage to out vote Moses and God.

The Challenge is Given

Numbers 16:15-17 NLTse Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, “Do not accept their grain offerings! I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, and I have never hurt a single one of them.” (16) And Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers must come here tomorrow and present yourselves before the LORD. Aaron will also be here. (17) You and each of your 250 followers must prepare an incense burner and put incense on it, so you can all present them before the LORD. Aaron will also bring his incense burner.”

We’ve seen Moses get frustrated in previous chapters. What did Moses do when He got frustrated? He took it to God. When Moses heard what they were saying, he fell face down on the ground. Then he said to Korah and his followers, “Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence. We saw that in the introduction to this chapter. Moses had a moment with God where he received instructions on how to handle the situation. Moses was used to the process. That was one of the most important lessons for God’s priests to learn. We can tell how important it is by how often it was repeated. If only we could learn that lesson today.

Moses repeated himself here. There was nothing more he could do. Moses tried talking to Korah. That didn’t work. Moses tried talking to the leaders from Reuben’s tribe. They refused to listen. The next step was to follow God’s plan. It was the only alternative left.

Moses Prepares for the Inevitable

Numbers 16:18-27 NLTse So each of these men prepared an incense burner, lit the fire, and placed incense on it. Then they all stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle with Moses and Aaron. (19) Meanwhile, Korah had stirred up the entire community against Moses and Aaron, and they all gathered at the Tabernacle entrance. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to the whole community, (20) and the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, (21) “Get away from all these people so that I may instantly destroy them!” (22) But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground. “O God,” they pleaded, “you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Must you be angry with all the people when only one man sins?” (23) And the LORD said to Moses, (24) “Then tell all the people to get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” (25) So Moses got up and rushed over to the tents of Dathan and Abiram, followed by the elders of Israel. (26) “Quick!” he told the people. “Get away from the tents of these wicked men, and don’t touch anything that belongs to them. If you do, you will be destroyed for their sins.” (27) So all the people stood back from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Then Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrances of their tents, together with their wives and children and little ones.

Little did those people realize they were breaking God’s law by using incense for personal gain. They chose to make incense burners and burn incense as a sign of their leadership. A leadership God never gave them. There is a ton of spiritual lessons we could apply that decision to today. People take little bits and pieces of symbols and other parts of God’s Word and apply it to some man made idea that was never part of God’s plan of salvation. They use those things to set themselves apart as leaders. Many of those details today involve spiritual gifts. Especially gifts of prophecy, teaching, and leadership. Today people claim those gifts are only available to people with years of education from man made institutions following made made study courses. Here we’ve been following God’s method and order of teaching. Can you see the difference? Can you see how God’s methods are designed to reach everyone, including the foreign rabble traveling with them? And best of all. God’s education doesn’t drive people into debt. As a matter of fact, He provided meals in His classroom.

Korah used the time to drum up additional support. He showed his true colors and intent. That’s when God said, “enough is enough,” and showed His glorious presence to the entire community. God could have appeared to only Moses, or the people who supported him. If there were any left. That is besides the seventy elders and a few people who listened to them. God showed Himself to everyone.

Then God showed His concern for the few people who followed Him. “Get away from all these people so that I may instantly destroy them!” God spoke to everyone again. But since those people didn’t want God to talk to them, Moses had to repeat the message.

Notice how Moses wasn’t the only person to hear God’s message. The people didn’t want to hear God. But that didn’t stop Aaron and the elders from hearing God. Just because the majority doesn’t want to listen to God, doesn’t mean God stopped talking to the few who wanted to listen.

We see a lot of that these days. Most of the world insists, God doesn’t talk to us anymore. They convinced the majority of people that’s true. But it never has been true. When Jesus was born a few people listened. Only a few. But those who listened, believed, and saw a part of prophecy the rest of the world missed.

Not only God showed His concern, but Moses, Aaron, and those seventy prophets with them showed how concerned they were for the people. This is a contrast to the way Korah and his people wanted to lead. They lusted after power to such a degree, they were willing to put their families and friends at risk. We see a lot of that attitude today when we see preachers leading people to themselves and not to God. How much clearer could God have made that simple lesson?

All of the people who followed God ran through the camp with the same message. “Quick!” he told the people. “Get away from the tents of these wicked men, and don’t touch anything that belongs to them. If you do, you will be destroyed for their sins.” It was a simple message. But keep in mind, they had to tell well over a million people. If we did the math, each of those 72 people were responsible for telling over 13,000 people. A rough estimate. To get the job done in time, there had to be more people helping to spread the warning.

Even after the warning, Korah’s followers boldly stood their ground. God gave them a moment to look over the situation and think about it. They could see they were no longer among the majority. Most of the people recognized the message as God’s message and the truth.

The Earth Opened Up

Numbers 16:28-34 NLTse And Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done–for I have not done them on my own. (29) If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the LORD has not sent me. (30) But if the LORD does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the LORD.” (31) He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. (32) The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. (33) So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel. (34) All the people around them fled when they heard their screams. “The earth will swallow us, too!” they cried.

Notice the sequence. After the simple warning of stay away from them was given, Moses filled in the details. That’s another important quality of a prophet. It doesn’t make sense to fill in details when people are stuck on their own beliefs and won’t listen anyway. For Korah’s friends, there wasn’t much of a chance to repent. As soon as Moses filled in the details, it happened.

Moses also pointed out, it was something he couldn’t do. God did everything. The warning was from God and the punishment was from God. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel. No human force could have caused that event. To make certain people couldn’t attribute it to a natural event, God went a step further by closing up the hole after they sunk in.

The Incense Burners Didn’t Go Down

Numbers 16:35-40 NLTse Then fire blazed forth from the LORD and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense. (36) And the LORD said to Moses, (37) “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pull all the incense burners from the fire, for they are holy. Also tell him to scatter the burning coals. (38) Take the incense burners of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and hammer the metal into a thin sheet to overlay the altar. Since these burners were used in the LORD’s presence, they have become holy. Let them serve as a warning to the people of Israel.” (39) So Eleazar the priest collected the 250 bronze incense burners that had been used by the men who died in the fire, and he hammered them into a thin sheet to overlay the altar. (40) This would warn the Israelites that no unauthorized person–no one who was not a descendant of Aaron–should ever enter the LORD’s presence to burn incense. If anyone did, the same thing would happen to him as happened to Korah and his followers. So the LORD’s instructions to Moses were carried out.

This is amazing. All of the people, their families, and everything they owned fall into the earth when it opened up. Everything but those 250 incense burners. God had plans for them. He burnt them with fire. When we check the original Hebrew word, it means God purified those incense burners. After they were purified, God called them holy.

Many people think, because God called them holy, those incense burners were originally part of the Tabernacle and its services. But that’s not true. You can go back and check yourself. God designed firepans and utensils to clean out coals and ashes from under the alter. They were completely different than incense burners Korah designed to show their status as leaders.

God had Korah’s incense burners collected and hammered out to sheets used to cover the alter. That extra covering served as a reminder of the event and how God dwelt with Korah’s uprising. Did people notice the extra layer? Did you see the connection fire had with cleansing those burners and see why they covered the alter of burnt offerings? Those burners would see the fires made for sacrifices as long as that alter was in service.

Aaron Stopped the Plague

Numbers 16:41-50 NLTse But the very next morning the whole community of Israel began muttering again against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the LORD’s people!” (42) As the community gathered to protest against Moses and Aaron, they turned toward the Tabernacle and saw that the cloud had covered it, and the glorious presence of the LORD appeared. (43) Moses and Aaron came and stood in front of the Tabernacle, (44) and the LORD said to Moses, (45) “Get away from all these people so that I can instantly destroy them!” But Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground. (46) And Moses said to Aaron, “Quick, take an incense burner and place burning coals on it from the altar. Lay incense on it, and carry it out among the people to purify them and make them right with the LORD. The LORD’s anger is blazing against them–the plague has already begun.” (47) Aaron did as Moses told him and ran out among the people. The plague had already begun to strike down the people, but Aaron burned the incense and purified the people. (48) He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague stopped. (49) But 14,700 people died in that plague, in addition to those who had died in the affair involving Korah. (50) Then because the plague had stopped, Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the Tabernacle.

Can you imagine the scene? God opened up the earth to swallow up the people who opposed Moses. The earth also swallowed up their families as well as everything they owned. But their censors were still there. To make sure it wasn’t a mistake, God gathered those censors together and purified them with fire. Then He had people gather those censors to use their brass to add a new covering to the alter. There couldn’t have been any doubt, everything was from God.

But the next day, a whole crowd pf people decided it was Moses who did all of that and God had nothing to do with it. Were those people nuts? Did they really think Moses had that kind of power? And if he did, why didn’t they want to follow him?

It seems since those people heard they weren’t going to make it into the promised land, they were determined to either change that, or make life miserable for Moses. God reached His limit. God told Moses to stand back. God was ready to wipe out the whole community and start over.

People walked up to the Tabernacle to confront Moses one more time. God knew it was coming and moved into position to protect Moses and Aaron. God covered the entire Tabernacle in a cloud. People couldn’t see the Tabernacle at all. It was hidden. Moses and Aaron walked out of the cloud to find out what was going on. Moses saw the crowd of angry people and heard God’s voice. “Get away from all these people so that I can instantly destroy them!”

That wasn’t the answer Moses wanted to hear. Once again, Moses went directly to God to plead for the people. That was becoming a regular event with Moses. Why couldn’t those people see that quality in Moses? If he really wanted to be in charge, God gave Moses plenty of opportunities.

This time Moses told Aaron to jump into action. “Quick, take an incense burner and place burning coals on it from the altar. Lay incense on it, and carry it out among the people to purify them and make them right with the LORD. The LORD’s anger is blazing against them–the plague has already begun.”

The incense burner Aaron used was far different than what Korah and his people used. Check the transaction. Aaron grabbed one of the firepans used to clean coals from the bottom of the alter. This time Aaron added incense to the coals on the pan, then ran out into the community. It must have been a long trip for Aaron to travel among the community in all four directions. It worked. People stopped dying after they saw how the high priest God chose could save them.

Something happened with those coals and incense when they burned long enough to travel the entire day to cover all the land Israel and the people on the outskirts were camped. The entire day was filled with a series of events that should have left an impression on those people. Obviously it didn’t. What about today?

At the end of October 2015, a quick check of the Internet will show what people are interested in. There are two major events much of the world is following. The first is reports of some meteor just discovered that week that is the largest object ever found to come as close to the earth as this one is supposed to come. I’m not sure those reports are true. People reporting that event are not known to be reliable sources. But their online videos have tens of thousands of views.

The other event concerns reports of scientists discovering a parallel universe. Scientists are supposed to fire up some atom smashed in Switzerland to a higher level ever attempted. That is supposed to open a door to some parallel universe. Some people are calling that universe Hades. Of course they claim that event will free imprisoned evil angels, demons, and Satan, giving them a free path to this world. I’d hate to tell them, but their prophetic timing is off. Satan is alive and active in this world today. Science has nothing to do with it.

Both those events show where people look for answers, to science. Did God ever need science to help Him with the messages and lessons He is teaching? Like those people in the wilderness, people today are willing to follow anyone with any simple answer. Even when that answer comes from some Hollywood movie.

On the news, the worse hurricane in the world just hit Mexico. This follows the worse hurricane that ever hit the east coast in history. And those followed the most powerful hurricane in history that hit the Philippines a year ago. Is God sending messages? Or is some control being given to the enemy to do what he wants to do, like in the book of Job?

At this place we can’t be certain. The only choice we have is to go to God’s throne to ask for answers. We do know God included the fulfillment for every prophecy in His book. Speaking of parallels, I know God uses parallel chapters so we know the proper fulfillment for every prophecy in the Bible. So there shouldn’t be any guesswork. I posted information and step by step instructions about parallel chapters in the Bible. I have a series of books with over 160 examples of parallel chapters. But compared to the number of views on my website to those on the stories about that comet and parallel universe, there is no comparison. People would rather go after the Hollywood version of the Bible then learn how God recorded His book and why.

The Tabernacle Foundation

The best place to begin a detailed study of the Tabernacle is at the foundation.

Read Exodus 26:15-29, and Exodus 27:9-19, for an understanding of the construction details, and explanation of what the bases supported.

Notice there are two types of bases used. The outer court used sockets made of brass. The Tabernacle used sockets of silver. The spiritual meaning of each material, and its location is important.

The sockets are used to supported the walls of the Tabernacle, and the curtains around the court. We are not provided with a complete list of details describing the sockets, but we know they were used as support bases.

I would imagine the bases were wide at the bottom and tapered toward the top. The best way to form the sockets would be to cast them. This would also supply a clue to the location, where the Tabernacle was fabricated, and provide a list of the materials Israel carried out of Egypt.

Casting metal requires a melting pot, fuel for the fire, and a particular grade of sand to form a mold. The sand is more like a fine powder, not at all like the course sand found on a beach. The sand must be small enough to fill every detail of the pattern. It must hold its shape when compacted, and have a minimum amount of moisture. Too much moisture would expand when contacted by molten metal. Moisture expands, leaving gas bubbles and defects in the finished product.

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Israel may have carried a melting pot out of Egypt, along with a bellows to fan the flame, along with other instruments required to cast metals. They must have cast the bases, and other items at a location where the proper sand was available, along with wood for fires, and materials to make the forms for the castings.

Based on the height of the boards, ten cubits, or fifteen feet, the sockets must have been at least a foot and a half long by one foot wide at the base, and at least a foot high. Each socket would have weighed about 16,000 ounces, or 980 pounds, if they were a solid casting. The weight would required at least four men to lift them. The sockets must have been a hollow casting, with a wider base.

If the sockets were cast hollow with one inch thick walls, wide enough at the base, to support the boards, and curtains against winds, they most likely would have been two feet long, a foot wide, and a foot and a half high. If this was the case, they would have weighed 600 pounds. The walls may have been thinner, to allow the bases to be lighter, but they also had to weigh enough to hold up to winds.

God chose the location for the assembly of the Tabernacle. The court must have been erected first. The Levites must have taken great care to ensure each and every piece was in the proper location, and in perfect order according to specifications. The court was a hundred cubits long by fifty cubits wide, or one hundred and fifty feet long by seventy five feet wide. The entrance always faced east.

The length of the court consisted of twenty sockets for the south wall, twenty sockets for the north wall, ten sockets on the west wall, and six sockets on the east gate, which consisted of an opening to the court. The sockets would have been spaced on a distance of about five cubits, or seven and a half feet. The distance may have been a little greater, because twenty sockets would have consisted of nineteen spaces. We are not told if the corners consisted of doubling the sockets or a single socket. There is no mention of corner sockets, which may have been a little different in design. If we add the three sides, the total distance is 250 cubits, the total sockets fifty, which would indicate a spacing of five cubits.


 

The first thing to do once a site is cleared would be to layout the pattern for the bases. The easiest and most efficient way to do this would have been to use a set of strings, or ropes. Each rope would have been marked to locate each socket. To insure the sides are square, the Levites would have diagonally measured the distance from corner to corner. Another set of equal strings could have been used for this task. This simple method would have ensured the walls were laid out in a straight precise pattern.

The sockets for the court supported pillars, which supported the curtains. We are not told exactly what the pillars in the court were made from, but the pillars inside the Tabernacle were made of shittim wood, covered in gold. Because the materials for the court pillars is not specified, I would assume they were made of wood, and may not have been covered.

We are not told if the pillars were round or square. In either case, the sockets would have been cast with a hole, or a relief, for the columns to fit into. I do no think the wood contacted the ground, so the sockets would have been designed with a cup in the center to hold the column. Each column for the court was five cubits, or seven and a half feet high.

The material for the sockets was specified for a reason. Once we understand the reason materials were used in certain areas of the court, and Tabernacle, we can begin to understand the spiritual messages behind the details of the Tabernacle.

The sockets in the court were made of brass. The only way to find the spiritual meaning of the material is to compare scripture with scripture. To find the spiritual meaning for brass, we have to study a number of texts with the word brass.

Daniel 10:6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

KJV Revelation 1:13-16. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. (14) His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; (15) And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. (16) And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Daniel and John tells us, Jesus’ feet are like fine, polished brass. This makes sense. The sockets support the curtains of the court, much like feet support the body. Does this mean brass represents Jesus’ feet? Is so, what do feet represent?

KJV Psalms 99:5. Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.

KJV Psalms 132:7. We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.

David shows worship takes place at the footstool of God. Where is this footstool located?

Isaiah 66:1-2. Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (2) For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

KJV Matthew 5:34-35. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: (35) Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Jesus, and Isaiah show us, God’s footstool is the earth. This is where people worship God.

It seems a little strange to use the symbol of feet, and a footstool to symbolize worship. Additional study will show the exact message God was teaching in this symbolism.

KJV Genesis 19:1-2. And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; (2) And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

Lot showed respect to two complete strangers, who happened to be angles, by bowing down, offering to wash their feet, and opening his home to them. These are key factors indicating Christian attributes God wants us to display to one another, and to strangers.

KJV Luke 7:44-48. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. (45) Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. (46) My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. (47) Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. (48) And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

KJV John 13:3-5. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; (4) He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. (5) After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Mary washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, and kissed them, as a sign of respect. Jesus understood this to be a request for forgiveness. Jesus also washed the feet of the disciples to teach them a lesson in forgiveness, and how they are to treat every person they came in contact with.

Jesus showed the disciple, He was not above being a servant, and if they were to understand the message they were commissioned to take to the world, they must learn to be a servant.

Brass was used as the base of the outer court because it represents the foundation of Christianity, love and forgiveness. Attributes of a faithful servant, serving by their own free will. The outer court represents the connection between God and man. Jesus is a Teacher, He is also a servant. People are students, as such are to learn to serve after the example of the teacher. They are to learn the lessons provided from Heaven, and teach these lessons to others. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:26 KJV)

The brass sockets represent Jesus’ feet. Levites had to carry them from location to location. They had to be placed with the greatest care and precision. Brass sockets supported the entire outer structure, just as serving is the foundation of God’s government.

Jesus taught the same lessons when He washed the disciples feet. When love and forgiveness are carefully placed in accordance with instructions, the foundation of faith will be secure. Without a proper foundation, the walls will never stand. Without love, and forgiveness, the church will never grow.

Sockets for the Tabernacle were made of a different material, silver. As we continue to study the details of the court, and Tabernacle, we will begin to understand why certain materials were used in one location, and others in a different location.

The construction of the Tabernacle was quite different from the court. Among other important items, the Tabernacle housed the ark, table of shewbread, and the candlestick.

The Tabernacle used sockets of silver. These sockets supported boards made of shittim wood standing up. This indicates the boards were standing upright. They were ten cubits, or fifteen feet high, by a cubit and a half, or twenty seven inches wide. Each board was supported by two sockets. The KJV describes the boards as having two tenons. What is a tenon?

If we referred to the definition of a tenon in relationship to woodworking, we would find it is the male end of a connection between two pieces of wood. This may be one of the instances where the King James translation is a little bit off. When you follow the original language, you will find the Hebrew word translated tenon, refers to an open, or hollow hand. This would indicate the boards were actually fitted with the mortise, or female side of the joint.

From a design standpoint, this would make more sense. To support boards in the upright position, the sockets would have been designed with a groove through the center. The groove would have been three or more inches from the bottom. The boards would have been shaped to fit into the groove, and notched with a mortise so when the boards slid into the sockets, the boards also filled the gaps between the sockets. This design would allow for smaller, lighter sockets, and the strongest connection between the sockets and boards.

Why was silver used to support the walls of the tabernacle? To find the answer, we must compare a number of texts to find the spiritual meaning of silver.

KJV Psalms 12:6. The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

KJV Psalms 119:72. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

KJV Proverbs 8:10. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

KJV Ezekiel 22:22. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you.

The Bible compares silver to God’s words, His law, and instructions. People, who know God, are also compared to refined silver.

Here we have an emphasis on God’s word, and His law, as the foundation for the Tabernacle. The spiritual interpretation also contains a connection between God. His law, and His people.

This interpretation should not seem surprising, considering the Tabernacle contains the law of God, the ten commandments written in stone, along with a hand written copy of the instructions given to Moses. The Tabernacle was built around the law. The spiritual interpretation shows us, the law also supports the Tabernacle, and all its symbols.

KJV Deuteronomy 11:1. Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.

Reference Texts:

KJV Exodus 26:15-27. And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up. (16) Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one board. (17) Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle. (18) And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward. (19) And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons. (20) And for the second side of the tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards: (21) And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board. (22) And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards. (23) And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides. (24) And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners. (25) And they shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board. (26) And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle, (27) And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the two sides westward.

KJV Exodus 27:9-19. And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side: (10) And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. (11) And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred cubits long, and his twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. (12) And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten. (13) And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits. (14) The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. (15) And on the other side shall be hangings fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. (16) And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four. (17) All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass. (18) The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. (19) All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.

Preparing for the Tabernacle

This is a rather in depth look at preparations for the Tabernacle. Certain steps were taken at God’s commend of course. Why was thee such a specific process to follow and how did the Israelites view that process?

Bring Your Offerings

Exodus 25:1-9 NLTse The LORD said to Moses, (2) “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. (3) Here is a list of sacred offerings you may accept from them: gold, silver, and bronze; (4) blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; (5) tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; (6) olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; (7) onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece. (8) “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. (9) You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.

Obviously, the first step in any building project is to collect material. That’s where God told Moses to begin. I’ve covered details on those building materials in a previous book, The Tabernacle: “T” is for the Cross. I am not going to review a lot of details of that book which covered the building materials and construction of the Tabernacle from an engineering prospective. That book is available for download on the Internet.

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To understand the scene, we have to look at how the previous chapter ended. Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. And the glory of the LORD settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the LORD appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:15-18 NLTse).

Moses went up the mountain to meet with God. That tells us why chapter 25 began with God telling Moses what to do. The first step was to collect material for the project. All of the materials were to be contributed by the people. This shows us how God’s Spirit was working before God revealed any of the plans for the Tabernacle to Moses. Since we looked at how all the building materials to create this world were in place before God shed light on the subject, we can see how God arranged for Israel to carry every item required for the Tabernacle out of Egypt.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Genesis 1 to Exodus 27
The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Genesis 1 to Exodus 27 Buy the eBook here. 

We have to look deeper into that story. Almost every person who left with Moses was a slave in Egypt. There were a few people who left because of all the plagues and miracles they saw, but we have no way of determining exact numbers. That’s not our concern. We can be assured, God had everything under control.

Moses used the words, Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings.” Israel represents those people enslaved in Egypt based on the prophecy given to Abraham. Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (Genesis 15:13-14 NLTse).

We now have a spiritual puzzle to solve. It’s easy to see the lesson on the surface. People leaving Egypt represented people freed from bondage. That’s the easy part. But here were told, all the materials required to build the Tabernacle came out of bondage. What does that mean? How does it apply to the Tabernacle and our roles in the plan of salvation?


 

First of all, we see Israel had to work for 400 years for the materials they carried out. We should stick to the facts on the surface, simple details about those years of bondage that have been reviewed hundreds of times. Sure that bondage represents our life and time here on this world. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (John 8:34 NLTse). So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. (Hebrews 6:1-3 NLTse).

How do we determine the spiritual significance of those items taken out of Egypt? We know the Tabernacle is a model of the Heavenly Sanctuary. And we know the Heavenly Sanctuary does not contain any materials from this world. Hebrews tells us the clear distinction between the Tabernacle and the Heavenly Sanctuary.

This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies–physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. (Hebrews 9:9-12 NLTse).

The Tabernacle Moses built pointed to the perfect Heavenly Tabernacle and its system. The old Tabernacle passed away, pointing to the passing away of sins and eventual cleansing of this world. Those materials taken from Egypt were never intended to be a permanent structure or place of worship.

Some of those materials Moses was told to collect were different than materials in Heaven. We’ve not told about tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather in God’s Sanctuary. Those were symbols to remind us what went into the Tabernacle built on this world. They reminded people of the sacrifices that had to be made. The sacrifices that began the day sin entered this world, and God fashioned clothing from animal skins for Adam and Eve. Death is a product of sin and God used a number of ways to keep that reminder in front of us. It was important for God to make sure we didn’t forget the cost of sin. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLTse).

Take a closer look at the order of materials God gave to Moses. He began with gold, silver, and bronze; then moved to blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; He finally added, olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense. God moved from materials that lasted the longest time, to items we consider consumable. God used a designed progression hoping we would notice the process locked away in the list of materials.


 

Then God went out of what we would consider a progressive order into a new spiritual order; onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece. When we follow the specific order God gave Moses, we have to ask, why did God list those last? Are they the materials that were consumed the quickest? On the physical view, no. On the spiritual view, yes.

Long before the Tabernacle was lost in the pages of the Bible and replaced by a stone temple, materials used in the chestpiece, or high priest’s breastplate lost their significance, power, and symbolic meaning. Later we will look into more details about the breastplate. A slight understanding of the history of the breastplate and Israel will show a few clues. People like king Saul tried to misuse the breastplate. At that time it was taken away from Saul and delivered to David. At times it seemed to be forgotten. The breastplate was used as a form of communication with God. It also contained twelve stones, one for each of Israel’s twelve tribes. After king Solomon, the kingdom was split. Little was mentioned about the breastplate after that. On a spiritual level, the breastplate was lost before services ceased inside the Tabernacle.

God made certain Moses built the Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern he was shown. Moses saw a pattern of the Heavenly Sanctuary and made a copy of it on this world. It was important not to miss a single detail, so Moses, Israel, and everyone after them would not miss a single detail about Christ and His ministry here in this world and in Heaven.

One of the things we’ve learned about God’s Word, is how much we learn by looking back. That’s the best way to understand the emotions and trials involved in getting from one phase to the next. To gain and better understanding of those materials, we can go all the way back to the point Moses began the process of freeing those slaves from Egypt.

Another important part of this story tells about the materials Israel took out of Egypt. Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Now the LORD had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.) (Exodus 11:1-3 NLTse).

Moses didn’t record many details about the materials Israel collected from the Egyptians. The strange thing about this event is, this is the first and only time Moses told the people to collect things from previous owners. Moses told Israel what they were supposed to do before he talked to Pharaoh about the last plague, the death of the firstborn. This showed Israel, God knew the outcome before it occurred.

Imagine all the different attitudes the Egyptians faced. Some Israelites did as Moses commanded and asked for anything the Egyptians wanted to freely give. Others demanded, and a few viewed the situation as a chance for revenge. God said, He would make the Egyptians look favorably on the Israelites. But what about the Israelites? Were they prepared to treat the Egyptians with any type of respect?

The KJV used the word borrow, instead of the word ask. In a sense, that’s all they did was borrow everything. Generations later, every piece of gold and silver used in the temple returned to Egypt. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. (1 Kings 14:25-26 NLTse). It appears the KJV didn’t use the word borrow by accident.

Another thing I noticed about that event. Moses had to only tell them once. That was one of the few times Moses didn’t have to repeat himself. There’s something about that fact that should worry us. But the event is found in other parts of Exodus and once in Genesis.

And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!(Exodus 12:35-36 NLTse).

Moses didn’t have to repeat himself or remind them to go door to door asking for things. It was sort of payment for their entire lives as slaves. Israel knew their parents and grandparents were slaves. They didn’t feel they could carry enough to pay for multiple life times of slavery. How would you feel spending your entire life as a slave, and seeing your parents die as slave? Then a day comes along and it’s pay back time. It’s amazing Moses didn’t record anything about Egyptians loosing their lives that day. Something restrained them. The thought of being a priest was sinking in. Hearing screams and cries from across the field all night softened their hearts. God had the right timing in every detail.

So I will raise my hand and strike the Egyptians, performing all kinds of miracles among them. Then at last he will let you go. And I will cause the Egyptians to look favorably on you. They will give you gifts when you go so you will not leave empty-handed. Every Israelite woman will ask for articles of silver and gold and fine clothing from her Egyptian neighbors and from the foreign women in their houses. You will dress your sons and daughters with these, stripping the Egyptians of their wealth.”

(Exodus 3:20-22 NLTse)

This must have been an important event if it was recorded so many times. One of the purposes it served is teach Moses to look back to see how his faith had grown over time. This is something Moses had to teach Israel to do to properly prepare them for the priesthood. Moses didn’t record many details that happened behind the scenes. That’s something we have to approach God’s throne to learn more about. That is one way our faith is formed and sealed. Moses often spoke directly with God. That’s a lesson we need to pay attention to. As we approach God’s throne to listen to His detailed account of what happened behind the recorded story, He explains details in scripture we would never see without His guidance. Which is one step Israel had to learn to become an effective kingdom made up of priests for God.

The same applies today. How can we become an effective army on God’s side if we don’t listen to orders, or we don’t know the order God uses? We learn about that order in the same way God instructed Moses when He told him to look back and review the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If we’re smart, we’ll see keys pointing us back even further. That’s how God links the past to the present to prepare us for the future.

Looking at the order of the texts, we see how God prepared Moses. God gave Moses the answer, then later, when Moses needed a boost in faith, reminded him to look back. God does the same with us. God communicates with us the same way He communicated with Moses. God sends us back to review stories in scripture. When we listen, God explains how those stories apply to our lives at that moment. We see how past lessons and events apply to the problems and decisions we face. In this case, the pattern also showed how God made a teacher out of Moses. He had a message to give Israel. One of those lessons included, how to communicate and rely directly on God and how God uses stories from the past to answer questions and guide us on the next step. Everything hinged on direct communication with God. If Israel was going to be ready to accept the priesthood, they had to put away every aspect of the form of religion they were leaving and learn God’s method of worship.

For Israel, that began with listening to God’s Spirit as they collected every item to manufacture and complete the Tabernacle. God would reinforce that lesson when they looked back to realize what they accomplished without knowing the end result. God’s order was, collect the materials, give the design, then show the people how they served God without leaving out a single detail. It was a lesson showing Israel how to rely on God.

Man’s way would have been far different. Men would have changed God’s order and totally missed the spiritual lesson. Men would have finalized the design, shared the design with everyone, made a list of materials required, then sent people out to collect every item on the list. We’ve seen how God’s order at creation was different then men would have followed. We’ve also seen the order God used for those plagues was different than men would have expected to follow. God’s plans not only worked, they accomplished much more than any man could have planned. They also locked away spiritual lessons designed for generations to look back on and learn from.

Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth.

(Genesis 15:13-14 NLTse)

God shared His plans with Abraham, who didn’t really understand too many of the details. He had to accept what he was given and apply it to his life. Future generations would look on this prophecy and see more and more details revealed. That was God’s plan which always extends much further and teaches more than anyone could imagine. That is a part of faith few people consider. We have to accept the fact, prophecy is designed to reach one generation on one level, another generation on another level, be fulfilled in one generation, and teach lessons of varying degrees to future generations. To say or think we know everything about a prophecy is to limit, or eliminate God’s Spirit from the process. Common sense should tell you, removing God’s Spirit from a prophecy is a return to the type of priesthood Israel was told to leave behind.

Plans for the Tabernacle

One of the most interesting and important details about the Tabernacle is how every piece was described not once, but at least twice. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you. (Exodus 25:9 NLTse).

Exodus 25:10-22 NLTse “Have the people make an Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) Overlay it inside and outside with pure gold, and run a molding of gold all around it. (12) Cast four gold rings and attach them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (13) Make poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. (14) Insert the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (15) These carrying poles must stay inside the rings; never remove them. (16) When the Ark is finished, place inside it the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. (17) “Then make the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It must be 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (18) Then make two cherubim from hammered gold, and place them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (19) Mold the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (20) The cherubim will face each other and look down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they will protect it. (21) Place inside the Ark the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. Then put the atonement cover on top of the Ark. (22) I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.

Exodus 37:1-15 NLTse Next Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (2) He overlaid it inside and outside with pure gold, and he ran a molding of gold all around it. (3) He cast four gold rings and attached them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (4) Then he made poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. (5) He inserted the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (6) Then he made the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It was 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (7) He made two cherubim from hammered gold and placed them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (8) He molded the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (9) The cherubim faced each other and looked down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they protected it. (10) Then Bezalel made the table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) He overlaid it with pure gold and ran a gold molding around the edge. (12) He decorated it with a 3-inch border all around, and he ran a gold molding along the border. (13) Then he cast four gold rings for the table and attached them at the four corners next to the four legs. (14) The rings were attached near the border to hold the poles that were used to carry the table. (15) He made these poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.

Exodus 25:23-28 NLTse “Then make a table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (24) Overlay it with pure gold and run a gold molding around the edge. (25) Decorate it with a 3-inch border all around, and run a gold molding along the border. (26) Make four gold rings for the table and attach them at the four corners next to the four legs. (27) Attach the rings near the border to hold the poles that are used to carry the table. (28) Make these poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.

Exodus 37:10-15 NLTse Then Bezalel made the table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (11) He overlaid it with pure gold and ran a gold molding around the edge. (12) He decorated it with a 3-inch border all around, and he ran a gold molding along the border. (13) Then he cast four gold rings for the table and attached them at the four corners next to the four legs. (14) The rings were attached near the border to hold the poles that were used to carry the table. (15) He made these poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.

Exodus 25:29-30 NLTse Make special containers of pure gold for the table–bowls, pans, pitchers, and jars–to be used in pouring out liquid offerings. (30) Place the Bread of the Presence on the table to remain before me at all times.

Exodus 37:16 NLTse Then he made special containers of pure gold for the table–bowls, pans, jars, and pitchers–to be used in pouring out liquid offerings.

Exodus 25:31-40 NLTse “Make a lampstand of pure, hammered gold. Make the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece–the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals. (32) Make it with six branches going out from the center stem, three on each side. (33) Each of the six branches will have three lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (34) Craft the center stem of the lampstand with four lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (35) There will also be an almond bud beneath each pair of branches where the six branches extend from the center stem. (36) The almond buds and branches must all be of one piece with the center stem, and they must be hammered from pure gold. (37) Then make the seven lamps for the lampstand, and set them so they reflect their light forward. (38) The lamp snuffers and trays must also be made of pure gold. (39) You will need seventy-five pounds of pure gold for the lampstand and its accessories. (40) “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.

Exodus 37:17-24 NLTse Then Bezalel made the lampstand of pure, hammered gold. He made the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece–the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals. (18) The lampstand had six branches going out from the center stem, three on each side. (19) Each of the six branches had three lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (20) The center stem of the lampstand was crafted with four lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. (21) There was an almond bud beneath each pair of branches where the six branches extended from the center stem, all made of one piece. (22) The almond buds and branches were all of one piece with the center stem, and they were hammered from pure gold. (23) He also made seven lamps for the lampstand, lamp snuffers, and trays, all of pure gold. (24) The entire lampstand, along with its accessories, was made from seventy-five pounds of pure gold.

The list goes on and on. The Tabernacle is the most detailed structure in the Bible containing more symbols than any other item in the Bible. Why did God go into such detail and repeat those details? As we’ve seen, authors repeat details to draw attention to them. After all, the Tabernacle is a symbol of God’s Son and His ministry. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:5 NLTse). The Book of Hebrews serves as a guide to symbols in the Tabernacle.

Hebrews 9:1-12 NLTse That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. (2) There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. (3) Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. (4) In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. (5) Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now. (6) When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. (7) But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. (8) By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use. (9) This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. (10) For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies–physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. (11) So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. (12) With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

There’s no doubt, the design of the Tabernacle God gave to Moses was a model of the Heavenly Sanctuary, services conducted in Heaven, and Jesus’ ministry all rolled into one. In short, the Tabernacle is a model of the plan of salvation. The question is, where do we begin? There is a strong urge to jump ahead, or around from subject to subject, or symbol to symbol. Looking at what has been accumulated so far would lead us to believe, God had a good reason to repeat the order of the items in the Tabernacle, as well as the details. We’ve also seen the same process and order used at creation. We’ve also seen how God followed a particular order at creation we may not have followed. But when we stuck with God’s order of teaching, unexpected details were revealed. We can expect to see the same pattern as we study details in the Tabernacle in the order Moses recorded them.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation

Back In Heaven Revelation 14

Revelation 14:1-5 NLTse (1) Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. (2) And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together. (3) This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. (4) They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering to God and to the Lamb. (5) They have told no lies; they are without blame.

As soon as John saw a vision of the world and those beasts, God immediately switched the scene back to Heaven. What a contrast between Revelation chapter 13 and 14. Which is in fact another rule God used in scripture, contrasts. Contracts may be one of the most difficult things for people to see, but they are used throughout the Bible. In this case, the previous chapter ended with the mark of the beast, while chapter 14 begins with the Lamb standing on Mount Zion. The previous chapter showed visions originating on earth, and from the earth. John is then taken to a vision of 144,000 with His Father’s name in their foreheads. If that isn’t a contrast, I don’t know what one is.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation
The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation Now you can purchase this eBook direct from the author

The first word in chapter 14 pointed us back to the previous chapter. The word, “then,” tells us, we can’t hope to understand this chapter unless we review the previous chapter. As soon as we do, there is no mistake, John is shown a series of contrasts.

Angels don’t have trouble seeing contrasts. They see them everyday. They see the splendor and peace in Heaven, then they look at this world to see what is going on. In this world, angels see people running around trying to solve problems. In Heaven, there are no problems. That leaves plenty of time to praise God. There is a lesson there we should pay attention to.

People also waste a lot of time trying to explain what the number 144,000 is, and who those people actually are. Is it a literal or symbolic number? As usual, people go to the world for answers. I don’t know any two numbers in the Bible that have received more attention than the numbers 666 and 144,000. The Bible shows those numbers are a contrast. 666 points us to the rule of repetition. Comparing the number 666 found at the end of chapter 13 to the number 144,000 at the beginning of chapter 14, tells us to use the rule of contracts.

The rule of contracts is an extension of the rule of repetition. Words can be the same, similar, related, or contracts. Contracts have something in common with other related words.

It is relatively simple to see contrasts on the surface between Revelation chapter 13 and 14. Chapter 13 is all about this world, is viewed from this world, and takes place in this world. Revelation 14 suddenly shifted to Heaven, a good place to split John’s letter into a new chapter. Beginning a new chapter does not mean it is no longer related to the previous chapter. John wrote one long letter that was broken into chapters generations later.

We also need the end of chapter 12 to show us who those beasts on Revelation 13 follow, the devil. It is evident who the 144,000 in chapter 14 follow, the Lamb, used to symbolize Christ. That is one of the most vivid contracts in the Bible. The mark of the beast and seal of God is another contrast. It seems rather strange when we look at the Christian world to see which one receives more attention. By far, the mark of the beast receives much more attention, has more people teaching about that mark and beast, has more radio programs, Internet videos, TV shows, and sells more books. If you searched the mark of the beast or 666 on the Internet, you would find thousands of links, some having hundreds of thousands of viewers visiting the site. Now we know what John meant when he wrote, “And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made–the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.” (Revelation 13:8 NLTse).


 

We have one group that worships God in Heaven, and another group dedicated to hunting down people like that and killing them. The contrasts we are given are designed to examine is a war.

It’s not by mistake or chance Jesus used music and song as a symbol here. Music contains both order and repetition. John tells us, “No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.” Music and song are a contrast to words coming from the beast, and his barbaric, warlike features.”Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple–that is, those who live in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.” (Revelation 13:5-7 NLTse).

People learn by repetition. People will either learn those warlike features the beast is teaching, or the song Jesus teaches. Is the number 144,000 symbolic? Is the beast symbolic? Is the song Jesus teaches symbolic?

When we look at the rhythm of the visions John wrote, we can see a distinct pattern of symbols. Instead of using Christ’s name, John introduced Jesus in symbolic form. To complete the pattern, information following the symbol of the Lamb would also be symbolic. That makes Mount Zion, God’s name written in their foreheads, the new song, and the number 144,000 all symbols.

The roar of the waves and thunder are descriptive words adding to the flavor of the scene John is describing.

John’s description of the people who follow Jesus is a contrast to the people following the beast. Jesus’ followers are compared to virgins. Satan’s followers build monuments to the beast, which is a form of spiritual idolatry.

Those who follow Jesus stay close to Him, and have one leader. Those who follow Satan follow a series of beasts and images, a type of prelude to Babylon, meaning confusion. Jesus’ leadership follows the consistency and order of a song. Easy to learn, soothing to the ears., and something difficult to forget once you learn. Songs have a tendency to create a safe haven. A subject covered in previous chapters by examples that included promises directly from Jesus. On the other hand, the devil uses force and broken promises, seen consistently throughout scripture. Other stories show us the way demons possess people, holding them in spiritual chains.

That leads us up to another concept in the introduction to Revelation 14. The term redeemed and purchased is introduced at this point. We see how Jesus had to pay a price for His followers. Remember the story of the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ feet?

You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:45-48 NLTse).

Those who have been forgiven a lot, are thankful beyond all comprehension. Those who have been forgiven little should be just as thankful. All are a special offering to God and the Lamb.

Another Angel

Revelation 14:6-7 NLTse (6) And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world–to every nation, tribe, language, and people. (7) “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.”

John introduced this angel, some people refer to as the first angle, as another angel. That means, this angel follows another angel. Who was that first angel? A simple search using the word angel in the Book of Revelation shows us who that other angel is.

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said, “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm. (Revelation 11:15-19 NLTse).

John just gave us a time line to deal with. The actual first angel is the seventh angel to blow a trumpet, making a vital announcement, the judgment process began in Heaven. Then John added details about events leading up to the day the judgment process will begin. That leads to a point in time mentioned later in Revelation chapter 14, which is the end of the judgment period. In other words, a short overview of earth;s history from the beginning to the end of the judgment period.

Many people shun the judgment period, even frowning on any study of the judgment period. Other books in the Bible deal with the judgment process in more detail, and a collection of related prophecies tell us the beginning of the judgment period. John explained how the Judgment period began with the Sanctuary doors opening, the Ark is seen, and Jesus in the form of a slain Lamb is before God. All that is pretty basic information. Jesus is the High Priest, one of the main themes explained in the Book of Hebrews.

That is why Christ did not honor himself by assuming he could become High Priest. No, he was chosen by God, who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” And in another passage God said to him, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:5-14 NLTse).

Jesus as High Priest is something we are supposed to know and teach. That’s why is seems rather odd to hear and see so many people teaching about the mark of the beast when we see instructions telling us what to teach go ignored.

Looking at this with a view from Heaven, we know angels are close to Jesus. Angels watch His every move. They know what Jesus is working on as well as what Jesus had to go through in Heaven and on earth. Angels and the elders in Heaven seated next to God’s throne are another contrast we can learn from. A subject far more important than studying who the devil is and what he is doing on earth.

The first announcement in Revelation 14 is the beginning of the judgment period. What can we tell the world about the judgment period, the trial in Heaven? The angel who followed the seventh trumpet has a message, the eternal Good News. When you think about is, that is a relatively long message. That message is supposed to go out to the whole world. The question is, has it, and was the right message delivered?

The first angel in Revelation 14 has a direct connection to the angel with the seventh trumpet. Both announcements concern the judgment period. Does the world know it is being judged at this very moment, and your name could come up at any minute? What is gong to happen when your name comes up? Is Jesus going to be able to stand up before His Father and tell God about the relationship you have? Or is Jesus going to have to say, he doesn’t know you? How much have you shared with Jesus, and how much does He know about you? How much do you know about Jesus and His role as High Priest?

Second and Third Angels

Revelation 14:8-13 NLTse (8) Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen–that great city is fallen–because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.” (9) Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand (10) must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. (11) The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.” (12) This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. (13) And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

After the announcement about the beginning of the judgment, another angel followed in what appears to be quick succession, and introduced Babylon as a new symbol. John heard the announcement in his vision, but didn’t see the physical city fall. Based on the study rule of looking back in scripture for an answer, the word immorality points us back to only one place, the dragon in Revelation 12, and the beasts that follow him in Revelation 13. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or theologian with countless degrees and titles to see what side of the war Babylon is on.

The link to consider is the one between the beginning of the judgment period and the city Babylon falling down. Where does that lead us to? Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last– salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth– the one who accuses them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:7-10 NLTse).

Satan and his angels were cast down to earth. The city Babylon also fell. Babylon was the first world power identified by Daniel. Babylon was represented by the head of gold on the statue in the dream. What does that tell us when the head falls off? The figure still had arms, legs, and feet, and can still cause damage, but it is an idol showing it cannot think, see, hear, or talk. That is very close to another story in the Bible. But the next morning the same thing happened–Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the LORD again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. (1 Samuel 5:4 NLTse).

Israel misused the Ark and lost it to the Philistines, who had no idea what it was, and treated it like any other battle trophy. The Philistines were smart enough to know a powerful God was inside that Ark, and decided to get rid of the Ark before encoring any more damage. The problem was, not many people in Israel actually understood the Ark.

We see the same problem here in Revelation. People don’t understand the Ark, what it represents, or the judgment process involving the Ark. But God is sending angels with perfect understanding to help us. Jesus’ followers explain the details, but are we doing our job?

The third angel added to the first two messages and expounded on the message Jesus’ followers take out to the world, this time with a warning. The message shows, we can’t understand the warning to the world unless we follow basic Bible Study concepts and look back at that beast and the image he made. Does that mean we are supposed to spend countless hours and money studying and telling people all about that beast , his image, the mark, and what the forehead and hand represent? A warning is a warning. A road sign before a sharp curve tells people to slow down to a safe speed. No one posts a sign explaining all the details about that curve, or what would happen if they didn’t slow down. It would take so long to read, people would miss the warning, or face the danger when it was too late.

Babylon has its wine, and so does God. God has a cup of wrath and anger. Why do you think God is angry? Is it because He gave this world a message about His son, the Son who came to this world to explain the plan of salvation, only to see so many people go crazy over details about the beast, its image, and that mark?

We can see a connection between the second angel’s message and the first. That relationship established a connection between the beast and Babylon. When we look at the second message and apply a simple rule of context, seeing, Babylon is fallen, that great city is fallen, we know the information is repeated for a reason. That is a flag telling us to pray about that detail.

There were two Babylons that fell in the Bible. One was the Babylonian world empire that fell to the Medes and Persians that Daniel wrote about. In that story king Belshazzar had a feast.

Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking the wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver cups that his predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to drink from them with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines. So they brought these gold cups taken from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. While they drank from them they praised their idols made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him. (Daniel 5:1-6 NLTse).

King Belshazzar threw a party, and decided to challenge God by praising all kinds of false gods and idols. He did this while a huge army was camped outside the city gates. It was like saying, “I don’t need you God.” The other fall of Babylon was when it was called Babel.

At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world. (Genesis 11:1-9 NLTse).

Those people chose to challenge God by building a huge tower just in case God decided to flood the world again. They didn’t believe God’s promise anymore than Belshazzar believed promises God gave to his grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar.

What do those stories have in common? People wanted to trust in their own power, wisdom, and judgment. They wanted to live free from God and all His commands. That began in the garden with Adam and Eve. They wanted to go beyond what God gave them, the entire world. Where did all that come from? The devil.

The devil tempted Eve in the garden. The devil tempted Cain when he made his own from of worship. The devil tempted the people in Babel, and those in Babylon. All of Satan’s temptations led people away from God, leading them to a promise Satan made about a better life, free from God’s restraints. People are still making that mistake today.

People want to come up with a better, more powerful, and more interesting worship service. None of those worship services are in the Bible. Enoch didn’t need any of those services to meet with God. Enoch simply met God, and God appreciated the time and effort. Think about that. Isn’t that what we do when we study scripture with God’s Spirit? We are spending time with God outside of this world. Not wasting time inside this world looking for answers the world has to offer.

The penalty for following after that beast is rather sever. The beast as we know goes right back to the devil and his suggestions. People have to choose to honor and worship God in the prescribed way, or follow the world and their altered suggestions. Is there a proper way to worship God, and if there is a wrong way, what is it?

The Bible contains a lot of information about the Levitical laws, how worship and sacrifices were conducted in the Tabernacle. Kings and priests changed the laws given to Moses, added to them, and at times completely ignored them. That brought on Jerusalem’s fall. Finally Jesus came, died, and reintroduced God’s original plan A, the end of the Levitical priesthood on earth with direct communication and worship of God on His holy mountain, a symbol for Heaven.

“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:19-24 NLTse).

How do people worship God through or in the Spirit if they insist on using updated versions of the Levitical priesthood placing someone, a human between themselves and God? It cannot happen that way. It was not what Jesus told that woman was coming.

Jesus died to gain the role of High Priest. We have all been given the role of priest, and there is no middle man here in earth in any way, shape, or form. Worship is worship. On the other hand, collecting and distributing funds for ministries is another issue. That involves organization to a certain degree. The apostles saw a need for organization, but that organized committee never had any control over who would minister, how they would minister, or who they would minister to. That was the role of the Holy Spirit. Any variation on that is a man made concept we have to learn to overcome.

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” (Acts 6:1-4 NLTse).

The job was not going to be easy. People who lived to follow the Spirit would often die serving the LORD. Jesus followed the Spirit. People accused Him of taking orders from the devil. Jesus had something they didn’t, a direct connection with God’s throne, and religious leaders didn’t like that. There was too much Jesus could and did expose. Religious leaders looked at the situation and two choices. They could either change, accept Jesus, or get Him out of the way. They soon found out they couldn’t challenge Jesus. So they killed Him.

Son of Man

Revelation 14:14-20 NLTse (14) Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. (15) Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, “Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.” (16) So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested. (17) After that, another angel came from the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. (18) Then another angel, who had power to destroy with fire, came from the altar. He shouted to the angel with the sharp sickle, “Swing your sickle now to gather the clusters of grapes from the vines of the earth, for they are ripe for judgment.” (19) So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and loaded the grapes into the great winepress of God’s wrath. (20) The grapes were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress in a stream about 180 miles long and as high as a horse’s bridle.

For John the scene quickly changed from watching angels flying over the earth with messages to a vision of Jesus, and another angel coming out of the Holy Sanctuary in Heaven. What a dramatic change. What were all those angels thinking when they saw that sudden change? It was easy for angels to relate to the three angels and their messages. Angels can and have seen everything that happens on this planet, and are capable of telling us when things are about to go bad. Angels in Heaven can see Satan and his angels working in the back ground, and at a moments notice, come to this world to warn or save people. That’s been their role for countless generations, and they are more than happy to do it. One word from God and they are here in a flash with powers we cannot imagine.

The question is, why does Jesus have a crown and a sickle? We have to look back at the last time John saw an image of Jesus in Heaven to understand why this scene changed so quickly. Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. (Revelation 5:6-7 NLTse).

John saw a lot happen between Jesus presenting Himself to God, opening the scrolls, and coming out of the Holy Sanctuary wearing His crown. Seven seals were opened. Seven trumpets sounded. The earth was attacked, trampled, Satan and his angels were cast down to earth. John saw Jesus’ birth and persecution. We would have to cover a lot of ground to get a complete story of what happened, and everything that led to it. All of that led up to the judgment, which led to Jesus leaving the Sanctuary, crowned as KING of kings.

John saw Jesus on a cloud. It looked like a cloud. It looked like Jesus needed something to support Him and His throne. Millions of angels were around Jesus. It was one of the most important events in Heaven. Something we all should be looking for, and trying to understand. John’s attention was focused on Heaven, and the scene he saw. All Heaven was present, and knew exactly what that scene meant.

The harvest was ripe. Judgment was finished. The High Priest has left the Sanctuary. Satan was a million miles away wondering this world, knowing his time was short. He had little time to make his last stand, or convince the Universe, his ideas would work. The Universe saw what Satan did to God’s Son, and what Satan would do to them if he was in charge and they refused to fall in line. The Universe witnessed what Satan did to this planet, one of God’s perfect creations. How Satan used leaders, then cast them aside the moment they served their purpose. Fill that leader in with new leader easier to control. Satan was full of greed and knew how to push the right buttons in every human being driven by greed. Violence seemed to be the the only way to resolve issues. Dying was a way of life on this planet, something the angels in Heaven never saw before Cain slew his brother. Angels witnessed one scene after another, each more surprising and horrific than the one before it. Angels saw how leaders chose to kill hundreds of thousands of people to sway the thoughts of one man. Angels saw how none of that effected Satan and how he lost all feelings, all respect for life, and the breath of God.

Now it was time to deal with Satan and his followers. Judgment was finished. Every case has been decided. There are no do overs that this world loves to teach about. No final test or examinations. The last generation in this world will not be treated any differently that any other. All the books, movies, and radio shows in the world will not change the judgment process or a single decision made in Heaven. The courtroom scene is over and the plan of salvation enters its next phase.

The Tabernacle: "T" Is for the Cross

The Ark

What study on the Tabernacle would be complete without a detailed examination of the ark? This may be the one item people most question, at the same time, assuming they know the answers.

The ark is the heart of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle is designed around the ark, which contains the ten commandments, plus a number of other important items including a container of manna, and Aaron’s budding staff. A list of laws given to Moses were also added to the side of the ark.

Physical descriptions of the ark are recorded in Exodus 25:10-22, and Exodus 37:1-9. The ark is two and one half cubits long, one and one half cubits wide, and one and one half cubit high. Converting these dimensions shows us the ark is forty five inches long, twenty seven inches wide, and twenty seven inches high.

The ark is constructed of wood, overlaid with pure gold. It is interesting the Bible specifies pure gold. By definition, the word pure means morally and ceremonially clean. This may also indicate the thickness of the gold, and the manner in which it was applied.

The ark may have been covered in gold leaf, a very thin covering, much thinner than paper. To form thin sheets without holes, gold must be free of impurities. Pure gold is very soft, and easy to form. Purifying gold also served as a spiritual lesson for the Israelites and us.

Gold taken from Egypt may have come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. We are told, Aaron made his molten calf from earrings. To withstand normal wear and tear, resist scratching, and hold its shape gold jewelry is formed from a much harder material than pure gold. Metals such as silver, copper, or nickel are added to harden gold. These materials also alter the color.

The Bible tells us, Moses burned Aaron’s golden calf in a fire, which had a hardening effect. He then beat it into dust, cast it into water, and made the Israelites drink it. Based on the fact Moses was able to beat the golden calf into dust small enough to dissolve in water, we know the gold used for the calf contained large amounts of impurities.

Gold used to cover the ark was pure, making it possible to form into very thin sheets. The gold from Egypt may have been in the form of jewelry, and maybe the idols worshipped in Egypt. To purify gold, it had to be melted. In the molten state, impurities separate from the gold. Once the impurities are removed, the pure gold can be formed into sheets.

The Bible uses the purification process to illustrate faith. The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 1:7 KJV.

We can only imagine the spiritual lessons the Israelites must have learned as they watched the gods of Egypt melt away, impurities float to the top where they were scooped out and discarded, cast onto the ground, and mixed with dust.

The Tabernacle: "T" Is for the Cross
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To Israel, the images of those gods cast into the melting pot represented a lifetime of oppression. Egyptians believed the strength of their gods gave them dominance over the Israelites. They also gave the gods credit for light from the sun, rain, crops, and fertility. This may have been one reason Egyptians had a controversy with the Israelites. The Bible tells us they feared Israel, based on their ability to reproduce. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Exodus 1:9-10 KJV.

The ark contained four rings, one on each corner. These rings were also made of gold, but the Bible does not specify pure gold. The reason for this is logical. Pure gold would have been too soft to bear the weight of the ark, which was carried over long distances, supported by the four rings.

The rings were cast in gold. In this case, they would have undergone the same heating, and purification process as pure gold. Once purified, other metals in the proper proportions would be added to provide the required hardness. Silver and brass added to gold also have a spiritual meaning discussed in other chapters.

Two staves, or poles were fabricated from wood, and covered in gold. The poles were not covered with pure gold, but an alloy, or mixture, making the gold hard enough to endure the rigors of travel. The covering on the staves must have been much thicker than the covering on the ark. This also made the wooden poles much stronger. Wood possessed properties of strength, and light weight. A covering of gold alloy added strength, beauty and durability.

The ark contained the testimony given to Moses, which is covered by the mercy seat, made of pure gold. The mercy seat is the same size as the ark, two and one half cubits, by one and one half cubits. On top of the mercy seat stood two cherubims made of gold, formed of a single piece, formed by hammering.

The cherubims were placed at the ends of the mercy seat facing one another, with their wings spread out over the mercy seat. This is where God appeared to met with Moses.

Before we can accurately study the spiritual meanings of the ark, we must first understand the physical aspects. The arc was made of wood covered in pure gold. The ark was designed and constructed to carry God’s law, the ten commandments. The mercy seat, made of pure gold, covered the law. This was a sign of God’s salvation, which covers sins. This salvation came through His son, Jesus. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29 KJV.

The cherubims are a reminder of God’s kingdom in Heaven. All the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, and let all the angels of God worship him. Revelation 7:11, Hebrews 1:6 KJV.

Four rings attached to the four corners supported two staves, used by the Levites to carry the ark. The priests were an example of people. Not only were they to physically carry the law, they were to make the law a life study. The law was to become a part of their lives, a part of their being, both physically, and spiritually.

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. (19) And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 KJV.


 

And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; Numbers 3:12. The life of the priest was a living example of the connection between man and God. The Levites did not receive an inheritance of land. This illustrated the fact, life as we know it is temporary. Instead, priests were given a portion of the sacrifice. They also received the tithe. The best of the first fruits were given to support the Levites. A portion of the Tabernacle service was designed to meet the physical needs of the priests. In return, priests were to maintain the Tabernacle, its services, teach the law, and the testimony of God. They were instructed to, “gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:” Deuteronomy 31:12 KJV.

The ark was made up of only two elements, gold and wood. Understanding the spiritual meaning of these two elements may teach more about the ark than the physical details.

Pure gold completely covered the ark, inside and out. The mercy seat consisted of pure gold. Gold also represents God’s law, and His word.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Psalms 19:8-10, Psalms 119:72, Psalms 119:127 KJV.

To find the spiritual meaning for shittim wood, we have to use a little deductive thinking. The word shittim is used almost exclusively in association with the Tabernacle. When searching the word wood, a number of texts provide a definition outside the general contexts of the subject. Wood comes from trees, which is the most logical word to examine.

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree. I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. Psalms 92:12, Psalms 1:3, Jeremiah 17:7-8, Jeremiah 11:16, Psalms 52:8 KJV.

Trees spiritually represent people. Since wood for the ark came from a tree, the wood used in the ark must spiritually represent people.

What a fitting spiritual symbolism for the ark, gold and wood, representing God’s law, and His people. The law is divided into two groups. The first four describe our relationship with God, the remaining six, our relationship with other people.

Gold lining the inside, and outside of the ark is pure, the perfect representation of the law. The rings are cast from a harder material. To achieve this, the gold must be mixed with other materials, such as silver, or brass. Laws in addition to the ten commandments were carried in the side of the ark. These included the sacrificial laws and ceremonies pointing to Christ. Sacrificial and ceremonial laws were not required until after sin. The rings were designed to carry the ark. The earthly ark was carried through the wilderness by Levites for forty years. There was never any reason for the ark in Heaven to wander for forty years.

The ark was carried by two wooden staves, or poles, covered with gold. Here again we see the symbol of man, covered by gold, which represents God’s law, and His word. The gold covering of course added strength to the wooden poles.

The fact the ark was carried shows how the law required an effort on man’s part. Because the ark was to be carried only by the Levites, portrays the responsibility they carried as priests, representing God, and teaching His law.

The entire design of the ark symbolizes the relationship between God and man. The law rests upon the gold, which never deteriorates. Wood, used to produce the shape and form of the ark, symbolizes the need for man to maintain the shape required to carry the law.

The covering, known as the mercy seat, is pure gold. Mercy comes only through the sacrifice of Jesus. Pure gold represents Jesus’ perfect life. The mercy seat covers the law, just as Jesus’ perfect life covers the law for us.

Cherubims of gold represent the angels in the Heavenly courts. They show the reverence we should have for the law, which represents God’s character. They also represent cooperation between the Heavenly host and man. Pure gold shows the aid provided by angles is perfect, because of their perfect obedience, and cooperation with God.

Overall, the ark symbolizes, cooperation between God, His angels, man, and the law which are at the center of understanding. Once we understand how to interpret the symbols of the ark, we can begin to understand the other details of the Tabernacle.

Reference text:

KJV Exodus 25:10-22. And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. (11) And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. (12) And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. (13) And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. (14) And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. (15) The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. (16) And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. (17) And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. (18) And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. (19) And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. (20) And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. (21) And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. (22) And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

KJV Exodus 30:6. And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.

KJV Exodus 37:1-9. And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it: (2) And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about. (3) And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by the four corners of it; even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it. (4) And he made staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. (5) And he put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark. (6) And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof. (7) And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat; (8) One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof. (9) And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Genesis 1 to Exodus 27

Creation and The Genesis Promise

Creation

I’ve had dozens of details about the Tabernacle, stone temple, and Heavenly Sanctuary dancing around my head for months. There are so many stores related to the Tabernacle throughout the Bible, as well as many stores showing how the stone temple swayed from one religion to the other. One of the most neglected messages in the Bible may be the Heavenly Sanctuary. I’m not sure if anyone has taken the task of writing a book to look at similarities and differences between the three. I’ve read a few books that combined the Tabernacle and stone temple as if they were one of the same. After I looked into a few of the actual details, materials, and symbols used in the stone temple, I began to see an obvious pattern as well as lessons to consider.

One rule I’d like to follow throughout this book is to be consistent using the three names. The Tabernacle refers to the Tabernacle built by Moses. The stone temple, better known as Solomon’s temple, and following structures on the same site will be referred to as the temple. Sanctuary will refer to the Heavenly Sanctuary. For the most part, the KJV consistently followed the same rule. The KJV consistently translates Hebrew and Greek words the same throughout chapters and books in the Bible. When conducting a word search, I usually rely on the KJV’s consistency to quickly locate key words in chapters and books throughout the Bible.

Of course I prayed before starting this book. I asked, where is the best place to begin a story about the Tabernacle? I never thought of this before, but the answer I received was obvious. At the beginning. When I thought of the answer, it made sense. What does the Tabernacle basically represent? The story of salvation. Where does that story begin? In Genesis chapter 1.

When we see water in the Tabernacle, we should be reminded of one or more texts about water. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.(Genesis 1:1-2 NLTse). What better place to begin than at the beginning. What better way to understand the spiritual meaning of water than to look at where it all began. The Bible placed a link between the Spirit and water before creation began. Of course, the proper way to interpret the spiritual meaning of any symbol is to look at the story the symbol is recorded in, and the previous story. That is not only common sense, it is what is known in Bible Study as context. In this example, the author provided a definite link between the Spirit and water.

We also see another symbol used in the Tabernacle introduced in Genesis. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4 NLTse). This is another detail to consider when we look at how light is used in the Tabernacle. God created that light, both physical, and what we’ll see, spiritual.

God shed a little light on a planet covered in water, His Spirit. Next God needed something to complete the next step. That was land. Where was the land? It was always there. God had to bring it to the surface. What happened to the water? Land came to the surface as water moved below the land. God’s Spirit is still over the water, that water only moved position.

God also created a space or separation between the land and heavens, referred to as sky. Then God brought vegetation out of the land. Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation–every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. (Genesis 1:11 NLTse). Notice how vegetation sprouted up from the land. You have to pay attention to the order of creation to understand the process.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Genesis 1 to Exodus 27
The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Genesis 1 to Exodus 27 Now you can buy the eBppk direct from the author.

Most people glance over this story. Then point out the obvious, God spoke things into creation. They missed a large portion of God’s works, perfection, and planning. Everything was in place before God began His work. So far all God had to do was put it in order. This is a vital point to know if you plan on understanding anything in the Bible as well as how God works in your life and how God works in this world.

God had a planet with His Spirit covering everything. What does that tell you? If you know God, it means everything is in order for it’s time. Notice how the author recorded time periods called days? When we see anything repeated, we know we have to pay attention. We also have to look at details repeated words and comments have in common. In this case, every item was in existence in one form or another before God went to work. God put each item in perfect order for the next step.

The Spirit cover the water, that covered everything. The water covered all the land, that God moved into position. The land contained everything required for all the forms of vegetation to spring out of it. After another day, the world was ready for the next step.

But first, lets look at how this story was constructed by the author. If we can’t understand how the author constructed a few sentences in a story, how are we ever going to understand how God put this planet together?

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. (Genesis 1:11-13 KJV).

God didn’t take all the credit. He gave some of the credit to the earth. “Let the earth bring forth grass.” God directed the change, but everything required for the next step was inside the land before God spoke. Why is this important to know. If we are going to understand the plan of salvation, it all begins with understanding God and His personality. God gave credit to dirt.

This is where God threw in a little curve in the process to see if we are paying attention. God likes it when we think, but we still need to depend on Him. If we were creating the world, our process most likely would be, light, which would include the sun, moon, and stars. Then move the land on top of the water, make plants, then animals. But God used His process so we don’t forget, God’s ways are not our ways, and that will always be a mystery to us. Look at the light. What was that first light if the sun, moon, and stars were created on the forth day? Those were items that weren’t in place on this planet before creation began. God used His process to remind us, there is a bigger, smarter force in this universe than us.

We also see time periods repeated, which is an important factor to consider in all forms Bible Study. So far we’ve been taught the lessons, to rely on God, expect the unexpected, and look at the time periods involved. These are all important factors involved in the study of the Tabernacle, temple, and Sanctuary. More people get lost by confusing or ignoring obvious time frames.


 

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (Genesis 1:20 KJV). Here we see the same pattern repeated. Except this time, water brought creatures and fowl or birds. It seems rather unusual for birds to come out of water. Another example of looking for the unexpected in God’s Word. We can’t assume anything. We have to look at the process God followed if we ever hope to understand anything.

Look at the fundamental teaching tools God used. He introduced a process only He determined. Then God used all the birds and creatures in the waters to illustrate a point. We can’t hope to understand all of those creatures. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They are living, eating, breathing, duplicating, doing everything God created them to do.

God wasn’t finished with His new world yet. It needed a few extra details. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (Genesis 1:24 KJV). Why didn’t God create fish, birds, and animals on the same day? That’s a question no one can answer. That’s one of those questions you’ll have to ask God. As we progress through the story of creation, we will see God’s reason for putting that detail in the story of creation. Now we have to look at where those animals came from. “ Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind.” God gave credit to the earth, or dirt again. Why?

God wanted to stress the balance He created. We can tell balance is an important detail to see, based on the fact, details pointing to it were repeated. Authors always repeat key points to draw attention to them. It’s our job to slow down, notice them, and ask God’s Spirit to explain them.

Now we’re faced with another detail God repeated. We’re first given evidence of a countless number of fish and birds to consider. Added to that were a countless number of animals, insects, and other creatures. Each one of them is beyond our imagination, not to mention our comprehension.

People like to point out the power of God’s Word. They like to point out, God created all of those details with a single word. I wonder if they realize the page in front of them is filled with God’s Words, and each of them has the same power as the word He used to create.

We see a specific process. A process created and followed by God. We’re also reminded of how little we understand. The vast number fish, birds, and creatures God created are His witnesses to that fact. What we need to see is how all of these facts related to God’s Word.

We can’t hope to comprehend all of God’s Word any more than we can understand all the fish, or birds, animals, or other creatures. Some people think they have the Bible figured out. They claim to have all the truth. And most likely, those same people claim God no longer talks to this world. How could that be? Don’t we still have water? As long as we have water on this planet, we have God’s Spirit.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27 KJV).

As God continued the process of creation, He also continued the lessons. Look at the way the history of first man was recorded. The first point God made was, He made man in His image. That is a major point to consider. What is an image? Can an image do the same things the original can do? Can an image take over for the original? Let’s take a look at that word image.

Image H6754 צלם tselem

From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: – image, vain shew.

We see how the definition of the word image can go much deeper than most people consider. No matter how we choose to look at man’s image of God, the fact remains, God gave Adam dominion over everything. Why? So we can understand God’s character. God created man and woman, and gave everything to them. God didn’t hold anything back. God gave it all. There was no way for Adam and Eve to pay them back. They didn’t have anything to give to God. Everything they had was supplied by God. The lesson is, God could have never finished His creation or called it very good if He had not given them and us an example of unconditional love.

How many people consider the key ingredient of love in creation? Just because it’s not mentioned by name doesn’t mean it wasn’t present. After all, didn’t John say, “God is love.” Is this world so caught up with the word love, they can’t see its presence unless the word is spoken? What is more important in your life, the word or the action?

I wonder why people skip over this part of chapter 1 where God showed He created man and woman together, and jump over to chapter 2, where we find a more detailed account. Here we have an example where the author recorded an event, then later filled in more details. It’s a style of writing used throughout the Bible. As we can see, God spent time to teach a lot of the fundamental rules of Bible Study at creation. Now we can see why this is a good place to begin.

There may be questions regarding the reason man and woman were created together in the first account, while the detailed account in chapter 2 shows how God formed Adam first, them created Eve. Part of that answer is found in the gift God gave them and how God created Eve. God gave them the whole world and unconditional love. God formed Eve from one of Adam’s ribs as an expression of that unconditional. An example or symbol showing their connection, as well as reliance upon each other. Adam will never be complete without His rib, and Eve would not exist without it.

When we reach chapter 2, we see the process of creation repeated. Why? This shows us it an a very important lesson. To understand the whole story, we have no choice but to compare each record of the story verse by verse. Together we get a much better view of the story. God keeps adding one important detail about Bible Study after another. If someone wanted to write a book about Bible Study, they could explain most of the important aspects using Genesis and the story of creation. Oh yes, God has a sense of humor to. We can see it in the way He plays hide and seek with His words.

After putting this world in the proper order, telling the sea and ground to send up their hidden treasures, God looked around. Everything was beautiful and ready for the next step. There was an open spot on the ground that appeared like God had a job to do before finishing his creation. God knelt down at that open spot and began to gather some of that dirt together in a long narrow mound. Once He had a adequate supply of dust gathered from the earth, God went to get the next ingredient. It needed a little bit of water. God mixed in just the right amount for the right consistency. Angels above looked down in interest as a number of different animals and birds gathered around. Taller animals like giraffes politely moved to the back to allow shorter ones a good view. Birds had no problem as they occupied every branch in site. Every once in a while God stepped back from His work to look at the details and look up at the breath taking colors of the birds and flowers. It would have been impossible for anyone to complete the task in a day with all the animals and birds playing and trying their best to get God’s attention. But God stayed focused as He worked with that clay forming arms, legs, hands, fingers, and all the details of the apex of His creation.

God stood up, brushed the dirt from His knees and hands. Looked around at all the animals and birds waiting to see what was happening. He gave then a smile before returning to one knee, putting his lips on the molded mouth of His image on the ground and blew into it. Excited chatter and song broke through the area as the clay image took on additional detail, changed color, and began to move. Its eyes opened. It raised its hands in the air examining their detail. God placed His hand under one arm to help the first man to his feet.

The first thing God wanted to do was plant Adam a garden. God started with a few trees, making sure they were exactly where Adam wanted them. Then God filled the scene in with a few bushes displaying the most unusual flowers. Near the front of the path God planted all different types of flowers for Adam to enjoy. Creatures watched as God worked in the ground to make that garden special for Adam. Once the garden was finished, God looked around, then declared, it was time to name all the creatures. God sent out the signal and every living creature passed in front of God and Adam two by two. They had so much fun naming all those creatures. But Adam noticed something. Every pair of animals showed little differences between male and female. Adam looked at himself in a pool of water, then over at God. He noticed they were the same. That’s when Adam wondered where His mate was.

God had a reason for making Adam wait. He wanted Adam to learn a few things it was important for Him to know. Something that would set him above the animals. Something to make Him feel special. God told Adam he had to sleep for a while, and there would be a surprise for him when he woke up.

God placed Adam in a deep sleep to open him up from front to back. God took out a single rib from around Adam’s heart and closed up the wound. I wonder why God had to open up Adam to take out that rib. Wouldn’t it have been easier for God to just make Eve from the same dust He used to make Adam? Or why didn’t God pull a rib out without opening Adam up? And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Genesis 2:21-22 KJV).

We only have two verses to look at. This also brings up another important Bible Study method to learn. Whenever you see something unusual, anything that doesn’t seem to make sense, dig deep for the answer. There are generally two methods I use to dig deeper. Whichever method you use, the first step is to listen to that quiet whisper of God’s Spirit inside you. More often than not, God provided the answer before He posed the question. The role of God’s Spirit is to direct you on the proper path to find that answer. You know your on the right path and found or heard the right message when you look at the answer and see how simple it is. Then you ask yourself why you’ve never seen it before. In this case, looking at the texts, we see an unusual word – instead. It doesn’t seem to fit. That’s the signal to look deeper. Look up the definition.

INSTEAD H8478 תּחת tachath

From the same as H8430; the bottom (as depressed); only adverbially below (often with prepositional prefix underneath), in lieu of, etc.: – as, beneath, X flat, in (-stead), (same) place (where . . . is), room, for . . . sake, stead of, under, X unto, X when . . . was mine, whereas, [where-] fore, with.

H8430 תּוח tôach

From an unused root meaning to depress; humble; Toach, an Israelite: – Toah.

Don’t you find it interesting how God inserted a word that explains what we feel like when we loose our spouse? Have you ever felt the physical pain of a separation or divorce? Think about that. You have to know what that pain is before you can understand why God provided the answers by giving us that clue.

Looking back at previous texts, and there is not a lot to review at this point in the Bible, what do you see? The first point is, we are created in God’s image. Does that mean God has a missing rib? It means God feels a depression every time He looses someone. So take your pain and multiple it by a few hundred million and then your in God’s position. Then you can see why Jesus was pierced under His rib and why He carries the open wound. Now you can begin to understand why Jesus had the disciples inspect that wound. He wanted that close observation to leave an impression on them.

Look at how this world views that rib. Look at the figures they use for that rib. The all look like a straight line or number 1. God didn’t take out a piece of a rib. God took out the whole rib from front to back. That rib doesn’t look like a number 1. It stands for the unity of 1. It stands for two becoming one. But it does not stand for looking out for number one. The full rib looks like a C if you look at it one way. Held the other way, it looks like a U. Either way, it has an open end. The rib protects the heart, while still having an open end. Only God can fill that open end like only God could take that rib and make a woman out of it.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24 KJV).

To understand this portion of the story in its proper context, we have to look at who said this. It is Adam speaking, not God. Adam knew a little bit about what happened, but give the guy a break, he was only one day old. He didn’t know how the body worked, but he did see a physical connection. He knew he was connected to Eve by flesh and bone. In a prophet voice, Adam pointed to another connection. Where are blood cells produced? This is really good because God had to make a point. He had to put science in their place somewhere in this story about creation and He did it here. Blood is produced in bones. Science is not sure how the body does it, or how those blood cells get into the blood stream. All they know is, when they cut open a bone, it is filled with red blood cells. The rest is a mystery, and science, no matter how hard they try, cannot reproduce the process. Science should be humbled at God’s creation.

This also introduced the concept of blood. Adam and Eve shared the same flesh, bone, and blood. When we look at the Hebrew meaning of the word man used in the creation story, we find it means mankind. It does not refer to only the male of the species. Adam made that clear by expressing his thoughts on his union with Eve.

Can you image the look on Adam’s face when He looked up and saw God and Eve standing over him? Then God gave them a special job. He told them to tend the garden He made for them. Let your mind wander over the sights, sounds, and smells of that scene for a moment and think about what God did. He set aside a special day to spend with them on the first honeymoon in history.

God also gave them the ability to reproduce. This may not seem like much, but it set the scene for the next story in creation. Lucifer was furious. Those creatures were only a day old and they had a gift Lucifer never had. Not only Adam and Eve, but all the animals, birds, fish, and bugs were able to reproduce. Lucifer had a jealous streak as wide as the horizon. He didn’t like God’s arrangements at all and he wanted to do something about it.

The Deception

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1 KJV).

Satan began the conversation doing what he’s best at, lying. He knew there was only one tree God told Adam he could never eat from. Satan insisted that wasn’t true by insinuating there was more than one tree. Eve made a mistake by attempting to correct the master deceiver by herself. That was the only opening Lucifer needed. He had been deceiving angels in Heaven longer than Eve could imagine. Eve should have consulted God on the matter. Scripture showed, Eve had direct access to God and could go to Him for advice. She could have went to her husband for advice. If he was smart, he would have told her to wait until after discussing the matter with God before addressing the question. But Eve began a long series of mistakes along this line, making decisions before consulting God. We will see this mistake repeated as we progress through a study of the temple.

Eve ate the fruit and shard it with her husband. Later God found them in the garden wearing fig leaves to cover themselves. Then God conducted the first sacrifice in the history of the universe. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21 KJV). No one could have guessed at the cost of sin. The universe, as well as Lucifer and his followers watched God take the lives of those first sacrifices with His own hands. The universe watched this world fall apart as flowers faded, leaves died, animals began killing and eating each other, and Adam and Eve were rejected from the garden. Angels were concerned with the changes, so God took measures to comfort them. God introduced the concept of death in His Kingdom by restricting the life span of all the creatures in this world, including mankind. Even the weather changed. No part of nature in this world escaped the consequences of sin.

Summary of Creation

In the creation story we’ve uncovered a number of key pieces that play a key role in the system established in the Tabernacle. Some of those details relate to materials used in the Tabernacle, while others are related to the sacrificial system. God showed how all the key elements required to create this world were in place before He began. We will see the same pattern when it was time for Moses to construct the Tabernacle and all the items associated with it. We also saw how blood was introduced inside the rib God used to from Eve. The blood was inside, hidden from view, but was still present. This showed how Adam, Eve, and the entire human race shared the same blood, until it was perfected in Jesus, the perfect sacrifice.

We’ve also seen how God introduced key elements of basic Bible Study in the first two chapters of Genesis. These patterns are keys to understanding all scripture, as well as the Tabernacle, temple, and Sanctuary. We know to look for the unexpected. When God used an unexpected pattern, it is a signal to seek guidance from His Spirit. God has His own timing, and it may not agree with ours. Words and phrases repeated in texts lead us to the main thought and theme. Unusual words can open up a whole new understanding when we look up the original Hebrew meaning. This is also true for Greek used in the New Testament. We’ve also seen how Bible writers introduce a subject then fill in details in later chapters. This is a pattern throughout the Bible and from book to book. We’ll be using and reviewing all of those study methods and more as we progress through this book.

Cain and Abel

No one could have guessed Adam and Eve would have two children and the older would kill his younger brother. To try to apply a spiritual meaning to the older brother Cain and younger brother Abel would be impossible at this point, since the sequence of stones has not given us a clue. We do know Cain murdered Abel over their personal views of an acceptable sacrifice. We can keep this in mind as we progress on our study of the Tabernacle, it’s sacrificial system, and compare it to those seen in the temple.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out, this chapter is a brief introduction to the sacrificial system, as well as the first example showing the innate desire for people to make a few changes to God’s system. As the term applies, it seems like the desire to compromise with God on every detail is given to us at birth. That is the downfall and burden of being born in a world of sin. We should learn that lesson well, based on the fact, Cain was the first son born in this world.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (Genesis 4:3-4 KJV). Right from the beginning, brothers argued on the subject of sacrifice. That argument continues today. We will see examples of man made changes when we study the sacrificial system God gave and compare it to what actually happened.

Noah’s Ark

It didn’t take long for things to turn bad in this world. We see one story about Enoch, who walked so close to God, he eventually joined God in Heaven. There were a number of people who continued to follow God, but things got so bad, God had a talk with Noah and had him build an ark. That ark was not a forerunner or pattern for the Tabernacle, but it was a sort of symbol pointing to it. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.(Genesis 6:14 KJV). Once again we see a strange word repeated. Pitch is one of the most unusual words in the Bible. The Hebrew word, like many others, and English words, has more than one meaning. We wouldn’t know that until we look. Once again, the author brought our attention to this word by repeating it.

PITCH H3722 כּפר kâphar

A primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel: – appease, make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, to pitch, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile (-liation).

Bitumen is another word for tar. Don’t forget the KJV is an old English version of the Bible and some of the old English words are different than what we use today. The real surprise is found when we look at the second meaning of the word – make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful. We can see how that covering on Noah’s ark was designed to point to Jesus’ sacrifice.

Problems in this world that led to its destruction began with disagreements about the sacrificial system. I could write another book about how some churches, particularly church leaders are continuing to make that mistake. Not in regards to the physical sacrifice, but the spiritual sacrifice in respect to serving God and receiving His spiritual gifts.

When Noah stepped out of that ark, he did two things. And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20 KJV). As soon as Noah came out of that ark, he displayed his understanding of the sacrificial system and taught it to his three sons and their wives. The sacrifice is like book ends. One is at the beginning of the family structure at the very beginning pf sin. The other is at a new beginning as soon as Noah left the ark.

Babel

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. (Genesis 11:4-6 KJV).

Once again, things went bad and God had to step in. This time He just gave them different languages to scatter them over the land. In this story, the people wanted to stay together, the old adage of strength through numbers. This example showed, that kind of reasoning doesn’t work with God. Men can’t outvote God to cancel or change His plans.

In this story we see people getting together to build their own from of worship, a tower, a new way of shaking their fists at God. This time God stepped in early and handed things in His own way. When we look at this story, the word Babel is introduced. Most people know this is the word Babylon is based on. Most people also know Babel means confusion, which is the meaning on the surface. When we dig a little deeper, we find Babel is derived from another Hebrew word.

H1101 בּלל bâlal

A primitive root; to overflow (specifically with oil); by implication to mix; also (denominative from H1098) to fodder: – anoint, confound, X fade, mingle, mix (self), give provender, temper

H1098 בּליל belı̂yl

From H1101; mixed, that is, (specifically) feed (for cattle): – corn, fodder, provender.

The word Babel leads to confusion, but how is that confusion spread? Looking a little deeper, we see it comes from feeding cattle a mixture. It shouldn’t be difficult to see how that relates to how many Christians relate to, or define Babel or Babylon in a spiritual sense. The meaning goes beyond confusion. The spiritual meaning includes control. Most often it points to control by one person, or organization. At least now you know where that meaning comes from, and how to explain it. And you got another review in using a Concordance and the Hebrew dictionary that comes with it.

Introduction to the Promised Land

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 NLTse).

Abram was the first to receive information about the promised land. This is another detail someone could write a book on. Abram’s life took many twists and turns. In the long run, Abram provided a son to carry on the promise. This showed the beginning of a long process that took generations to fulfill. Later we will see how the Tabernacle also points to that promised land like an arrow on a road sign.

There are a number of interesting details in Abram’s journey you can look at on your own. How Abram separated from Lot. Abraham’s two sons. His journey into Egypt and how it related to Issac’s time in Egypt, Jacob’s, and Jesus’ call to go to Egypt. When you look at them, look at the related details, as well as the differences or contrasts, which lead to an explanation of their spiritual meaning. But Egypt has little to do with the Tabernacle, except for the fact its materials came from Egypt.

What we are seeing is a pattern of related stories, when combined and investigated, reveal a deeper spiritual meaning. Like a flower blooming, you miss most of the story if your only interested in the end result. The effect and beauty will soon fade, but the lesson will be missed. If you only look at the mature flower, what will you learn about the nature of the flower? Wouldn’t your connection be based solely on self gratification?

You have to look at every story like God described the life of a flower. It may have been a brief summary, but that short story showed a few important steps. The flower springs up from the ground. It is a gift from God. It requires some care and attention. God’s Word is His flower, a special gift to us. His Word needs some care and attention, some tender loving care to appreciate its full beauty. And we’ve seen how God recorded those instructions to care for His Word, and appreciate it.

From Abraham to Jacob

There are a number of stories that apply in part to the Tabernacle. Jacob gave us a glimpse of a small part of the Tabernacle when he fled his home and met God in the wilderness. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. (Genesis 28:12-13 NLTse). It may be a small part, but we need some insight to the angels used in the curtains in the Tabernacle. Jacob also needed to be reminded who was in charge of the real birthright.

Jacob’s mother was confused about the birthright. She thought the birthright involved all of Isaac’s flocks, riches, and servants. She wanted all of that for Jacob, the son she loved. So she concocted a plan, it was nothing more than a series of lies and deceptions she told her son, Jacob to follow. Once Jacob was removed from his mother’s influence, God had to have a little chat with him to show Jacob where the real blessing was. Not in the words of his father he received through deception, but in God’s plan. Jacob tells us a small portion of that plan and agencies God has at His command to fulfill that plan. Here we see a contrast between worldly views on God’s plan of salvation and God’s way of doing things.

Adam received everything God created and freely shares it with his wife. There was no question. God didn’t hold anything back and neither did Adam. But there was a test. Eve went to that one tree she was told to stay away from. Why? Everything in this world was not enough for her. She had to see what that one thing she was missing was all about. She was easy prey for the serpent. All he had to do is promise Eve something she didn’t have. And she fell for it.

As soon as she realized what happened, she tried to think of a way out of the situation. The only solution she could think of was to get everything back in balance the way it used to be. She had something Adam didn’t. Maybe making Adam her equal would make everything alright. Eve convinced Adam he had to take the one thing she had to offer. It seemed innocent enough. But they forgot, this was the one way of being disobedient to God. After giving them time to think about what they did, God had to meet with them and remind them it was a mistake.

Isn’t that the root of all the problems we see in this world today? People are always trying to gain something they don’t have. Something they think they should have. It started out with something simple, a piece of fruit and grew from there. Abraham faced the same problem with Sarah. Once Sarah learned about the plan of salvation, she thought she had to take matters into her own hands. She didn’t understand God’s power. The easiest solution at the time was for Abraham to have a son from another wife. Image the emotions involved in that decision. If it didn’t feel like Sarah was getting her rib torn out, she must have had a heart of stone. That had to hurt beyond imagination. In a way, Sarah felt God’s pain as the plan of salvation progressed and He saw how people didn’t understand what He showed them. It seemed like people had to tinker with His plan every step of the way.

Like Eve, Sarah had to try to fix matters on her own. Their mistake was not consulting God before taking action. After making her decision, then finding out it was wrong, Sarah made the same mistake. She tried fixing the problem herself. She sent Abraham’s second wife and his firstborn son, Ismael away. Sarah introduced another emotion that leads to poor decisions, jealousy.

God’s plan wasn’t changed by Sarah’s attempts to make it better or move it along a little faster. But that pattern didn’t stop with Sarah. Abraham had a second son with his first wife Sarah, just like God planned. There was one story where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac. It didn’t make sense to go through all that trouble, then sacrifice Issac. God sent Abraham on a long journey to a mountain. This gave Abraham time to look back on all the details about his life. Another important lesson about Bible Study. If we don’t take time to look at our lives and how everything we’ve been taught fits together, we are missing part of the lesson. Once Abraham understood what God was showing him up to that point, it was time to move forward. Not only was the sacrifice of his son an object lesson, God had a surprise for Abraham.

Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. (Genesis 22:10-13 NLTse).

That ram pointed to the type of substitute God needed to teach this world about. Eve tried to fix the problem with her version of a substitute. Sarah tried to introduce her version of a substitute. Neither one of the fit God’s plan.

Isaac married Rebekah. Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for Isaac. He had to pay a large sum of money to buy Rebekah. That had implications that took a toll later in Jacob’s encounter with Rebekah’s family. Rebekah had twins, which introduced a new complication. People had traditions that basically gave the majority of the father’s inheritance to the firstborn son. Later God introduced this concept through Moses. Jacob and his brother Esau were born minutes apart, but Esau came out first. After they grew up, Rebekah loved Jacob more than Esau and saw how Jacob loved God. As far as Rebekah was concerned, Jacob was the only choice to receive Isaac’s blessing and inheritance.

Didn’t Rebekah think God saw what happened? Didn’t Rebekah realize God planned the birth of her twin sons and the order they were born? Rebekah didn’t realize that was all a test of her faith. She was too busy making her own plans to listen to God. Hence, we have another example of a simple rule of Bible Study. Take time to listen to God and look for the unexpected. When we look back on those stores, we can see how simple God’s plan was as well as lessons taught through each experience. When we take time to study details, we can see how foolish our plans can be and how God will set certain events in motion to teach us lessons designed to draw us closer to God and learn to rely on Him. Once we look back on what those lessons have in common, we can’t help but see, each of them is a way God is asking each of those people to talk with Him. Can the lessons get any easier than that?

When Jacob arrived at what was termed as the land in the east where he met Rachel, he opened a new can of worms. Jacob spent seven years working for Laban for Rachel’s hand in marriage. After spending seven years, Jacob never saw how deceitful Laban could be. Laban substituted Leah for Rachael. We can see over all those years, Jacob forgot to talk to God about getting married. Leah gave Jacob six sons. The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. (Genesis 35:23 NLTse). Levi led to Aaron, who was the first priest in the Tabernacle. Judah led to king David.

Finally, Jacob reached a point of deep depression, worrying about meeting his long lost brother and the safety of his family. Jacob tried to come up with the best plan he could think of. That’s when God had to step in to show Jacob what he was doing. During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. (Genesis 32:22-25 NLTse). Jacob wasn’t only wrestling with his problems, he was wrestling with God. Jacob was reminded about that lesson with every step he took the rest of his life.

There is another lesson in a pattern we see with Abraham and Isaac. Abraham began his ministry by traveling, moving at God’s command. When he remained in one place, problems seemed to follow. But when Abraham moved, he was blessed. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her–sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. (Genesis 12:16 NLTse). You can read the other examples. Abraham’s son also went through the same sequence of events.

A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. He acquired so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. (Genesis 26: 1-3, 12-14 NLTse).

Both times, God sent them there to avoid a famine. Both Abraham and Issac were blessed after following God’s orders. Both times they lied about their wives. You can read the stories yourself. Look at details that are the same or similar, as well as looking at the contrasts. The key here is to notice the relationship between moving, the promised lands, and how they were blessed. As long as they remained moving, and following God’s orders, God blessed them. Even after they made mistakes, God continued to bless them. We will see how this fits into lessons about the Tabernacle and temple later in this book.

The next one to find himself in Egypt was Jacob’s son Joseph. We have to be careful here and look at details. Joseph wasn’t sent into Egypt in the same manner as Abraham and Isaac. Joseph was carried to Egypt and sold as a slave. The beginning of another lesson. God is making sure we pay attention to details. But God did send Jacob to Egypt. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. But you will die in Egypt with Joseph attending to you.” (Genesis 46:2-4 NLTse).

If you know the story about Egypt, bondage, plagues, and the exodus, you know it contains a lot of details as well as symbols. Some apply to the Tabernacle, others apply to other phases of the plan of salvation. The Exodus began with one of the most important stories to understand. We pick up that story in the next chapter.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Exodus 28 to 40

Items Inside the Tabernacle

Exodus 37:1-9 NLTse Next Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood–a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. (2) He overlaid it inside and outside with pure gold, and he ran a molding of gold all around it. (3) He cast four gold rings and attached them to its four feet, two rings on each side. (4) Then he made poles from acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. (5) He inserted the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. (6) Then he made the Ark’s cover–the place of atonement–from pure gold. It was 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. (7) He made two cherubim from hammered gold and placed them on the two ends of the atonement cover. (8) He molded the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. (9) The cherubim faced each other and looked down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they protected it.

After passing by a number of texts telling us, Bezalel build this item and that item, and how he had help, I had to sit down and pray about this one. Why did Moses repeat details about the Tabernacle? There had to be a reason. A spiritual reason.

I had to pray about that for more than a week. Here is the lesson. We have to wait for the right time for God to answer. What better time to explain this detail than while we are looking at the description of the Ark. How much more personal and direct could this be? The answer was so simple and surprising.

To understand, all we need to do is compare the two events Moses recorded and look at the differences. We’ve already seen the similarities in a previous chapter. Now it’s time to look at the differences.

The first time, God explained all the details to Moses while he was on God’s mountain. God personally explained all the details to Moses who recorded them exactly as he was directed. This brings to mind a few verses in Isaiah. In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all– the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3 NLTse).

Isiah told us people will go to God’s mountain to learn. They will tell more people to go to God’s mountain to learn. Moses explained this process when he recorded details in the Tabernacle the second time.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Exodus 28 to 40
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Moses wrote five books, Exodus is one of them. Exodus consists of forty chapters. Not a very long book at all. But Moses used a number of chapters to record details about the Tabernacle then repeated those details. Moses is not wasting his time or valuable space in his short book. Moses is revealing valuable spiritual lessons.

The second time Moses recorded details in the Tabernacle, he began by telling us how all the people were touched by God’s Spirit. They gave more material than what was required, and volunteered to work on the Tabernacle. But Moses only recorded one name, Bezalel, and kept repeating his name over and over. We know this is not God’s usual style of communicating with us. It’s rare to see God give credit to one person. When we see something unusual, it is time to pay attention.

Moses focused on an individual and repeated that detail more than enough times to catch our attention. God also explained all the details and how each item was constructed to an individual, Moses. God set up something for us to consider. Are we going to look at the Tabernacle like a tour group, quickly passing by only observing the overall plan, view, and understanding of each item, restricted by one person’s brief explanation of each item and the overall view of the design? Or are we going to take time to learn about and view each item like Bezalel?

We have to look back at what we’ve been told about Bezalel. Then Moses told the people of Israel, “The LORD has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. The LORD has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft. And the LORD has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others. The LORD has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers. (Exodus 35:30-35 NLTse).

We remember how God gave Bezalel all the gifts he needed to complete the project. Bezalel was given skills to do all the work involved. He was also given skills to teach people. Bezalel also was given wisdom to understand the design. Those are some of the most important features of a true follower of God.


 

What good is it to collect a bunch of information from God but not be able to teach it? What good is it to have a really great relationship with God if you can’t explain the process, God’s original plan or design? Those are attributes showing the difference between a godly person and a wannabe leader. The real thing will be like Bezalel. They will not only be given skills to complete the project, God will make them complete by providing skills to understand the process and explain it to people.

There is a world of difference between looking at a concept of the Ark and understanding how each piece is fabricated and assembled. The same is true on a spiritual basis. Seeing only a overall spiritual view of the Ark is not at all like understanding details each piece represents and how they all fit together. Can we explain them now? Not at this point in this study. We can only look back and not much information was given to tell us what each piece represented. We have to be satisfied with what we’ve been given so far.

The main point is, learning those details is a personal experience with God. Jesus covered that concept when He promised to teach His disciples how to understand scripture. Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” (Mark 4:21-25 NLTse).

We see Jesus taught the same process. There isn’t a lot of understanding in a quick explanation and overall view. Understanding has a process you have to follow. What you do with that understanding or information is the key. Jesus told us, we’ll see all kinds of information like this lesson about Bezalel and his relationship with the Tabernacle. This information is available to everyone willing to listen. Now here is the key. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given–and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.

Do you see how Bezalel is a good example and how his example works with Jesus’ explanation of understanding? What would have happened if Bezalel received all those gifts, skills, and information from God, but didn’t teach and explain it to people? Then why does modern Christianity make a living from providing limited, overall views on subjects, and have no idea how to explain the details, or teach skills to get there. I am referring to the personal experience with God we all should have and share.

If Moses received a view and explanation of all those details on God’s mountain, God had to deliver that information to Bezalel in much the same way. Moses represented God’s physical mountain. Bezalel represented God’s spiritual mountain. Now we understand all those specific orders God gave to allow only people He called up to the physical mountain to approach. They were physical witnesses to His physical mountain that pointed to God’s spiritual mountain. It’s not by accident God spoke His law from that physical mountain and reveled this information at this time, at the description of the Ark. There is a connection to understanding, teaching, seeing details in the design, and God’s law.

It would be redundant to go over the same details in previous chapters. Moses did a good job of repeating details of all the items in the Tabernacle and we’ve seen one of the reasons why. We have to keep in mind, God is still in a state of mind, He wanted to reject Israel because they decided to make their own religion rather than follow Him. That’s a problem we still see today.

I have no idea what level your at or where you are in your walk with God. Since we’ve been shown the learning process is a personal matter between you and God, we have to accept that for what it is. We’ve been shown a number of attributes Moses taught about the priesthood that serves God. All of these details come together like the items in the Tabernacle. Each of them serve a specific purpose as well as reveal portions of God’s personality. Learning those details is not much different that learning about a person during dating stages. After all, that is the goal, to develop a personal relationship with God. You would never trust anyone to tell you details about the person your dating. Why would you trust anyone to give you details about the God offering you eternal life and His Son willing to forgive your sins?

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Samuel, Saul, and the Story of David

Israel Demanded a King 1 Samuel 8

1 Samuel 8:1-3 NLTse As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. (2) Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. (3) But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.

This part of the story always made me wonder why Samuel’s sons turned out to be like Eli’s sons. I always wondered why, and what the spiritual lesson behind it is. Since this is the introduction to a new chapter, the rule of introductions tells us, the chapter will help explain the answer, and we should look back at how the previous chapter ended.

Chapter seven ended by telling us how Samuel traveled all around the country setting up court to judge matters between people in Israel. That tells us a few details. Samuel didn’t spend enough time at home to properly raise his children. It also tells us, no matter what kind of relationship people have with God, if father don’t spend time with their kids, anything can happen. We should be aware, the devil will not take a vacation just because you aren’t home. Those few verses showed, Samuel was more dedicated to Israel than to his family. It also shows how little support Samuel received in return.

We can see how a number of factors effected that particular situation. There were both inside and outside influences Samuel should have dwelt with. But how could a man of God make such a major mistake with his sons? It happens more often than we think.

When we do what Moses taught Israel to do, look back, we see some interesting details in Egypt. Why didn’t God have any trouble getting millions of animals and insects to listen, but people who should have been thankful, people who should have given their lives to God, decided to ignore Him. Which brings up the question, how do we worship God?

In the previous chapter, we’ve seen how God used thunder to give Israel a victory over the Philistines. When most people look at God using elements, like the sun, rain, lightening, thunder, and other natural powers, we tend to think, that’s what God does, and give it little more thought. We are used to people calling it, natural disasters, or something along those terms. The enemy has a plan to hide the fact, God is still alive and in control of every element, every molecule, and atom in this world.

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Samuel, Saul, and the Story of David
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Yesterday I saw huge clouds all over the sky stop. They weren’t moving at all. I didn’t even see shifts in their shapes you normally see on the edge of clouds as they move with the upper winds. I looked at one cloud, more than a square mile, and several hundred feet high just standing still. It had to get there somehow. Something had to move it. And something had to stop it. I’ve seen the calculations to design brakes. Like brakes used in a car. The short story is, the calculations deal with energy and heat. Any type of energy can be converted into a value relating to heat, sometimes known as a calorie, but more often using the value of Btu’s. Not to get too in depth, but think of the energy God had to exert to stop one cloud. Then look at the horizon. Now think of the energy involved to make those clouds travel at thirty miles per hour.

One time I saw a plane flying at a very high altitude. The plane must have been going at least 300 miles per hour. Clouds at the same altitude kept up with that plane. It took about five minutes to see the plane putting any kind of distance between itself and that cloud.

We have no idea how much energy God puts into this planet everyday. But look around. You can see God’s energy at work all around you, all the time. It becomes so natural, we rarely notice. I just looked outside to see rapidly moving clouds at three different layers, traveling at three different speeds. Who divides the atmosphere and winds into different layers, and how does He do it? Have you ever seen clouds at different levels traveling in different directions? I know weathermen try to explain it. But how do we know they are right? All I know is, they are drawing attention away from God.

I wish I could explain it. But what kind of Bible Study would that be? We would be straying very far away from the rules of context we’ve learned in this series of books. And we don’t want to do that. We would also be straying away from God. That would be another example of men relying on themselves, instead of their Father and Creator.

We also have to ask, how much control does the devil have over nature? I’ve seen people trying to explain that topic. They want to appear to have all the answers. But do they? When we look at Samuel’s sons, how much control did Samuel have? How much control did God have? How much control did the devil have? And how much control, or influence did the people in Israel have over Samuel’s sons?


 

Israel Asked for a King

1 Samuel 8:4-9 NLTse Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. (5) “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” (6) Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the LORD for guidance. (7) “Do everything they say to you,” the LORD replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. (8) Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. (9) Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”

On the surface, this seems like a normal request. Samuel was a great leader. People knew how dedicated and reliable he was. They couldn’t have thought of a better man to lead and judge Israel. But Samuel’s sons were a different matter. Samuel’s sons were corrupt judges, taking bribes, and distorting judgment for monetary gains. The last people Israel wanted to lead them after Samuel was gone, were his sons. So the elders got together behind Samuel’s back, and made a decision. They wanted a king, someone new to lead them.

At first this looks like an open and shut case. But who made the decision, Samuel’s sons would lead Israel after Samuel died? Did anyone bother to consult God on the issue? It seems the elders had their own process to follow. They got together, discussed the situation, came up with a plan, then asked Samuel to initiate their plans. Sounds exactly the way the world operates today. But is that the right way to do things? Who was the corrupt party, or parties in this story? It seems those elders dropped the ball when it came to Samuel’s sons. Samuel didn’t record a word about any of those elders lending him a hand, or helping to raise his sons. All of a sudden, the elders showed up with a request.

Israel wanted to be like other nations. What did that mean? Most other countries followed different gods. Those other gods didn’t seem to tinker in business matters like God did. Those other nations had man made laws and regulations which were easily amended to allow for exceptions to the rules. More often than not, those exceptions were designed explicitly for rich and powerful people. And who was asking Samuel for a king? The elders who controlled the religion and for the most part, Israel’s economy. God originally designed the promised land so religion, or keeping God’s Commandments, was directly linked to the economy. If they kept God’s Commandments, Israel would be blessed, and protected. It seemed like a simple plan, but required a degree of effort many in Israel refused to comply with. It seemed to them, a corrupt economy would fetch higher profits. Isn’t that the way big business still thinks today?

This is a sort of paradox. On one hand, the elders were trying to avoid corruption, while on the other hand, they are inviting, or opening doors for a higher level of corruption. Like most religious leaders, they think if they can get a king appointed, that king would be thankful. In return, the king would grant them special favors and privileges. In other words, those elders were smart enough to know, they couldn’t control God, but they stood a pretty good chance of controlling a king. And when it came to the blame game, the elders, and everyone in Israel had a king to blame if things didn’t work out as planned. A quick review of Israel’s history in Kings and Chronicles shows, the country went the way of the king. When the king was bad, sin ran rampantly throughout the country. When the king was good, a certain amount of reform swept through the country.

We’ve seen how Samuel was rejected by Israel long before this idea cropped into their heads. No one bothered to ask Samuel if they should, or shouldn’t attack the Philistines when the Ark was captured. Israel thought, all they needed was the Ark, and God was in their control. That plan didn’t work.

Then they heard silence for twenty years. I think most Christians think God is silent today. Of course those people insist, we are in the last days. They are quick to point out world events, and tell people exactly where those events were predicted in books like Daniel and Revelation. They claim, this or that prophecy is being fulfilled in front of our eyes. And they tell us exactly where we are on God’s timeline. Mix in a little scripture with a lot of publicity from this world, and that’s all you seem to need to be a prophet these days. Ask them to show you exactly how they study scripture and what kind of answer will they give you? None at all. Not a single reply.

I’ve been discussing Bible Study methods with some people claiming to be world authorities on prophecy today. They claim to know all the truth, but are incapable of explaining a single step in the process they use to study scripture. If I were to open a window, or unlock a door, I would be able to explain the step by step process to anyone. I could tell you how to turn the latch on a window and lift it up. Or unlock the window and turn the crank to open it. If there were two locks to open, I’d be able to relate that information. The same with opening a door. If all you had to do was turn the knob to open it, I could tell you. If you needed a key, I could provide one. If the door required two keys, there would be no problem explaining that. Opening windows and doors are easy to explain. Having a simple process to open them should not make it impossible to explain. But that is what all those prophets claim. Their study process is so simple, they cannot explain how to do it. I find that hard to believe. I will say, if no process exists, there is nothing to explain.

I also find this strange to write about Israel’s request for a king in an election year. Especially this election year. I cannot remember two worst choices for president. Trump and Clinton are, well less than perfect choices. What I can’t stand is people pushing me to make a decision. I would never vote for either one of them, unless God directed me. Is that to hard to understand?

I don’t want to begin ranting about what is wrong with either candidate, but the fact is, democracy takes God out of the picture every time we choose new leaders from local, up to federal positions. Does anyone pray before they vote? Does anyone receive and answer when they tell God to choose between this person, and that person? Then people wonder why they don’t hear God. Do they expect to hear an answer while trying to back God into a corner?

That’s what Israel tried to do since arriving in the promised land, paint God into a corner. Israel wanted to do things their way, and they wanted to be blessed. They thought, God had no other choice but to protect His chosen people. Then they thought, God had no other choice than to protect His Ark. God defended His Ark, but not in a way anyone expected to see.

God has a funny way of letting people have their way. God let Israel have a king. God told Samuel, “Do everything they say to you.” God knew when He wasn’t appreciated, or wanted. God knew, after a few years, people would finally cry out to Him for help again.

Warning About a King

1 Samuel 8:10-22 NLTse So Samuel passed on the LORD’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. (11) “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. (12) Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. (13) The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. (14) He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. (15) He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. (16) He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. (17) He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. (18) When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the LORD will not help you.” (19) But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. (20) “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.” (21) So Samuel repeated to the LORD what the people had said, (22) and the LORD replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.

When we look at how governments treat people today, it seems God didn’t tell Israel one tenth of the problems. If government only took one tenth of our income, most of us would be dancing in the streets. Some people pay close to one tenth on sales tax, or state income tax. On top of that pile on a long list of other taxes. Federal income tax is often twice, or three times what God warned about. So why do people still insist on keeping God out of politics? I have no idea why.

We still see countries drafting people into armies. Here in the US, we have a volunteer army. But that could change at any moment. We don’t have forced labor in fields, but after taxes, many people feel like slaves to the government. Especially with payments to the national health care system that seem more like car, or house mortgage payments.

The government does control all the land. Between the government and banks, few people actually own their own land. After the mortgage is paid, there are still properly taxes. Many homes, businesses, and farms fall to the tax collector, and are sold of as tax foreclosures. Seems government missed a few chapters Moses wrote about the Jubilee years.

I think we are, or should be way past the point to beg God for relief from the king. But people want to cling onto that last hope, the next president will fix everything. Isn’t that what they promise during election campaigns? Don’t all of them break the promises they made? But people still want to believe, democracy is better than serving God. Having freedom to make our own choices is better than being tied down by Ten Commandments.

The Bronze Snake Numbers 21

Numbers 21:1-9 NLTse The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that the Israelites were approaching on the road through Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites and took some of them as prisoners. (2) Then the people of Israel made this vow to the LORD: “If you will hand these people over to us, we will completely destroy all their towns.” (3) The LORD heard the Israelites’ request and gave them victory over the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed them and their towns, and the place has been called Hormah ever since. (4) Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, (5) and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!” (6) So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. (7) Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people. (8) Then the LORD told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” (9) So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!

This is another one of those stories most Christians are familiar with. Most Christians know how that bronze snake on a pole pointed to Jesus.

John 3:11-17 NLTse I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. (12) But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? (13) No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. (14) And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, (15) so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. (16) “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (17) God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

This portion of John’s books also contains a well known verse. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” I’ll bet you never realized how close the two stories are related. Jesus placed those stories together for a reason. One of the most important rules of Bible Study is to always look up and read the entire story referenced by an inspired writer. Is there anyone more inspired than Jesus?

How are those stories related? We have to look at how the introductions to each story are related.

Numbers 21:1-3 NLTse The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that the Israelites were approaching on the road through Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites and took some of them as prisoners. (2) Then the people of Israel made this vow to the LORD: “If you will hand these people over to us, we will completely destroy all their towns.” (3) The LORD heard the Israelites’ request and gave them victory over the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed them and their towns, and the place has been called Hormah ever since.

John 3:1-6 NLTse There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. (2) After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” (3) Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (4) “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” (5) Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. (6) Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.

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What do those two introductions have in common? They are more of a contract. But do they teach the same lesson? Nicodemus couldn’t comprehend how a person could be born again. He had absolutely no concept of a spiritual birth. We could apply this to the Canaanite king of Arad. He must have heard stories about how God freed those slaves from Egypt. Israel had been traveling throughout the region for more than two years, and nothing escapes the ears of a king.

What about applying the lesson to the people God was trying to train as priests? Nicodemus was a religious leader. Or so he thought he was. Still, Nicodemus had no concept of a spiritual birth. Neither did those people wandering through the wilderness. Is that where the connection lies?

When we look a little further in the story, we see how God handed over the Canaanites to the Israelites, who completely destroyed them. Then the unexpected happened. Poisonous snakes began attaching the people in the camp. There was no doubt in their mind God sent those snakes because they were complaining again. Of course they complained about the manna again. It seems after a few years they grew tired of the same diet. But to those people who were slaves all their lives, wafers that tasted like honey should have been a delicacy.

There is no reference to food in John chapter 3. But Jesus did use wind and light as symbols to explain how God’s Spirit works. It’s not likely Numbers 21 and John 3 are parallel chapters. But Jesus did choose that particular time, person, and lesson to link with the story about that bronze snake in Numbers 21. Why?

Jesus referenced that scripture because He wanted Nicodemus to go back and review the entire story. In that story, the people complained about the manna. They had a better idea. Nicodemus thought he followed a religion with a better idea. They thought they had everything all figured out. But Jesus saw straight through Nicodemus and used a subject he knew nothing about to illustrate a very important point. How could those people know anything if they didn’t understand how God’s Spirit worked? How could they interpret one line of scripture without God’s Spirit?

Sad to say, we have thousands of preachers and teachers in the world millions of people follow. Few of those religious leaders are able to explain how God’s Spirit works. Sure they have one or two explanations. And they are masters at bending the truth to make it appear they are experts. But the acid test is, are they able to explain how to have a personal relationship with the Spirit?

I’m not sure why they can’t. The answer is there in black and white on the same page, spoken by the same person, almost in the same sentence. We first have to learn to look up to Jesus. Do they really know the God who used the symbol of a serpent to represent himself? These stories hit the use of context smack dab in the center of the bulls-eye. There is not a better example of understanding context then these stories.


 

Look how Jesus tied them together when He spoke to Nicodemus. Jesus tied that serpent to His sacrifice. This is the only time anyone can say, “a serpent is a symbol pointing to Jesus.” Anyone familiar with scripture knows a serpent is a symbols pointing to Satan. That’s true in most cases, but not in this particular situation. Jesus just proved, symbols are useless when taken out of context. Jesus proved, symbols must be interpreted within their proper context. Jesus used an expert in religion to illustrate another point. How many religious experts are capable of explaining those simple rules of context?

Now apply that knowledge to a wilderness journey to the promised land. When people cut and paste God’s Word in ways it was never meant to be used, aren’t they complaining about the spiritual food Jesus provided? Think about that. If they are not learning from God’s Spirit within the context lessens were recorded, what are those religious leaders teaching? This lesson is so obvious.

What’s the cure for such a spiritual deficiency? They have to first look at Jesus. They have to look up to His life, ministry, and service He is performing in the Heavenly Sanctuary. But do they do that? Let’s admit, most preachers don’t know Jesus any better than Nicodemus knew Him before that night. They heard about Jesus. They read about Him. They heard rumors about Jesus, But do the really know Him? What about God’s Spirit? If the did, they’d have no problem telling people all about God’s Spirit, or how He communicates with people and speaks through His living Word. Like we see here. Stories are woven together to teach lessons other people easily miss.

People have to learn to look up to Jesus for the same reasons the world He lived in rejected Him. Look at how Numbers 21 and Jesus’ ministry agree. People in Israel asked for one thing but expected another. So they complained. Don’t we hear the same messages today?

We hear all about how Jesus saves people by forgiving sins. About the only other message we hear about Jesus is He is about to return. That is about the extent most Christians are able to teach about Jesus. But what about that sequence of events Jesus has to perform before He returns? My guess is less than 10% of all Christians know any of those details. I know for a fact, many demonstrations refuse to learn anything about that process. Most of them who know about the process Jesus has to go through ignore it. All of them are too busy trying to guess what’s gonna happen to this world next. Almost all of them have the prophetic sequence all messed up because they only know how to read proof text. So they jump from one sentence in one story and try to tie in into another story because it agrees with their theology, that doesn’t agree with the theology of any other denomination. And people wonder why. Did they ever stop to think, God recorded everything in order, because He knew how everything was going to follow a particular sequence? God never needed any of those self proclaimed prophets to rearrange what He had recorded. See the connection between modern day prophets and those people in Israel complaining about the physical food they received? See the connection between those people bitten by those physical serpents and modern day prophets who cannot explain a relationship with God’s Spirit?