Looking from the outside, one encounters first a white wall. Walking along, one tracks that it is more a rectangular fence which borders a parcel of land. It takes 100 large steps in length and 50 in width, in order to gain a better picture of the approximately 2.5-meter-high fence. Unusually, the material is made of white linen, and the copper poles have silver rings on top. The structure is portable, for the total of 60 poles are fastened with strings and bronze pegs in the ground and rest on copper pedestals.
Arriving at the entrance one is struck by the stunning beauty of a ten foot wide curtain. Blue, purple, scarlet, and white yarns are artfully woven into a linen. What might be hidden behind the structure?
On a hill in the east you can get a better picture. The area is rocky and dusty. Hills and mountains are found in the desert in abundance. There it is, the mysterious tent. Because of the protective covering of badgers’ skins, the grey tent design fits seamlessly into the barren area. Only the entrance with its five golden pillars and a four-colour curtain promises royal dignity. This could be the home of a Bedouin prince.
The forecourt of the tent with a large, square altar of bronze, in which corners are crafted on top four horns, rather suggests a religious purpose. In agreement between the tent and the altar of burnt offering an unusual copper sink is placed in which circle the hot rays of the sun are reflected.
Which educated person will get the idea that this description is speaking of the Messiah?
Theologians recognize in the above words the tent sanctuary in the desert, whose name is most known as tabernacle. In the original Hebrew passages are used the names Mishkan מִשְׁכַּן tent / ʔohel mōʕēd אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד tabernacle / and miqdāš מִקְדָּשׁ sanctuary. A more recent picture of the replica situated at the Timna National Park in the Negev desert is here:
Aside from pilgrimaging tourist expeditions that lead to the very south of Israel, the public interest of the desert sanctuary is very low. Only the legends and myths about the lost Ark of the Covenant are distributed in movies and broadcasts. Unfortunately these ‘scientific’ findings contribute sparsely documented information.
Extremely surprising is that mysterious tent is a symbolic representation of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach. Yes, you heard me right. Even our historical picture of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was foreshadowed in the construction of the tabernacle.
Beyond question Jesus Christ is one of the most important persons in world history. Generally speaking, he is the founder of the faith of the worlds largest religious group. His life and teachings have influenced our society in particular. The walk and life of Jesus here on earth is considered especially holy and pure. He was a man without blemish and without spot from whom is written in the scroll (Psalm 40, 8 & 9): “Behold, in the volume of the book is written about me. I delight to do your will, O my God, thy law is within my heart!”
A white fence with six times ten poles expresses the holiness of the Son of Man who fulfilled God’s commandments. In the fifth chapter of Matthew the master emphasizes that he did not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil them.
Copper or bronze is a symbol of the suffering and the judgment of sin. Silver is repeatedly used as ransom and the biblical epitome of our salvation. Cords made of goat hair or cotton, which are stretched with bronze pegs from the ground to the silver crowns (rings), give the white linen cloth its stability. Woven goat hair was used as a coat of the prophets. The first messianic prophecy in Genesis 3, 15 is:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
On the cross of Calvary this prophecy started to be fulfilled. When the Jews demanded a sign from Jesus he replied: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” And: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and his nights in the heart of the earth.”
Jesus taught his unbelieving disciples that the Son of Man must suffer many things, be killed, and resurrected on the third day. Unbelievable or not, but bronze pegs that stuck halfway in the ground and look out halfway through symbolize death and resurrection.
Drawing a line from the ground to the silver crown, I don’t want to romanticise the reader, but about all this Jesus conversed on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah. In this episode disciple Peter, who did not know what he was talking about, wanted to make three tabernacles for them.
I know what I’m talking about through the four Gospels. A special door opens up by the eyewitness accounts in the New Testament. With a will of its own, one can climb on a hill at the east, to take a view on the altar of burnt offering and the brazen laver. Anyway, the interior of the tabernacle is hidden. Educated people recognize Jesus on the cross and the Holy Scriptures in common, but have no understanding of the hidden spiritual life. There are theology professors who pretend to know everything about Jesus and the Bible, and yet they are spiritually dead. Often the accepted religious philosophers cast doubt in the veracity of the biblical accounts in teaching their students disbelief (e.g. the five Books of Moses are an identity invention of Jewish writers in Babylonian exile, so the tabernacle could have never really existed).
I urge all readers to go the way into the mysterious tent. This leads the people of God only to the cross and to Jesus Christ, who is at the centre of all things.
The tabernacle stood originally not alone in the desert, for the twelve tribes of Israel set up their tents in a precisely prescribed plan around the sanctuary. Each time three tribes gathered in a cardinal direction so that altogether a pictured cross developed. As four banners they erected the lion, bull, man, and eagle. This foreshadowing is reflected also in the Apocalypse with the four living creatures that have the same faces, displaying their eternal character. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John never fall into oblivion. King, Servant, Son of Man, and Son of God are eternal attributes of the Jewish Messiah. Purple was used for the precious garments of kings, scarlet represents the colour of the selfless servant, pure white indicates the man without sin, and blue is found mainly in heaven. These four colours are all woven in the three curtains of the Tabernacle. When Jesus claimed “I am the way and the truth and the life,” he compared himself with the doors into the outer court, into the tent sanctuary, and into the hidden Holy of Holies.
In the days of Moses you were only allowed to pass through the fence as a member of the people of God to bring a sacrifice. Have we given our hearts to the Lord?
As many as received him, he gave the right to become children of God, all those who believe in His name.
At least at the cross the spirits get separated with the question: “Do you know that Jesus died for you?”
Unmistakably the horned altar of burnt offering opens up before the viewer when he enters the outer court. A follower of Jesus offers his own body as an acceptable, pleasing sacrifice, and he examines God’s will for his life. Whoever wants to serve the Lord undergoes a life adjustment, in which he reflects what has gone wrong in the past. A change of mind takes place at the examination of the own image in the mirror of the laver. How does the word of God see us?
The incarnated Word of God presented in the Sermon on the Mount much higher demands on the blessed, for whom the kingdom of heaven has been prepared, as did the religious establishment in his self-righteousness. Hardly the cursed as vipers Pharisees and scribes changed at the purifying waters their course. At the Jordan, John the Baptist called on them to do penance for the remission of sins. The forerunner of the Messiah proclaimed: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
As obedient faith model the 30-year-old Jesus was fully submerged from his relative in the water. In the water bath of the word purified disciples do likewise.
A merit of the Reformation, was to provide access to the brazen laver for every believer. On the one hand, the word was preached to the people in an understandable way and translated in their language, and on the other hand the awareness won recognition that every Christian is called to the priesthood.
Nevertheless, there are priests who still convince their flocks that they anyhow can’t understand the Bible and make the case to celebrate mass in their ancient Latin scholar language.
My farming ancestors crossed themselves when entering the village church with holy water and learned as adscript analphabets the Gospel first through the illustrated stations of the cross.
Beside the pictures and statues of saints, in the east-facing naves is apparent the sanctuary light, the altar in the centre, and the tabernacle for keeping the Blessed Sacrament (bread and wine) – if the view is not befogged from ministrant incense burners.
Turning back to the original sanctuary, the question arises, how to get into the tent inside. Catholic dignitaries might argue that this is and was reserved only for the Levites (full-time priests). In fact, these had the task to ensure enough oil in the seven-branched candlestick, to regularly exchange the 12 loaves of shewbread on a table, and to burn incense at a small altar.
I agree with this: We are not allowed to go in the tabernacle, if we are not willing to perform this service.
However, the requirement is certainly not to get married with an organization and to be listed on their payroll, but instead to give your life to Jesus Christ and to follow him.
Viewed from the outside, the way into the sanctuary is not attractive. The protective cover of the tabernacle consisted of thick, gray badger skins. Among them were three more precious getting carpet layers of ram skins, goat hair, and fine linen.
“What good can come out of Nazareth?” is the legitimate question of Nathanael to get to the bottom of things. The Messiah must be a descendant of King David; according to the prophet Micah he has to be born in Bethlehem.
“Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice,” said the crowned with thorns king of the Jews at the end of his earthly ministry. Asks the foreign language Prefect:
“What is truth?”
The truth in person is within one’s reach and yet one can come to the erroneous conclusion to wash the hands in innocence. The governors and the rulers of the people awaited a terrible judgment since they overheard all warnings and even cursed themselves. To rush from one place to the other, the innocent sacrificial lamb was sentenced to death by a wrongful conviction (whosoever makes himself a king must die). Although the second entrance into the tent consists of five golden pillars, up to the present age only a few misguided rulers allow oneself in their self-righteousness to be led in the sanctuary.
“For by grace are you saved through faith, and not of yourselves it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast,” Paul taught the Ephesians, and even found a sympathetic ear by the governor Felix with his wife Drusilla, and his successor Festus, who received King Agrippa II and Bernice in a joint audience. Tired of the coming judgment of the annoying Gospel, admittedly in burning Rome, the lying Emperor Nero by his long arm cut off the head of Paul.
The five gold-plated acacia wood columns which underpinned the entrance are regarded as the embodiment of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. They can also be viewed as the writers of the letters to the churches, namely, Paul, Peter, John, James, and Jude. In this context it is literally diabolical presumptuous to claim to be the only rock and vicar of Christ on earth in the only true church. It is no coincidence that Cephas (Hebrew: stone) speaks in his letters of stones (not rocks), and such a living stone he was among several apostles, on which the church was built.
To confess the elect, precious cornerstone Jesus as the only Lord, and to believe in the heart that he was risen from the dead has – not just in Rome – cost many children of God their earthly life to win the eternal life:
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. And God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1, 26-27)
An arrogant man will never admit in his pride that he is a sinner and needs forgiveness through the cross, let alone that he repents and is baptised.
The Holy Spirit has come to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment. Jesus came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in him should not continue to live in darkness. For those who enter the tabernacle, passing before the altar of burnt offering and the brazen laver, the natural light of the world ceases to shine to come to the true light that enlightens people. A unique source of enlightenment is the seven-branched candlestick. Cast in one piece of gold, the oil-filled lamp is formed of 66 parts (22 cups + 22 buds + 22 blossoms). A wonderful image of the incarnate Word of God and of the Holy Spirit. There are 66 books in the Bible that bring enlightment in the hidden eyes of the heart by the Spirit of God.
The priestly assignment is to ensure sufficient oil in the candlestick. Yes, also diligence is included to internalize his words to end up not as foolish virgins. The Spirit of the Lord, of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and fear can rest on every believer. This peace of God passes all understanding. Unfortunately, it is true that many tired Christians never read over the book with seven seals, at least once in their lives, but they have spent much of their life time in front of a flickering box.
As a direct counterpart of the lampstand was set up a gold-plated acacia wood table, on which was consistently offered bread before the face of the Lord. There were two rows of six loaves which were exchanged at the weekly Sabbath on the table of shewbread. As a priest of God you must eat of this bread of the Lord, to live forever. Jesus Christ is the bread of life, symbolized in his flesh that he has given for the world. In addition to the Lord’s Supper another secret is hidden in the table of the Lord:
“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” said Jesus unto them.
Are we also willing today to take in this bitter, covered with frankincense bread. When David and his men were fleeing from chasing king Saul, they stilled their hunger with the shewbread, which was offered from the in the sanctuary of Nob serving priests. Therefore, the jealous Saul killed all the sacred supporters by one henchman – the Edomite Doeg.
Bitterness in the Bible speaks of persecution:
“Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt,” Jesus prayed before his arrest in Gethsemane.
He, who wants to come closer to God’s throne, can drink the bitter cup as well. Entering in the glory of God, the first Christian martyr Stephen even forgave his stoning tormentors. Likewise, there is prepared a golden crown in heaven for the persecuted Christians, e.g. for those who die from weakness and hunger in the North Korean concentration camps. Similarly a golden crown protected the crumbs and bread to fall down on the edge of the golden table. Falling down at the feet of Jesus, a Syrophenician woman asked for the liberation of her mentally ill daughter. As a foreigner, she took no refusal by comparing herself with a dog who eats the crumbs under the table of the Lord.
Will we all the same be praised from Jesus for our faith? Sees the Father in heaven, that we humbly submit to his will?
The exact opposite is found in the law of Thelema: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole law. As a brief summary Satanism is to accomplish your own ‘true’ will. This parenthesis may appear on the wrong place, but its perfectly fitting to the next inventory of the tabernacle, the altar of incense. The archangel Lucifer was personally responsible for the worship in heaven, until he ascended in his stinking self-praise above the throne of God. Luther may have noted one should not paint the devil on the wall because he comes per se. Unthinkable for that time developed a publicly celebrated genre of music that stinks to heaven or better expressed fires the smoke of hell. Blatantly musicians praise today death and devil, which is more precisely mentioned in my comment to Revelation 14. A little more difficult to see through is the idol-worship / idolatry that glorifies men. Instead of pointing at us, the Apocalypse refers to the Creator God, who alone is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise.
The name that is given above every name, and before whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord, that is the name, in which alone is salvation, this is the name of YESHUA – JESUS. This Jesus, who rescues his people from sin appears for us continually as the eternal high priest before the throne of God in prayer. As a human with fleshly weaknesses, who was tempted from the devil, he can fully understand us, and as the son of man without sin, he had on earth a relationship to the father like no other.
It is known that the altar of incense also stands for the prayers and praise of the saints. Four horns on the top corners symbolize the force behind it. Continuously lit the priests a precious incense in front of the curtain into the Holy of Holies. An outstanding fragrance rose into the square room, where the Ark of the Covenant with the mercy seat was in the centre.
Without holiness no one will see God. With a special anointing oil the components of the tabernacle and the Levites were anointed. It was strictly forbidden to imitate the anointing oil for own consumption or use. The same command was applied on the incense that shouldn’t be copied for everyday purposes, under the penalty of extermination of peoples. In addition it was forbidden to offer strange fire on the coated with gold and made from acacia wood cuboid.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The ingredients for the incense were sweet, pure, holy, eternal, and fragrant. Salt encounters us more often in everyday life and incense again and again in the Gospels; stacte, onycha and galbanum are rare and difficult to understand. In the Middle East those ingredients have been used as medicine and to keep away vermin from the Bedouin tents.
Will the persistent readers keep trying to enter through the third curtain, which was called life, into the Holy of Holies? Also this fine linen represented the four colours of the Gospels, but in addition were cherubim woven in it.
“My kingdom is not of this world,” are the words of the King of the Jews as well, “because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
It is often pointed out that at the very moment when Jesus died the veil of the Holy of Holies of the Temple was torn from top to bottom, and therefore we have always access to the Father. The disappointed Roman general Titus didn’t find the Ark of the Covenant or anything else in the Holy of Holies at the destruction of the second temple, which was generously expanded from Herod the Great. Quite as if the two angels above the mercy seat, with their wings touching each other, had just disappeared. Or was it a sign of the invisible God that we can’t approach him in our own strength?
Please remember also that the cherubim with the flame of the flashing sword guarded the access to the tree of life, after mortals expulsion from paradise. The respective high priest was accompanied by fear of death, as he once a year, at the great day of atonement, entered the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. The well-intentioned attempt of Uzzah to take hold of the ark, so that it is not falling from the oxcart on the way to Jerusalem, immediately cost his life. God’s law forbade in the tent of meeting to touch the most holy ark and allowed only the Levites as carriers. Four gold rings were attached to the golden ark, where gold-plated wooden rods were inserted, which could not be removed. Exodus 25 ff is boring to read, doesn’t make sense for many people, and thus gets quickly forgotten. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge. Who likes to meditate on the everlasting gospel, which the first angel in revelation 14 proclaims with a loud voice exactly like this:
“Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment has come. And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
Nowaday, it absolutely annoys me when presumptuous revival preachers claim they can off-handedly hold their hands in a restaurant to be lifted up by their own wish and prayers into the third heaven. Stigmatized in their conscience, those people report in their wicked visions of one angelic visitation after the other in order to seduce the faithful to astral travel and contact with the dead or demons. No wonder in the New Testament can be found repeated warnings of deception and deceivers. This criticism corresponds to the hidden interior of the tabernacle, because in a global wave of New Age (esōterikós: “the inside”) also appear a variety of titles in Christian bookstores that all pretend a spiritual life in an invisible world, which actually is built on the lies of the shady dealing authors. According to Ephesians 4, 14, we should not longer be children, carried away by every wind of doctrine through the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Oh my, oh my! Many people confidently preach that their spirit lives forever, falling in the old trap of the lying snake. We should continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. In the moment in which we find it impossible to get lost, we kill our conscience and have no awareness about sin. The best known content of the Ark of the Covenant are the with the finger of God inscribed tables of the law that show us how we should not act. Thank God, in a new covenant he puts his law into our inner being and writes it into our hearts (Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36). Hearts of stone change into hearts of flesh. The new spirit causes us to live forever in his ordinances and to preserve his laws. In this context, we have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies, and don’t need to have a bad conscience. Already today formerly dead letters transform us in his new covenant into a living epistle of Christ, which can be read by our fellow human beings.
That means here on earth not that we are already in the seventh heaven and are no more longer able to sin. Not for nothing apostle John writes in 1 John 1, 8 & 9:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. The sincerity in the discipleship and the crucifixion of the own flesh is easily visible through the practice of charity, fasting, and prayer. To be well in our soul, I repeat, that we as general priesthood should meditate on God’s word, constantly ask what his will is, and offer our prayers of thanksgiving and praise as a pleasing fragrance before the Lord.
The royal priesthood is visible in the golden crown on the cover of the ark. The faces of the two cherubim were turned to themselves and to the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place.
Seamless, embodies this propitiation for our sins in a new covenant the eternal high priest, who entered through his own blood once for all into the Holy of Holies of heaven. Now he is seated at the right hand of his Majesty in the throne above. Jesus Christ, the Lord, makes us to kings and priests of the most high God. A double claim of Revelation, for which numerous bold children of God were condemned by earthly kings and priests to death.
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Consisting of one piece of gold, the two cherubim were of one unit at the throne of grace. The Trinity can be seen in the Father and the Holy Spirit, who constantly look at the perfect sacrifice of the Son. Under the lid of the ark were hidden the two tablets of the Law, a pot of manna and the rod of Aaron, which also symbolize the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The everlasting God and Father, whose face was not allowed to be seen of Moses, inscribed at Mt. Sinai the tablets of the Law. Jesus Christ is the bread of life that came down from heaven to give us eternal life. A dead wooden staff, which miraculously sprouted blossoms, is a perfect picture of the Holy Spirit that brings even the dead back to life.
God has set eternity into our hearts, but we cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Taking advantage of our carnal sense, on nature we more tend to become one flesh with a whore. The spiritual conflict that is raging between the Whore of Babylon and the New Jerusalem will be described separately in my comments of the Revelation.
The portable tabernacle rested on bases of silver, representing the basis of our salvation. Our life on earth is a pilgrimage on the way to heaven, just equal to the desert wandering of Israel, the people of God, towards Canaan, the promised land.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25, 2