*THE TABERNACLE AND CHRIST*
The Old Testament institutions and ceremonies were powerless to save the souls of men. They were devised as types of Christ and the different phases of effectual salvation (Heb7;11,12; 8:5; 9:23; 10:1). The Tabernacle and later the Temple typified the places and the manner in which GOD met with His people and dealt with their sins. They were a type of the Incarnate Christ and His ministry for men. The priesthood typified the one and only perfect priest, the Lord Jesus Christ Heb8:1. The Offerings, Feasts, and Ceremonies all typified things having to do with redemption through the Messiah and the life of the redeemed. The places of the Old Covenant were typical of spiritual places or conditions. Even the land was a type of salvation to come through the Christ.
The following are some of the main types found in the Tabernacle:
*01. The HIGH PRIEST* was appointed by God (Ex28:1; Heb5:4-6; 7:20-24). Only the High Priest could make atonement (Lev16:13; Heb7:27; 6:20; 8:3; 9:7, 12, 24-28; 10:12; 13:20; 2:9; 1Cor6:20; 1Pet1:18-19; Ex28, 29; Lev8; Num3,8; Heb.5,7,9). Jesus was the Great High Priest offering up Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sin debt
*02. The TABERNACLE* symbolizes Christ (Ex25-27). It symbolized the dwelling place of God in the midst of His people. As a type of Christ, it symbolized the meeting between God and man (Heb9:21-24; 2Cor5:19; Col2:9; Heb10:5; Rev21:3; Jn1:14;2:13-22). The tabernacle is a symbol, picture and prophecy of the man in whom God should become incarnate. It is also a symbol of the Body of Christ, the Church (Col1:26-27; 1Cor3:16, 12:13; Rom12:5; Eph2:21,22)
*03. The GOAT HAIR TENT COVER* (Ex.26:7ff) completely covered the Tabernacle. It is a symbol of the complete way in which the sacrificial death of Jesus covers the Body of Christ. Because of the death of Christ, and our acceptance of it, God cannot see our sins (Lev9:15; Num28:22; Is53:10; Heb9:10, 14, 26, 28; Eph5:2; 2Cor5:21; 1Jn1:9; Ps32:1)
*04. Two COVERINGS OF THE TABERNACLE* consisted of (1) ram’s skins dyed red, and (2) a covering of porpoise or badger which was dull bluish, or gray in color and had no comeliness or beauty. It was nothing to be desired and was despised and rejected for coverings by men. It is a picture of Christ to all who do not come by way of the Cross (Is53:2,3)
*05. The GATE* to the Tabernacle was the only entrance. It was accessible, attractive and well supported. Christ is the only gate into the presence of God (Jn10:7, 9; 14:6; Eph2:13; 1Cor2:2; Heb10:19-20)
*06. The BRAZEN ALTAR* (Ex27:1-8) is a type of Christ our sacrifice (Jn1:29). The sacrifice stands at the entrance of man’s approach to God. Man has no access to God except as a sinner atoned for by blood. All who pass through the door must pass by the bloodstained altar or not at all. The Mizbeach – “slaughter place,” just within the gate was easily accessible, unavoidable and unmistakable. Fire on the altar was to burn continually, fire is here the symbol of the Holy Spirit Heb9:14
*07. LAVER OF BRONZE* (Ex30:17-21) symbolizes Christ our cleanser which cleanses from defilement (Eph5:25-26; Jn17:17). It denotes spiritual renewal. We have daily cleansing from defilements of life, and it is accessible only through our Priest. We are continually cleansed by Christ through the Spirit and the Word (Jn15:3; 1Jn1:6-9)
*08. HOLY PLACE* was the first room the priest entered and contained three pieces of furniture: Table of Presence, Menorah or Golden Lampstand, and Altar of Incense
*09. The MENORAH or LAMP STAND* OF PURE GOLD symbolizes the presence of God as the source of life’s entertainment, and God’s leadership. Christ is our Light (Jn8:12), and denotes spiritual illumination (Ex30:7-8; 27:20; Phil2:15-16; Prov4:18; 2Cor4:6; Eph1:18; 5:13; Matt5:14-16). The Holy Spirit gives illumination to the believer
*10. BREAD OF THE PRESENCE* lit. “face-bread,” symbolizes the presence of the LORD as food of life. Jesus is the “Bread of Life” for every believer (Jn6:35). He is our spiritual sustenance. 12 loaves of bread spoke about Israel being before God’s eyes continually
*11. ALTAR OF INCENSE* (Ex30:1-10) was a perpetual adoration of the LORD. Christ is our intercessor who is always making intercession for us (Jn17; Heb7:25; Rev8:3-5). It also symbolizes the worship of the believer (Jn4:21,23); and prayer of the saints (Rev.8:3, 4; Ps141:2; 1Tim.2:1-5)
*12. The VEIL* in the Temple (Ex.26:31-35) separated the Holy of Holies, or Most Holy Place, and the Holy Place. It is a type of Christ’s body (Heb10:20; Matt27:51). The door into God’s presence was opened to man when Christ died and rent the veil from top – God’s side – to bottom – man’s side (Jn.10:9). The unrent veil shut man out from the typical presence of God. The rent veil changed at once from a barrier to an open way into the Holy of Holies (Heb9:20, 26; 10:10,12,14; Eph2:4-6; Heb.4:15).
*13. HOLY OF HOLIES* was entered only one day of the year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It represented God’s dwelling place (Heb.9:24). It symbolized the human body of Jesus (Jn.2:19-21), and the body of believers (1Cor3:16-17; 6:19). In 2Cor6:16 it symbolizes the local church, and Ephesians 2:21 the universal church consisting of all believers in Christ
*14. The ARK OF THE COVENANT* (Ex25:10-16) contained the Law, manna and Aaron’s budded rod. Christ had the Law in His heart and came to fulfill it (Matt5:17, 18). It is another symbol of God being with His people. Just as the Ark of the Covenant contained God’s testimony to Israel, Christ is God’s testimony of man. As God looked down towards the ark, He saw the blood on the cover, just above the law: God did not see the law accusing the believers but the blood that covered sins
*15. The MERCY SEAT* was the gold lid or cover on top of the ARK of COVENANT (Ex25:17-21; Lev16:13-16). The Mercy Seat is the cover, the covering or removal of sin by means of expiatory sacrifice. It is the Old Testament throne of grace. Justice and mercy met there, and the blood of the innocent sacrifice cleanses away all sin. Christ is that covering for sin (Heb9:5; Rom3:25; 1Jn2:2). He is the Mercy Seat
*16. THE GLORY*, ‘MY GLORY’ is the Shekinah. “Glory” describes Yahweh’s self-manifestation, His transcendence, or His presence with men (Ex33:18-20; 34:5-7; 14:19; 40:34). It is a type of His dwelling in heaven (Heb9:24; Ex40:34-35). The glory is seen guiding Israel, it left the second temple Ez10:18, and reappeared with Christ (Matt17:5; Lk2:9; Jn1:14; Rev21:3; Heb1:3; Jn17:5; 2Pet1:16,17; Acts1:9; Mk14:62; Rev14:14)
GOLD speaks of deity 1Cor3:12, Rev21:18-21
SILVER speaks of redemption Ex36:24, 30:15
BRASS/BRONZE speaks of the heavens/heavenly nature Ex25:4, 26:31, 28:31
BLUE Heavens/Heavenly nature Ex25:4, 26:31, 28:31
PURPLE Kingly/Royalty Jn19:2, Rev17:4
SCARLET – Blood Sacrifice Lev14:4, Josh2:18, Is1:18
FINE LINEN Righteousness Lev6:10, Rev19:8
GOATS/RAMS HAIR Atonement Gen15:9, Ex12:5
WOOD – Jesus’ Humanity Ex26:15, Is53:2
OIL – Holy Spirit Lev14:16, Ps47:7
*THE THREE AREAS AND MEANINGS OF THE TABERNACLE ARE AS FOLLOWS:*
*1. THE OUTER COURT*
-Symbol of the dispensation of Mosaic Law; area 1500 cubits (symbolic for aprox. 1500 years from Moses to Jesus); speaks of justification
-contained the brazen altar and the laver. The focus was on sacrifice, judgment and cleansing and represents the age of the Law. The area of the fence surrounding the outer court was 1500 cubits squared just as the period of time that the Mosiac law was in force for was approx. 1500 years! Everything in the outer court was constructed in bronze symbolising judgement. This is what the law did! It pronounced you guilty and that judgement and a blood sacrifice was required. But it also pointed, as the law does, to Jesus as the Way of salvation (as there was only one entrance to the outer court) and the need for ‘justification’
*2. THE HOLY PLACE*
-Dispensation of Grace (Church age); volume 2000 cubits (symbolic for aprox. 2000 years of church age from crucifixion until the rapture); it speaks of sanctification; Jesus seen as the Truth Jn14:6
-it was a room of 20 X 10 X 10 cubits (representing the 2000 years of the church age). Only the Priests could come within this area and not without cleansing at the laver. But this area contained no items made of bronze (judgement) like the outer court did. It contained the Showbread (Christ the bread of Life), the Lampstand (Christ the light of the world) and the Altar of Incense (Christ our intercessor). It was made from gold, silver and wood representing the deity, redemption and the humanity of Christ. It pictures Jesus as the ‘truth’ and in terms of salvation it represents our need of sanctification as we walk in this life with Christ as our life and bread.
*3. THE HOLY OF HOLIES*
-Dispensation of the Messianic Kingdom or Millennium; volume 1000 cubits (symbolic for 1000 years or millennium); it speaks of glorification and Jesus is seen as the Life Jn14:6.
-This contained the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest could enter here and only on one day of the year! Only on the Day of Atonement could the High Priest enter the Holy of Holies and be in the very presence of God Himself. This area represents the coming Kingdom age where God shall dwell among His people once again in visible form. In terms of the aspect of a believer’s salvation it represents our ‘glorification’ – when we are with Christ and are like Christ! As a picture of Jesus, it shows Him not just as the way or even the truth, but as ‘the life’. This special area of the tabernacle contained the very real presence and power of God and if we are to know Jesus today as ‘the life’ (and not just ‘the way’) then we too, as priests of the new covenant, need to come into His very presence in the new way opened to us.