Exodus 26

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 14, 2008

Introduction

Moses is up on the mountain getting construction plans from God.  God is showing Moses how to build a portable worship center, kind of  “worship-in-a-box”.

:1-14 The Tent

The term “Tabernacle” means a “tent”. The tent that Moses was to make was made up of several layers of material. We start with the inner layer, the part the priests would see when they enter into the tent.

The Tabernacle was 45 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 15 feet tall.

:1 "Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them.

fine wovenshazar – to twist, be twisted

linenshesh – something bleached white, byssus, linen, fine linen; alabaster, similar stone, marble

blue, purple, and scarlet – The Temple Institute folks have done a lot of research on these colors and the materials – here’s what they’ve come up with.

The point is that the inner tent was painting a picture of something.

Look at the pictures of a desert sunrise and a desert sunset. Do the colors look familiar?

I wonder if part of the purpose of these colors in the Tabernacle is to make you think of the sky – to make you think of heaven.

cherubim[email protected] – cherub, cherubim;

We talked about these angelic being when we looked at the Ark of the Covenant. There were two cherubim molded onto the Mercy Seat, the cover of the Ark.

Ezekiel caught a glimpse of these beings:

(Ezek 1:5-8 NKJV) Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. {6} Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. {7} Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves' feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. {8} The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings.

People have tried to draw pictures of these beings, I’ve seen some even represented as men with long beards, others with the lion/man thing going. Who knows.
The point is – these beings are woven into the fabric on the inside of the Tabernacle. If you were a priest walking into the Tabernacle, you would see these cherubim all around you.

:2-6 Summarize

The Tent was going to be made of long strips of cloth that are joined together with loops and clasps and forms a piece of cloth that is 60x42 feet in size.

In a minute I’ll show you a video of how it all fits together.

:2 "The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits. And every one of the curtains shall have the same measurements.

:3 "Five curtains shall be coupled to one another, and the other five curtains shall be coupled to one another.

:4 "And you shall make loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain on the selvedge of one set, and likewise you shall do on the outer edge of the other curtain of the second set.

:5 "Fifty loops you shall make in the one curtain, and fifty loops you shall make on the edge of the curtain that is on the end of the second set, that the loops may be clasped to one another.

:6 "And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains together with the clasps, so that it may be one tabernacle.

:7 "You shall also make curtains of goats' hair, to be a tent over the tabernacle. You shall make eleven curtains.

goats hair – a black weather-resistant material; it was meant to protect the linen tent from the weather.

:8-13 Summarize

These eleven strips of goat-hair cloth will be joined together like the linen tent, but will be a bit bigger and will cover the linen tent.

:8 "The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; and the eleven curtains shall all have the same measurements.

:9 "And you shall couple five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves, and you shall double over the sixth curtain at the forefront of the tent.

:10 "You shall make fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the curtain of the second set.

:11 "And you shall make fifty bronze clasps, put the clasps into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one.

:12 "The remnant that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, shall hang over the back of the tabernacle.

:13 "And a cubit on one side and a cubit on the other side, of what remains of the length of the curtains of the tent, shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on this side and on that side, to cover it.

:14 "You shall also make a covering of ram skins dyed red for the tent, and a covering of badger skins above that.

rams skins … badger skins

There will be two more layers of tent on top of the goat hair tent.

We aren’t told the dimensions of these layers.

The layers were made up of dyed rams skins and “badger” skins (though it could be goat skins, manatee skins or porpoise skins)

The “porpoise” of these layers? I’d guess it’s all about more weather-proofing.

Watch the video of how the “tent” is all put together.

From the Temple Institute:

The Midrash abounds with lessons about the meaning and significance of the Tabernacle. Several examples:

“To what can the Tent of Meeting be compared? To a cave that was located near the sea. The sea roared up and flooded the cave - the cave was filled with water, but the sea was not missing anything. So too, the Tent of Meeting was filled with the radiance of the Divine Presence, but the world itself was still filled with that radiance. And when did the Divine Presence dwell in the world? On the day in which the Tabernacle was erected, as it is written, “and it was on the day that Moses finished... “(Num. 7).

Tabernacle – The Hebrew word (mishkan) simply means “dwelling place”. The Greek form (skene) means “tent”

A form of the Greek word is found in:

(John 1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Lesson

God wants to dwell with us

There are some religions that are all based on how you can achieve closeness to God.  You travel long distances to some country far, far away.  You hike deep into the mountains and climb to the monastery on top of the mountain.  You learn how to breath.  You learn how to meditate.  You learn how to …
…and on and on it goes.  Men trying to reach God on their own terms.
In reality, God has reached out to us.  The Tabernacle was God reaching out to man.  And God went even further, sending His Son Jesus to dwell among us.
And Jesus did the ultimate thing, opening up the possibility of us knowing God by dying for us and paying for our sins.
You may get the impression from some people that they don’t really care for you and they certainly don’t want to spend any time with you.
This is not the case with God.  He wants you to know Him.

:15-30 The Boards

:15 "And for the tabernacle you shall make the boards of acacia wood, standing upright.

The Tabernacle wasn’t just a tent made out of cloth held up by a couple of poles like a circus tent.

There are different kinds of ideas out there as to what the tent looked like.

Some see it as a form of Bedouin tent.
Others see it having a point to it’s roof.
The one that seems to make the most sense to me looks like a square box with a cloth thrown over the top.

:16-28 Summarize …

This next section describes the walls of this box as a system of wood boards covered with gold. Some think that instead of boards, these were just hollow frames … could be.

The boards were locked into place with silver bases and had gold covered rods running through them to keep them together.

:16 "Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the width of each board.

:17 "Two tenons shall be in each board for binding one to another. Thus you shall make for all the boards of the tabernacle.

:18 "And you shall make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards for the south side.

:19 "You shall make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards: two sockets under each of the boards for its two tenons.

:20 "And for the second side of the tabernacle, the north side, there shall be twenty boards

:21 "and their forty sockets of silver: two sockets under each of the boards.

:22 "For the far side of the tabernacle, westward, you shall make six boards.

:23 "And you shall also make two boards for the two back corners of the tabernacle.

:24 "They shall be coupled together at the bottom and they shall be coupled together at the top by one ring. Thus it shall be for both of them. They shall be for the two corners.

:25 "So there shall be eight boards with their sockets of silver; sixteen sockets; two sockets under each board.

:26 "And you shall make bars of acacia wood: five for the boards on one side of the tabernacle,

:27 "five bars for the boards on the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the far side westward.

:28 "The middle bar shall pass through the midst of the boards from end to end.

Watch the video of how the boards fit together …

:29 "You shall overlay the boards with gold, make their rings of gold as holders for the bars, and overlay the bars with gold.

:30 "And you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its pattern which you were shown on the mountain.

gold – If you track the usage of the various metals in the Tabernacle, you will see that everything inside the tent that is made of metal, is made of gold.

If you take the view that the boards were a sort of open framework, when you are inside the Tabernacle you will see the inner tent with all the colors and angels, but still see a lot of gold.

If you take the view that the boards formed a solid wall, then you will see a whole lot of gold with a ceiling that looks like a sky at sunset, along with the angels.

Why so much gold?  Look at John’s description of heaven:

(Rev 21:18 NKJV) …and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
(Rev 21:21 NKJV) …And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
Don’t think this means that heaven is only for rich people.  The point of heaven having so much gold is to show you that heaven is so much better than earth that gold is only good as a building material, as something to pave the streets with.
Heaven is an awesome place.

One estimate (James Strong, The Tabernacle of Israel) calculates the silver bases weighting 136 pounds each (pg.75).

He calculates the boards coming in somewhere near 600 pounds (pg. 76) each.

With 96 silver bases, that comes to 6.4 tons, 48 boards equals 14.4 tons.

I thought the Tabernacle was meant to be portable! How did they move it all?

It all broke down into smaller pieces and they had lots of people helping to move it.

Lesson

Lots of hands

Perhaps there is a lesson there for the church –
Heavy things need a lot of hands.

There’s something for everyone to do.

In most organizations, too often the same people are doing most of the work. They call it the 80/20 principle. Twenty percent of the people are doing eighty percent of the work.

Find a place to serve – poke around and see where help is needed – the kitchen crew on Thursday nights, the Children’s Ministry, the Saturday food outreach, keeping the place clean and swept, holding babies, greeting new people …

:31-37 The Veils

:31 "You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.

There will be two “veils” that will be a part of the Tabernacle.

These will function as dividers or doorways. There will be an outer veil that will be the entrance to the tent, and an inner veil that will divide the tent into two rooms.

:32 "You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold, upon four sockets of silver.

:33 "And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy.

a divider – The overall tent itself was 45 feet long and 15 feet wide. The inner veil was placed so the outer room was 30 feet long, and the inner room was 15 feet square.

The outer room was called the “holy place”

The priests would come into this room several times a day to take care of the lamp, offer prayers and incense, and change the showbread.

The inner room was called the “holy of holies”

The high priest was the only one allowed into this room, and he only went in once a year.

It was this inner room that was to be a picture of the very throne room of God.

:34 "You shall put the mercy seat upon the ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy.

:35 "You shall set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand across from the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south; and you shall put the table on the north side.

:36 "You shall make a screen for the door of the tabernacle, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver.

This is the outer veil, the outer door to the Tabernacle, made of the same material as the inner veil, except there were no cherubim woven into it.

You see the cherubim on the inner room, but not in the outer room.

:37 "And you shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold; their hooks shall be of gold, and you shall cast five sockets of bronze for them.

Watch the video that puts the veils in place…

The gospel writers record a very strange thing happening about the time of Jesus’ death on the cross. Matthew records (also Mark 15:37-38, Luke 23:44-46):

(Mat 27: 51 NKJV) Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…

John gives us a clue as to why this happened:

(John 19:30 NKJV) So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

The Greek word that Jesus used, “tetelestai”, is a word used to speak of a debt being paid. The debt is over, the price was paid.
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for our sins.
He paid the price for mankind to get past “the veil”.
And God on His part, tore veil in the Temple, showing that there was no longer anything to keep men from coming to Him.

The writer of Hebrews hints at this when he says,

(Heb 6:19 NKJV) This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

Then he tells us what to do with this truth:

(Heb 10:19-22 NKJV) Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, {20} by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, {21} and having a High Priest over the house of God, {22} let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Lesson

You have access

Illustration
Ugly Aqua Colored Mirror Frame
Preparing for a garage sale at their house, a couple decided to put out a mirror they’d received as a wedding gift. Because of its ugly aqua colored metal frame they just couldn’t find a room in their house where it looked good. Shortly after the garage sale started, a man looking to decorate his apartment bought it for one dollar. “This is a great deal,” he said excitedly. “It still has the plastic on it.” Then he peeled off the aqua colored protective covering to reveal a beautiful gold finished frame.
I wonder if sometimes we really understand all that Jesus has done for us.

I have to admit that after being a Christian for so long, we kind of start taking things like prayer and access to God for granted.

Illustration
What would you do if you could spend five minutes with a really, really important, powerful person? What would you talk about? Would you ask for anything?

Play the Seinfeld/Gates commercial.

It might be cool to be able to spend five minutes with Mr. Gates

Illustration
Local Call
The Chief Rabbi of Israel and the Pope are in a meeting in Rome. The Rabbi notices an unusually fancy phone on a side table in the Pope’s private chambers. “What is that phone for?” he asks the pontiff. “It’s my direct line to the Lord!” The Rabbi is skeptical, and the Pope notices. The holy father insists that the Rabbi try it out, and, indeed, he is connected to the Lord. The Rabbi holds a lengthy discussion with Him. After hanging up the Rabbi says. “Thank you very much. This is great! But listen, I want to pay for my phone charges.” The Pope, of course refuses, but the Rabbi is steadfast and finally, the pontiff gives in. He checks the counter on the phone and says: “All right! The charges were 100,000 Lira.” The Chief Rabbi gladly hands over a packet of bills. A few months later, the Pope is in Jerusalem on an official “visit”. In the Chief Rabbi’s chambers he sees an interesting kind of phone and learns it also is a direct line to the Lord. The Pope remembers he has an urgent matter that requires divine consultation and asks if he can use the Rabbi’s phone. The Rabbi gladly agrees, hands him the phone, and the Pope chats away. After hanging up, the Pope offers to pay for the phone charges. The Rabbi looks on the phone counter and says: “1 Shekel!” The Pope looks surprised: “Why so cheap!” The Rabbi smiles: “Local call.”

That’s one reason why people go to Jerusalem.  They think that maybe God will hear their prayers better.

Illustration
The Western Wall
In Jerusalem there is a wall that used to be known as the “Wailing Wall”, but is now called the “Western Wall”. In reality it is nothing more than just the retaining wall for the base of the Temple Mount, but it is about the closest that the Jews can get to the ancient site of the Holy of Holies of the Temple.
Well … there is one place closer …
There is a tunnel, the Rabbi’s Tunnel, where you can get just a little closer to the Holy of holies. At these places people pray, some stick pieces of paper into the cracks, hoping that they might have their prayers heard.
To be real honest, there is something even closer when it comes to getting your prayers heard by God.
It’s what you and I have in Jesus.
God has made the way open to His real throne room in heaven. Jesus has torn down the veil.
There is no more direct line to God than the one from your heart to God.

You have access to the King of Kings.  He considers you His child.  He wants to hear from you.