Creation and The Genesis Promise
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.